Hong Kong Disneyland was a huge surprise to me. A surprise in I didn’t think I personally would enjoy it as much as I did. I knew the kids would love it, but not being really a theme park type of girl, I thought I would just enjoy watching the kids have such a ball. Well I did love watching the kids have the time of their lives, but I also enjoyed it for myself!
The reason I enjoyed it so much I think, is because Hong Kong Disneyland is much more than a theme park. There are plenty of rides for the kids to enjoy, but there are so many other fabulous attractions – shows, parades, experiences. 2011 is the 5th Anniversary of Disneyland Hong Kong and to mark the occasion there is the year long “Celebration in the Air” which has some very special attractions.
Flights of Fantasy Parade
The Flights of Fantasy Parade is new this year, forming part of 5th Anniversary celebrations. It was so good we watched it both days we went! The characters, the colour, the music, the positive energy that flows from the parade makes it so much fun to watch.
The video below is a quick highlights package. At the end is a couple of very special photos, some of Tinker Bell, who is even cuter than she is in the movies and some of my daughter as a princess!
At the Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel they offer a My Little Princess package, where they have the opportunity to get their very own Disney Princess costume, accessories and be turned into a true Princess. As you know we have one daughter in the mix of five kids, so when I saw the look on her face as we walked past the room, I couldn’t say no and I generally say no quite easily to the kids! She was turned into Snow White before my eyes.
As we walked through the Disneyland park, our little princess was invited by one of the cast to be a VIP princess for the parade. This meant we were able to sit in a special front row area on Main Street, the little princesses were supplied with cushions to sit on, umbrellas to protect them from the sun and most importantly, we were at the spot where the princess float stopped during the parade.
As you will see in the video, there were lots of special waves and kisses blown to the little princesses and they were then invited on the parade to dance with the dancers in front of the princess float. The look on our daughter’s face was pure delight.
Tinker Bell Castle Illumination
Tinker Bell Castle Illumination is also a special attraction as part of the Celebration in the Air – this light show was beautiful to watch. As with all events like this, it is much better in person than on video, but you certainly can get a feel for how wonderful it is by all the “oohs” and “ahhs” in the background. The show went for much longer – I have just put together some shots from the beginning and and end of the illumination of Tinker Bell’s castle.
After the light show they put on a spectacular fireworks display. I have included some footage from the beginning and end of this as well – gorgeous to watch and the display is set to the music and songs from the Disney princess movies.
Meeting The Characters at Hong Kong Disneyland
You have exceptional access to the cast at Disneyland. You can pick up a times guide at the entrance of the park and it lists the locations and times for character greetings. You do have to line up at times, but the kids didn’t seem to mind at all.
The best way to meet the cast though is at the Enchanted Garden Restaurant at the Hong Kong Disneyland hotel. At each meal, Disney characters make their way around to the tables and you can hug them, have your photo taken with them and get their signature. The characters interact amazingly well with the kids. I wasn’t sure how our toddler would go, but they are considerate about the way they approach the little ones and he had a ball meeting them.
Our daughter and I also timed it well, so she was able to meet Cinderella at the Hong Kong Disneyland hotel. As you can see in the photos below, Cinderella took time to come close and talk directly to my her and there was even time for a quick dance!
Attractions At Hong Kong Disneyland
There is so much to do at Hong Kong Disneyland. Even with two full days at the park, we didn’t experience everything possible! Here is a collection of our favourites:
The Buzz Light Year Astro Blasters ride was a hit with the kids. I loved the glowing colours and was actually a pretty good at it, as a friend had given me a tip before we left!
Staying At Hong Kong Disneyland
There are two hotels at the Disneyland resort, Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel and Disney’s Hollywood Hotel, which is where we stayed. The Hollywood Hotel was incredibly family friendly. We had two separate rooms, with a locking door between
them. Each room had two double beds and we had a cot for the toddler, which gave us plenty of space for comfortable sleeping.
It is a busy hotel with lots to see and do. There are organised kid’s activities, a well stocked toy shop and a fabulous piano shaped pool with water slide – a big hit with our kids.
Staying at the hotels at the Hong Kong Disneyland Resort is the best way to visit the park if you have little ones. A free bus shuttle service runs from the hotels to the park every 10-15 minutes. If you have little ones that won’t cope with being at the park all day, you can get a pass out, take them back to the hotel room for a sleep, then come back in the early evening to catch the castle illumination and spectacular fireworks display.
Eating At Hong Kong Disneyland
1. Hong Kong Disneyland Crystal Lotus, 2. Double-boiled Chicken and Conpoy Soup in Petite Coconut, 3. Sesamed Rice Pasta Salad with Chicken, 4. Wok-fried Shrimps and Disney Root Vegetables, 5. Bun Eating, 6. Disney Dim Sum Little Pig Barbecue Pork Bun & Little Green Men Pork and Vegetable Bun, 7. Mickey’s Seafood Glutinous Pancake, 8. Fried-rice with Tasmanian Crabmeat stuffed in Whole Crab Shell, 9. Red-braised Pork Loin stuffed in Whole Chinese Pear, 10. “Duffy” Steamed Lotus Red Bean Puree Bun, 11. Disney Dim Sum, 12. Chilled “Mickey’s” Red Bean Honey Pudding
As with everything else at Disneyland, so much thought goes into the food and there are a variety of different styles of restaurants to choose from.
I can highly recommend taking the kids to the Disney Dim Sum at the Crystal Lotus restaurant at Disneyland Hotel. This is a fabulously fun way to introduce the kids to traditional Chinese food and it is very elegant and calm restaurant (a bit different from some of our dim sum experiences here in Melbourne!).
We also had a lovely dinner at the Plaza Inn while we were at the Disneyland Park. It was great to be able to sit comfortably around a large table with the kids, rest and refuel before we headed back outside to watch the Tinker Bell Castle Illumination and fireworks. The restaurant is located close to the castle, so there was just a short walk to get ourselves there in time after dinner.
The food just seemed to keep coming and coming for dinner! Which was great as after all the walking around the kids were hungry. There was so much variety in the food served, that the kids easily found lots they liked to eat:
Chef Mickey was the restaurant where we ate at Hollywood Hotel. Bright, fun and very family friendly. They have plenty of high chairs and have the right size cutlery and crockery for little ones, which makes meal time easier. I loved also how helpful the staff were, doing things like clearing additional plates quickly and when I grouped the family together to take a photo, they came over and asked to take it for me so I could be in the photo. Just a shame I was still in my running gear, from my run before breakfast!
As a planner and organiser at heart, one of the things I appreciated most about Hong Kong Disneyland was how well everything works together. It makes it easy for families (even a family of seven with little ones like ours!), to have a fantastic time. From a quick trip to the airport, to family friendly accommodation and easy bus access to the park.
A great friend of mine Laine spent time living in the UK and when they traveled to and from Australia, they would use Hong Kong Disneyland as a stop over. They would stay at Disneyland for a day or two to break up the long haul flight to Europe and I can now understand how well that would work.
The nine hour flight to Hong Kong was actually really manageable. We flew in the late evening and the kids all slept for a reasonable amount of time both ways. On the way back after our fun filled journey the two and four year olds slept from about 11pm until 5am – brilliant for me, I even watched a movie! We were away for only five days but with the ease of transfers from airport, to hotel, to the Disneyland park itself, it didn’t feel too quick, although we would have all happily stayed longer!
Have you been to Hong Kong Disneyland and can share some tips for those thinking of going?