This is my first trip report, and I don't really know what to say, so I'll just play it by ear.
I've been to Hong Kong many times before, and it's definitely one my favorite cities in the world. I wouldn't be here of course if I didn't love Disney, and that started when I first visited WDW in 1986. I didn't do much back then, but it sparked a lifelong passion that only became more inflamed when I stumbled across MiceChat last year.
This trip is my 3rd trip to HKDL, and it has allowed me to look at it from a more objective perspective. This first part will briefly focus on my first two trips in June 2007 and December 2009.
On my first trip, I was just skeptical. I was not crazy about it just having four lands, if you include Main Street USA. I knew it wouldn't have all the rides I would want, but the glaring omission of Frontierland seemed unforgivable.
Armed with our lousy, but fun, PSP camera, my family and I booked a trip to HK to check out HKDL for ourselves.
WARNING: Ugly sub 1MP pictures in this post.
The Disney Resort buses that we passed coming from our tour bus.
My brother's Goofy ticket.
The glass is half full: emptiness adds to the grandness of the entrance.
Yes, we do have a ticket for today.
It's already after lunch and the "crowds" are still pouring in.
We loitered around, having lunch at Tomorrowland. My brother and I have huge appetites, so we got the biggest meal we could afford. The food was just okay, but I loved the fries. You can't really go wrong with fried potatoes.
We moved next door to Buzz Lightyear's Astro Blasters, which was my first stab at this. It was cute, a little too carnival-y for my taste, and its Omnimover made me miss the Haunted Mansion.
We rode Space Mountain (no lines!), and saved Stitch Encounter for later in the day when we could catch an English show.
Small World was still under construction at this point, so we tried the only dark ride in Fantasyland, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.
This ride has a FastPass?!?
I enjoyed it, but was disappointed that it was the only ride in Fantasyland that I actually wanted to try.
We caught the Disney on Parade as it, uh, paraded down Main Street, and thoroughly enjoyed it.
Alice seems to be surprised at everything.
We only had a few hours left so we were off to Adventureland, which at that time was dressed up to as:
I wonder if the Beijing Shijingshan Amusement Park had any pirated mice.
It was the crowds that did him in.
Them pirates took Tarzan too!
The Festival of the Lion King was a real crowd-pleaser, but I was underwhelmed. I guess after watching Julie Taymor's masterpiece on stage, this theme park version felt pedestrian. I think that even the simple Hunchback show at the MGM Studios back in the day was much better in nearly every way.
The light shower scared of what little crowds there were that day.
The Golden Mickeys' opening tableau
The show was quite enjoyable and mostly featured songs from the Disney Renaissance. A surprising part of it, and my personal favorite, was "Hawaiian Roller Coaster Ride." It was a cute little number that had ample charm. Simple, but not barren.
I love anything with Donald in it.
We went back to Tomorrowland to ride Space Mountain again. One ride was enough for out mom, so my brother and I scurried to ride it a couple of times to figure out at what point in the ride our picture was going to be taken, and posed a couple of times until we got the goofiest picture we could get.
And we definitely hammed it up.
My brother had enough, so I rode it two more times by my lonesome.
We waited for the the fireworks and killed time by perusing the merchandise in Main Street. And the limitations of the PSP camera served a somewhat happy ye olde tyme effect.
I hadn't since Disney fireworks in years, so the "Disney in the Sky" was a welcome reminder of why I love going to Disney parks in the first place.
We went back to our hotel in Kowloon, and I had some curry for dinner.
Ah Ka Ka Lok, a family tradition.
All in all, I was pretty happy about what I saw. It was by no means complete, but it felt like Disney to me. Probably it was due to the music being piped in the streets, and that I could sing Disney tunes without looking like an idiot. The fireworks I think were the ones that really won me over. There's something about exothermic reactions dancing to classic Disney melodies that leaves me with a high.
If the other parks are full meals, HKDL felt like a hearty snack. Or an kitchen experiment to replicate a foreign dish you had your vacation abroad. It was definitely not a substitute for other Magic Kingdom parks, but I knew I would come back again.