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Hong Kong Disneyland

Theme Park Guy Rating: 55555
Date Visited:
March 07, 2008 / June 13, 2011 / June 05, 2012
August 13, 2012 / May 31, 2013
Location: View on map
Hong Kong Disneyland Photos

Expansion update May 31, 2013

Hong Kong Disneyland expansion, here's my opinion:

Mystic Point surely is the highlight of the three new areas, featuring a beautifully-themed and -narrated dark ride, experienced in a trackless ride vehicle with some stunning sparkle and projection effects, as well as animatronics. Danny Elfman's tailor-made supporting soundtrack greatly adds to the magic and makes for a stimulating and playful, albeit little short experience. It's not as good as 'Journey to the Center of the Earth' or 'Pooh's Hunny Hunt' in Japan, but it's a remarkable family ride unique to Hong Kong Disneyland.

Regarding Grizzly Gulch: somewhere, someday, someone important must have come to the conclusion that Asians don't like thrills - and, somehow, this has had a lasting impact on Disney's strategic decision-making.

Given that the middle-aged woman seated next to me in the just-opened Grizzly Gulch coaster screamed murderously when taking a horizontal curve at toy train speeds, this verdict may not be so wrong, after all. 'Big Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Cars' - the coaster's title that reminds me a bit of the bumpiness of saying 'Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull' - is nothing more and nothing less than a shrunken, flattened version of the Expedition Everest roller coaster found at Disney's Animal Kingdom in Florida.

It's just mildly thrilling and feels more like a Swedish massage than a turbulent plane ride (congrats to manufacturer Vekoma for making the ride insanely smooth). The storytelling proves solid with two plot-and-direction twists that the uninitiated won't expect, and both theming and animatronics are as excellent as expected.

Toy Story Land is undeniably the cheapest-looking land Disney ever created,  just as the original at Walt Disney Studios in Paris. Yet, add some beloved characters and classic scores to the mix, and it works. With the three new lands open, surely Hong Kong Disneyland is now better than it ever was.

Toy Story LandMystic PointMystic Point under construction in August 2012...and open in May 2013Mystic Manor trackless ride vehiclesStarring a monkey and his traveling human companionMonkey likes the music boxOops, what did monkey do?The activated music box brings everything to life. Beautiful!Grizzly Gulch roller coasterHong Kong Disneyland's most thrilling attraction!Big Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Cars POVFirst animatronic bear, rubbing up against a railway switchAnd back outside!Three coaster trains operating simultaneously!The highest point in Grizzly GulchA turning point in the ride's story!First-rate cable snap effect, followed by a backwards plungeSmooth Grizzly Gulch coaster tracksGrizzly bear animatronicsBig Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Cars at nightWhy does the cast member on the left look so protective?Because, in Disneyland, love......knows no boundaries!

Construction Update June 05, 2012

Phuh! On a personal note, this was the last time I hiked up and down these treacherous mountains. Being passionate about getting aerial photos is one thing, being a suicidal, masochistic geek another. It's a 7 hour hike through painfully untamed jungle and they got venomous snakes up there. I am convinced people in military camps do tougher things, but these trail-free mountains are close.

Please enjoy the final and exclusive set of Hong Kong Disneyland aerial pictures, taken in June 2012 and focusing on its awesome expansion: Grizzly Gulch roller coaster (brown rock structure), Mystic Manor dark ride (grey building in the center) and Toy Story Playland (orange shuttle coaster in the foreground):

And once again:Hiking pal Michael and The Theme Park Guy are back in the bring you the updates you deserve!Hello Inspiration Lake! Visibility deteriorated, unfortunately!Hong Kong Disneyland expansion, here we go!Hong Kong Disneyland expansion area, June 2012Disneyland expansion, with Hong Kong Island in the backgroundZoom inGrizzly Gulch coaster (left), Mystic Manor dark ride (middle), Toy Story Land (right)Toy Story Playland, operating since 2011Hong Kong Disneyland expansion in the evening lightCloser look, approx. 2 hours before sunsetHong Kong Disneyland expansion aerialToy Story coaster in the foreground, Mystic Manor and Grizzly Gulch still under constructionBig Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Cars coasterHong Kong Disneyland seen from a very unique angleHong Kong Disneyland, with both Kowloon and Hong Kong in the backgroundHong Kong Disneyland wide angle shot

Construction Update June 13, 2011

Well, this is quite an update.

In order to take the aerial photos of Hong Kong Disneyland below, my local hiker friend Michael and I had to trek for seven hours over mountains on hiking trails that ceased to exist. We had talked about doing it for two years, but only the expansion gave us the final reason to go. This was the real Jungle Cruise, and together with the thunderstorm suprise we got up there I can say it's the scariest thing I have done since putting a needle into a wall socket when I was a kiddo! You can't see the trail whatsoever (no one must have walked there for years) and there are some perilous cliffs on both sides of the mountain. Without exaggeration, our toe nails were bleeding/falling off after that hike. Don't try to repeat it. I mean it. It wasn't funny.

We got a great view of the Disneyland expansion area: Toy Story Land with its U-shaped orange shuttle coaster and green 'Toy Soldiers Parachute Drop' attraction in the foreground, the world-exclusive and probably terrific dark ride 'Mystic Point' in the middle, and the 'Grizzly Trail' mountain roller coaster (featuring bears and dynamite) in the background. I am anxiously looking forward to this expansion since I believe it will change Hong Kong Disneyland forever.

Hong Kong Disneyland expansion, seen from Tarzan's Tree HouseGrizzly Trail mountain coaster under constructionLet's get an aerial view!There are no proper hiking trails on the right mountainDoesn't matter.It's really been a rough hikeEven my hiking-pro friend Michael got a bit exhaustedHong Kong Disneyland Resort!Disneyland, with Hong Kong in the backgroundMain Street and CastleSpace Mountain and TomorrowlandHong Kong Disneyland expansion June 2011Three new lands/ridesGrizzly Trail (left), Mystic Manor (middle), Toy Story Land (right)Grizzly Gulch mountain roller coasterCloser viewMystic Manor dark ride at the back, Toy Story Land at the frontToy Story Land

Update October 10, 2008

Little photo update: 'It's a Small World' is now open and a Halloween Special with ghost houses where real life ghosts surprise/attack harmless visitors was (temporary) operating as well. A hit with the locals, I never saw the park that packed.

Newly opened:It's a Small World!Disney characters at Hong Kong Disneyland's It's a Small WorldThis exhibit will make your eyes danceHong Kong Disneyland entrance during HalloweenHaunted house, set up exclusively for Halloween

Review March 07, 2008

I love Hong Kong Disneyland. There are no thrills, no ghost trains, no flume rides and apart from 'Space Mountain', which is not really the best version of itself, no roller coasters. BUT the potential of Disney's Hong Kong venture is huge! The resort is nestled between two mountains and the sea, the most beautiful setting of any Disney park in the world, and plenty of space is left for expansion.

Hong Kong Disneyland is designed to resemble the original Disneyland park in California, created and opened by Walt Disney himself in 1955. The castle looks the same, the park structure is similar and it contains roughly the same number of attractions. Highlights of the park for the time being: 'Space Mountain', a roller coaster in the dark; 'Jungle Cruise', a great new version of the classic Disney river adventure featuring amazing elephant animatronics; 'Stitch Encounter', an entertaining interactive attraction; 'Mickey's PhilharMagic', a brilliant 3-D movie featuring Disney characters on a screen that ‘magically' changes in size.

The park's current size is too small but the existing rides, landscaping and surrounding lakes are all superbly done. Visit Hong Kong Disneyland if you have kids or if you are a Disney fan and you will enjoy it a lot. However, if you're looking for thrills, don't go just yet. Wait a few years. This is the moment when you should buy stocks: the park is underrated and will flourish in the years to come.

The two Disney hotels, by the way, are absolutely brilliant: as of now, you get better rooms, better service, better pools and more peace of mind than anywhere else in Hong Kong for this budget.

Hong Kong Disneyland seen from the mountainsHong Kong Disneyland mapHong Kong Disneyland entranceMain StreetHong Kong Disneyland castleJungle Cruise loading stationDisney's Jungle CruiseAmazing animatronic elephant baby!On the Jungle CruiseJungle Cruise animatronicsJungle Cruise settingJungle Cruise climaxJungle Cruise meets Tarzan's Tree HouseTarzan (doesn't move)Perfect little animatronic elephantSpace Mountain seen from an elevated pointSpace MountainStitch Encounter entranceStitch, communicating with the audienceAutopia. A terrible attraction.Buzz Lightyear dark ride attractionHong Kong Disneyland castle seen from FantasylandPhilharMagic, a brilliant 3-D movieWinnie the Pooh dark rideExhibitionDisney's Hollywood Hotel: unbeatable value!Lonesome GoofyHong Kong Disneyland landfill in the makingHong Kong Disneyland seen from the planeHuge room for expansion here
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