That magical place. That enchanting appeal. Before I came to HK Disneyland, all I could think of was Mickey Mouse and the sisters Elsa and Ana. Disney has spanned generations. Stories were told (Sleeping Beauty) and retold (Maleficent) over time. But one thing remains, that castle at the start of every Disney movie, is as symbolic as Mickey Mouse has been in the years since brothers Walt and Roy Disney put up their company in 1923.
And so there we were. We took the train (very organized and clean MTR system compared to the ill-fated MRT) to Lantau Island where we disembarked and took another Disney-themed train. Our excitement cannot be contained. Today, our Enchanted Kingdom experience will be annihilated by our Disneyland adventure.
We purchased our Disneyland tickets ahead of time at a discounted rate. If you buy from Disneyland itself, it’s HKD 450 (PHP 2500 USD 58) but we bought it at HKD 420, and we didn’t have to queue upon entering the gates.
Contrary to our nightmare in Macau and downtown Hong Kong where no one hardly speaks English, the park employees speak really good english.
At the entrance, you will be enthralled by the presence of the Sleeping Beauty Castle, very iconic and surreal, so to speak.
My friends stopped at every corner to have their pictures taken. I had a different thought in mind. Let’s take all the rides. I am generally scared of rides, but I’m ready to face them here.
Being the smallest of all Disney theme parks, I expected for us to tour it in a day. Boy was I wrong. If I were to tour only, I would have. But with the rides? It was impossible. That’s why they also offer a 2-day pass at HKD 585. As expected, water and food are very expensive. We ended up drinking and refilling our bottles at the designated refill stations.
So let’s take the tour together, according to the 7-themed areas.
Main Street, USA: It serves as the entrance to the park and resembles the wild west in the early 20th century. Most souvenir stores are located in this street. You will pass by this upon entering and leaving the park.
Adventureland: Jungle-themed area boasting of Tarzan’s house and a river cruise. The cruise featured real-life looking mechanical animals perfectly timed to its audio. Warning: You may get wet.
Fantasyland: I don’t think I need to say anything else to describe this section, do I? It’s A Small World is a boat ride featuring 300 brightly-colored dolls representing the different regions of the world. Dumbo the Flying Elephant is a carousel that allows children to ride the elephant and maneuver his movements up and down using a joystick. The Prince Charming Regal Carousel (formerly Cinderella’s Golden Carrousel) can also be found in this themed area. Many photo ops have been done with the 90 horses as either the subject or the background. The Mad Hatter Tea Cups is a unique carousel because the riders will have to sit inside the tea cup. This is reminiscent of Walt Disney’s Alice in Wonderland. Fantasy Gardens is where we get to queue and meet the Disney stars like Mickey and Minnie. Because the queues were long, we decided to just meet and greet with the original stars, Mickey and Minnie. But we also chanced upon Winnie the Pooh, Pluto, etc.
The Golden Mickeys and The Mickey Philharmagic are two welcome breaks in the long queues for the day. These happen in theaters that are cold, dark and with comfortable seats. The Golden Mickeys is like the Golden Globes awards and as Jons mentioned, it felt very Broadway; while the Philharmagic is a 4D film attraction starring Mickey as the conductor. Watch to know who’s the real star of the show!
Tomorrowland: I mistakenly referred to this as, “Let’s go to futureland”. Well, they mean the same thing, don’t they? Full of metallic trims and hues of blue, this is easily my favorite themed area. Space Mountain – while standing in line for this ride, I was already mesmerized. Walls were lined with planets and stars as decorations, neon lights stream everywhere and a monitor relays the message that we are going to be in a battle. It is the only roller coaster ride where I never closed my eyes for fear or anything. Like I said, it was cold, dark, and the “sky” was full of stars and planets. I hardly felt nauseated as I always do in other roller coasters. The Orbitron is an attraction that has rockets or flying saucers as rides.
Toy Story Land: Yes. This is a Disney-Pixar movie. We first queued at the Toy Soldiers Parachute Drop. I thought, oh this was gonna be boring (think Ekstreme Tower but you will rise and fall multiple times). Yet again, I was wrong. While we were being dropped and raised back up, I was yelling “P*****a ayoko na!”. The Slinky Dog Zigzag Spin is a gentler ride compared to the Toy Soldiers. The most evil of them all is the RC Racer ride inspired by the Hot Wheels line of cars. Nope, I didn’t and won’t ride it, with its top height at 80 feet and curved at slightly more than 90-degree angle, not in this lifetime.
Grizzly Gulch: This area features only one (but cool) ride. It has sudden stops and starts, bears, dynamites, backward motions and a coldness that only adds to one’s curiosity and nervousness.
Mystic Point: Challenge the mind and open your eyes to mysteries and mysticism in this garden of tricks. This area houses the Mystic Manor, a favorite photo object. The Garden of Wonders offers opportunities to play with the eyes when photos are taken. But because we were too tired and engrossed on seeing Mickey, we kinda “passed” on it. But if you have all day, go and spend a little bit of time here.
We also witnessed the Flight of the Stars Parade featuring the famous Disney characters in their respective floats. I had to put my camera overhead and click away because I didn’t have a vantage view of the event.
Other attractions if you stay till the night is the Disney in the Stars, where fireworks and pyrotechnics are orchestrated along popular Disney songs like “A Whole New World”. In the future, the theme park will feature The IronMan Experience.
We didn’t bother staying in the hotels inside the park, what, the standard rooms cost more than HKD 2,000 a night.
So, if you happen to be in Hong Kong, or coming back to visit, bring your friends, family and special “someone” and enjoy the closest Disneyland park. It’s the happiest place!