For fans of Walt Disney’s theme park, Disneyland is the happiest place on earth. Regardless of how many times they visit the famed park a sense of joy overwhelms them. The park’s ability to bring forth the inner child in adults and to captivate the minds of children makes Disneyland a special place to visit. In 1955 the original Disneyland opened in Anaheim, California, U.S.A. Since then Disney has built five more parks around the world, including Hong Kong Disneyland. Hong Kong Disneyland opened in 2005 on Lantau Island. Fans of Disney will find Hong Kong Disneyland a great addition to the roster of theme parks.
Arriving at Hong Kong Disneyland
The easiest and most convenient way for visitors to reach Hong Kong Disneyland is by using public transportation, Hong Kong’s Mass Transit Railway (MTR). Whether you are arriving straight from the airport or leaving your hotel on Hong Kong Island or Kowloon you will take the MTR to the Sunny Bay Station. Once at Sunny Bay Station you will board the Disneyland Resort Line bound for Hong Kong Disneyland Resort. On the Disneyland Resort Line train you will have your first chance to get into the Disney mood. The train’s windows are in the shape of Mickey Mouse ears and throughout the train are statues of various Disney cartoon characters. Sit back and enjoy the short six-minute ride journey to the Disneyland Resort Station.
Once you’ve arrived at the Disneyland Resort Station’s immaculate platform you will walk towards the welcome sign and on to the ticket booth and entrance to the park. What you will notice is that signs display both English letters and Chinese characters. The signs within the park and the signs for rides are in English and Chinese. Attractions and shows have either English audio or English subtitles. Anyone who understands either English or Chinese will navigate the park with ease. To enter the park you will need to buy tickets. Tickets are available ahead of time on-line or at the park’s ticket booths. Ticket prices in 2016 for a 1-day ticket: General Admission HK$539 (US$69), Child HK$385 (US$50), and Senior HK$100 (US$13). The 2-day ticket price: General Admission HK$739 (US$95), Child HK$525 (US$68), and Senior HK$170 (US$22).
Those who have visited Disneyland in California will find the low admission price a welcome surprise. The Hong Kong Disneyland General Admission 1-day ticket price is a third cheaper than the same ticket in California. Keep in mind that the cost differential could relate to the size of the parks. Hong Kong Disneyland is not as large a park as the one in California. If you visit Hong Kong Disneyland on an off-peak day you can ride every attraction and see every show within one day. If your schedule is flexible you will want to visit the park on an off-peak day. A mid-week day during non-holiday, non-school vacations, is the best chance to visit the park with the fewest amounts of people.
Inside Hong Kong Disneyland
After you have purchased your tickets you will enter the park. As you enter the park grab a map and the Times Guide with up-to-date information on when the parade, fireworks, and stage shows start. Once you pass the entrance gate visitors first see a flowerbed of the familiar face of Mickey Mouse and the Disneyland Main Street Train Station. Continue past the flowerbed and you will find yourself on Main Street. This replica of a Main Street in U.S.A. has shops filled with souvenirs, clothes, and candies. Walk Main Street to the Sleeping Beauty Castle. This location is a great meeting spot for groups that may get separated at any point during the day. From this central location you can reach any of the six lands found within Hong Kong Disneyland. Each land has attractions, shops, and eating venues. Choose from starting your day at Tomorrowland, Fantasyland, Adventureland, Grizzly Gulch, Mystic Point, or Toy Story Land.
Hong Kong Disneyland’s Tomorrowland has four attractions that are found in California’s Disneyland. Rides include Space Mountain, Orbitron, Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters, and Autopia. Besides those rides two other attractions are in Hong Kong Disneyland’s Tomorrowland. The UFO Zone is a place for kids to play with water. The other attraction is the Stitch Encounter, an interactive video featuring Stitch from Disney’s Lilo & Stitch. In 2016 Tomorrowland will open a unique attraction, the Iron Man Experience. The Iron Man Experience will be the first official ride by Marvel inside any of the six Disney parks. Details at a Disney expo showcased how the ride has you flying alongside Iron Man as you help save the city from a villainous attack.
The land next to Tomorrowland is Fantasyland. Attractions include Dumbo the Flying Elephant, Cinderella Carousel, “it’s a small world” and The Mad Hatter Tea Cups. The Mad Hatter Tea Cups ride is similar in design in both the Hong Kong and California parks. Except the Tea Cups in Hong Kong is underneath a covered roof as opposed to under the open sky as in California. Another ride in Hong Kong Disneyland’s Fantasyland is The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. This is the same ride found in Critter Country inside California’s Disneyland. A unique attraction to Fantasyland is “The Golden Mickeys”, a live action show celebrating Disney characters and movies. The show’s dialogue is in Chinese and large monitors on both sides of the stage display English subtitles.
From Fantasyland you will find yourself in Adventureland. Here visitors who’ve been to California Disneyland will find the familiar Tarzan’s Treehouse and Jungle River Cruise. As you enter the Jungle River Cruise attraction you will notice three different lines you can choose from to board the ride. The lines relate to what language the tour guide speaks on the boat you board. Choose the line for the language you know best, either English, Cantonese, or Putonghua/Mandarin.
After you’ve visited Tomorrowland, Fantasyland, and Adventureland the similarities between Hong Kong Disneyland and California Disneyland lessen. The land next to Adventureland is Grizzly Gulch. Grizzly Gulch is a recreation of an Old West town. The buildings are straight out of the Wild West complete with a bank, hotel, and a blacksmith. There is even a Grizzly Gulch Jail where you can have your photo taken as a wanted criminal poster. The main attraction is Big Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Cars, a ride that shares a resemblance to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad in California’s Disneyland. Part of the ride has a mountain peak shaped as a bear. A similar peak is found in Disneyland’s other California park, California Adventure. The only other attraction in Grizzly Gulch is a zone set aside for water play.
Mystic Point is the one land unlike any in California’s Disneyland but only has two attractions. One is the Garden of Wonders, with various sculptures that create 3D illusions. The other attraction is one of the best rides in the entire park. Mystic Manor is the ride you get from combining California Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion and Indiana Jones. The Manor is the home of Lord Henry Mystic and his monkey friend Albert. Riders board carriages that take them throughout the mansion. As you travel through the mansion you view various artifacts Lord Henry has accumulated on his journeys. Albert joins you on your travels and his hijinks cause a few commotions to keep you entertained. This lighthearted ride is super fun and worth riding multiple times since you won’t find this ride in any other Disneyland parks.
Toy Story Land
The final land in Hong Kong Disneyland is Toy Story Land, based on the Toy Story movies. This land’s vibe resembles California Disneyland’s Mickey’s Toontown, but none of the rides or buildings in the two lands is the same. A gigantic replica of the Toy Story’s Rex welcomes you from one entrance to Toy Story Land and at the other entrance is a replica of Woody. Buildings are in the shapes of popular toys such as Lincoln Logs. Throughout the land you will see massive replicas of popular toys such as Tinker Toys, Dominos, Checkers, and Barrel of Monkeys. Attractions in this land lean more towards those found at traditional roller coaster theme parks. The Toy Soldier Parachute Drop is a ride where you sit in a carriage that is pulled up into the sky and then dropped at various speeds. The Slinky Dog Spin puts you in a carriage within Slinky Dog from the Toy Story movie. This ride goes around and around in a big circle. The final ride in Toy Story Land is the RC Racer where you race on a U-shaped track.
Food at Hong Kong Disneyland
Fans of Disneyland theme parks can buy their favorite snacks at Hong Kong Disneyland. On hot days you’ll still be able to cool off with a traditional Mickey Mouse Ice Cream Bar. Besides Mickey Mouse you can select Minnie Mouse Ice Cream Bar or a Sherbet Bar based on either Stitch or Lotso from Toy Story. Food carts sell churros, turkey legs, hot dogs, and corn on the cob. Within food halls you can buy hamburgers and other Western style cuisine. Food carts sell more localized cuisine such as red bean waffles, fish balls, and Hong Kong style tea. The food sold at Hong Kong Disneyland includes dishes from other Asian countries. For example you can buy a bowl of Laksa or chicken satay. Food carts even sell Korean squid and fish cake. The various dishes will keep you fueled up as you navigate the park.