A quick Google search defines a Museum as “a building in which objects of historical, scientific, artistic, or cultural interest are stored and exhibited.”
The full definition of a Museum in Merriam-Webster states that it’s “an institution devoted to the procurement, care, study, and display of objects of lasting interest or value; also: a place where objects are exhibited”.
I have covered museums, museum events, temporary and/or special exhibitions in open areas and other buildings. And since Disneyland, which is marketed as an experience, is a place exhibiting valuable memories of childhood and stories, I thought it’ll be apt to place our time at this amusement park here.
We had the fortune of staying at the Disneyland Resort Hotel thanks to an early booking and the great service staff (who shaved off a good HKD1,000 off our original price), so here’s a bonus section first.
BONUS – Disneyland Resort Hotel
Admittedly, I’ve always wanted to try staying near a Disneyland since the first time I went to the one in Hong Kong. After some recommendation by our Disney Guru, Raven, Val and I got a room at the Disneyland Resort Hotel.
It’s accessible via the shuttle service near the park itself. Look for the shuttle buses which head towards Disneyland Resort Hotel and Hollywood Hotel. Disneyland Resort Hotel is accessed during the first stop.
We went close to the Christmas period, so we were in awe when we were greeted with this upon entering.
They are strict about their check-in times, so if you can, drop your luggage and take your tickets to the park first before coming back to check in. Or you can do what we did and walked around the resort garden and explored the place.
Our room was the most basic, but it still came with 2 Queen-sized beds, a bathroom with a tub, and a huge chest of drawers to go with the ornate table and chairs and television. In all honesty, the air-conditioning might’ve been on the cold side, but we enjoyed ourselves here.
Tomorrowland is the first land on the right after entering from Main Street USA. We went there straight to get our Mickey Ice Cream Bar and were excited to see the new flavours which came out together with the classic. Val took the classic Mickey Ice Cream Bar and I took the Minnie Bar (Strawberry & Mango Ice Cream with one side coated with chocolate).
After taking a photograph with Buzz Lightyear, we went for the Orbitron (a Merry-Go-Round Space Shuttle ride), Autopia (the longest queue in the park), and a couple of rounds with the Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters (Val’s favourite ride!). I became a Space Ace. Ehehehe.
We left Space Mountain for Day 2 and even so, only Val went because I get debilitating nausea after indoor coasters. (Or at least that was what happened the last time I took it).
Adventureland was our 2nd item of our Day 1 visit because we wanted to catch the Festival of the Lion King. It was already getting dark the moment we were on the way there (November in Hong Kong), but the fired-up lamps really brought out the mood.
Staff there were incredibly helpful and determined in ensuring that everyone had a good time. It was quite funny that we marched into the theatre as one major group, but I was glad we managed to get to our seats without any trouble.
The Festival of the Lion King itself was a treat for the senses. Staged on a rotating centre platform, we were given a myriad of colours, music, wind, and fire as our storyteller recounted Simba’s story. With a pair of monkeys translating the story into Cantonese as the narrator spoke.
The effect was enhanced with the darkness which hung over us as we got out and had to traverse the darkened paths to the next land.
We came here for our dinner, but not before a quick ride around the Cinderella Carousel!
At the same time, we tried pulling out the sword of King Arthur… and failed. It probably was due to the fact that we have yet to have any dinner. So we went on to the Royal Banquet Hall.
Within the amber-lit halls, we had a simple dinner, close to the last order before we headed to go on The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.
While this was deemed a ride for really young kids, this was probably my favourite ride because of its pure nostalgic value. The ride was based on Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day, one of the first stories my mother read to me.
To make things more exciting, this was not your typical following the tracks of the dark ride. Each carriage moved according to the room you entered. In Tigger’s room, the carriage bounced with him, while in the flooded forest floor, the carriage moved like it was floating on a river. It was a pretty fun and joyful ride.
Fantasyland is also a great place to take photographs if you’re in Disneyland for the fantastical, magical elements. The gardens make picturesque backgrounds for your photographs both in the day and night (forest lights!!!), with a castle welcoming you from Main Street.
Just for fun, we also went on the tea cups, also known to Lyn as the Cups of Death. I’d say I didn’t die ONLY because the Tiger didn’t go on it with me. LOLOL.
That being said, Fantasyland wouldn’t be complete without “It’s a Small World”. So Val and I went through it twice.
This land wasn’t developed just yet the last time I was here, so I was pretty excited to see how it came about.
Home to the Mine Cars, numerous geysers, and the best value fish and chips in the entire park, walking into this section was like walking into the Wild West as we watched in Disney-animated cartoons. It was as if you were waiting for cowboys to jump out and duel.
We ended up taking a lot of photographs in this place, and decided to give the Mine Cars a miss because my stomach was churning. However, it’s pretty long for a rollercoaster, combining elements of the Everest, Matterhorn, and Thunder Mountain rides in Disneyland Orlando.
P/S – You actually can duel. There were two stores set up with water guns put in place to shoot across a bridge. The kids there had a great time with those triggers.
Mystic Manor is like every archaeologist’s or treasure seeker’s dream. Although it only consisted of the manor, the area reflected the aura of what was in the house itself. Replicas of legendary artefacts lined the way into the building, which was probably a less scary version of Disney’s Haunted Mansion.
And like Disney’s Haunted Mansion ride, it had a confined presentation before moving on to the dark ride itself.
Being a trackless ride, each carriage had a different order of sequence.
And following the story of a music box which can turn inanimate objects into their animate form, it was both interesting and intense to experience moving instruments, animated weapons, and moving statues and paintings.
However, word of caution – after we were done, there was quite a bit of crying and wailing from scared children. While the ride itself was not going at hyperspeed or had any too-scary moments, it was an incredibly loud ride. With the sounds accompanied by canons and battle masks, you may want to reconsider taking this ride with your child if s/he scares easily.
Toy Story Land
Val said this was the place where she felt most like in Disneyland.
I thought this was probably my favourite land in HK Disneyland. At least until we see what the Iron Man experience can give us.
Its main entrance stretches from Fantasyland, with large notepaper signs stuck on enormous pencils drawn out with crayon saying, “This way!” And as we got closer, the signs changed to show messages like, “Almost there!” or “This is it!” when you finally meet a giant Rex pulling train cars into Toy Story Land.
One of the greatest things about this park is how colourful the place truly is, reflecting a world where Andy’s toys just came alive and moved around as they wished. Their souvenir store sold actual Buzz Lightyears and Woodys, together with old favourites.
We ended up getting churros at the snack bar there, and watched families go on the Toy Soldier Parachute Drop. We had fun posing with the walkie talkie and the toy soldiers as well – it was like trying to sneak into Andy’s living room to find out what presents he was getting.
The other rides there were RC Racer, a ride similar to the Viking ship and very much up the Tiger’s alley, and the Slinky Dog Spin, which was unfortunately, closed for maintenance. I would’ve really wanted to go on that ride.
That being said, going to Toy Story Land while dusk was on the horizon was beautiful as well. As the sun set, the hanging lights lit up like those you’d see at Christmas or night markets. Amazingly magical.
Main Street USA
This is the first land you’d encounter upon entering Disneyland. While there are technically no rides here, it’s where the parades, a good number of performances, and souvenir shops are located.
And because it’s the first place you’ll see after entering the park itself, it plays a huge role in injecting your experience with the magic Disney promises. True enough, walking through Main Street USA was enough to tell you – Yes, you’re here. You’re in the magical kingdom.
It was also where we gathered for various treats and the final fireworks show before Disneyland closed for the night. Watching the final show in the night breeze while having a warm Mickey waffle with maple syrup dip was quite an experience, not one you could experience anywhere.
Needless to say, we had a fun time at Disneyland, and I’m waiting to return for the Iron Man experience, so onwards to 2017!
If you’d like to find out more about Hong Kong Disneyland, my friend, Raven Silvers, has a blog about how to make the best of your Hong Kong Disneyland experience here. If not, you can go to the Hong Kong Disneyland website here.