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Old 05-02-2012, 09:35 PM   #781
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(Continued in Previous Post)


Heading for the hills……Hollywood time!



There is another hotel resort complex at Hong Kong Disneyland other than the hotel we had been staying in. This other hotel is located within walking distance…. It’s the blue’ish building seemingly at the base of the hills.





I took a little walk, in that LEFT direction that I prefer to take. It took me about 5 - 10 minutes to get to the Hollywood Hotel.









I liked the over Disney theming on the outside of the hotel.










There were heaps of bags in the entry…a sure sign that the hotel was busy.





I was surprised at the foyer. It didn’t have that cavernous lobby that I’ve come to expect.





But the art deco theme was wonderful.

















As were the Mickey overlays.










The elevators to the guest rooms are located at this end of the hotel.






I headed in the other direction.






The Studio Lounge is to the left side of this passage.









Chef Mickey’s is to the right.





The breakfast service was still in operations. The buffet seems cheaper, and I believe it is also a character style breakfast.





I didn’t go in so these shots are taken from the corridor looking in.













Hollywood and Dine is at the end of the corridor.





(Continued in Next Post)
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Old 05-02-2012, 09:36 PM   #782
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(Continued from Previous Post)


I headed outside to take a look at the gardens. Looks like some exterior re-painting was in progress.





The art deco theme was carried through in the exterior as well.










I headed into the pool area….





…with the piano shaped pool and slide….





…and the pool bar.





There were also Hollywood and California references dotted around the grounds.













And that Hollywood sign!






The Hollywood Hotel sign, that is.







The grounds were lovely.














And those hills were a lot closer here.






I wandered around a little more…if you head out the back gates, you’ll get to the walking track by the sea.











I knew it was that time.







Time to head back to say goodbye to another Disney break.





(Continued in Next Post)
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Old 05-02-2012, 09:43 PM   #783
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(Continued from Previous Post)

Goodbye Disneyland Hong Kong! Looking to the Future

Here’s my bottom line on Hong Kong Disneyland.

For anyone heading to Hong Kong or China, HKDL is worth the side trip and the extra day or two. I would recommend that it not be the prime reason for choosing to go to Hong Kong. For anyone in Australia or New Zealand heading towards Europe, it is worth the stopover and visiting if you are a Disney tragic like me.


Hong Kong Disneyland is definitely a small park in comparison to DLR and WDW by any standards. For me, the Golden Mickeys, Toy Storyland, Tarzan Treehouse and the groovy parade are NOT enough of drawcards to make HKDL a must-do destination if you have the US parks or even Tokyo Disneyland as an alternative choice. Sadly, the imagineers did HKDL a disservice by modelling it so heavily on DLR but at the same time removing so much of the Disney charm and rides that ‘makes’ Disneyland. There just isn’t enough there for me right now and it really does pale into insignificance when you compare it to Disneyland. If it weren’t for the photography and if the park crowds were like what we experienced on Sunday or even Monday morning, I seriously think we could have covered this park twice in one day.


However, I suspect that this equation may completely change in 2013 AFTER Grizzly Gulch and Mystic Point opens. Both of those two areas promise much by way of unique attractions for this park and it does look seriously good on paper!


I found these scale models somewhere in my hotel and it seems appropriate to post them here for a look at the future.














For me? Despite my previous view, I did love my time here. I got the Disney fix I needed to tide me over till next time! I do plan to come back; but only after 2013 so that I can check out Grizzly Gulch and Mystic Point.



The Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel, on the other hand, far exceeded my expectations. I had expected a deluxe accommodation and it definitely is that. I was aware that it was going to be smaller than any of the deluxe accommodations in WDW and it definitely is that.
But this is one case where the size makes no difference and the hotel is everything and more that you would expect from Disney. I will say that the service of the cast members that work in the hotel….well……they provided us with a service that exceeds any service that I have experienced at WDW.


I would stay at the Disneyland Hotel again in a heartbeat.


One final note - I understand from Zanzibar’s TR that there are princesses that appear in the foyer of the hotel during the day. We didn’t see any of them…but then we weren’t in the hotel during the afternoon. It would have been nice to have caught them but maybe next time. The Disneyland Hotel is adding a new facility in the bottom level of the hotel, near where the Enchanted Garden is. I saw them refurbishing this section. It seems that there will be a princess boutique added here….I suspect that it will be the equivalent of Bibbity Bobbity! For those of you with Disney princesses, take note…..save more money!







ps. This ends the Disneyland section of this TR. The next updates will start our journey into the Pearl of the Orient!
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Old 05-02-2012, 11:17 PM   #784
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It does seem that there wasnt a whole lot to the park. But it was still interesting to see through you. I am not sure what to make of the other hotel. But I am glad you went and shared your experience with us.
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Old 05-02-2012, 11:50 PM   #785
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Thanks for taking us on our virtual DL trip, both hotels look very nice.
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Old 05-02-2012, 11:52 PM   #786
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Very cool! I loved the picture for Dana!

I LOVED the Chinese breakfast buffet. I would totally have been all over that. I love noodles anytime and the Har Gow sounded totally up my alley. Many other things I'm sure that I would have liked. Fran could have enjoyed the omelete.

If we ever went there I might choose to stay at the Hollywood Hotel, not sure why, maybe because I've stayed at the Grand Floridian before. It looks neat. Thanks for sharing. I'm excited to see what Hong Kong has to offer!

That's one of the things I love about the DIS is when people show the off topic locations they visit! I find all kinds of places to visit that I've never been that I want to go to.
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Old 05-03-2012, 01:10 AM   #787
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Excellent trip so far. I am Disney tragic like you, so I am planning all of my trips around Disney. There will be time for other vacations when I have seen everything Disney has to offer. Glad you enjoyed your time even though you prefer the other parks.

The Hollywood Hotel is beautiful as well. I think it is HKDL's version of the Contemporary while you stayed at the Grand Floridian.

I had to look on Wikipedia when you mentioned the Pearl of the Orient. My husband's family always told me that was the Phillipines. Next time I remember, I will have to tell them that according to Wiki, the Phillipines is the Pearl of the Orient Seas. The Pearl of the Orient is for Hong Kong, Ho Chi Minh City and Penang. Or, I could just drop it, since I feel like enough of a loser for mentioning it here.

I cannot wait to read about the rest of your trip. Yes, I would love to see another foreign country some day (after I saw its Disney property).
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Old 05-03-2012, 04:47 AM   #788
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Brilliant close to the Disney section of the TR

I loved the D&B bags - I hope they are still about when we go - can you remember roughly the prices at all? Need to know how much to "hide" from DBF in the trip savings heh heh heh

Thank you for the Hollywood Hotel pictures - I've been looking for lots of these while planning the trip (before booking) and it was always with a "maybe" view. Looking through your pictures I had the eureka moment of "hang on, we're ACTUALLY going to be there now!" and got all excited and emotional at the same time. I love the art deco period so I think I will enjoy this hotel as much as if we'd stayed at the DLHotel....

I am looking forward to the next parts of your trip - for us this trip was originally a 5 day quick visit to see DLHK (even tho it's small - we have to do them all!!) and a bit of HK....now it's a fully fledged vacation for almost 2 weeks and we have so much time to see and do more!! Can't wait to see what you did....
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Old 05-03-2012, 07:50 AM   #789
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You got some great pics of the HH. Unfortunately most of the hotel was covered in scaffolding when were there. I thought it was done really well though.

I thought of you when I saw the D&B bags in the gift shops! :lol: I was very tempted but I resisted.
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Old 05-04-2012, 04:59 AM   #790
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Quote:
Originally Posted by usnuzuloose View Post
It does seem that there wasnt a whole lot to the park. But it was still interesting to see through you. I am not sure what to make of the other hotel. But I am glad you went and shared your experience with us.
The Hollywood Hotel was nice but without seeing the rooms, I'm not sure what category hotel to put it in. The room prices are less than the Disneyland Hotel; so maybe moderate?


Quote:
Originally Posted by ACDSNY View Post
Thanks for taking us on our virtual DL trip, both hotels look very nice.


Quote:
Originally Posted by franandaj View Post
Very cool! I loved the picture for Dana!

I LOVED the Chinese breakfast buffet. I would totally have been all over that. I love noodles anytime and the Har Gow sounded totally up my alley. Many other things I'm sure that I would have liked. Fran could have enjoyed the omelete.

If we ever went there I might choose to stay at the Hollywood Hotel, not sure why, maybe because I've stayed at the Grand Floridian before. It looks neat. Thanks for sharing. I'm excited to see what Hong Kong has to offer!

That's one of the things I love about the DIS is when people show the off topic locations they visit! I find all kinds of places to visit that I've never been that I want to go to.
I'm working on the next installment. Still need to unpack and load up pictures!


Quote:
Originally Posted by kmedina View Post
Excellent trip so far. I am Disney tragic like you, so I am planning all of my trips around Disney. There will be time for other vacations when I have seen everything Disney has to offer. Glad you enjoyed your time even though you prefer the other parks.

The Hollywood Hotel is beautiful as well. I think it is HKDL's version of the Contemporary while you stayed at the Grand Floridian.

I had to look on Wikipedia when you mentioned the Pearl of the Orient. My husband's family always told me that was the Phillipines. Next time I remember, I will have to tell them that according to Wiki, the Phillipines is the Pearl of the Orient Seas. The Pearl of the Orient is for Hong Kong, Ho Chi Minh City and Penang. Or, I could just drop it, since I feel like enough of a loser for mentioning it here.

I cannot wait to read about the rest of your trip. Yes, I would love to see another foreign country some day (after I saw its Disney property).
Lots of Pearls in the Orient! Seems like every city wants that title!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Princess_Melanie View Post
Brilliant close to the Disney section of the TR

I loved the D&B bags - I hope they are still about when we go - can you remember roughly the prices at all? Need to know how much to "hide" from DBF in the trip savings heh heh heh

Thank you for the Hollywood Hotel pictures - I've been looking for lots of these while planning the trip (before booking) and it was always with a "maybe" view. Looking through your pictures I had the eureka moment of "hang on, we're ACTUALLY going to be there now!" and got all excited and emotional at the same time. I love the art deco period so I think I will enjoy this hotel as much as if we'd stayed at the DLHotel....

I am looking forward to the next parts of your trip - for us this trip was originally a 5 day quick visit to see DLHK (even tho it's small - we have to do them all!!) and a bit of HK....now it's a fully fledged vacation for almost 2 weeks and we have so much time to see and do more!! Can't wait to see what you did....
The D&Bs were around the HK$1600 mark; which puts them in the $225 mark for Aussie/US pricing. I think this is about on par with the pricing in America. Disney certainly is pretty much spot on with pricing.


Quote:
Originally Posted by ehsmum View Post
You got some great pics of the HH. Unfortunately most of the hotel was covered in scaffolding when were there. I thought it was done really well though.

I thought of you when I saw the D&B bags in the gift shops! :lol: I was very tempted but I resisted.
I was tempted but I resisted as well.
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Old 05-04-2012, 07:54 PM   #791
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I loved seeing your take on HKDL - I've got a couple more things on my to-do list for next time now lol!

Can't wait for the next part of your trip, to see what you got up to in HK :-)
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Old 05-04-2012, 10:34 PM   #792
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Quote:
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I loved seeing your take on HKDL - I've got a couple more things on my to-do list for next time now lol!

Can't wait for the next part of your trip, to see what you got up to in HK :-)
I still have to check us into our hotel first!
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Old 05-04-2012, 10:41 PM   #793
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You want to catch the train?!?! Let’s talk MTR and OC



It was time to leave Hong Kong Disneyland and start the next part of our adventure. We were heading to Hong Kong proper. The question was which way!


With our luggage x 5, I figured the most direct and simplest way to get from hotel to hotel was to catch a taxi. DH and I talked it over the night before and we were prepared to fund the cost of the taxi. Afterall, my father wasn’t exactly young and he’d been having a little difficulty walking around the park.

So, when we headed out to the porte couchere where I was going to ask the Bellhop to get us a taxi, I was totally unprepared for my parents hijacking the conversation. They had decided that we were going to be catching the train instead.


What?!?!?!?!



The Bellhop looked at me and I looked back at him. We both just managed to not sigh in unison.

In his defence, he did try to convince my parents that it would be quicker to take the taxi; but my parents wouldn’t listen. And we were in a culture where when the elders speak, the youngers listen. The Bellhop pulled out the MTR map and marked some stations on it, pointed us in the direction of the Disney bus, looked at me and wished me well.

Me? I knew better not to argue with my parents.


If you recall from last night, I’d already taken us on the Disney bus to the transport hub. Seems like a fair number of guests did take the Disney bus, with their luggage, to the hub to catch the train. We would be one of those fair number today.

The Hong Kong Mass Transit Railway (MTR) has been in existence since 1979. It currently has 155 stations on the map and is still growing. As most of the railway tracks are underground, the services do not have to contend with road or pedestrian traffic. We were to find that in the heart of Hong Kong city, most services would run every 2 - 4 minutes in peak hour; and every 4 – 8 minutes in off peak. It is a highly efficient and convenient way of getting around. And economical!

We had purchased Octopus Cards at the Disneyland Resort station. The cards cost HK$150 for an adult ($50 for the card and $100 worth of credits) and HK$70 for a child ($20 for the card and $50 worth of credits). That’s about $20 in our money for the adult and $10 for the child.

The Octopus Card (OC) is a rechargeable contactless smart card and is widely used as a means of electronic cash in Hong Kong. The card is that this payment system was originally developed by an Australian based company. The irony of this should not be lost on any Melbournians reading this. We can only dream of a MYKI card that will eventually work after all the tax payer funds we’ve already siphoned into the project.

The OC is BRILLIANT. We topped it up a number of times and used it in supermarkets, convenience stores and even some of the ‘street cafes’ as well as for the MTR. Even McDonalds and Starbucks accepted payment by OC. We were never held up at the OC readers and it always seemed to calculate amounts correctly. All MTR, buses, trams and ferries used the OC for fee charging so there was no fiddling about for the right change.

Best of all, the OC is reuseable. My parents have brought their OC back to Hong Kong three times now. On this trip, their cards were initially deemed to be no longer valid. To fix this, they just headed to the customer service counter at the Resort station and the officer there re-activated their card, complete with the previous balance that was still on the card. It took all of 30 seconds to complete this reactivation.



The Disneyland Resort line was opened in 2005 and connects to the Sunny Bay station. The station? Well, take a look!

















The trains that run on this short 3.5 km track are fully automatic (no driver), with services every four to ten minutes











I was really impressed with the train interior. It was spotless….





With Disney theming!









We had to change lines at Sunny Bay station. From Sunny Bay, we headed in the direction of Nam Cheong station where we again changed lines, this time to the Hung Hom line. Our hotel was located in Hung Hom.

The interchange at Sunny Bay turned out to be the hardest of the lot for the elders as there was a bit of up and down walking involved. My mother did have second thoughts about catching the train with luggage at this point.





Nam Cheong interchange was pretty simple in that we just needed to walk about 100m to the right platform.

Somewhere between Sunny Bay and Nam Cheong, the train did come out into the daylight. For DH, DS and myself, this was illuminating. It was our first look at the high rise of Hong Kong.

Once before, we had a similar illumination; and that was on the train from Montreal into New York city. For anyone that has approached NYC and seen the population of towering apartment complexes and buildings, you will know what I mean. Hong Kong is very similar.

It was a brief glimpse at the apartment outskirts but I think we were all gobsmacked by how close everything was. For me, Hong Kong buildings just seem to be even closer together than the sky rises in NYC.


I was rather circumspect with making sure that all visible signs of “TOURISTS” were put away. My camera was firmly left in the bag as I concentrated on making sure we were not targets for wandering hands in a strange city. I do wish that I had kept it out during this trip.


Hong Hum station is the end of the line. We got out of the station and it was about a 200 – 300 m walk (up escalators) through a shopping mall to the hotel. All in all, hotel to hotel, it took us about 50 minutes to complete the transit. I wasn’t used to taking a look at the card readers this early in the game, so I can only estimate that it cost us about HK$15 each ($2 in our money) for the journey.

Most of you reading this would probably want to head to Tsim Sha Tsui from Disneyland. The best interchange would be at Lai King and take the line towards Central. If you want to head to Central/Hong Kong Island, I would stay on the line heading to Hong Kong station. Hong Kong station is where the IFC shopping mall is.



(Continued in Next Post)
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Old 05-04-2012, 10:45 PM   #794
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(Continued from Previous Post)


Adjusting to Life in the Real World



Our new home was to be the Metropolis Harbour Grand Hotel. I’m still unpacking my pictures and haven’t yet finished loading them on Photobucket; so I’ll share some pictures of the exterior later on in this report.

We got to the hotel shortly after 2 pm; which was the official check in time.

However, it turned out that our rooms were not ready and the front desk asked us to come back in at least an hour. The person who served us was not particularly welcoming nor friendly nor forthcoming with information. We had to slowly extract information out of her…like…where can we leave our bags, what food options were available….before she eventually and reluctantly gave us some free drink vouchers for the bar in the foyer.


Welcome to the real world.


We were allowed to leave our bags at concierge so that meant we had a bit more freedom of movement. My parents were tired out and they opted to stay. They claimed that they were still full from breakfast; but I suspected that they had food cheated on me and had eaten something at the park before they caught up with us….but that was fine with me.


DS, DH and I were a little peckish. None of us wanted a major lunch production but we just needed a little bite to tide us over.

DS was very happy to point out that there was a McDonald’s at the Hung Hom station. It was very nearly the first thing he saw. He was also most insistent on grabbing a McDonald’s burger meal deal for lunch. Another welcome back to reality!

DH and I figured it was a good enough plan as any; it was close, we knew where to go and it would keep DS happy. So that’s what happened. We headed back to the Hung Hom station. Fortunately for us, the station also had a variety of other stores…there was a bank, a chemist, a number of shops that sold tour packages, a 7-11, shops that sold chinese snacks, pickles and sweets….a Maxim’s and a Starbucks.

I take pictures of food porn; so I left the McDonald’s porn alone. There are no pictures of the Big Mac that DS had. However, I was intrigued by one item on the lunch menu….Iced Tea.





Anyone notice that little container on the side? Check it out….liquid sugar.





The liquid sugar was a novelty; but it could not hide the fact that to my taste, this Iced Tea was absolutely vile. It was way too strong; and I suspect it was the milk added to it that made it taste disgusting.


Thankfully, Maxim’s is where DH and I eventually settled on our shared light bites.

Maxim’s in Hong Kong is one of those chain “street café’s” that sell a variety of typical Asian rice dishes, noodles and western style food. It also has a Maxim’s cake shop/café, which was also located at a different shop in the station, which sold desserts, cream cakes and other pastries.

We had a shrimp and mango salad. Incredibly fresh and light; just what we both craved.





Which came with mango dressing.





We also had a tofu and salad wrap. Again, this hit just the right spot for both DH and myself.





We both got a hot black tea with lemon. A much better choice than the what I picked up at McD.





The bill at Maxims? It came to under HK$65, less than $10 in our money.


Oh…and I did check out the Maxim’s Cake shop. It was about the only cake shop that I did check out this trip. I’m not sure why but none of us craved sweet things on this trip.

These are some of the types of individual cake slices for sale. Most of them were around the HK$18 - $25 mark (about $2 - $4).









Cakes were yummy looking! And at around HK$170 - 200 ($20 - 25 in our money), I thought they were reasonably priced.


















Welcome back to the real world, where despite mediocre customer service, the cost of living was going to be cheap and value for money!


By this stage, it was after 3 pm and it was time to head back to see if our rooms were ready.




(Continued in Next Post)
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Old 05-04-2012, 10:51 PM   #795
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(Continued from Previous Post)


Our home for the next 8 nights



We checked back in with the Front Desk and fortunately got a different worker to help us out. My parent’s room was ready and after they were checked in, they were keen to go up and unpack.

My room? Turns out it still wasn’t ready.

However, unlike the first time, the worker at the front desk decided to do something about it. He checked his list and after some quick typing, got clearance from the manager to put us into a different room. I understood enough of the discussion to know that he argued that we were staying for 8 nights; which was the justification for shifting us.


Those of you that followed my PTR will know that this was not necessarily the hotel of first choice for me. I’d settled on it because my parents had previously stayed here and were keen to stay here again. The thing that swayed the decision for me was that our Travel Agent friend had access to a great deal at this hotel. The deal was a free upgrade from a standard room to a 1-bedroom suite; plus late check-out. The price of the standard room ended up being AU$160 per night.


We headed on up to check it out our deal. We opened the door and walked in through the narrow passageway.





The main bedroom was ‘cosy’. There was not going to be a great deal of spare space.





The living room was not that much bigger; but it did provide us with valuable extra real estate.









And after the sofa bed was pulled out, the suite was going to suit our needs just fine. The only problem was that the sofa bed was rock hard and after sleeping here for 1 night, DS flatly refused to sleep here again. We managed with the 3 of us sharing the queen bed for most of the nights.





Our suite also included a kitchen.









The fridge, microwave and kettle worked perfectly. The stove did not operate; and we didn’t have a toaster. For our needs, it was sufficient. We were to end up having porridge, bread and a hot drink for breakfast most mornings.


The bathroom was clean and everything functioned perfectly.





We never lost water pressure and the water temperature was constant.





No issues with the Royal Flush either for the duration of our stay.





It took me a while to work out where the hair dryer was…





…silly me! I should have looked in the writing desk drawer first. Afterall, where else would you expect to find the hair dryer?



Despite the tight space, the room was good and it was clean.





So…why did they need permission to swap our rooms? Those of you eagled eyed might have already spotted it.

Our room view was fantastic. It was a water view directly facing Hong Kong Island; and also looking towards Tsim Sha Tsui.





Our deal had been a good one. DH and I both did the happy dance when we looked out the window. We couldn’t believe our luck!






p.s. I will have more shots of the view, and the hotel to share later. I just need to find them and upload them for sharing.
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Disneyland - Dec 1986, May 1990, Dec 1997, Aug 2003, Jun 2005, Jul 2007 TR, Nov 2008, Jan 2011 and Nov 2012 Another Mad Dash TR
Walt Disney World - Jun 2005, May 2010 (POR, BCV) PTR || TR, Oct 2010 (CSR) PTR || TR, Oct 2013 Anyone Game? PTR || TR in progress
Hong Kong Disneyland - Mar/Apr 2012 TR
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