UPDATE ON FIREWORKS, NEW RIDES, SHOWS – Hong Kong Disneyland will temporarily suspend the theme park’s nightly fireworks display starting Jan. 2, 2018 as it undergoes a six-year expansion. A Moana-themed attraction and stage show in Adventureland will be the first to open in May 2018 and the Sleeping Beauty Castle will go through a complete makeover with new shows and entertainment.
‘Are you crazy?’, ‘It can’t be done’ – dreams and imagination routinely evoke such statements from a world rooted in cold facts. Disney won’t have any of that questioning though – from a genie in a bottle to clocks with feelings, the brand brings to life impossible scenarios and lovable characters that keep you believing in fantasies. After all, imagination shouldn’t die as shoe sizes change. But before I move on to the guide and review that covers all you need to know about Hong Kong Disneyland including a list of rides and shows, let me elaborate just a bit more on why adults should visit.
You might have started off watching an animation movie ‘for the sake of your kids’, but split your sides at the antics of a sloth ironically named Flash in Zootopia, loved the fearlessness of Merida in Brave, and felt the thrill of fighting evil forces through Marvel Comics’ characters. It shows how Disney’s productions have managed to move with the times and evolve from Mickey Mouse to Iron Man. The Disney stable has something for every age and every mood, and that is true of its theme parks too.
Hong Kong Disneyland (Disney HK) has seven themed lands on its 28 hectare spread – Adventureland, Fantasyland, Grizzly Gulch, Main Street U.S.A. (Main Street), Mystic Point, Tomorrowland, and Toy Story Land. With 34 attractions including the railroad and rides, it translates into a lot to experience. Besides, there are 2-3 parades, a fireworks show, and three theatre shows to factor in.
So, how do you ensure that you see all that you want to in one day? The answer lies in gauging the age profile and interests of your group, looking up timings for shows and rides, and planning a rough itinerary before you rush off with a ‘woohoo’ in a seemingly random direction.
RIDES – WHICH ONES WILL ADULTS PREFER AND WHICH ONES WILL YOUNG KIDS LIKE
An appetite for rides has nothing to do with age, but people with spinal problems should avoid the ‘Runaway Mine Cars’ roller coaster and the ‘Toy Soldier Parachute Drop’. Tiny tots should definitely go for ‘It’s a Small World’ and ‘The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh’.
‘Mystic Manor’ is an attraction most people would enjoy except young kids if they’re afraid of the dark, mummies, and masks. When a trackless ride starts moving around as if by magic, the mood is set for adventure and the rest is left up different elements that come alive as your car glides up to them.
The ‘Iron Man Experience’ comes with flight simulators and 3-D projection that immerse you in a battle with the evil forces of Hydra. This is the first Disney attraction based on a Marvel character.
As with any other theme park, Hong Kong Disneyland has height restrictions for a few rides. The majority are meant for people of any height and by implication, of any age. However, the RC Racer needs its passengers to have a minimum height of 120 cm (48 inches), Runaway Mine Cars 112 cm (44 inches), Iron Man Experience 102cm (40 inches), HyperSpace Mountain 102 cm (40 inches), and the Toy Soldier Parachute Drop 81 cm (32 inches). So before you stand in a queue for the ride, ensure that you meet the height criteria.
Click on this and sort the rides by thrill type to decide which ones you want to take
SHOWS – WHICH ONES WILL ADULTS PREFER AND WHICH ONES WILL CHILDREN LIKE
The theatre shows can be watched by all, but in my opinion grown-ups will enjoy the ‘Festival of the Lion King’ show and the ‘Jedi training – trials of the temple’ show more than the others. The Festival of the Lion King is a colourful extravaganza with stage performances by a talented group of singers, dancers, and acrobats. Grand floats add their bit to a show at Hong Kong Disneyland that lingers in your memory.
‘Mickey and the Wondrous Book Show’ has funny moments with Mickey Mouse getting stuck in a book and Olaf getting stuck outside. The songs are in English, but the theatrical part of the show is in Chinese with sub-titles appearing on screens to the side.
If you have really young kids, you shouldn’t miss the parades for anything because it’s an opportunity to see most of the Disney characters in one place. At the moment, Disney has added a ‘Disney Friends Springtime’ Parade at 4 pm to its other two, ‘Flights of Fantasy’ and ‘Paint the Night’.
Most people like to watch the fireworks, but my husband, teenage daughter, and I didn’t approve of the pollution they caused – Disney should consider replacing the fireworks with a sound and light show or a water fountain show I feel.
OTHER ATTRACTIONS AT HONG KONG DISNEYLAND
Go down a river where cute little elephants bathe in the water while very lifelike crocs sunbathe on the banks (Jungle River Cruise). Cool off in water shooting out of geysers every few minutes (Geyser Gulch) or leaky totem poles (Liki-Tikis).
Take pictures with your favourite Disney characters at ‘Fantasy Gardens’, behind the bars at ‘Wild West Photo Fun’, or against a backdrop of probably the most instagrammed modern-day castle, Disney’s ‘Sleeping Beauty Castle’.
With interactive music boxes, miniature castles and caves, the ‘Fairy Tale Forest’ makes the stories of Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, and others come alive while the ‘Animation Experience’ has a live demonstration of drawing a Disney character, but the explanation is in Cantonese.
‘Disney Railroad’ lets you experience a short ride on a toy train and if you’re in the mood for some music, the area across from Liki Tikis has drums where you can belt out your own beats. When we visited, we were treated to some amazing drumming by staff.
Having covered the attractions, let’s move on to some questions that might pop up.
FAQs (Your questions answered)
Where is Hong Kong Disneyland and how do I reach?
Disneyland is on the periphery of the city, near the Tian Tan Buddha and Hong Kong International Airport. If you want to take a car, parking is available else you could take a taxi to Disneyland. If you want to use the train (MTR), you need to reach Sunny Bay station from where another train will take you to Disneyland.
How much time do I need to see Hong Kong Disneyland properly?
One day is good enough, but you need to decide beforehand the attractions and shows to visit, locate them on the map, and make a rough list based on your priorities. I have included a printable schedule at the end of the post based on current timings and you can update it when you go based on links mentioned there.
What is the cost for entrance tickets?
Standard Day tickets that give you entry for one day cost 589 HKD or roughly 5,000 Indian rupees for ages 12-64 and 419 HKD or 3,500 INR for ages 3-11. Children under 3 years of age can enter free of cost and senior citizens over 65 years of age need to pay 100 HKD or nearly 850 rupees.
Click here to check current prices.
Do I have to pay more for the rides and shows?
No, you don’t have to pay separately. The entrance fee covers the cost of all the rides and shows, but you do have to queue up for each of them separately.
What is the best time to visit Disneyland Hong Kong?
The best months are October to December. At other times it’s very hot and humid, or there is a danger of typhoons shutting everything down.
What are the seasonal events at Disney? Is it a good idea to visit on such occasions?
Seasonal events at Hong Kong Disneyland are Chinese New Year (January and February), Haunted Halloween (October), and Sparkling Christmas (November and December).
Since the parade themes and general decorations throughout the park change accordingly, it seems like a good idea to visit then, but the holidays during such times means more visitors. So, get to the park early and do the attractions at the top of your list as soon as possible.
What are the park timings?
The park timings keep changing as per the season. Currently, the park is open from 10.30 am to 8.30 pm.
Click here to check when the park opens and shuts as well as timings for the theatre shows.
Which rides are the best at Hong Kong Disneyland? Which shows are the best? Should I do shows, rides or both?
I’ve given my opinion on the best shows and rides earlier. Ideally, go for a combination of rides and shows to keep things interesting. I can’t stress this enough – check the schedule on the day you are to visit to prevent any nasty surprises.
Where will I get a printed map and timetable at Disneyland?
You can get a free map and timetable at City Hall, Main Street USA. It is to your right as you enter the main area after showing the entrance tickets. If you have any doubts, just ask employees at the entrance and they will help you.
I’m traveling with young kids – can I get strollers? Where do I get food and water?
Strollers below 92 cm X 132 cm are allowed inside Hong Kong Disneyland. Prams are also available on rent from the Main Street Fire Station. Water fountains are placed outside restaurants and theatres where shows take place, apart from a few other places.
Outdoor vending carts sell popcorn, ice cream, corn on the cob, lollipops, sandwiches and coffee. Among the restaurants in Disneyland Hong Kong, Royal Banquet Hall in Fantasyland serves international cuisine and is a popular choice while Explorer’s Club Restaurant at Mystic Point serves multiple cuisines. Food is served at your table at the Plaza Inn on Main Street.
What about Indian and vegetarian food?
For Indian vegetarian food, go to Tahitian Terrace in Adventureland. Other vegetarian options are Clopin’s Festival of Foods in Fantasyland, and Comet Café in Tomorrowland. However, as of May 9, 2017 all three options are showing as ‘closed’.
Look for all the food options and restaurant timings here
Where are the toilets / washrooms in Hong Kong Disneyland? Are there toilets for people with disabilities?
Disney HK has a large toilet near the ticket counters before the main entrance. The other washrooms are mostly located on Main Street USA. There is one in Adventureland between the theatre for ‘Festival of the Lion King’ and the ‘Jungle River Cruise’.
Look at this link for the location of toilets, including those for differently-abled people, then come back to the blog to read the rest.
Where can my children meet the Disney characters?
There is a meet and greet as you enter Main Street USA and different sections at Hong Kong Disneyland have different characters waiting for photo opportunities. At the Fantasy Garden in Fantasyland, you can meet Mickey Mouse and other Disney characters (12:00 – 2:30 pm, and 4:00 – 6:30 pm) in pagodas spread through the garden. You can take photos with your camera and a professional photographer is present on site too.
Remember timings are subject to change in different seasons. Please refer to the timetable in the resort for relevant timings on the day of your visit.
Refer to this link for more information.
Where do I watch the parade and fireworks?
For both the parade and fireworks, you have to be at Main Street U.S.A. There is a roundabout at the main square where people generally sit on the pavement to watch the parade. For the fireworks, get to a place with a good view of the Disney Castle.
I am an adult. Will I enjoy Hong Kong Disneyland?
I have answered this question in my introduction – Disney has something for everyone.
Can I carry food and drinks inside? What can I take with me?
No, food and alcoholic beverages are not permitted. There are restrictions on the kind of luggage allowed, so it’s best to leave it at the hotel. Pets are also not allowed except for service animals like dogs for visually handicapped people. Besides, large tripods, folding chairs and stools, recreational devices with wheels like skateboards etc. are also prohibited.
For the complete list click here
What should I pack?
Wearing caps, comfortable walking shoes, and sunscreen lotion is a good idea at all times. Pack the rest of the stuff according to the weather. During the rainy season, carry umbrellas or rainwear. If you don’t need them, you can leave them at the lockers on Mainstreet for a charge/cost.
15 TIPS TO IMPROVE YOUR EXPERIENCE AT HONG KONG DISNEYLAND
- If you’re short of time, you could visit Disneyland, Hong Kong on the day of your arrival/departure – just store your luggage at the airport (see this link for details) and pick it up later.
- Use the ‘Klook’ app to book your tickets – it will save you a considerable amount of money. The app is a bit finicky though so book at least a day in advance.
- Most people start off with Mainland USA as it’s at the beginning of the park. Depending on your interests you could take the train, go first to Fantasyland (last stop) and work your way down. We did this and managed to see all that we intended to. (See map). The attractions are much closer to each other than they look on the map
- Remember that around the time fireworks are to start, restaurants and shops in areas other than Mainland USA close for the day. So if there’s something specific you’re looking for, get it done before that time
- Before waiting in queue for a seasonal attraction like a Halloween/Christmas one, check whether it’s in Cantonese or English. We waited nearly an hour for a Halloween attraction, which we didn’t enjoy nearly as much as we couldn’t understand a word of what was being said.
- Reach the auditorium for the ‘Festival of the Lion King’ at least 10 minutes before show time – they have an excellent pre-opening show where drummers engage with the audience.
- ‘Tarzan’s Treehouse’ attraction and the raft to it are open again – they were shut a few days back. ‘Mickey and the Wondrous Book’ show is closed (checked May, 2017) for the moment.
- Sleeping Beauty Castle is not one you can enter and take a look around– it’s just a gateway to Fantasy Land with no interiors for you to inspect.
- Avoid character meets if that’s not one of the main reasons for your visit. The queues get long, especially during holidays. Check timings I’ve mentioned and do it when crowds are thin
- To watch the parade, get to your chosen spot 15-20 minutes before the scheduled time. The few benches and shaded spots get occupied quickly. Since afternoons are rather hot, have your umbrellas and caps ready, and settle down with a bottle of water.
- Ideally, keep a water bottle and keep refilling it instead of purchasing new bottles – not only will that save you money, it’s also an environmentally sustainable measure
- The Royal Banquet Hall restaurant is supposed to be open till 7.45 pm, but it can shut earlier as it did when we visited. Carts have mostly non-vegetarian food, but the fruit salad is very refreshing
- You have to line up for the Jungle River Cruise according to language – so pick your queue carefully. Keep your phones/camera covered as occasionally and without warning, a spray of water might come your way.
- For the disabled and elderly, the park allows manual wheelchairs and electrically-operated wheelchairs (3 wheels or more) that move at a walking pace.
- Avoid visiting during Chinese New Year and school holidays. If you do, get to the rides you want to take as early as possible as the crowds will keep increasing with time and your wait times will go up.
As mentioned earlier, below is a printable schedule of all the shows, rides, and attractions at Hong Kong Disneyland updated as of December 14, 2017. Since the calendar is given for 7-8 days at a time on the Disney website, you should check the timings on the day of your visit too.
You could look here for information on dates of festival (holidays) like Chinese New Year so you can avoid going on those dates plus to know what else is going on in Hong Kong at the time you would be visiting.
So, what are you waiting for? Faith, trust, and pixie dust await you in the land of fantasy.