This is Part 2 of our Hong Kong Disneyland adventure. If you missed Part 1 of our Disney trip, go here and check out all the fun photos from the Main Street, U.S.A., the Sleeping Beauty Castle, the Mystic Manor, the Grizzly Gulch, and the Flights of Fantasy parade. Now, on to more Disney escapades!
We wound up at Adventureland, a mystifying realm teeming with primeval forests and fascinating wildlife. At Adventureland, you can explore the enigmatic jungles like a true voyager, and step inside the exotic world of Tarzan and the Lion King.
What rhymes with “tiki”? Sneaky? Squeaky? Cheeky? Leaky? How about all of the above? The Liki Tikis is all of those things. A film of vapor and the sound of beating drums lure curious guests to stand inside the circle surrounded by wooden tiki statues. Once inside, these sneaky, cheeky, and leaky totem poles spew out water right at you, leaving you just a little bit wet and squeaky. On a hot day in the park, frolicking around in this Polynesian-themed playground is a refreshing way to cool yourself.
Jungle River Cruise
One of the most interesting rides in Adventureland is the Jungle River Cruise, where you tread deep jungles and sail through enchanting waterways from all over the world via a tramp steamer. In this guided tour led by a humorous skipper, you will come across lush leafage and all sorts of animals, from the docile to the most ferocious. They’re not real animals but they do look real! From fire-breathing rocks to elephants spraying tourists with water (just a little, don’t worry!), this ride is full of surprises!
I must say, though, that aside from the cool effects and the true-to-life animals, what really made this attraction unforgettable and fun for us was our skipper, Danny. His words and his tone of voice were contrasting, and he delivered his lines in a very monotonous voice, which made it sounds really funny! We just kept laughing the whole time! For instance:
Normal delivery: “Oh, look! It’s an elephant! Wow!!!!”
Danny’s delivery: “Oh look. It’s an elephant. Wow…”
Haha! Sorry, this is the only way I can explain it since I didn’t get to take a video of him. I didn’t even get to take a picture of him! Drat!
One of the most gripping parts of this attraction is the Canyon of the Gods – two rock formations that look like faces. They are actually the embodiment of the Fire God and the Water God, who engage in a never-ending war with each other, as if saying, “Can yo do *this*?!” (then shows off their superpowers).
The lines for the Jungle River Cruise was quite long but it was worth it… even if it’s just to hear Danny’s narration. Haha! The tour is conducted in 3 languages — Cantonese, Putonghua, or English. Make sure you fall in line in the right queue!
Toy Story Land
Next stop was Toy Story Land, one of the newest attractions in Hong Kong Disneyland which features life-size figures of Woody, Buzz Lightyear, Mr. Potato Head, Rex, Hamm, and Slinky Dog, and other images of characters from the Disney & Pixar computer animated film Toy Story. Being in Toy Story Land is like being a miniature toy in a giant toy wonderland and all the other toys are much bigger than you. It makes you feel like you’ve been shrunk, so you get an idea of what Woody, Buzz, and friends must feel when they’re in the presence of a giant human! (Yes, toys have feelings too!) Toy Story fans will surely have a ball in this area. This is such an adorable attraction and the burst of colors spells “h-a-p-p-y-n-e-s-s”! (I misspelled it on purpose coz that’s what some kids do, right?)
Toy Soldier Parachute Drop
Mike and I made like Sarge, the green plastic figure soldier from Toy Story, and rode the Toy Soldier Parachute Drop, an exhilarating ride where you float up a 25-meter-tall parachute tower. It’s called a Parachute “Drop” for good reason. The green commando parachute slowly rises until you are up in the air and gives you a blanket view of the entire Toy Story Land, when it swiftly drops back to the ground, then up again, and down again. If you think you’re a gutsy guerilla, then go over and hop on to the Toy Soldier Parachute Drop!
From one hair-raising ride to another, we dared ourselves to go on the RC Racer. This ultra-racy rollercoaster ride in Toy Story Land takes daredevils up and down a 27-meter-tall U-shaped race track. It slowly but suspensefully takes you all the way to the top then sharply plummets down the base, leaving you squeezing your eyes shut and screaming like a girl. The ride looked quite scary so Paula and Eric did not even attempt to try it (no matter how many times we tried to coax them) but Mike and I were feeling adventurous that day, so we got in to feed our need for speed! It was fun!
Mike and I like anything space-themed and space-related, so we made sure to check out Tomorrowland.
They say that the scariest ride in Hong Kong Disneyland is found in Tomorrowland, and that is the Space Mountain, an indoor rollercoaster where you space travel by means of a rocket-shaped vessel and fly past meteors, planets, and asteroids in total blackness. We honestly did not find it scary, but we did get really dizzy from the ride. Also, because of the ride’s rapid movements, it actually hurt a little. I remember feeling a little sore after that.
This is the only photo I was able to take inside the Space Mountain. It was hard to take photos when the place is pitch black (as in, you really won’t be able to see anything) and you’re thrashing back and forth, left and right. To give you a better idea, here is a better photo of the Space Mountain:
More space shenanigans in Tomorrowland…
It’s A Small World
Sail away into a vibrant and happy world of all things cute. It’s A Small World is a fanciful 9-minute musical boat tour to the Seven Seaways canal where over 300 adorable animatronic dolls from various parts of the globe, dressed in their national costumes, sing along to the song “It’s A Small World” in their native language. I’m sure you know how that song goes! This is the theme song of world peace, unity, harmony, and when blithely sung together by children, despite the differences in their languages and cultures, it is a wonderful reminder of how it truly is a small world, how we are all just one and the same, and how we can all create beautiful music together when we are all united.
The façade of It’s A Small World is just as pretty as what visitors will see inside the attraction. Just by looking at the soft pastel hues, geometric patterns, and sweet, spinning flowers, I was already tickled pink!
Your voyage will take you through the seven continents and a festival of bright colors, fun shapes, and of course, a hodgepodge of cultures. A jaunt in this whimsical world is almost like entering a kaleidoscope, only with background music, cheerfully and sweetly sung by the children/dolls in English, Cantonese, Mandarin, Japanese, Korean, Tagalog, Italian, Spanish, and more. To make the dolls even more realistic and authentic, they are dressed in materials that hail all the way from their home country! Check out the photos below and see if you can identify which continent or country the characters are from!
You’ll also spot a number of the most well-loved Disney & Pixar characters during the tour.
Sure, It’s A Small World is a “baby ride” but it’s really cute, everything looked pretty, and it was heartwarming. Being inside this attraction made me feel like I was in a kinder, better, and happier place — a place where we can all be friends, see things through the eyes of a child, and live in a world of love and peace by singing the same tune. I wanted to go on it again! Unfortunately, there was not much time and we still had to explore the other attractions, so this small world goodbye… for now.
Art of Animation
As a bunch of artists, Mike, Eric, Paula and I are fascinated with art, so we stopped by the Art of Animation, an exhibit that let us have a behind-the-scenes look at how some of the Disney animated movies are made.
When inside the Art of Animation exhibit, check out the Toy Story Zoetrope. A zoetrope is a pre-film animation mechanism that shows a series of still images or illustrations in continuous stages on a spinning disk, and makes the images appear like they are moving, with the help of flashing strobe lights. What’s cool about this zoetrope is that instead of using just photos or drawings, 3-D figures of Woody, Jessie, Bullseye, and other Toy Story characters are used. It’s really mind-boggling and fascinating!
Here’s a short video to show you how the zoetrope works. There are black lines in the video, but when you see the device in person, those black lines are not there.
The Animation Renaissance wall, meanwhile, is a gallery of the initial sketches of our favorite Disney films. It’s interesting to see how these original concepts from the past evolved into the Disney animated films we all grew up with.
Isn’t it amazing how these simple sketches and outlines eventually came to life and became the timeless movies that we have all grown to love? I’d say it’s pretty amazing!
The Art of Animation exhibit also houses some Disney collectibles such as these ones:
“Disney in the Stars” Fireworks
You’ve seen the loveliness of the Sleeping Beauty Castle during the day in Part 1 of my Hong Kong Disneyland travel diary. Now, I’ll show you what it looks like at night, when this 5-storey castle becomes even more breathtaking when lighted up. Every night, when the clock strikes 8:00, this tower of beauty becomes the backdrop for the “Disney in the Stars” Fireworks show, a sensational 9-minute pyrotechnics display made even dreamier by the medley of the most unforgettable and classic Disney theme songs. If you’re starting to think that you’re too old for Disney, all you have to do is watch this dazzling display of lights, colors, music, and magic, and you will feel nostalgic and remember that “once a Disney baby, always a Disney baby.” In fact, while we were gazing at the glimmering fireworks and listening to the Disney songs, Paula and I said to each other, “I feel like crying!” Haha! Disney always has a way of taking us back to a time when we were young and innocent, when we believed that fairy tales and magic were real, and that, according to Cinderella, “the dream that you wish will come true.”
In the words of Aladdin, the Sleeping Beauty Castle at night is “shining, shimmering, splendid.” Here are a few videos where you can see the shining, shimmering, splendid fireworks show. Sorry, we didn’t have the best view but this should do.
That’s it for our Hong Kong Disneyland trip! I hope you had as much fun looking at these photos as much as I had fun reminiscing about this fun-filled day!
Tips for your Hong Kong Disneyland trip:
- Check the weather forecast. In cases of heavy rains or strong winds, some rides may be closed and the fireworks display at night may be cancelled.
- Dress comfortably! You should wear something that will allow you to play and move around freely.
- 1-Day tickets are at HKD 499 for adults (ages 12-64), HKD 355 for children (ages 3-11), and HKD 100 for senior citizens (ages 65+). Ask your hotel if they offer any special discounted rates if you are a guest. We got ours for only HKD 430!
- If you want to save money, I suggest eating a heavy breakfast or lunch before going to the park because the food can be a little pricey.
- Bring a jacket or scarf because it could get cold at night (depending on what month you go), and an umbrella (in case it rains).
- Go as early as you can so you can go to as many attractions as you want and watch as many shows as you want. I didn’t get to watch any show during this visit because we arrived a little late.
Hong Kong Disneyland Park
Address: Lantau Island, Hong Kong
Phone Number: +852 3550-3388
Operating Hours: 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM
How to Get There: https://www.hongkongdisneyland.com/guest-services/travel-information/
Photos by Mike Smith / Miguel Lazatin and me