Tasting The Spice Of South East Asia

dolphingirl47

In Search of the Tag Fairy
Joined
Dec 25, 2007
Day 1

This may well have been the most bizarre way I ever spent a birthday. I had set the alarm for 6:30 and I woke up just before the alarm went off. I quickly checked my emails. This was just as well. I had an email from Nespresso that my subscription payment had failed. I got a new debit card at the end of October and for some reason even though I had changed this as soon as I got it, this was not recognised. A quick call to their customer services seemed to fix the issue. Apparently, they could see the new card details, but the card was not showing as active. A few moments later this was rectified, and I was assured that the card would be debited within a couple of days. As I write this, a couple of phone calls and a visit to the local Nespresso boutique later, this still has not been resolved. Still the December payment was taken as scheduled and I figure they can contact me when they are finally good and ready to take the payment.

Once I got off the phone, I thought everything was resolved and there was nothing else that needed my attention. So, I got showered and dressed. We switched off all the sockets and the water and while I packed the last odds and ends, Graham took the rubbish and recycling out. Then we headed out. Graham suggested that I could take the tram to the station and he would meet me there. I have an annual pass, but I left this on my desk. I did not fancy going back upstairs to get this, so I walked to the station with Graham.

For once, it did not rain and although it was cold, the walk was pleasant. When we got to the station, Graham sorted out the tickets while I stayed with the luggage. We then checked the train times. It had been a while since I took a train to the airport. Even though 2019 was probably a record year for flying, usually those flights were at the crack of dawn and that meant taking a taxi or Uber. Since I regularly commuted to the airport, the way the train service to the airport works has changed quite a lot. Back then, most airport services left from the main station with a few leaving from the satellite platforms. Now it is the other way round. The next train from the main station was a while away and there were multiple trains from the satellite platforms before then. We decided to head over there even though this is a bit of a pain with luggage. In the end this turned out to be a mistake. There were creeping delays and the train from the main station came and left while we were still waiting. The drawback of the satellite platforms is that they are completely exposed to the elements and by the time a train finally arrived, I was frozen to the core. I did not completely thaw out until a couple of hours into the flight.

From that point onwards, things worked like clockwork. We had a clear run to the airport. Check in was very quiet. We waited maybe 5 minutes if even that. I was absolutely delighted that my suitcase only weighed 20 kg. That meant that there was plenty of room for souvenirs. We had a luggage allowance of 30 kg each. Security was just as quiet and in no time at all, we were in the main departures area. We went for some breakfast. The breakfast options at terminal 2 at Manchester airport are currently a little limited. We went to Frankie and Benny’s. We both had an orange juice. Graham had an Americano and I had a Flat White. Graham had The Big, which consisted of two sausages, two rashers of bacon, black pudding, two fried eggs, tomato, flat mushroom, Heinz baked beans and crispy herb potatoes. I fancied the Veggie Fry Up with two fried eggs, veggie sausage, flat mushroom, roasted tomato, Heinz baked beans, cubed potatoes and smashed avocado. When our server took the order, he advised that they did not have avocado. As this was the main reason why I had chosen this, I changed my mind. I had the Traditional Fry Up, which consisted of sausage, bacon, fried egg, roasted tomato, flat mushroom, Heinz baked beans and crispy herb potatoes. Breakfast definitely hit the spot.

After breakfast, I checked out the main duty-free shop and a couple of other shops. I had hoped to get a limited make-up set that had not appeared yet in the city centre and they did not have this either. I also wanted the Pandora Santa Stitch charm, which they had not yet received either. Both of them had sold out locally by the time we got back, but I managed to get them through mail order in the post-Christmas sales. I did not buy anything that day. After a bit more browsing, we went back to the main departures area and noticed that our plane was parked in the distance. We decided to head over there.

Manchester airport is currently being completely rebuilt. The extension for terminal 2 is due to be completed by July and then the old part of terminal 2 will be completely rebuilt. The first part of the extension opened back in March and this is where our aircraft was parked. The access route from the main terminal was pretty strange. I just looked like a series of tunnels with fibreglass walls. I hope that this is just a temporary arrangement until the rest of the extension opens. I liked the actual new gate area. It is bright and modern. Graham was not a fan. He felt that it was too functional. What it definitely was is a bit of a ghost town. One flight had just closed, one flight was boarding and ours was not even listed yet. That was the grand total of activity in an area that is 262 meters long. We got intercepted by a member of staff just as we were entering the gate area to check if we were in the right place. Once we had sat down, another member of staff came up to us to check if we were where we were supposed to be. Apparently, they get a lot of issues with people going to the wrong gate area and missing their flights. I really don’t understand how this can happen as this is completely separate from the old gates, but airports do tend to bring out the worst in people.



I checked in on Facebook and read and responded to all the birthday wishes. I also checked the Hong Kong Disneyland website and spotted something that did not make me happy. I was kind of half planning to go into the park at some stage the next day. My annual pass was blocked out over the weekend, but not on the Friday. I was hoping to get some sleep on arrival and then head over to the park to do some rides and watch Paint the Night. When I checked the calendar, I spotted that the park was opening at 10:30 instead of 10:00 and closing at 19:00 instead of 20:00. They also had cancelled Paint the Night.

We still had some time until boarding opened. I browsed Facebook, read for a bit and played a game on my iPad. Shortly before boarding was due to commence, I went to the bathroom. Boarding started shortly afterwards. This was the smoothest boarding process I ever experienced. Even though the plane was full, from start to finish, this only took 15 minutes.

Cathay Pacific is one of those airlines that charge an arm and a leg for reserving seats in advance. It does become free when online check opens 48 hours prior to departure. I had done online check in as soon as I could, but there were no two seats next to each other that involved aisle seat, which is Graham’s preference. So, I had gone for a window and a middle seat. Graham was not particularly happy about this. I checked the situation again about 36 hours before we were due to fly. There was one row that had a window and an aisle seat with the middle seat taken. I changed our seats over. I was hoping to sleep the majority of the flight anyway, so I did not mind having the window seat with somebody sitting between us. When we got on the plane, the person in the middle seat asked if one of us wanted to swap with him. Graham was quick to agree and volunteered the window seat. I ended up in the middle seat. Happy birthday to me! To give him credit, when he realised that I was not too happy, he offered that I could have the aisle seat and he would take the middle seat. I did not take him up on the offer. I hate aisle seats, especially if I am trying to sleep as inevitably at some stage I get bumped by a cart.

Once we all settled down, I checked out what films were on offer and then I read for a bit. It did not take long after we were at cruising altitude that they came around with drinks. I was quite surprised that they served us peanuts as snacks. I had a mango juice and Graham had a glass of white wine. We both had some water as well. At the same time as the drinks service, they also gave out menus.



Another half an hour later, they started the meal service. I was pretty impressed with the menu. We both had Pastrami with potato dill salad. I was even more impressed when the bread rolls that were served with this were warm. Graham had the Western option, which was chicken breast with herb butter, mashed potatoes and Mediterranean vegetables. I went with the Chinese option after doing some research. The Chinese option was braised pork with Wuxi sauce, broccoli and steamed Jasmine rice. Chinese food can be very spicy. However, food served in Hong Kong, the Guangxi and Guangdong provinces and around Shanghai tends to be mild with a bit of sweetness to it. A look on the inflight map told me that Wuxi is a little way southwest of Shanghai. I knew that this would be OK. It was not just OK, but absolutely delicious. Dessert was vanilla ice cream and I was delighted when one of the after-dinner drinks options was Chinese tea. It was a passable cup of tea as well.



After lunch, I put on a film. There are a handful of films that although I love them dearly, have the ability to send me to sleep when combined with movement. The Greatest Showman is one of those movies. I fell asleep during A Million Dreams, briefly woke up during This Is Me to change position and then woke up again during From Now On. I was hoping to get some more sleep so put on Frozen, which is another film that tends to send me off to dreamland. However, I actually managed to watch the whole film. Once this was finished, I put on some music and spent the next few hours alternately reading and napping.
 

Flossbolna

Sea days are just so relaxing!
Joined
Sep 8, 2006
What a lovely surprise! I am really looking forward to reading all about your trip!! Hope that means that your work is a little less crazy that you have time for writing!

Cathay is always considered as one of those really high end airlines, did it live up to that? The food sounds delicious!
 
  • tiggrbaby

    <font color=deeppink><marquee>We must work harder
    Joined
    Jun 26, 2004
    Hello and a belated happy birthday! So glad to see you are writing again!
     

    dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    Hi Corinna...very happy to have a new trip report to enjoy!
    Welcome on board.

    Hope that means that your work is a little less crazy that you have time for writing!
    Not really, but I think I may just glimpse a little bit of light at the end of the tunnel. I realised at the end of the year just how much I was missing writing. This then translated into a New Year's resolution that however busy I am and whatever happens in my life, I will make time for an hour every day and spend half of it reading and half of it writing. So far this has worked pretty well.

    Cathay is always considered as one of those really high end airlines, did it live up to that?
    On the whole yes. On the long-haul flights I could definitely see why they are a 5* airline. There was one fly in the ointment, but more about this later in the trip report.

    Hello and a belated happy birthday!
    Thank you. Welcome on board.

    So glad to see you are writing again!
    And I am more than glad to be writing again. I only just realised how much I was missing it once I started again.

    Corinna
     

    Flossbolna

    Sea days are just so relaxing!
    Joined
    Sep 8, 2006
    I am impressed with your New Years resolution and that you are actually following through! That’s great! And I hope the light at the end of the tunnel will be finally reached soon!
     

    dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    Unfortunately it looks like there won’t be an update to my trip report today. Our broadband is down and it looks like it won’t be resolved until tomorrow morning.

    Corinna
     
  • dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    Day 2

    When it became apparent that I would not go back to sleep, I read for a bit and then checked out what films took my fancy. I discovered Pitch Perfect 3. I had been wanting to watch this for ages as I loved the first two. I did enjoy it, but it was nowhere as good as the other two films in that series.

    Towards the end of this film, breakfast was served. As airline food goes, this was very good. Graham had the Western version, which consisted of frittata with tomato confit, courgette, Provençal mushrooms and roasted potatoes. I went with the Chinese option, that consisted of Shanghainese noodles with chicken and soya sauce. Both options came with a fruit salad, a yoghurt and a warm brioche roll with butter and strawberry jam. They were pretty generous with the drinks, too and we both had some orange juice and coffee.



    Once breakfast had been cleared away, they were coming round with Hong Kong landing cards. For some reason the member of cabin crew giving them out in our section walked straight past us. We had to call her back. She then proceeded to explain that we only need one if we are staying in Hong Kong. I told her that we were having a 5-night stopover on the way to Singapore. She did give us the landing cards but asked what we were going to do in Hong Kong for 5 nights with the protests going on. I told her that it was OK as we were staying on Lantau and should be well away from any trouble. She told us that she lives on Lantau and everything is closed, and no trains are operating. At this stage, I was officially alarmed. I started to wonder if we were making a mistake sticking with our plan of staying in Hong Kong.

    I filled out our landing cards and shortly afterwards, the Captain made an announcement that we had started our descent into Hong Kong. We were well ahead of schedule, but we did not seem to go anywhere very fast. Shortly afterwards there was a further announcement that air traffic control had requested that we returned to a holding pattern. Hong Kong airport is pretty congested, and we were very early. After flying loops for about 30 minutes, I could feel the plane speed up and shortly afterwards we landed in Hong Kong. Despite us circling, we still arrived ahead of schedule.

    Terminal 1 at Hong Kong airport, which is the main terminal, is the third biggest passenger terminal in the world. We have had the pleasure with both terminals that are bigger, which is terminal 3 at Dubai International (the main Emirates terminal) and terminal 3 at Beijing Capital Airport, and I don’t think there is much difference between the three. I felt like I was walking for miles. We slightly overshot at immigration and had to backtrack a little. This must be the quickest we ever cleared immigration anywhere in the world. From us entering the line for the immigration desks to us walking out the other end with our arrivals stamp, it took less than 2 minutes. We had a short wait in the baggage hall. Shortly after we arrived there, a suitcase that looked exactly like Graham’s suitcase came round, but this one had a sticker from American Airlines on. Our luggage arrived about 10 minutes later.

    Next came the part I was rather nervous about. I had decided to splurge on transfers this time round due to the uncertainty on how the ongoing protests would affect public transport. This turned out to be a wise decision. The geek in me was seriously thrilled that the cheapest transfer option was a Tesla. The part that made me nervous is that since protesters brought the airport to a standstill in the summer, they are restricting access to the airport. Basically, you can only get inside the terminal if you have a flight in the next 24 hours and a ticket or boarding pass to prove it. This means that the transfer companies can no longer offer meet and greet services. You have to go to a pickup point in one of the car parks. While I absolutely understand the reasoning behind this and support this course of action, I still had my misgivings. Back in September we had big trouble finding our Uber at Manchester airport at a pick-up area that is neither signposted nor marked. I had visions of wandering around Hong Kong trying to find our driver. In the end, it could not have been any easier. The booking confirmation included a number of photos on how to find the pick-up point and as soon as were through customs, it became self-explanatory. We found where we needed to be very quickly.

    As soon as we stepped out of the terminal building, it felt like we were surrounded by a warm hug. It was absolutely gorgeous that morning. There were a bunch of Christmas trees opposite where we were waiting. We both agreed that this felt kind of strange in this climate. We had been there a little while, when a member of staff came up to us to check if we were OK. We were not concerned. Between landing ahead of schedule and breezing through immigration and customs, we did not really expect the transfer to be there yet. He asked for the confirmation email and first tried to call the driver directly. When he got no reply, he then called the office number. He was assured that a driver was on his way. We chatted for a bit and it turned out that he used to live in Manchester for a while. About 15 minutes later, he called the office again and was advised that the driver was about 5 minutes away. Our driver turned up as promised. We thanked him and got into the car.

    There is currently a lot of construction going on around the airport. With all the building fences and cranes, it took a while until we got the first proper views of Lantau. I absolutely love this island. Lantau is the biggest island in Hong Kong and is about twice the size of Hong Kong Island. There are now two sizeable towns called Tung Chung and Discovery Bay, but about 50% of the island consists of national parks. Lantau is of volcanic origin and the various mountains and the deep green countryside makes this really pretty. As per usual, I was absolutely enthralled by the views. Time is definitely flying when you are having fun. If did not feel long at all when we saw the entrance arch for Hong Kong Disneyland.
     

    dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    We pulled up to the hotel and the bellmen unloaded our luggage before we were even out of the car. I had done online check in a few days before, but there was really no need. There was nobody else around. We were told that we could upgrade to a sea view room for an extra £150 and the room would be ready straightaway, or we could wait until the afternoon for a standard room. Graham left the choice up to me. He was happy enough to pay for the upgrade as a birthday treat for me, but I just figured how many fun things we could do with that money. In the end I was very happy with this decision. The room we did end up with was facing the sea and we were on the 5th floor and all we saw was palm trees. I would have bitterly regretted paying extra for at best a sliver of a sea view.

    I got surprised with some goodies. I got a birthday button, birthday card, two plastic folders with a retro design and a ton of stickers. I also got a bunch of priority admission passes for various attractions. Graham sat down on kept an eye on the luggage. I went exploring. I could not wait to head for the park, but I would not have minded a shower before doing this. I checked out the pool area. I really loved this pool. They also have a good-sized changing room, but there was a distinct absence of a shower. They have a couple of showers outside, but that did not do me any good. I headed back to the lobby, got some clean clothes out of my suitcase and headed to the bathroom to get changed. Once I came back, I reorganised my handbag and put my Hong Kong SIM card in my phone. We then took our luggage to the luggage storage room. It was still not even 9:00 yet. I checked in online and read all my birthday wishes on Facebook. Once the gift shop opened, I went to check out the Christmas merchandise. Around 9:30, I decided to head for the shuttle to the park. I did not have to wait long either.



    [




    As it was still nearly an hour until the park was due to open and I was walking past the MTR station anyway, I decided to go to the information desk to find out how bad things were. The resort line was running, but there were no trains to Tung Chung. The cable car up to Ngong Ping was also suspended. I was advised that there was a free shuttle from the terminus station of the resort line to Tung Chung and that there would be local busses from there to Ngong Ping. I was a little sad that our traditional cable car trip might not happen, but in the grander scheme of things, the potential disruption to the plans we had for our stay in Hong Kong looked like it would be very minor.

    With this out of the way, I started to head down to the park. I took photos of the entry arch and the fountain just outside the entrance to the park. There was absolutely nobody at bag check and I was welcomed by smiling security guards with more stickers. There was a good size crowd by the turnstiles, although this was nowhere as big as on previous visits. There is a separate entrance for hotel guests and there were only a dozen people or so in that line. I decided to try my luck. I did not have my key card yet. I went over to the cast member at the end of the line explaining that I had just arrived and did not have my key card yet. He asked if I had a hotel confirmation, which I showed him on my phone. He let me in the line.




    I spent some more time checking in online. Suddenly cast members advised that they would be letting in people at 10:15. This is very unusual for the Asian parks. Usually if the park opens at 10:30, that is when it opens and not a minute earlier. Just after 10:00, the vintage vehicle carrying Mickey and Minnie arrived. They were wearing their Christmas outfits and looked gorgeous. They walked the length of the turnstiles waving at their visitors before meeting the family of the day. As soon as they left, we could get into the park.
     

    dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    I headed straight to the pavilion on Town Square where Mickey and Minnie usually meet and greet. This time round, the happy couple had been split up and Minnie and Pluto where meeting and greeting. That was fine, too. The line was the shortest I had ever encountered in that location. It only went around a couple of switchbacks. It still took 45 minutes as Minnie and Pluto took their time with everybody. This gave me some time for some people watching. The demographics were very different this time. I think about 80% of the guests were from Japan. There were some locals. There were also quite a few people that I initially thought may be locals, but they were speaking English with each other and were more likely from Singapore. What was very obvious was a complete absence of visitors from Mainland China.

    It was nearly my time to see Minnie and Pluto when I saw ShellieMay walking past and heading over to the animation building. I admit it, I let out a happy little squeal. ShellieMay has quickly become one of my favourite characters over the last couple of years. I was also wearing a ShellieMay birthday shirt and was really excited to see her. First, I had a great interaction with Minnie and Pluto though. They spotted my birthday shirt and made a big fuss of me. Once I said goodbye to them, I headed straight over to see ShellieMay. I waited maybe 15 minutes. ShellieMay was very excited when she recognised herself on my shirt and again, she made a big fuss of me.









    After I said goodbye to ShellieMay, I got my PhotoPass for the day. I also checked out the Duffy and Friends merchandise. I was delighted that they still had some Halloween plushes. They had Duffy and CookieAnn. I was planning on getting a CookieAnn plush anyway and this was really cute with CookieAnn dressed up as a bat. I decided to get this on my way out of the park. That this was reduced to HKD80 was and added incentive.

    I decided to check out who was meeting at the cinema. It was Duffy and I got in line. The line moved really fast. It was great meeting Duffy in his winter outfit. On the way out I checked if CookieAnn was due to meet that day. I was advised she would swap with Duffy in about 25 minutes. I did not move very far. I had a quick look at the Emporium and checked out the shop that sells both pins and Pandora charms. I noticed that they had a special annual pass holder merchandise discount of 40 % off. Let’s just say, I made good use of this before I left Hong Kong. I also started to feel thirsty and had an iced Citrus Mint tea from Starbucks. This was delicious and very refreshing.





    I then went back to the cinema and got in line to meet CookieAnn. CookieAnn was introduced as a then Hong Kong Disneyland exclusive in July 2018 and at that time, she was just Cookie. She was renamed this October. She was still exclusive to Hong Kong Disneyland when I saw her but was introduced to Tokyo Disney Sea in December and will make her debut at Shanghai Disneyland at the end of the January. Again, I did not have to wait very long. CookieAnn was a bit put out that I had ShellieMay on my shirt. I told her she would get her turn next year. That pacified her.
     
    Last edited:
  • dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    Once I had said goodbye to CookieAnn, I headed towards Tomorrowland. On the way, I got a Lotso sherbet bar. I never managed to figure out what flavour they are supposed to be, but I love them. I then slowly wandered over to Tomorrowland. This is usually my least favourite land in any Disney park with the exception of Shanghai Disneyland, but ironically this was the land where I had the most things on the to do list. My first stop was the Comet Cafe. No, I was not hungry although the menu looked very tempting. The reason I headed there was that a certain little alien was meeting and greeting just outside. On the times guide it was a bit vague when he would be there, but as soon as I came around the corner, I saw Santa Stitch. The line was pretty long, but it moved very swiftly. Just before it was my turn, Stitch went for a quick snack, but he was out again within 5 minutes. There was no Photopass photographer present, but the cast member that was with him took plenty of photos.









    When I had said goodbye to the second biggest love in my life, I walked over to Ant-Man and The Wasp: Nano Battle! This ride had been under construction the previous two times I had been there and has replaced Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters. Unfortunately, I never got to experience Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters in Hong Kong as it had closed about 10 months before my first visit. I still do not get what took them 19 months to build this ride. I assume that the track has remained the same and that just the theming and the technology has changed. The ride uses the same kind of technology as Buzz Lightyear Planet Rescue at Shanghai Disneyland. I don’t really get Marvel and I don’t know the back story, but the ride is still a lot of fun. The best thing was that the waiting time was only about 5 minutes. I was tempted to ride this again, but a bit of a queue had formed in the meantime. I decided to push on and figured, I could always come back later.

    My next stop was Hyper Space Mountain. This was a walk on. This is one of my favourite rides at Hong Kong Disneyland and usually when this is quiet, I do it a few times in a row. I did enjoy it, but when I came off, I felt a little queasy. I am not sure if this was down to having come off a long-haul flight a few hours ago or the fact that I was starting to feel tired. Maybe it was a mixture of both. Whatever it was, I figured it was not a good idea to have another go. Instead I headed for the Star Wars Command Post. This is the area where BB-8, R2-D2 and Chewbacca take turns meeting and greeting. I have this ambition to finally meet Chewbacca, but every time I go there, R2-D2 is there. This happened again. At least I did not have any wait to meet him. Maybe I finally get my chance at Shanghai Disneyland in June.



    I then crossed over into Fantasyland. It’s A Small World was not just a walk on, but I had a boat to myself. I love this ride and the one in Hong Kong is my favourite version. This time round with nobody in the way and no distractions, I spotted a whole bunch of characters that I had not seen before. When I came off the ride, I checked out Fantasy Gardens. This is one of the meet and greet areas, but there was a little market there and otherwise not a great deal seemed to be happening. I thought it may be a good idea to get something to eat so I headed to the Royal Banquet Hall, which is one of my favourite quick service places at Hong Kong Disneyland. When I looked at the menu, I realised that I did not really want any food. I moved on. Mickey in his Christmas outfit was meeting and greeting nearby, but his line was closed. I put this on my to do list for my full day at Hong Kong Disneyland.

    I crossed over into Adventureland. There was nothing there I wanted to do, but the access to the three lands that were added after the park opened is through there. My favourite shop at Hong Kong Disneyland is also there. Whereas a lot of the shops basically stock the same stuff, they have some more unique stuff there. It may just be that this is a little off the beaten track and merchandise that it sold out elsewhere is still available there. This is where I found the Halloween ShellieMay that I had been hoping for. She is dressed up as a pirate and cute as a button. I still had two rides that I wanted to, so I left her for now and decided to come back on byway out of the park.

    I took the wrong turn and ended up in Toy Story Land rather than Grizzly Gulch. I don’t particularly rate Toy Story Land, so I just passed through. My next destination was Mystic Manor. I had timed this perfectly as they were just letting people into the pre-show as I came down the corridor. This was another walk on. I love how unique this ride is. For some reason I had previously always ended up on the same side of the room. This time my ride vehicle went to the opposite side of the room and I got to see stuff that I had not seen before. This is really clever, and I wished that they had this in more parks.

    I then crossed over into Grizzly Gulch. It kind of felt like a ghost town. It is never particularly busy there as this is the land that is the furthest from everything else. However, what alarmed me was that it was perfectly silent. Sure enough, when I got to Big Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Cars, this was closed. I was disappointed as I love this ride. At that stage I had enough and decided to head out of the park. I went back to the shop in Adventureland to pick up ShellieMay and then stopped at the shop next to the Main Street Cinema to get my CookieAnn. Then I left the park.

    The short walk up the hill to the bus station felt like I was walking for miles. When I got to the bus station, I noticed that something had changed. The shuttle buses used to run on a loop going from Disneyland to the Disneyland Hotel then onward to Explorer’s Lodge and Hollywood Hotel before returning to Disneyland. Now during park opening hours and up to two hours after park closure, each hotel has a dedicated shuttle. I had not cottoned on to that fact in the morning because Hollywood Hotel was always the last stop before the park. I did not have to wait long for the bus and at this stage I was definitely grateful that the bus headed straight to our hotel.

    When I got there, Graham was still sitting in the lobby and he had fallen asleep. I sat down and checked in on Facebook. At about 15:30, I decided to check if they had a room ready for us yet. Our room was indeed ready. I was given our key cards and instructions on how to get to our room. They also checked if we had stored luggage and arranged for this to be brought to our room. We headed upstairs. Neither of us had eaten something substantial since the breakfast we had on the plane. We decided to check out what the Studio Lounge had to offer. Hollywood Hotel’s quick service restaurant Hollywood and Dine is currently closed and to make up for this, they have added a casual menu to hotel bar. Graham had a cheeseburger with fries. I did not really fancy a full meal. They did have a build your own appetiser sampler on the menu. There were three different options on the menu, and you could either choose two or all three of them. I really like the look of the beef and chicken satay, but did not fancy the other two options. I asked if I could just have two portions of the satay, which was not an issue at all. They were not the best satay I had this trip, but I thoroughly enjoyed them. We had plenty of water and we shared a lychee iced tea, which actually had fresh lychees in it. This was very delicious and refreshing.







    Once we had finished our meal and paid, we went back to our room. We took turns getting showered and getting ready for bed. At around five, we settled down. I was just about to drop off, when there was a very insistent knock on the door. It was housekeeping. I tried to tell the person that we were asleep, but he said he had a birthday cake to deliver. I was a little surprised about this. As it was, this could have waited until the next morning as the birthday cake was made from towels and pipe cleaners. It is however absolutely precious and is now sitting on a shelf in our living room. With this out of the way, I headed back to bed and it did not take long until I fell asleep.
     

    juniorbugman

    <font color=blue>New car vs another cruise?? THAT
    Joined
    Aug 22, 2001
    I have read your other reports and loved them so I am glad that you are back to writing again. Can't wait to read more about your adventures.
     

    jedijill

    Chiefs fan living in Bronco country
    Joined
    Jan 17, 2005
    Wow! Your first day was jam packed! I hope the protests didn't impact you too much over your 5 days.

    If you ever want another ride in a Tesla, come visit me in Colorado. ;)

    Jill in CO
     

    Flossbolna

    Sea days are just so relaxing!
    Joined
    Sep 8, 2006
    You did what we did in Shanghai! But not in the 40 degrees heat and you were smart to get back to the hotel early. Sounds like you had a lovely day. I am really glad that the unrest in Hong Kong did not affect your trip too much! We got a driver in Paris in January as well due to the railway strike in France and I have to say that it was actually a very pleasant and easy experience. I think I am starting to become middle aged and don't appreciate dragging luggage through public transport that much any more...

    Those picture of you and Shellie Mae are very precious!! And I love the ones with Stitch. You look like you are having a blast meeting him!

    I think I need to find a park map, but am always surprised as how they stuck those three mini lands behind Adventureland. It sounds like such an odd decision.
     

    dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    I have read your other reports and loved them so I am glad that you are back to writing again. Can't wait to read more about your adventures.
    Welcome on board. There will be another update a bit later.

    Wow! What a fabulous first day!
    I thoroughly enjoyed it.

    Wow! Your first day was jam packed!
    It definitely was, especially as it was essentially a bonus day.

    I hope the protests didn't impact you too much over your 5 days.
    Not at all. I am not saying that there are no issues, but this is blown out of all proportion by the foreign media. The local media is a lot more measured.

    If you ever want another ride in a Tesla, come visit me in Colorado.
    I may well have to take you up on this offer. We are fully booked to year and have an idea or two for 2021, but nothing is set in stone yet for that year.

    But not in the 40 degrees heat and you were smart to get back to the hotel early.
    We came close to those temperatures later in the trip. Ever since I started having annual passes for various Disney parks, I take a more relaxed approach to my park days.

    We got a driver in Paris in January as well due to the railway strike in France and I have to say that it was actually a very pleasant and easy experience.
    I have done this a couple of times in Paris as well when I had a late arrival.

    I think I am starting to become middle aged and don't appreciate dragging luggage through public transport that much any more...
    I hear you. If I have no luggage, then public transport is all part of the adventure. However, with luggage I prefer certain creature comforts.

    Those picture of you and Shellie Mae are very precious!!
    Thanks.

    And I love the ones with Stitch. You look like you are having a blast meeting him!
    I definitely did. We even had a little dance.

    I think I need to find a park map, but am always surprised as how they stuck those three mini lands behind Adventureland. It sounds like such an odd decision.
    I never got this either. This makes them feel like the afterthought they were and this is a real shame. I may not be a big friend of Toy Story Land, but I like the other two and the rides in that land are some of the best rides Disney created. I was hoping that once the Frozen land opens, they would be more integrated in the park, but there will still be an empty plot between them. I hope ultimately this will be filled and it will start to feel to one park rather than a park and an afterthought.

    Corinna
     

    dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    Day 3

    I slept in stops and starts that night. I was awake for the first time around midnight and could not fall asleep again. I replied to comments and messages on Facebook and read for a bit until my eyes started to fall shut. I was then awake again around 4:00 and did the same. I did not think I would fall asleep again, but I did. When I woke up again at 7:00, I got up. Graham was awake at that stage as well. We got showered and changed. While Graham was in the shower, I took a quick photo of the birthday cake. Once he was ready, we headed down to breakfast.

    [/ur]
    Each of the onsite hotels at Hong Kong Disneyland has a restaurant that offers at least one character meal a day. At Disney’s Hollywood Hotel, this restaurant is Chef Mickey’s, which serves breakfast and dinner daily and lunch at the weekend. I had heard good things about this. When we got there, it was very quiet. At breakfast, the only character present is Chef Mickey. He meets near the entrance and we were given a ticket to see him. He had not arrived when we got there, but was due out in the next 15 minutes. In the meantime, we got some breakfast.

    There was a good spread of different foods. Western food, Chinese food, Indian food and Japanese food were all on offer. They were supplemented by various juices, tea, water, hot and cold milk and coffee. I started with a bowl of pork and preserved egg congee, which I flavoured with a bit of soy sauce, sesame oil, roasted garlic and peanuts. This was delicious. Graham went with fruit and yoghurt for his first plate. Once I had finished my congee, I got us some drinks. We both had coffee. I got Graham some orange juice and I had some pineapple juice. I then headed to get some more food. I had some roti with chickpea curry, an onion ring, Taiwanese roast pork and assorted dim sum. The barbecue pork buns were shaped like little pigs and almost too cute to eat. Graham went with a more traditional cooked breakfast with scrambled eggs, sausages, bacon and toast. He was not impressed that the sausages were chicken sausages. I did not really understand this. Chinese food in general and Cantonese food especially contains a lot of pork. There were also a lot of other pork dishes on offer. There was really no reason why the sausages were made from chicken. I went back for a bowl of wonton soup, which was nice.

    [url=https://flic.kr/p/2i3U5nj]










    At this stage, we were essentially full. However, when I got my soup, I had spotted some egg tarts. They are a very common treat in Hong Kong, but I never had them. I got one for both of us. They were warm, made from puff pastry rather than shortcrust pastry like custard tarts over here and heavily spiced with cinnamon. We both enjoyed them. On the way out, we went to see Chef Mickey, I even convinced Graham to get some photos with me. Mickey seemed decidedly less than impressed with something at first and I could not figure out what was wrong. I then cottoned on that he did not like my t-shirt very much. I was wearing a Gelatoni t-shirt that day and Gelatoni is a cat. I was however forgiven very quickly.



     

    dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    We headed back to the room. I got myself organised for the day and checked again if there was anything happening that may derail our plans. Tung Chung station was still closed due to vandalism, but there were free shuttle buses from Sunny Bay station. The cable car had reopened and the only concession to the issues from the day before is that the service was due to finish slightly earlier. Neither of those things was an issue. Once we were both ready, we headed out.

    We did not have to wait long until a shuttle to Disneyland appeared. Once we got to the other end, we walked the short distance to the MTR station. We topped up our Octopus cards and headed down to the platform. A train pulled in just as we got there. We ended up having our own private carriage. When we got to the other end, there was plenty of staff around directing people to the free shuttles. This was very well organised. The shuttle left shortly after we got there. I had to smile when we were driving right past Hong Kong Disneyland. While we were on the bus, I sorted out the tickets for the cable car via the app of a local tour operator that I had used a number of times previously. Not only are they cheaper, but they also have an express lane at the cable car station.

    Even with the express lane, there is normally a bit of a wait to redeem the voucher for tickets and wristbands and then again to get on the cable car. This was the quietest we have ever seen this. We walked straight through the line. There were people at both express windows and two parties waiting in front of us. We waited maybe 5 minutes. When we got in the line for the crystal cabins, there was one group of 6 in front of us. I figured that we would be in a cabin with them as each cabin holds up to 10 people. They were called forward and we were asked to wait. In the meantime, a group of three had got in line behind us. When the next crystal cabin approached, we were called forward. I did not look behind us. The cabin arrived, we were asked to get in, a photographer took a photo of us and then the doors closed without anybody else getting in. We had the whole cabin to ourselves. You can book a private cabin for extortionate amount of £450. Knowing this made me appreciate the treat even more. Once we were clear of the station, I got up to take some photos. Normally I stay put so that I do not disturb anybody. Unfortunately, it is not easy to take photos through glass, but I got some.



















    When we arrived at the other end, we were shown our photo. I quite liked this, and we ended up getting this. We were told we would get a complimentary photo at one of the gift shops. This was on the way anyway so we decided we may as well do this.

    I had never seen Ngong Ping Village so empty. In broad terms, there are two main parts to the plateau near the cable car. Nearest to the cable car is Ngong Ping Village, which is essentially an evil tourist trap. There is little there that appeals to us. The one exception is a traditional tea house with attached shop. This is the first building you get to when getting out of the cable car station. The second part is much more to my liking and this is why we come. This is the Po Lin Monastery, which is beautiful and serene. A third area is springing up between the two. When we first came up there, there were a couple of shacks selling souvenirs, drinks and foods. Now there is a whole village of shacks and they are a complete eyesore. Even though I am not a fan of Ngong Ping village, at least it is easy on the eye. This time round, we found out that there is a lot more to this area then we had previously realised.

    While Graham went to use the bathroom, I made use of the fact that the place was empty and took some photos. They had started to decorate for Christmas. Their take on Christmas seems to be somewhat surreal. The year before they turned cable car cabins into snow globes. I think I slightly preferred the most recent effort. I ended up taking one of my favourite photos of the trip of the tea house with the mountains in the background. Once Graham was back, we pushed on. I spotted something that I had not seen before, a chocolate museum. They have all kinds of sculptures and everyday objects made from chocolate in there and the admission price included a chocolate tasting. I was quite tempted, but poor Graham is of course allergic to chocolate. Still, I considered coming back in the afternoon while Graham amused himself elsewhere. In the end, this never happened. I have to pencil this in for our next trip to Hong Kong.




    We then headed over to the shop that was offering the free photo. Even though there was nobody else waiting to have photo taken, we had to wait for a bit. Graham had a look around the shop while I waited. Eventually the photographer appeared. They had a green screen setup and you could then all manner of backdrops. We went with one that showed the Big Buddha. We had to wait for a few minutes for the photo to be printed and in the meantime, I had a look around the shop. The offerings were all rather strange. A few minutes later, we picked up our photo and were on our way.

     

    Connect

    Disney News and Updates



    SUBSCRIBE TO OUR DAILY EMAIL
    Subscribe and never miss out on Disney News, Deals and Updates.







    Top