1. Hong Kong Disneyland Planning Guide

    Hong Kong is one of my most visited cities in the world so it would make sense that Hong Kong Disneyland is my most visited Disney park in the world. It really is my happy place and I try to visit every time I’m in Hong Kong (which is usually once a month) even if it’s just for a few hours.

    I recently wrote a planning guide for visiting Shanghai Disneyland so it is only right that I do the same for the amazing Hong Kong Disneyland that I have visited more times than I can honestly remember. I really hope that it will help anyone who is planning a trip to Hong Kong.

    About Hong Kong Disneyland

    Hong Kong Disneyland (香港迪士尼樂園) opened on 12th September 2005 and is located in Penny’s Bay on Lantau Island in Hong Kong – ten miles from Hong Kong International Airport and fifteen miles from Hong Kong Island. It is one of the smallest Disney parks in the world but is currently in the midst of a multi-year expansion. It is however one of the most beautiful parks as the rich green mountains of Lantau Island provide an incredible backdrop to the resort.

    When to Visit Hong Kong Disneyland

    In Hong Kong the summer months (May to September) are incredibly hot, humid and rainy so unless you have no choice it is best to avoid this time of year. Autumn and Spring are both warm but there will sometimes be some humidity. Winter is the most pleasant and comfortable time to visit – as someone from the UK, I’d call it t-shirt weather (even though the locals are all wearing thick winter clothes) and I only need a jumper or jacket in the evenings when it cools down.

    Avoid weekends, public holidays and the Chinese New Year period as well as Christmas and New Year as the park will be extremely crowded. I’ve found the best rule of thumb is to check the Hong Kong Disneyland Silver Magic Access blockout date calendar – those dates are blocked out for a reason and those are always the busiest days and the ones to stay away from the park.

    How to Get to Hong Kong Disneyland

    Hong Kong Disneyland has its own station on the frequent, quick, cheap and efficient MTR system. On the Disneyland Resort Line, you will also get to travel on a Disney themed train with Mickey-shaped windows and handles.

    If travelling from Hong Kong Island, take the Tung Chung Line from Hong Kong Station (connected to Central station) to Sunny Bay and transfer to the Disneyland Resort Line. I’ve also written a blog with photos and information showing how to do this journey. The Octopus Card fare from Central to Disneyland Resort station is HK$26.2 and the journey takes 30 minutes.

    From Kowloon, take the Tsuen Wan Line to Lai King where you transfer to the Tung Chung Line for two stops until you get to Sunny Bay where you connect once again with the Disneyland Resort Line. You can check fares and journey times from individual stations on the MTR website.

    From Hong Kong International Airport, take the Airport Express train to Tsing Yi and transfer to the Tung Chung Line for one stop back to Sunny Bay for the Disneyland Resort Line. The Octopus Card fare for this is HK$65 and the journey time is 34 minutes.

    You can also take a blue Lantau Island taxi from the airport which should cost approximately HK$140 and the drive is a quick 15 minutes depending on traffic. There are also buses available from the airport – you need to go to Lantau Link Toll Plaza where you can transfer to a second bus for Hong Kong Disneyland.

    The Star Ferry operates once a day from Tsim Sha Tsui in Kowloon to the Hong Kong Disneyland Ferry Pier next to the Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel. However this option is not recommended as not only is it expensive but the timings mean you miss park opening. A return ticket is HK$105.

    At certain times at weekends and public holidays you can also take the Discovery Bay ferry from Central Pier No 3 on Hong Kong Island to the Hong Kong Disneyland Ferry Pier. A one way fare is HK$46.

    I would highly recommend buying an Octopus Card when you are in Hong Kong. It can be used on the MTR, buses, ferries, minibuses as well as paying for goods in shops and at some food eateries. Your first Octopus card will cost HK$150 (HK$100 credit and HK$50 deposit) and can be bought at the Customer Service Centres in all MTR stations as well as at all Airport Express Customer Service Centres. The MTR fares are also slightly cheaper if you use an Octopus Card instead of paying cash. You can return the Octopus Card at the end of your stay and get your HK$50 deposit and any remaining credit back or keep the card for your next visit.

    Where to Stay at Hong Kong Disneyland

    There are three on-site hotels located at Hong Kong Disneyland – the Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel, Disney Explorers Lodge and Disney’s Hollywood Hotel. If staying at these three hotels, you can take advantage of a separate entrance to Hong Kong Disneyland as well as Priority Admission Passes for selected attractions – the number of which depends on the type of room booked. The full list of benefits from staying at one of the three on-site hotels is listed on the Hong Kong Disneyland Resort website.

    If you only have a short stay in Hong Kong, one hotel to seriously consider is the Novotel Citygate located in Tung Chung and only five minutes from Hong Kong International Airport. The hotel is connected to the Citygate Outlets which are above Tung Chung MTR station and only one stop away from Sunny Bay making it extremely convenient for Hong Kong Disneyland as well as travelling into Hong Kong itself. Tung Chung is also where the cable car to Ngong Ping 360 and the Tian Tan Big Buddha is located.

    Because of the amazing public transportation in Hong Kong, it is also very easy to stay on Hong Kong Island or Kowloon and travel to and from the park very easily.

    How Many Days are Needed to Visit Hong Kong Disneyland

    As Hong Kong Disneyland is so small, it is easily doable in one day. However if travelling to Hong Kong specifically to visit Disneyland, then I would allow for two days (especially if visiting during the summer when it’s so hot and often rainy) so you can experience all of the attractions, parades and shows.

    Download the Hong Kong Disneyland App

    Before you arrive in Hong Kong, make sure to download the Hong Kong Disneyland app. On the app, you will be able to check wait times for rides and attractions and check show, parade and character meeting times as well as look up block out dates for Magic Access.

    Buy Your Hong Kong Disneyland Tickets Online Before You Arrive

    To save time on the day you visit the park, make sure to purchase your tickets in advance on the Hong Kong Disneyland Resort website. You can only buy One-Day or Two-Day tickets – however if you plan on spending any more days in the park, then a Magic Access annual pass can work out cheaper and be more beneficial.

    You can either print your e-ticket out at home or use your mobile phone and scan the code at the turnstiles to gain entrance to the park where you will be handed a standard paper ticket. However if you purchase a two day ticket, your name will be printed on the ticket and you will need to show photo identification each time when entering the park.

    You are also able to purchase tickets on the day at the ticket booths which are the same price as buying online. However there can be long lines so buying in advance is definitely recommended.

    Hong Kong Disneyland Magic Access

    Magic Access is the name for the annual pass system at Hong Kong Disneyland. There are three levels which are Silver, Gold and Platinum. The cheapest is Silver as this comes with the most blackout dates which include all weekends and holidays throughout the year. The next level is Gold which includes 340 days of access every year – just Christmas, New Year, Easter and Chinese New Year are blocked out. The most expensive is Platinum which has no blackout dates. A full list of the Magic Access benefits for each level can be found on the Hong Kong Disneyland Resort website.

    If visiting Hong Kong Disneyland for more than two days, it is better and cheaper to buy a Silver Magic Access pass unless your trip falls over a blackout date. Benefits will include 10% merchandise discount as well as on-site hotel discounts.

    You can purchase your Magic Access pass online in advance however you will need to show photo identification when collecting it at the ticket booths at the park entrance.

    Arrive Early at Hong Kong Disneyland

    Hong Kong Disneyland is strange compared to all the other Disney parks as it opens late in comparison – the earliest time it usually opens is 10:00am and I have seen it open as late as 10:30am before. This is good though as because Hong Kong comes alive much later in the day and at night, it is always quiet everywhere in the morning. You can get so much done in the first few hours after opening as there are very few lines on most days. You will notice the park gets busier in the afternoon and in the evenings.

    Also make sure to check the Hong Kong Disneyland app to see what time each ride opens – Grizzly Gulch, Mystic Point and Toy Story Land usually open thirty minutes after park opening.

    Fastpass at Hong Kong Disneyland

    Hong Kong Disneyland only offers Fastpass for three attractions:

    Iron Man Experience – Tomorrowland
    Hyperspace Mountain – Tomorrowland
    The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh – Fantasyland

    To obtain a Fastpass, simply scan your park ticket at the Fastpass machines located at each of the above attractions and you will be given a Fastpass ticket with a time to return to the attraction. Despite so few attractions offering Fastpass, I cannot remember the last time I actually used one as if you visit on a quiet day then there are rarely any long waits for any of the rides.

    None of the rides in Grizzly Gulch, Mystic Point or Toy Story Land have Fastpass so it is best to head there as soon as possible when these lands open – the only rides that seem to get a longer line are RC Racer, Toy Soldier Parachute Drop and sometimes Big Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Cars. Despite Mystic Manor being one the best Disney attractions in the world, it rarely has a line longer than ten minutes on most days.

    If staying at one of the three Hong Kong Disneyland Resort on-site hotels, you will also have use of one or more (depending on room type booked) Priority Admission Passes for selected attractions (also depending on room type booked) including Hyperspace Mountain, Iron Man Experience, Big Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Cars, It’s a Small World, Mystic Manor, Slinky Dog Spin, Toy Soldier Parachute Drop and The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.

    Using the Internet at Hong Kong Disneyland

    There is free wifi available at Hong Kong Disneyland however it does not cover the whole park. It is usually available at the main entrance, along Main Street USA and the rest of the parade route as well as in most shops and restaurants. A full list of where you can access the wifi can be found here.

    Unlike in Mainland China, there are no restrictions on the internet in Hong Kong so you will be able to access all websites.

    The Language at Hong Kong Disneyland

    As Hong Kong was a former British colony, you will have no language difficulties at Hong Kong Disneyland as Cast Members speak Cantonese, Mandarin as well as English and all announcements are made in these three languages. Signs are in English and Cantonese whilst Guide Maps are available in English as well as Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, Japanese, Thai and Bahasa Indonesian.

    Attractions are a mix of English and Cantonese whilst The Jungle Cruise is available in Cantonese, Mandarin and English and there are separate lines for each language. The Mickey and the Wondrous Book show is performed in Cantonese with English subtitles displayed at the side of the stage whilst The Festival of the Lion King is performed in English with two actors dressed as monkeys providing Cantonese translations. The new Moana: A Homecoming Celebration show is performed in a mixture of both English and Cantonese.

    Hong Kong Disneyland is the one Disney park in Asia where I feel there is no language barrier.

    Money at Hong Kong Disneyland

    The currency in Hong Kong is the Hong Kong Dollar and you can use cash (both the Hong Kong Dollar as well as the Chinese Renminbi) as well as all major credit cards including American Express at Hong Kong Disneyland Resort.

    Shopping at Hong Kong Disneyland

    You’ll inevitably end up in one of the many shops inside the park during your stay and there are many items that are exclusive to Hong Kong Disneyland. If you do find yourself wanting to purchase everything in sight and not wanting to carry it around with you all day, then you can use the free-of-charge Package Express service. You can collect your shopping from three hours after purchasing at the Package Express desk next to the Guest Services Building outside the exit to the park. If staying at one of the three on-site hotels, you can have your shopping sent to the Bell Desk at your hotel.

    What to Eat at Hong Kong Disneyland

    There are numerous restaurants at Hong Kong Disneyland all offering a variety of dishes including Chinese, Asian, Indian and Western food. There are both Quick Service as well as Table Service Restaurants inside the park.

    As a vegetarian, there are not too many options to choose from but they do exist. Venues that have vegetarian food include the Explorer’s Club Restaurant, Clopin’s Festival of Foods, Tahitian Terrace, the Plaza Inn and the Main Street Corner Cafe. It is a lot better than it used to be as my favourite story from a few years ago is being offered a vegetarian burger at Starliner Diner however when I went to eat it, it was just the bread roll without the burger but with extra lettuce and cheese – it still makes me laugh to this day.

    Snack Carts selling drinks, popcorn and ice creams are located around the park however make sure you have cash for these as credit cards are not accepted at all of them. One more unusual snack item is the Korean squid in a bag which you can always smell as soon as you walk into Adventureland.

    Starbucks has recently opened at the Market House on Main Street USA with teas, coffees, frappuccinos and all the various snacks that are available at other Starbucks throughout Hong Kong. At this time, there is no Hong Kong Disneyland Starbucks mug.

    The Main Street Bakery sells pastries, cakes, desserts, sandwiches and the Main Street Market is where you can buy freshly made Mickey waffles.

    Character Dining is available at four of the hotel restaurants: Chef Mickey at Disney’s Hollywood Hotel, Dragon Wind and World of Color at Disney Explorers Lodge and the Enchanted Garden at the Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel.

    The Disney character-inspired Dim Sum are available at the Crystal Lotus restaurant at the Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel – these must be ordered either 24 or 48 hours in advance of your visit.

    Reservations can be made at any of the table service restaurants across the entire resort by telephone 42 days beforehand though you can make reservations 120 days ahead of time if staying at one of the three Hong Kong Disneyland hotels.

    Special Events at Hong Kong Disneyland

    There are many different seasonal events at Hong Kong Disneyland including Christmas, Halloween, Chinese New Year and Springtime. During these times the park is decorated, the characters are wearing different costumes, special merchandise is available and there are extra parades and shows.

    Something not to be missed during the Halloween event is the walk through haunted house attraction featuring a slightly twisted side of Disney with live actors that do jump out and try to scare you. There is nothing like this at any other Disney park in the world and even though the entire commentary is in Cantonese, I have absolutely loved it in previous years. It does however get long lines so check the opening times and head there as soon as it opens.

    Where to Watch the Parades at Hong Kong Disneyland

    The daily parade at Hong Kong Disneyland is called Flights of Fantasy. The parade route starts next to the Disney’s Storybook Theater and goes past the castle and down Main Street USA. I always watch Flights of Fantasy from the end of Main Street USA near City Hall as it is usually a lot quieter as it is the end of the parade route.

    The night time parade is called Paint the Night and is absolutely brilliant. It uses the same route as Flights of Fantasy however my favourite place to stand and watch it is along the walkway between the Storybook Theater and the Castle as it gets very dark so the lights on the floats stand out so much more.

    If you want a certain spot for both Flights of Fantasy and Paint the Night, you will need to get there about twenty to thirty minutes before the parades start depending on how busy the park is.

    Other Useful Information about Hong Kong Disneyland

    Unlike all the other Disney parks around the world, there is no Downtown Disney area at Hong Kong Disneyland Resort. Once the park closes for the evening, there is nothing else to do – this also means there is nowhere else to go during the day to have a break from the park unless you go to the on-site hotels.

    Sleeping Beauty Castle is currently undergoing a transformation until some unknown time in 2019-2020. This does mean that the castle is currently behind a wall and scaffolding and there is occasionally a little bit of building work noise – it is going to look amazing when it’s finished though. This also means that there are no nightly fireworks at the park at the moment – instead there is a new night time projection show called We Love Mickey along Main Street USA.

    The former Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters ride is also being transformed at this time to a new Marvel attraction called Ant-Man and the Wasp: Nano Battle.

    The longest line inside the park is not for an attraction but to meet Mickey and Minnie in the centre of Town Square with a view of Main Street USA in the background. You can expect to wait for over an hour for this photo op and there is little shade from the sun whilst in line. You can often meet Mickey and Minnie together in Grizzly Gulch with a small line – check with one of the Cast Members on the day that you visit or look at the Hong Kong Disneyland app which lists the meeting times for all the characters.

    One of the most important things to bring with you to Hong Kong and not just to Hong Kong Disneyland is an umbrella. When it rains, it really rains. However visiting the park when it rains or expecting to rain makes for a very easy day as many of the attractions are inside, crowds are even more non-existant than normal and there is also a special parade called the Rainy Day Express.

    Each Cast Member at Hong Kong Disneyland carries different park and character themed stickers with them to give out to everyone if you ask for them – they’re definitely not just for children and it’s great fun to collect them on every visit.

    The newest friend of Duffy recently arrived at Hong Kong Disneyland – her name is Cookie and she is currently exclusive to the park so this is the only place you can meet her and buy merchandise. You can currently meet Cookie along with Duffy at the Main Street Cinema – ShellieMay, Gelatoni and my favourite Stella Lou meet at the Annexe located by Guest Services close to the entrance of the park.

    Lastly if there is something that you forget to buy at the park, do not worry as there is a large Hong Kong Disneyland store in Terminal 1 of Hong Kong International Airport located just after South security – there is also a great Disney themed Hong Kong mural on the wall outside the store. There is also another shop located landside in the Terminal 2 check in area but this is very small in comparison.

    Have Fun at Hong Kong Disneyland

    The best things come in small packages and Hong Kong Disneyland is no exception. It is such a beautiful and fun park to visit and you will have an amazing time there as well as in the incredible city of Hong Kong. I cannot wait for my next visit!

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