Top 10 Tips for Hong Kong Disneyland

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1 Do try to arrive right at the opening, and go deep into the park immediately to take a couple of the rides you're really looking forward to. This is standard advice for amusement parks, but it really paid off for us, as a couple of the Fantasyland rides we walked right onto first thing in the morning had hour-long queues just a little later.

2 Don't waste time taking photos with the characters that greet you at the gate as the park opens (see point 1!), unless getting such photos is one of your top priorities. If so, you're not reading the right set of tips. Okay, okay, I aim to please: if you're committed to posing with Mickey, have at it right away, although you'll have lots of company. You might also consider heading straight for the 'Fantasy Gardens' section of 'Fantasyland' when you arrive, where you can pose to your heart's content.

3 Don't bother trying to 'stick to a plan' for working your way through the park. It's so small you can change your mind anytime you want, and walk right across the place in five or ten minutes. This is actually a blessing if you've got small children in tow, and when you're off to get 'fastpasses', which we'll discuss next.

4 Do make use of the 'fastpass' system. A fastpass is a pre-booking you can make on any of five popular attractions. You put your park admission ticket into a machine, and are issued another ticket with a time range on it. During that period, you can turn up at the attraction and get right on it, ahead of the normal queue. You can only hold one fastpass at a time, and it has to have expired before you can get another one.

5 Don't bother tying up a fastpass on the Lion King stage show, though. Although those with fastpasses were indeed cordoned off into a 'special' waiting area when we visited, they were admitted into the show right along with us ordinary-queue proletarians in a single stampede.

6 Do take advantage of the 'Single riders' option at Space Mountain if you are a couple with small kids, or if you and your companions don't mind riding alone. Using this 'queue', Mrs Tall and I rode twice each and waited a total of about three minutes.

7 Do use sunscreen and wear hats if it's sunny. Sounds obvious, but although most waiting areas were at least partially shaded, on the day we visited there were still hundreds of painfully red faces and shoulders around, proving that some of us need little reminders.

8 Do buy orange juice. There are plastic bottles of fresh orange juice on sale all over the place for HKD15. That's not bad, given the general range of prices around the park, and it's delicious.

9 Don't expect to ride all the way around the park on the little train if the park's busy. The train has two stops: at the entrance, and at the opposite side of the park in Fantasyland. We found out that when the park gets crowded, you can only go from one stop to the next one, where you then have to get off.

10 Don't go crazy trying to get a good spot to see the fireworks. We saw people staking out positions to watch them almost an hour and a half in advance. This is surely not worth it. We waited till the last minute, and still were able to squeeze into the main plaza in front of the castle where the show is centered. We had a tree branch obscuring a bit of our view, but it was still fine.

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See also my Hong Kong Disneyland review.

Oh, and by the way: here's the HK Disneyland homepage.

Comments

May I Add One More?

Buy a marvelous gift for your kids and convince them it's not worth going to Disneyland of Hong Kong.

If you are lucky, they will agree.

Sadly, my kids took the gift and (still) insisted they wanted to go to the Land of Mice. I caved in and my wife and I accompanied them (three kids).

But I am very sure of what I am about to say - We will never repeat the journey again!

Cheers!

Ron

Good point

Ron, you're absolutely right: HK Disneyland isn't much fun for older kids like yours -- there simply aren't enough 'big' rides. You can only ride Space Mountain so many times! That must have been a financially frustrating day for you . . .

Reflections

Financially, it wasn't very expensive. Though we didn't appreciate their food and beverages. I have eaten better looking and smelling stink in China. If only they let you carry your own food and drinks, we would at least feel a bit happier!

Emotionally, it was a catastrophe. Half way through the circus, everyone in my family was looking at each other with expressions like, "why are we here?"

Truly, with all the hoopla about Disneyland of Hong Kong, I think they could or should do better. My kids still remember their visit to US Disneyland. They think it was million times better than this one (out here in Hong Kong).

Yep, I agree.

Cheers!

Ron

One more tip!

Thanks for the tips!

When I went there with my baby, niece and nephew, they were quite helpful, especially the #2, #4 and #7...
I'll add one tip though:
- if you have a baby, don't forget your baby carrier! When queueing you are not allowed to have your stroller, and waiting for 1 hour or more, I sure was grateful that I have thought og bringing my sling.

MamaPooh

11. Sit by the aisle for the Golden Mickeys

The theatre for the Golden Mickeys has three blocks of seats, one block to the left, a wide centre block, and a block on the right.

MissB is too short to see over peoples' heads to the stage, so we've found the best place to sit is in either the left or right block, with her on the end seat next to the aisle. That gives her a clear view of the stage, plus added excitment when the characters come down from the stage and run up the aisles.

MrB

12. Stay the night

If you stay a night at the Disneyland hotel, you get two day passes for the price of one. Now if you are just doing this for the kids, and the thought of one day fills you with dread, you might struggle to find the value in this. But if you're visiting Hong Kong on holiday with young children, and especially if they haven't been to Disneyland before, I'd say give it a whirl.

And if you're a family of Disneyland fans, it's worth a stay even if you live here.

A couple of years back I went to the Florida Disneyland with MrsB (this was in those days long, long ago when we didn't have the girls). And, bah-humbug, I definitely belonged in category #1. Now I love it, and will happily talk inanely to the Disney characters as we are having pictures with them. Probably I've been brainwashed by the near-daily diet of Disney videos over the last two years. Or maybe it's the measurable drop in IQ that parents of young kids experience. Whatever, I now count a visit to Disneyland as fun.

And with young kids, an overnight stay makes it more fun.

First, it's less of a rush. With two days you can take your time, and go back for second (third, etc) visits to favourite rides and shows.

Then there's the fireworks. We usually leave the park around 5-6pm, as our girls flake out around 8. If you're staying at the hotel, it's a lot easier to see the fireworks, then make the short trip to your room instead of slogging back home on public transport with sleeping kids.

The hotel is worth some time too, especially the outdoor pool in the warm weather. The rooms, carpets, towels - in fact just about everything there reflect the Disney brand, much to the delight of young Disneyphiles. (And they have non-stop Disney channels on TV too, just in case their devotion is wavering).

Finally, at the buffet breakfast there are several of the main characters wandering from table to table to play with the kids and have photos taken. At the age when the guy in the suit really is Mickey Mouse, this is a memorable experience.

MrB

Disney gripes

An acquintance of mine's husband is a big wig at Disney. the other day I was telling her why I prefer Ocean park and don't use our annual passes for disney. I was amazed - the next day she came back to me and had reported my grievences to her husband and could tell me the action points they were undertaking!

So if any of you have legitimate, solveable issues, you can post them and I'lll pass them on to a listening ear.

One of my major ones was the lack of shade for the queues. Apparently they're going to put up shading in the near future.

 

Disney

That's good to know, Gweipo -- I couldn't agree more on the shade issue. We've been to HK Disney just the one time, a couple of Novembers ago, but it was still a warm day, and the sun in HK is always tropical, so even scraps of shade were invaluable. The more the better! And maybe one or two of those mist-spraying machines for days like today?

My biggest complaint, which is nothing new, I'm sure, is that when we were there Space Mountain was the only genuine 'thrill' ride. Both Mrs Tall and I are huge fans of amusement parks in general, and we were secretly -- okay, openly -- disappointed that we didn't have any more 'fun' rides for ourselves. I realize the situation has improved with Autopia and Pirates opening, but HKD still doesn't compare well even with the smallish original in LA, which we visited this past December. There we could ride not only Space Mountain, but that goofy-but-fun Matterhorn, Indiana Jones (we sneaked Daughter Tall into this one by putting packs of tissues in her shoes; we are clearly evil parents), and Thunder Mountain.

We got ours the next day, though, when we went straight on to Knott's Berry Farm, which isn't a patch on Disney in terms of ambience and details, but which has excellent thrill rides. Their vintage wooden rollercoaster, i.e. the Ghostrider, is a transformative experience. Amazing!

 

Print the child's photo on their annual pass

Our first experience of using MissB's Disney annual pass was being grumbled at because we didn't bring any photo ID for her. The next time we brought her passport along, which I wasn't too comfortable about. Now we have a photocopy of her passport in with the ticket, but I'm not sure how long that will last.

Sureley that's not how Disney wants their guests to begin their visit. It would be better if they just copy how Ocean Park handle it, printing the child's photo directly onto the annual pass.

And I'll add my vote for more shade too.

MrB

When is Disneyland "Off-Peak"

Hi

Just wondering when (if ever) Disneyland is "off-peak"?.  Planning a trip with my 2 year old son (...we're from S'pore) and are hoping to avoid too many hour long queues if possible....(unfortunately, I think my son is going to want repeats of the Dumbo ride too ...)

Liann

p.s. Thanks for all the great tips!

 

Off peak

Normally it would be during the week, but what with it being close to summer holidays for many and the fact that a lot of children have not been to school for the last few weeks due to swime flu measures, it doesn't really matter anymore.

Having said that, we spent a weekend at the Disneyland Hotel a couple of weeks ago and got a two-day pass as part of the deal. We ended up going on Friday and Saturday and the place seemed to be deserted. I was quite shocked as I expected the Saturday to be packed but it wasn't.

For the smaller rides (like Dumbo, Teacups, carousel  etc) the queue time was only about 5 minutes. I think the strong sun and heat may have contributed.

We left a few attractions until the evening (after 7) and walked straight in with no queuing at all.

 

Off peak

Liann, as Phil notes, the park just never seems to get that busy these days. It's certainly a lot quieter than it was in the first few months, when Mr Tall wrote the original article. You'll be very unlucky to have an hour-long queue for anything.

On our last visit, we arrived at the Park opening time, and were very surprised how busy it all seemed. Later in the day, we had the same experience as Phil - everything was much quieter. Usually we arrive at around 2pm, so I think the busy feeling on this visit was just because we'd arrived at the same time as all the excited first-time visitors. If it fits your son's schedule, and you aren't expecting to spend the whole day there, I'd suggest arriving in the early afternoon.

Fastpass is still a good idea if you see a Fastpass ride that has a long queue, and you can come back later. Lately the only ride we still bother getting the Fastpass for is Pooh Bear.

Obviously if you can wait until October or November, when the local children are at school, the place will be quieter. The weather will be cooler and more pleasant too.

Our girls (3 & 6) still love going there, so I'm sure you'll have a great time.

MrB

Thank you very much!!

Thanks very much for all the help Phil and Mr B!  Really appreciate it!

Good tips

These are good points, thanks for sharing!