home > Hong Kong Disneyland Resort > Trip Reports > April 2015 Day 3
April 7, 2015 - Day 3 - Hong Kong City Touring & 1st visit to Hong Kong Disneyland

Woke up around 6:30am and was on my way by 7:30 after checking some emails and taking some pictures.  Took the shuttle bus to the Disneyland stop and boarded the Disneyland Resort MTR line to head toward the city around 8:30am.  We transferred to the Tung Chang Line to Hong Kong Central then walked to the Peak Tram terminal, arriving around 9:25am and took it up to Victoria Peak.  At the Peak walked around and went to the Terrace 428 and what fluctuated between partial view of Hong Kong and complete fog.   Spent about an hour at the peak then headed for the Star Ferry and took it across the harbor.  It was just after noon by this time so went in search of lunch and found an Outback Steakhouse.  After lunch it was back on the MTR (subway) as we headed for the Tai Sin Temple arriving around 2:30pm and walked to the Chi Lin Nunnery and Nan Lian Garden.  After exploring both headed back to the MTR around 4:30pm and took it back to the Disneyland Resort.   Hopped on a shuttle bus back to our hotel form the transportation area and grabbed some rain gear and was on my way to the park.  Walked to the park arriving just before 6:00pm.  Strolled down a familiar but different Main Street USA and walked through Sleeping Beauty Castle and into Fantayland.   Passed through Toy Story Land and Mystic Point.  Mystic Manor went down as we approached..  so continued on through Grizzly Gulch  and into Adventureland.  The Jungle River Cruise had a minimal wait so made that my first attraction at Hong Kong Disneyland.  Once back onshore headed for Main Street with the game plan to find a spot for Paint the Night.   As we walked down Main Street Disney announced the parade had been cancelled this evening.    So grabbed a snack on Main Street then saw a 10 min wait posted for Mystic Manor so hiked back out there and went for back to back walk on rides.  Then returned to Main Street.  Some found a spot for fireworks in 45 minutes.  I opted to walk through Tomorrowland, out to Small World then back down the parade route to find them and then a spot for the fireworks.  They were at 9pm, which was also park closing.   After the show walked back to the Disneyland Hotel on a completely empty walkway.  Headed back to the room to back up pictures and do some writing before calling it a night around 11:30pm.



Thoughts & Observations
  • When I put together our plan for this trip I was unsure how we would be the first morning after the long travel day nor what the weather would be.  Well we were all up bright and early, around 6:30am and the weather outside looked promising so we decided to go with Plan A which was to head into Hong Kong to see some of the sights.  I put together a game plan to visit a couple temples/gardens as well as the Star Ferry and Victoria peak.  We thought this would be doable on our own and within a day and the preplanning paid off and we visited all four and were back to Disney by late afternoon.
  • The Disneyland Hotel lobby area had a few guests moving around but still not that many.  The park did not open till 9am so it was quiet at 7:30am when we walked through to head for the shuttle.
  • The shuttle was slow to arrive, I guess we just missed it.  We wanted to save our legs for the busy day so decided not to walk this morning.
  • Arrived at a nearly empty Hong Kong Disneyland entrance plaza (since the park did not open until 10am) and took some pictures then headed for the Disneyland Line of the MTR (train system).   The train was empty for the most part going our direction.  There were some cast members and a couple guests entering but no one leaving at this hour.   The line itself was great.  The cars were clean and seemed like new, hard to believe it was a public transit system.  The Disney touches were great, ranging from the windows, to seat cushions, to statues on board and the hand holds.  
  • The Disneyland Line is very short and only has two stops.  One at Disneyland and one at Sunny Bay where you can transfer to a main line.
  • I found the Hong Kong MTR system extremely easy to navigate.  It was well lit, a lot of signs, all the lines are labeled and color coded and status indications onboard the trains to help you out.   We had no problems finding our way throughout the city.  I had mapped out the four places we were planning to visit and had a general gameplan in my mind of the routes but what you read and experience may be different.  In this case it easier than expected!  
  • I was surprised that the MTR was not more crowded.  Even as we approached the Hong Kong station there was still plenty of space.
  • The skies were overcast with some clouds but it was relatively ok and expected to get worse so we headed for Victoria Peak.  This peak overlooks the city and on clear days gives a view of the harbor and surrounding area.
  • To reach the peak we took the Peak Tram.  This was an interesting adventure. It is a cable car that goes up the mountain at a steep incline winding through part of the city.   The ride up was great.. the ride back down even more of an adventure with the braking system and facing backwards.
  • Up on the Peak we went to the Terrace 428 which is an observation deck at the top.  The view was partially obstructed when we first arrived then became completely blocked as clouds blew through.. then cleared a bit.  We were able to snap a few pictures of the harbor and city through the clouds.  I could only image how it looked on a clear day.  It was impressive on the low visibility day.   It was really fun to watch the fog/clouds blow through.
  • Once we reached the bottom we walked down to the Harbor and took the Star Ferry across.  The original plan was to take a Harbor tour but the crossing gave us enough of a sample and were getting hungry so went in search of food.
  • Since I am a picky eater and not adventurous at all I had done some pre-scouting of possible lunch locations ranging from fast food (McDonalds) to steak houses I knew.   We ended up at an Outback Steakhouse for lunch.   The food choices were slightly different than the standard US menu but close enough and the steak was decent.   Interesting note in the same building on the other side was a Ruth's Chris.
  • After lunch it was back on the MTR and out to the Sik Sik Yuen Wong Tai Sin Temple and Garden.  Finding it was not a problem.  There were signs as soon as you exited the MTR station. 
  • We opted to walk from here up to our fourth and final stop on our tour of Hong Kong, the Chi Lin Nunnery and Nan Lian Garden.   The walk was not too bad 15 minutes or so.  It was one subway stop only, but we wanted to see a little of the city vs being underground.  The one thing I did not notice in my pre-planning was many of the street crossing were they type you have to go up and over the street which meant long ramps or a lot of steps.  
  • Chi Lin Nunnery and Nan Lian Garden were much larger and impressive to me.  I really enjoyed the garden and the contrast between it and the towering buildings around.  Since it was more spread out this did not feel as busy as the first temple we visited.
  •  The trip back to Disney from the garden included three transfers and even with that it was not a problem.  Most of the transfer points lined up and you would walk off one train and across the platform to the other.

We took the shuttle back to the hotel to drop off some things and prepare for the park.   This time no wait at all and a quick trip back to the Disneyland Hotel to drop off some items and prepare for the evening at the park.

  • Decided to walk to the park this afternoon.   The Park Promenade is a large walkway that runs from the hotels by the park to the transportation/parking area.   I would trek this quite a few times in the coming days.  Most of the time the walkway was deserted.  Many times just our group. 
  •  It was less than 15 minutes from our room until I was standing a strangely familiar but slightly off Main Street USA.   What I mean by this is the park scale and many of the buildings, such as the Train Station are the same as Disneyland but things are slightly different ranging from the brick in the street to no flag pole in Town Square to the names on the building and of course all the Chinese writing and the mountain behind Fantasyland.
  • This marked my 7th Disney Park and 1st outside the United States.. as with any new park I was very excited to explore.
  • As I walked around the two things that popped out to me on a first impression were the walkways seemed wider than Anaheim.  Not quite vast like Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom or Tokyo Disneyland but wider than Anaheim and there was a lot more green/plants throughout the park and sitting/park like areas.
  • Unfortunately there was renovation work going on and one block of  Main Street was under wraps as well as the upper portion of Sleeping Beauty Castle.  Also due to Iron Man construction in Tomorrowland the Railroad was shut down during our trip.
  • The plan for the evening was to walk the park and get a feel for it and take in the night time entertainment.  We walked the park and thanks to some short lines visited the Jungle River Cruise as well as Mystic Manor a few times.  Unfortunately Paint the Night was cancelled.  Luckily I had three more nights to try and catch it (in the end I saw it only 1 of the four nights due to cancellations!).
  • My first attraction at Hong Kong Disneyland turned out to be the Jungle River Cruise.  Some interesting notes on this version of the Jungle Cruise.  First it takes place on what is usually the Rivers of America and it circles an Island.  The Island houses Tarzan’s Treehouse.   Also the cruise takes place in three languages, you choose a queue based on the language for your skipper and boats arrive for each.  They try to balance the wait times so even if one looks shorter it may not be. 
  • Our skipper was not a native English speaker and it showed.  They went really fast through the spiel and combining the accent, language problem, speed, and sound system and we were left trying to figure things out on our own (we might as well have taken one of the Chinese language boats!).    The skipper had the throttle down for most of the cruise so it was a speedy trip and not a good first impression.  I do have to say the finale was impressive with fire, water, and fog effects.  More on this on a later day with video and pictures.  Due to it being fairly dark and the boat traveling fast my pictures from this first trip really did not turn out. 
  • The other note on the Jungle Cruise here is they really play up the you may get wet joke.  It seemed odd to me but it is everywhere.. on the signs, queue announcements and the skippers themselves.
  • My other attraction on this abbreviated trip was the signature one for Hong Kong Disneyland.. Mystic Manor.  This features a trackless ride system in what can be loosely called their version of the Haunted Mansion.  The story is unique and music, characters, and effects were created just for this attraction. 
  • I really enjoyed Mystic Manor.   This is by far one of the best attractions in years at any of the parks I have been to.   The classic story elements, music, and ride system lead to a great experience.   
  • Due to there being no line late in the evening I went on it back to back and tried two different cars (3 & 4).  Each car gives you a slightly different experience with different viewing angles.  Over the course of the trip I experienced all four cars more on this on later days.
  • The longest wait the couple of times I checked was for the Autopia.  This held true throughout the trip ranking among the longest line no matter the time of day or day of the week. It seems everyone wants to drive a car!
  • I walked by Small World and the Façade is very much like Anaheim but the channel is indoors vs outdoors so you can walk right up to it.  It is offset on the far side of the rail tracks, like Toontown in Anaheim.   Also interesting was the use of lights around the façade.  I thought it looked great!
  • Disney in the Stars Fireworks were the ending of the day.  I would say the show is somewhere between Fantasy in the Sky and Magical.  It was ok but nothing that would blow you away.  I enjoyed it and watched it every night.  There are some projections but they were really hard to make out (even on subsequent nights when I was close to the Castle). 
  • The walk back to the Disneyland Hotel to wrap up the day put me on a fairly deserted Park Promenade.  I would say 99% of the guests turned left to head for the MTR, parking lot, or buses.  So I had the walkway to myself.  This held true most of the trip. The shuttle bus returning to the hotel was full in the evening, wonder if there was a line at the bus station.. I never ventured over to see at park closing opting to walk back every night.

Pedometer Stats
Miles 15.1
Steps 39,909
Moderate Steps 25,469
Moderate Steps/Time 232



Part I: Hong Kong Tour
We started off the morning heading for downtown Hong Kong via the MTR. Then visited Victoria Peak and took the Star Ferry across the harbor. After lunch visited the Sik Sik Yuen Wong Tai Sin Temple and Garden followed by the Chi Lin Nunnery and Nan Lian Garden before returning to the Disneyland Resort.

Part II: Hong Kong Disneyland
A quick first walk around Hong Kong Disneyland including some pictures from the Jungle River Cruise and Mystic Manor as I survey the park.

Related Links From This Trip

Daily Summaries & Pictures: