Hold On To Your Ears! A Visit To Hong Kong Disneyland
Ladies and gentlemen, hold on to your ears! Today we step into the newest “Happiest Place on Earth”! Ok, well that is at least for a few more months until Shanghai Disneyland opens in June, but nonetheless get ready to step into the world of Yesterday, Tomorrow, and Fantasy… Hong Kong style!
Hong Kong Disneyland opened to guests for the first time on Monday September 12, 2005. however, when the park first opened, it had very few attractions with only 9 rides. That would begin to change the following year with the additions of Autopia, Stitch Encounter, and UFO Zone, then again later in 2008 with the opening of the hit Disney classic, “It’s a small world”.
But that wasn’t enough to continue to grow and to later compete with the eventual opening of Shanghai Disneyland. Park officials and the local government knew they had to bring something new and exciting to the table. Something as simple as a splash mountain wasn’t going to cut it. The next additions had to be unique to the Disney line up and had to really help Hong Kong Disneyland stand out in the rapidly growing Chinese theme park industry, so on July 10 2009, park officials unveiled what would be the park’s greatest expansions to date.
Bringing new rides was too simple, instead 3 new lands would soon open between 2011 and 2013. Toy Story Land, Grizzly Gulch, and Mystic Point, would soon anchor the park on the left side and help turn Hong Kong Disneyland from a half day park into a full day park. So enough history already…. let’s start exploring!
Once inside the gates, it fells just like stepping into Disneyland California or the Magic Kingdom! You have the train station right upfront of course…
City Hall is a must for any Disney park! Then you turn the corner and see…
…Main Street USA! But wait, what’s that?
Mountains behind the castle? Yes that is correct, the Hong Kong Disneyland Resort is surrounded by mountains on two sides of the park!
Lets take a closer look of the castle…
Some of the princesses and a lucky family helped open Disneyland for the day. Now it’s time to head out for our first adventure!
Taking a right off of Main Street we start out in Tomorrowland!
Tomorrowland land features your staples such as Autopia, Orbitron, Stitch Encounter, buzz light year spin! Also of course… Space Mountain!
If you have ever been to Tokyo Disneyland or Cali Disneyland, it’s very familiar to those. It has some tight turns, quick drops, and some fun effects! No visit to Disneyland is complete with out a stop here.
Continuing on, we make our way into Fantasyland with our first stop being it’s a small world.
It’s very similar to all the other Small worlds out there, plus the best A/C in the entire park! Yes we may have grabbed an extra ride or two since we were not yet used to the south Asia humidity yet!
This one also features some Disney characters popping up throughout the ride.
You can hear that song right now can’t you? Good.
Fanstasyland also features another classic dark ride with Winnie the Pooh.
Can’t have Fantasy with out everyone’s favorite flying elephant!
Heading back out of fantasy land to make our way to our next Adventure!
One last look at the back side of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle
If you would of gone left out of Main Street you would of made your way deep into the jungles of Adventureland!
Our first stop was Festival of the Lion King!
This was a great show! It’s a little different than the american versions ans well worth the wait. We couldn’t take photos during the show, but if you ever visit it’s a must see!
Next up was a classic Adventureland staple… The Jungle River Cruise! The park understands that many park guests will speak different languages. So to help, that they offer 3 different lines for the Jungle Cruise, one for Cantonese, another for Mandarin, and a 3rd for English. We of course got in line for the English version.
The Jungle River Cruise replaces the River’s of America at this park. Here, we are circling around the main lagoon before heading deeper into the jungles.
Tarzan’s Tree house takes over the island in the middle of the Jungle Cruise. Unfortunately we didn’t have time to explore it.
Our guide and a very full boat ahead of us… funny story about that…
While there was a relatively long wait for the two other languages, there was no one in line for the English version. So, after the skippers offered other guests to skip the wait and no one took the offer, we headed out on a very private jungle cruise! Just me and the skipper! Has anyone else ever got that experience?
Heading deep into the jungle now!
Can you fly?
Some classic gags!
This is where the rides finale happens. There is lots of fire and water! This helps their jungle cruise stand out from the other cruises around the world, which is very exciting!
We had a great tour and applaud our skipper for making the best out of a very unique situation! It gave us a fun story to tell! Plus, who wouldn’t want a VIP ride!??!!
Having finished the rest of the original park, it was now time to check out the newest lands!
First up was Toy Story Land!
The Toy Story Land is the second such land to open at a Disney park (The first being Paris). It features 3 rides first being the Toy Soldier Parachute Drop, along with Slinky Dog Spin, and the star of the land RC Racer! It is hard to decide whether DC Racer is a coaster or not but it sure is a ton of fun!
Moving on we find ourselves in an old mining town by the name Grizzly Gulch.
You will find some rascally varmint running around here! Just kidding we all love you Mickey and Minnie!
Whoa! What’s this?!
It looks like a baby Expedition Everest!
Opened in July of 2012 Big Grizzly Runaway Mine Cars is the newest E-Ticket roller coaster at the park. It features a fun launch, some really great animatronics and effects. It even goes backwards!
With a wait like this, it is hard to say no to an extra ride or two… or 17!
Big Grizzly is the perfect coaster for this park! It’s a family ride that also provides some thrills.
Just don’t expect Disney to copy it though. Per the agreement with the Hong Kong Government. Some rides remain exclusive to Hong Kong Disneyland. Big Grizzly and our next stop are two of the exclusive rides.
Next up is the newest land at Hong Kong Disneyland!
Whoa, look at that beautiful building. We wonder what’s inside.
Sounds like this Lord Mystic is quite the collector.
Seriously though, our visit was in 2013, the year which Mystic Manor first opened and going in we knew nothing about the ride. We were expecting your traditional haunted mansion style ride as found at every other Disney park, but boy were we wrong!
Instead we found one of the best Disney dark rides out there. The ride itself is short but it packs so much excitement and fun story telling into the trip that you will find yourself wanting to ride it over and over!
The story of Mystic Manor goes that the manor is owned by Lord Henry Mystic who is a member of the Society of Explorers and Adventurers. Lord Mystic travels the world and collects the most exotic artifacts he can find together with his monkey sidekick Albert.
His newest find is an enchanted music box which is said to hold the powers to bring inanimate objects to life. The day that the music box arrives is also the day Lord Henry Mystic invites you for a tour of his collection. As you begin your tour Lord Mystic tells Albert not to touch the box, however you can’t stop Albert’s curiosity and the fun begins.
Fun Fact: The Society of Explorers and Adventurers story intertwines with The Hightower Hotel at Tokyo DisneySea. It’s owner Harrison Hightower, who is a member and his newest item in his collection, an idol from Africa which goes by the name Shiriki. The Hightower Hotel aka The Tower of Terror at Tokyo DisneySea will be covered in a later update.
After or visit to Mystic Manor night began to descend over the park and was time to bid our goodbyes.
But first how about one last ride?
Probably one of Disney’s best coasters yet!
Things are starting to unwind now.
What a beautiful castle don’t you agree?!
Heading back down main street.
One last look back at the crowds.
Lets leave you with the dedication of the park from opening day!
To all who come to this happy place, welcome. Many years ago, Walt Disney introduced the world to enchanted realms of fantasy and adventure, yesterday and tomorrow, in a magical place called Disneyland. Today that spirit of imagination and discovery comes to life in Hong Kong. Hong Kong Disneyland is dedicated to the young and the young at heart – with the hope that it will be a source of joy and inspiration, and an enduring symbol of the cooperation, friendship and understanding between the people of Hong Kong and the United States of America.— Eisner
Now, on with some construction news!
Moving ahead with the future of Hong Kong Disneyland it is easy to tell they have big plans for future additions to the resort area. On the bottom left you can see the construction of their 3rd hotel Disney Explorers Lodge, which is slated to open in 2017. Also near Tommorowland, you can see the construction site for the newest E-Ticket attraction, not to mention the first Marvel Disney ride “The Iron Man experience” which is opening later this year!
Even more exciting is that huge area to the right. They clearly set aside the land for an eventual second park but what could it bring? It could be anyone’s guess… maybe a studios park, or maybe a super hero park? Either way there is an exciting future ahead for Hong Kong Disneyland and with the local governments desire for unique attractions, this may be a must visit for any Disney Fan!
Thank you for joining us on our tour of the Hong Kong Disneyland resort. We hope you had as much fun as we did! With that said, what park would you like us to visit next? Let us know on our socials!
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