Covered or mentioned in this post:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
Exits from all the rides take you through the associated theme shop of course with daylight at the furthest point.
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.
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.
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!
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
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 boat drifts slowly through a canal and many of the world’s countries are represented by singing dolls and themed sets.
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.
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:
“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.
Guess what’s next. Disneyland link HERE
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.
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
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.
Our next stop was Grizzly Gulch – Disneyland link HERE and we passed a couple of chipmunks on the way as you do.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Many of the eating places had these plastic version of what they were serving outside:
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.
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!
Thanks for reading.