It’s been a long time (a whole 2 weeks) since I last posted thanks to both a busy work schedule (+packed weekends) but I’m back to share with you all the peak of my 2017 Hong Kong trip–Disneyland!
My family and I were in Hong Kong last June 2 to 5, as the big “blowout” to end this year’s summer season. Hong Kong was actually the first place I visited outside of the Philippines in 1998, and since then I’ve been traveling back and forth pretty frequently over the years. This trip is my youngest sister’s first visit to Hong Kong, so the trip would not have been complete if we didn’t go to Disneyland.
This is my 3rd or 4th time to visit Hong Kong Disneyland since it opened in 2005. Since then the park has experienced some expansions and little changes over the years, and even I was surprised to find that there were so many new sections of the park that weren’t around the last time I visited in January / February 2012.
What’s changed since my last visit:
New Park Areas: Since early 2012, Disney has added 2 (and a half) areas to the entire theme park. The first of which being the Grizzly Gulch, which houses the Big Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Cars (similar to Grizzly Peak in Disneyland California). The second of the areas is Mystic Point, which opened in mid-2013.
The last of the areas (and is currently being developed) is the new Marvel area in Tomorrowland that just recently opened it’s first few Iron Man themed attractions late last year (2016).
New Disney characters to meet: Among the new characters that can be found in Hong Kong Disneyland are Frozen’s Princess Anna and Elsa, and Sofia the First in Fantasyland, Captain America at Main Street USA, Chewbacca, BB-8, and the Stormtroopers from Star Wars, and Iron Man in Tomorrowland
New Experiences in Tomorrowland: To accommodate the Star Wars and Marvel franchises, a couple of rides and attractions in Tomorrowland have changed.
The long time Space Mountain has been rebranded into Hyperspace Mountain, a ride that simulates the feeling of being in a Rebel Alliance star fighter.
Stitch Encounter has since then changed into the Star Wars Command Post, where park-goers can meet and interact (depending on schedules) with BB-8 and Chewbacca. There is also a Jedi Training School where children ages 12 and below can join the Jedi to fight the Dark Side in an interactive skit.
Autopia has also closed as well, and is now in the works as an expansion of the Marvel section of the theme park. Iron Man already has a total of 2 park attractions, the Stark Expo where you can see samples of Stark technology and meet Iron Man himself. The second attraction is a 4D experience ride, with you in one of the seats of the newly developed Stark Expo Edition hovercraft.
Oddly enough, when we visited Hong Kong Disneyland, a lot of the food stalls were closed for unknown reasons. Here’s the list of the establishments that were closed at the time of our visit:
- River View Cafe – Adventureland
- Tahitian Terrace – Adventureland
- Clopin’s Festival of Foods – Fantasyland
- Comet Cafe – Tomorrowland
On the first day, since we were in the Adventureland area while waiting for the Lion King show, we settled on just getting a hotdog from one of the smaller stands, so we wouldn’t have to stray too far away from the show area. As usual, park food and drinks are overpriced, so if you can bring small snacks and a couple of drinks…do so.
On our second day, we opted to try out the Plaza Inn by Maxim’s in the Main Street area of the park.
Granted, the Plaza Inn is a sit down restaurant, and operated by the Maxim’s group so it is pricier than most of the other dining options in the park, but we figured that we would have to try it once.
The set menu is HKD198++ (PHP1250++) per person, with various dim sum, fried rice, roasted pork & duck, vegetables, spring rolls and salted egg buns. When the order arrived, it was A LOT smaller than we expected, so it was disappointing. In total, the roasting plate only had around 4 slices of duck and pork, one spring roll per person, and around 2 pieces of dim sum each! It didn’t seem like the meal was worth the HKD198 per person.
Moreover, the tea has it’s own charge as well! Granted, other smaller restaurants in Hong Kong have the same policy, but this is a Maxim’s operated restaurant in Disneyland where you’re paying for a set menu! So in the end, we bought bottled water (HKD38 or PHP240+), but when we asked for a glass of ice for each person, the restaurant servers looked at us in disdain as if we had done some form of sacrilege. In the end, they only gave us one glass for 6 people.
Favorite Attractions / Experiences:
The Parades: One of my favorite portions of the whole Disneyland experience were parades. Hong Kong Disneyland has 2 parades in a day, the Flights of Fantasy (usually at 3pm) and the Paint the Night parade (7pm).
The Paint the Night parade is a parade unique to Hong Kong Disneyland (but is a variation of Disney’s long running Electrical parade). It features 10+ led powered floats and many LED adorned performers parading down Disneyland’s Main Street.
Iron Man Experience 4D: The new Iron Man ride is something you should definitely try! The experience is tailored to Hong Kong, as the plot has you flying over Hong Kong’s skyline in a Stark Expo Edition hovercraft. I’m pretty sure they will change the plots depending on where they will open similar attractions to this one, but if you go to Hong Kong Disneyland, this is a must-try option (unless you’re prone to motion sickness).
So that was my Hong Kong Disneyland experience for the year 2017.
Look forward to the coming months for more of my travel adventures!