Hong Kong Disneyland - Dragon Boat Day, June 19th

Associated parks:
None

Sunday, June 24, 2007 1:59 PM
My wife and I were on our belated honeymoon to China and since we were passing through Hong Kong, and we're both Disney fans, we decided to check out HKDL.

During the morning we went to see some dragon boat races over at Stanley Market but it was ridiculously hot and crowded so we just cut out early to spend more time at the park.

We bought our tickets on the subway and took the Disneyland resort line to the park. The train had some nice Disney touches - Mickey shaped windows and grab rings, velvety couches, figurines in cases...

Because it was a public holiday and we had heard that it was a smaller park, we were concerned that it would be mobbed, but it turned out to be pretty empty. I also want to say that I had absolutely no problems with line jumping or rudeness or any of the other things that were reported when the park opened. Maybe it was just because we didn't buy tickets at front gate or because it was pretty empty, but we didn't have any problems. We also didn't really use fastpass at all because of the short lines.

I should also probably point out that Hong Kong is eternally, like, 90% humidity, so even when it was 70 out, we were sweating buckets. I think today it was in the low 80's.

So we get into the park and head down main street USA. (Why not main street China?) First thing we notice - Sleeping Beauty's castle is tiny. Probably about half the size of Florida's. Oh well, I guess in a newer smaller park, that's par for the course.

Our first stop - space mountain! About a 10 minute wait for front, walk on for back. I assume this is like the Vekoma refit of CA's? Our first two rides on this coaster were good but not great. I really like the atmosphere and the scenery but the track seemed a bit uninspired. A couple of good dips and some nice tight turns, but any time we were picking up speed we climbed up a hill onto a plateau and slow back down. More on this ride later.

We decided to head over to Buzz Lightyear's Astroblasters (since Autopia had a 45 minute line!). I really like the fact that you can move the gun freely on this one. I really love these interactive rides, and this one is no exception. I racked up about 300K points and then laid off for the second half of the ride since my wife was still at 10K. I would've like to give it my best, but it wasn't worth sleeping on the couch. ;) We grabbed a ride on the Orbitron which was fun, but nothing to novel. The ater play area was definitely a highlight of this section of the park. There were some neat surprises and it was definitely nice to get a little wet.

On the way to Fantasyland, we noticed that the Stitch Encounter (which I'm still not sure what it is) had alternating show times for the different languages (I assume English, Cantonese and Mandarin) and a 40-minute line. We passed on it.

Most of the rides in Fantasyland were similar to their American counterparts, so I won't bore you with the details. We rode the teacups (which I love), the Many Adventures of Pooh (which I love), and Mickey's Philharmagic (which I also love). Good stuff all around.

We headed over to Adventureland, which had become Pirateland for the time being (I think in celebration of the 10th anniversary of the handover). Captain Jack's boot camp (a street show where you get to learn how to be a pirate) was pretty cool, but they had to have two junior pirates translating everything into Chinese. I guess they didn't have much choice, but it kind of broke the flow. We also saw the Festival of the Lion King show. I'm not a fan of shows at all, but this one was actually quite good. Good singing and music, some cool use of fire (you can never go wrong with fire). Between scenes they had to have characters come out and fill in the people who only spoke Chinese, but it was far less distracting here than at other attractions. If Nemo at AK is really that much better, I'd be pretty excited to see it. We headed to the Jungle Cruise where you picked a boat either in Cantonese, Mandarin or English. This was pretty unique (as far as I know) and I don't want to spoil it, but I really liked it. Because of the pirate takeover, they also stopped the boat in the middle of the ride to convince some pirates not to take over your ship. I am proud to say that I saved my cruise by answering the "pirate riddle." (Who is the captian of the black pearl?)

It was pretty late and we were getting hungry so we went to eat at the Astroliner Diner (I wonder if the rhyming translates)in Tomorrowland. The food was actually very reasonably priced ($5 US for a hamburger meal) though drinks were still a bit much ($3 US fo a medium soda). To close out the night we went for one more trip on Space Mounatain. I don't know what the difference was, but this time the ride was kicking butt! We got some great air on a few of the drops and some of the turns were really quick and forceful. Some great changes of direction and good speed the whole way through. It felt like a totally different ride. Color me impressed. I am definitely a fan.

Everything closed up for the final "Disney in the Stars" fireworks show. We headed to Main Street to watch and even though there was a huge crowd of people, there wasn't much rudeness (well, no more than would be expected in the US). The show was great but I'm a sucker for fireworks. It was kind of weird when they switched over to Chinese for the Mulan portion, but I guess that makes sense.

Overall, we had a great (though sweaty) day in the park. I can see why it isn't a destination yet (we did just about everything we wanted to do in 5 hours) and with Ocean Park on the other side of town at half the price, this park will have a hard time getting people through the gates consistantly. *** Edited 6/24/2007 6:00:22 PM UTC by ApolloAndy***

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Monday, June 25, 2007 12:46 AM
Hong Kong's humidity isn't that bad. Try living in Singapore where the humidity is between 90% and 100% the entire year. ;) At least in the fall HK gets nice.

I wish I could have visited this park, but it opened the year I moved back to the States. Glad you guys had a great time! *** Edited 6/25/2007 4:47:17 AM UTC by bobthecoasterguy***

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