Along with Universal Studios Singapore and Tokyo DisneySea, Hong Kong Disneyland is one of the top three premier theme parks in the Asian region.
However, Hong Kong Disneyland – unlike the other two parks mentioned here – has had something of a turbulent time since opening in 2005, with poor reviews and bad attendance figures. To date, it is the most recent Disney theme park to open, although in 2015 it is expected that Shanghai Disneyland over in the mainland will open its doors.
How do you get to Hong Kong Disneyland? Well, it is situated on reclaimed land on Lantau Island (the same area as Tian Tan Buddha) and the journey should take you around 30 minutes on the resort’s own MTR Line from Sunny Bay Station. This train ride, complete with bronze statues of Disney characters inside the carriages and windows shaped like Mickey Mouse heads rather than simple circles or squares, takes you straight to the resort entrance where you can purchase tickets or access the resort hotels (if you are rich enough to stay there).
Hong Kong Disneyland (HKDL) has 7 themed areas, some of which were there when the park opened and are traditional ‘Magic Kingdom’ themed lands, such as Tomorrow Land and Fantasy Land.
All of these theme lands lead to the Sleeping Beauty Castle in the middle of the park in what is described as a ‘spoke and wheel’ design format. However, HKDL really came into its own around 2012 when the first of its major new ‘lands’ were unveiled, namely Grizzly Gulch, and a year later the award-winning Mystic Point. Both of these ‘lands’ are unique to HKDL and do not form part of any other Disneyland anywhere in the world (although an attraction at Disney’s California Adventure did inspire Grizzly Gulch). Since these two new ‘lands’ have opened, there has been a major influx of visitors to HKDL and now it sits perfectly equal to other major theme parks in the region, including its elder sibling Tokyo DisneySea, which many claim to be the best theme park in the world.
So once you’ve got a taster by watching the video embedded above, let’s now take a detailed look at what Hong Kong Disneyland has to offer
Main Street USA serves as the first area of the park you will see when you enter. It resembles an old American street with carnivals and a lot of shops and cafés for you to buy your all-important souvenirs. There are no rides or attractions in this area, but it can get very busy during carnival and parade times.
Adventure Land is one of the best-themed areas of the park and it gives you the impression that you are venturing deep into the uncharted jungle. The Jungle River Cruise, which has recently been revamped, is the main attraction here, and is great for families. Tarzan’s Treehouse (including the rafts to take you there over the water), and a great show called The Festival of the Lion King, are also unmissable attractions in Adventure Land.
Fantasy Land at HKDL is a large area full of quaint meet and greets as well as classic rides based on old Disney fairytales, such as Cinderella Carousel, It’s a Small World!, Mad Hatter Tea Cups, Mickey’s Philharmagic, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, and of course the centrepiece of the entire park, Sleeping Beauty’s Castle.
Tomorrow Land is an optimistic vision of the future, and at HKDL there are many thrills and spills available for all ages! The main attractions here is Space Mountain, a wild indoor rollercoaster, but there is also Orbitron (see above), Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters, and Stitch’s Great Escape. The perennial old favourite Autopia is also here where you can compete against your friends on a racetrack!
Toy Story Land is themed to the Disney-PIXAR Toy Story franchise, and here you can find many fairground and carnival rides for the youngsters which will keep them amused for hours!
Grizzly Gulch opened in 2012 to a large fanfare and it gives a sense of the American wild west to the visitors of HKDL. The star attraction here is a fast rollercoaster called Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Train, which is guaranteed to make you laugh, scream, cry…and then queue up all over again!
Mystic Point is the site of mysterious forces and supernatural spirits in the middle of the forest. Upon entering Mystic Point, you will see the British-colonial manor named Mystic Manor, owned by Lord Henry Mystic and his mischievous pet monkey Albert. This is not only the star attraction of this area but in the whole park. The attraction inside Mystic Manor is like a dark ride but the ride vehicles do not follow a track or rails, they move around freely as if they are being controlled by a supernatural force! It guarantees that no two rides will ever be the same! The video embedded above is a fantastic walk-through experience of the whole attraction, including queue zone, pre-show, on-ride, and the gift shop afterwards!
Whenever you come to Hong Kong, be sure to set aside a day to visit Hong Kong Disneyland. It is one of the best theme parks in Asia and has a couple of the best rides in the region too! For more information, please check out this in-depth guide to the park from Tom Bricker over at Disney Tourist Blog.
Thanks for reading my guide! Have you been to HKDL? How was your experience? What was your favourite ride? Let me know in the comments section below!