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  1. #16

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    Re: Spirited Musings and Deep Thoughts on HKDL ...

    Quote Originally Posted by hkdlfan View Post
    So i find it peculiarly...stange...when people say it's too small and all that sort of crap. I dunno about anyone here but i favour HKDl over other disney's because it has that 'unique' charm all over it.
    Well.. I can agree with this. Simply because I have argued many times in the past that what matters most is how the actual guests are reacting to the experience, and I have mentioned this to Katsmom several times when we have gotten together at the park. People seem to enjoy themselves there. I see and hear their reaction to the shows, the fireworks, their happy faces when they meet the characters or their screaming and laughter when they experience the rides. THAT is the bottom line. Many I feel are visiting DL for the first time and they are discovering something that we Disney veterans are most likely taking for granted. At the risk of sounding like a broken record...YES, the park needs to grow. YES, it was built with a budget in mind. YES, some consider the park a 'failure' because it's not meeting their intended numbers and financial projections, etc etc. But the park delivers quality in many ways as well.. It can only get better and better, and I think it will.
    I have seen DLP dead on my many visits there the first decade, and now, there has been a major change in that trent. I am hopeful that HKDL will also see a turn-around point in the near future as well... but it takes a little dedication from Disney and the Chinese goverment to achieve this.. so it's in their hands to decide what's going to happen from now on...
    Last edited by TDLFAN; 09-05-2008 at 10:19 AM.

  2. #17

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    Re: Spirited Musings and Deep Thoughts on HKDL ...

    Quote Originally Posted by hkdlfan View Post
    Nice and very detailed trip report, I congragulate you for being able to witness all the details of the park and for having a balanced opinion of the park throughout the report. But...I hate it when people come along and compare HKDL to DL (and MK, DLP, TDL). It's so unfair to compare a three year old baby (HKDL) to a 50 year old adult (DL). It's not like the park is never going to expand, it will expand, and it will expand 'uniquely'. TDL is huge because it as had over 20 something years to expand, DL has almost 80 attractions because it had 50 years to expand. MK had only 23 atractions when it opened and look at the fact that after so long MK's tideness doesn't match up to HKDLs...Why?...Because it has worked hard and will keep working hard.

    So i find it peculiarly...stange...when people say it's too small and all that sort of crap. I dunno about anyone here but i favour HKDl over other disney's because it has that 'unique' charm all over it. I even published a news article in SCMP (although i'm only 13) arguing that HKDL is not a 'failure'.

    Disney did make a mistake by listening to Mike Eisner's ridiculous theory of 'small parks, better buisness' and the company got itself in a big mess in 2005 and 2006. Thankfully HKDL's expansion is in sight after soaring attendances and good business. So far, I think HKDL has given a better and more realisic halloween event than any other Disney and the park has given a more unique Christmas event and also a Chinese New Year Event. HKDL is unique in many ways and it will expand to be a better and bigger park. So lets go back to the age factor...is it fair or unfair to compare a three year old baby to a 50 year old adult? i'd like to know everyone's answer on that question.
    I can see your point, but I question if you've actually experienced every Disney park to say that Hong Kong Disneyland is your favorite. As an objective traveller, I would be very hard pressed to say I prefer the park over the other Disney parks I've visited (which would be all of them sans the Walt Disney Studios).
    ~ Tokyo DisneySeas Arabian Coast at nighttime ~


  3. #18

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    Re: Spirited Musings and Deep Thoughts on HKDL ...

    I will take HKDL anytime over WDSP.

  4. #19

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    Re: Spirited Musings and Deep Thoughts on HKDL ...

    Definitely.
    ~ Tokyo DisneySeas Arabian Coast at nighttime ~


  5. #20

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    Re: Spirited Musings and Deep Thoughts on HKDL ...

    Quote Originally Posted by flynnibus View Post

    Any particular reason for those skips? I bring it up because that is virtually the same skip pattern I used in DLR... me thinks it has to do with it being rather odd to ride those rides alone and as a full grown adult
    I was actually going to do Pooh and the Carousel if I had the time, but I didn't. But, yeah, I don't as an adult feel like I missed anything by not going on them. I do know some 'geeks' wouldn't feel like they had truly experienced a Disney park if they didn't go on every attraction. That's just not me. There are things at DL and WDW that I've never chosen to go on or tried once (like Kali River Rapids and Orbitron) and decided 'no thanks.'

    Quote Originally Posted by flynnibus View Post
    Is it that the park has enough copied in it.. to make it feel like a replica.. but lacking things and then not having enough unique of its own to create it's own identity? It's like a knock-off that changes things just enough to be different, but doesn't create an identity of its own?
    That's an interesting point ... you may have nailed it. At least partially ... because I do think this park has its own identity, but part of that is (sadly) built around what the park doesn't have. Great gardens and landscaping and natural setting can only take you so far ... DAK has much of that, but it has plenty of attractions too.


    Quote Originally Posted by flynnibus View Post
    What made their Space stand out to you?
    What did you think of the new 'evil' character overlays in IASW once you saw them in person?
    coming in my next post, promise!

    Quote Originally Posted by flynnibus View Post

    Now that is ashame... that almost makes it sound like the fiberglass structures you find in a local amusement park. There to be seen, but not experienced
    You can experience SB's castle ... it's just there's nothing much to experience (if that makes sense). Every Disney castle, but this one, has some substance ... some meat to it ... whether it's an attraction, a dining facility or shops ... not this one. You walk through it to get into Fantasyland.

    I think out of all the 'park on the cheap' things that were done when building this park, that this was the worst because it is something that really can't ever be fixed.

    Quote Originally Posted by flynnibus View Post
    I had a similar thought after spending most of last month on the road. I was in the grocery store here... and basically in one place I was able to see 3 people riding around in ECVs for their shopping. I thought to myself... this would never happen in Norway. For one.. you couldn't even drive an ECV in their shops they are so small in the city! Two.. even the older folks are pretty darn fit in Norway! I couldn't help myself to think that we are creating this population in the US by allowing it to be so easy to live that way. With things like the ADA, and other things, we've made it EASY to not take care of yourself and let it all go. Tho, McDonalds is starting having their impact on Norway now too
    I think many fat Americans would be shocked to see a park where walkways aren't clogged by double-wide strollers (not a single one in my entire day), wheelchairs and ECVs. ... My dad asked me earlier today 'what do they do with the kids?' My answer: 'they make them walk.'

    And guess what? I saw one child in meltdown mode the entire day. Just one and was over buying something in a shop. So, I don't buy any bull lines about how kids need to pushed, they can't take the heat etc ... it's a culture of laziness we have. It's even parents not wanting to pick up a tired child when they can toss em in a stroller. We just have a very lazy culture in the USA.

    Quote Originally Posted by flynnibus View Post

    Was their any heavy influence on recycling maybe? The bottles are probably easier to recycle then wax paper products and other mixes that make up fountain drink supplies.
    They do recycle the bottles. but that's much like WDW doing likewise, so again, I'm at a loss as to why they do this. I believe only one quick serve eatery (Starliner in T-Land) actually serves fountain drinks.


    Quote Originally Posted by flynnibus View Post
    I'm curious if you got any perception that the Chinesse wanted or needed the 'top shelf' version of a theme park? They use knock-off variations of everything all the time with little to no concern...I'm wondering if that carries over into their entertainment. Is there a 'good enough' mentality?

    Thx for sharing
    The impression I got/get is that Disney wanted to build a park on the cheap and go into China with a huge 'proceed with caution' sign plastered on their project. It was a terrible miscalculation (like most made by Eisner his last 7-8 years, Pressler and Rasulo in their entire tenures). People in China know Disney and they even have some knowledge of Disney parks. One of my Chinese managers during the Games heard I was going to HKDL and told me to skip it since she had been both there and to TDL and said 'it doesn't have much to do.'

    Also realize that right now half the guests that walk through the gates of HKDL are from Hong Kong. It is a very modern, western city. These people aren't from some small town in a province 1200 miles away. They know what Disney is all about and they go to HKDL and wonder where all the attractions went.

    As TDLFAN points out above, most of the people seem to love HKDL when they are there. I saw a lot more enthusiasm on a hot as hell summer day than I typically see on a similar day at the MK. But the perception, which is largely true, is that Disney simply didn't put much into this park. And many of the cultured people in HK, who have traveled (as there are loads of wealthy ex-pats there from UK, Australia, Canada, other parts of Europe), don't seem willing to give Disney $$$ for what they view as a lesser product.

    Much like DCA, true or not, the perception becomes the reality ... and that's why Disney needs to put in a billion worth of new attractions like yesterday.

  6. #21

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    Re: Spirited Musings and Deep Thoughts on HKDL ...

    Quote Originally Posted by TDLFAN View Post
    I will take HKDL anytime over WDSP.
    Me too.

    I'd also take it over the Park Formerly Known as The Disney-MGM Studios.

    And if it just had a few more signature Disney attractions I'd likely take it over the MK as well.

  7. #22

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    Re: Spirited Musings and Deep Thoughts on HKDL ...

    but I question if you've actually experienced every Disney park to say that Hong Kong Disneyland is your favorite
    i have been to all except DLP ( and i was only comparing the MKs at each park)

  8. #23

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    Re: Spirited Musings and Deep Thoughts on HKDL ...

    ORWEN: A while back Allen Litaye said that Sleeping Beauty Castle in Hong Kong was built to eventually include shops and an attraction, WDW1974, duckling. So it may get fixed at some point. But I guess it all really depends on how much money the people in charge wanna' spend on it.

  9. #24

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    Re: Spirited Musings and Deep Thoughts on HKDL ...


    So ... what are the attractions like at HKDL?

    Well, what there are of them are very, very good.

    Small World is the newest addition and the first legit 'E-Ticket' added in the park's three years. It also is the first version of the 1964 World's Fair classic to feature Disney characters added into various scenes. Some of these (likely most) will wind up in Anaheim come this November.

    I know I was programmed to hate these changes by the fan community. That they had somehow desecrated Mary Blair's work of art and tribute to children and world peace. I have to say now, while I STILL think they shouldn't be added to DL's version, they in no way take away from the attraction and add to it.

    This Small World is IMHO the best version in the world right now. Yes, you read that right.

    First, while it has the world-famous facade (albeit with a bit brighter color palette than Anaheim's), it has a wonderful air conditioned queue (that was used in full on one of my two trips). As you step in the boats you'll notice a cultural difference immediately ... that being the Chinese don't want to stand on the seats to enter and exit. Considering that hygiene (see later posts) is something that needs improvement amongst the larger populace, I found that a bit surprising. But is that extra five seconds really going to matter? I guess to Americans and Europeans it does.

    Small World also features the Anaheim like flume instead of the flooded show buildings like the other versions worldwide. I thought this was 'taking the cheap route' deal when I first heard about it, but after experiencing it, I realize it really adds to the experience as the scenes seem closer and you seem more a participant than casual observer.

    It's hard to say exactly, but I'd venture to say that a good 50% of the ride is either new or plussed from other versions. From having characters (and they are subtle, for instance while I noticed Ariel and Scuttle in the first go around, I missed Nemo and Dory in the same scene) to plussed effects and new paint schemes, everything looks fresh and new (and I mean in the ride sense).

    There are rooms with subtle changes. And scenes that are entirely new ... like the expanded USA scene and the homage to China and Hong Kong (with Mushu in the background as the dragon, what else?)

    If anyone believes that Chinese Disney fans don't want or appreciate these type of high quality attractions, they should have spent the day with me (and bought me some ice cream, if they could find it!)

    While Small World represents the best 'classic, immersive' Disney attraction, Space Mountain is simply the park's only thrill ride and a great one at that. Yes, it does have the exact same track layout as Anaheim and Tokyo. Yes, it has the same 'new' soundtrack that was added to DL's version when it relaunched in 2005. But where the HKDL version differs isn't just the bright purple rockets. Or even the design flourishes on the show building that gives it a bit of a different look (however subtle).

    No, Space Mountain at HKDL rocks because it has amped up special effects and show scenes that either aren't in the Anaheim version at all (or as I suspect, just haven't been turned on or don't work right). From the early launch tunnel that has black light effects that remind me of DLP's version to an improved final launch tunnel to numerous run ins with asteroids and a cool projection of a bursting supernova (that looks very similar to DLP's), there's a whole lot more to see when riding HKDL's SM. When I said it was the world's best version, I am sure some DLP devotees thought I was crazy.

    Well, DLP's ride would still be No. 1, but it just isn't fun due to the fact it is incredibly rough to the point I worry about injury when riding. Headbangers are only fun to folks who have already suffered some head damage. So when you add everything up, HKDL has the best Space Mountain the world.

    Unfortunately, that's where 'Disney's Mountain Range' ends on Lantau. There is no Splash. No Big Thunder. No Matterhorn. None of them were ever seriously considered for the park, even when it was getting hundreds of millions more of attractions. One very popular version of Pirates that ends with a Splash-like finale out of a huge flaming skull and crossbones may one day be the next mountain.

    So do the E-Tix end there? With only two?

    No. The Jungle River Cruise certainly fits the label. Because of the vast Adventureland with Tarzan's Treehouse in the middle, you leave the dock in the equivalent of the Rivers of America. So show scenes don't feel as close. Many of the famous scenes (gorillas in the camp, headhunters etc ...) are represented with a few new effects. Plus, as has been written about in many places online, it ends with a unique (Catastrophe Canyon-esque) conclusion. There are three separate lines for the three different languages. I ostensibly rode with an English speaking guide, but between her clear difficulty with English and a scratchy PA, it was more of a skipper-less journey.

    In terms of attractions, E-Ticket attractions, they end there.

    But a spirit would be remiss if he didn't mention the two E-Ticket caliber shows -- Lion King and Golden Mickeys -- that add immensely to a day at HKDL. Lion King is an amped up version of what is presented at DAK and GM's is an import from the Disney Cruise Line. Both are as good as almost anything (I still feel DCA's Aladdin is the best theme park show I've ever seen) in a Disney theme park. And since the MK has nothing even remotely on par with either of these shows, I feel it's very fair to say they complete the five true E-Tix in Disney's newest park.

    What else is there? Well, you have Tarzan's Treehouse, which is a step up from either DL and MK treehouses because of its island location and a step up from DLP's, which would rule if it wasn't about to crumble due to neglect from management.

    Omnimover type attractions are almost non-existent (kinda like attractions that have AAs). Buzz Lightyear is there -- and one of the most popular attractions with lines that exceeded Space Mountain all day long -- and is similar to Anaheim and Paris versions with a few small differences. I got 460,000 on my first ride, which is the best first-time score I've had on any Buzz, so I obviously loved it. One of the few examples of bad show was that the Buzz AA in the queue was talking but not moving (and I wondered how long he had been that way with what is a very small WDI presence in HK). It also seemed like his voice wasn't Tim Allen's as well. I may be mistaken but I thought Tim did the voice in Orlando and Anaheim (and possibly Paris). This voice just seemed way off.

    Pooh is the only dark ride and I didn't ride, but it is the cloned MK version. It also was one of the most popular rides, which again makes you wonder why the Peter Pan and Little Mermaid rides were budgeteered out of the project.

    Mickey's PhilharMagic is the other Fantasyland highlight. The movie plays in English. It is in a much more highly themed concert hall venue. I did notice major cracks in the walls over the theater entry doors, which isn't good. I will say that you've never experienced a 3D Disney film attraction until you have with a Chinese audience. Yelling, screaming, clapping and generally drooling enthusiasm.

    It's also a good time to note again where some of the cultural difficulties enter the equation and what Disney hasn't done and needs to do if it is to be successful. When the show was about to begin (and it was only about 80% capacity) the audience rushed in like people running from a fire or a collapsing building. They then grabbed any seat. The CMs never made any attempts to have people enter and sit orderly. This is common in China from what I have witnessed. Often you will be pushed and shoved whether it is buying a subway ticket, picking up baggage at the airport or inline at a 7-11. As part of my cultural training before the Games, I got to sit and listen to a married couple of Aussie flower children (if they weren't in California in the 60s, then I don't know anything about Disney!) who get paid six or (sadly and more likely) seven figures to consult with western companies on how to do business in China. They 'splained that the pushing and herd mentality doesn't simply go back in the genes from famines in ancient times, but even when things were tough under Mao and into the 1980s. How people often bought bus tix for eight hour rides from far-flung locations to cities and that it only guaranteed a space on the bus, not a seat. So, according to these wonder-consultants, there still remains a feeling that you need to push ahead of others to get anything.

    Whether or not it is true, and I am sure it partly is, if China wants to be a true world power things like civility need to be taught ... and Disney needs to push this with its CMs (many whom likely engage or witness this behavior in their daily lives). Just remember this point when I start talking about dining at Chef Mickey's (which blows Orlando's version away) or when I talk about totally nude two-year-olds sitting on counters at McDonald's or when I talk about co-workers getting peed on by toddlers on subways. :-)

    As an aside, why didn't I grow up to be a consultant? You can be utterly clueless in the real world (as seen by many of Disney's top hired guns) and make millions.

    OK ... tangent averted back to HKDL attractions.

    Well, sadly, I've now covered all the big ones and medium ones. What's left? Things like a cool version of Autopia .. a flying saucer version of Orbitron (oops, I didn't ride that either so look at all the things I didn't do in one day!), Dumbo, Tea Cups (with cool lighting), Carousel, Fantasy Gardens (think Camp Mickey-Minnie with a Fantasia theme) .. anything else? Hmm ... there was Stitch Encounter (again, missed the final English version) but is Turtle Talk with the blue alien instead. Oh, there's the railroad, which features seating like the train to Conservation Station (I'll bet anything the cars came from the same company at the same time) where you look into the park. It is the only park with fake steam trains instead of old genuine ones. The cars all are named for cities that were important to Walt Disney, so you have things like Burbank, Los Angeles, Marceline etc ... There are only two stations. What do you expect with four lands? Main Street and Fantasyland. The latter's station is tiny and I believe is a direct lift of the 1956-era DL station in the same location. There are a few pieces of eye candy you see from the trains. From a great view of the Autopia to the green aliens from Toy Story popping up to take pics of us to some animals for the Jungle Cruise that can only be seen from the train etc ...

    But that's really it ... so if you're someone who likes riding the numerous mountains at DL or MK many times ... or someone who loves dark rides ... or someone who can't imagine a MK-style park with no pirates or grim grinning ghosts ... well, then you're likely to be very disappointed in HKDL.

    However, if you're someone who likes atmosphere, stage shows, great parades, a nice meal or two, some shopping ... and great fireworks to end the night then you'll likely enjoy HKDL ... maybe a lot like I did.

    In my next post, I'll talk about some of the things I just touched upon above.

    Thanks again for reading and I welcome comments, questions and, of course, discourse.

  10. #25

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    Re: Spirited Musings and Deep Thoughts on HKDL ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Witches of Morva View Post
    ORWEN: A while back Allen Litaye said that Sleeping Beauty Castle in Hong Kong was built to eventually include shops and an attraction, WDW1974, duckling. So it may get fixed at some point. But I guess it all really depends on how much money the people in charge wanna' spend on it.
    That could indeed be possible, Witches.

    I'll actually ask some folks about it. One would hope they could do something because the castle is more than just the centerpiece of a MK ... this is the only one that just feels like an empty shell.

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    Re: Spirited Musings and Deep Thoughts on HKDL ...


    I guess now would be a good time to point out that if all MKs are not equal, neither are their admission fees.

    What does it cost to enter Phil Holmes Kingdom of Magical Characters? $79 a day now? How about the Happiest Place in Anaheim? Sixty something dollars?

    Well, if HKDL lacks attractions, it doesn't charge USA admission prices either. All days in August are considered peak days, so the entry fee is a bit higher ... about the equivalent of $46. Regular days the cost would be about $40 in US dollars after adjusting for the currency change.

    Is it worth that? In my opinion hell yeah.

    But my financial situation and that of the average Chinese person are likely quite divergent. And while many wealthy Hong Kong residents likely venture out of their one-building cities/compounds (more on this later) to take their kids (perhaps with the requisite maid or nanny) to DL, for the more common man and woman the cost is still very high. And I am sure this once again plays into many people heading to the park they know and love, Ocean Park, and not the new Disney-park that has received much bad press (including in China) for all the attractions that it doesn't have.

    To me, HKDL in some ways makes up for its lack of attractions with a very high quality stable of entertainment from the aforementioned shows ... to its parades.

    Two different daily parades are on the summer schedule. The requisite character cavalcade Disney on Parade, which featured nice floats (except from the borrowed from TDL Bandleader Mickey balloon, which has seen far better days and needs replacement) and a peppy musical score. And the unique (and I believe Steve Davison creation) Mickey's Waterworks Parade. The latter is a trippy (and I don't mean that wacky dude from Minnesota) homage to wetting the audience under the guise of making things grow. It's just a fun, different type parade that the crowd seemed to eat up (you know the same people who don't know the Disney characters and need to be taught!). I can't see them doing this in the states because someone would likely sue for getting a trickle of H20 on them.

    After dark, we have Disney in the Sky fireworks, which is as good as any MK-style fireworks display with the exception of Remember at DL. The show uses multiple projections on the facade ... I mean castle and then has some great pyro set to Disney music (with Mulan prominently featured as that film also is in The Golden Mickeys ... so why no Mulan attraction?) There is a bit of moppets singing to 'Whole New World' but nothing like the sickening syrupy Wishes show. And again, the crowd seemed to just love the show.

    How about the CMs you ask? They were in a word, wonderful.

    They all seemed to understand what being a Disney CM was all about. Some of the US CMs could take lessons. They were even nicer with us, being Americans. I felt very bad that I forgot some Olympic pins that I had planned on trading/giving to special CMs. I can't say I had one CM interaction that was less than outstanding. None of them had any difficulty with English, btw, something I can't always say about Paris ... and sadly Orlando too.

    One thing I did notice was it seemed that there were no highly themed costumes. Unlike DLP, where millions went into developing hundreds of different outfits for various attractions, shops and restaurants, it seemed that HKDL costuming was very basic. I saw many CMs with black pants, white shirts and black shoes. Maybe I was on sensory overload and just didn't pay enough attention, but it seemed that whenever I did look at a CM, they were dressed very basically (cheap shot coming). I wonder if Disney makes them take their uniforms to a Chinese laundry.

    So Spirit I'm hungry, what's for dinner you ask.

    Well, first some general observations. One (and you know I love this) is that there aren't ANY character meals. None. At least that I saw or read about. I guess when it comes to eating the Chinese like to ... well, eat ... and not be accosted by a teen in a foamhead costume. And this doesn't mean they don't love getting their pics with Mickey and the gang because they do.

    Anyway, unlike say Blue Bayou in Anaheim, Cindy's in Orlando and Walt's in Paris, you'd be hard-pressed to find a signature dining location at HKDL.

    The closest would likely be Plaza Inn, which I visited but didn't dine in. While looking like other versions on the exterior, inside the place is much more Asian with dark woods and subtle nods to Mulan. The Cantonese cuisine is hosted by Maxim's (which has some amazing desserts that you can pick up in small stands in the subways). The menu is extensive, but again is all Cantonese and features some items that westerners might not find appetizing (although no shark's fin soup thankfully ... and no, no kitty, grow up those of you who thought that.)

    Across the way, the Main Street Corner Cafe features more of an international menu (things like pasta and sandwiches as well as Chinese specialties). The only other table service location (I believe) is the open-air Tahitian Terrace (and no, to all the DL oldies, there is no Polynesian or any other kind of show here).

    So, if you're looking for a full-serve meal, you're only slightly better off than at parks like DSP and DAK.

    I had a western-meal at the beautifully detailed Royal Banquet Hall in F-land (it's an homage to Disney prince and princesses) and a Chinese meal at the Riverview Cafe. Both were tasty with plentiful portions (by Disney standards) at a fair price (again, by Disney standards).

    One thing you notice is that even though a good 80% of food in the park (maybe higher) is Chinese (and for those who have never traveled there, there are many variations from the different regions of the country), the amount of choice is much, much higher at every park location. This isn't the five options at Pecos Bill Cafe type of deal. There should be something for any person at any locale.

    So what's left?

    Oh yeah, I need to pick some gifts up for you all. So let's go shopping shall we?

    Well, is the merchandise at HKDL any better than say the MK? Or does it just feel that way because I've never been before? Good question. Probably a mix of both really.

    The first thing you notice is how many small items like things to hang/attach to your cell phone or camera exist. Then you notice how certain characters are represented much more prominently than in the USA ... for instance in HKDL's 3rd anniversary merchandise (largely forgettable, btw) is some pink version of Stitch named 'Angel' who I assume was introduced on the TV show or in a cheapquel. Clarice (Chip and Dale's female friend) also gets lots of play as does Marie from the Aristocrats (who is also huge in Tokyo). Pins are for sale everywhere, but you don't see anyone trading. And since first anniversary and second anniversary pins are on sale right next to the new third anniversary ones, well, you can see they aren't huge sellers even at lower price points than in the American parks.

    Things like postcards, park books, maps and art, CDs and DVDs ... well they're practically non-existent. I found two sets of three postcards each at a hotel shop, but none in the park. The only CD I saw for sale was .. you should know this ... High School Musical. There is no park soundtrack, which is a bit odd considering all the original (or repurposed music) there (two parades, fireworks, Golden Mickeys, seasonal parades etc ...)

    The polos also come in some bizarre color schemes like black with a green collar ... and all of them have stripes, which immediately took them off my list of possible pickups.

    There are loads of decorative tins with all sorts of sweets available (cookies and candies and ... yeah the all-important mooncakes, which are also for sale in Disney tins at 7-11s in HK for a much lower price).

    The one good thing about HKDL merchandise is that, for the most part, the lines are original at least ... and not like the interchangeable WDW/DL stuff that we have here. And if you want something nicer, there's always Crystal by the Arribas Bros ... and some incredibly pricey jewelry courtesy of Chow Sang Sang (I came so close to dropping $300,000 in that shop ... really, I did.)

    So I guess the summation on merchandise would be 'interesting.' I spent a few hundred USD, but not really a huge amount. Then again, I couldn't tell you how many years it's been since I spent that at the MK.

    Did I leave anything out on the park? Hmm ... sure we all ate, it's time to do what comes naturally. Let's all head for the bathroom .... or toilets as they are referred to.

    Here's where I had two shocks (and the fact they were spotless was not one of them):
    First, every HKDL restroom has prominently one squat stall. Now for those of you who don't get out of the red states much, let alone the country, in many places in China you don't have toilets like in the good, old, USA. You have a small bowl that you basically hover over and do your business. Now, these aren't in most new, modern western developments or restaurants. In other words, you won't find one in the local McDonald's or Pizza Hut or Courtyard by Marriott lobby. I have no idea if this was something forced on Disney by the government or what, but I found it quite backward no matter whose decision it was. Again, if China wants to be a modern, great, world power, they need to get with the program.

    The other shock was the amazingly high quality air dryers they had. I say this because until I made it to HKDL there was a running joke with my co-workers that China had the worst hand dryers in the world. You could literally rub your hands under one for five minutes and they'd be wetter than when you started! (only slightly exaggerated) So, this was a pleasant surprise.

    OK. We've seen the park, had our food, shopped and done our business. Time to call it a night.

    When we reconvene here we can go explore the two Disney resorts, which are the only other Disney thing left at the HKDL 'resort'. And we can make some overall reviews.

    See you all a little later.

  12. #27

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    Re: Spirited Musings and Deep Thoughts on HKDL ...

    ORDDU: What a wonderful report with useful insights. Is it any wonder we love our WDW1974 so much?

  13. #28

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    Re: Spirited Musings and Deep Thoughts on HKDL ...

    Great insight! It really makes me want to travel there, as well as Tokyo DL. Hopefully someday it's in the cards...
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    Re: Spirited Musings and Deep Thoughts on HKDL ...

    Yoyo.. just skip WDW for a few years and save that money for TDR and HKDL.

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    Re: Spirited Musings and Deep Thoughts on HKDL ...

    Quote Originally Posted by WDW1974 View Post
    First, every HKDL restroom has prominently one squat stall. Now for those of you who don't get out of the red states much, let alone the country, in many places in China you don't have toilets like in the good, old, USA. You have a small bowl that you basically hover over and do your business. Now, these aren't in most new, modern western developments or restaurants. In other words, you won't find one in the local McDonald's or Pizza Hut or Courtyard by Marriott lobby. I have no idea if this was something forced on Disney by the government or what, but I found it quite backward no matter whose decision it was. Again, if China wants to be a modern, great, world power, they need to get with the program.
    That I did not notice. I am surprised that it exists in HKDL. Then again, there are Chinese people from the mainland who actually has never seen a toilet bowl in his life...

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