The rain was pouring, the skies were a murky gray and Mickey's magic wasn't working on the visitors cursing and scampering for cover at Hong Kong Disneyland.
But Keith Simpson and his six friends from Sydney — all Disney fanatics sporting matching polo shirts that show Mickey ears over Australia's map — couldn't have been happier.
The group was in Hong Kong on the second leg of their Disney-themed round-the-world tour, realizing months of planning for a 32-day trip that takes them to every Disney park in the world — from Tokyo to Hong Kong to Paris, to the U.S. flagships, Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif., and Walt Disney World near Orlando
It was a dream come true for the "Down Under Disneyana" fan club members, who have all been to one or more Disney parks before but have never done them all at one go. The idea of a world tour was especially appealing for Australian fans because they live so far away from all the Disney parks, Simpson said.
"We can't go to Disneyland every week. We can only go once every year, and that's if we're lucky," said Simpson, 36, a fraud investigator for a bank. The nearest park — Hong Kong — is more than eight hours' flight away.
The fans also organized the trip so that it coincided with several important dates for Disney. The group was in Hong Kong for the first anniversary celebrations at Disney's newest theme park on Sept. 12. They planned to finish on Sept. 30, the last day of 50th anniversary festivities at the original Disneyland in Anaheim.