Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Hong Kong Disney World

Video update of our schools and travels

Hong Kong Disney World
For anyone who knows me well, then you know I am more or less a Disneyland connoisseur. I am not particularly obsessed with all things Disney, I don’t see every movie, I don’t even like all the ones I have seen. I do, however, adore all Disney theme parks. Thus, when Tommy and I decided to come to China, I immediately began looking into whether or not there were Disney parks by us. There is one in Japan and there is one in Hong Kong. There will be a Disney in Shanghai in 2015. (Additionally, there is a Universal Studios in Singapore.)

With this knowledge in hand, I began to work on convincing Tommy that when our company sent us to Hong Kong to finalize our passport that we should definitely go to the Hong Kong Disney. Mind you, this was back in November of 2012. 

So, when we found out in February that we were going to Hong Kong, Tommy and I made plans to spend part of our extremely limited time there at Disney. I was beyond thrilled. Beyond. 

Located on its own island

The weather for the time we were there was iffy so we decided to go on March 1, Friday, when there was less of a chance of rain. We also had to go pick up our visa that day, so we decided to get to Disney when it opened, then leave around lunch time to get our visa, then head back afterwards and spend the rest of the evening there to see the fireworks.

To get to Disney, we took two subways. One of them connected to the subway line that is owned by Disney and goes solely two and from Disney. This was the single coolest subway I have ever been on. Disney decked it out in top Disney fashion. The entire subway was long benches with fabric covering so they looked more like couches. Between each bench section was a Disney statue incased in glass. The hand holders for those of us who had to stand were shaped like Mickey Mouse ears, and the windows were likewise Mickey ears. It was super fantastic!

Disney subway keeping it classy with the carpet railings

We rode the way there with dozens of little children and a few straggling couples or groups of friends closer to our age. When the subway dropped us off we walked down a long sidewalk that hosted different Disney character flags. Right before you get to the ticket windows is a sweet fountain that shows Mickey’s crew all suited up for a swim, Mickey is surfing on the water that Mastero (the whale from Pinocchio) is blowing out. If you watch closely, you’ll see Mickey rise up and down on this spout of water.

Mickey just surfing on a whale. NBD.

We got to the park before it opened so after waiting in line for ten minutes, the gates opened and we were allowed into the park. It’s set up like Disney World in Florida with Main Street USA, Adventureland, Tomorrow Land, Fantasy Land, but they also have Toy Story Land, and Grizzly Gulch. Grizzly Gulch is just an exceptionally tiny sized version of our Wild West section of Disney World where Splash Mountain is and Big Thunder Mountain.

Adventureland was really cool and a lot bigger than ours. Also, way more authentic what with all the real tropical nature and all. AH! But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Tarzan's Crib

We were trapped in Main Street USA until the official park opening at 10:30. Don’t ask me why we are let into the park at 10 but can’t go on any rides or do ANYTHING until 10:30. Must be a China thing. Anyway, so Tommy and I are at the front waiting for them to drop this rope to allow us access to the rest of the park when we notice this little girl they are taking around. So she and her Dad go up in front of the castle and they hand her these HUGE scissors and we’re like . . . . are you serious? We’re having a ribbon cutting ceremony to let us into the park -___-. So fifteen minutes later of watching the girl who was about six hold the pair of scissors that was literally half her height, she gets to cut this pointless ribbon that two workers held out for her. -__- So China. 


Once this nonsense was complete, we took off for Grizzly Gulch because they had a roller coaster. Now, if you know me at all you know I hate ‘thrilling’ rides. I quite literally almost died the one time I went on the Mummy ride in Universal Studios. Check with my dad. It was all funny and games with the screaming and laughing until the first 30 foot drop then I went silent and prayed for the ride to end. My dad was convinced I was dead so he chose to not look over and see if he killed me because how would he explain that to my mother? I did survive though, got off the ride, hands trembling literally like a leaf, had my dad laugh at me, and canceled all my day dreams of going on the Jurassic Park ride.

Anyway, the roller coaster at Grizzly Gulch isn’t like that. (I wikipedia’d it beforehand to be sure. Don’t judge.) It’s like Big Thunder Mountain, except at one point you go up and the roller coaster falls backwards until they switch the track and you go forward again. Way cool. So, Tommy and I ran to this ride and rode it and were like that was awesome and since we literally got to walk on and sit in the front car, let’s do it again.

You know it's a thriller when there is the single lap-bar

It was when we went to do it again that we saw Tiny Mouse for the first time. She was this super adorable two year old girl in this perfect red dress who was mousing about and decided to follow big sis and dad onto the ride while Grandma ran after her. Tommy and I were laughing because she was so cute and we had to walk around her to get through the line and then the dad caught her and carried her up with him to the front where he eventually handed her off to Grandma.

Then we went to Toy Story Land which was just so beyond cool. It was AMAZING!!!!!!!!! I was so freaking excited. Everything is huge and made to look like toys. So you have popsicle stick benches, and the gift shop was made to look like it had been made out of an over turned cardboard box. The effect was just crazy cool. And when you first go in, you go down a slope and they have planted this tall vegetation on the side that literally makes it seem like you are walking through tall grass. It was SO Honey I Shrunk the Kids. 

The movie forgets to mention that the toys were born(built) in China

Downside, the rides here are subpar. There is a halfpipe type rollercoaster that obviously I wasn’t going on and then a paratroopers ride which was like a power tower, also something I didn’t want to go on. So we went on the Slinky ride which is like that carnival ride where you go in a circle with little hills and valleys. It wasn’t exciting . . . lol. But, we saw this weird set of guys wearing overalls and stupid hats who were recording their day at Disney for their Blog. It was pretty strange. 

Michelle's normal driving stance
What happened to the other guy?

After that we went to Fantasy Land and picked up our fast passes for the Winnie the Pooh ride because WHOA did that have a line. / Don’t judge. This ride actually ended up being legit cool, like the Peter Pan ride at Disney in Florida. After getting our fast pass, we went to the Mad Tea Cups and just GUESS who we were behind in line??? TINY MOUSE!!!

Oh. Man. I was so excited. She was being all adorable and eating crackers like a Tiny Mouse totally would. In Fantasy Land we bypassed the Dumbo Ride (see trauma from my 2012 Dumbo experience in Disney World Florida) and It’s a Small World (see trauma from going on the replica ride at Suzhou Amusement Land in December of 2012).

Careful she bites
Next we hit up Tomorrow Land. If you know me and my Disney love well, then you know how much I absolutely HATE the concept of Tomorrow Land. It’s the CONCEPT of this being the land of the future that is mind boggling. The moment it is built, it is automatically of the past. How does this make sense? I would be totally fine if this was Space Land (especially since all the rides are about aliens . . . Stitch, Buzz Light Year, etc). But no. Tomorrow Land. -___-

Anyway. We had lunch here. So far we had attempted to buy food at the various food stations around the park, but all of the food was super Asian. We are talking shredded squid sheets, honey mustard popcorn, etc. So, when we get to Tomorrow Land and go to the food station, they have a hot dog and they have nachos. I’m way excited about the idea of eating a hot dog (which is really shocking since I normally don’t eat hot dogs because I don’t like most food anyway) so Tommy and I both order one and I’m all psyched because it even comes with mustard (which is a RARE commodity) and ketchup.

We pick a table, open up our food, pull out the plastic gloves they provide for you to eat the food with, set those aside, and take a bite.

Instantly, I spit this food back out. (If you know me, this is something you know I do with alarming frequency. Tommy is a brave man to be marrying me.) Tommy is staring at me like … dude really? And I’m going on and on about how gross it was. It was every horror movie concept of what processed meat tastes like. Tommy says it was fine. I beg to disagree. So, I ended up going back and getting nachos which were delicious.

After this epic eating battle, we went on the Buzz Light Year ride where you have to shoot the stuff, one of the best rides, and in a shocking turn of events, I won! I literally never win against Tommy at shooting games as I have distressingly terrible accuracy. However, I must have done something right or these games were made for disadvantaged shooters like me, because I got all the bonuses and everything. Tommy was equally shocked. 

Buzz just talking to himself all day

Having gone through the whole park, Tommy and I went on the Disney train through the park. If you’ve been to either of the parks in the USA you know that this train serves an actual purpose to give you quicker access to different areas of the park and that they have made it scenic for those who ride it. Hong Kong Disney has not picked up on these essential attributes. Instead, it only has one station where it picks you up and drops you off so you go in one huge circle . . . They also face you away from everything so there is nothing to look at . . . We will never get those 20 minutes back. 

Taking the train to the next and only station

Once we got off the train, we decided to head out of the park so that we could pick up our VISA. While walking back, we took an unexpected detour to a garden of flowers. (Read between the lines, this is when our engagement took place. People cheered. Be jealous =])

We returned two hours later. We ran through all the rides we liked again then tried to hit up the ones we hadn’t gone on. So we went to Tarzan Island (which is the Swiss Family Robinson tree house in Florida. Both are surprisingly cool). As we are waiting in line to take the raft over, guess who in the WORLD we see??

Adventure Land

Bratty American children

TINY MOUSE! It is now 6pm, Tiny Mouse has been here since 10am. She’s all tiny mousing around, totally not looking tired. She was eating some more snacks and joking around with Dad like, please, people are tired? Come on. // So Tommy took some secret pictures of her because we loved her and it was just ridiculous that was ran into her three times in the day. 

TM making sure she gets her money's worth

After touring the Island, we went to the Lion King Show. Now. That was interesting. Having watched the movie more times than I can count and having seen the Broadway Show, I can honestly say this show makes no sense. This is Disney. You already have two scripts for this show. How they ended up with the mess they had, I can’t imagine.

Events were not linked. One minute Simba is all dancing around singing about being king, the next Scar is like Yo, you killed your dad, and Simba’s like AHHHHH I did! And I’m like . . . . but we haven’t even seen Mufasa . . . ALSO!!! The entire show is in English . . . Another uh? moment. They have these two random monkey people telling jokes in Chinese to apparently explain the nonexistent plot to the mainly Chinese speaking audience. Not a single person laughed at these jokes, EVER. It was the most awkward thing imaginable. Still the animatronics were cool and they had sweet dance performances and a really cool ribbon acrobat woman. 

This goofy thing just bobbed up and down the whole time

Then at 7:30pm the fireworks were set to go, so Tommy and I headed back to the castle for those. We looked for Tiny Mouse, because we knew she was there, but couldn’t find her. I bet she was up front getting the good seat, holding it down while Mom and Dad bought one or two last minute souvenirs. The fireworks were cool, not the all out bash that Florida does, but still pretty and glittery.

And with that, our Disney trip was concluded. We headed back on the Subway with all of the other Disney tourists and I started making plans to go back once they complete the Haunted Mansion.

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