Hong Kong Disneyland

Discussion in 'UK Trip Reports Board' started by steve76, May 16, 2009.

  1. steve76

    steve76 Mouseketeer

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    Part One - Introduction

    I recently visited Hong Kong Disneyland for the first time. Whilst I was planning my trip, I found that there was relatively little information on the internet about this park. So, I thought that I would do my little bit to help correct this by posting a short report – a combination of trip report and review. I’ve cross-posted this to both the Trip Reports and UK Trip Reports Board.

    My visit to HKDL spanned two days: a short visit on Wednesday 6th May 2009 (covered in Part Two) in which I looked around Inspiration Lake and the Resort area; and a full day at the Park itself on Thursday 7th April 2009 (covered in Part Three – to follow). I will summarise my thoughts on the park in Part Four (to follow).

    I should say in advance that I have been to Disney World many times, and Disneyland Paris a few times, but I have not been to Disneyland in California. This is significant as many aspects of the Park are based on Disneyland rather than the other Magic Kingdoms.

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    Here goes... :wizard:
     
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  3. steve76

    steve76 Mouseketeer

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    Part Two - Wednesday, 6th May 2009

    I had spent the morning and early afternoon visiting Ngong Ping, an area on Lantau Island, just West of Hong Kong. The area comprises a cultural themed village, Buddah statue, Monastery and other attractions, reached by a spectacular Cable Car ride from the town of Tung Chung on the island’s North coast, very close to the airport. I had seen everything that I wanted to at Ngong Ping by mid-afternoon, so decided to stop by Hong Kong Disneyland for a couple of hours on the way back to Hong Kong. I had planned to spend the evening at Happy Valley race course, so only had a few hours to spare.

    I got the MTR (subway) from Tung Chung one stop to Sunny Bay. At Sunny Bay, I changed to the Disneyland Resort Line – a dedicated train line which runs through a tunnel and between the hills to the North-East side of the island, where Disneyland is located. The Resort is built on reclaimed land, in what was once a bay, surrounded by mountains and the South China Sea.

    As the train pulls into the platform, you are left in no doubt as to whether it’s the right train. Even though the trains are a part of the MTR system, requiring a ticket, they are themed to Disney. The windows are in the shape of Mickey ears, and the inside is decorated with pictures of Walt at Disneyland and statues of Disney characters. Even the handles to hold on to are Mickey-shaped.

    The journey to Disneyland took only a couple of minutes. The Disneyland station is Victorian themed. From the train, you make your way up the stairs, where you emerge in front of a ‘Welcome to Hong Kong Disneyland’ banner. This marks the start of the Promenade which leads to the Park entrance (and carries on past the Park to the sea and the hotels).

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    By this stage, I had been in Hong Kong for nearly a week, and was quite impressed that I had managed to resist the temptation to abandon all my plans and go straight to Disneyland. (It was tempting – but Hong Kong is a spectacular city with so much to offer). Well, my visit to the park would have to wait one day more, as I was to return the following day for a full day at the park. Today’s trip was to visit Inspiration Lake and have a look around the rest of the resort. So, instead of heading towards the park, I headed in the other direction.

    Behind the train station are the bus stops, taxi ranks and car parks. I walked through these and out to Fantasy Road. The first thing that strikes you is how beautifully landscaped the resort is. The roads are surrounded by landscaped gardens which are very pretty to look at in their own right. I was very impressed at the attention given to areas which most guests would never see.

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    The picture below shows the map of the resort area so you can see where I’m talking about. I’m now walking along the road to the North of the park, towards the lake in the North-West of the Resort. I made my way along the road and under the underpass to Inspiration Lake.

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    Inspiration Lake is part of the Disneyland Resort, but not really promoted very much. Admission is free. The lake is surrounded by paths and landscaped gardens, with seating, pagodas, waterfalls, fountains and great views of the surrounding mountains. You can rent boats or bicycles, or just do as I did and have a leisurely wander around the lake, enjoying the views. The lake is actually the reservoir for the Resort, but they have done a great job with it. Most visitors would never see it, but if you are staying on property and have lots of time, it’s definitely worth a visit. There were only a couple of other people at the lake when I was there, plus a wedding party having their photos taken.

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    (In this photo you can just about see the Disneyland Resort Line Train passing in the background)

    After a very pleasant hour strolling through the gardens, I headed towards the hotels, continuing to walk anti-clockwise around the back of the park. Again, the grounds are gorgeous. The main road, which serves the hotels and backstage areas, is a four-lane highway but there was only the occasional Disney bus going by. I could hear music from the park on my left but couldn’t quite work out what it was.

    I reached the first of two hotels: Disney’s Hollywood Hotel. This occupies the land between the park and the sea, but the building itself is set back somewhat from the sea. It is Art-Deco in style and I thought that the theming was really fun. As you walk in, you are greeted by bellhops who looked similar to those at the Tower of Terror. I had a quick look around the public areas and gift shop, and then walked through to the back of the hotel. The hotel has quite extensive grounds which lead from the hotel all the way down to the sea. The paths all have road names (Sunset Boulevard etc.) and there are props such as cars and a big ‘Hollywood Hotel’ sign in the style of the ‘Hollywood’ sign. There’s lots of open green space and whilst I was there there were a couple of families using this to let their kids play.

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    After relieving myself of some cash in the gift shop, I headed back out to the road and headed towards the second and final hotel. As you walk down the road, there are two more clearly-defined plots of land which I can only assume are site for future hotels. They have even built the road junctions, all ready to go, just not leading anywhere yet. Past these two plots is the second hotel – the Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel.

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    Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel - seen from the back.

    The Disneyland Hotel is built in the style of the Grand Floridian, but on a smaller and more intimate scale. As you walk in, the lobby opens up into a dining room with large windows looking out to the back. At the back, the main ‘feature’ is a hedge maze. Seen from the balcony of the hotel, the light green hedges in the middle make the shape of a Mickey head from the side. I thought that this was really neat, a nice change from just having the pool as the main feature, and fit perfectly with the style of the hotel. There is a pool, which is just around the corner. Unlike the Hollywood Hotel, this hotel is set right on the water, so a good number of the rooms would have sea views, looking out over the Sea towards Hong Kong and some of the outlying islands.

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    The Disneyland Hotel is classy and formal. The Hollywood Hotel is more fun and relaxed. If I were to stay on property, then I would probably opt for the Hollywood Hotel. The only slight downside is that it is further from the park (10-15 minute walk), though there are buses if that really is a problem. The Hollywood Hotel is also much cheaper.

    By this stage I was getting hot and hungry so I walked back to the Hollywood Hotel to eat at the Studio Lounge. This is located just off the lobby. I had a seat by the window and ordered the Chicken Teriyaki Burger. Even though this was essentially a bar meal, the food was exceptionally tasty.

    Having cooled off and filled my stomach, I decided to finish my walk all the way around Disneyland and head back to the MTR. Once you pass the Disneyland Hotel, you reach the pedestrian promenade – and the background music begins. The promenade runs from the MTR station right the way down to the sea, past the entrance to Disneyland. It is filled with topiaries, fountains and seating areas.

    I walked up the promenade towards the station. On the right, opposite the park, is more reclaimed land, currently hidden by trees. I think it is fairly clear that this is where the second park will go. They could either mirror the layout of the existing resort area, and have another row of hotels by the sea, or they could place the park right next to the sea and use it in its theming (like they have done at Tokyo DisneySea).

    Outside the entrance to the park itself is a huge fountain, with Mickey riding a surfboard on the spout from a Whale’s blowhole, and other Disney characters in various aquatic scenarios. Mickey rises and falls, and every few minutes the fountain puts on a bit of a ‘show’ in time to the music. Apparently, Disney built this fountain as this area of the Resort needed water in order for it to have good feng shui.

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    I had already bought my ticket online before leaving the UK, so I went to collect it from the ticket counters in case there was a queue the following morning.

    Overall, what I saw on my first day of the resort itself left me very impressed. I was impressed by how well planned the whole resort was, how attractive they had made it, and how they seemed to have built everything with one eye on future expansion and development. Whilst I knew that the Park itself was small and had fewer attractions than its counterparts, it is clear that in general Disney did not ‘cheap out’ when building this resort.

    In part three, I will discuss the following day, when I did actually make it into the park. I will post this in the next couple of days. In the meantime, if anyone has any questions, I'd be happy to try to answer them.
     
  4. wickesy

    wickesy <font color=royalblue>Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love y

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    Looking forward to the rest of this one. One of my ambitions is to visit all of the global Disney parks and I would like to do Hong Kong sooner rather than later.
     
  5. Cyrano

    Cyrano Moderator Moderator

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    Great report and photos. Looking forward to other installments :thumbsup2
     
  6. bombhead444

    bombhead444 Mouseketeer

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    Looking forward to reading more.:thumbsup2
     
  7. Pegasus928

    Pegasus928 DIS Veteran

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    Excellent report and some good pics giving an insight into Hong Kong.
    Thanks for taking the time to write it - looking forward to part 3.
     
  8. irongirlof12

    irongirlof12 <font color=blue><marquee>Am I the only one who lo

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    it all looks very peaceful and calm. :thumbsup2 looking forward to seeing and reading more.
     
  9. Tillybud

    Tillybud DIS Veteran

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    thank you for sharing this, Hong Kong Disneyland would be a dream come true if I was to visit. The pictures you've posted are beautiful, I can't wait to see and read some more :goodvibes
     
  10. oceanscape

    oceanscape DIS Veteran

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    WOW! Such a fantastic, well-written report and awesome pictures! Thanks for sharing! Can you make the pictures bigger in the next report? :rolleyes1 :cutie:
     
  11. steve76

    steve76 Mouseketeer

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    Your wish is my command... :wizard:

    I have also made the pictures in the original post larger. Enjoy!
     
  12. natalielongstaff

    natalielongstaff <font color=deeppink>I need a cup of tea and a big

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    great report, thank you :thumbsup2
     
  13. mark&sue

    mark&sue <font color=teal>I keep trying to convert everybod

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    wonderful report and such great photos illustrating your text so beautifully.

    would love to go here too one day so your report is really helpful.


    susan
     
  14. Nix

    Nix Earning My Ears

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    Great TR. I really want to go to one of the eastern disney's and this is just fueling my fire!
     
  15. gilld

    gilld <font color=deeppink>Will just have the butler ope

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    Great report.

    We are going to be in HK for 3 days next March. Can I ask, how far from the Peninsula Hotel would the park be? How long would we need if we were just going to look around the general area?
     
  16. Pinky166

    Pinky166 <font color=deeppink>a little on the OCD side<br><

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    Great report. I really wish it had been open when we were in Hong Kong a few years ago. Maybe one day we will make it back there.

    Looking forward to reading more. :thumbsup2
     
  17. raph_b

    raph_b <font color="red">Proud Redhead</font>

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    Thanks for posting this :)

    We're spending part of our honeymoon in Hong Kong in November and Disneyland Hong Kong will definitely be on the agenda!

    You are right - there is very little information on this park around so your great review and pics are very welcome!! :worship::worship::worship:

    Can't wait to read more in part 3
     
  18. steve76

    steve76 Mouseketeer

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    Nice choice of hotel! From the Peninsula hotel you would need to get the subway from Kowloon station (Tung Chung line) to Sunny Bay, then change to the Disneyland Resort Line. From memory it took me 25-30 minutes from Central (on Hong Kong Island) so for you it should be slightly less as you are closer. Alternatively you could get the Island Line (he says, looking at the map...) to Lai King, and then change to the Tung Chung line - this maybe easier as Tsim Sha Tsui station is closer to you than Kowloon Station.

    Either way, it's not far, and it's very easy to find as the Disneyland Resort Line is signposted from every station. The other options are to get a bus or taxi, but I think these are more expensive as you have to pay the tolls to get to Lantau Island.

    I spent all day at the park (10am - 8pm). I think that most visitors stay just a few hours (a morning or an afternoon, say), and that's probably enough if you're short on time and only want to hit a few of the rides. If you go during the week then you'll have the park to yourself so shouldn't spend too much time queuing.

    Inspiration Lake is maybe 10-15 minutes' walk from the station, and takes maybe an hour if you walk at a leisurely pace and stop a few times.

    Being located where it is on Lantau Island, it's very close to both the airport and the base of the Cable Car station for Ngong Ping. So it's very convenient to combine it with a visit to Ngong Ping or on the day that you leave.

    You didn't say whether this is a first visit, so forgive me if I'm teaching you to suck eggs, but one thing that I found out that was very useful: The Airport Express (the train service from the airport to the city) has a free service whereby you can check in for your flight at the station in Hong Kong (both the Hong Kong station on Hong Kong Island and the Kowloon Station), up to a day before your flight - including checking in your bags. I found this very useful as I had to be out of my hotel by 12 and my flight wasn't until nearly midnight. You can go to the station, check in and get rid of your bags, then go off and do some sightseeing or whatever. Then later in the evening, when you are ready, get the train to the airport and go straight through to departures.
     
  19. Tartan Tigger

    Tartan Tigger <font color=purple>I fixed my PC MYSELF!!!!!!!!<br

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    Looking forward to the next installment. Your photos are great, it looks so peaceful.
     
  20. gilld

    gilld <font color=deeppink>Will just have the butler ope

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    Thank you so much for a very comprehensive reply.

    This will be our first visit to Hong Kong before joining a World Cruise for part of its voyage - back to Southampton - so we won't be flying home. But that information is very useful for any future trip - and I am sure there will be one:thumbsup2

    The choice of hotel is because the whole trip is for DH retirement/60th birthday so we are pushing the boat out - pardon the pun! In for a penny as they say.

    I think we will try for an afternoon at the park one day, as we are there Tuesday to Friday. The whole area looks too lovely to miss.

    Again thank you very much.
     
  21. Kevin Stringer

    Kevin Stringer <font color=blue>Chat Host<br><font color=brown>Od

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    Great report Steve. It's nice to read about a Disney park that few of us have visited. I'll be really interested to read rest of it.

    Kev
     

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