Robert H. (Bob) Jackson, Jr.
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Bob's Hong Kong Disneyland Visits

May, 2013 - 3 day visit, Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel

 

 

 

Overview of the Hong Kong Disneyland Resort


What's Here?

Quick Tips for English-speaking visitors to the Hong Kong Disneyland Resort

 

Getting Oriented

I visited Hong Kong Disneyland (HKDL) in May 2013 and again in October 2015. Last on my list of worldwide not-yet-visited Disney Theme parks, I didn't expect much, but was pleasantly surprised. Disneyland Hong Kong is a beautiful, if small, 2005 addition to the Disney theme park family. This site has two (soon to be three) on-site Disney hotels, and one Magic Kingdom/Disneyland-esque park. The Hong Kong Disneyland park itself is set on 68 acres; probably the smallest such park in the world. although Paris' Disney Studios Park may be a bit smaller/less developed. The larger Hong Kong Disney Resort encompasses 310 acres and has room for additional hotel and park expansion.

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 I was very impressed by the beauty of the entire resort and with the friendliness and spoken English capabilities of HKDL's cast members.

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At least two attractions are unique to the HKDL park: Mystic Manor and Big Grizzly Runaway Mine Cars, both of which are a lot of fun and worth several trips through the lines.


Front HKDL Park Entrance from Bus Stop Park sign from walkway to HKDL Hotels Front and rear entrances to HKDL entry area

HKDL Ferry Terminal looking towards Hong Kong Hong Kong Disneyland Ferry Terminal, looking towards Hong Kong Island

HKDL Mickey Fountain in Entrance Area Animated Surfing Mickey Fountain in Hong Kong Disneyland Entrance Area
 

 

How To Get There

bullet Getting to Hong Kong Disneyland from the Airport: Hong Kong International Airport is new, ultra modern, efficient, roomy and comfortable. It's (sort of) on the same island (Lantau) - and therefore relatively near to - Hong Kong Disneyland. If you are staying on other islands in the Hong Kong area on your visit, be sure to allow plenty of time to get to and from the airport. Hong Kong traffic can be gridlock 7 days a week. From the Hong Kong international airport, there is no Disney-provided shuttle service.  The most efficient way to get to Hong Kong Disneyland is by use of the green New Territory taxi service. In 2015, one-way fare was approximately 120 Hong Kong  dollars ( ~ $16 US). While I could have reached the resort by train and bus connections, even a representative from the train service suggested a cab.

Hong Kong Area Map Hong Kong Area Map

 

Where To Stay

On-Site Disney-owned hotels

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The Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel is the larger of two on-site hotels. Styled after Orlando's Grand Floridian Hotel (which itself was styled after San Diego, California's Hotel Coronado), it is a beautiful facility. Set on the edge of China Sea/Hong Kong Harbor, the Disneyland Hotel has large rooms, a multi-story public atrium, both indoor and outdoor swimming pools and a Mickey-themed shrubbery maze. It also has three restaurants: The Enchanted Garden, a character buffet; Walt's Place, serving western foods; and The Crystal Lotus, the hotel's signature dining experience, specializing in Chinese.

HKDL Hotel Entry Sign

HKDL Hotel Mickey Maze Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel, Mickey Shrubbery Maze

HKDL Hotel Guest Room Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel guest room

HKDL Hotel Atrium HKDL Hotel Atrium
HKDL Hotel Outdoor Pool HKDL Hotel Outside Pool

HKDL Hotel rear wing HKDL Hotel rear wing

HKDL Hotel rear view HKDL Hotel Rear view

A second on-site hotel, Disney's Hollywood Hotel, is also nearby and seems to be a step-down from the Disneyland Hotel, though still nice. Both are served by Disney buses to the park, though both are also within walking distance from the park (though the Hollywood Hotel looked to be quite a hike). I walked from the Disneyland Hotel several times a day and rather enjoyed the experience. The walk is lushly landscaped, has multiple fountains and Disney topiaries, and features Disney music as part of the walk.

Offsite Hotels Within Walking Distance

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Other than Disney's two on-site hotels, there are no other nearby hotel accommodations with easy access to Hong Kong Disneyland.
 

What to Do

Crowds: Although I don�t know what other times of year are like, I found the park nearly empty after 5:00pm most evenings, and quite busy on weekends during my May 2013 and OCtober 2015 visits.

In The Hong Kong DisneyLand Park

Unique among all the Disney parks, Hong Kong Disneyland Park is surrounded by both the South China Sea and tall craggy, green hills giving it a unique environmental setting. Only this Princess Castle can boast of real mountains in its background. (Sorry Anaheim Disneyland, your Matterhorn Mountain is man-made.) HKDL's Snow White's castle is a walk-thru, similar in size, height and character to the Disneyland Anaheim Castle. It includes a replica of Anaheim�s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs statuary garden adjacent to the castle.

HKDL Castle Forecourt Castle Forecourt

Hong Kong Disneyland has a FantasyLand, TomorrowLand, Mainstreet USA and an Adventureland, each with a subset of classical Disney experiences matched to those sections and borrowed - mostly without modification - from other Disney parks. Of these, Fantasyland is the most thoroughly developed.

Hong Kong Disneyland also has the following additional theme areas:

      Grizzly Gulch, somewhat similar to Frontierland at Anaheim Disney. However, the feature ride here, Big Grizzly Runaway Mine Cars, is a significant improvement over the typical Thunder Mountain Railway found at other parks. It has mid-ride reversals and high speed acceleration; I greatly enjoyed this ride and its single-rider line on busy days.

HKDL Big Grizzly Runaway Mine Train Big Grizzly Runaway Mine Train

      Toy Story Land, a carnival sideshow-like area similar to one at Disneyland Paris

      Mystic Point, a ride unique to Hong Kong Disneyland. Backstory is that an explorer, Lord Henry Mystic (and his monkey companion), have opened their home/museum to visitors when their artifact collection takes on a life of its own. The ride is in computerized, self guided cars (using technology similar to Tokyo Disneyland's Winnie the Pooh Ride) with a variety of visual and audio effects.

 Portrait of Henry Mystic and Companion Henry Mystic and companion

HKDL Mystic Manor Mystic Manor Entrance Mystic Manor

Overview of Selected Attractions

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Hong Kong Disneyland Railroad. As with many other Disney parks, a railroad circles most of the park. This version has only two stops: Main Street and Fantasyland. The passenger cars are designed as one side view, stadium seating. Meaning the back side view blocked, similar to Disneyland and Animal Kingdom versions. The trip includes lush landscaping. Some nice animated trackside vignettes. I was a little disappointed in the "show" at each stop. No one yelled "All Aboard" at either stop. Announcements during the ride were in multiple languages, including English.

Rail Station Front HKDL Train station from park entrance gates

HKDL Train Station from inside park HKDL Train station from inside the park

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Space Mountain. Familiar white buttressed roof design on exterior. Preshow: minimal, nothing special. Rise two abreast. Similar to Paris Disneyland design for interiors but otherwise not much different. This ride has FastPass available.

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Autopia. Part of TomorrowLand, this Disney park classic has curvy slightly retro cars on a beautifully landscaped and relatively lengthy track. Unique as far as i remember, these cars are fully electric and almost completely quiet in motion except for audio effects behind the headrest that sounded more like aquarium noises than automotive or even space sounds. I did not miss the stench or unpredictable mechanical performance of other parks' traditional combustion engines. But I missed the classic, reassuring sound effects of the traditional engine as I drove through the lush Hong Kong Autopia landscape. Always a line. Always fun.

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Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters. Preshow includes Animated Buzz Lightyear, with a huge etch a sketch illustrating his points as he spoke. Here, Buzz wasn't voiced using Tim Allen's voice. This ride is otherwise similar to other Astro Blasters rides

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Jungle Cruise: America's contribution to campy rides, in Hong Kong this classic Disney ride required selection of a queue appropriate to your language. After all, what good is Jungle Cruise if you can't understand the tour guides jokes? On this ride at least, handicapped riders were afforded no special privilege or accommodation. I was In the English line with an elderly Indian woman confined to a wheelchair. Her grandson slowly pushed the chair through the line as it crept along and helped her into the boat himself. The Hong Kong Disneyland Jungle Cruise version was well done and has sections I'd never experienced in other Jungle Cruises, including a fire and water sequence at the end. While the tour guide's humor wasn't as "in your face" as her American counterparts, it easily entertained adult and kids alike. The animatronic animals on this version were significantly improved over the Anaheim originals.

HKDL Treehouse and waterway Waterway and Treehouse

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Festival of the Lion King, while staged somewhat differently from the Florida Animal Kingdom version is fast-moving lively and dramatic entertainment that will enchant both kids and adults. Highly recommended.

Festival of the Lion King Closing Scene  Festival of the Lion King, Final Scene

 

Some Observations and Friendly Advice

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A big part of the fun for me in Hong Kong Disneyland was the food. Snacks included ears of buttered corn, fish balls (try them), and Mickey Waffles with whipped cream in its ears (no syrup) as finger food. Dining options featured a variety of Asian and western choices, often both at the same dining venue.

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Hong Kong Disneyland uses paper admission tickets and does fingerprint scan upon first use to prevent ticket handoff.

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Unlike most other such parks, this site doesn't seem to have a "Partners Statue" (a bronze bust of Walt Disney shaking hands with Mickey Mouse). This item is often a centerpiece of other parks.

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When I visited, there were only two FastPass rides: Winne the Pooh and Space Mountain. I suspect that Big Grizzly Runaway Mine Cars will eventually get a FastPass system in later years.

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There seems to be an unusual tolerance for line jumping. Lots of guests - young and old - pushed through line queues, ostensibly to catch up with other family members.

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During my visits, the ride loads were leisurely, sometimes frustratingly slow, compared to other Disney parks. While cast members were friendly, the process efficiency and flow of the rides often left something to be desired.

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Typhoon season is June thru September. Best time to visit is probably fall, just after typhoon season.

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For my visits, I stayed in the Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel using Disney Vacation Club points. That arrangement included free Hong Kong Disneyland Park tickets for each member of my traveling party for length of stay (including the arrival and departure days). This is the only such ticket-lodging combination I know of with Disney Vacation Club points and was a great way to keep expenses down.

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Hong Kong Disneyland offers no early admission program for on-site guests that I could discern.

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FastPass - Understand it. Use It.

 

More Hong Kong Disneyland Information

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Official Hong Kong Disneyland Site
 

 

Disclaimer
This Unofficial website is NOT affiliated with The Walt Disney Company in any way.
For official information on Hong Kong DisneyLand, please visit their website. All rights are reserved by the author/editor.
Hong Kong DisneyLand, and it's theme parks, events, attractions and area names are trademarks of The Walt Disney Company.