Disneyland - Hong Kong

Now it says in all Disneyland lore, to stay as close as possible to a Disneyland park i.e Walking distance to the park entrance. This is to ensure you get to the park as soon as possible, to avoid any transport delays and presumably being easier getting back to the hotel after a long day. We originally tried to get a booking at the nearby Disneyland hotel. However, try as we might, we could not get a booking with these hotels. They seemed to be always ‘full’. It is said that Asian hotels only release hotel bookings 3 months in advance which doesn’t help when you are planning a holiday 6 months in advance. In the end we decided to go with a central Hong Kong hotel instead, the Salisbury YMCA hotel, and we never looked back.  The Salisbury turned out to be a really great hotel, with a view of the harbour (very slight view, in between other buildings, but a view of the harbour nonetheless which was nice to look at at night). The hotel was very centrally based, closest MTR station was Tsim Sha Tsui Station and an easy  5 minute walk to the harbour. This side of the harbour has apparently the best view of the free nightly light show on the harbour. It was ‘misty’ weather the entire time we were in Hong Kong (and we were there in supposedly hot and sunny April). The hotel pool was an indoor one, which I was initially disappointed with, however, it turned out to be great, as no matter what the weather was doing outside, we could go swimming inside the hotel.

Back to Disneyland…..Travelling via MTR to Disneyland was very easy. Probably took us 45 minutes with transfers from Tsim Sha Tsui etc. The train from Sunnybay MTR to the park had very special train carriages indeed. Mickey was everywhere! Mickey Windows, Mickey displays and even the handles were Mickey! The seats were also well looked after too.
The Disneyland train that takes you from Sunnybay train station to Hong Kong Disneyland. Other then the Mickey shaped windows, they also had statues and Mickey Mouse handles to hang on to.

Before our trip, I had read reviews that Hong Kong Disneyland was a very small one. I had read it had been built apparently cheaply in comparison to EuroDisney (now Disneyland Paris), which suffered huge financial losses in the beginning. I had also read, pre-Shanghai Disneyland, how the queues were ridiculously long in Hong Kong, attributed to the park being a smaller park with less attractions. 

Since the opening of Shanghai Disneyland however, those reviews of very long lines have significantly waned and the park has gained even better trip reviews. I would even say that during our visit, 3 months before the official opening of Shanghai Disneyland, the lines were not long AT ALL. We rode several attractions multiple times in a row. Perhaps the mainland China population were waiting for Shanghai. Since the opening of Shanghai Disneyland - Hong Kong Disneyland is a lot less busy. You can ride attractions multiple times in a row and easily do this park in a day.

We bought our tickets direct from the Hong Kong Disney website, and we didn't have to nominate days, which was good (so we could go on the 'best' day with regards to the weather). We were able to go straight to the turnstiles for entry into the park so no lining up. On a future trip I think though we would check out Klook for savings like we did in Singapore for Universal Studios.

Disneyland Hong Kong is a smaller park. However, I happen to think some of the rides are BETTER than the bigger parks of Anaheim and Tokyo. I think as the park has fewer rides, what rides they do have are more detailed. It also feels alot like Disney and there is a lot of merchandise you can choose from in the shops.

The Jungle Cruise, one of my favourite rides,  is more elaborate then other Disney Parks, with its luscious green scenery and has a fight between the water gods and the fire gods at the end of the ride which is very unique. It also seemed to be a longer ride then in Tokyo or Anaheim. You certainly felt like you were somewhere else with all that greenery.There were also three boats you could take, the English, Cantonese and Mandarin versions of the ride so everyone was well catered for.
The Jungle Cruise ride....

This is the fire god/water god war part of the Jungle Cruise

Tarzan’s island, visited by raft similarly, had more attention to detail than the other parks, more to look at and see. Tarzan’s tree house also had great views at the very top of the treehouse over the park.

The view from the top of  Tarzans treehouse shows you how green and lush everything is with vegetation
Tarzans Treehouse - lots to explore and lots of climbing/stairs

Mystic Manor and the surrounding area of optical illusions with statues also was very unusual and unique to Hong Kong Disneyland. There was no queue for the Mystic Manor ride. You basically get in these cars and go from room to room in Mystic Manor. The ride was in a way, similar to the Tokyo Winnie the Pooh ride, with 'trackless' technology to move the cars from room to room. Each room ‘comes alive’ as you enter it. It was A.J’s favourite ride and a family favourite.

Mystic Manor Ride Poster

Mystic Manor, this is where the ride is located
There were quite a few optical illusions statues surrounding 'Mystic Manor'

Toy Story land was unique to Hong Kong Disneyland before Hollywood Studios in Orlando opened in 2018. This was one of A.J’s favourite lands. All the toys were huge. I think this area appeals more so to the younger kids. 

The Slinky Dog Spin was A.J's second favourite ride after Mystic Manor. This ride is a lot shorter ride then the Orlando 'bigger' version.
The Buzz Lightyear ride, well we rode this ride quite a few times as there were no queues for this ride. And we all got quite competitive with our scores. This ride broke down on us in Anaheim, so it was nice to complete the entire circuit.

Tomorrowland was very beautiful at night

Autopia, this ride is more elaborate than the same ride in Tokyo and Anaheim. There are 3 different tracks. One track, Track C is a more challenging ride and Track A is the longest. We only got to ride this ride once though due to a rain shower. This ride closed in June 2016 and we are sad to see it go as it was alot of fun.

The Lion King show and Mickeys Philharmonic Orchestra were both fantastic shows. The Lion King Show as a live stage show - and had translations into multiple languages (English, Cantonese and Mandarin). Mickey's Philharmonic was in English only and was a 3D interactive show in a movie theatre.
Mickey's PhilharMargic - this show was really good, in 3D

Festival of the Lion King, the entrance

Its a Small World ride attraction

This is where we ate our meal of chicken kebabs at Hong Kong Disneyland, at the Royal Banquet Hall.

The classic teacups ride

Hong Kong Disney Pins
Not as common as the Pins in Anaheim or Orlando, there was still a good range to choose from and they are quite colourful. There were pins for the rides too which was nice (unlike Tokyo Disneyland which had no specific ride pins).

Overall, Hong Kong was quite cheap and pretty easy to get around via MTR. Everything was well marked out and the trains even more so. Surprisingly, a lot of people did not speak English in Hong Kong- I am talking the cleaners and some sales assistants whom couldn't speak English. But, the Pharmacist or Store Manager did. However, anyone who could not speak English would 100% of the time try and find someone who did speak English to help you. Disneyland Hong Kong was well signed in English and there were plenty of English speakers as Cast Members.

The purpose of our trip was to go to Disneyland Hong Kong, but we also did the famous Ferry cruise, Peak Tram and Nan Liang Gardens. I had planned for us to visit the Big Buddha, but due to the aforementioned weather, we didn’t get to go. Next time.

Hong Kong Disneyland is undergoing major renovations until the end of 2019 and possibly 2020. The castle is being renovated (so its bigger) and they are creating 'Frozen land' - which personally I cannot wait for and will definately be back to see first hand. They are also creating more rides and really investing in this park. Also, with the opening of Shanghai - the lines here are not too bad at all. You can easily see all of this park in a day as you are not spending the day in lines.

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