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Hong Kong's Disneyland: See it, be it!

entertainment Updated: Mar 17, 2012 13:27 IST
Shweta Mehta
Shweta Mehta
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

Disney-characters-Mickey-L-and-Minnie-Mouse-R-dressed-in-traditional-Japanese-kimonos-wave-to-greet-guests-from-a-chauffer-driven-limousine-during-the-theme-park-s-annual-New-Year-s-Day-parade-at-Tokyo-Disneyland-in-Urayasu-city-suburban-Tokyo-Thousands-of-people-visited-the-theme-park-to-mark-the-start-of-the-New-Year-s-holiday-the-biggest-one-of-the-year-in-Japan--AFP-Photo-Yoshikazu-Tsuno

Since it opened in 2005, Disneyland has been one of Hong Kong’s biggest tourist draws. And unlike the unpredictable weather in the city-state, you can visit the park confident of having a good time irrespective of your age.

Take a look at our nifty guide to making the most of your visit to one of China’s most iconic amusement venues.

‘Squeal like Stitch’
The park mainly caters to younger children in terms of rides and their scary factor, but a couple of them do manage to engage adults. Space Mountain, the roller coaster at Tomorrowland is seriously fast, and to add to the thrill, you’re indoors and completely in the dark, not knowing where you’ll go next. RC Racer at Toy Story Land is just as exciting, with visitors seated in a car that travels back and forth on a 27 metre long U-shaped track.

‘Sparkle like Snow White’
Stalls and stores sell all sorts of themed merchandise and apparel. Team your HK$300 bag with fun HK$30 hats to bring out your lighter side. For little ones, the Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel houses a service that decks you up like your favourite Disney princess.

‘Eat at the Enchanted Garden’
Local food takes a backseat at the themed eateries at the park and hotels. There’s even an Indian chef whose food we sampled and we can safely say it’s better than most restaurants in India. From stalls selling Mickey-shaped waffles to posh eateries churning out Chicken Little buns, there’s something for everyone here.

‘Blast enemies like Buzz Lightyear’
For the faint-hearted, there are several relatively tame rides to choose from. What’s more, they give you a very good feel of being your favourite character. At Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters, point your laser gun at targets and hit them to score points. Enter Fantasyland to sit in a cup of ‘hunny’ and explore The Many
Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.

‘Stay with Sleeping Beauty’
The Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel and Disney’s Hollywood Hotel are swanky five and four-star properties. Detailing goes as deep as chandeliers, carpets, tiles, lift grills and outer appearance. Rooms are dotted with themed knick-knacks and memorabilia to take home.

Fact file
Disneyland has no ‘staff’. Their guides, employees and attendants are all known as cast members. They are always dressed in character and often hand out stickers and other keepsakes to visitors.

The newly opened Toy Story Land is exclusive in Asia and the first expansion of the park. Coming up are two more areas — Grizzly Gulch this year, and Mystic Point next year. The highlight of the former will be a high-speed roller coaster that runs through the entire themed area.

Hong Kong’s Disneyland holds the record for number of visitors, with 5.9 million footfalls last year. Their two hotels, with 600 and 400 rooms respectively, also scored a record 91 per cent occupancy.

The flowers that form the Mickey Mouse at the entrance to the park are changed seasonally.

The park is characterised by extra photo areas, which the authorities say is for “Asians, as they love to take pictures.”
Designs at the park include intricate details and hidden messages. The ‘PL21696’ marking on a model plane at Toy Story Land refers to the release date
of the first Toy Story film in Hong Kong. Even the base of the Parachute Drop ride is called Fort Emery, in keeping with Pixar’s home in Emeryville, California.

The phones in the hotels’ rooms even have bedtime stories for children. And for those who still can’t sleep, Mickey and Minnie Mouse will visit in their pyjamas.

The napkins at both Disneyland hotels are mementos for guests, crafted by housekeeping staff. They change during festivals like Christmas and Chinese New Year.

The background music at the park never stops. Even after the park has shut, the sound plays all night.

Every Disneyland has a castle that belongs to a different princess. At Hong Kong, Tinker Bell celebrated the park’s fifth anniversary last year by sprinkling fairy dust all over Sleeping Beauty’s castle.

Room plus two-day ticket packages for Disneyland Hong Kong start from HK $1,211 per person.