Disneyland: Hong Kong Edition
Home of all my smashed childhood dreams and legendary place, that despite plenty of begging, stomping my little feet on the floor, and crying tiny tears, I never got to visit. Too expensive, they said. Too far away. No time. Maybe my parents were anti-royalists with no appreciation for the intricacies of the animated film and singing aristocratic mermaids. Maybe they didn’t want to spend their hard-earned vacation days in an eardrum-shredding amusement park for children. Maybe, they didn’t know that Disneyland is just as awesome for adults as it is for the little ones.
Growing up, it was always the same old story: what do you mean, you’ve never been to Disneyland? For reals?
Somehow, most friends and acquaintances were able to conjure sentimental vacation photos from Paris, California, and Tokyo out of thin air as soon as the topic came up. Photos of smiling children next to a sweating Rapunzel and then there was always Buzz Lightyear, trying to covertly feel up the mother’s bottom. I had clearly missed an integral part of growing up. I felt old. In Disneyland-years, I must be a dithering old lady with a walker.
Yes, I’ve never been to Disneyland. Not even Disneyworld. For reals. Not until my chaotic route all over Asia brought be to Hong Kong and I somehow ended up in the Hong Kong version of Disneyland.
I don’t know how it’s done in the other Disneylands, but in Hong Kong, you go there costumed. The children in full-on princess robes, little squealing Snow Whites and Cinderellas, the adults a little bit more discreet. The least you can do without feeling left out is wearing shirts and hats with Disney characters on them – Mickey for him, Minnie for her. If you’re a couple, a syrupy matching look is pretty much compulsory. Sadly, I couldn’t convince Brendan to adapt to the local culture and get overly kitschy shirts together and had to go as a boring old ordinary person.
Disneyland Hong Kong is the smallest of the Disneyland parks and at the moment, offers seven thematic areas: Main Street, Adventureland, Fantasyland, Tomorrowland, Toy Story Land, Grizzly Gulch, and Mystic Point. The park is obviously more geared towards small children and accordingly, there aren’t too many adrenaline-packed rides for us older folks. Hong Kong Disneyland was a lot of fun anyway though and due to the lines being really small, Brendan and I got on the Grizzly Gulch ride eight times in a row and almost puked.
The rest of the day was spent further torturing our stomachs with pink Mickey Mouse ice cream and caramel popcorn till we felt so sick, that we could only sit on a bench and people watch. The day ended with fireworks over the Sleeping Beauty Castle – a display so bright that it almost burned the retinas off our eyes.
It was awesome and I definitely plan to stop by the other Disneylands and -worlds as well. After all, in Florida, there’s still a warm butterbeer waiting for me and I haven’t yet fully exploited the limits of unreasonable behavior.
Disney’s Most Awesome Rides
Whether you are traveling with small children or not, Disney World has rides that will thrill you, scare you, and make you feel like a kid again.
For the smaller crowd, the Magic Kingdom has a variety of rides that will give them the enchanted experience Disney is all about. A few you don’t want to miss our Dumbo’s Flying Elephants, the Mad Tea Party teacup ride, and It’s A Small World. Children love to hear the catchy tune repeated in so many different languages and to see the costumes of the different countries displayed throughout the ride.
The Carousel of Progress has been a favorite for years for young and old alike. Walt Disney originally designed the ride to show the progress of technology through the years. The theatre revolves around a unique experience.
The Enchanted Tiki Room is a tropical paradise filled with birds and other creatures for a comedic musical show that will delight everyone.
When the kids get a little too energetic waiting in lines, take them to Tom Sawyer’s Island or the Swiss Family Treehouse. Board the raft that takes you to Tom Sawyer Island and pretend you are characters from Huck Finn. Explore caves, walk across suspended bridges, and watch the kids play and pretend while they learn about the past. The Swiss Family Treehouse is six stories of climbing fun. See what it would be like to live in the trees while you get amazing views of the park below.
If your children don’t mind being scared just a little, The Haunted Mansion is a great spooky ride that takes you into a mansion full of spirits and fun. The Pirates of the Caribbean is a swashbuckling boat ride through pirate land where you will see the pirates plunder a town and try to take hold of the booty within. Snow White’s Scary Adventure may be too intense for the little ones, but older children and adults will love it. Ride through the enchanted forest for plenty of spooky surprises.
If you want an adult adrenaline-pumping ride, check out Space Mountain. This completely dark indoor roller coaster will fulfill your need for speed, and Splash Mountain is a boat ride with a heart-stopping drop at the end. These are just a few of Disney’s most awesome rides.
If you book your stay at the Doubletree Resort in Orlando you can enjoy comfortable accommodations and superb extras. Relax at the spa or take a swim in the lagoon pool. Supervised children’s pools are available, as well as a pool sidebar for your favorite cocktail. Doubletree Resort puts you right in the middle of all Orlando’s finest attractions like Sea World, Universal, and Disney World, as well as many other local attractions.