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The HKDL Source


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Hong Kong Disneyland | Getting There | Worth It? | Hotels | Language | Food | Rides | Wait Times | Differences with Other Disney Parks | How Long to Stay? | Best Time | Weather | Hong Kong | Random Squirrels | Other Tips | Rumour Control & Future Attractions

Why We Wrote This Guide

This site, the HKDL Source, aims to be as comprehensive as possible. We try to cover the main aspects of the park, how to get there, what to do when you are in and around the Resort and give you all the latest news. However, despite that, we still get a few questions that we don’t necessarily cover in the course of our ‘travel guide”. This guide is an attempt to make everybody’s Hong Kong Disneyland experience as magical as our various trips have been.

Plus, there are those people who can’t find the information they need if you went up to them and slapped them with it and said ‘This is the information you need’. So don’t make us slap you. Unless you like that sort of thing.

There’s a Hong Kong Disneyland? When did that happen?!?

Hong Kong Disneyland opened in September 2005. You can read all about the history of the place here.

How Do I Get to Hong Kong Disneyland?

We’ve covered that in our Getting There section. Don’t make us rub your nose in it.

I’ve heard that Hong Kong Disneyland isn’t very good.

That’s not a question. However, we’ve heard that too.

After visiting the park several times between us, we can assure people that this is still a great park. As for the claims that this is somehow a “lesser park”, this is simply not the case. While it is true that the park is significantly smaller than the California counterpart – or any other park for that matter - make no mistake: this is still a first-class Disney experience. Our various Trip Reports will attest to that!

Does Hong Kong Disneyland have any hotels?

They certainly do. There are two hotels – the Victorian style Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel and the Golden Age of Hollywood art deco stylings of Disney's Hollywood Hotel. We’ve looked at the two of them in our Hotels section. Alternatively, you can stay in Kowloon or Hong Kong Island. Hong is geographically compact, and has one of the best transportation systems in the world. Even if staying off site, it should still only take you about 15-30 minutes on an average day to arrive at the Resort (See also: Getting There).

The Hollywood HotelThe Hollywood Hotel

Do they speak English in Hong Kong?

Hong Kong is a former British colony, although the primary language is Cantonese. While English is a secondary language, most business owners and shopkeepers probably speak more English than you do Cantonese, so you’ll be fine. In Hong Kong Disneyland, many of the staff are bilingual (and some are even multi-lingual, with Putonghua being a tertiary language), so you should have no problems whatsoever.

I’m hungry. What can I get to eat over there?

In the park and resort, there are over twenty eateries and bars, and that isn’t including the quick service stalls dotted around the park. We’ve got a complete summary of them on our Dining page. If you are a vegetarian, don’t worry – Hong Kong has a large Buddhist population, and many of the places will cater to you. Just not Tomorrowland. The future seems to be based on meat. However, since November 2006, Hong Kong Disneyland has followed the international Disney park policy of providing healthy food choices, ensuring there are alternatives for everyone.

What rides have they got?

You really want a slap, don’t you? Are you even looking at the rest of the site? We’ve already prepared a list of current and future rides and attractions here.

What is the average wait time for each ride?

Wait times are never an exact science. We’ve tried to indicate where appropriate what an average wait time is, but these things change seasonally. On our last trip, we never found the lines to be terribly long. Of course, it all depends on days. By way of example, we literally walked onto Space Mountain twice during our last stay, although on two other occasions we had to use FASTPASS. This didn’t even depend on day, as it was split over Friday and Saturday. Mid-week times are going to be different again. By the same token, Stitch Encounter lines were always long, no matter what time of day or language it was being shown in. Keep an eye out each week on the front page of the site where we discuss wait times and closures in our "This Week in Hong Kong Disneyland" column. However, due to popular demand we have drawn up charts for each of the rides found on the individual pages for each of the Rides and Attractions.

What can I find at Hong Kong Disneyland I can’t find in any other Disney park?

This will probably be the biggest factor in determining a holiday for existing fans of Disney parks. All too often we hear people saying that they are holding off on taking a trip to Hong Kong, because they have been to the other parks and feel as though Hong Kong doesn’t offer anything ‘different’.

While it is true that Hong Kong Disneyland is the smallest of the Disney Resorts, missing a Frontierland, a New Orleans Square and a ToonTown - and on that level can’t compete with the sheer number of rides available in the other Magic Kingdoms - there are a number of unique features to the Asian park. For starters, the sheer beauty of the natural surroundings is something you simply can’t find in any other Disney theme park. How many Sleeping Beauty Castles are framed by actual mountains? Also, being a relatively new park, it has an unspoiled quality that feels something akin to how we imagine visiting the original Disneyland in 1955 must have felt. However, for most it is all about the rides and attractions, so we’ve listed those attractions completely unique to Hong Kong Disneyland.

Attractions at Hong Kong Not Found in Other Parks:

  • The Golden Mickeys: This stage show is both a celebration and parody of the Hollywood awards ceremony. Featuring all of your favourite characters, it is only available outside of Hong Kong on the Disney Cruise Line. However, this Hong Kong version features a slightly different AV to the Cruise Line version.
  • Stitch Encounter: Meet Stitch in this interactive show, similar to DCA’s Turtle Talk. Available in Cantonese, English and Putonghua.
  • UFO Zone: Cool off in this Tomorrowland water environment.
  • Fantasy Gardens: Totally unique to Hong Kong, it allows you to meet all your favourite characters and have your photo taken with them. This is one of the true highlights of Hong Kong Disneyland, and even the hardened global Disneylanders will want to visit this locale for its lush scenery and unique landscaping.
  • Grizzly Gulch: A crazy combination of Frontierland and Disney's California Adventure, it will be exclusive to HKDL for the first five years after their respective openings. The centrepiece ride Big Grizzly Mountain "Runaway Mine Cars" will also be a HKDL exlusive. Coming in 2014.
  • Mystic Point: The site of a strange manor owned by adventurer Lord Henry Mystic, it will also be exclusive to HKDL for the first five years after their respective openings. Mystic Manor, although based on Haunted Mansion, uses a trackless ride system and unique special effects. Coming in 2014.
  • Toy Story Land: Pretty self explanatory, will be exclusive within Asia for the first five years after opening. Coming in 2014.

Rides with a Difference:

  • Jungle Cruise/Tarzan’s Treehouse/Rivers of Adventure: Combining the traditional Frontierland Rivers of America and the Jungle Cruise, Hong Kong Disneyland features all-new audio animatronics and large open-air Jungle Cruise in three different language. There’s also a whopping great Treehouse stuck in the middle of the River.
  • Autopia: A completely different ‘alien’ landscape and electric cars with on-board displays and audio systems make this quite different from other versions.
  • Orbitron: Very similar to the Astro Orbiter found in other parks, but this one has side-by-side seating rather than jamming you into a single hole.
  • it's a small world: Similar to the other versions around the world, but with extras, include Disney characters added into traditional scenes, an expanded Asia section, a Middle East section, more languages than ever before and a unique light show at the end of the ride.

Beat that view Anaheim!Beat that view Anaheim!

So how many days should I stay at Hong Kong Disneyland?

If you are planning to look around the rest of the city, and you really should (see below), we are going to recommend at least a week. However, if you are a Disney fan are are purely there for the Resort, we are going to recommend a minimum 2 night stay, or a more comfortable 3 night stay. While it is true that you could probably see everything in the park in a single day, you’d still be rushing things a little. There are four stage shows, a parade and fireworks to consider. To get the full Disney experience, a bit of time to simply “soak up the atmosphere” is probably needed. For this reason, I can easily recommend a 3-night stay at the Resort. The first night will be needed to absorb the hotel and surrounding grounds, the second day is for the park and the final day is purely to relax and enjoy that Disney magic. However, anything more than three nights solely at the Resort may be a bit extreme, especially given how removed it is from the rest of Hong Kong.

What is the best time to visit Hong Kong Disneyland?

We want to say ‘anytime’, but we know that most of you folk will only get to travel to Hong Kong a few times in your lives and you want the experience to be as flawless as possible. Hong Kong Disneyland is in the Northern Hemisphere, and follows the seasonal pattern there. Typically, we find that the ‘shoulder seasons’ are probably the best time to travel. March/April or September through November provides fairly ideal weather almost universally, with the exception of the odd rainy day. During the late spring and summer, the Hong Kong is, after all, a tropical climate and subject to typhoons and other tropical storms. Typhoon season is generally June through September, although arriving in mid-to-late September should ensure that you are clear of this.

Chinese New Year, or the Spring/Lunar New Year, typically falls in January/February and lasts approximately 15 days. The actual New Year date is dependant on the Chinese Calendar. This time of year is extremely busy, although there are a few unique events in the park and the city during this time. It is a very exciting time to go if you are willing to brave the crowds.

Hong Kong Disneyland also host special events during October for Halloween, and December/January for Christmas and New Year. Crowds are often at a peak during this time, but they provide a unique Disney experience.

A list of public holidays in Hong Kong can be found here. Different Ticket Prices will apply on those days.

So what’s the weather like then?

Are you paying any attention at all? I’m sure we just covered this. It never gets too cold in Hong Kong, although the temperate can fluctuate in Winter. It is typically 12-22°C in Winter, and 25°C in Summer, although humidy plays a big role and as such it is likely to feel much hotter during the height of summer. For more detail, see our ‘best time’ explanation above.

What else is there to do in Hong Kong?

Wow, you just asked a mouthful. We recommend, first of all, that you pay a visit to the Hong Kong Tourism website or pick yourself up a travel guide such as Lonely Planet, Frommers, DK Eyewitness or any other major commercially available guide. These will give you more of an idea of what else is happening in Hong Kong. We've put together a full page on Hong Kong, but a list of major recommendations would have to include:

  • Po Lin Monastery: The Tien Tan Buddha Statue on Ngong Ping is the largest sitting bronze Buddha in the world. The new Ngong Ping 360 allows you to go straight to the top via cable car skylift!
  • Victoria Peak:Over on Hong Kong Island, take the Peak Tram up the vertical climb to one of the best views in Hong Kong. While you are up there, enjoy the shopping and a visit to Madam Tussaud’s Wax Museum.
  • Nathan Road: In Kowloon, this is the hub of the shopping district. Find a bargain; get offered countless tailored suits and knock-off watches/handbags
  • Hong Kong by Night: Take a ferry across the harbour at night and watch the city light up
  • Ocean Park: The other big amusement park in Hong Kong doubles as an aquarium. Some big rollercoasters can be found here, such as The Dragon, and the Mine Train. You may also enjoy the panda and wildlife enclosures; exceptionally long escalators and the cable cars joining the two ends of the park, which also afford some terrific views.
  • Shopping: Be it Nathan Road or the Mongkok Markets, you’ll find some terrific bargains in Hong Kong.

What happens if I find a family of squirrels living in my left leg?

You’d be surprised how often we get asked this. We advise that you politely ask them to move to your right leg.

Any other tips before I go?

When you get there, if you are going to be traveling around a lot, buy an Octopus Card. You can add credit to it, but for a base fee, you’ll be able to use the card on all forms of transport (buses, MTR trains and ferries), as well as small purchase items in convenience stores and post offices.

Also, have a great time!

Rumour Control and Future Attractions

For the latest information we have on future and rumoured attractions visit our Rides and Attractions page.