^I think my problem with Hong Kong is that I went to Tokyo first. I feel that Hong Kong would have impressed me a lot more had I gone there before Tokyo. It has a nicer setting sure, but a lot of the 'cool quirky Asian/British' stuff just isn't as cool compared to anything in Tokyo.
Chapter 22: Disneyland Calls Him "Mini Me"--Hong Kong Disneyland
Hong Kong Disneyland is just the cutest lil' old Magic Kingdom you'll ever see. Yes, it's so small and darling that you'll want to give it a glass of warm milk and a pat on the head as you send it to bed. And it's received a fair amount of heat for this online, too.
But I think people need to give "The Happiest Little Place on Earth" a break here. Yes, it definitely needs more attractions--heck, they even list Sleeping Beauty's Castle as an "attraction" on the park map, even though it's nothing more than the main entrance to Fantasyland. But this is a young park that's on the move; it's quite pleasant and enjoyable, and Disney is steadily working to improve it. (For example, Mystic Manor looks like one of Disney's most promising new dark rides in years.)
Let's look at the positives here:
1. Big Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Cars--Once again, Disney has pushed the "family coaster" to a new level. This crazy "mine train" coaster, with its backward section and surprisingly intense launch is an excellent hybrid of Thunder Mountain and Expedition Everest. Beautifully themed and lots of fun.
2. Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy--While we were too early for the park's other Halloween offerings, Ghost Galaxy was up and running. This is yet another well-done piece of Disney holiday re-theming (as it was at the original Disneyland, I hear).
3. Jungle Cruise--A classic gets a refresh with extra rapids, cascades of water, and fire!
4. It's a Small World--Don't smirk, but I think this is one of the better versions of this old ride, and I think it was the first to incorporate classic Disney characters, too.
5. Setting--I love how the park is surrounded by mountains, thus giving it different look and feel from the other Magic Kingdoms.
What does the park lack beside a few more E-ticket attractions? Well, while it does have two excellent hotels, there isn't much to do in the evenings after the park closes. Some form of "Downtown Disney" would help make the resort feel more complete. (The Hollywood Hotel was excellent, by the way.) The park's Golden Mickeys show didn't make a lot of sense, unless it's purpose was just to string together unrelated Disney musical numbers. As I recall, only three rides have Fast Pass, too; then again, the park wasn't super busy that day.
I enjoyed HKD quite a bit, and it was great way to finish TPR's China Trip. The park welcomed us with open arms, too. We were let in early and walked back to Grizzly Mountain for a great ERT and filming session, and we were given priority access to RC Racer,It's a Small World, and Space Mountain, as well.
All in all, a great day. My thanks to the staff of Hong Kong Disneyland and to Robb and Elissa for making it all possible. I look forward to visiting this park again, someday.
I took a lot of pictures. As for how good they are, you be the judge.
As usual, Mickey is just darn glad to see ya!
Hmm--this looks vaguely familiar . . .
Yes, HKD promises all this . . .
. . . as well as an opportunity to face the inevitability of your own mortality.
OK, Anahiem Disneyland--Hong Kong's castle got mountains! What you got?
What? How did we end up at Disney California Adventure?
OK, would you trust this crazed bear with anything?
Robb will nearly fold himself in half to get a good shot.
Warning lights = theming.
This was the opinion of the group, too--another winner for Disney! (More about BGMRMM, pronounced "Be-gu-mer-mm" I think, later).
Mystic Manor is part of Mystic Point, which makes perfect sense when you think about it.
I'm glad that the park isn't building just another Haunted Mansion clone. While I think HM is a great ride, it's good to see Disney changing things up a bit in Hong Kong. This is going to be an entirely different experience.
Next up, a little Intamin goodness tricked out as a toy (RC Racer).
Hey--a working half-pipe-type ride! Already better than Victory Kingdom's!
The Toy Story section is very nice, and I liked how they themed up some fairly standard rides.
And . . . go!
Yes, the lever is synced up to the ride--a very nice touch.
Fun with some nice air--perfect family ride (unless your family has eaten lots of squid balls before boarding).
Oh boy! Small World! I know that Larry is very excited!
We were told that Small World was a short cut to Space Mountain. We blindly accepted this.
OK, what are Bambi and Thumper doing at the North Pole? Above all, what is Thumper planning to do to Bambi?
At least Pinocchio is at home in Italy. Maybe he'd like a nice Stromboli.
"Death from above, infidel dogs!"
What? How'd we get to Epcot?
If Woody and Jesse had existed when Mary Blair designed the original version of this ride, she totally would've used them.
Yes, I know a lot of Disney fans complained when they added these characters to Small World, but they need to relax. The characters fit in perfectly with the ride's classic look, and who doesn't like Baloo the Bear?
I peep at purple pandas, parading around the promenade . . . sorry, that was just a nightmare I had once. At least it isn't a satanic raccoon!
"IT'S A SMALL WORLD AFTER ALL! . . ." Come on,. everybody sing!
We mortified our souls with Small World, thus making us pure enough to endure the horror of Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy. (It was great.)
Robb mentioned that Ghost Galaxy had to be "passed" by the Film Censorship Board, just like a movie. The board certificate is the white sheet of paper on the lower left.
The board rated it BGB for "Big Glowing Balls"!
HKD doesn't have a "traditional" Frontierland; Adventureland fills that role instead.
Wherever there's an animatronic hippo in need, Theme Park Review is there!
Yes, only English people need fear getting wet.
Sheesh! Looks like they themed the queue to my parents' old storage unit.
I wonder if the jokes are funnier in Chinese?
At HKD, Tarzan's Treehouse = Tom Sawyer's Island.
Yes, there are some familiar sights on this river.
"I say, who booked this bloody 'adventure' holiday? Cyril? Well, he's going to get a right thumping from me if we ever get back!"
Now here's the twist. Your boat is trapped in a conflict between gods of fire and water!
"Ugh! What was I thinking? Goose head soup always give me heartburn when I wash it down with tequila."
"'Scuse me folks, but I think I'm gonna . . . BLEAH!" More to come. (Well, not more vomiting.)
Yes, there's still more Hong Kong Disneyland. You have been warned.
As you can see, food offerings are a bit different here than you might be used to. Unfortunately, they lack the multiple flavors of popcorn they sell at the Tokyo parks, but there's always those curried fish balls.
And let's not forget the squid! Perfect with "butter corn on cob."
Yep--the same show as in other Disney parks. It is one of the better 4D movies, especially the bit with the nice smelling apple pie . . .
o-o-o-o . . . apple pie . . . which was very little to do with the show . . . but it's so good . . .
As usual, Larry is totally into to getting his picture taken.
Brian, they warn people to "please remain seated until the ride comes to a full and complete stop" for a reason.
What? We're back in Florida again?
Yeah, don't pay attention to Eeyore, despite the fact that he tied brightly colored balloons to himself in a desperate plea for your attention.
Well, at least it isn't the California version.
When there is no more room in Hell, the Pooh shall walk the Earth!
Hmm--looks a bit like I dream I had after a meal of fried calamari, spaghetti carbonara, and lots of chianti.
Zombie Pooh strikes!
Look! It's the Happiest Graveyard on Earth!
Yes, I do like this park's setting.
I like the hot princesses, too.
OK, why is Scottish Steve so pissed off at Stitch?
Oh, man, Stitch ratted me out at Paris Disney back in '08! I want Stitch dead! I want his family dead! I want his house burned to the ground!
Big deal. I've met people who can make "matter-sucking black holes" by opening their mouths--and they're not even aliens.
HKD's Autopia uses electric cars.
Hey--why am I not moving?
Looks like someone forgot to plug in their extension cord.
Yes, I have seen the future! It looks a lot like the present.
The Royal Banquet Hall offered Chinese, Japanese, and American food.
The dumplings were very good.
It wouldn't be a Magic Kingdom without a train.
"Please join me in the 'good' car."
Behold, the backside of Tomorrowland!
"The humanoids will do our bidding--or perish!"
As you can see, Adventureland isn't too busy at the moment.
"Excuse me, but can you tell me how to find the African Veldt? I'm supposed to meet a 'Mr. Line' or 'Lion' there for tea."
OK, brace yourself! We're about to experience the "Castle Attraction."
What did you think of that? Pretty cool attraction, eh?
OK, this doesn't look nearly as happy as that other graveyard. (I guess HDK's Halloween event is a bit more intense than Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party.)
Buzz Lightyear is great in any country. Even France.
"Oops! Sorry about vaporizing your Mom there, kid!" More to come.
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