Thursday, 3 April 2014

Disneyland: Feeling younger again

Not long after we had returned from Hong Kong, my wife was telling me that someone she knew had been so amused when he learnt that we had visited Disneyland there. Of course, what he was implying was that we should be too old to have enjoyed Disneyland. It's a park for children, that's what he meant but was too polite to say out loud.

To this fella, I would like to dedicate this picture to him. It was taken of one of the popular rides there: the Dumbo flying elephant ride.

And there was this pair of senior citizens who got on board one of the Dumbo cars. So you see, there are young children and then there are older children. Older children of all ages. And we are proud to be classified here.

Anyway, visiting Disneyland was never on our minds until this opportunity to visit Hong Kong presented itself to us in mid-February. Once we had decided to visit the former British colony, it was just a matter of deciding how best to make use of our limited time there. Thus, Disneyland became a natural destination for us. To my wife, she had always dreamt of visiting a Disneyland somewhere in the world and this was a dream coming true.

The moment we stepped off at the Sunny Bay MTR station, it became clear that the Disneyland mood was already pervasive.

When the connecting train pulled up at the station, we were blown away by the coaches. Can you imagine that all the windows of the coaches were shaped as Mickey Mouse? Or that the handrails were all also shaped as Mickey Mouse too? Yes, they were.

The tickets cost us HKD450 each just to go through the turnstiles. However, once inside, all the rides and attractions were free of charge.

Food wasn't free, though and to our relief, the prices weren't that much more expensive than in the rest of Hong Kong itself, although quality wasn't up to our expectations. Other than that, we found that merchandise shopping was like a throw in your face. Everywhere we turned, there'd be shops and stalls selling souvenirs. In fact, even before we even gone through the turnstiles, we were confronted by this merchandise stall. That's how aggressive Disneyland is. (It is to be noted that Disneyland also have several off-site shops selling their souvenirs. There's one at the departure lounge of the Hong Kong international airport itself to cater for people with last-minute shopping pangs and who had regretted not buying enough stuff at the theme park itself.)

We took this taxi down Main Street, Disneyland

 Who can resist not getting off at the Snow White Castle, the entrance into Fantasyland?
Tell me, can't I enjoy a bit of the merry-go-round? Can I, can I?

One of the attractions that I'd fully recommend: the 12-minute-long PhilharMagic show featuring experience of 3D effects, scents and water amidst a number of characters from various Disney movies. Yesss, put on your pair of 3D glasses, please!

The entrance to "it's a small world" (all in small letters, no caps) which features a very long queue of people waiting patiently to board their boat rides that would take them to enjoy more than 300 brightly costumed audio-animatronic dolls dressed up as children of the world. A Wikipedia entry describes this attraction has children "frolicking in a spirit of international unity and singing the attraction's title song, which has a theme of global peace."

Yay, the afternoon Flights of Fantasy parade has started.

And from Fantasyland, we jumped into Adventureland where we took this jungle river cruise. We saw lots of audio-animatronic animals along the way and I must say that they looked very realistic. Pretty entertaining.

Tarzan's treehouse. Very realistic from across the water and in fact, also realistic when viewed up close until you touched the leaves and tree trunks and discovered that they were, after all, artificial. But the tree house and environs did fool me at first.

Have always enjoyed a roller-coaster ride and this one at Grizzly Gulch wasn't different. I really enjoyed the ride and would have gone for a second round if time had permitted it, but it was already turning dark and a slight drizzle had come.

Snow White castle at dusk.

An almost nine-minute-long impressive fireworks display nightly at 8 p.m., as viewed from the end of Disneyland's Main Street.

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