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Hong Kong Disneyland.


Day 3 and we were heading out SOLO to visit Hong Kong Disneyland. Gina, my good friend here, has been our constant guide for the first two days. I think she felt that we had passed the getting around Hong Kong test and this was an opportunity for us to see if we could use the transport system to go to a planned destination! Having said that Gina wrote out detailed travel instructions so it was a bit of a cheat.

The plan was to get a taxi from the Gold Coast marina to the train station at Tsuen Wan red line, get a train to Lai King and change to the Tung Chung orange line and change again at Sunny Bay onto the Disneyland Express train for the final leg. All shown on the map below.

The MTR train system map.

The MTR train system map.

Catching the cab was easy as they lined up just outside the marina entrance. There are three different coloured taxis in Hong Kong, red, green and blue each servicing different areas. You are most likely to see the red ones, which are also the most expensive, as they have the largest coverage. You can find more information about the different taxis and their fares HERE.

The whole trip came together easily helped by excellent signage and Gina’s instructions.

Disneyland is clearly signposted.

Disneyland is clearly signposted.

The change at Sunny Bay gets onto the Disney Resort line and a special Disney train which runs directly to the resort and is themed appropriately.

The Disney train complete with Mickey Mouse windows.

The Disney train complete with Mickey Mouse windows.

Small glass cabinets house the famous characters to get you in the mood.

Small glass cabinets house the famous characters to get you in the mood.

The train as we left to walk to the resort.

The train as we left to walk to the resort.

A specially built station.

A specially built station.

The start to a long avenue leading to the entrance.

The start to a long avenue leading to the entrance.

Winnie the Poo lamp posts

Winnie the Pooh lamp post. Other characters line the street.

At the end of this avenue you get your first real taste of what’s to come with this fountain of Mickey surfing Moby Dick? The main entrance where you part with your money is to the right of this fountain.

Mickey's surfboard moves up and down of course.

A one day ticket will cost you around A$63.00, which is a lot cheaper than the American entry which will set you back over $105.00. A Thai Disneyland would be half the Hong Kong price but probably nothing would work! You can find more booking information HERE.

Mind you having said unflattering things about the Thais our first planned ride of the day, the train trip around the theme park, was suspended until 2015 to allow for the construction of an Iron Man experience! Rather disappointing.

The station to catch the park train had it been open.

The station to catch the park train had it been open.

A map of the resort.

A map of the resort.

If you want a PDF printable version of this map you can find it here: Disneyland Map or an interactive online one can be found HERE.

After paying and passing through the gates, complete with security and a bag search, you hit Main Street USA, which is mostly shops and eating places. As in the USA the amount of themed merchandise is immense and the Chinese were certainly doing their bit to boost turnover.

The view up Main Street towards the Castle.

The view up Main Street towards the Castle.

One of the many options for eating.

One of the many options for eating on the right. Waffles from memory.

Shopping and more shopping.

An umbrella was a good idea on the day. It was both hot and then later it rained.

No introduction needed. How hot would it be in those costumes when it was in the low 30's.

No introduction needed. How hot would it be in those costumes when it was in the low 30’s in the shade. These guys didn’t just stand there for photos but acted up with each person that came up. A good effort.

The Disney brass band.

The Disney brass band finishing a gig.

We went anti-clockwise through the park for some reason and started with Tomorrowland. Disneyland link HERE. For reasons that will become obvious towards the end of this post we should have done the outside activities in Adventureland first. Oh well.

We

Gaun is colour coordinated for this part of the park.

Become a rocket jockey when you pilot your own space craft above Tomorrowland. In the rich Disney tradition of optimism about the future, you take firm control over your own destiny as this spinning rocket ride explores the cosmos in a Jules Verne-inspired design.

Passing forcibly on that experience we were heading to the Jungle Cruise when we passed the Lion King show, which according to the sign was just about to start. A misnomer actually as it was 30 minutes before we got into the stage building and then another 20 minutes or more before the doors were closed to latecomers and the show got going.

The Orbitron.

Buzz Lightyear ride.

Buzz Lightyear meets Gaun.

Each “world” within the park seemed to have a main ride and with Tomorrowland it was this one, a rollercoaster ride called Space Mountain. Now roller coasters aren’t my thing but I thought I should act brave for the little woman and show her what us Aussie bloke are made of.

Say goodbye to your stomach.

Say goodbye to your stomach.

The main rides have electronic information boards outside which give you an estimated waiting time before to decide to join the queue, which is helpful. Keep an eye out for them. You will also find encouraging signs like this one:

Is it too late to turn back?

Is it too late to turn back?

The official description of this ride is as follows:

Rocket at warp speed to synchronized music and sound effects on this one-of-a-kind indoor roller-coaster. Launch into the inky blackness of the nether reaches of space. Known for its exhilarating hairpin turns, quick dips, high tech sound and special effects, this state-of-the-art space journey takes you past shooting stars, careening comets and into the future! Join the space race today.

For obvious reasons I don’t have any photos of the ride itself! Needless to say it was as the sign described it. Mostly through the dark as though travelling through space. I found it slightly underwhelming in the visual effects and quite short but it certainly threw you around and got Gaun screaming – not me of course. Worth a go.

Lining up to be scared. A funny race the humans.

Lining up to be scared. A funny race us humans.

Exits from all the rides take you through the associated theme shop of course with daylight at the furthest point.

Everything you ever needed in Disney related gear.

Everything you ever needed in Disney related gear.

The other ride we tried here was called Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters, a more gentle experience and better for younger kids and nervous parents. You get to sit in a rocket ship sort of thing and each of you have a lazer gun which you use to try and hit targets as you move through the ride. A toggle control on the ship allows you to spin it 360 giving you better angle on the targets, not that it helped my aim.

Described as follows:

Buzz Lightyear, the endearing space ranger who refuses to believe that he is actually a toy, is out to save the universe, and he needs your help! Team up with Buzz Lightyear and spin your Star Cruisers 360 degrees while you fire hand-held laser cannons. Blast enemy targets and amass points. Compare your high score with other Space Rangers or go for a personal best. Climb up the Space Ranger ranks as your scores soar to astronomical heights each time you play. Save the galaxy from the Evil Emperor Zurg and wow your friends and family.…inspired by Disney‧Pixar’s Toy Story 2.

Inside our ship ready for action.

Inside our ship ready for action. You can see the gun and central toggle to spin the ship.

Because I was so busy controlling the ship 🙂 Gaun outgunned me and achieved a score more than twice as high as mine. I think Thais have a more natural feel for firearms than us post-Howard Aussies.

On the move.

On the move.

We missed out on the other main ride in this “world” called Autopia as there was a longer waiting time. We intended to come back but got rained out later in the day. I would have handed the driving over to Gaun, who has never driven, which would have been fun.

Start your engines and get ready for the ride of your life! Autopia give kids of all ages the chance to get behind the wheel and hit the road of tomorrow. Take a drive along the futuristic streets, crazy corners and dazzling dips – all from the driver’s seat of your very own space-age automobile!

This is where Thai children learn to drive.

This is where Thai children learn to drive.

The next stop on our world trip was Fantasyland and It’s a Small World, which sits at the back of the park. I should have done more research before going because this is a young kids zone more than for us older kids. Disneyland link HERE

Tiny

Excellent for young children.

Set sail in an imaginative journey and enjoy scenes through different cultures far and wide. Experience the joy and wonder of creatively costumed dolls, elaborate sets, unforgettable music and for the first time ever, your favorite Disney Characters.

The Chinese are as over the top as the Thais when it comes to photos. This youngster is an event in herself.

The Chinese are as over the top as the Thais when it comes to photos. This youngster is an event in herself.

Up close.

Up close.

The boat ride. It is a very restful way to take the weight off if further into your day at Disneyland.

The boat ride. It is a very restful way to take the weight off if further into your day at Disneyland.

The boat drifts slowly through a canal and many of the world’s countries are represented by singing dolls and themed sets.

Sit back and enjoy.

Sit back and enjoy.

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Back on our travels. In-between the main attractions there is lots to see. Some parts are landscaped for show not actually “doing” anything and Disney characters pop up from time to time.

Nice greenery area.

Nice greenery area.

Ambushed by a bear and donkey. Poor kid will need therapy for years.

Ambushed by a bear and donkey. The poor kid will need therapy for years.

More shady spaces.

More shady spaces.

Flying Elephants for real.

Flying Elephants for real. This is the Dumbo ride in Fantasyland.

We decided to line up for Mickey’s Philhar Magic without any idea of what it involved. Having now experienced it I would recommended you add it to the list of things to do here:

This

“Quack up” at the hilarious hi-jinks of Donald Duck as one of Disney’s biggest animated stars takes you on a three-dimensional journey through some of the most memorable moments in Disney animated films. Meet princesses, villains and beloved heroes up close in this silly symphony of surprises. It’s a hilarious adventure through movies, music and mayhem.

You are given 3D glasses going in. The 3D effects build up during the show and are excellent. Great for all ages.

It is a movie type experience.

It is a movie type experience.

Guess what’s next. Disneyland link HERE

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This was a rather stark “world” in that it was very open and unshaded. A quick pass through on a hot day. There are two main rides here, neither of which we wanted to do. The RC Racer and the Toy Soldier Parachute Drop both involved me and my stomach parting company and Gaun wouldn’t be in it either.

The in the foreground and the RC Racer at the back.

The in Toy Soldier Parachute Drop in the foreground and the RC Racer at the back. Not my photo.

Going down in a big way.

Going down in a big way.

Another borrowed photo - you get the idea.

Another borrowed photo – you get the idea.

This one looked gentler but was still getting screams from the participants.

This parachute drop looked gentler but was still getting screams from the participants.

Toy Soldiers on the march.

Toy Soldiers on the march.

And a Toy Story toilet block.

And a Toy Story toilet block.

We messed up on the next attraction, Mystic Point, which illustrates the danger of being too laid back on holidays and not being properly prepared and doing some research. Disneyland link HERE

Mystic Manor.

Mystic Point.

We were put off going into the Manor by one of those ride warning signs outside that indicated it was a roller coaster type experience, which it isn’t. Gaun wasn’t that keen on replicating the ride we had in the dark so we gave it a miss. Gina has since told us that this is one of the best experiences in the park so make sure you go and write and tell me what it was like!

The ride is described as : The story of Mystic Point follows the adventures of eccentric explorer and art collector Lord Henry Mystic, who invites guests to board the Mystic Magneto-Electric Carriage for a tour of his private museum located within his Victorian manor. When Lord Henry’s companion, his monkey Albert, mischievously opens a newly acquired magical music box, the enchanted Music Dust within is released and, accompanied by a haunting tune, a mysterious journey begins.

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This was the most impressive and lifelike of the structures in the park.

This was the most impressive and lifelike of the structures in the park.

Our next stop was Grizzly Gulch – Disneyland link HERE and we passed a couple of chipmunks on the way as you do.

More Disney characters who are endlessly patient and play up for the photo hungry tourist.

More Disney characters who are endlessly patient and play up for the photo hungry tourist.

We were on a “roll” with this one because the Runaway Mine Cars rollercoaster looked great and was outside so Gaun led the way for lining up for this ride.

The Grizzly Gulch ride.

The Grizzly Gulch ride.

This is a super ride and has a couple of surprises to make it more memorable. We could have gone back and done it again.

Pump those bellow water cannon and battle the people on the other side.

Pump those bellow water cannon and battle the people on the other side.

The Grizzly Gulch mine.

The Grizzly Gulch mine.

Adventureland was next as both Tarzan’s Treehouse and the Jungle River cruise were supposed to be worth doing. Disneyland link HERE.

Unfortunately I have to report that we missed out on both of these adventures. Access to the Treehouse is by a raft that crosses the crocodile infested waters but before we could make landing on the other side the raft was turned round and we all had to get off. My Chinese language skills being limited I never did find out what that was all about. Tarzan and Jane wanted some privacy maybe.

Adventureland.

Adventureland. The raft across the river to Tarzan’s treehouse. This is about as close as we got.

Missing out on that experience we were heading to the Jungle Cruise when we passed the Lion King show entrance, which according to the sign was just about to start. A misnomer actually as it was 30 minutes of lining up before we got into the stage building and then another 20 minutes or so before the doors were closed to latecomers and the show got going. However despite the wait this is a show well worth doing. It is a mini American styled musical stage show with great props, costumes, singing and dancing. Goes for about an hour.

Based on the movie The Lion King, it tells the story of Kimba and how he got to be the boss. Just a little hint. This show is a big attraction and pulls the crowds. Find out the show times and then when it is running drop into other popular rides. You may find the waiting times are shorter.

The stage area. Seating in the round but the actors play to each section so you don't miss out.

The stage area. Seating in the round but the actors play to each section so you don’t miss out.

Great stage props.

Great stage props.

The boss himself complete with American accent.

The boss himself complete with American accent.

With the actor who took the part of Kimba in the show.

With the actor who took the part of Kimba in the show.

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Most of the cast in this shot.

I have included a video below of the finale with all the cast and animals on stage:

Coming out of the show we were greeted with torrential rain. A lesson that you take an umbrella everywhere either for the heat or rain. We took shelter along with many others and waited it out. The park staff were all plastic caped up and running around with umbrellas bringing visitors to the dry, which was a nice touch.

The outcome of the rain was that the Adventureland Jungle River cruise was cancelled along with a number of other outside rides and activities, which put a bit of a dampener! literally on the rest of the day. The other major cancellation was the Disneyland parade, which happens on the Main Street at 3.15 pm and is supposed to be excellent according to Gina. Get there early if it’s dry to get a good position as it is a street march so you need to be in the gutter!

More of Adventureland inthe wet.

More of Adventureland in the wet.

Another eating opportunity.

Another eating opportunity.

Many of the eating places had these plastic version of what they were serving outside:

Very Chinese but actually a good idea.

A very Chinese concept but actually a good idea.

As Autopia was also on hold and it was dark and a damp, as you can see from the photos above, we decide to pack it in for the day. A lesson to everyone to check the weather forecast before heading to Disneyland otherwise you might miss out on some of the outside rides. We had a great day but left a little disappointed at missing out on some of the key attractions. Next time.

We finished Disney by appropriately walking through the castle gates.

We finished Disney by appropriately walking through the castle gates.

Reversing our travel instructions from Gina we managed the Hong Kong transit system easily and even substituted the 61M bus for the taxi ride from station to the Gold Coast marina. I felt like a local.

I will leave you with this slightly blurry photo because it was one of those interesting little observations about how things are done differently in other countries. Some of the escalators in the train stations shut down off-peak for energy saving. It s a nice thought but looking at the power consumption feeding those high rises and the light show at night……………..There are lifts if the stairs look just too much!

Closed for business.

Closed for business.

Thanks for reading.