Disneyland Hong Kong
Originally uploaded by Marc van der Chijs.
The last leg of our honeymoon brought us to Hong Kong. One thing we wanted to do there is check out the new Disneyland (opened on Sept. 12). After reading several negative reports in the newspapers (overcrowded, long waits, bad behaviour of ‘mainlanders’) I was prepared for the worst. However, we had a fantastic day, and I would recommend everybody to visit. Although Disneyland in Hong Kong is much smaller than Disneyworld in Orlando (the only other Disney park I have been to), it is big enough to spend a whole day there. We went there on Friday, Sept. 30, just before the weekend and the start of the national holiday in China. Because of the expected crowds we were there just before 10 AM, which was the opening time. Buying the tickets went very efficient, we had to wait less than 5 minutes. The price (HKD 295, about EUR 30) was quite reasonable in my opinion. We started by taking the train to Adventureland, in the northern part of the park. It is only a few minutes ride, as the park is much smaller than I expected. When we arrived we first watched a Mickey Mouse as a music conductor 3D show. We could walk in without waiting, which was nice, especially because I still remember the long lines from past visits to Disneyworld. The show was really good, and the 3D effects amazing. The show also used smell effects and you get a bit wet on occasions when water is sprayed on visitors. I recommend this attraction to experience what is possible in animation.
After this we went to Tomorrowland for a ride in Space Mountain. Also here the wait was very reasonable (about 15 minutes). In case you find that too long you can use the FastPass service. For this you insert your ticket in a machine that issues you a coupon with a time on it. When you return at that time you can immediately enter the attraction. This system was used for several attractions, but because there were not many people in the park we did not use it. I was pleasantly surprised to see that it was so quiet. Probably we had chosen a good day? Space mountain was great, and similar to the ride in Orlando. It is basically a roller coaster ride in the dark (in space, surrounded by stars) with great music and light effects.
We went to almost every attraction in the park, and did not have to wait anywhere more than 15 minutes. The highlight was the Disney Parade at 4 PM, a perfectly orchestrated parade from Tomorrowland through Main Street USA to the railway stations. This was the only time during the day that we saw some crowds. What surprised me was that there was no real waiting time in the restaurants either (articles in newspapers had warned about long queues there). The weather was also great, sunny and about 30 degrees, and all of this contributed to a great day out. A magical day, as Disney calls it.
Getting to and from Disneyland is very easy. It is located on Lantau Island and accesible by metro. By MTR you can be in the park 30 minutes after leaving Central. Soon there will also be a ferry service to the park. Tickets can be bought online, in some MTR stations and at the entrance of the park. We did not check out the two Disney resort hotels, but from the outside they looked great. Once there is a direct ferry to HK Island they may even be a good substitute for a hotel in the city center.