Hong Kong no Phooey TR (Apr 2012)! The Yee's have it....TR finish #1101, 07/09

Discussion in 'Hong Kong Disneyland' started by PrincessInOz, Oct 26, 2011.

  1. PrincessInOz

    PrincessInOz Thanks for my avatar, Mary Jo!

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    “Everywhere is walking distance, if you have the time”….Things to see in Hong Kong

    “Everywhere is walking distance, if you have the time” Steven Wright

    I’m taking my inspiration from Steven Wright for this post. With 8 days proper in Hong Kong, I’m figuring that we have time to walk as much or as little as we want.

    Frommers claims that Hong Kong is a surprisingly easy city to explore on foot and if it weren’t for the harbour, you could walk everywhere.

    There are a few hits using google for guided walks but I’m not looking for guided walks per se but rather to just be able to meander about, getting semi-lost in the general direction of ‘thereabouts’.

    I’ve headed to my favourite Hong Kong information website and it turns out that there is a booklet called Hong Kong Walks published by the Hong Kong Tourism Board. The visitor centers seem to be located at:
    • Hong Kong International Airport. Transfer area E2 and Buffer Halls A & B, Arrivals Level, Terminal 1 (7am – 11 pm)
    • Lo Wu. Arrival Hall, 2/F, Lo Wu Terminal Building (8am – 6pm)
    • Hong Kong Island. The Peak Piazza, between the Peak Tower and the Peak Galleria (9am – 9pm)
    • Kowloon. Star Ferry Concourse, Tsim Sha Tsui (8am – 8pm)

    There appears to be ‘phat’ recommended walks on the website/booklet. For anyone interested in the walks, I recommend you head to the website (link here) and take a look. There are pdf documents for each walk providing the key buildings as well as basic facts about the buildings, opening times and the walking map. There is also information about Hong Kong walking apps in the documents.

    I’m thinking that if my parents are up to it, we’re going to try to do at least one or two of these walks per day….which would cover off the major sites and attractions on Kowloon and Hong Kong itself. Naturally, lots of time in between for shopping and eating will be included!

    And if 8 seems too much for you, check out the Frommers site (link here). There are half as many recommended walks. The Frommer’s walks are worth taking a look as they include the best and worst days for heading out on the walk. If you do the comparison between the two sources, it would seem that the Frommer’s walks mash-up bits of the walking tours recommended by the Discover HK site.


    Me? I’d like to do the following highlights:
    • Central and Western District; covering temples, the Peak, the mid level escalators, Chinese herbal shops, heritage buildings and the Gas Lamps.
      The Central district is the financial hub and aside from heritage buildings, there is the option to go to the top of the Hong Kong bank (180m tall) for a fee. The Western district is considered to be least influenced by western culture. I’m looking forward to seeing if this is true or not.
    • Tsim Tsa Shui; including shopping, heritage buildings and Avenue of the Stars (including the Symphony of Lights show). Seems like there is loads of shopping and eats to be had in this shopping mecca on Kowloon. I guess it might be worth checking out. :rolleyes:
    • Yau Ma Tei/Mong Kok; particularly the Bird, Flower, Goldfish, Jade, Night, Ladies markets. This one - I'll have trouble getting DH away! He loves local markets almost as much as I do. The fly in the ointment will be DS. I hope there might be stuff that he wouldn't mind looking at; otherwise this might be the time to bring the electronic babysitter along as well.
    • Lantau Island; the Tung Chung fort and Po Lin Monastery (and giant Buddha statue). I'll be walking here for sure!

    Another spot to view the Symphony of Lights show is over in Wan Chai from the Golden Bauhinia Square. I wonder if I’ll make it over there at night?


    If I'm very lucky, my travelling companions will be walking everywhere with me. If not, I think I can count on DH to go the extra mile....providing I don't step into too many shopping complexes/malls but focus on the markets and local shops instead. :rotfl:


    I still have to research Macau, Shen Zhen (which reminds me – I need to organize visas for China) as well as decide on whether to pre-purchase tickets for some of the attractions or not. I’d rather keep our days free and easy; rather than planning on hitting a particular attraction per day.



    princess::upsidedow
     
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  3. skier_pete

    skier_pete DIsney-holics Anon

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    Hmmm, maybe I'll have to squeeze a round of golf in when we get there...I've never hit a kangaroo with a golf ball before - only geese. :lmao:

    Though on the other hand - if it really is that "crappy"....

    Enjoyed your mini-TR!
     
  4. stephielela

    stephielela DIS Veteran

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    I feel like walking really is the best way to explore a city. I am planning a visit to my friend in Italy this fall and I am really looking forward to just walking around and living like a local. I suppose we will have to drive to some of our day trips, but I like to be around the people that actually live there etc, to get a real feel for what it's like. Thankfully, Jack is already a good walker!
     
  5. PrincessInOz

    PrincessInOz Thanks for my avatar, Mary Jo!

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    You have to get up really early to catch the roos on the golf course. And you'll be pretty unlucky to hit one!




    Italy sounds much more exciting and exotic than Hong Kong to me. I'll be watching out for a PTR or a TR in your siggie.
     
  6. PrincessInOz

    PrincessInOz Thanks for my avatar, Mary Jo!

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    "Ford PERFECT Strikes Back".....Disney all Sorted!


    Today, whilst I was back at work for the first time this year and wondering how I was going to get through the day, I got a message from my DH. There was a call and message for me at home.


    Yessireee!! Ford PERFECT called me back! This paragon of a 42 towel hanger actually called me BACK!

    The upshot:

    • The accommodation booking for April has opened up. My room bookings have now been amended and covers all 3 nights that we will be at HKDL.
    • My mother will be having her birthday in March. As an Annual Pass holder, she is entitled to a free birthday cake (with strings attached) and a free breakfast in her birthday month. Ford PERFECT has confirmed that Disney will extend this through to April for her so that she can take advantage of the benefits. We are therefore booked in for a Character breakfast at the Enchanted Garden. She gets the free breakfast, the rest of us pay for our breakfast, with the 15% discount.
    • We also have a booking for the special Mickey Dim Sum at the Crystal Lotus restaurant.
    • All 5 travellers also have their HKDL park tickets sorted.


    I'll be shelling out $$$$ for this; but all I feel like doing right now is [​IMG]



    :banana: :banana: :dance3: :banana: :banana:.





    Must be the only time that I feel like celebrating for spending money!

    My thanks to that amazing Cast Member, who has gone beyond the call of Disney for my booking.



    princess::upsidedow


    ps. For the record, I also asked if it was possible for them to reserve the special Mickey and Minnie DRAGON pin for me. It is a pin that is being released for Chinese New Year and the year of the Dragon. DS is a dragon so it would have been nice to score one. I know they are likely to sell out real fast because Dragons are such auspicious animals for the Chinese. Sadly, Ford Perfect did try her best with the marketing department....no go. Guess I'll leave it in the lap of the Gods as to whether there will be stock still left in April.
     
  7. PrincessInOz

    PrincessInOz Thanks for my avatar, Mary Jo!

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    Skiingfast - I checked with the Perfect CM. We're staying at the Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel. This is the one that looks like the Grand Floridian. I gather that you can get a view of the park and the fireworks if you're up in the Kingdom Club rooms (equivalent to CL). There's about AU$200 a night difference. I find that really hard to justify.

    The other hotel is the Hollywood Hotel. I guess you could say this one is like the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim (with the hollywood overlay)...:confused3

    My mum had a preference to stay at the HK Disneyland Hotel. She's always had a thing for the Grand Floridian and this was too good an opportunity for her to pass up on.
     
  8. dgbg100106

    dgbg100106 Missing the Tag Fiary

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    PIO - The min Vacay and TR was interesting, and sounded like you had fun even if it was very hot...

    Glad you got all the goods from the cast member, maybe you will get the Dragon pin you wanted while you are there... If not there is always ebay...
     
  9. franandaj

    franandaj I'm so happy, I could BOUNCE!

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    The more you research and report, the more I realize I know absolutely nothing about Hong Kong. I will eagerly await my education through your visit! popcorn::
     
  10. zanzibar138

    zanzibar138 DIS Veteran

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    I can pick up a dragon pin for you if I see one in March, though I'm not sure how much difference a couple of weeks will make...

    How good is your perfect CM! And great that your mum gets some special treatment :thumbsup2 I really should start thinking about making some meal bookings for us too.

    I want to go to the Crystal Lotus for dinner one night (I'd love to do the dim sum, but realistically FH and I aren't very adventurous eaters, so we'd probably go hungry lol!). I also want to do the high tea in the lounge, and at least one character breakfast, not sure which is best :confused3 Maybe we can do one at each hotel :rotfl:
     
  11. stephielela

    stephielela DIS Veteran

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    So glad that everything worked out!! How nice to have a CM who goes above and beyond! I rarely find emplyees like that at places other than Disney! I am learning a lot too from this, which is fantastic since I doubt that I will be making a trip to Hong Kong anytime soon, so living vicariously is the next best (cheapest) option!
     
  12. PrincessInOz

    PrincessInOz Thanks for my avatar, Mary Jo!

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    Welcome back Brandi. :hug:

    Yes, there is always eBay.



    Alison - I still don't know much about Hong Kong other than what I see in the pictures and from listening to other people's travel plans.



    Zanzibar - that is so sweet of you. You're in Melbourne, right? If you should see a pin or two, yes...please grab it for me. I'll reimburse you the $$.

    Maybe we can meet up and have a Dim Sum in Chinatown to complete the transaction......:rotfl:

    The high tea sounds great. Disney food is expensive and I wondered about whether we would be better off doing a high tea in the Peninsula Hotel or not. But we have much more time in Kowloon that what I think you'll have in HK. So, if I were in your shoes, I'd do the high tea.


    Crystal Lotus sounds like it serves good food. I'll be interested to see if it does live up to the hype. Are you going to be doing another PTR/TR? I'm super interested in the Africa part.


    Steph - I was actually surprised and pleasantly shocked that my CM called me back. I know she said she would but you know...sometimes....things have a habit of slipping by and she must talk to sooooo many people in a day. I went and checked the website...April bookings still haven't opened up on line yet. So, I definitely think she went beyond the call of duty to remember and to call me back as soon as April opened up for her.






    Thanks for still following along everyone! I know the PTR bit can be a pedestrian sometimes given that it's all about someone else's plans rather than your own. I really appreciate the comments and feedback.
     
  13. PrincessInOz

    PrincessInOz Thanks for my avatar, Mary Jo!

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    Folks - this is a 'seasonal' link so I expect that this link will not be working after early Feb.

    You might be interested to see how HKDL will celebrate Chinese New Year, from Jan 13 - Feb 5. If so, check out the links here ASAP or before 5 Feb. The link to the celebrations and seasonal event is here.

    Looks like it might be interesting to see the characters dresssed in the Chinese outfits. If anyone is following this PTR and happens to be there, I'd love if you would post pictures...either on your own TR or here. Might be nice to see the 'Asian' costumes.


    And these are the seasonal merchandise that I was talking about. Link here. I love the round pin with Mickey, Minnie and the dragon...although taking another look at the stuff, there is a pin with Mickey, Donald and the dragon. Either or both would be something that I would WANT to have.
    There is also a mandarin hat with Mickey Ears!!!! OMG!
    Do you think the red items up the top/back right hand side are trivets?


    Get in fast if you want to take a look!


    ************************
    Chinese New Year falls in the 23 Jan. Most chinese people will try to get 'home' for New Year's Eve for dinner with the folks. That's what I'll be doing here. My mum will be having dinner on the Sunday night and she'll also be having dinner on the Monday night.
    Chinese New Year normally runs for 15 days. Why? Because on day 15, that is the night of the first new moon in the new year. It is meant to be one of the more auspicious sightings for the new moon in the year.

    I've checked out the dates of the celebrations in Melbourne Chinatown. Looks like Chinatown celebrations will be held on Sunday 29th January. I'm considering going this year....quite possibly by myself. We'll see.



    princess::upsidedow
     
  14. zanzibar138

    zanzibar138 DIS Veteran

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    Hmmm maybe I will a PTR if people are actually interested lol! Will definitely be doing a TR when we get back.

    Yes, I'm in Melbourne - lol about meeting up for dim sum :rotfl:


    I'm a bit sad that we won't be around for the Chinese New Year festivities - it sounds awesome! But I console myself by thinking that the crowds will be lighter and hopefully there will still be some merchandise left over :rolleyes1
     
  15. PrincessInOz

    PrincessInOz Thanks for my avatar, Mary Jo!

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    Assuming the Mayan calendar is wrong, there's always next year. :thumbsup2
     
  16. PrincessInOz

    PrincessInOz Thanks for my avatar, Mary Jo!

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    “A journey of a thousand miles must start with a single step”…Get a Visa!


    “A journey of a thousand miles must start with a single step” Lao Tzu


    It’s an appropriate reminder that Lao Tzu, the great philosopher of ancient China, gives us that in order to start a journey, no matter how long, it begins with a single step. In my case, my journey to Hong Kong, Macau and China begins with a Visa....


    ......and I don't mean the Card kind! (It may have worked for Jackie Chan....but I doubt I'll be able to get away with it....)
    ETA. I know the link isn't working. The youtube identifier has some letter combinations that isn't making it through the Dis filters. Just google Jackie Chan new Visa commercial. It's the one that starts with the junk!)




    I want to go to Hong Kong, Macau and Shenzen, China and I am just double-checking the entry requirements for each of those.

    Today, I’m looking online for the Visa requirements for Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR), Macau SAR and mainland China.

    [​IMG]

    The website I decided to look at is the Immigration Department, Government of Hong Kong SAR (link here).

    It appears that unless you have close ties with Hong Kong (i.e., have an identification card of any sort issued by HK or China), you may require a visa to enter the area.
    Unless, of course, you are refused entry by the immigration authorities when you land.

    However, there is a visa free period for short-term visitors to Hong Kong. The visa free period is for anyone staying no more than 90 days. This applies to Australia and the US (although holders of a US Trust Territory passport have a visa free period of no more than 14 days). Anyone carrying a British National Passport is exempt from visa requirements as that is considered close ties with Hong Kong.


    For Macau, I’ve headed to this website here. Seems like visitors from Australia and the US have a visa free period for no more than 30 days.


    For China, I’ve headed to the Aussie Smartraveller website; rather than something generic. I’m assuming that the same applies for US citizens.


    To visit China, it would appear that the requirements are your passport must be valid for 6 months (or 9 months for a multiple entry visa) after your intended stay, provide evidence of a return or onward ticket, and a visa is required for all travelers. And with Shenzen strictly being in the Mainland China side, we’re going to need visas.


    There is a Chinese Consulate General in Melbourne and it does have a Visa Application Service Center. I asked my TA friend and she said that she could organize the visas for us; but there was an exorbitant fee involved for the courier of the passports over to and back from the CG. She said that we were better off lodging the application ourselves rather than through her. Applications for Visas are required no less than one month before travel and no earlier than three months before travel. So, I’m right in the ballpark now.


    There is an on-line form as well as a document for download so that you can take in a paper version. Plus it would appear that I can make organize an appointment time online as well.



    Uh Uh! Just checked the form. We need to provide a photograph and medical insurance details.

    I guess I better go turn my house upside down for those extra passport photos that we always end up having and never knowing what to do with them.

    [​IMG]



    I know I have one for me somewhere…..and I’m pretty sure DS’ set is also somewhere…..if I only knew where.


    And then, I need to organize our travel insurance!


    :scratchin I might need to work on this for the next week or so.


    And.yes.visa.means.more.money.to.pay.out. :headache:




    princess::upsidedow
     
  17. zanzibar138

    zanzibar138 DIS Veteran

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    Yep our TA has confirmed that we don't need visas for HK :thumbsup2

    The China ones seem a bit involved too so I'm actually quite glad we don't have to worry about those this time around :laughing: Although we've got Vietnam ones to get which also seem to be quite involved, so it's not really much of a win...

    Hmmm next year you say... well as our next big trip is probably going to be to Paris, maybe we can make sure it's at Chinese New Year time and go on the way :rolleyes1
     
  18. franandaj

    franandaj I'm so happy, I could BOUNCE!

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    I remember last year we were in Vegas for Chinese New Year I would hope that they get at least as good as we did!
     
  19. PrincessInOz

    PrincessInOz Thanks for my avatar, Mary Jo!

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    I don't really want to deal with the China visa either; but I'd rather give us the option of being able to go to Shenzen rather than not. Still need to research what to see and do in Shenzen (aside from shop)....but it will mean that we can say that we've been to China! :laughing:


    If not at HKDL, then at least all over Hong Kong itself you'd expect the festivities to be fantastic.

    I think DH is liking the idea of heading into Melbourne Chinatown to check out the festivities here. Hopefully I'll have some pictures to share in a couple of weekends time. :thumbsup2
     
  20. PrincessInOz

    PrincessInOz Thanks for my avatar, Mary Jo!

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    “The Wonderful of Disney”....Hotels, Food and Recreation!

    Hong Kong Disneyland Hotels

    There are two on-site hotel options at HKDL – the Disneyland Hotel, which is based on the Grand Floridian theme; and the Hollywood Hotel, which I think looks like the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim with a Hollywood overlay.

    We’ve chosen to stay at the Disneyland Hotel. My mother, in particular, is really excited about being able to stay on-site and she has always had a thing about the Grand Floridian. Whilst still on the pricey side, I suspect this will be the closest that we’ll get to being on a similar themed hotel without paying Grand Floridian prices.

    We’ll be arriving rather late on a Saturday night and will have 3 nights here. At this stage, we’re planning on taking things easier on the Sunday. My dad will be along on this trip and he’s going to be a little on the slow and steady side. We hope to be able to orientate him round the resort so that if he gets tired, he can come and go as he pleases without getting too lost.
    So, I’ve been checking out things to do at the resort. There is a pool, which if warm enough or not, I’m guessing that my DS will be jumping into.


    Food Options

    My Sunday plans kinda feels like this at the moment. Wake up and work out where to have breakfast. This is probably going to be harder than it seems given that we’ll be a captive audience within Disney. Food options include:
    • Crystal Lotus, located at DLH, serves lunch and dinner. We’re booked in for the special Mickey Dim Sum lunch here on Sunday. I’m looking for a lighter breakfast, given that we’re more than likely having a big lunch.
    • Enchanted Garden is located at DLH. A character breakfast buffet is available here. We’re booked in for breakfast on Tuesday morning, so I’m not sure that I’m going to be keen to have breakfast here on Sunday as well.
    • The Grand Salon, is located at DLH. Serves a la carte and it would appear that there are items such as the rice porridge I posted about in a very early food post in the PTR; as well as muffins and buns. Might be a place to check out for this first breakfast.
    • Chef Mickey, located at the Hollywood Hotel, serving buffet breakfast.
    • Hollywood and Dine, café style for quick snacks.



    Recreation

    I think we might be checking out the recreational things around the resort.
    • In the gardens of DLH is a mini maze. Should take all of 10 minutes for DS.
    • I don’t have a DD so there will be no reason for me to check out the BBB equivalent of My Little Princess.
    • Prince Eric Room is located at DLH. Seems to be a kids club room; bedtime story reading at 9 pm by a CM.
    • Victorian Spa – I might have to pass up on this experience.


    Failing all else and assuming that we won’t want to head into the park on the reputedly busy Sunday, we can head off resort using the MRT towards Sunny Bay and onwards to Tung Chung. Tung Chung has the Citygate warehouse outlets; and is the stop for the Big Buddha. I’d personally like to see the Big Buddha/Po Lin Monastery on the Sunday; but my mother tells me that it is crazy there on a Sunday. I’m sure we’ll find something to eat either at Sunny Bay or at Tung Chung.


    I’m sure we’ll figure it out.


    My Days 2 and 3 are easier to plan for and will exploring the items mentioned in the next post. We’ll be at the park on Day 3 and will also need to check out of the hotel and transferring across to the hotel in Kowloon. Still figuring out how to do this but I suspect a taxi might be in order!



    princess::upsidedow
     
  21. PrincessInOz

    PrincessInOz Thanks for my avatar, Mary Jo!

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    “The Wonderful of Disney”…My Park Must-do list!

    Hong Kong Disneyland – My Park must-do list

    Hong Kong Disneyland is located on Lantau Island, Hong Kong. It was opened on 12 Sept 2005 and consists of Main Street, Fantasyland, Tomorrowland, Adventureland and the new Toy Story Land (recently opened in 2011). Reputed to be the smallest of all the Disney parks, it is a place that most people seem to claim is ‘doable’ in less than a day. I suspect this will come down to what the crowds are like during the day.

    There are 2 new lands planned for HKDL:
    • Mystic Point, which will include an expanded Haunted Mansion type attraction, based on the technology available at Tokyo Disneyland. Planned to be completed in 2013.
    • Grizzly Gulch, which by all accounts will be the critter country and part Frontierland equivalent, taking its inspiration from Grizzly Peak in DCA. Planned to be completed in 2014.
    To me, somehow, the park won't seem so small after these two new lands are opened and a return trip might be in order.

    I’ve checked out the pictures online and also in Robert TG’s photo tour TR for a view of how this park looks. You'll find it on this part of the boards, otherwise use the link here.


    Hong Kong Disneyland seems a lot greener and lusher than its ‘counterparks’ in the US; plus there are lovely looking hills in the background. I suspect this will be the main point of difference that I’ll enjoy the most. Here's a summary and my list of must-do's:

    Main Street – the standard attractions seem to be present, shopping, Dapper Dan’s, vehicles, DL Railroad, City Hall, character meet and greet. I’m hoping to check out the Mobile Muppet Lab (an interactive mobile laboratory), Animation Academy (English version) and the Art of Animation (assuming it has re-opened in ‘late March’). My must do’s for attractions listed under Main Street are the Flights of Fantasy parade (which I’ll assume I can catch from throughout the parade path in the park) and Disney in the Stars fireworks.

    There are a number of eateries in Main Street but I’m not sure I’ll be enjoying any of them at this stage. I’m looking for something more ‘local’ and might be steering clear of the Western offerings here.


    Fantasyland – attractions include Sleeping Beauty castle, Cinderella Carousel, Sword in the Stone, DL Railroad stop, Dumbo, Mad Hatter Tea cups, Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, It’s a Small World, PhilharMagic, Snow White Grotto complete with wishing well, Golden Mickeys at the Storybook Theatre and Fantasy Gardens Character Meet and Greet. If HKDL is indeed ‘smaller’, I suspect we’ll probably get through every attraction here. However, my must do’s here will be the Golden Mickeys broadway style show, PhilharMagic, Dumbo, Tea cups and It’s a Small World. No refurbs have been listed yet for our visiting period.

    Dining in Fantasyland includes the Royal Banquet Hall, which is listed as a QS service type. I will be checking the RBH out as it seems like a ‘variety of rice dishes’. The other eatery here is Clopin’s Festival of Food, another QS based on the Hunchback of Notre Dame. I have high hopes for Clopin’s – seems to serve the Great Flavours of China!


    Tomorrowland – attractions include Orbitron, Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters, Autopia, Space Mountain and Stitch Encounter. Looks like Tomorrowland does not much different from the other parks other than the Stitch Encouter, an interactive show, so that will be top of my ‘must do’ list.

    The listed eateries are Starline Diner, more Western, and the Comet Café; both QS. The Comet Café seems to have the local rice and noodle style foods. I’ll be checking the CC out for sure!


    Adventureland – attractions include Festival of the Lion King, Jungle Cruise and Tarzan Island; all 3 of which will be on my must do list. I’m particularly interested to see Tarzan Island. It seems cool to have the treehouse on an island that you get to on Tom Sawyer type rafts!

    More importantly, I have really high hopes for the dining in Adventureland. Both the Riverview Café (TS) and the Tahitian Terrace (QS) seem to offer Chinese meals. I suspect that either of these places will be the establishment of choice for lunch for my family.


    Toy Storyland – the newest land in the block, with attractions including RC Racer (a U-shaped coaster which I’m not sure I’m going to get on), Toy Story Parachute Drop and Slinky Dog spin (a kiddy looking attraction). None of these attractions are available at any of the other parks I’ve been to, so we’ll be checking this land out for sure.

    There’s only a snack type food service in this land; and it serves healthy snacks and frozen yoghurt. I might need to check it out afterall!



    Hopefully, I'll be returning with a set of pictures to post on my TR!




    princess::upsidedow
     

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