Friday, November 26, 2010

Disney-fied in Hong Kong

HK Disneyland - Fountain at Night
HK Disneyland entrance fountain is even more magical at night
Can anyone ever outgrow Disney?  I thought I did until this invitation from a friend to tag along on a trip courtesy of Hong Kong Disneyland and Nuffnang came along.  Hard to believe that Mickey Mouse turned 82 years this month -- that means practically almost all people alive on earth at the moment grew up on Mickey, Donald and the rest of the furry crew.


 
HK Disneyland - Father & Daughter in the Maze
Father & daughter enjoy the maze in front of the HK Disneyland Hotel
To infinity and beyond.  The skies wore a somber, cloudy grey by our third day in HK but when you're in Disneyland, that's not really much cause for worry.  We were privileged to get media access to four popular attractions including two cosmic rides, which means bypassing the long lines altogether.  Our first ride: Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters. 'twas fun to go zooming through the tunnel and try to shoot all the Zurg marks while on a platform that spins 360 degrees.  I don't think I can show off a decent score but what the hey, it was fun alright.

Ride 2 was a ride that's literally out-of-this-world: Space Mountain. It's big part hairy rollercoaster, another part anti-gravity machine with pin-sharp turns and stomach-turning drops in almost complete darkness (whatever the details of the set were, be it comets and planets, they just whizzed by) where all you can hear are the shrill screams of fellow riders and the blood rushing to your head as you attempt to fight the urge to regurgitate your lunch.  Hmmm, no wonder our guide, Carmen, just smiled mysteriously when she told us this was her most favorite ride.
HK Disneyland - Golden Mickey's Ensemble
Golden Mickeys Ensemble
Our third ride was tamer, a lot tamer: Pooh and company in the Hundred-Acre Wood, as if to make amends for that second, literally hair-raising ride.  Our fourth stop wasn't a ride but rather a Fantasyland attraction: the Golden Mickeys, Disneyland's version of the Oscars.  We got seated next to the German mom of the Eurasian lead star.  At first, it felt strange to hear the proceedings in Chinese but then again, the magic of Disney transcends language barriers.  The show features Disney's most beloved movies and characters (I just wished though that the Beauty and the Beast segment was a lot longer), it's easy to get carried away and sing-along.
HK Disneyland - Castle Under the Red Stars
Fireworks and fanfare in Disney in the Stars
Starry, starry night.  To cap the evening, we milled with the crowd in front of the castle for the Disney on Stars light and fireworks display.  The crowd ooh'd and aah'd as fireworks, lighting and fire lit up the night sky to musical strains of Disney tunes.  We could've gone around the park some more but the fireworks display signaled that the park is closing for the day.  Too bad since I find the place to be more magical at night.
HK Disneyland - Spidermen in the Lobby
What's Spidey (make it two Spideys) doing in the Disney lobby?
Disney digs.  After a buffet dinner at Hollywood Hotel, we decided to just walk back to the Disneyland Hotel to make amends for a fuller than full meal.  The lobby was just a spectacle (the better to hang around for free Wi-Fi).  The room was filled with nice appointments -- plump pillows, super-comfy sheets, a comfortable reading nook, it's a shame we didn't have an extra day (and night) to soak them all up.  Not to complain but the quandary with a really nice room is balancing the time to enjoy it with time spent outside.  Happy problem you may say.  After all this is Disney, a very happy place to be in.
HK Disneyland - Room
Sleep comes in easy in comfy digs like these
HK Disneyland - Mickey Manhole Cover
Next: Details of Disney
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