While we were in Hong Kong last month, we carved out a day to spend in Hong Kong Disneyland. This was a bit of a last-minute decision – I love Disney so I knew before leaving for our trip that I wanted to go, but my parents weren’t hot on the idea, so it ended up being one of the “maybe” activities on our itinerary. Since it was a family trip, I didn’t want to split up from my parents to do separate things, but when we got to Hong Kong, my mom insisted that we go while they took a day to rest (because we had apparently worn them down!) Off to the Happiest Place on Earth we went!
The easiest way to get to Hong Kong Disneyland is by the MTR train system. Regardless of where you’re coming from, you’ll have to either take the orange (Tung Chung) or dark green (Airport Express) line, then get off at Sunny Bay station. Here, you’ll transfer to the Pink line (Disneyland Resort). This line only has one stop, which is located right outside the Disneyland grounds.
It costs $699 HKD for an adult entrance ticket to Hong Kong Disneyland and $515 HKD for kids, which roughly translates to $120 and $90 CAD, respectively. If you are planning your trip ahead of time, make sure to scope out the Disney website for deals, as they’ll often have a discount on tickets when you buy online.
This tip goes for all Disney parks: downloading the official app is highly recommended, as you’ll get to see attraction wait-times, a GPS-enabled map, and show schedules. I couldn’t survive a Disney park visit without this!
Disneyland Hong Kong was the Disney park I’ve always been the least excited about, because it’s the smallest park and has the fewest unique aspects compared to the other parks. In fact, the last time we went to Hong Kong, I had no interest at all in visiting the park. However, I’ve decided that I want to make it a goal to visit all of the Disney parks in the world, so I thought we might as well give it a try. Hong Kong Disneyland actually turned out to be one of the best Disneyland experiences we’ve ever had so far! The park wasn’t crowded at all, and all of rides had the shortest waits we’ve experienced. Most ranged from 15-30 minutes, with the wait capping at 40 minutes for one or two of the rides. Compare this to our visit to DisneySea, where most of the rides had 60-120 minute waits. We rode several rides twice, even three times, which NEVER happens when we’re at a Disney park. Because it was so small and not crowded, I felt like I had ample time to explore everything in the park and still leave at a reasonable hour (ie not close to midnight). We also expected a lot of line budging and pushing, but were pleasantly surprised to see that this didn’t happen.
The park is currently undergoing renovations that will go well into 2019. They are currently preparing for expansions that will include a Frozen-themed area and a second Marvel attraction. The Sleeping Beauty Castle at the end of Main Street is surrounded by scrims right now, which doesn’t make for very picturesque photos, but to be honest, even without the scrims, the castle is rather sad-looking and definitely needs a revamp. When Hong Kong Disneyland first opened up in 2005, I think it was pretty unimpressive, but over the years, they’ve continued to add more rides and attractions, and I think after this current renovation, it’ll really give the other parks a run for their money!
One of the major draws for me to visit Hong Kong Disneyland during this trip was seeing all of the Christmas decorations up. I love visiting Disneyland during any of the holidays because they go all out on the décor and make it so, so festive! We really lucked out that our two vacations this year coincided with holidays, so that we were able to visit DisneySea during Halloween and Hong Kong Disneyland during Christmas. We actually visited Disneyland in Anaheim during Christmas a few years ago, but you can never have too much of “Christmas at Disney” magic!
Compared to Tokyo DisneySea, we found there to be less of a language barrier. While both places have English signs/announcements for more important things such as safety, the rides in general feature more English at Hong Kong Disneyland. At one of the rides, an Iron Man ride where the guest plays the point of view of JARVIS, I pointed out to my husband that Iron Man speaks to us in English while JARVIS answers him back in Cantonese, haha.
The first order of business for me was to get my Christmas Minnie ears. Much to my husband’s chagrin, I’ve now started a nice collection of Minnie eares, and I also told him that we now have to visit Disneyland during Christmas again to get my money’s worth out of these!
My favourite ride was Mystic Manor, which is unique to Hong Kong Disneyland and is the counterpart to the Haunted Mansion. The Chinese culture is really superstitious about death/afterlife/ghosts, so a ride like the Haunted Mansion would not do well in either the Hong Kong Disneyland or Shanghai Disneyland parks, even though the ride itself isn’t scary.
Similar to Haunted Manion, Mystic Manor is a dark ride that takes place in a mansion, but that’s where the similarities end. The plot follows an explorer named Henry Mystic and his pet monkey Alfred, who discover an enchanted music box that brings everything in the house to life. We rode this ride three times because I loved all the details and “enchantments” so much. This ride uses a trackless technology system instead of the traditional rides where the carts you sit in ride on tracks, and my husband said it looks like we are riding on giant Roombas, LOL.
In my opinion, there isn’t a lot of unique food at Hong Kong Disneyland. Yes, you’ll see local snacks like grilled squid and egg tarts, but I feel you’re better off getting these snacks in the city, where it’ll be cheaper and taste better. You can also get dim sum designed to look like Disney characters, which is ADORABLE but very expensive – I know everyone’s all about “doing it for the ‘gram, but I personally don’t think it would be worth it. If you want cute baos, you’re better off going to Social Place, which I featured in my last post. The two snacks I really wanted were the Disney-themed donuts from Main Street Bakery. They have the most adorable Winnie the Pooh one which I had my eye on getting since we had started planning the trip, but since it was Christmas, I decided to get a Christmas Minnie donut instead.
One unique thing about Disneyland in Hong Kong (and Japan) is the prevalence of characters that we don’t have in North America. Duffy the Bear, ShellieMay, Stella Lou, and Gelatoni are really popular Disney characters in Asia, and I would say in Japan in particular. You see more girls wearing fuzzy Duffy the Bear ears more than you see them wearing Minnie ears like the ones I bought!
On this visit, we even had a chance to watch some of the shows, which we pretty much never do at Disney because we don’t love waiting around for shows to start in pushing crowds. However, the crowds were really manageable, and really we just wanted to listen to them singing Christmas songs instead of trying to get to the front to see the performance, so we stayed near the back and it was totally fine. It was really cute because they had one show called the Magical Twilight Snowfall, where they sang Christmas carols while fake snow fell down onto the crowd on Main Street, and everyone oohed and aaahed because it never snows in Hong Kong! Here’s a video I took – so festive!
Do you love the Disney parks like me, or do you try to avoid them?