Friday, July 22, 2011

[HONG KONG] How to Disneyland

Disneylanding is easy and this article aims to give tips on how to enjoy Disneylanding. But before you Disneyland, you actually have to get to a Disneyland first, and the one in Hong Kong is not that hard to find. Just go to the nearest MTR station and press Disneyland on the screen of the ticket dispensing machine. It is somewhere on the left, pink line. You have to transfer trains at Sunny Bay station. Disneyland is the only station (aside from Sunny Bay) on that line. The ride won’t take more than 10 minutes. After that, you are free to Disneyland the whole day! You can Disneyland with your family. You can Disneyland with your friends. You can Disneyland with your ex. You can Disneyland with Mickey Mouse. You can Disneyland with anyone! How exciting! Hooray!

Hong Kong Disneyland bored me to death. I think it is one of the most self-absorbed theme parks I’ve ever been to. The only thrill ride is Space Mountain, an indoor roller coaster in the dark. Hello. You can’t fear what you can’t see. My first ride was Autopia where you drive a car but you can’t even speed up or cause a highway pileup because there is no highway and the movement of the car is restricted by the gutter at the middle of the track that prevents you from going anywhere but forward. The ride took less than ten minutes. I lined up for an hour.

Luckily, the Space Mountain Ride has the Fastpass option. You use your admission ticket to get a Fastpass ticket at the ride entrance. After that you can come back after an hour and skip the queue outside. That doesn’t mean that there's no queue inside. You still have to fall in line with the others who also have a Fastpass. The line moved faster anyway so there's no issue. I actually have a video of the ride but most of it is black with random screaming of “waaaaahhhhh!!!” and “wheeeeeeeehhh!!!” as OST. There are no more thrill rides after this unless you consider spinning teacups exciting.

You Disneyland best when you are a Disney baby. Did you grow up with Aladdin and the Lion King? Good. Don’t miss the Golden Mickeys and the Philharmagic. They sing songs from your childhood and this is an essential part of Disneylanding. Otherwise, you'd bore yourself to death and you might not want to Disneyland again, at least in Hong Kong. I’ve heard that Disneylanding in Tokyo or LA is more thrilling. We will confirm that information in the future.

Like what I said in the corresponding Youtube video, HK Disneyland relies more on its glittery parades and extravagant musicals rather than thrill rides. There is a parade of Disney characters near the theater where the Golden Mickeys are held. As for the time, I wouldn’t really know. I actually have the brochure in my backpack but I’m too lazy to check. So just check it yourself when you get there.

The Golden Mickeys that I saw was in Cantonese although the songs are in English. A reporter in white introduces the show, which she is a part of. There are TVs on both sides of the stage flashing the dialogues in Chinese characters (left) and English (right). The cast come in from the side entrances. You can touch them if they don’t mind, but not maliciously, please. This is a children’s show. I tried to trip one of them but my legs are too short. They would tell you that recording the show is prohibited, but the dozen people in the rows in front of me didn’t seem to have understood. Neither were they apprehended. Hey, that’s PJ Valerio! I didn’t know theater actors in the Philippines have alternative careers here. Well, now I do. He plays the Captain in Mulan. Tarzan and Quasimodo also have solo performances.

The Philharmagic is a 3D show featuring animated Disney characters singing and dancing. The ensemble is led by Donald Duck who tries to catch Mickey’s enchanted hat in vain. He only does so after Jasmine hands it over to him after the A Whole New World song number whilst on the magic carpet. This attraction was depressing because of the songs. If Aladdin’s genie would offer me three wishes, one of them would certainly be a trip back to when I was less than ten. Living life as an adult sucks, right? Too many complications left and right! I’d rather be a kid again and sing I Just Can’t Wait To Be King or Hakuna Matata all day long.

You can meet and greet popular Disney characters and take a picture with them, like Snow White in the photo above. They are all game and in character. I wonder if they would still be if you pull their wig off or slap them. Oops, sorry, let’s stay wholesome here. This is a park for children! Anyway, I admire the patience those people have. It must be hard to pretend that you are a Disney princess in that elaborate ball gown under the blazing sun. If I were forced to do a similar job I’d probably end up pushing the children to the waterfalls behind me. Lawsuit. And there’s no way I’m wearing a gown... but if the pay is worth it then why not. Money is hard to come by nowadays. LOL.

There is another attraction that I think was worth it. My camera seemed to love it a lot given the many photos taken. It’s called “It’s a Small World”. You ride a small boat in an indoor park where there are cute displays of dolls dancing and singing It’s a Small World in different languages, including Tagalog. The areas are grouped geographically and the Philippines is represented by two fair-skinned dolls with an open Spanish-style umbrella in a nipa hut. Cute. I think I was amazed by this attraction because it’s like going back to being a kid, and they took the It’s a Small World song literally. Since the dolls sing and dance there is no boring moment inside. I was also able to rest from all the walking. I just sat back there and relaxed.

After that I saw the parade of Disney characters and explored Tarzan’s tree house and the river where you have to ride a raft to get to the other side. There's also a boat cruise which tours you around the river with a view of fake but moving animals. After a snack of Tiramisu, I wandered around with no place to go to in particular. It’s tiring to move about in that heat. I took my final ride on the train that goes around the whole vicinity before riding the train back to Sunnybay. Go to Disneyland and Disneyland ad nauseam for a trip down memory lane. If adventure is what you seek, you might want to go to Ocean Park instead. Happy Disneylanding!

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