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  1. #1

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    Spirited Musings and Deep Thoughts on HKDL ...


    Well, a dream of mine recently came true in China ... and no, it had nothing at all to do with visiting the newest MK of them all.

    But since this is a site devoted to Disney, after all, I thought you might be interested in my impressions of the place, and its past and its future.

    I don't 'do' trip reports so this thread will be a stream of consciousness rift on HKDL. I'll add to it as time allows. I am very interested in comments, questions and feedback.

    So let's get to the all-important question right away and get it out of the way, shall we?

    Did I like the place?

    Yes. Totally. Unequivocally. Absotively and posilutely.

    I had a great time at HKDL and would recommend the park to anyone visiting HK.

    Whew! I'm glad I got that out of the way because what will follow may make some feel I'm a schizophrenic spirit because I am also going to criticize the hell out of the park and the folks who set out to build a McDisneyland (I think that's more apt a name than the HKDL Lite label I have used in the past).

    How can one bash and love at the same time? It's very simple unless you're a simple-minded spirit.

    First off, let me set the record straight. HKDL IS a FULL day park. That's a 10-9 day with August hours. I read many criticisms of the park that said the equivalent of 'we did everything in the park numerous times in four hours and were done.' That's simply not possible now. Maybe at opening, but even then I tend to view it as hyperbole or a case of someone who just runs from attraction to attraction and doesn't bother to see the shows, parades or wander into the shops or have a meal.

    FWIW, many folks believe parks like DAK and DCA are four-six hour diversions at best. I disagree with those assessments as well.

    I spent a full day at HKDL and did NOT see it all. You read that right. Never made it on four Fantasyland attractions (Pooh, Dumbo, Tea Cups and Carousel). For the sake of honesty, I also didn't ride any of the Main Street vehicles. Nor did I see the Stitch Encounter show (which I really wanted to, unlike the others) or the (only in Chinese) Animation Academy. I did leave for two hours to tour the hotels in the middle of the day, however. So theoretically, I could have done everything once if I had wanted. I also did ride Space Mountain five times and take two trips on Small World, which could have gone to other attractions.

    But I feel it is important to fairly point out that HKDL does have enough for a day's visit. Anyone going for a multi-day visit at this point is just nuts or a Disney geek (aren't those interchangeable?) because this isn't that kind of park and no justifying will turn that around.

    But I am jumping way ahead in the narrative. Let's start at the beginning.

    Location.

    HKDL has it.

    Boy, does it have it.

    An incredible 'we put one over on the Chinese government' parcel of land between mountains on Lantau Island (very close to the new airport) and backing to the South China Sea. There is no other Disney 'resort' that has a site like this.

    In a word, it's breathtaking.

    On my visit, it was about 92 degrees with sunshine and almost totally blue skies, which brought out the lush greenness of the mountains and foliage. Taking the subway from my hotel, which was overlooking Victoria Harbor -- kind of diagonally located across from HKDL, took 30 minutes. The final stretch is on a Disney-themed train (figures of the characters are encased in glass) and pics of Walt showcasing his love of trains are in these special cars that have Mickey shaped windows and 'magical' touches like that. It is a good transition to take you out of 'the real world' (whatever that means).

    But the first thing I noticed when I got out at the Disney-designed station at the resort was something very common (or in HK something you can't go 12 feet without tripping over ... really!) a 7-11 cart. Yep. 7-11s are huge over there and most of them are tiny compared to what we have in the states. And I would assume that since the station isn't owned by the Mouse (the media over there makes it clear that the park is 'government owned' which makes you wonder how emasculated that must make Bob Iger and Jay Rasulo feel), the 7-11 carts weren't something Disney had any say in. But it sure was nice to be able to buy a cheap can of coffee, Coke zero and a bottle of gum (yeah, gum!) on the way in.

    After leaving the station, you immediately are bombarded with a happy Disney soundtrack as you make the way down a tree-lined walkway a few hundred yards to a giant fountain ... the fountain that was supposed to go in the esplanade in Anaheim before Paul Pressler decided it wasn't needed. That's why you have a surfing Mickey on top of a whale. No, surfing isn't that big in HK! The fountain, though, is a beautiful detailed little mood-setter.

    Step to the right, buy your tix and there's a train station with a floral Mickey.

    This is where it hit me. Something that I never felt on my first visit to DLP. This park was built as a McDisneyland. It was built using as many copied designs as possible. It has the look of a Disneyland. And the feel. Yet there's no denying something's missing ... and it isn't just the signature attractions that were chopped out (or never included from the start) by the likes of Michael Eisner, Pressler and Rasulo.

    It's hard to quite put it into words, but you feel something's not quite right (and again, I really liked ... maybe even loved ... the park). It almost reminds me of an analogy to something I witnessed in Beijing. Many huge new impressive buildings were built just prior to the Olympics. (the CCTV HQ comes to mind immediately) ... Driving by these buildings at night, they looked so impressive with lighting on, some having huge video screens showing Olympic scenes on the sides ... but there was one 'problem' ... or quirk perhaps. And that was that many of those buildings might as well have been movie sets because all they were really were facades. Many of these huge new complexes were either incomplete or completed, but sans any tenants to occupy them. So what you had was something that looked like it had depth and substance when it had none.

    Now, I wouldn't say that HKDL doesn't have substance because it does. Much of what is there is quite good. As a matter of fact, I'll state right here that their versions of Space Mountain and It's a Small World are the two best in the world right now (having admittedly not seen TDL's yet). I'll also add that Jungle Cruise while not better than its stateside siblings is a very good, unique take on an old favorite. The shows are on par with the very best in Disney theme park entertainment. The parades (two of them) are very well done. And the fireworks are great.

    So ... it's not that there isn't substance there. It's just that well ... every chance to cheapen out can be seen. So while this park DOES ooze the Disney feel when you walk under the train station, versus say the first impressions I got from DCA and DSP, you can't help but feel that things aren't quite what they seem.

    What's missing? Depth ...

    more to follow ...

  2. #2

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

    Nice start! Will there be photos go go along with your commentary?

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

    I felt the same way, that empty feeling you're describing. I don't know why, but the charm and magic I feel immediately after entering any of the other Magic Kingdoms just doesn't hit me at Hong Kong Disneyland. I don't really know why; it has all the great elements of a Disney park. Beautiful landscaping, detailed architecture, very enjoyable atmosphere overall, etc. But you've brought up a good point. To me, the park felt more like a copy (but a very good one at that!) of a Disney park rather than a genuine Disney park. Physically, the elements are all there. But there's definitely something missing emotionally for me.
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    Re: Spirited Musings and Deep Thoughts on HKDL ...

    WDW1974.. I don't think I get the "spirited" references you make about yourself on the headline of this topic. That said... I agree with you on most everything you have mentioned so far. HKDL is an exercise of contradictions... either we love it, we dislike it, we see quality, we see lack of budgets... still, I love this park for what it is... quality theme within a glorious natural setting. I disgree however with the assesment made above in regards to not feeling like being in a real Disney park. That does not ring quite right with me. I do feel I am in a Disneyland park when visiting HKDL and I do enjoy every aspect of it, and while it is a copy of DL in many ways... I still do not quite feel like I am in DL at all, because the park is quite different for the rest once you get past the Hub.

    Remember, from my point of view... TDL is guilty of the same sin: being copied from both DL and the MK. Maybe the day you finally come to TDR, you may find the same faults with TDL. In regards to IASW and Space Mt... the HKDL are far better. One reason why I love the canopy over World Bazaar is because without it, it'd feel like entering the MK yet again and again... so that aspect of TDL (which is so hated by many) works for me and removes me from the MK. Maybe I enjoy the subtle differences much more than most park fans, so that makes my time at these parks all the more enjoyable as opposed to others who worry way too much about how different things are from the original DL... the purists if you will, etc etc.

    Anyways... fair critique of HKDL so far and can't wait for the rest of your opinions on this... especially the little touches of quality and the more obvious problems we see at the MK... like your opinion on HKDL's cleanliness, food offerings and overall CM behaviors and interactions with guests.

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


    So ... what do I mean when I say HKDL is lacking depth?

    The park isn't lacking in detailing. It has Disney touches all over. Yet in some rather important ways it misses its mark precisely because no MK had ever been built with money and caution being such overriding factors.

    You walk out onto Main Street and it feels like Main Street in Anaheim ... even nicer brick pavers and flowers in Town Square ... yet it all feels smaller. Lacking that certain something.

    I remember many absurd tales of DLP closing (which was never going to happen but anyway) and all I could think of was what would happen if a Disney park closed. How would they take it apart? What structures would be left? Well, Main Street has the feel that if Disney wanted to close it tomorrow it wouldn't take but a few days to rip off all the turn of the century theming and leave basic empty building shells.

    The lack of depth while having the Disney details aren't contradictory either.

    A great example is the Emporium, which is a beautiful detailed version. It really looks (like all shops of the Pressler era) themed to the hilt. But as you're walking through it, something hits you. The shop has no depth. Unlike Anaheim, Paris (or Orlando's massive World of Disney Superstore), the shop isn't deep. The back rooms aren't there. The walls are close in.

    Then you notice what isn't there on Main Street. No ice cream shop/stand (and no corporate spin anyone, the Chinese love their ice cream). No Casey's selling hot dogs. No horse drawn streetcars. The Cinema is there ... well as a facade for a Chow Sang Sang jewelry shop, which sells some of the most expensive trinkets you'll find in a Disney theme park ... pieces that are worth six figures (in USD!) Again, Main Street is wonderfully themed ... the Plaza Inn, which almost occupies the space where Casey's would be, is so ornate and beautiful inside (with an extensive Chinese menu).

    The view of Sleeping Beauty Castle with the mountains rising up is where you stop and say 'this can be a world class park IF ...' There's a natural beauty element added to the fantasy elements that simply has no peer at other MKs.

    But (and you knew it was coming), the Castle is the perfect place to drive home the point about Disney building this park on the cheap. Not only did they steal the blueprints from Anaheim, so as to save on designing something new, but the castle is the only one that has NOTHING of substance to it. No attraction. No dining facility. No shops. Nothing to see. Nada. Zippo. Zero. It is just a big castle facade. You wouldn't even know who it was themed to except for a small (and very easily missed) sculpture of Aurora and her prince to the left of the courtyard.

    And while I'm taking shots, one of the first windows you see on Main Street is over the camera shop and is for Jay Rasulo and Wing Chao. And well ... I just don't have any kind words to say about Jay, what kind of exec he is and what he has done to the Disney 'brand.' But this park certainly has his slimy fingerprints all over it. Again, the fact that what is there is so nice is a tribute the talent at WDI. The shortcomings of this park can all be traced to that window ... and the one across the way with Eisner and Iger's names on it (although Bob gets no blame for how this park opened).

    I think this is the obligatory part where I remind all of what was budgeteered out of the park after it had been announced: two complete lands (Frontierland and Toontown), a dino-themed rolley coaster thru a primeval jungle, a Boneyard play area (like DAK's), the Aladdin spinner, Peter Pan and Little Mermaid dark rides, a kiddie coaster a la the Barnstormer, a version of Mansion (likely DLP's cloned), a raft ride from Disney's America concept and the Tough To Be a Bug 3D flick as well as numerous shopping and dining concepts. Again, I believe this is why you've never seen the original park concept rendering/map ... because a third of the park ceased to exist.

    OK ... again, I don't want anyone getting the wrong impression about my impressions/feelings ... but I do feel it is very important to tell the whole story. And Disney execs went into this park trying to spend no money, trying to put one over on the Chinese government as well as the local citizens. Well, they reached their third year attendance goal of 5.6 million, so one must ask themselves if Disney truly made a wise choice in going in more conservatively than the crazy Alaskan governor.

    One thing you'll hear by the spinmeisters is that Disney had to ... that no one knows its characters ... there's no brand recognition ... that the locals have to be 'taught' about Disney. I just lived in China for the past two months. I had a team of 31 people under me, most of whom were from the Beijing area. I met and spoke with countless others. (we may have struggled to understand each other ... but they all spoke Disney!)

    They all knew Disney quite well ... they know Mickey ... and Donald ... and Ariel ... and Buzz ... and Mulan ... and etc ... I did a bit of my own 'consulting' and I can tell you people know and love Disney and its characters. The only non-Disney character that I saw plenty of on tees, caps, merchandise was Spongebob (but Viacom has always had closer ties with China anyway and Nickelodeon is huge there)

    Moving on ... one thing about the park is that it can appear empty and overcrowded all at the same time (likely due to its dearth of attractions). I took pics (and yes, I am actually contemplating putting some online for the first time ever) and it's amazing how I was able to take pics of absolute desolation (totally empty walkways at midday in a MK) and minutes later it was body to body.

    Stream of consciousness here ... but one pic I took was a classic as it showed an empty stroller parking area on Main Street. One thing I can say about the Chinese is they aren't lazy fat slobs who push their kids around. Children walk. Period. If I saw a dozen strollers in one day at HKDL then I saw a lot. ECVs? None. I saw maybe 5-6 wheelchairs, all occupied by either elderly or obviously disabled folks. Never saw one person who'd be labeled as morbidly obese. Again, I think that says more about us as a nation than it does about the Chinese.

    Wait times varied ... longest I saw posted was for pooh at 50 minutes followed by a 40 minute wait for Small World that was really about 20 (as i waited in it).

    Interesting food and beverage note is that almost every quick serve location in the park serves chilled plastic bottles of soft drinks (Coke, Coke Zero, Sprite, Fanta Orange are the only four soft drinks served) instead of fountain drinks. I wonder if there is some cultural reason or cost reason or what.

    Maintenance was spectacular. The entire park looked as if it had just opened yesterday. The ONLY exception was a wall in Space Mountain' queue that had seen better days.

    Clearly, Disney knows this park's biggest issue is a lack of attractions. What is there is, again, very high quality. But there isn't enough for people who know that Disney means Pirates and Mansion and Peter Pan and Snow White and Splash Mountain etc ... etc ... and they do know. That is why they'll flock to the local park (Ocean Park) which has a whole lot more to offer, even if the quality is closer to a Six Flags than a Disney (and on this I am just going on what I've been told as I didn't go there).

    Disney has tried to make up for it with a lot of filler ...stuff like High School Musical (in front of the castle, no less), Turtle Talk (which had already made its exit when I arrived) and the roaming Bunsen Honeydew and Beaker (which was a huge crowd-pleaser).

    But what HKDL needs most is simply major, signature (i.e. costly) Disney attractions. They now list 28 attractions on the current park map, but the actual number is about half that. Telling people that the rafts to Tarzan's Treehouse and Tarzan's treehouse are separate attractions isn't fooling anyone and calling City Hall, the Liki Tikis and the Pass Processing Center 'attractions' is simply insulting to guests.

    Small World, which was also supposed to be in the park at opening, is the first step toward rectifying the dearth of attractions ... and it is a wonderful start. This is simply a great updating of a classic, signature attraction for a new time and audience ... and I'll discuss it more in my next post.

    More later ...

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

    Quote Originally Posted by aimster View Post
    Nice start! Will there be photos go go along with your commentary?
    Thanks.

    I'm actually thinking about that.

    The problem is I took over 1,800 pics in China (about 300 at HKDL) and I need some time to go over them and figure out which ones truly illustrate what story I am telling ... others more talented than I with a camera (like that TDLFAN dude) have put up plenty in the past, so I don't want to repeat.

    I guess what I'm saying is, we'll see

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

    Quote Originally Posted by TDR_Fan View Post
    I felt the same way, that empty feeling you're describing. I don't know why, but the charm and magic I feel immediately after entering any of the other Magic Kingdoms just doesn't hit me at Hong Kong Disneyland. I don't really know why; it has all the great elements of a Disney park. Beautiful landscaping, detailed architecture, very enjoyable atmosphere overall, etc. But you've brought up a good point. To me, the park felt more like a copy (but a very good one at that!) of a Disney park rather than a genuine Disney park. Physically, the elements are all there. But there's definitely something missing emotionally for me.
    I feel that HKDL definitely has its own unique charm. And every MK park has a different feel to me. So I'm not saying that's what's missing to me.

    But this one does feel more like a blatant copy ... for reasons I went into in my second post ... things just feel 'fake' to me in some aspects from the empty castle to the steam trains that aren't genuine.

    I think that's where the McDisneyland comes in.

    But I do think this aspect will likely lessen with each passing year and each new attraction. This park is unique because of its layout and location and attraction makeup and if Disney's management finally has some clue about what it is selling, it will play off these strengths in what it adds.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by TDLFAN View Post
    WDW1974.. I don't think I get the "spirited" references you make about yourself on the headline of this topic. That said... I agree with you on most everything you have mentioned so far. HKDL is an exercise of contradictions... either we love it, we dislike it, we see quality, we see lack of budgets... still, I love this park for what it is... quality theme within a glorious natural setting. I disgree however with the assesment made above in regards to not feeling like being in a real Disney park. That does not ring quite right with me. I do feel I am in a Disneyland park when visiting HKDL and I do enjoy every aspect of it, and while it is a copy of DL in many ways... I still do not quite feel like I am in DL at all, because the park is quite different for the rest once you get past the Hub.
    Don't misunderstand me, I did absolutely feel like I was in a Disney park. That's part of why I liked the place so much. I am saying it just feels like a much more blatant attempt at copying something than when I compare DL, MK and DLP.

    Quote Originally Posted by TDLFAN View Post
    Remember, from my point of view... TDL is guilty of the same sin: being copied from both DL and the MK. Maybe the day you finally come to TDR, you may find the same faults with TDL. In regards to IASW and Space Mt... the HKDL are far better. One reason why I love the canopy over World Bazaar is because without it, it'd feel like entering the MK yet again and again... so that aspect of TDL (which is so hated by many) works for me and removes me from the MK. Maybe I enjoy the subtle differences much more than most park fans, so that makes my time at these parks all the more enjoyable as opposed to others who worry way too much about how different things are from the original DL... the purists if you will, etc etc.
    I dunno. I am well aware of how TDL was built as a 'best of MK and DL' park by the OLC. I also have no problem with World Bazaar, again without having experienced it, because it gives a unique flavor to that park. But I sure look forward to seeing for myself!!!

    As to Small World and Space Mtn, I kind of assumed the HKDL version's were better from what many respected folks (including yourself) have said ... I really loved both of them. I was frankly surprised at how better and more numerous the effects are on Space than at DL since they share the same track and soundtrack. But more on that later ...

    Quote Originally Posted by TDLFAN View Post

    Anyways... fair critique of HKDL so far and can't wait for the rest of your opinions on this... especially the little touches of quality and the more obvious problems we see at the MK... like your opinion on HKDL's cleanliness, food offerings and overall CM behaviors and interactions with guests.
    I've already covered cleanliness, but I'll repeat that the park was near pristine.

    The food was good quality and reasonable by Disney standards (very high by China standards) ... and please make sure I don't forget to tell you about my buffet experience at the Hollywood Hotel because it illustrates so well what Disney is doing so right in HK and what it still has to do in dealing with a different culture.

    CMs were universally wonderful. Great. Magical. especially Chloe (unless she was wearing some else's nametage) in Professor Porter's Trading Post!

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

    Quote Originally Posted by WDW1974 View Post
    Maybe at opening, but even then I tend to view it as hyperbole or a case of someone who just runs from attraction to attraction and doesn't bother to see the shows, parades or wander into the shops or have a meal.

    FWIW, many folks believe parks like DAK and DCA are four-six hour diversions at best. I disagree with those assessments as well.
    Thank you - a good way of putting it. Alas I do believe Disney needs to acknowledge that a good portion of their customer base DOES behave that way. So even if one 'takes the high road', there are plenty that just 'ride hop' and the stigma continues. Just read some of the trip reports... you can see what people are drawn to personally and then you see them say 'well by 2pm we were done'.

    Quote Originally Posted by WDW1974 View Post
    I spent a full day at HKDL and did NOT see it all. You read that right. Never made it on four Fantasyland attractions (Pooh, Dumbo, Tea Cups and Carousel).
    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

    Quote Originally Posted by WDW1974 View Post
    This is where it hit me. Something that I never felt on my first visit to DLP. This park was built as a McDisneyland. It was built using as many copied designs as possible. It has the look of a Disneyland. And the feel. Yet there's no denying something's missing ... and it isn't just the signature attractions that were chopped out (or never included from the start) by the likes of Michael Eisner, Pressler and Rasulo.
    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?

    Quote Originally Posted by WDW1974 View Post
    I'll state right here that their versions of Space Mountain and It's a Small World are the two best in the world right now (having admittedly not seen TDL's yet)
    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?


    Quote Originally Posted by WDW1974 View Post
    Nothing to see. Nada. Zippo. Zero. It is just a big castle facade. You wouldn't even know who it was themed to except for a small (and very easily missed) sculpture of Aurora and her prince to the left of the courtyard.
    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

    Quote Originally Posted by WDW1974 View Post
    Stream of consciousness here ... but one pic I took was a classic as it showed an empty stroller parking area on Main Street. One thing I can say about the Chinese is they aren't lazy fat slobs who push their kids around. Children walk. Period. If I saw a dozen strollers in one day at HKDL then I saw a lot. ECVs? None. I saw maybe 5-6 wheelchairs, all occupied by either elderly or obviously disabled folks. Never saw one person who'd be labeled as morbidly obese. Again, I think that says more about us as a nation than it does about the Chinese.
    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

    Quote Originally Posted by WDW1974 View Post
    Interesting food and beverage note is that almost every quick serve location in the park serves chilled plastic bottles of soft drinks (Coke, Coke Zero, Sprite, Fanta Orange are the only four soft drinks served) instead of fountain drinks. I wonder if there is some cultural reason or cost reason or what.
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by WDW1974 View Post
    That is why they'll flock to the local park (Ocean Park) which has a whole lot more to offer, even if the quality is closer to a Six Flags than a Disney (and on this I am just going on what I've been told as I didn't go there).
    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
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    Re: Spirited Musings and Deep Thoughts on HKDL ...

    great report

    last time i buy crystal ball from pic n save!

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

    WDW1974, again.. you bring up great points of debate with reason and logic on your post #5 up above, which again places you among the best and most knowledgeable critics of Disney parks ever to grace this board and some other laughable ones. That said, I still disagree with the lack of depth you mention.. I think we agree there is not much to do, but more often than most, I find myself enjoying the more elaborate eye candy found at HKDL which IMHO.. surpasses the theming at the MK. Even the decor inside the gift shops is more attractive and welcoming to me. Again.. just me, I do enjoy those little details.. reason why I do not place much emphasis on what's wrong with the park.. and like you, I find myself recommending it for the little stuff rather than the big picture. I guess I am not bothered much by the little things like the kind of train steamer they got and the fact that many rides and shows there would be considered less desirable to see when found at other Disneyland parks. I still feel the park has a vibe of it's own and if it misses the mark is because the Town Square, castle forecourt and backcourt, and hub areas are actually larger than DL's...so the intimate charm is missing here to some degree. Maybe that is why you find it lacks depth. Dunno.
    But there is no denying that Adventureland is probably the best designed out there with it's woodsy feel, drawing form DAK's design. Point is... there are positive things here among Jay Rassulo's legacy of crap. Not to defend their budget cutting and such.. they still need to work hard to make this park into a gem among the kingdoms.

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

    OK ... so I know I said I'd talk about Small World, but first I need to go back to the whole McDisneyland thought.

    Because I think what I feel most of all is that HKDL feels like a cut and paste job. Adventureland is wonderful, but you can't help but realize much of it is DAK for instance. Winnie the Pooh was such a complete lift from the MK that they even included the tribute to Mr. Toad that makes no sense in a HK context.

    I know Disney parks all borrow from each other for many elements. But there is such a feel that things were simply copied with this park. I suspect that even if the original plans had been followed thru, I'd still feel this way since so much was going to be cloned and/or lifted from other parks.

    Anyway ... just a thought.

    Next up: thoughts on Small World and HKDL's stable of attractions.

  13. #13

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

    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.
    Last edited by HKDLFAN; 09-04-2008 at 11:57 PM. Reason: a

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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.
    watch your language young man

    Quote Originally Posted by hkdlfan View Post
    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.
    CNY is a "local" thing I don't really think any of the other parks really care about that. Unique Christmas? Unique to Hong Kong, but honestly, and I love HKDL, everyone knows that....it's not that unique...sorry to burst your bubble. I can still see Christmas parades from Florida 15-20 years ago that make ours look like a joke. To be honest, I probably have more lights aglow in my flat over the holidays than HKDL does. (I know the witches have spotted them on their flyovers) But I still love our little park. I wouldn't trade it for the world.
    Is all this picking apart fair? No. Is it human nature? Yes. I think the point of all these comments, especially TDLFAN's is that we have a lovely little park that will grow up to be a beauty one day. It just needs time, and of course Legco to get off their backsides

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

    ORWEN: Oh! So those were YOUR lights we saw that one Christmas we flew over Hong Kong a year or so ago, Katsmom?! I had no idea!

    ORDDU: It's very interesting to read everyone's remarks about Hong Kong Disneyland. So many good points!

    ORGOCH: Got Shanghi Dizzyland yet?

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