Trip Report!! ABD Enchanted China 6/4-15/2017 Update 8/11/18! Day 10 - Shanghai à la Carte

sayhello

Have Camera, Will Travel
Joined
Oct 28, 2006
Hey, everyone!! Here we go! This is my Trip Report for my Enchanted China ABD! Sorry it took so long for me to start, but the jetlag hit me harder coming home than I'm used to. But I think I'm mostly recovered now. PLEASE push me, because my goal is to keep posting this on a fairly regular schedule!!

Day 0 & Day 1 & Day 2 – Arrive in China, Hong Kong Disneyland, Welcome Dinner, Hong Kong, and back to HKDL.

So I’m going to preface this report with the fact that I came *this* close to cancelling this trip. (Well, maybe not, but I did seriously consider it, and went as far as to call my Trip Insurance company to solidify what they required in order for the cancellation to be covered.) You see, I found myself, a few days before the trip, with sciatica pain in my left leg. And I could not FATHOM a 16-hour flight with sciatica. My chiropractor was out of town (how dare he?) so I made an appointment with him for Wednesday (I left on Friday!) I also got an appointment with my regular doctor for Tuesday. My regular doctor didn’t hold out much hope, but he gave me drugs to get me through if necessary. But I’m glad to report that my chiropractor worked a miracle, and the sciatica abated after I saw him. I had my first ever acupuncture treatment also, and I think that helped calm it down, too. That, paired with a Purple gel seat cushion that I’d purchased online seemed to do the trick! So off to China for me! YAY!!

Day 0 – Arrival in China

So after a LONG day of traveling (one leg was 16 hours non-stop from Chicago to Hong Kong!!) I arrived in Hong Kong. I flew Cathay Pacific, a Hong-Kong based airline, and I have to say, it was not too bad for a 16-hour flight. I sprung for Premium Economy, which actually means something on Cathay Pacific. The general Economy cabin seats were 9-across, and the Premium Economy were 8-across, so they were a bit wider and cushier, and definitely had more leg room. There were only a few rows of Premium Economy, so we had a nice, sort of exclusive cabin. It was nowhere near as nice as business class, which had lay-down seats, but it was definitely better than regular economy.

It wasn’t too horrid getting through customs and all – and when I got through, there was a guy holding a sign with my name!! I do love that part. He introduced himself as Bruce, and said he was going to be one of the Guides on my trip. I was a little confused, as he said he’d be seeing me on Monday, but the ABD started on Sunday. It turned out that he was the *local* guide for Hong Kong, not an Adventure Guide. (Hey, I was tired, I’m allowed!) He got me and my luggage out to the curb, and in just a little bit, my car arrived to take me to the Peninsula Hong Kong! Bruce said there was one more family coming in soon that he needed to go back for, and we said Good-bye until Monday.

The drive was pleasant, and after not too long a time, I arrived at the Peninsula. My luggage was whisked off, and I checked in. The room was spacious and quite lovely, but it turns out it was not the nicest room I’d have on this trip by a long shot! I started to settle in when I realized that I did not have my gel seat cushion!! 0_o Oh, no!! I called down to the front desk to see if maybe I’d left it down there while registering, but they didn’t find anything. Fortunately, Joe & Ralph, our Adventure Guides, had left a letter in my room that, among other things, had their cell phone numbers! So I called Joe, and got his voicemail, and left him a message that I thought I’d left my cushion on the van. Ralph called me back, and I described it to him. A while later, I got a call from the front desk that my cushion had been found. I wondered where they’d found it until right afterwards, when Ralph called back and said that Bruce had located it on the van, and the van driver had given it to the front desk. Calamity avoided!! Yay for Bruce and Joe and Ralph and the van driver!

At this point, exhausted, I checked my email (CaliforniaGirl09 said she’d use email to communicate) and then settled in for the night. (I’ll mostly be calling her CG from here on; it’s just easier!)

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I loved that they had this table with a properly-lit pop-up makeup mirror. I really hate how most hotel rooms force you to get ready in dim mood lighting. It was very refreshing to have a dedicated table with lots of light!
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The view from my room. Unfortunately, it was so humid out that the window was fogged up. It never really unfogged.

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Day 1 -- Hong Kong Disneyland OYO & Welcome Dinner

The next morning, I woke up at a relatively normal time, feeling relatively pretty good and started to get ready for the day. I arranged with CG that we’d meet up after breakfast to see about meeting up with the Adventure Guides, and then heading over to Hong Kong Disneyland. I finally got to meet the awesome CaliforniaGirl09 & her wonderful family (DH, DS & DD).

After working our way through a bit of a maze of rooms, we found the place where our Adventure Guides had set up shop. They were Ralph and Joe. Ralph is from the US (works in entertainment at Disneyland) and Joe is from China (specifically, Beijing). They made a really good team! They explained some logistics stuff to us, answered any questions we had, and gave us our lanyards.

We then got a bit lost trying to find our way *out* of the maze. We finally escaped, and headed down to the lobby to arrange our ride to HKDL. CG wanted to use Uber, which I’d actually never used before. It seemed to work pretty well.

After an uneventful ride, we arrived at HKDL.

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CG’s DS & DD. (Yes, the castle is really that small!)

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Iron Man waffle!

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So, I have to mention here that the park was seriously empty this day. Most rides had “5 minutes” as their wait time, when in reality, the 5 minutes was just walking through the queue. We walked right onto virtually everything until later in the day! It was really, really nice! But it was seriously hot. We were melting after not too long of a time.

The first ride we did was the Big Grizzly Mountain rollercoaster. Very much like Big Thunder Mountain. Great rollercoaster, but it turned out to be a *BIG* mistake for me. My stomach decided it very much did NOT like the motion of this rollercoaster, and I spent most of the ride trying not to be sick. I used to LOVE rollercoasters, but it appears my body no longer does. I ended up skipping a lot of the “rough” rides. It was OK; we did enough other things that I was OK.

CG & her kids on the Toy Soldier Parachute Drop in Toy Story Land.

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We stopped for a quick service lunch. This was the Mickey shaped sushi.

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We did It’s a Small World and Mystic Manor. I really liked their version of It's a Small World, and Mystic Manor was exceptionally cool. Just really fun and imaginative.

I went through some of the lines with CG & family, but just couldn’t actually get myself to actually ride things like Hyperspace Mountain or the Iron Man Experience. This getting old stuff is no fun!! But I knew I’d be back the next day with ABD, so I wasn’t too worried about it.

CG's DS happily having his pic taken being "questioned" by a couple of storm troopers.

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Eventually, we knew we had to start heading back to the Peninsula, so we could get ready for the Welcome Dinner. As you can see, it was still pretty empty as we were leaving. (Joe said a lot of this is because of Shanghai Disneyland. Folks from the mainland have to get a Visa to go to Hong Kong, so it's just easier to go to Shanghai.)

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CG could not connect with Uber, so we all ended up squeezing into a cab to go back. (We think they may have been blocking Uber at the park. Who knows?)

Continued in next post.
 
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sayhello

Have Camera, Will Travel
Joined
Oct 28, 2006
When I arrived back at my room, there was a cute little tray of chocolates waiting for me. Yumm!

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The Welcome Dinner was held in a conference room (or maybe it was a private dining room?) off one of the restaurants in the hotel. We (including the Adventure Guides) had been told it was casual, but apparently it wasn’t. They weren’t too happy with our casual attire, and made us walk through the kitchen to get to the bathrooms! So tip to subsequent ABDers, Welcome dinner is “Business Casual”. I really couldn’t eat a lot that night, as my stomach was still not very happy with me, but what I did eat was very tasty.

There were 24 of us on this trip. There was supposed to be 28, but a family of 4 had to cancel at the last minute (like the week before). Turned out that the mother had a recurrence of her cancer diagnosed just before the trip, and she had to start treatment. (One of the couples on the trip knew them). So sad!! I hope she’s OK.

Joe gave us a bit of an overview about the trip and how it was all going to work.

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I also met lovely fellow DISer KarenStevan & her son (henceforth KS). They had booked an evening rivercruise to see the light show over the river, and ended up having to leave before we ate. (They ended up getting room service later, on the Mouse.) The youngest kids were 8 & 9, there were several teens, and a couple of adult children. I was the only solo traveler. There were 3 families of 4, 2 Moms with their sons, and one Mom with her 2 daughters who had been adopted in China. And there were 2 couples. It was a really great Group size. After dinner, the Guides took some photos, and then it was off to bed.

Day 2 -- Hong Kong & Hong Kong Disneyland

After a buffet breakfast at the hotel, the next day started with a bus ride to Stanley Market. It wasn’t that hot yet, but it was so humid, my camera kept fogging up. It took it a while to acclimate.

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Before we hit the market, we had our first “encounter” with limited Western toilets and no toilet paper. For those who don't know, until recently, most toilets in China are what we fondly referred to as "squatty potties". They are actual fixtures, not just a hole in the ground, but they are designed to be squatted down over. I, unfortunately, have a serious physical problem with squatting, and pretty much found it torture. And even if they were nice facilities, with plenty of Western toilets, toilet paper was frequently not available. Fortunately, most of us had been warned or learned to carry tissues, and Ralph was also there to give us the toilet bag, so we were all prepared. (The toilet bag was one of the ABD laundry bags with a roll of TP and hand sanitizer in it.) It saw frequent use. And let me tell you, nothing makes a group of women bond like a lack of Western toilets and TP. Seriously. I think it really helped the group gel pretty quickly!

We were taken to the meeting point, given a description of the area and when we needed to meet back, and then were set loose.

We had the option of heading down to the waterfront first to get family shots.

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Stanley Market is a pretty typical touristy Market place, with everything ranging from junky souvenirs to some pretty high-end stuff. We were told to haggle, as it was expected here.

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We spent about an hour there, I think, shopping. I seemed to mostly end up at the stores that refused to haggle. I always travel with my Memory Foam pillow (otherwise I get a crick in my neck) but I’d somehow managed to pack it without a pillow case! CG reminded me of this while we were shopping, and suggested I pick up a pillowcase at Stanley Market, which I did. I also bought some little brocade pouches and a really cool fidget that CG’s son had haggled down to a really good price. He was a far superior haggler to me!

After our shopping outing, we headed back to the motorcoach, and off we went to Victoria Peak! We heard a fascinating talk by Bruce about Hong Kong, and its history, and what it was like to live there. Victoria Peak is pretty high up, and the view from there is spectacular. Even with a bit of haze, you could see quite far, and really see how high up its buildings went.

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Click! It's a video. (That's Bruce talking).



Our first group photo!

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After some time at the viewing point, and the requisite photos, we were given some free time to explore the area, and given a time to meet up at the restaurant where we would be having lunch. We had pre-chosen our meals earlier.

I decided to explore the mall that was right there, because it was right on the side of a cliff, and appeared to have some killer views. You could only go so far up without paying (they had a viewing terrace up at the top) but what I could see through the windows was pretty impressive.

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I eventually made my way back down to head to lunch, but it turned out to be a LOT more difficult than I thought it would be. Because the Mall was built into the cliff, it was difficult to determine which floor was actually “ground level” where you could exit, and everyone I asked told me a different way. “Up a floor.” “Down 2 floors.” I eventually found my way out & headed to the restaurant.

The restaurant was very pretty & pleasant. There was a lot of woodwork, and the outside was full of beautiful trees. This humongous one was out in the patio.

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OK, due to extortion from photobucket, I had to change this post to directly upload the photos to the DIS. That' only 10 photos per post. So I'm having to make the posts smaller. The next few pieces of this report will be after the current comments. I'll post a link here when I get the rest posted!

Link: https://www.disboards.com/threads/trip-report-abd-enchanted-china-6-4-15-2017.3613805/page-2#post-57825733https://www.disboards.com/threads/trip-report-abd-enchanted-china-6-4-15-2017.3613805/page-2#post-57825733
 
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CaliforniaGirl09

DIS Veteran
Joined
Dec 4, 2009
Yay!!! So glad you got started and already loving the trip report--such a great reminder of a wonderful trip! And DS was a much better haggler than his mom, too :) Love the pic of him with the storm troopers. I'd already forgotten how hot it was in HK, but we were seriously wilting that first day on some of the rides (the army men one in particular). Looking forward to days 3 and 4!
 
  • Cousin Orville

    Inventor of Air Cooling
    Joined
    Aug 27, 2000
    :) It's great to start reading your trip report. I enjoyed this day, but I could have skipped Stanley Market. I guess it's good to see a typical Asian Market, but as you said, there was a lot of junky stuff there considering the bus trip out there. Victoria Peak on the other hand was lovely. Sorry to see the tram wasn't working. Not a huge deal, but was just nice to go down the mountain a unique way. I'm looking forward to hear your impressions of Beijing!
     

    sayhello

    Have Camera, Will Travel
    Joined
    Oct 28, 2006
    Yay!!! So glad you got started and already loving the trip report--such a great reminder of a wonderful trip! And DS was a much better haggler than his mom, too :) Love the pic of him with the storm troopers. I'd already forgotten how hot it was in HK, but we were seriously wilting that first day on some of the rides (the army men one in particular). Looking forward to days 3 and 4!
    It is a fun way to remember things! Although I'm already straining my poor, old brain! ;)

    :) It's great to start reading your trip report. I enjoyed this day, but I could have skipped Stanley Market. I guess it's good to see a typical Asian Market, but as you said, there was a lot of junky stuff there considering the bus trip out there. Victoria Peak on the other hand was lovely. Sorry to see the tram wasn't working. Not a huge deal, but was just nice to go down the mountain a unique way. I'm looking forward to hear your impressions of Beijing!
    I'm hoping to have the first day of Beijing up soon. :) Stanley Market was an OK intro, but I wouldn't have been heartbroken without it. But Victoria Peak was definitely worth seeing!

    Love the trip report. Thank you!
    Thank you!

    Sayhello
     

    MKMK

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Jul 27, 2015
    Thank you for taking the time to put this together. I thoroughly enjoy reading it in preparation for our upcoming adventure in July.

    Laughing at your comment about the dress code/walking thru the kitchen at the Welcome Dinner. Received an "Important Information about your Adventure" email about 2 weeks ago stating "smart casual professional attire" for the Welcome/Farewell dinners (long pants/shirts for men, pants, skirts for women - no flip flops). At the time I found it sort of unusual... but now I know why we received it!
     
  • sayhello

    Have Camera, Will Travel
    Joined
    Oct 28, 2006
    Thank you for taking the time to put this together. I thoroughly enjoy reading it in preparation for our upcoming adventure in July.

    Laughing at your comment about the dress code/walking thru the kitchen at the Welcome Dinner. Received an "Important Information about your Adventure" email about 2 weeks ago stating "smart casual professional attire" for the Welcome/Farewell dinners (long pants/shirts for men, pants, skirts for women - no flip flops). At the time I found it sort of unusual... but now I know why we received it!
    Yes, it totally took the Adventure Guides by surprise, but they told us all subsequent trips would be sent a message. Glad to hear it did happen. :)

    Sayhello
     

    Chirple

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 30, 2009
    @sayhello, thanks for starting this. While not on my list, I am enjoying seeing the different locations. I would love to get to overseas Disney parks one day.
     

    Calfan

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 31, 2009
    Excited to read along with your trip report and see more pics. I'm looking forward to seeing how your experiences compare to ours with Thomson last summer and also to re-living our trip through your eyes.
     

    distravel

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jun 29, 2013
    Will be following along. I'm interested to see the differences from our itinerary last fall. Thanks for taking the time to do the trip report - loving your narration and photos as always.
     
  • CAYrgem

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Feb 5, 2012
    Thanks so much for your trip report. My 14 yr old daughter and I leave in just a few weeks for our first ABD trip. Since I've heard such wonderful things about Country Kitchen, I decided to make reservations in advance. Can you tell me the approximate time you returned to the hotel so I can make a reservation?

    Thanks!!
    Leah
     

    sayhello

    Have Camera, Will Travel
    Joined
    Oct 28, 2006
    Thanks so much for your trip report. My 14 yr old daughter and I leave in just a few weeks for our first ABD trip. Since I've heard such wonderful things about Country Kitchen, I decided to make reservations in advance. Can you tell me the approximate time you returned to the hotel so I can make a reservation?

    Thanks!!
    Leah
    I don't recall for the first night in Beijing, but for the second night, I want to say it was 5:30ish, but I really can't recall exactly. I know I made my reservation for 6:30 so I'd have time to clean up, so that should be safe.

    Sayhello
     

    sayhello

    Have Camera, Will Travel
    Joined
    Oct 28, 2006
    @sayhello, thanks for starting this. While not on my list, I am enjoying seeing the different locations. I would love to get to overseas Disney parks one day.
    Thank you! :) Glad you're enjoying!

    Excited to read along with your trip report and see more pics. I'm looking forward to seeing how your experiences compare to ours with Thomson last summer and also to re-living our trip through your eyes.
    I'll be interested to hear, also. Please do comment with your comparisons! :)

    Will be following along. I'm interested to see the differences from our itinerary last fall. Thanks for taking the time to do the trip report - loving your narration and photos as always.
    Thanks for following along! I think the differences were mainly order and timing, but I'll be interested to hear what you have to say about the differences.

    Sayhello
     

    CAYrgem

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Feb 5, 2012
    Thanks for the info on the return time to the hotel!

    I have another question regarding Disneyland Shanghai. I kinda messed up and didn't book any post trip days to spend at Disneyland Shanghai. Can you give me recommendations on what to do the last day? I know you were the first trip so you may have arrived a little later than normal to DL Shanghai. Should we skip the morning and head right to DL or will we have enough time to do the Yu Garden tour in the morning with the group and still catch the highlights of DL during our afternoon there?

    Thank you so much!
    Leah
     

    sayhello

    Have Camera, Will Travel
    Joined
    Oct 28, 2006
    Thanks for the info on the return time to the hotel!

    I have another question regarding Disneyland Shanghai. I kinda messed up and didn't book any post trip days to spend at Disneyland Shanghai. Can you give me recommendations on what to do the last day? I know you were the first trip so you may have arrived a little later than normal to DL Shanghai. Should we skip the morning and head right to DL or will we have enough time to do the Yu Garden tour in the morning with the group and still catch the highlights of DL during our afternoon there?

    Thank you so much!
    Leah
    In my opinion, I think you should have plenty of time to do the Yu Gardens tour and still catch the highlights of DL in the afternoon & evening. Yu Gardens was really nice, and I enjoyed that part of the day. You *could* skip the hour or so that we spent shopping in Old Chinatown, although that was fun, too. The problem with skipping the morning with the group is, I don't know how you'd get your tickets. The Guides didn't have them; we were met just outside the gates by SHDL representatives who had our tickets and our fastpasses. And we went as a group to leave our stuff at Club 33 so that we could change later. And, of course, you'd have to get yourself there. I suppose you could buy your own tickets, and then meet up with the Guides later to get your fastpasses and dump your change of clothes at that time. But as is, you'll probably have at least 2 hours more than we had, and I felt like we had enough time to see the highlights. There aren't a lot of rides at Shanghai Disneyland, which is part of the reason the lines are so bad.

    Sayhello
     
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    CaliKris

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Nov 24, 2015
    We are currently on our China ABD sitting in the HK airport waiting for our flight to Beijing. So fun to read your trip report and relive our last few days. We were definitely warned via email and by our guides to dress nicely for our welcome dinner. We did not have to traipse through the kitchen. Ha ha! We have Joe as a guide as well as Christian from Cousin Orville's 2014 trip and Bruce was our local guide as well. We have a great group of adventurers and this is the first day we are feeling less effects of jet lag. The weather is hot and humid in Hong Kong. We have only had a couple brief periods of rain but so far have been uneffected by it. HKDL was very fun and oppressively humid even up until the fireworks at 9pm.

    So excited for the rest of the trip. We love ABD so far!! Already taking about where our next ABD adventure will be!
     

    sayhello

    Have Camera, Will Travel
    Joined
    Oct 28, 2006
    We are currently on our China ABD sitting in the HK airport waiting for our flight to Beijing. So fun to read your trip report and relive our last few days. We were definitely warned via email and by our guides to dress nicely for our welcome dinner. We did not have to traipse through the kitchen. Ha ha! We have Joe as a guide as well as Christian from Cousin Orville's 2014 trip and Bruce was our local guide as well. We have a great group of adventurers and this is the first day we are feeling less effects of jet lag. The weather is hot and humid in Hong Kong. We have only had a couple brief periods of rain but so far have been uneffected by it. HKDL was very fun and oppressively humid even up until the fireworks at 9pm.

    So excited for the rest of the trip. We love ABD so far!! Already taking about where our next ABD adventure will be!
    Yay! So glad you're enjoying your trip. Please say "Hi!!" to Joe for me, he's fabulous!! He'll be your local guide in Beijing, and he's really great!!
    And ENJOY the Rosewood!! What an amazing hotel!

    Sayhello
     

    Karen Stevan

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Aug 23, 2016
    Wonderful trip report, Tobi! You really capture the spirit and essence of the experience.

    I agree that the tour could skip Stanley Market because it took a long time to get there and it was a pretty lame start to the adventure. I would much rather have had extra time at HK Disneyland. I got to see pretty much everything there I wanted to with the extra add-on day at the park before meeting the group, but could have had another few hours to better pace myself in the intense heat.

    Also, the first night meeting ABD there wasn't time to explore HK on your own. I thought we would have all this time after the Welcome Dinner and booked the Symphony of Lights Harbour Cruise, but the dinner didn't get going until after 7:00 PM, so we had to dash out and miss the dinner in order to meet up with our cruise tour. I heard the dinner was amazing, so I was sorry to miss it and the chance to get to know our fellow travellers. On the other hand, the Harbour Cruise was really fun and memorable, and we didn't get the opportunity to see the Symphony any other time because we stayed out at the Park the first add-on night.
     

    sayhello

    Have Camera, Will Travel
    Joined
    Oct 28, 2006
    Wonderful trip report, Tobi! You really capture the spirit and essence of the experience.

    I agree that the tour could skip Stanley Market because it took a long time to get there and it was a pretty lame start to the adventure. I would much rather have had extra time at HK Disneyland. I got to see pretty much everything there I wanted to with the extra add-on day at the park before meeting the group, but could have had another few hours to better pace myself in the intense heat.

    Also, the first night meeting ABD there wasn't time to explore HK on your own. I thought we would have all this time after the Welcome Dinner and booked the Symphony of Lights Harbour Cruise, but the dinner didn't get going until after 7:00 PM, so we had to dash out and miss the dinner in order to meet up with our cruise tour. I heard the dinner was amazing, so I was sorry to miss it and the chance to get to know our fellow travellers. On the other hand, the Harbour Cruise was really fun and memorable, and we didn't get the opportunity to see the Symphony any other time because we stayed out at the Park the first add-on night.
    Thanks, Karen. :) I agree, the lack of opportunity to see the Symphony of lights was sad for me. I arrived the first night after the Symphony was over, plus being way too exhausted to do anything anyways. It would have been nice if they'd timed things for the Welcome Dinner to see it, because the next night we were at HKDL, and we left the next morning. I guess you can't do everything, but I'm glad you guys got a chance to see it!

    Sayhello
     

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