The sign at the entrance of Hong Kong Disneyland – Here you leave Today and Enter the world of Yesterday, Tomorrow and Fantasy, could not have been more apt. The decor, the fun and the activities just make this place feel very magical and exciting even for grown-ups like me! The first thing you see as you go into the Disneyland is the beautiful Sleeping Princess castle – another magical portal into a timeless realm of enchantment (see picture below). The entrance of the castle is also the best place to enjoy the fireworks performance in the evening.
Main Street, USA, is the administrative centre of Hong Kong Disneyland – here you can purchase photos taken of you around the attractions and shop for Disney souvenirs amidst the old Western town atmosphere. There are also a number of restaurants e.g. Main Street Corner Cafe and Plaza Inn which provides a range of international and Asian cuisine. Also look out for Market House Bakery which features delicious pastries. While walking along the street, watch out for retro-looking buses and trucks which cruise up and down Main Street, ferrying people around the park.
The Sleeping Beauty Castle leads to Fantasyland where you can participate in a range of activities e.g. posing for photos with Mickey Mouse and your favorite Disney friends at the Fantasy Gardens – be prepared for the queue though. This is also the site for the “it’s a small world” where you can take a journey on the “happiest cruise that ever sailed” as children of the world sing and dance to the song ‘it’s a small world (after all)” – although after a while it does get quite tiring and boring as the boat does its slow cruise around the huge complex with the song being repeated in different languages.
Performances that must not be missed are “The Golden Mickeys” which is a musical celebration of Disney’s films and characters. While the Disney characters spoke in Cantonese, there are English and Mandarin subtitles available. Don’t worry – the song and dance performance are in English. Also located in Fantasyland, is the Mickey’s PhilharMagic where you get to immerse yourself in a magical 4-D adventure! yup it is 4-D, meaning besides 3-D, you also get to experience what the bumbling conductor, Donald Duck experiences e.g. splashes of water.
Remember TY’s pose in 1997 with the Excalibur sword at US Disneyland? Well we found the exact same spot in Hong Kong Disneyland! What’s amazing was that the background of the castle and clock tower was exactly the same! Guess that Disneyland copies and pastes their theme parks all around the world, or at least the Excalibur sword statue.
Tomorrowland is where you can find the more exciting and interesting rides e.g. the Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters – the interactive ride where you get to shoot bad guys and chalk up points as well as Space Mountain. The interesting thing about Hong Kong Disneyland is that unlike other theme parks, you don’t find a lot of very exciting and scary rides e.g. roller-coasters here, the most exciting one would be the Space Mountain where you get wheeled around in complete darkness but there are lots of hard twists and turns; sit well and hold on tight or you might get bruises.
Shopping is another must-do in Disneyland especially in the park itself which offers a wide range of shopping opportunities be it at the gift shops after each ride, pushcarts around the park or the huge shopping mall at Main Street. Whatever Disney characters you are looking for and type of souvenir e.g. pen, papers, you will be able to find it in this park!
Happening every day at 3pm is the Disney Parade where you get to meet all the Disney characters singing and dancing to catchy Disney tunes. “Chope” your seats early along the Disney parade path (as early as 30 minutes) or you might risk standing far behind and missing out on the action of the Disney Parade. This short parade lasts for about 20 min and offers you the best opportunity to see of the Disney characters and supporting cast up close.