When it comes to planning a Disney vacation, I have a somewhat odd perspective – I’m American, but spend most of the year in Tokyo for my husband’s job. Good News: Tokyo Disney visits! Also Good News: for my TouringPlans Everywhere trip, I’m headed to Hong Kong Disneyland!
…and I know nothing about Hong Kong. Go go planning skills!
As close as it relatively is to Japan, I’ve never been to Hong Kong or the Hong Kong Disneyland Resort before, so I’m excited to get to make the trip. I’m also excited not to have to make a 12-hour plane ride to do it! If you’re coming from the States or, really, anywhere that isn’t Japan, I agree with Tom Bricker – Hong Kong Disney should probably be combined with either a Disney trip to Tokyo Disney Resort, or a general Hong Kong trip. (Do check out Tom’s articles on Hong Kong Disneyland and planning – very helpful!) Hong Kong Disney has only one park, and that has many attractions that exist in other parks around the world, so make it a Disney bonus, not the sole attraction.
Hong Kong seems to have a good public transportation system, but I’m impatient, and it looks like taxis are pretty cheap (around $20 for the airport to Disney) so I’ll likely be taking one to the resort, and certainly on the way back to make sure I get there on time.
More good news! Hong Kong Disneyland Resort is actually one of the cheaper Disney options (minus the cost of airfare if you’re coming from the States, that is). Keeping in mind that I’m used to prices in Tokyo, I found hotels, dining and even park tickets to be very reasonable and in some cases downright cheap for a Disney park. The US dollar does pretty well against the Hong Kong dollar, which also helps a lot.
Hotels and the Park
On to the fun stuff! There are two Hong Kong Disneyland Resort official hotels – the aptly named Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel, and Disney’s Hollywood Hotel. Disneyland Hotel looks basically like the Grand Floridian and just as nice (but relatively cheaper, yay!), while Disney’s Hollywood Hotel is slightly cheaper and a unique experience. I’ll be staying a few days in both. The prices are decent enough that I’m not considering an off-site hotel – besides, if you go all the way to Hong Kong, you may as well stay on site, right?
A few interesting things when I went to book tickets – first, they offer only a 1 or 2 day ticket (unless you buy an annual pass). I considered getting the pass just for the discounts (there are many, depending on which level of pass you get), but I did the math, and for my little trip it wouldn’t be quite worth it. If I end up loving the resort, I may get one on my next trip – the different levels offer all kinds of perks, especially on your birthday.
The second interesting thing was that when I booked my hotel, I couldn’t actually buy tickets for my trip. Tickets were available online, but they had an expiration date which was before my trip started. I had to wait a few months before they started selling tickets with an expiration date far enough out that I’d actually be able to use them before they expired. Make sure you check the date, or just buy at the hotel when you get there.
Things seem pretty relaxed in Hong Kong Disney! Looking at the park hours, most days it doesn’t even open until 10:30am! (I get to sleep in! Whoo hoo!) There are a number of days with super short hours too – the park often closes around 7:30pm. Because of the special Halloween festivities (apparently it’s pretty huge there), while I’m there the park will usually be open until 11pm – that sounds good, but I suspect that means the lines will be considerably longer as well. Oh well, maybe everyone will head to the haunted houses…which I, scaredy cat that I am, will be staying well clear of – rumor has it that they are “real” scary and not just “Disney” scary.
Speaking of cool things to do, I’m super excited to finally get to try out Mystic Manor, of course! I’m also looking forward to the new Paint the Night parade, which is starting just before I get there. You can buy a paintbrush toy to change the colors of the lights on the floats as they go by! Fun!
I’m also looking forward to the Grizzly Gulch Mine Train and plan to check out some of the play areas with my 3-year-old daughter. I’ve heard that Hong Kong is great for character meet and greets, as well, which I know she will love.
Like I said above, there’s a fair number of attractions that exist in other parks as well, so things like the Winnie the Pooh ride or Buzz Lightyear probably won’t be a priority for me, though I’ll catch them if I have time.
Although I haven’t done a ton of planning for dining, I do plan to do a high tea! That’s something I love to do in Walt Disney World, so I’m looking forward to comparing the Hong Kong Disneyland versions. Other than that, I’ll probably be eating a lot of counter service meals based on where I am when I’m hungry. My family doesn’t eat much meat and my daughter is straight up vegetarian, so I’ll be interested to see what is available to us. If anyone has any snacks I shouldn’t miss, let me know!
Gadgets and Electricity
My Japanese phone should work in Hong Kong, and I believe my American iPhone will too, though international rates are a bear. Wi-Fi is available on the island, in general (cool!), and in the hotels, but may not be accessible in the park, itself.
Note! Hong Kong electricity uses about 220 volts…so if you’re coming from the US and used to 110V, you WILL need a transformer for most outlets to prevent frying your hair dryer, etc. Some hotels have “low voltage” outlets to accommodate this, but you will likely need an outlet converter for these, as well, because most outlets use the UK (or sometimes Indian) 3-pronged outlet style (that’s type G or M). My plan is to use a cheap converter for my laptop (which can already handle 220V) and charge via USB from that for various gadgets.
I am of course greatly looking forward to the trip! I’ll be wearing my TouringPlans t-shirt there on Sunday, October 12 – if you’re going to be there as well, come meet up with me! I’d love to hear about your adventures in Hong Kong – or post below if you have tips to share right now! Thanks, and hope to see you there!