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Hong Kong Disneyland Plan A Visit
Hong Kong Disneyland opened in 2005 to a lot of controversy and mediocre reviews. The park was by far the smallest of the traditional “Magic Kingdom” style parks and it lacked a lot of the attractions that Disney was known for. Despite those truths, Disney did construct a park with “good bones” as what they did build was of very high quality.
Since the park opened nearly 15 years ago, it has changed and expanded, although I feel like it still has its reputation of being not as good as some of the other Disney resorts. Having visited Hong Kong Disneyland 7 times now I can say this isn’t true! Here are five things that might make you think twice about a visit to Hong Kong Disneyland.
1. Super Western/English Friendly
I have traveled to over 70 countries including to places where not a single word of English was spoken. I think Americans tend to fear these types of places, but Hong Kong is not one of them. As a former British colony Hong Kong is very English friendly and so is Hong Kong Disneyland!
To start, just about every ride/show/sign is in both the local language Cantonese and English. Additionally, in most places Mandarin Chinese is available as well. How does this work? For example at the Jungle Cruise they have separate lines for each language. That means you get to experience a skipper you can understand, although don’t be surprised if some of the humor in the more traditional English jokes is lost in translation.
This language inclusiveness doesn’t stop at the Jungle Cruise though. All signs are in multiple languages and even the shows get in on the fun! For example Festival of the Lion King has characters simultaneously narrating in both Cantonese and English while Mandarin speakers can look at specially placed monitors for a translation. Compared to the two other Asian Disney resorts, Hong Kong Disneyland is definitely the most Western friendly!
2. Location Location Location
Hong Kong is incredibly easy to reach from the United States. Tons of airlines fly direct from cities across the U.S. to Hong Kong meaning you quite possibly could get there without even needing to connect! Hong Kong airport is also one of the best and busiest in the world. It’s well connected to the city and very easy to get around.
And while the airport is easy to get to so is Hong Kong Disneyland park. Since it is connected to the city’s MTR (subway), the park is only about 30 minutes from the City Center. If you are heading to Hong Kong Disneyland directly from the airport, it is only 10 minutes or so by car!
3. Feels Like Disneyland…..But Not!
Unlike the Magic Kingdom, Tokyo Disneyland and Disneyland Paris, Hong Kong Disneyland was actually modeled after Anaheim’s original. This means that the park was built with Disneyland’s smaller castle and Main Street. It also means that Hong Kong Disneyland feels more like the original park than any other.
To be fair Hong Kong Disneyland did stray from the original formula a bit. While the park’s Tomorrowland and Fantasyland sections will look familiar, Frontierland was dropped for opening day and replaced by a massive Adventureland with a unique version of the Jungle Cruise. Even after expansions the park’s layout is very easy to figure out and getting around is a breeze.
4. You Won’t Find These Anywhere Else
In an era where Disney seems to be copying attractions everywhere, Hong Kong Disneyland is doing its own thing. Its no secret that Shanghai Disneyland is in competition, so Hong Kong Disneyland has started to build unique rides and areas to draw people down south from Mainland China.
In the past few years 4 entirely unique big ticket attractions have opened at Hong Kong Disneyland. These rides cannot be found in any other Disney park!
Big Grizzly Mountain – A mix of Big Thunder Mountain and Expedition Everest. This is one of the smoothest roller coasters I have ever been on.
Mystic Manor – A completely modern and ghost-less take on Haunted Mansion. Because of cultural differences this ride has a 21st Century story and all of the newest tech making it one of Disney’s best rides ever.
Iron Man Experience – This ride uses the Star Tours ride system, but has a completely unique theme and video.
Ant-Man & The Wasp Nano Battle – A shooting dark ride with a unique theme and updated technology when compared to Buzz Lightyear in the U.S. parks.
5. The Future Is Bright
While I would argue Hong Kong Disneyland is already unique enough to warrant a visit from any Disney fan, things are continuing to get better at the park. For example, the old small castle is a thing of the past. Hong Kong Disneyland is finally getting its own completely unique castle to go with its unique vibe.
Additionally Disney is adding even more huge attractions to Hong Kong Disneyland over the coming years. An entire Frozen land is coming (this will apparently be copied at other parks) and a giant Marvel attraction is on the horizon as well to replace the park’s Autopia. Hopefully it will be another unique ride, but at this point we don’t know yet.
Hong Kong Disneyland Plan A Visit – Bottom Line
As you can see, you should start to plan a visit to Hong Kong Disneyland today! While I hope this gets your appetite going, I’ll have much more content to actually help you plan that journey, but believe me its worth it. Hong Kong Disneyland is easy to get to whether you are on a stopover or a longer trip and there is plenty of classic Disney along with unique experiences as well. Yes, the park is still small and has room to grow, but it’s definitely worth a full day visit.
Have you been to Hong Kong Disneyland? Do you agree with my thoughts? Disagree? Share your thoughts in the comments!