HK Disneyland TR - inc. Vietnam & Africa

Discussion in 'Hong Kong Disneyland' started by zanzibar138, Mar 31, 2012.

  1. zanzibar138

    zanzibar138 DIS Veteran

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    I'm back! And I'm now a Mrs!

    We had an amazing time on our honeymoon, and enjoyed Vietnam, Hong Kong and Africa. But being a Disney forum and trying to get in before others make the trek to HK, I'll get straight to the interesting part :-)

    I'll start with an overview of our experience in HK.

    We stayed at the Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel for 4 nights, and got annual passes so that we could go into the park every day we were there if we wanted to, except for our last day which was a Saturday and was blocked out. We did indeed go into the park each one of those days, even if only for a little while.

    We both enjoyed the hotel immensely. Even my DH can never get over the Disney details and just how *well* they do everything. Meals were nice, but ridiculously expensive. We spent a lot of time just hanging out in the lobby, taking in the atmosphere while reading a book or catching up on facebook.

    The park itself, yes it was small, but still very Disney! DH had enough by the second afternoon, but I could have easily stayed for another few days just taking it all in. The atmosphere was slightly different, I guess with the different customs in Asia. It had more of a 'fend for yourself' feel. There was lots of pushing in lines, and people spitting (mainly in bins, but still), which to me is just the most disgusting thing in the world. Of course, I'm only comparing to Anaheim where I found most people to be polite and courteous, and even friendly, with a lot more of a 'looking out for each other' kind of vibe.

    Now, onto the details!
     
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  3. zanzibar138

    zanzibar138 DIS Veteran

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    Our flight got in to HK at about 12:30pm. HK airport is like a maze, and it felt like we were going around in circles following the signs to passport control. When we got there the line was insanely long, but surprisingly, went fairly quickly. As we had nothing to declare, customs was easy.

    The next challenge was finding our shuttle bus (which the travel agent had arranged for us before we had a chance to say 'no thanks we'll catch the train'). We found a pole with the correct number on it, that told us to go elsewhere. So we got a bit lost and finally found elsewhere. We checked in with the people there and were told to take a seat while they organised the bus. Ok.

    It was at least half an hour later, after quite a few more people had turned up, that we were finally given any more instructions. We were told to 'follow me'. I felt a bit silly traipsing around HK airport after a guy holding up a flag. As we passed the train station I looked longingly, thinking if we'd have just caught the train we probably would have been there by now. After 10 minutes of traipsing we were told to sit and wait again.

    In the time we were there, about half a dozen other groups traipsing after a guy carrying a flag all arrived and departed on their buses. After another half an hour, more action started happening for us. Random people kept coming in and announcing hotel names, and small groups would peel off and follow them, and take off in their buses. Finally, someone said 'Disneyland Hotel'. So we got up and followed them to the bus, and sat there waiting for another 10 minutes before we FINALLY left the airport at about 3:30pm.

    Lesson learned... catch the train.
     
  4. zanzibar138

    zanzibar138 DIS Veteran

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    We FINALLY got to the hotel. Bell services immediately grabbed our luggage and sent it straight to our room. Upon entering the hotel the first thing we noticed was the magnificent lobby, but checked in before investigating any further.

    The check in staff were friendly and helpful. Even though our annual pass print outs said we needed to go to the park to redeem our passes, our check in assistant was able to do it for us. She gave us a whole heap of loot - maps, pamphlets, dining options, passholder information, hotel information etc, and went through most of it with us. Then sent us up to our room on the 6th floor (the highest up below concierge level). We were told to get the elevator all the way in the opposite corner to where check in was, so we dilligently followed her instructions, and found our room.

    Immediately when we opened the door, this horrid stench started coming out of the room. We walked in to investigate, wondering what the awful smell was and hoping it would go away. Then I noticed an ash tray on the desk. The smell was making us both feel quite ill, so I called guest services to enquire about an alternative non-smoking room. She managed to find us one that was just being cleaned and said someone would be up in 10 minutes to take us and our luggage to the new room. In the meantime I had a little look around, checked out the view from the (non-opening) window, which was lovely. It overlooked the Mickey maze with the sea in the background, even though we'd only booked a garden view room. We ended up waiting in the hallway for the last 5 minutes because the smell was so bad.

    We were eventually met and transferred to our new room. It had a lovely view of the carpark. But it had a balcony which was beautiful, and we immediately opened the door to get some fresh air.

    Later on we figured out that the room actually overlooked the park (we just couldn't see the park through the trees) and that we would actually have a view of the fireworks.

    I immediately went around taking pictures before DH 'ruined' anything lol!

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  5. zanzibar138

    zanzibar138 DIS Veteran

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    By the time we got settled in our room, it was nearly dinner time. Of course I was pretty keen to get to the park, so we decided we'd go and see what was on offer for dinner over there.

    My cameras both fit in my pockets, and I had my lanyard with my annual pass, room key, and ID (required for the first entry into the park). So no need for a bag which was very handy.

    Here I am ready to go.

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    We decided we'd walk to the park as I'd read that it was a short walk and I'd seen the little path to the park from our bus as we pulled into the hotel. Now, where was that pesky little path again???

    I got a pic of one of the chandeliers in the lobby as we were leaving the hotel. They were pretty impressive!

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    We also found another elevator that was MUCH closer to our rooms. It was the big birdcage style one in the lobby so maybe they tried to discourage people from going in there with all their luggage.

    We actually turned the wrong way out of the hotel and ended up going through the carpark and towards the Hollywood Hotel. Soon enough though we came across a sign for Disneyland that was pointing the opposite direction, so we turned around.

    The path was VERY quiet. I thought it was just because of the time of night, but we never really saw it much busier. I think for some insane reason that I can't think of, people just preferred to get the shuttle bus.

    The path had Disney character banners on either side of it, and Disney music piped in, and it was a very enjoyable walk. DH was pretty tired by that stage so I didn't stop to take too many photos on that first walk in.

    This topiary was at the junction between the path to the hotels, the path to the pier, and the path to the park.

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    And we got a lovely welcome from Mickey.

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    Now and then there were feature trees or fountains to break up the path a bit, and some of the trees had plaques with information about the species and where its from. It was quite interesting reading the next morning when I wasn't so rushed.

    When I saw the famous 'Mickey surfing on the whale' fountain, I knew we couldn't be too far away, particularly given the sudden influx of people coming from the opposite direction (which I figured out must be where the train station was).

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    Lo and behold, we turned the corner, and were greeted by a familiar sight.

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  6. zanzibar138

    zanzibar138 DIS Veteran

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    I felt quite important going through the turnstiles as an annual passholder. We both got our fingerprints taken for next time (so we didn't have to keep taking our ID with us) and we were in!

    We'd decided that we would take a ride on the train first, so we made our way to Main Street Station. Just as we were climbing the steps, a train pulled up, so that was pretty good timing. The trains in HK have 2 rows of bench seats, both facing into the park, with the one behind raised up a bit so everyone can see. And of course they have bits and pieces set up along the track to keep the passengers entertained. As we got to the Jungle Cruise, there were a few animatronics to look at, and we saw a boat go past too.

    We got off at Fantasyland Station, which wasn't too much further along. It's only the 2 stations in HK.

    Directly in front of us was Winnie the Pooh. DH, bless his heart, had remembered that we hadn't been able to do Winnie the Pooh in Anaheim, so suggested we go there first. I loved the theming in the queue area with the giant book pages, but it was our first experience of the pushing and personal space invasion which were to become the norm of the next few days.

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    As I mentioned, we didn't do Winnie the Pooh in Anaheim, so I can't compare. But it was a fun little ride. There were the special effects for bouncing along with Tigger, and sailing along on the river, and wind in your face in the blustery day scene. I'm glad I got to do it.

    Next we decided to check out what we could find for dinner. The Royal Banquet Hall was right next to us, so we decided to go in there. I had a chicken curry with rice and tomato soup that was quite good. DH decided to try a western style steak which he said was a bit disappointing. The theming never ceases to amaze me.

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    After dinner we wandered back towards Adventureland, and ended up on the Jungle Cruise. It was just getting dark, and it was a pretty good time to do it I think. Added to the mystery a bit. I actually enjoyed this version a lot more than the Anaheim one. I think the scenery looked a bit more realistic, and it had a couple of updated scenes. The fire and water scene at the end was pretty good.

    Next we thought we'd check out Tarzan's Treehouse, which, as you might know is on an island that you have to take a raft to. So we got on the raft and made our way across. The only trouble with the raft is that a whole group of people arrive on the island at once, and all go directly to the start of the tree climb. So even though there may not be that many people there, you all seem to be in the same spot at once. We enjoyed the view from the tree anyway, trying to figure out where everything was.

    We thought since it was our first night, we'd see what the view of the fireworks was like from our balcony (the fireworks are on every night). We headed into the bakery on our way out to get some dessert. I got one of these Minnie chestnut chocolate tart things which I thought was quite good, but DH didn't like. I forget what he got.

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    The walk back to the hotel was only 15 minutes max. And once again, the path was practically empty. We got settled on our balcony with a glass of wine ready to view the fireworks. I'd figured out in the park that from our balcony, the castle would pretty much be directly in front of us, so thought we should actually have a pretty good view.

    Unfortunately we realised once the fireworks started that they weren't actually launched from the castle, and were fairly well obstructed by a tree to the left of the balcony. Still, it was a good taster and we enjoyed it anyway. We were only wishing that they piped the soundtrack into the balconies (we later found out that they played the soundtrack on a specific channel on the TV).

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    After that we went to bed, to be ready for another exciting day.
     
  7. zanzibar138

    zanzibar138 DIS Veteran

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    We had decided the previous night, that I would go to the park on my own in the morning, so I could feel free to look at exactly what I wanted to, and take as many pictures as I wanted. Then we were going to meet up for lunch back at the Royal Banquet Hall again.

    In the morning we ended up waking at about the same time anyway, so we figured we may as well go to breakfast together. We ended up going to check out Walt's.

    I took this photo of the door on the way out. I was pretty impressed that each door had its own proper little knocker lol!

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    Walt's looked lovely.

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    We both had the American style breakfast with sausages and apple juice. I had my eggs scrambled and DH had his 'over-easy'. The sausages were a bit different, and DH's eggs were well undercooked for his liking. My scrambled eggs were fine, but there was far too much!

    After breakfast we split up as planned and I headed out to the park.

    I took a few photos in the hotel lobby first, as I had wanted to the previous day.

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    And I got some more photos of the pathway.

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  8. zanzibar138

    zanzibar138 DIS Veteran

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    I particularly wanted to buy a set of Minnie Mouse ear hair clips for the day, so I thought I would just wander down Main Street and check out the shops there. I went to the Emporium first (where I got my mouse ears, and 'earmarked' a few other things for later!).

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    Coming out of the Emporium, I was lucky enough to catch the marching band, and hung around watching for a while.

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    I checked out each shop in turn, marvelling at the bejewelled Disney characters in the jewellery store (and getting annoyed by the assistant who was shadowing me), drooling over some gorgeous t-shirts in the merchandise shop, and wondering at all the tinned biscuits available in the confectionery shop. I took other pictures, but they all got lost when my laptop got stolen on the way home (I only have what I uploaded to facebook).

    At the end of Main Street I spied the Plaza Inn Restaurant. It was our favourite in Anaheim, so I thought I'd take a pic of its HK cousin.

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    Then I had a chance to really check out the castle. As far as castles go, it is definitely on the smallish side. It has more than enough charm to make up for it though. It was lovely with the mountains in the background, and although Tinker Bell doesn't light it up at night anymore, it still has her pixie dust wound around it, which sparkles in the sun/moonlight.

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    It was odd not seeing a partners statue, but the gardens around the front of the castle were lovely.

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    To the right where Snow White's Grotto is they do character greetings (with princesses of course!).

    I walked straight through the castle to Fantasyland, and thought I would check out the store at Pooh Corner, which is right at the back of the castle.

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    Between the store and the ride there was this cute statue, which looks just like a picture I have of Pooh and Piglet.

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    And this is the back of the castle.

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    Since I was close to our meeting place and time, I thought I'd just hang out around there a bit, so I took some photos of the carousel, and Dumbo with the mountains in the background. And, perfect timing, just as I was taking photos of Dumbo, several Disney characters got on! Mickey, Minnie and Goofy all had a go!

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    Just as that was all happening, DH found me, and we continued our travels together for a while.
     
  9. zanzibar138

    zanzibar138 DIS Veteran

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    DH and I both decided that we weren't hungry yet, so thought we'd wander a bit more before lunch. The night before, I had noticed Mickey's Philharmagic close by, so I suggested we do that.

    I really enjoyed the show. DH struggles with 3D, but I think he enjoyed most of it too. I wouldn't have minded doing it again actually.

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    After that we kept wandering towards Adventureland again, which I get the impression was DH's favourite part of the park. We passed the entrance to Toy Story Land, and hadn't been there yet, so we thought we better check it out.

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    I actually found Toy Story Land to be underwhelming. Of course, all the Disney details were there. I especially liked the effect of the 'grass' being so tall. But it really did seem like a tacked on land with not so much thought put into it. The rides were very close together and all had much the same theming. And I thought there was too much emphasis on photo opportunities.

    We weren't that keen on any of the rides there. We thought RC Racer would probably make us sick, and Slinky Dog was more of a kiddie looking ride. We wouldn't have minded doing the Toy Soldier Drop if it was a walk-on, but we weren't willing to wait half an hour for it.

    We got a pizza cone from the food cart and ate that while we considered our next move. I wasn't a big fan - it was all sauce and cheese!

    We decided to wander over to Tomorrowland, as that was the only part of the park we hadn't been to yet.

    Along the way I took some photos of the Jungle Cruise (at the fire and water part).

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    And the bridge to Tarzan's Treehouse rafts and Festival of the Lion King (which was down for maintenance while we were there).

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    We found a cute little waterfall grotto at the back of Adventureland.

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    We went through the back way to Main Street, by the side of the castle.

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    Then made our way to Space Mountain. Which only had a 10 minute wait!

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    After Space Mountain I suggested Buzz Lightyear, but DH wanted something a little more sedate. So then I suggested the Golden Mickeys. So we went through the back way to Fantasyland, but unfortunately there was a couple of hours until the next show.

    Still, we hadn't been to that side of Fantasyland yet, so I took it all in as we walked through and took some photos around Fantasia Gardens.

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    We headed back to Adventureland to try out the Riverview Cafe for lunch. I had a stir fried beef thing with noodles and DH had the Fijian fried rice. Neither of us were that impressed to be honest, but I think we were both just hanging out for some western style food by then.

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    DH was getting bored by that stage and wanted to do something else, but I wanted to stay for the parade. So we thought we'd split up again. And since DH was going back to the hotel, I thought I'd do some shopping so he could take it back with him :-)

    In the confectionery store.

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    And a very cool model house, complete with Disney touches in every room.

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    DH pointed out this silhouette of Mickey in the Emporium.

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    I sent DH off with the goodies, and went to find a good spot for the parade.
     
  10. zanzibar138

    zanzibar138 DIS Veteran

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    When we were in Anaheim, there were no full parades on at either park (only the little Pixar pop-up parades), so I was pretty excited about seeing the parade, and wanted to get a good spot. However, by the time I had sent DH off with the shopping and started wondering where a good spot would be, there wasn't much left to choose from.

    I was thinking it would be cool to get pictures of the parade with the castle in the background, so thought I'd check out the view from upstairs at the Main Street station.

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    Yep, good enough for me :-) I stood a bit to the side as there was a big gazebo right in the middle which I was trying to avoid having in all my photos. I was still early enough that I could choose where I wanted to stand (there was still 10 minutes until the start time).

    Because of my viewing location, my photos are a little mixed up, as I took some when I could see them coming along Main Street, and then some more when the floats were directly in front of me. So for the purpose of simplicity, I'll just upload them here by float. I'm also very disappointed that I've lost all my extra photos from the parade, as I only uploaded a small portion to facebook.

    Dumbo led the parade up Main Street.

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    Dumbo was followed by Mickey and the gang on this floating ship. The parade stopped for the interactive parts when Mickey was directly in front of the castle, then again when he reached the end of Main Street.

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    Mickey was followed by Winnie the Pooh and Co in a 'heffalumps and woozles' themed balloon. The second float had 'bees' on bungee cords, and 'tiggers' bouncing on pogo stick things.

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    I didn't see the princess float coming because it was shorter than the others. But I managed to snap a few pics as they came in front of me in this beautiful swan boat.

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    Then it was a jungle themed float. It had characters from both The Lion King and The Jungle Book on it.

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    Then there was a fairies float. It was just a little one with Tinker Bell in it, and I'm not that into fairies so I didn't get many pics.

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    After that was Lilo and Stitch. This float was pretty cool. The big wave was decorated with heaps of flowers, with the big swing under it.

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    And the parade finished off with (of course) a Toy Story float. I've lost most of my pictures of this one unfortunately. I've only got this one left of the green army men doing a bit of a choreographed routine.

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    I LOVED the parade :cloud9: So glad I stayed for it, and I was a little disappointed I didn't get to see it again.
     
  11. PrincessInOz

    PrincessInOz Thanks for my avatar, Mary Jo!

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    :wave:
    Congratulations Mr and Mrs. Sounds like you had a brilliant honeymoon.

    It's lovely to see your photos and read your perspective on disney so far. Mine will take a little bit longer to get up to your stage. I laughed when I read your experience with the bus. We caught the taxi instead.

    There were at least 4 other groups of travellers on our flight heading to DLR. Despite being the last ones out of the airport, we beat them all to the resort by a country mile.

    Don't know how the train would work out; but it would definitely be better than the bus. I found the MTR so efficient and convenient.

    Looking forward to reading more of your trip!
     
  12. zanzibar138

    zanzibar138 DIS Veteran

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    After the parade I started wandering towards the Golden Mickeys, as I knew there was a show coming up. I walked straight down Main Street and through the castle, as I wanted to get some more photos of that side of the park.

    I wandered through Fantasia Gardens. Unfortunately I didn't really have time to hang around for character meetings (they'd just gone for a break), but I got some photos of the topiaries and it was a nice place to wander.

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    I walked past the tea cups.

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    And thought I'd check out IASW. I didn't have a ride, just wanted to see how it compared to its Anaheim counterpart. The facade was very similar, but the landscaping was definitely lacking.

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    Then it was time to line up for the Golden Mickeys. I had about 20 minutes before the next show, and the line wasn't too long. It was definitely a lllloooonnnngggg wait on my own! But definitely worth it - the show was awesome! The speaking part was all in Cantonese with English subtitles on a TV screen next to the stage. But the most entertaining part was the singing and dancing numbers, which were all Disney songs that we all know and love anyway (in English). Besides which, it was somewhat amusing hearing the fab 5 speak Cantonese lol! There was no photography allowed in the theatre, so I just got this one photo of the entry.

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    After that I'd kind of had enough of being on my own, and thought I'd try to catch DH for dinner.

    I saw this familiar face on the way out.

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    I rushed a bit on the way back to the hotel because I didn't know what time DH might have dinner and didn't want to miss him. I needn't have worried. I walked into the lobby and there he was reading a book. Turns out that's where he'd been the whole afternoon, watching the greetings with the princesses, listening to the pianist, and reading his book. He'd really enjoyed just sitting there relaxing in such a nice atmosphere.

    The pianist was just finishing off when I arrived, and DH wanted to wait for him to come back, so we ordered some drinks and sat there people watching for a while. The princesses had retired to their castles for the night, but it was fun anyway.

    My drink was a fruit punch - it was really yummy and it was a mocktail, so kid friendly too!

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    Once the pianist came back, we listened to a couple of songs, then headed to Walt's for dinner. I forget what DH had, but I had the butter chicken which was the best meal I'd had for a long time. DH did have a really good cocktail though - I think it was called California Dreaming or something.

    After dinner we went back to our room, and watched the fireworks from the balcony again before heading to bed.
     
  13. zanzibar138

    zanzibar138 DIS Veteran

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    Yep, it was awesome!

    I'm pretty keen on taking my mum back for a visit, and will definitely be suggesting we take the train.

    I'm enjoying reading yours so far. It's nice to see things from a different perspective, and I'm looking forward to reading about HK itself, as we didn't really get there in the end.

    I thought I'd start with Disney, but I will be adding a bit about Vietnam and Africa later if you're interested in those too (probably not in as much detail though lol!).
     
  14. PrincessInOz

    PrincessInOz Thanks for my avatar, Mary Jo!

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    I'll have lots of details. :laughing:

    I was surprised about your comment about the Golden Mickeys. I certainly took lots of pictures in there....no one said anything about no photography to my knowledge....just no flash photography.
     
  15. zanzibar138

    zanzibar138 DIS Veteran

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    DH had booked a character brekky for us on the Thursday morning at the Enchanted Garden. We had the first session which from memory started at 7:30am or something. The second one started at 9:30am.

    The restaurant is on the floor below the lobby. You can either take the regular lift, the fancy birdcage lift, or the stairs.

    Here's the entrance to the restaurant.

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    The restaurant was HUGE! There was seating inside and out, and it ended up being full.

    The brekky was good. As we were accustomed to by this point, there was both Asian and Western offerings. By this time the novelty of having noodles and prawn dumplings for breakfast had worn off and I was pretty keen to get back to toast and cereal lol! I did enjoy the Mickey pancakes though.

    We were pretty much finished our brekky by the time we met our first character.

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    A lot of people didn't quite seem to grasp the concept of the character breakfast, and kept getting up and trying to interrupt the characters at other tables. The character carers sure had their hands full!

    It was quite a long wait between characters, as there only ended up being four, and there were a LOT of people to get through.

    Next up was Daisy, which I was a bit excited about as I haven't met her before!

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    Then Goofy came along in all his chefy finest.

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    And Mickey of course!

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    Overall we were a bit disappointed, but I think it was because we got spoilt with our first ever character brekky in Anaheim, where we barely had time to talk between characters and got to meet about a dozen of them! For over $30 AUD, we were expecting a bit more.

    Since it was still early after brekky, we decided to wander around the hotel a bit before heading to the park.

    We thought since we were on the ground level we'd check out the indoor pool. Most of the time we were there it was too cold for swimming, so we never bothered to use it. It looked nice though.

    The outdoor pool was closed for maintenance (as was the one at the Hollywood Hotel, meaning that any guests from either hotel who wanted to swim had to use our small indoor pool), but we were able to walk around it and have a look. We thought it was in a bit of a weird spot, kind of tucked in a corner out of the way.

    We made our way around to the back of the hotel and found the Mickey maze.

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    There's a nice view from out there too which we checked out for a while. Over the other side of the hotel there was a huge lawn area that would be great for letting the kids use up a bit of energy.

    We came out in what seemed to be a service entrance, and I kept telling DH I didn't think we were supposed to be there, but there were no signs and no one told us otherwise. We walked down the driveway and came out at the other side of the front of the hotel, where there was a big sign saying 'Staff only beyong this point' lol!

    Where we came out was the conference centre and attached lawn area. Then we passed the shuttle bus stop on the way back to the lobby.

    By that time it was nearly park opening time anyway, so we decided to just walk straight past and make our way to the park.
     
  16. zanzibar138

    zanzibar138 DIS Veteran

    Joined:
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    Oh maybe I got confused then. It does tend to happen from time to time :rotfl: I think I would have struggled to get any good shots anyway without a flash with my camera.

    I was extra careful too coz I saw someone get in trouble for taking video.

    I'll look forward to seeing your photos anyway :-)
     
  17. PrincessInOz

    PrincessInOz Thanks for my avatar, Mary Jo!

    Joined:
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    Messages:
    100,433
    Oooh! They must have been more relaxed in April. There were heaps of people taking pictures and some of them were videoing as well. Both at the Golden Mickeys and also at FoTLK.
     
  18. zanzibar138

    zanzibar138 DIS Veteran

    Joined:
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    Messages:
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    By the time we made our way to the park it was about 9:45am, and the park was due to open at 10am. There were already lines at each gate, but we weren't too far back.

    The park opened without much ado - people just kinda started going through the turnstiles. We soon realised we had (once again) chosen the wrong line! Ours was ridiculously slow!

    Once we were in the park, and over our disappointment at having lost our advantage, we headed straight for Autopia (DH's suggestion). However, when we got to the hub it was still roped off. We asked the CM and he told us the rope would drop at 10:30am! So, be warned, it is opposite to Anaheim, where the advertised park opening time means rope drop, but they open the gates 1/2 hour early. In HK apparently the advertised opening time is when the gates open, but then you have to wait another 1/2 hour for rope drop.

    Anyway, even though we were one of the first at the rope, we decided we were not that anxious to be first in line for Autopia that we were going to hang around there for 1/2 hour. We walked back up Main Street to see what we could do to fill in the time.

    We decided to check out the Art of Animation/temporary magic access pass centre. We soon realised that we'd started going around the wrong way, when we started off with the latest Pixar movies, then saw Aladdin/The Little Mermaid/Beauty and the Beast, then the Jungle Book, Cinderella, and ended up at Snow White. Still, I always love seeing the artwork behind the movies!

    We noticed some people were lining up and getting free stuff, so we thought we'd check that out - I'm not one to ever turn back any free Disney stuff! Turns out if you had a magic access pass (which we did), you got a little pack of Disney trading cards. When I opened them later I found out that we got EXACTLY the same ones, so felt a little ripped off!

    After that it was nearly 10:30am, so we thought we'd make our way back to the hub for the actual rope drop. When we exited the building we saw some of the cast members doing some welcome street art.

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    The stuff they were using to 'paint' with looked like molasses. And then the welcome sign was little pebbles all lined up to make letters. We stood watching for a couple of minutes as it was pretty cool to see.

    We had of course lost our good spots when we arrived back at the rope, so I couldn't really see what the opening ceremony was like, but it didn't seem to be that exciting. And then we were FINALLY walking, not running (lol!) to Autopia.
     
  19. zanzibar138

    zanzibar138 DIS Veteran

    Joined:
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    By the time we got to Autopia there was about a 10 minute line. But they only had one track operating at that stage. We waited patiently for our car, and hopped in.

    DH didn't realise you were supposed to steer, and thought all the bumping around was part of the ride :lmao: I soon informed him that he was mistaken, and we were really on our way.

    I haven't been on Autopia in Anaheim, so I don't really have much to compare it to, but it was a nice ride, and the scenery was cool and 'spacey'. But then I've always been a big fan of topiaries. I believe DH was underwhelmed, but I'm not sure what he was expecting. I realised that in HK it's probably even a novelty for a lot of adults to be driving cars...

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    When we exited the ride we noticed that they had opened up another track, so there was actually less of a line than when we were lining up...

    While we were in Tomorrowland, we thought we'd take a spin on the Astro Blasters. It was a walk on. It really was much the same as its Anaheim cousin, except that it didn't take your photo. I liked that bit in Anaheim where you could then email your photo.

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    The ride actually stopped twice while we were on it, which was actually quite good for our scores lol! I didn't realise at first, but while it's stopped you can still keep shooting.

    After that we'd pretty much done all the rides and shows that we wanted and were able to, so I suggested we re-visit the Jungle Cruise and Tarzan's Treehouse so I could get some better photos.

    On the way through we stopped for a snack. I ended up with a Minnie ice-cream bar which was mango and strawberry flavoured. DH got a jelly bar which was a bit strange, but apparently tasted ok.

    The Jungle Cruise was pretty much a walk-on. Here's DH in the line.

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    It was actually amazing how many people were in the line for the English version, who clearly didn't speak English as a first language. I guess anyone who doesn't speak Chinese has to do that one...

    Our boat was the Zambezi something (I did have a photo with the proper name and everything, but I hadn't uploaded it to facebook so lost it... :furious:), which was ironic as after visiting Hong Kong our next destination was the Zambezi River :rotfl:

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    In another ironic twist, we would also later on see a REAL hippo doing this on the Zambezi River!

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    We then made our way to the raft to Tarzan's Treehouse. DH offered to take my photo on the way through.

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    After getting off the raft at Tarzan's Island, you walk through a little waterfall grotto to get to the treehouse.

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    Other than being on an island, the actual treehouse is much the same as the one in Anaheim.

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    But the view is kinda different. Here's the view towards Fantasyland, looking over the Jungle Cruise queue area.

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    This is the view looking back towards the hotel, and over a yet-to-be-opened land, which looks suspiciously like it could be Grizzly Gulch (that mountain looks very 'mine train ride' to me!).

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    And here's a Jungle Cruise boat going past.

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    And of course at the bottom there are all sorts of interactive bits and pieces.

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    Once we were finished with the treehouse we made our way back to the raft area. A bit of a line formed behind us, then some pirates came and started terrorising people in the line! They tried to board our raft but were told they must also join the line. So with much huffing and puffing they joined the end of the line and boarded properly.

    Once we were on the raft, they got one of the young boys there to raise their pirate flag, and we hung around for a while for people to get photos etc. Of course this was all in Chinese lol! At one point one of the pirates turned to us and asked if we had any idea what was going on... we said the raft had clearly been taken over by pirates. He seemed pretty pleased with that.

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    Before long we were back on the mainland Adventureland.

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  20. zanzibar138

    zanzibar138 DIS Veteran

    Joined:
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    4,076
    It was getting towards lunch time then, so we thought we'd go to the Main Street bakery to get some lunch.

    Going through the hub, we finally noticed the star guest program stand.

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    One of the CMs standing around told us to go and line up, so we did, still not really knowing what we were going to get! We were given a little pack with a gold badge, a couple of tokens to give to cast members, and an activity book. It took us a long time to work out what to do with them due to the language barrier, but eventually we figured out that the point was that CMs were supposed to give whoever was wearing a gold badge special treatment, and when that happened, you gave them one of the tokens. In the end I decided to just put my badge on and see what happened.

    While we were hanging around there, we saw the marching band again.

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    Once they were finished their set at the hub, they hung around for photos with guests, and even let the guests have photos playing their instruments (only the non-mouth based ones).

    We wandered up to the bakery and got some lunch there. We both got what appeared to be something like a hot dog, but the bread seemed to be baked around the sausage. It turned out to have some weird sauce in it too, so I basically just ended up removing all the bread and just eating the sausage... I also got a chocolate mousse, which was very yummy!

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    We ate in the little courtyard next to the bakery. There was a food cart that cut the courtyard off from the street, and on the other side there was a merchandise shop. At the back there was a sign for a dentist, and now and then they piped in a conversation of someone at the dentist having a tooth removed.

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    After lunch we thought we'd go and check out some of the other sites around the area and come back for the fireworks.

    DH snapped this pic as were exiting the park.

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  21. zanzibar138

    zanzibar138 DIS Veteran

    Joined:
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    I wanted to check out the Hollywood Hotel while we were there, so we decided to catch the resort shuttle. The shuttle station was just past the train station, and it was a rather uneventful trip. Given it was in the middle of the day, the shuttle was fairly quiet, but I was still quite surprised by the number of people using it.

    This was from the shuttle bus stop at the Hollywood Hotel.

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    I didn't really take many pictures of the lobby, probably because it wasn't that impressive. There were check in desks on the left, and a whole heap of chairs on the right for people to sit and wait. It reminded me of an airport, and certainly had none of the opulence of the HK DL Hotel. Still, there were little Disney touches everywhere - it was very Mickey oriented.

    We would come back and visit the gift shop later, but I couldn't help getting this pic as we walked past.

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    They seemed to be doing a lot of work around the place. It looked like they were doing some painting at the front, and there were lots of blocked off places, including their pool. From the lobby, there were lots of hallways leading to the various restaurants and amenities. We preferred the openness of the HK DL Hotel.

    We went outside to check out the landscaping.

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    We were able to walk past the pool, but not enter the enclosure. It wasn't really worth taking pictures from that angle. After hearing so much about their pool, I was slightly underwhelmed. It was a novelty being piano shaped, but it didn't look any bigger than the one at the HK DL Hotel.

    I did enjoy their retro Hollywood themed landscaping though.

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    And the view from the back over the sea. This was similar to the view from the back of the HK DL Hotel too.

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    After wandering for a while we went back inside to the gift shop. This is where I ended up doing most of my shopping as they had a sale on! I ended up with a t-shirt and a jacket for me, a t-shirt for Mum and a top for SIL.

    This is where I had my first experience with the star guest program (the gold badges). One of the CMs in the shop gave me a couple of stickers. I didn't think much of it at the time, but then I remembered about the tokens and realised I should have given her one. I went back to find her, and she'd actually gone to get me MORE stickers! She'd noticed my Toy Story lanyard (that came with the annual pass) so had gone to find me some Toy Story stickers! I gave her the token and she seemed very pleased. She asked what characters I liked and suggested if I like princesses I should go have a look at the other hotel lol! She also gave us some inside info about the dinner at Chef Mickey's. She said they were piloting some character appearances there and they might send Mickey in that night. After thanking her very much and gathering my many new belongings, we left to go back to our hotel, feeling quite lucky that we'd ventured further afield.

    We decided to just walk back to our hotel, which was only a few minutes away. It was just an ordinary path with no Disney theming or music, but nice landscaping around nonetheless.

    When we got back we thought we'd just sit in the lobby and enjoy the ambience for a while. We'd no sooner sat down, then we saw Belle and Aurora coming out! I got up straight away and was second in line. Belle asked if I'd like a photo with my prince too, and Aurora asked if we'd met once upon a dream ;)

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    We sat back down and watched the princesses for a while. They eventually disappeared, and then Cinderella came out!

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    I was pretty thrilled as when we went to Anaheim I didn't really get to meet any princesses, and now I'd just met 3 within about half an hour, and with very little wait!

    When the princesses left, the band appeared on the little stand upstairs and started playing.

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    Eventually we decided to get up and take our stuff to our room, and decide what we were going to do for dinner. On the way we passed the band (the stand was on our floor), and they were really friendly, smiling and waving when they weren't busy playing.

    We decided to take the CMs advice and head back to the Hollywood Hotel to check out Chef Mickey's for dinner. I put on my new jacket :-)

    When we got there, Goofy was hanging around in the lobby! I was thrilled as all the photos DH had got of me and Goofy at the character brekky were blurry. Again, I was second in line.

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    Unfortunately I have lost all the photos I took at Chef Mickey's. The ceiling was very cool. There was a great variety of food available for main and dessert, and we both left feeling quite full. Having said that, when we saw the price we kinda wished we'd eaten more lol! We both enjoyed it anyway, despite not being lucky enough to see Mickey.

    After dinner it was time to head back to the park for the fireworks. I figured we'd aim for Main Street Station again as that had been a great spot for parade viewing. We took the shuttle bus back to the park, which was pretty full.

    We got to Main Street station about half an hour before the fireworks were due to start, so I still had a pretty good choice of spots to set up. I ended up in a very similar spot to where I viewed the parade.

    And without further ado... here are my fireworks photos!

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    The main difference I found between these fireworks and the ones in Anaheim was that there were far fewer of the traditional high circular fireworks. There were a lot more effects involving the castle, so it was worthwhile viewing from directly in front. I really enjoyed them though, especially the Mulan section, and told DH that we would have to come back so I could view them properly without taking photos.

    And with that, we headed back to our hotel, to ready ourselves for what would turn out to be an eventful next day.
     

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