In case you haven’t read my “About Me” page, I used to be a Cast Member at Disneyland in California. When you become a CM you either love the Disney company and all that it stands for until the end of time or you turn to the dark side and despise all but maybe Mickey Mouse. (I mean, who could really hate Mickey?) Well, I am most definitely the former and it is an ultimate goal of mine to visit every single Disney park in the world. (Paris is the only one I have yet to conquer!) So it was inevitable that I would buy an annual pass to HK Disney and make a guide for all you loverly people.
Getting to the park is the first challenge. Although it is possible to drive, the easiest way to hit the park is by taking the MTR. Take the Tung Chung line to Sunny Bay and then jump to the Disneyland Resort line. It’s a bit more expensive than your regular MTR fees – it’ll cost you about $15HKD but that’s still insanely cheap for Disney standards. The train is a fun experience in itself. It is, of course, totally Disney themed with Mickey Mouse shaped windows and handles, and features statues of famous Disney characters and photos of Walt throughout the cabins. The ride to the park is about three or so minutes. Here you’ll be taken to the lovely train stop where you’ll disembark and see the iconic HKDL sign and Fab Five fountain.
When buying your ticket you can choose to purchase them from an old fashioned person or forgo human interaction and just go to one of the ticket machines. As of right now ticket prices are as such:
- One Day Ticket Prices
- Adult: HK$350
- Child: (3-11) HK$250
- Senior: (65 and over) HK$170
- Annual Passes
- Adult: Value HK$650, Deluxe HK$1300, Premium HK$1800
- Child: Value HK$460, Deluxe HK$930, Premium HK$1250
- Senior: Value HK$370, Deluxe HK$740, Premium HK$1000
Once inside the gates make sure to pick up a times guide and park map, both of which are in English as well as Cantonese.
Main Street is very similar to all the other Main Streets before it. However this Marceline features slightly shorter buildings and you can see the lovely Hong Kong mountains in the background, which I think is a lovely treat. This is a great area to grab some food and do some shopping.
This area is exclusive to Hong Kong but it is reminiscent of Frontierland. It’s got a nice budget quick service restaurant that features chicken nuggets or fish with a side of fries. Big Grizzly Mountain is the main ride in this area and brings to mind Big Thunder Mountain by the looks of it. Unfortunately, it’s not quite as good of a ride and quite a bit tamer but still worth a go once or twice. The ride consists of a mine train car that goes out of control and even goes backwards for a bit. Jump in the single rider line to avoid the long waits.
Mystic Point is so small that it almost shouldn’t be considered a land at all, however this tiny area packs a major punch. This “land” is home to what I consider one of the greatest Disney rides ever created: Mystic Manor . The Manor is the only ride in this area and is HK’s answer to the Haunted Mansion (which just so happens to be my favorite ride of all time.) However, due to religious reasons regarding the dead they did not want to bring a ride consisting of 999 ghosts into this park. They decided to come up with an entirely original concept which follows a Professor and his monkey pal on all of their adventures, very Indian Jones-esque. The actual ride consists of seeing their vast collection of ancient artifacts come to life after the monkey meddles with a magic music box. The ride is a similar trackless experience to the Haunted Mansion and features amazing animatronics, lights, and CGI. So. Friggin. Cool.
Mystic Point also features one of the more expensive dining options: The Explorer’s Club. This is a sit down restaurant and features cuisine from all over Asia.
Sadly, Tomorrowland is probably the biggest disappointment in HKDL. It is much smaller than the typical TL and has very poor theming. It does, however, feature some impressive rides such as Space Mountain, Buzz Lightyear, Autopia, and Stitch Encounters. You can also sit down with a burger and fries in this area if you are craving some western food.
Toy Story Land
This land is very similar to Bugs Land or if you can remember the “Honey I Shrunk the Kids” area of yesteryear. The moment you walk through one of the gates guarded by either Woody or Rex you are reduced to Toy Size, and I must say quite successfully feel as such. This land is more geared towards the smaller crowd (no pun intended!) and is a great place to visit if you are traveling with young kids. The only “thrill ride” is RC Racer, which you’ve probably seen photos of if you’ve ever researched HKDL at all. You are loaded into a toy car with about twenty other people and are sent up and down a half dome shaped track. It’s pretty fun and definitely worth a ride, unfortunately the queue takes quite a while since only about 20 people can ride at once.
TSL is also the place to get the best snack in the entire park: a dole whip! You’ve never really lived until you’ve consumed a dole whip, which is a fruity soft serve ice cream treat. The only dole whip that I had previously known of was of the delicious pineapple variety. Well folks, HKDL has an even more decadent option: the mango dole whip! This DW can also come with toppings if you so choose including: green apple jelly, strawberry fruit bursts, or mixed berries. A serious must!
Fantasyland is a pretty typical Fantasyland and features such rides as Dumbo, King Arthur’s Carousel, and Philharmagic. Surprisingly however, Peter Pan is nowhere in site. This probably is due to Peter Pan being quite unknown in this part of the world. Winnie the Pooh is the equivalent to Peter Pan and always features a very, very long line. No worries though, pick up a Fast Pass and choose to not wait out the line. Also in Fantasyland is none other than It’s a Small World. It’s pretty much the exact replica of all the other Small Worlds, however it features a Hong Kong display inside. This was also the first Small World to feature Disney characters in their home countries. See if you can spot them all!
This land is also the main area to get your photo with characters. The area is known as Fantasy Gardens and features a number of different gazebos with rotating character interactions.
Lastly, make sure you walk through the castle gate and make a wish at Snow White’s wishing well!
Adventurerland in HK is probably the best Adventureland out of all the parks I’ve been to! It’s huge, it’s detailed, and you feel worlds apart from the rest of Disneyland. It doesn’t feature to many rides, but it’s a nice area to sit and people watch. Taking a raft over to Tarzan’s Tree House is a great option if you have little ones because it’s essentially just a giant play house for kids to run around in.
The Jungle Cruise is amazing at HKDL! Unlike the original JC’s in the USA that you ride mostly to hear the Skipper’s corny jokes and giggle at the outdated animatronics, HKDL’s Jungle Cruise actually feels like a ride. Yes, the Skippers still talk about the back side of water and there are jerky elephants and hippos, but the ride features sharp turns, fire effects, and higher speeds. Another unique thing about the JC is that you can choose one of three languages offered: Cantonese, Mandarin, or English! You pick one of three queues and wait for your boat to arrive. You may, like myself, think that the English queue would be shortest, but sadly you are mistaken. Basically, all foreigners choose this line because, even if the speak Portuguese, they probably know more English than Mandarin. Also, many Chinese people will go in this line to improve their English. So, no dice on a quick line, but normally each queue takes about the same amount of time.
Hong Kong has two parades: one is great, the other is the greatest thing you’ll ever see in this lifetime. Flights of Fantasy is at 3pm and is your basic (but wonderful) Disney parade. It features some of the same music as the Soundsational parade in California but much of it is sung in Cantonese which is a real treat! The floats are lovely and unique and it’s definitly worth a watch and a great break to the middle of your day.
The real treasure is the Paint the Night Parade, however. This is the evening parade and goes on about an hour or so before the fireworks. I never thought anything could beat the Electrical Light Parade but I must admit that PN has it beat. It’s the same concept, millions of lights attached to every square inch of the floats and costumes, but Paint the Night is just a tad bit more spectacular to me. It’s absolutely gorgeous and, yet again, features many Disney favorites sung in Cantonese. You MUST stay for this. That’s an order. Don’t sass me.
The Golden Mickeys is located just next to It’s a Small World in Fanatsyland and is absolutely worth a watch! The show is played off like an award show and features some Disney classics very rarely heard now including: “Out There” from Hunchback, “I’ll Make a Man out of You” from Mulan, “Something There” from Beauty and the Beast and many more! The show is in Cantonese (including all of Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, and Donald’s dialog!) but has English subtitles on screens beside the stage. All the music, however, is in its standard English.
The second show you must view is The Festival of the Lion King in Adventureland. This show is also a favorite in Animal Kingdom and anyone who has seen it will agree that it is a must. It is spectacular to say the least. Take advantage of the Fast Passes available for this show as well.
Of course, stay for the classic fireworks over Sleep Beauty Castle every evening. This display is typically wonderful, as are all Disney fireworks, but not of the magnitude that I had expected. After watching the incredible New Year’s Eve fireworks I expected DL to have a spectacular show, but it’s kinda meh. I mean I have ultra high standards considering the shows I’ve seen in the past and it just kinda seemed short. Short but sweet, I guess. It’s totally worth the stay, don’t get me wrong! But if you’re expecting amazingness simply because it’s in an Asian country, you may be disappointed.
As you would probably guess, the cuisine throughout the park is very heavily influenced by Asian culture and it can be quite difficult to find “typical” disney treats. Be prepared for lots of rice and lots of noodles. Oh, and small portions. Asian cultures aren’t as big on snacking as Westerners are so there aren’t loads of food stands featuring pretzels and churros and corn dogs like there are in Orlando and California. Here are a few good food options to keep in mind:
- Mickey Waffles on Main Street
- Mango Dole Whip in Toy Story Land
- Adventureland & Mystic Point feature the nice sit down meal option
- Burgers & fries in Tomorrowland
- Cheap, quick meal in Grizzly Gulch
Last minute tips:
- The time estimates on the queues seem to always be wrong! If it says the wait time is 10 minutes, expect 20.
- Don’t rely on snacking, because there aren’t that many options. Anticipate two full meals.
- You can easily do the entire park in one day.
- Utilize the Fast Pass system.
- Utilize the single rider lines.
- The shows and parades are well worth your time.
I hope this was helpful and I would love to hear about some of your favorite disney memories! What is you dream Disney park to visit?