Why You Have to go to Hong Kong Disneyland

WHY

One of the best parts about visiting Hong Kong was being able to use their nicely  organized Metro system (MTR), which we took the morning of our day in Hong Kong Disneyland! I could hardly contain my excitement, I’ve been dying to go to this park for years!

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Once we got to Sunny Bay station the most adorable Mickey Mouse themed train picked us up to take us to the front entrance gates, and from there everything just got cuter.

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Starting with the fountain greeting guests before getting to the ticket booths, surrounded with kids and adults getting their first selfies in for the day.  We made sure to get plenty of those before entering the park too.

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Once we made it inside, I was surprised to see how new everything looked, the park is currently celebrating the end of their 10th anniversary celebration. 

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Although Sleeping Beauty’s castle is identical to the one in California’s original Disneyland park, Main Street felt different.  The park altogether felt more… animated, it was like actually being inside of a cartoon.

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The first ride I had to go on was one I had always read about and watched videos of online, but never thought I would EVER see in person, and that was Mystic Manor! 

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Guests are taken on a strange journey through the Victorian-style home of Lord Henry Mystic, guided by his monkey friend, Albert, who opens a mysterious box (found on their travels) which makes everything in the house come to life.  It’s kind of like the park’s version of Haunted Mansion, just without the ghosts- to respect the spiritual beliefs of locals.

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One of the coolest parts of this ride is that its storyline is linked to attractions in several other Disney parks, through the made-up characters of the “Society of Explorers and Adventurers,” originally created for the parks in Tokyo.  The ride also features a soundtrack by Danny Elfman, who composed the music in Nightmare Before Christmas and even the Simpsons theme song.

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Our other favorite ride in the park had to be the Big Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Carts in Grizzly Gulch.  Along with Mystic Manor, this rollercoaster really sets the bar for Disney parks.  I don’t want to give away too much, because there’s lots of great surprises in this ride.  But I think others who have experienced it would agree that it’s like Expedition Everest mixed with Big Thunder Mountain and the Country Bears.  It’s the perfect combination of speed, thrills, and adorable animatronics.

Thanks to the lack of crowds throughout the entire park we were able to go on both of these rides about five times each.  Hong Kong Disneyland is known for being the least crowded of all Disney Parks, making it one of the best to visit.

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The only time we really saw any crowds was whenever characters were around, for example at around noon, classic characters came to the front of the castle to welcome guests to the park.  That included Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Goofy, Chip, Dale and Duffy the Disney bear.  He’s a REALLY big deal in all of the Asian parks.

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Another popular bear was Lotso from Toy Story 3, which kind of surprised me since he’s a villain (SPOILER ALERT).  But he was everywhere, he even had his own ice-cream bar (strawberry flavored, of course).

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Even though crowds came for the characters, we got a great spot for the Flights of Fantasy parade.

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We got there less than ten minutes before it started and didn’t even have to fight to be right in the front.  We even had the ideal view of the castle, to be in the background of all our pictures. 

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The best part of the parade was being able to hear all the characters speaking in Cantonese, especially Goofy and Stitch, it was so surreal.

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Another big difference between this park and the ones in America is the emphasis on Tsums Tsums, the new Disney merchandise craze of the decade. 

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Remember when all kids (and adults) wanted were the pins, well now these adorable and stackable plushies are the rage, but especially in the Asian parks.  I saw so many that I hadn’t before, but I had to control myself since they cost about $3 more here than they do in America.

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Aside from Mystic Point and Grizzly Gulch, one land that you won’t find in any American parks (yet) is Toy Story Land, home to Slinky Dog Spin, RC Racer, and Toy Soldier Parachute Drop.  This is a great area for any families with young children, and it also made for great photo ops with some of our favorite characters.

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Now let’s talk about some familiar lands that aren’t quite the same here in Hong Kong. 

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For example, in Adventureland you can find the “world famous” Jungle Cruise, but here it is presented in three different languages, that means three different lines.  This version also ends with a really shocking finale, which includes blasting water and a whole lot of steam.

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On the Jungle Cruise you’ll pass Tarzan’s Treehouse, which will look familiar to anyone who has visited the California park, but this time Tarzan has his own island.  You have to take a raft to get there, a lot like getting to Tom Sawyer’s Island in Magic Kingdom.  Also like in Walt Disney World, here, you can find the Festival of the Lion King, but unfortunately it was closed during our trip.

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Fantasyland is a lot like the others around the world, here you’ll find attractions like Mad Hatter Tea Cups, Mickey’s Philar Magic, and Winnie the Pooh. 

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Of course no Fantasyland is complete without “its a small world” and you bet I dragged Fabes onto that ride! 

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There were a lot more Disney characters in this version of the attraction than the ones recently added to the American parks, but I was most surprised to see a familiar icon that reminded me of home in the “western” part of the ride, the Golden Gate Bridge.

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You can faintly see Pocahontas and Meeko to the left in this photo and Woody and Jessie to the right. 

A new Fantasyland attraction you can’t find anywhere else is the Fairytale Forest, which is a walkthrough that puts you in the middle of some of your favorite princess stories. 

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We recommend checking this one out at night, all the designed lighting made it very special and romantic.

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Then there’s Tomorrowland, which housed the fastest Space Mountain I’ve ever been on!   We were able to ride it twice, thanks to the Fast Pass service (offered only for this and Winnie the Pooh).  Not that you’ll need it, the longest line we saw was about 20 minutes.  Other attractions here include Buzz Lightyear and Autopia.

Oh! I almost forgot to mention that the park was also covered in Easter eggs during our trip, since it was almost the holiday, aren’t they cute?!

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We ended the night getting dinner at the Royal Banquet Hall, which had options I thought I’d never see at a Disney Park (other than Epcot). 

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Where we were used to seeing signs like “Pizza,” “Burgers,” and “Turkey Legs” they now read “Sushi,” “Ramen,” and “Korean Squid.”  I went with the ramen and Fabian kept it western with a cheese burger.  Don’t get me wrong, if you’re not into Asian food, there’s still plenty of options for you, including pizzas shaped like Mickey. 

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But how could I pass up this soup filled with those swirly pink emojis!

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We missed the Paint the Night parade, but we did catch the Disney in the Stars fireworks show from Main Street, then did some shopping and we were done.  We opened and closed the park (10am to 9pm) and my feet were feeling it.  But all I could think about on that cute little Mickey train ride back to the Metro was how I already missed it and how grateful I am to have a boyfriend that takes me around the world making all my dreams come true… even my nerdy Disney ones.

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