Hongkong Disneyland with Toddler (Day 1)
Would a 2 years 8 months toddler enjoy a Hongkong Disneyland vacation? For our dear son thankfully the answer is yes. Actually we were planning to do the HKDL trip in 2012 just when he will be around 5 years old. But my wife found out about “buy 2 get 1 promotional package” from Cathay Pacific which includes 3 Jakarta Hongkong return tickets, 2 nights at Hongkong Disney Hotel, 3 Disneyland tickets for 2 days, 3 meal vouchers at Disneyland, 3 magical fast pass, and airport shuttle service to and from Disney Hotel. After considering this offer for a couple of weeks, we decided to go for it. We went to the park on December 16th and 17th 2009. We chose weekdays to avoid the weekend crowd.
After spending the first night at Novotel Citygate near the airport, we arrived at Disney Hotel around 10 am. The check in took less than 10 minutes. After receiving our Disney Park tickets, meal vouchers, and magical fast passes, we left our baggages at concierge and head to the park using the free shuttle bus. At the ticket booth we bought 2 combo meal ticket which include 1 lunch ticket, 1 dinner ticket, and 1 soft drink / popcorn ticket at the price of HK$ 98. This is a special dining offer that we found on Disney website. It is quite a bargain since the standard individual lunch or dinner menu is around HK$ 45-48 each and the soft drink or popcorn cost around HK$ 20.
The multiple days ticket at Disney Park require fingerprint registration at the park entrance. You also have to keep your ticket and remember which ticket belong to which person in your group. Otherwise you might waste your time trying to find the correct ticket and fingerprint match one by one. At the entrance they also gave us special glasses to see the special effect on the Christmas lights decoration & fireworks.
We passed through the mainstreet USA and headed to the Fantasy Land. At the front of the Sleeping Beauty Castle we met Princess Aurora. We asked our son if he would like to take a picture with her, but he said no, so we went to “The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh”. Since it was early, the queue was very short and we were inside in no time. Although looked a little bit surprised and disoriented, he said he liked the ride.
After that we went to the “Mickey’s PhilharMagic” 4D show. He enjoyed the first few minutes of the show, but the sudden appearance of Simba head in 3D along with his loud roaring sound frightened him and made him cry, so we took him out of the theater.
After he calmed down, we took him to the “Cinderella Carousel” which he enjoyed very much. The horse in the carousel is equipped by a safety belt for smaller children. For infants who can’t sit by himself, there are also several carriages to sit on.
We then went on to the “Dumbo the Flying Elephant” ride. The queue was quite long and we were disturbed by a group of middle aged women from mainland China who tried to bustled up their way through queue to get in front. I and a young couple from Hongkong queuing just behind me tried to stop them, but they still tried to force their way. To prevent them from moving forward, I had to place my hand on the railing all the time (it did stop them from moving forward, but didn’t stop them from keep pushing me). I wished the HKDL staffs paid more attention to this kind of things because it was very annoying. We were waiting for about 6 rounds (each round lasted around 2 minutes). I carried my son on my left arm, with my right arm still on the railing to hold off those ‘courteous ladies’. When we finally reached the front of the queue, alas, he already fell asleep, so we had to skip the ride and put him on his stroller.
(— I’ve sent a letter to HKDL regarding this matter and received a kind reply from them :
“…We appreciate your informing us of the behavior of some of our Guests
during your recent visit to the Park. Unfortunately, not all Guests
behave with the consideration of others, and we apologize for any
discomfort that you and your family went through. Please be assured
that we have forwarded your comments to the Operational management so
that they be aware of your concerns. We have duly reminded our Cast
Members to be more attentive to monitor the queuing area and proactively
offer assistance to our Guests in need to preserve our Guests’
Thumbs up for HKDL management for their quick response —)
To fill the time we went to the “Space Mountain” and took turn for the ride. It was still enjoyable for me but not as thrilling as 4 years ago. It seems that the age don’t lie. The adrenaline rush just was not there anymore. Because he was still asleep, we entered a Disney store to look for Christmas gifts.
After he woke up, we took him to lunch at the Comet Cafe. We ordered pork chop noodle and roast duck rice. Although it is a self service restaurant, the staffs are very helpful. They even helped my wife to carry the food tray when they noticed that she was walking with our son.
After lunch, we entered the “Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters”. At first I was worried the he won’t enjoy the ride because he hasn’t watch the Toy Story movie, so he was not familiar with Buzz, and it was quite dark inside with luminous moving robots. But at the exit he said that he want to take the ride again. Since it was not too crowded, we went in once again. This time he really enjoyed the ride. He chattered and shot the robots with enthusiasm.
Then I & Carmello moved on to “Autopia” while my wife were browsing the stores. This ride has the longest queuing time during our visit because each car can take only maximum 2 person and each cycle can last around 5 minutes. It took us around 20 minutes before we finally took the ride. This ride is individual cars with steering wheel and accel pedal. Since he insisted to take control of the steering wheel, I controlled the car speed through the accel pedal, and only assisted him occasionally on the wheel when he veered to much off the track, otherwise it would get real bumpy.
The next ride is the train. There were 2 stations, one at the Fantasy Land and one at Main Street USA. We boarded at the Fantasy Land station and went around route to that station again.
We then went to “It’s a Small World” near the station. Although the queue was long, the waiting time were not as long as I expected because the boat are quite big. It was nice to see the dolls in various countries settings and Christmas themes with the It’s a Small World song sung in many languages. Near the entrance of the ride there were several stages with it’s a small world dolls where you could take pictures.
We exited the ride just as the Disney Christmas Parades was passing through the area. There were Disney characters, dancers, marching band, princess, and others in the lively parade.
Up next was “The Golden Mickeys” theater. This time he managed to stay rather calm along the show which lasted in about 20 minutes, although he kept on asking “Where is Mickey?” whenever he didn’t appear on stage.
After that we went to take our postponed ride on the “Dumbo”, followed by dinner at Clopins Festival of Food, in which we have beef noodle, vegetable noodle, and fresh watermelon bottled juice. After dinner we took the Pooh and Buzz rides again.
Although we would like to stay for the fireworks, we decided to go back to the hotel because we saw the he looked exhausted from his new experiences today. After he took his bath, he watched Mickey Mouse cartoon on TV for a while, and then went to sleep.
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