I’m incredibly honored to be able to write a post for This Happy Place Blog. I’ve grown up as a Disney kid, and I foresee that lasting well into my future, so to be posting on a blog that highlights and celebrates a passion for all things Disney is definitely something extra special to me.
Living in the Philippines has given me the opportunity to visit and explore other Southeast Asian countries. One of the places that I’ve visited frequently is Hong Kong. Apart from being a beautiful place, complete with an eclectic culture and easy (and affordable) access from the Philippines, Hong Kong is also home to one of the most magical places in the world – Hong Kong Disneyland.
I’ve been to that magical place three times now, the first two times with my family and the most recent time with some of my best friends in the world. Today, I want to share a little about my first ever experience visiting the park with my family from 2006.
Because the trip was a treat from my grandfather for all of us in the family, we were lucky enough to get the opportunity to stay one night in Disney’s Hollywood Hotel. That place, though I’ve only stayed there that one time, certainly made an impression. With tasteful gold decorations, Disney style infused everywhere and a cool urban ambience, I definitely fell in love.
Bright and early the next morning, everyone in the family (including my grandparents!) made our way to the park entrance. There’s a simple arch that marks the start of a pathway to the main entrance, and as you walk, you’ll notice banners for different Disney characters hanging everywhere, as well as hear some of your favorite Disney songs being piped over speakers.
We were greeted by the sight of a large fountain with a statue of Mickey surfing just as we came to the end of the path. The ticket kiosks were in the general vicinity and while the men in the family went to get our tickets, we took the opportunity to take pictures!
Of course, right after that, we entered the park and were caught up in all the magical worlds that the park had to offer at the time – Main Street USA, Adventureland, Tomorrowland, Fantasyland. (As of now, they’ve actually opened Toy Story Land and Grizzly Gulch, which I hope to experience for myself soon!)
Main Street USA made me miss the U.S. so bad — the houses with pretty trim, the restaurants decorated to look like diners and classic burger joints and the beautiful pavement.
Adventureland, on the other hand, brought back childhood memories — especially the Jungle Cruise! I was surprisingly fascinated by Tarzan’s Treehouse, though you don’t do anything more than explore its contents.
Tomorrowland had my favorite ride in the park – Space Mountain. What can I say, I’m a thrill seeker! Plus, I absolutely adored all the rockets and robots and futuristic looking furniture set in place.
Fantasyland, however, will always hold the biggest spot in my heart. Somehow, when I walk through that part of the park, I feel reminded that it is possible for fairy tales to come true! My favorite part is The Golden Mickeys show – it’s fantastic! (I only have pictures of the other ride though, not the show!)
We also got the opportunity to watch the parade, which featured many favorite characters (including Disney princesses Cinderella, Ariel, and Snow White, Toy Story favorites Woody and Buzz, and classic characters like Pluto, Donald and Mickey) dancing, singing and riding on beautifully done floats. It’s a chaotic combination of color and sound and it’s absolutely wonderful.
As the sun set and night fell, my family and I found a good spot (near the end of Main Street USA and just in front of the castle) to watch the fireworks. The fireworks at Disney inspire a feeling in me like no other — hope, joy and a certain calmness. It’s my favorite part of visiting any Disney park.
Because of the size of Hong Kong Disneyland, it’s possible to actually visit just about every single attraction and show, as long as you get an early start. I’m not sure how the crowds are nowadays, but back when we visited, there was just the right amount of people.
It was a fun adventure, and looking back at it makes me wish I could visit all over again! I hope you enjoyed this little peek into my trip to Hong Kong Disneyland — and keep an eye out for the next installment, featuring a lot more pictures and some of my best friends!