Wednesday, December 29, 2010

It's A Magical Disney Hong Kong...

Hey all,

We're back.  And we had a blast.  As most of you know, Jonathon and I spent Christmas Eve day and night at Hong Kong Disneyland.  Since we very much enjoy Disney, and used to live and work at Disneyworld in Florida, we thought this would be a wonderful way to celebrate our first Christmas alone together.

So we headed out early, early Friday morning. Our ferry from Macau left at 7:00am so we were up and out of the house by 6:15, in a taxi and to the terminal in plenty of time.  But unlike back in the states, when the time of departure is 7am, they don't mean they are actually going to leave.  Oh no.  That means they open the gate, herd you on as quickly as they can, and then whenever they get things together, they leave.  So the 7:00am departure's more like a suggestion.  LOL

But we made it over and through customs with no worries.  Since we lived in Singapore, we are used to moving around by subway, so Hong Kong's MTR system was no problem at all.  We found the right train, settled on the destination--the Disney resort--and were there in less than a half hour.

Now I have to say something here about the HK Disney trains.  They have a special one that picks you up in Sunny Bay and takes you directly to their resort.  And this isn't like any train I've ever been on.  We took pics because it was so awesome.  Cushy seats (unheard of on a subway train) but it was the Disney ambiance that amazed us.  Take a look!  (click on pics to make bigger)

 Check out this window in the train. They are all like that.  And right behind Jonathon you can see a statue of Minnie Mouse.  There are character statues all over the train.

 Look close and you can see even the hand holders are Mickey ears.  Disney doesn't miss a bet!  Talk about detail and theming!

 And here is the resort station.  Spotlessly clean, well planned and even the columns are themed.  The sorcerer's hat is used as decoration.  Beautiful.

Now we'd been told not to expect much from Disneyland Hong Kong.  It's like the orphan stepchild of the larger and more grand Disneys, and yes, it is smaller.  About a third of the size of the one in Orlando.  And it only has one "thrill" ride.  Space Mountain.  And only one track on that.  It has a few other rides...including the Jungle Cruise, Small World, Autotopia, Orbitron and Winnie the Pooh.

It's got three different "lands"-- Tomorrowland, Adventureland and Fantasyland which all look very similar to the other parks we've been in, but not exactly the same.  And that's how the whole experience was.  Like the Disneys we knew, but not the same.

Case in point.  The vending carts.  While we are used to getting turkey legs in Disney, having fish balls available as well as dried (smelly) squid was something that made us smile.

But once we got past the idea of comparing this park to the others, we had a wonderful time.  We've never opened a park before, but we did this one.  They did a countdown, just like it was the grand opening.  3-2-1 and we were off!  We headed straight to Space Mountain and walked right on.  We were in the back of the vehicle which is usually the best, but this one didn't have the dips we were used to, so we couldn't give it high marks. 

Yet the ambiance of the ride...the way they had it themed was top notch.  Better than the "refurbished" one in Orlando by far!  And when we went back later, we were lucky enough to do a second ride in the very first car and that was BEYOND GREAT!! Note to everyone:  If you ride Space Mountain in Hong Kong make sure you get in the front.  It's the BEST!!!!  (sorry the photo is a bit out of focus.  My camera sucks at night time pics)

On we went.  Since we had more time than usual,  we went to rides we hadn't been on in years.  Orbitron, which I had to promise my sweet baboo I wouldn't move around too much before he'd join me.  I myself haven't been on the thing since Gradnight in Los Angeles back in *mumbles date softly*.  Ahem.  I don't remember much about the ride.  LOL  I was a little impaired at the time.

We saw several shows, some in Chinese and some in both English and Chinese.  In the Golden Mickey Awards, one guy pretended to be Tarzan and OMG, he was ripped, but you had to wear sunglasses.  He was as white as the underside of a snake's belly!

In It's a Small World, they were singing Christmas songs, in many languages and it was amazing.  I have to admit, I love that ride but rarely get to go on it since no one else does.  But Jonathon was curious about the Merry Christmas singing going on, so he broke down and went with me.

The Jungle Cruise has people who do the spiel in Mandarin, Cantonese AND English.  It was the same ride we've always gone on, and other than it being hard to understand their type of English, it was fun as always.  We rode it once during the day and a second time at night, and the last time the gal was an awesome spieler, but it must have been the last run of the night for her, because she did the ride in half the normal time.  So, in actuality, there was a second thrill ride.  LOL

We watched the Let It Snow parade, and it was an excellent Disney type extravaganza.  Full of color, dance, song and wonderful floats.  We were surprised at the number of Westerners in it.  All the princesses were white except Snow White (ironic isn't it) and many of the dancers were also European.  In fact, as we went through the park, we discovered a copious number of Western performers.  Dancers, singers, fire eaters and even some of the cast members. But as you look at the wonderful costumes and displays, you tend to forget mundane details like that.

So, as you can see, we had a great time.  The only thing that bothered us was that in all our travels, in all the parks we've ever been to, this was the most INEFFICIENTLY run place on the planet!  The rides were slow, the restaurant seating was just bloody weird and even the way they sell you tickets made you scratch your head.

OMG... I could do a whole rant on that by itself.  In fact, I think I will.  Since what we saw at Disney just magnified a lot of what we've seen over here in Asia, I feel a rant coming on!  Check back on Monday for that!
But, overall, our Disney day was great.  We closed the place down, after watching fireworks and eating our way all around the park.  LOL  It was a wonderful way to spend Christmas Eve and even though I still missed my kids something awful, enjoying the park with the one I love most on the planet made up for a lot of that sadness.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed the pictures and the story of our day.  I will be back on Monday with a rant about efficiency and tell you a little more about THAT part of Hong Kong Disney.  But on Friday, my blog will hosting RaeLynn Blue, who will shout out the old year with another interesting post.

And don't forget to check out my FREE READ.  My characters have taken over and I'm just following along.  LOL

Have an awesome weekend!


CJ England

Follow Your Dreams


Tess MacKall said...

Cool pics, CJ. And you and hubby look so happy just to be together. A love story that needs to be written all on its own for sure.

Sorry you were without the kids this holiday, but change in our lives is inevitable, isn't it?

I spent New Year's Eve at the Orlando Disney a few years back--and had five kids with me. lol Boy that was something to remember. NEVER again. lol

Hugs to you. Looking forward to your rant. Oh and...fishy stuff instead of turkey legs? ewwwwww, just ewwwwwwwww LOL

Phylis said...

Thank you for the tour of Disney Hong Kong CJ! I like to get a glimpse of this kind of stuff because I know I won't get to do it in person. We had a nice quiet Christmas and look to get snowed on for New Years so will stay home for that. I'm glad you two got to spend the time together.
I agree with Tess...Ewww on the fishy stuff! Although I had some really good salmon at our work Christmas party last night. lol

Ray said...

C.J. what great photography. Beautiful blog. I spent eight months at Cape Canaveral and never once visited Disney World. I did get to Disneyland in California in 1962, but that is a very old memory. My daughter/granddaughter (long story)flew from Virginia to visit my daughter and her family in Dallas TX. They drove all the way to Orlando to see Disney World. I was no longer in Florida. I was somewhere in the Mediterranean.

I imagine that anyone who hasn't been to to a Disney theme park would probably think that Disneyland Hong Kong was fantastic.

I love dried squid, but my favorite way to eat squid is the way a restaurant in Yokosuka, Japan did it up. It was prepared Teriyaki style. It tasted almost like Kobe beef. The dried squid was sold by vendors who brought it into the bars at night.

That just reminded me of a man leading a "blind" man with a white cane showing a card in Japanese and English asking for money for his blind friend. Several nights later the other man was the blind man.

You have such a way to draw memories out of your readers.


CJ England said...

Thanks Tess.

He's my whole world and I love spending time with him whether it's running around a theme park or just walking down a street window shopping. I missed the kids, but it wasn't a killer since he tried to make it better.

Fishy stuff is everywhere in Asia. I about hurled in one of the lines because everyone was eating squid and it was rank!

CJ England said...


I love fish as long as I can't smell it coming half a park away. LOL Salmon sushi is my fave.

They "dry" the squid and package it. And when they open the package, the smell just bowls you over. Whew!

CJ England said...

Thanks, Ray.

And I agree, if you've never been to a Disney, Hong Kong's version would be a very good representation.

The ambiance was just as Disneylike as any other and I loved it because of that.

And my favorite way to eat squid is fried. Fried baby squid is awesome and I first had it in Malaysia.

Now it's my fave seafood treat.