Hong Kong Disneyland
Updated: Sep 24, 2018
One of the things I love doing is going to theme parks. They are so full of visual stimulation and feeling like a kid again never gets old! It's also really fun to see different countries creative design of the park and see how they couple the traditional Disney themes with their own sets of characters and exhibits.
Living in Asia often feels like living in a parallel universe and going to Disney is a great example of that. At times it feels very much the same but at others, completely backwards. It's very easy to navigate Hong Kong Disney as they have English maps and the experience is very similar to that in the US. One aspect I love about going to the park is going into all the retail stores to see all of the unique treats that are so different from those in the US.
DINNER AT THE PLAZA INN
Outfit: Top: Disney, Jeans: Zara, Shoes: Y3, Bag: Balenciaga Belt: Gucci Scarf: H & M
Hong Kong Disneyland opened in 2005 and is the city’s largest theme park, but the smallest Disney park in the world. We heard that its smaller size is part of its charm and that it's lower capacity limits would lead to smaller lines. I am sure this made some difference but i am unable to truly say.
Cast members speak English, Cantonese, and Mandarin. Like other Disney parks, they are incredibly friendly and hand out stickers for the kids to collect. If you’re traveling with children, upon entering Main Street U.S.A., there is a grassy rotunda where character greetings usually take place. Since it’s near the park entrance, the line here can be long, so the recommendation is to skip it. A better option is the Fantasy Gardens where character greetings also take place. It’s relatively shaded, and there are nice benches to sit on. Characters appear in pagodas that are spread throughout the garden. A photographer is also on site to take professional photos for purchase and also will take photos using your camera. One sad thing is that the castle is currently under construction until 2019, so getting that iconic castle shot is unfortunately not an option right now.
One thing to consider when you're traveling to HKD is how much time you will be spending in Hong Kong. If the answer is just a few days, a half-day at the park will allow you to explore Hong Kong and still have a great experience at Disney. The time of year can matter a great deal as well. In the Summer, it can get incredibly hot and humid so if you're traveling with young kids you may want to break it up into a half day or split it into two days.
We booked our HK Disneyland Half Day Afternoon Trip, on Viator. The tour company was able to pick us up straight from the hotel and drop us off after the parade. We booked the half day trip because of the size of the park but I do wish we had arrived a little earlier as I felt somewhat rushed. I really hopped that they sold fast passes for this park but after all the research I did, I was unable to find them. Even though it was a half day trip we still had a great time. It was about 30-45 minutes door to door from our hotel in the Kowloon area to Hong Kong Disneyland on the bus. The bus they provided was a huge luxury bus with very comfortable seats and a great tour guide who was chatty and cheerful. He actually gave us facts on the park which were quite amusing and a nice ramp up to arrival.
THE ENTRANCE & ON MAIN STREET
Outfit: Sweatshirt: Boutique in Meyongdong Seoul Top: Disney, Jeans: Zara, Shoes: Y3, Bag: Balenciaga Belt: Gucci Scarf: H & M
It was mid-afternoon when we arrived so we walked down Main Street looking for a snack. We stopped by this treat stand and grabbed a Micky Waffle and an ear of corn, an interesting yet tasty combination! The downtown Disney area looked just as it does in the states with its 20th Century Main Street style buildings. This is also the best place to do shopping as it has an accumulation of all of the souvenirs throughout the park. I will usually take a look at these stores right when I get in and make a mental note of what's there. If I see something new that I love along the way, I pick it up inside the park, if not then ill grab things around 6PM. If you wait till right when the park is closing it is an absolute mad house so around 6PM is a decent time, when people start lining up for the parade.
MICKY WAFFLE AND CORN
One of the areas we really enjoyed was Adventureland. I recently learned it is the largest Adventureland in all of the Disney Parks. In this area you can eat Chocolate Banana Dippers at the snack cart bearing the same name and if you're looking for a healthy treat you can find fresh cut fruit here, too!
One ride we love to go on at any theme park is the Jungle River Cruise or really anything on water. Sometimes it's nice to just sit back and relax and feel like your someplace else. Even though the animals on this Jungle Cruise were animatronic it was still nice to take in the scenery of the well-designed Jungle Kingdom. This is also the perfect family ride as you can all sit together and take in the sights. There are a few displays of fire but it's more fun than scary. It is the perfect place to cool off with a slight breeze from the water and shade from the cabana roof. One more thing is that all of the rides with spoken word are in the Chinese but they make it easy for anyone to have fun.
JUNGLE CRUISE- ADVENTURE LAND
Outfit: Top: Zara, Seoul Top: Disney, Jeans: Zara, Shoes: Y3,
Bag: Balenciaga Belt: Gucci Scarf: H & M
THE PLAZA INN
I decided to make reservations ahead of time because at Tokyo Disney I had a bit of difficulty finding healthy food to eat let alone non-meat options. I am also vegetarian which can be quite the challenge in Asia and especially where I am currently based in Seoul, South Korea. I noticed at Tokyo Disney there was a ton of lines for anything western food related so I looked up the options online a few weeks before and choose this beautiful place modeled after a popular Disney favorite Mulan. It was called the Plaza Inn.
I ordered the green tea that came in a beautiful floral tea kettle which was pretty to look at as well as relaxing. We then ordered this healthy asparagus, carrot and watercress dish which was simply stir fried in oil so it just felt fresh. I really enjoyed it and was very happy with my choice. We also ordered Chicken Fried Rice as it is one of Travis's favorite dishes. I had a little of that on the side without the chicken which added nicely to the stir fry dish. The only thing missing for us from this Hong Kong Disneyland dining experience was the sale of alcohol which is banned throughout the park. That is something we really enjoyed about Universal Studios in Osaka. I did read an article recently that mentioned that Disneyland is now going to be serving alcohol and so is Magic Kingdom in LA. I thought all Disney Theme Parks besides Epcot did not serve Alcohol but after doing some research I found that wasn't true. Paris Disneyland was the first Disneyland-style park to break with the ‘no-alcohol’ tradition when it was added to table service restaurant menus way back in 1993. I am happy to hear that Disney is starting to cater a bit more to us responsible adults and from what I saw at Universal Studios Osaka, people really don't abuse this freedom and have respect for the families around them.
ASPARAGUS VEGETABLE DISHasparagus, watercress, carrot
The Plaza restaurant was a great experience and the perfect reprieve from the crowds outside. We ate at around 6:00 PM before the Disney Lights Parade which started at 8:00 PM. After dinner we noticed that most of the park was closing down and people were walking towards the exit. They were getting a seat on the side of street on Main Street so we decided to do the same. We sat down for about 45 minutes, relaxed and waited for the parade to start. It had been so many years since I had seen the parade at any Disney and I was actually really impressed at the presentation and overall experience. I would definitely recommend staying for the parade if you go as it was a really nice ending to our day.
The photo above was taken in Toy Story Land. We didn't go on any rides here but I loved the larger than life sized toys. What fun! Overall, if you're in Hong Kong and looking to spend a great day or half day doing something fun yet still out of the ordinary then Hong Kong Disney's a great little adventure. The next time we go back to Hong Kong I would like to check out another famed park called Ocean Park, which we've heard great things about.
FOR DINNER RESERVATIONS:
Book as far in advance as possible. I called and they spoke English and were able to make me a reservation a month ahead of time. (Restaurant however was not packed)
Many of the casual restaurants do not require reservations. For some restaurants, advanced reservations for priority seating are recommended.
Make reservations for these Hong Kong Disneyland Park restaurants at City Hall in Main Street, U.S.A. Town Square, or by calling +852 3550-3388:
If your looking into going to some of the Disney Hotels on property.
Make reservations for the hotel dining location in person or call:
Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel +852 3510-6000
Disney’s Hollywood Hotel +852 3510-5000
Disney’s Explorers Lodge +852 3510-2000
Reservations can be made up to 42 days in advance, or up to 120 days prior to your arrival if you are staying at either the Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel or Disney’s Hollywood Hotel.
HONG KONG DISNEY HOTELS
SERVES ALCOHOL AS OF 2018
-Disney's Epcot (Orlando, FL)
-Disney's Animal Kingdom (Orlando, FL)
-Disneyland Paris (Paris, France)
-Tokyo Disney Sea (Tokyo, Japan)
-Disneyland California (Los Angeles, CA)
-Disneys California Adventure (Los Angeles, CA)
DOES NOT SERVE ALCOHOL
-Hong Kong Disneyland (Hong Kong, HK)
-Tokyo Disneyland (Tokyo, Japan)
-Shanghai Disneyland (Shanghai, China)
DISNEY TOY STORY LAND
DISNEY LIGHT PARADE
What to BrinG:
-Bug spray (mostly for after nightfall) (We didn't bring and we were but it was March and on the colder side.)
-A travel umbrella for shade or hand-held fan ) (These are big in Asia so you'll blend right in.)
They do have some Disney branded fans at the park but they are sold at a premium.
Rules To Make Note Of:
You are not permitted to bring in outside food or drinks. Adults over the age of 16 are not allowed to dress up. Selfie sticks are not allowed. Read the rest of the park’s rules and regulations.
Viator Trip: Hong Kong Disneyland Admission with Transfers from Kowloon Area (Pick Up and Drop Off)
DISNEY RESTAURANT RESERVATIONS
Outfit: Sweatshirt: Boutique in Meyongdong, Seoul Top: Disney, Jeans: Zara, Shoes: Y3, Bag: Balenciaga Belt: Gucci Scarf: H & M