Hong Kong Disneyland



The castle is currently being renovated
We have visited Hong Kong Disneyland twice - in 2016 and 2019. These are my tips for visiting Hong Kong Disneyland including where we stayed, lines, rides and more. During 2019 the Castle has been undergoing renovation so you may not get the best view of it although in April 2019 I thought we saw quite a lot of it. The castle will be bigger and better when it is finally opened.

April 2019  The Castle was undergoing renovation
Where did we stay in 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 4 star 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 small 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. There is a free nightly light show of the skycrapers on the harbor and apparently this side has the best view of the light show. The hotel pool was an indoor one, which I was initially disappointed with it being inside, however, it turned out to be great, as no matter what the weather was doing outside, we could go swimming inside the hotel.  During April we had all sorts of weather so an indoor pool was perfect.
Salisbury and The Peninsula Hotel Hong Kong
The Salisbury YMCA hotel is right next door to the world famous 'The Peninsula' Hotel
How did we get to Hong Kong Disneyland?
Travelling via MTR to Disneyland was very easy. It probably took us 45 minutes with transfers from Tsim Sha Tsui etc to get to Disneyland. The train from Sunnybay MTR to the park had very special train carriages indeed (pictures below). Mickey was everywhere! Mickey Windows, Disney character Statues and even the handles were Mickey! The train was incredibly clean and well looked after too (all Hong Kong is like that though).

Note that Hong Kong Disneyland opens later then other parks (when we got there it was 10am it opened). It might say that on the official site - but they do open their doors earlier. Also they open the park lands up one by one - so Tomorrowland was the first land to open up, together with Fantasyland. You can plan your day knowing which lands are opened up first.
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.

 
Hong Kong Disneyland train inside
Inside the Disneyland bound train
How busy is the park?
Before our first trip, I had read reviews that Hong Kong Disneyland was a very small Disneyland. Before Shanghai Disneyland opened there were also enormous queues. However, since Shanghai Disneyland has opened, the park lines have drastically reduced. The longest waits are 30 minutes - but the most common waits are between 5-15 minutes. It might be the smallest Disney park - but we had a blast doing several rides multiple times in a row. 

You can really do this park in 1 day. Do not go on a weekend/public holiday to the park though as the lines will be longer then.

One thing I noticed is that the park opens the lands up one by one as I've already mentioned above (so Tomorrowland and Fantasyland were first to open). There was a large bottleneck around the Castle when we went at opening time. People were just standing around there despite the fact other areas of the park had opened. I would make sure you 'keep going' to get to the rides in Tomorrowland and not be distracted by the castle when you get inside the park.You can check what times your ride is scheduled to open on the website or app. Just search under Attractions and the Date you will be attending.

Where did we get tickets?
The first time 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 our second trip in 2019 we booked through Klook website (we have used this website extensively in  Japan and Singapore). Klook gives you a slight discount. Once you have the e-ticket you go straight to the turnsiles as well. Easy. 

What are the rides like in Hong Kong Disneyland?
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 including Disney Pins (Tokyo does not have as many Disney Pins at all in comparison).

There are seven lands in Hong Kong Disneyland -Main Street USA, Fantasyland, Adventureland, Tomorrowland, Grizzly Gulch, Mystic Point, and Toy Story Land. In the next few years they will also have Frozen Land and Marvel Land.

There are only three rides that have FastPasses* - Ironman, Hyperspace Mountain and The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh! They will save you a little time, but with maximum waits of 30 minutes for these rides if you get there early enough, I don't know that the FastPass is really worthwhile at all like they certainly are in other world Disney Parks. *FastPasses are tickets you can get for free that allow you to come back at another time, but you only need to stand in line 20 minutes or less. There are ticket machines located outside both these rides. 

The Jungle Cruise, one of my favourite rides, is more elaborate then other Disney Parks, with its luscious green tropical scenery and it has a fight between the water gods and the fire gods at the end of the ride which is very unique with regards to the Jungle Cruise in other Disney parks. 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 every language was well catered for.

The Jungle Cruise ride.
The Jungle Cruise Ride


The Jungle Cruise Ride Hong Kong Disneyland


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. Be warned there are lots of stairs though!

Tarzan's Island Hong Kong Disneyland Raft
Tarzans Island you visit by raft


Tarzan's Island Hong Kong Disneyland Raft
The view from the top of  Tarzans treehouse shows you how green and lush everything is with vegetation


Did you know that Hong Kong Disneyland has two Marvel rides in its parks?  One ride ‘Iron Man Experience’ opened in 2017. The other, ‘Ant Man and the Wasp’ opened in March 2019. We were fortunate in having timed our visit to Hong Kong Disneyland one week after Ant Man opened so we have ridden both! Iron Man is Awesome. I review both here (late June 2019).

Marvel rides at Hong Kong Disneyland - Iron Man Experience and Ant Man and the Wasp

The Mystic Manor ride is unique to Hong Kong Disneyland. There was virtually no queue for the Mystic Manor ride. You basically get in these cars and go from room to room in Mystic Manor on one of those new 'trackless' ride vehicles (no tracks! so you don't know where you  will go next on the ride). 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 daughter A.J’s favourite ride and a family favourite. We did this ride about 6 times in two separate trips.

Mystic Manor Hong Kong Disneyland
Mystic Manor is a totally unique ride in Hong Kong Disneyland

Dragon at Mystic Manor Hong Kong Disneyland
The surrounding gardens of Mystic Manor have plenty of optical illusions to look at

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 and you can read my review here on this land: https://themeparktravelguide.blogspot.com/2017/11/toy-story-land-disneyland-hong-kong.html 

Toy Story Land Hong Kong Disneyland
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.

Tomorrowland was very beautiful at night

The Lion King show and Mickeys Philharmonic Orchestra were both fantastic shows. The Lion King Show is 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 PhilharMagic - this show was really good, in 3D



Its a Small World ride attraction at night
Its a Small World ride attraction
Its a Small World ride attraction at night
Its a Small World ride attraction at night!
Where did we eat?
We took snacks with us (water, muesli bars etc) and had a big breakfast beforehand (remember the park doesn't open until 10am). There is not a huge variety of food to be found but we did enjoy eating at the Royal Banquet Hall (below) in Fantasyland. Great atmosphere. Be aware as the park closes around 8pm, that the restaurants close early.
This is where we ate our meal of chicken kebabs at Hong Kong Disneyland, at the Royal Banquet Hall.

Royal Banquet Hall
Winnie the Pooh and the Lion King Hong Kong Disneyland
Lots of photo opportunities are found in this Disneyland park
Main Street Electric Parade
This Electric parade is not to be missed. The colours, atmosphere and music is incredible.


Electric Parade at Hong Kong Disneyland Toy Story Slinky Dog
 
Electric Parade at Hong Kong Disneyland King Triton Ariel
The Electric Parade is awesome. Do not miss!

When the Electric Parade finishes, near to park closure, there are masses of people. We escaped to Tomorrowland and rode Orbitron a few times (no queue). A great way to end our fantastic day at Hong Kong Disneyland. 

 

Orbitron is awesome at night. You are very high up (higher then say Dumbo) and the view is great!
Orbitron Hong Kong Disneyland
Orbitron



Hyperspace Mountain Hong Kong Disneyland
Hyperspace Mountain Hong Kong Disneyland

Hyperspace Mountain - I thought long and hard whether to do this ride or not as not a fan of roller coasters. But its themed to Star Wars and I really wanted to go on it. So I did! The first half of the ride was enormous fun. The second half of the ride I had my eyes closed. It is a roller coaster in the dark. It goes really fast, but because its in the dark you don't know exactly where its going to go next. I do recommend though. Its a lot of fun.


Mickey and the Wondrous Book Stage Show

Mickey and the Wondrous Book stage show - People on the internet said not to miss this! And yes its a great show. All the Disney characters are covered and they sing all the popular songs from the movies (you will not be disappointed). There is singing, dancing and a story. Well worth seeing. The show goes for 28 minutes.


The classic teacups ride

Animation Academy
Learn to draw a Disney character during a 20-minute art lesson. It is all presented in Cantonese, but the how to draw lesson is shown on a white screen so you just follow along as best you can. We learned how to draw Tigger! The lesson is for free. You also get to keep your picture as a souvenir. The lesson was very fun and slow paced enough for a beginner so you had time to get it right. Daughter A.J's hot tip - keep the picture small! Don't draw it too big.
Animation academy Hong Kong Disneyland

Tigger Animation academy Hong Kong Disneyland

Disney Paint the Night" Parade
A parade through the main street of Hong Kong Disneyland with the buildings lit up. Whilst the Castle is being renovated, the fireworks have been temporarily replaced with this night parade. Whilst nice to look at - I think better time can be spent doing more rides.





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).

Hong Kong Diseyland Pin Mickey and Minnie
Hong Kong Disneyland Pin Mickey and Minnie
Stickers
Hong Kong Disneyland gives out a large variety of free stickers. All you need to do is ask. Some cast members have lots. Some have none.


Free stickers you can get at Hong Kong Disneyland
Free stickers you can get at Hong Kong Disneyland


Overall, Hong Kong was quite cheap and pretty easy to get around via MTR. Everything was well signed and the trains even more so. 

Surprisingly, a lot of people did not speak English in Hong Kong in general. 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 very 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 definitely be back to see first hand. They are also creating more rides and really investing in this park. You can easily see all of this park in a day as you are not spending the day in lines.


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