HK Disneyland

*Due to soundtrack copyright, this video is only viewable on desktop*

It has been way too long since I've been to Disney! The last was back in 2010 Easter I believe in California Disneyland & Adventure land. It's been 7 years! Luckily, in my company's Christmas Party I got some free tickets. Disney is a very important part to my childhood and also where I started learning English from. I'll ensure you, I can name most characters and sing most songs from the movies. I used to be able to recite every single line of Cinderella! I remember back when it was still on VHS and you'll need to wait for it to rewind so you can rewatch it. 

My very first Disney theme park encounter was back when I was a fearless 5 year old. I went to Disneyland California with my mother, and I wanted to go on every single ride. I had a signature book and ran up to every single character for signature, even the scariest of villains, I would run towards them with a big smile on my face. I also distinctively remembered Space Mountain as my favorite ride of all, even at 5, I loved it so much! The speed and the twinkling lights in the dark, and just the idea of space travel excited me so much! 

My second encounter was spending the Millennium Christmas with my family at Walt Disney World in Orlando Florida. We had to drive from Iowa down to Kansas then take a flight to Florida. We spent 7 days and that was not enough for all 5 parks. I still remember the first night at Downtown Disney and the following days at Epcot, Magic Kingdom, and MGM Studios. My deepest memories was the Venetian masquerade parade and the Electric Parade. I absolutely fell in love with Disney parades from that. But of course, all of the other moments were magical, like getting called on stage at the Indiana Jones stage show, singing every line of the Lion King show, and watching the light/fire Fantasia show. 

Disney forever holds a special place in my heart. Dreams come true, with a little belief in magic. 

*Insert When You Wish Upon a Star soundtrack*

Jan 22, 2017, after 7 years I'm finally back in Disney! There has been a lot of comments about how the HK Disneyland is no where as good as the US ones, or that it's so crowded and full of Mainland Chinese, and overall just worse than Ocean Park, the other big theme park in Hong Kong. As I changed to the Disneyland Resort line, the excitement was building. The train with Mickey head shaped windows pulled up, and the announcements on the train were unfamiliar to that of the normal MTR trains. This is where the magical part of the journey begins. 

Like all Disney Theme Park entrances, it had a very wide and long walkway to the entrance. I saw the sign which said "Welcome to Hong Kong Disney Land" and instantly I returned to my 5 year old self. The rush of joy and happiness had me skipping down the whole way. Perhaps it was "When You Wish Upon a Star" soundtrack that woken my inner child. Whatever it was, everything felt magical. There were barely any lines, and getting in was really quick. After the main entrance, the first thing you see is the round the park Railway, the train was just passing by as I walked in. Directly following that was Main Street, a very important iconic place in Disney, just as important as the Sleeping Beauty Castle! And since it was Chinese New Year, the decorations were changed to celebrate the holiday. My favorite though, is that this year is the year of the Rooster. They put up the chicken from Moana on a large statue in the middle of Main Street!! He's probably my favorite Disney Princess side kick at the moment, such a hilarious character.

Before we get started though, of course mission number one is to get a pair of Minnie Mouse ears! You can't run around the park without a hat or ears!! It took me a long time to find some good ones. And miraculously, I walked out of the souvenir shop with only 1 other item - an unnecessarily large pen that had a crystal heart on top which glowed, changing colors, kind of like a glow stick. Because you know, you never know when you need a glowing pen! 

First stop - Tomorrow Land. I practically ran right into Space Mountain. They had remade the ride with a Star Wars Theme, and I cannot wait to see how it's like. The ride itself is already amazing as it is. Wait time was about 30 minutes, which is still bearable. At least it's not blazing hot at the moment. The good thing about Disney is that while you are lining up there are many things to look at. The screens on top explained the ride and what to expect, there are screens on the side that show different aircrafts from Star Wars. It's not like other theme parks where you just line up. 

For those of you who aren't familiar with Space Mountain, it is a indoor roller coaster running in the dark. The trains themselves have speakers that play sound effects, and the whole dome inside has screens, LED lights that make stunning effects as if you were travelling at light speed. If you got on this ride with lights on, it wouldn't be as thrilling. But because you don't know where you are heading, it adds to the thrill. There are many sharp and tight turns and sudden drops. The very beginning of the right is a steep uphill with screens on both sides and straight ahead simulating interstellar space travel at light speed, then you get blasted into the dome in the dark. Throughout the ride, you see space crafts whizzing by, laser beams fired, and flashes of light around you. After the first ride, I had lost my voice already from screaming, too much fun and thrill!! I ended up going on this ride 2 more time later on, and catching the camera to do a very Asian "Peace sign". 

The next ride was "It's a Small World". I remember this ride even back to when I was just 5 years old. I remembered what the boats looked like, the dolls, and the song. But this castle in HK is more beautiful than how I remembered it to be. The wait time was just 15 minutes since a parade was going on. My friend though said it's the creepiest ride in all of Disney, as if these dolls were gonna come alive and kill you. Watched too much of Annabelle perhaps? This still remains a fond Childhood memory for me regardless. 

A trip to Disneyland is incomplete if you don't spin the sh*t out of the Mad Hatter's Tea Cups! Everytime I line up I think the ride is way too short. It lasts maybe between 1-2 minutes. I only lined up for 10 minutes, but imagine lining up for 40 minutes just for 2 minutes? But as soon as I got on I knew exactly why it is only 2 minutes. My friend spun the sh*t of of these cups while I was filming and screaming at the same time! No wonder, no alcohol served at the park, that would not be pretty. 

Next we went to "Grizzly Gulch", or they could just call it the Wild West, I did not know what Gulch meant. I was instantly brought back to old America, during the gold rush, when people were still traveling on wagons across the wild west. There were a group of musicians and dancers performing. The violinist played a really good fiddle, they captured the essence of that era really well. 

One particular ride in this area was a "Grizzly Mine Train" or something like that, a roller coaster basically. But not just any roller coaster. You barely see the people on the ride, it whizzes by in tunnels, and half way it halts in a tunnel. You're told to hold on tight because the freaking car started shooting backwards on the track! Damn it, I knew it when I saw the double parallel tracks! But this is exactly what makes Disney so amazing, it is really creative in it's rides. It takes you on a magical journey. The rides aren't meant for that adrenaline pumping feeling, if you want that you can go to Six Flags, or Fuji-Q Highland. The rides in Disney take you through different eras, old tales, while being a part of the story. 

Toy Story Land was nearby as well, but I'll say that most of the rides are too scary for me. Like the soldiers parachuting, I am terrified of heights so I could never do that. So we move on, to Mystic Manor. 

Mystic Manor is an old Mansion that stores collections of artifacts around the world. It's from an English Traveller that has ventured across far away lands to bring back these valuable collections. Once of which is a music box that brings all of these collections alive. So you're sat on this car like thing that moves across the magnetic floor, through various rooms with different items from statues to musical instruments and paintings. You never know what they will do though when they come alive. There was at one point where I shouted (Sh*T) because a blast of air came out of a cannon right in my face. The effects they have in this house just makes you believe in magic, it is simply amazing. And also the music to this ride is done very well (Symphony). 

Before the sun sets, we headed back to Tomorrow Land! Two more times on Space Mountain, the Buzz Light Year ride (this is where you get to shoot laser guns at aliens, and it also tells you the points!), and of course the newest Iron Man 4D ride. The Iron Man ride always had a huge queue of about 50 minutes, but towards the end of the day it decreased to 30 minutes, which is still alright. The ride itself lasted for maybe 5 minutes. You're sat inside a large cabin with rows of 6 and 6 rows of other people. After the door closes, the entire car moves to reflect what is displayed on the screen directly in front of you. Of course, the 3D glasses help as well. You whizz through Disneyland HK and then into the city of HK, real close up on the street, and also high up with a spectacular view. It is a really nicely done piece for the local HK brand. But sometimes jarvis spoke in Cantonese, so not everyone understood, which is a shame, because he's quite hilariously sarcastic. And also the movements weren't great enough, I guess it is because of the limitations on the amount of people onboard. I remember a Jurassic park ride in Universal studio that had only 3 rows of 4, and that car really moved a lot, so the gravitational force of a head first free fall felt really real. 

To the highlight of today - Disney's Paint the Night Parade.  It is slightly different from the long running "Electric Parade" which I saw in 2000 Disney World Orlando and in 2009 Disney Land California. The music is different, and the LED light effects were stunning. The Parade felt really short but it was a good 20 minutes long. I just can't get enough of Disney Parades, they are usually really well done. You'll have to see the video to get what I mean. 

Disney has again brought the magical feeling to life, and most importantly let my inner child out. My childhood is one of the happiest periods of my life, and Disney played a very important role in it. I remembered that pure happiness that I had in my heart when I was a child. I am glad I can still remember that feeling. If I ever need a reminder, as long as Disney Theme Parks still stand, that's where you'll find me. 

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