Since I was little, I’ve dreamed about visiting Disneyland somewhere in the world. I guess some dreams do not die with age and this one was stuck with me. I annoyed Daniil with my ramblings of how magical it would be and how I would be the happiest girl alive if someday I could spend a day in Disneyland with him. He surely listened since when we started to plan our trip for the mid-term semester, the choice of the city started to narrow around two cities, which both are home to Disneylands. We were down with Tokyo and Hong Kong. As mentioned, we chose to go to China and I would receive the best pre-birthday gift of my life.
Before heading to the magical world of mouse ears, we did some research on which day should we choose for the trip, what time should we be there, which attractions to visit and so on. As we read more, it came clear that it could get quite hectic on specific times. Weekends were an absolute no-no. We went there on Thursday, and arrived there with the first people in order to avoid long queues and big crowds. We had already bought our tickets online so no need to worry about those at the destination.
To reach Disneyland from Kowloon, where we were staying at the moment, we needed to take a minibus and three trains. The last route of the MRT- tram/train was only dedicated for Disney, and it was clearly visible. Of course the name of the route/stop was Disneyland resort, but also the whole train screamed Disney! The windows were in the shape of Mickey Mouse, as well as the handlebars you can hold if standing on the aisle. The seats were sofas covered with royal blue velvet with little stars in them. Every time there was an announcement from the radio, it started with a fairytale-like blinging sounds as if somebody was shaking their magic wand in the air.
I was so pumped already at the train, together with the other kids. It was just pure joy to arrive to the fancy station and soon after walk through the gates of Disneyland Hong Kong. I could not hide my excitement and I was not going to! As for my benefit I had passed my giddiness to Daniil as well and we were incredibly happy to start our day of dreams together.
As we arrived there before the park was opened, we needed to wait on the gates for a while. Before the ‘normal’ guests were allowed in, a family of VIP’s stepped to the other side. It was funny to see how they got royal treatment when the team of workers took millions of pictures of them and Mickey and Minnie even came to greet them personally. Too bad the little girl of the family was deeply frightened with the huge mice poking their heads between her and the parents for better pictures. Nice family portraits when the kid is scared for her life, haha.
Anyways, at 10 o’clock they let everybody in and we were determined to get myself a pair of legendary Minnie-ears so I could truly fit in to the crowd and take the pictures to another level. We found them soon and started darting around the main street like headless chicken. The streets were lined with tens of shops selling Disney merchandise in all forms. We would get back to them later.
At the end of the Main street U.S.A was the castle of Cinderella in all its glory. It was exactly as good as you would imagine! All the towers and details in pastel colours, ooooh I was in heaven. As a must in Disneyworld is to take pictures jumping to the air in front of the castle, were we also up for it! A photographer guy helped us to take a picture of us together there as well. Actually the castle itself is a gate to the park, as until that moment we have been only walking in the main street and square leading to it. Most of the attractions would be situated at the other side of the towers.
The first stop was Fairy tale Garden. It was a labyrinth taking you from one story scene to another. The scenes were brought to life with music and movements. The only thing that could disturb this walk was the unbelievable heat. We are used to it in Penang, but it had never been so hot during our stay in China before. We were sweating our asses off and lurking in the shadows but it was so worth it.
In the midst of this we came to a closed gate inside the labyrinth and a worker lady asked if we would like to meet Tinkerbell. Not sure what she meant, we followed her deeper to the maze and came to a corner filled with huge flowers. There she was, a life-sized Tinkerbell greeting us. Apparently we had come to the right place at the right time. It was the opening of the meet-and-greet of the character. As we were not prepared for this, it was a bit shocking. How do you small talk with a fairy? Most of the people going to these meet-and-greets are huge fans, dressed in honour of them, questions and poses prepared. And then there were us. I went to chat with her as Daniil took pictures. I switched to a fan-mode and started acting like she was the biggest celebrity I’ve ever met. It just happened, same with Daniil later, so strange… She said I fitted well in the garden with my flower shirt and asked where we were from. Flabbergasted we took some pics also together with Daniil and her before continuing our trip.
By the way, Disneyland is divided into about seven main categories. We started off with Adventureland, which combines jungle, Wild West and Toy Story land. The theme was clearly earthy and natural. We saw Liki-Tikis, tikipoles in the midst of mystical smoke and jungle music. The road led us to the Jungle River Cruise, which was a boat ride along a river with tropical animals, other funny attractions and special effects. At one point there was even fire on the water, when we passed some volcanoes. The effects such as the animals were done really well and looked surprisingly real. They did not feel like funny cartoon animals made for kids, but something way much better. The funniest part of the tour was the overly excited Chinese guide commenting through the whole way.
Daniil loved this part of the park also because it was more boyish and did not include anything pink or sparkly. He is a huge Tarzan fan so obviously we had to visit Tarzan’s tree house. We were transported there with a jungle raft and then stepped out to explore all the great details of the house itself. You could recognize little details from the movie, such as photographs of his family and of course all the well-known characters. The journey through the tree house was organised in the correct order of the movie plot.
On our way forward we came up to a mansion that did not quite fit in with the theme. It was called a Nightmare Experience and it was there most probably because Halloween was just around the corner and the whole park was modified to fit that theme. We went in with a bunch of Chinese people, which meant that the tour would be held in Mandarin. We couldn’t take pictures along the way since cameras were prohibited. In couple of words: it was a tour through a maze house, with an Alice in the Wonderland theme, pirate prison, crazy professor with his laboratory and so on. The staff had dressed up really well and in the darkness it was all quite scary.
After a short while we emerged into the Wild West. Around us opened a mining town, cowboy movie-like streets lined with wooden houses and of course the famous golden nugget. The greatest gift for me was to be the first person to take Dansku to a rollercoaster! Could you image, before that he had never been on one? I guaranteed he would love it. The ride was themed with Grizzly Gulch-bear, story of Disney’s we had totally missed, but it was soo nice! It had all the important elements, going fast, going backwards and eventually on a turbo-mode. You should have seen his face! The effects were great too, for example the bear itself set dynamite on fire and we launched forward with super speed due to this. We had to do a second round immediately after the first one.
To finish this part of the park, we went through Toy Story land, where Daniil went on a free-fall machine, while I waited, not the ideal ride to go to straight after lunch.. It was themed with toy soldiers parachute jumping as they did in the movies. The whole land itself made you feel like a toy in humans’ world, the toys around us were huge and we felt little among all the bright coloured characters. After this it was time to head to the other sections of Disneyland, more about them on the next post 😉