Hello everybody!! It was a magical Friday the 13th and yours truly decided to go visit HKDL and check out all of the new offerings this little lovely park had in store for guests, and also to check out the Halloween happenings.
I merrily arrived at HKDL around noontime and found the park uncrowded and comfortable, with decent weather to enjoy the day. First up in the agenda.. get my first Annual Pass for HKDL. I bought the value one... because I am cheap and tawdry, and also because I don't really get to go to Hong Kong as much as I'd like to... but HKDL deserves my business for being the lovely little park it is, and one I like more and more each time I go.
I got my AP from the "Automagic Machines" since I had bought it online the day before from Tokyo. The process is painless. Immediately I proceeded into the park and went gayly forward to the processing office next door to the City Hall. Here, a cheerful CM processed my AP, asked which character I wanted on my pass (Mickey of course!) and presented me with my very special APer-exclusive passport lanyard and pin. The pin BTW.. is similar to the DL 50th pins sold in CA, but check out the photos for that...
The APs do not feature a personal photo of the bearer, like is the case with DLP and TDR's passes, so you have to present a personal ID (along with AP) at the turnstyle to be admitted into the park.
Once with my new AP in hand, I proceeded to explore some of the lovely Halloween decor found around the front entrance, Main Street USA and the Hub. Again... shame WDW for not even trying as hard as HKDL did for their Halloween in the decor dept. (See photos) All of the classic characters are sporting Halloween costumes... with my favorites being Chip and Dale's Policeman/Prisoner outfits, Daisy's Spider, which resembles her outfit at TDL this Halloween, and Mickey as Zorro! COOL! Also, the stores features HKDL-exclusive halloween merchandise, so hang on to your credits cards kitties...
One observation... HKDL Just turned 1 year old. They are selling some "1st Anniversary" logo merchandise... Those of you in California may want to take a look at those photos, since the HKDL 1st Anniversary merchadise will be very familiar to you... wink wink.
Anyways... I just love*love*love* this Main Street USA, with it's cobblestones paved road and lovely scenery behind the castle... just stunning to experience. I also love the Bakery and it's goodies... and especially the Halloween treats in there..
I also checked out the Opera House where a "Villains Lair" meet and greet area has replaced the regular exhibit. Here, you can have your pic taken with a Villain.. A lucky guest had it's picture taken with the greatest villain of the all: TDLFAN!! But Me? I got a photo with Pain and Panic.. and I wonder, are they even villains of just plain victims of one???
Ponder that thought...
Later on after a quick lunch, I headed into Tomorrowland to check out the new attractions in the area. First up, UFO Zone. This is just a water fountain play area but it's nicely done with interesting sci-fi props and jumping waters that catch guests off guard at times. I happen to catch Goofy here, also getting in the act and getting wet along with guests in a most enjoyable setting. Of course.. beware if you do not want to get wet. Sometimes, the water comes out of nowhere..think floor level fountain sprays...and also, water squirts from the many props in the area. At night, this area comes alive with colorful lights that are ever changing.. So do try to check it out after dark as well...as it's a totally different visual experience. Mind you.. Disney can do better than just a water fountain playground, but taking this for what it is, it's well done. Certainly better than the floor level fountains at EPCOT.
Next up: Autopia. Not much new here we have not seen before, however.. the setting here is simply FAB. The boarding platform and area building have a certain Lego-like quality, reminicent of the old monorail station at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim. The queue winds thru a forresty area and the landscapping throughout the ride is simply spectacular, with dozens of interesting topiary patterns I have never seen attempted before. Add to that some really weird looking trees and you have a most enjoyable time in the mini-freeway. The ride vehicles themselves are very cute and stylish..similar to the ones at DLP. However, these ones are very very quiet!, maybe because these cars are electric and very eco-friedly. It's certainly a major improvement over the ear-splitting cars at WDW's MK Grand Prix Raceway. A speaker in the vehicles makes sounds of an engine to give you a feel of actually racing down the freeway, and I found it to be quite cool.
Likewise at night...Autopia comes alive with colorful lights in the underpasses and around the garden areas.. so make sure you check it out at night. I also like the blinking lights on either side of the vehicles.. cool touch.
This Autopia is not any better than the others (and I think DL still has the best one) but it's enjoyable enough to recommend doing. Pleasant scenery here and cool ride.
While at Tomorrowland, I also caught the new "Stitch Encounter" show, which is presented in english, cantonese, and putonghua. Check the lit up display at the show's entrance for language show times. I of course did the english show. Waited in line about 20 mins to see it. The show itself lasts just under 15 mins. The theater is located inside the Space Mountain building and has room to accomodate around 75 guests per show. The theater set itself is better decorated than Crush's theater at the Living Seas, which this show mimics in format.
Here however... the element of interactivity goes one step further. The show plot revolves around Stitch stealing an intergalatic cruiser and going for a joy ride in space. We catch up with him and the interview format begins... similar to Talk with Crush. Stitch picks out guests from the audience and asks questions... sometimes proposes to some lovely gal in the audience, or mistakes a guest for one of his former prison mates in space. This is where the interactivity goes one step further than Talk with Cruch. At times... we see Stitch pull a camera and take a picture of any particular guest in the audience. Then we get to see the picture on the stage, when Stitch shows it to us. Beware of that if you are camera shy but still would like to see this show. Later on, we even help Stitch find his way to his own spaceship when the Space patrol is up to catching him for his mischevious behavior.
The show is an enjoyable as Talk with Crush and I recommend it. Fun for both adults and kids. One issue here for me.. Stitch used the adjective "stupid head" a few times during the show... I feel the mild profanity should be replaced and not used, but that's just me. Other than that, the show is OK.
After doing some more checking out around the park and riding again some of the rides in the park (I particualrly found the Jungle Cruise much improved!), I made my way to the Hotels, especially to the Hollywood Hotel which is a great facility and one I'd love to stay at again in the future.
Back in the park for the evening, I stayed on Main Street USA for the mini Halloween parade. The parade comprises of the marching band, dancers and one float carrying Mickey and the gang in their finest Halloween costumes. The parade is cute but painfully short. I would have also preferred for it to have included a villains float to round it up.. but no such luck. Maybe in the future they will expand on this concept. We'll see.
One interesting thing to note is how they have taken a cue from the MK's MNSSHP and placed colorful lights along Main Street USA. The entire street comes alive in color and festive halloween projections, such as bats and witches on the buildings' facades. At some point in time...all of the buildings turn to either green, blue or fucchia colors, or even rainbow motif. It gives Main Street an added touch of fun for halloween. KUDOS. Likewise, Sleeping Beauty Castle gets in the act with some fabulous projections of it's own... one moment you see hovering ghosts, and the next, you see spiders crawling up on it and cobwebs appearing. The freakish thing is... you see the spiders *moving about* on the stationary cobwebs.. giving the castle a most eeeky feeling!! But it's quite quite cool to see. KUDOS!
To finish the night in style, I took a front row seat at the Castle to view "Disney in the Stars" fireworks show. A show many feel is a bit below expectations but one that I greatly enjoy for borrowing elements from the wildly successful "E-Tickets in the Sky" from DL's 50th celebration. Personally, even this show impresses me more that the MK's Wishes for it's simplicity and well executed projections and lighting effects on the castle itself.. How much I would wish for TDL to give us a show of this caliber at least, intead of their current stale "Disney Dreams in the Sky" fireworks...
With the fireworks show over, the park is now officially closed. I take the time to examine Main Street closer and re-check the stores for last minute purchases, then head out. A most enjoyable day was spent here and I take the time to look back at the castle one more time and bid adieu to HKDL... Until next time..
Here are TDLFAN's personal photos of his day at HKDL. Everything discussed about and more can be seen here in this mega pictorial, with over 300 photos. Read the captions if you further want to enjoy the experience since many comments and opinions from TDLFAN about HKDL can only be read on the photos captions themselves... You may even learn a thing or two as well... ENJOY!