Hong Kong, Day 1, Part 2: Of the happiest place on Earth, fireworks and childhood dreams (Hong Kong Disneyland)

We reached Sunny Bay station half past the hour of three after a tiring yet satisfying trip to Ngong Ping. Our schedule was tight but we intentionally planned the day that way since Tung Chung and our next destination was just a transfer and a station away. Well if you haven’t guessed by now, that destination was Hong Kong Disneyland.

Find the not-so-hidden Mickey(s). :-D

The pout strikes again. This time in Hong Kong. Haha!

I was finally able to ride that mouse-decked train! Yey! If I remember correctly, the trip did not take more than ten minutes (six to seven, perhaps?).

One childhood dream fulfilled. Yey!

A short distance from the station, we reached the welcome arch. Beyond that was a wide walkway adorned with Disney characters’ banners that led to the Moby Dick Fountain. We walked some more, arrived at the ticketing counter and paid 399.00 HKD (~2,240.00 PHP, ~51.40 USD) each. I thought it was a bit pricey (almost twice that of Lotte World) but that got me even more excited. It should be worth it, right?

Mickey made up mostly of pumpkins. I assume this changes per season?

By the time we passed the grand entrance, it was a few minutes before four and our timing was perfect. The Flights of Fantasy Parade was just about to start.

Mickey, as expected, leading the gang.

Siyempre we scrambled (read: nambraso) to got a really good spot. We’re smart (cunning?) that way. :-P

This photo seriously does not do justice to the giddiness I had that day.

I cannot even begin to describe how perky I got. I was just… happy. Haha! Seriously, I wasn’t able to help it. Fine, I’m a jolly person by default, but that afternoon, my pep levels went off the charts. You know what they say about being like a kid in the park? I was that kid. Times n.

I mean, come on, how could I not be? Just look at these photos:

There's Minnie, Pluto and Goofy...

...Poo and his pot of hunny...

...and the Disney princesses!

Define: in character. This dedication was consistent from everyone in the cast. :-)

Peek-a-boo! I love this shot because of the movement of the dress.

Tinkerbell waved at me! My heart skipped a beat every time one of them did this.

Loved, loved, loved the costumes and the colors of the parade. Reminded me a bit of Sinulog.

A gigantic Stitch. On a surfboard. Waaaah!

And finally, our favorite toys, Woody...

...and Buzz Lightyear!

The music was electrifying too! I think they were playing Sky High. Grabe lang maka-pump up! Ooooh there were a lot more of them pa! I remember seeing Dumbo, Chip and Dale, JessieRafiki, Baloo, Tigger, Eeyore, Lilo, and… Wait for it… The tons of Pinoy members of the crew! Is it just me or do we all have that superpower of recognizing our kababayans wherever they are? We spotted them, then they recognized us and they waved back coupled with a hearty “Mabuhay!“. Awesome stuff. :-D

Oh, can I just say how dedicated to their craft these folks are? I mean everyone in the cast ah. We really saw the joy in their eyes and in their smiles. And the way they engage the crowd? Spot on.

Seeing this sway with the wind was infinitely more inspiring than this still.

The crowd dissipated when the parade ended fifteen minutes after and we headed straight to Sleeping Beauty’s Castle.

Oh hello there over-exposed photo. Rawr.

I told Kite I was underwhelmed. I don’t know. Maybe it wasn’t as grand as I expected it to be? It was still pretty though.

Now I wonder if this tree has leaves when its not Halloween...

The next few hours after that we spent trying out all the rides we can. It took as two and a half hours. :-D

Adventureland’s Rivers of Adventure was a mini-cruise with a trove of surprises (Seriously! We didn’t expect half of what we saw there.). Main Street’s Hotel, satisfied Kite’s guilty pleasure: horror. Haha! Tomorrowland’s Space Mountain was a mild, but still exciting, indoor roller coaster. Fantasyland’s It’s A Small World After All, is united nation doll heaven. And finally, Orbitron, again in Tomorrowland, is your usual flying saucer spinner.

I could only imagine how much more we could’ve done if we had more time! We weren’t bitin, but I think to maximize one’s stay, a whole day would be in order.

Theme park ride 1: The one where I experienced water with fire. Rivers of Adventure.

Theme park ride 2: The one where I almost lost Nick's lens cap. Main Street Hotel.

Theme park ride 3: The one where I appreciated the decency of final warnings. Space Mountain.

Theme park ride 4: The one where I heard "Maliit lang ang mundo...". It's A Small World.

Theme park ride 5: The one where I almost made Kite throw up. Orbitron.

Not in this photo set was another attraction called Revenge of the Headless Horsemen. Kite obviously didn’t get enough scare in Main Street Hotel, we had to try another one. Rawr. If I’m not mistaken though, that maze was a 2011 Halloween offering, as opposed to a permanent park fixture. That’s were we met another group of Pinoy performers who greeted us with “Kumusta mga kababayan!“, too. Our hearts melted. :-D

Before having dinner, we also saw The Golden Mickeys. Kite was adamant we see this. I didn’t quite get it at first but after watching the show, I guess someone was right. :-P Think Oscar’s or Golden Globe’s turned into a musical with a healthy serving of Disney characters in it.

One of my favorite captures of the trip.

The entire cast closing the show.

I was telling Kite that for the show alone, the ticket price was already worth it. Ok, maybe I’m being OA, but it was really that good! The musical production was flawless, the singers’ vocals right on. We also saw more characters we didn’t see in the parade such as the Humpback of Notre Dame, Ariel, Sebastian and Mulan! Amazing, amazing show. Sayang we missed another show Kite was raving about: Festival of the Lion King.

After dinner, the PA called the crowd to watch out for another parade! It was a more sinister one, well, because it was Halloween. Same level of energy, though. We thoroughly enjoyed the glow-in-the-dark mascots and floats as much as we adored, again, the terrific dancers and performers.

Jack Skellington, king of Halloweentown. How very apt.

It's tough taking photos of moving glow-in-the-dark subjects ah.

And then these!

As unimpressed as I was that afternoon, I was blown away when the castle lit up that night. It was beautiful and awe-inducing. The show was in two parts. The first one was Tinker Bell’s Castle Illumination and the second was Disney in the Stars, the grand fireworks show.

The Disneyland castle is sooooooo much more beautiful at night.

Okay, don’t stress your imagination. Heto na yun.

Di ba, di ba? Arguably the best fireworks display I’ve ever seen.

Oiliness is next to ugliness. Wahahaha! Pero di ba, career!

But wait, there’s more! The last attraction of the night was the “parade” of the Headless Horseman. I found it a bit anti-climactic, especially after the jaw dropping spectacle that preceded it. I didn’t even bother taking a photo na. Hehe. Good thing there were these cast members all gruesome in their zombie make-up and gamely posing with the crowd. Win!

Shot taken while waiting for the anti-climactic Headless Horseman.

We roamed the stores aimlessly trying all our best to control our impulse buying selves. I was sooooo tempted to buy that strawberry-scented Lotso! Waaaah! We decided to call it a night after that and traveled back to the hotel. It was ten in the evening.

Goodbye Mickey!

I remember telling Kite earlier that day that Disneyland isn’t really for kids. Maybe a bit, but in reality, it’s for folks like me. It’s for those who once where and was given the chance to reminisce that youth with the company of the characters they grew up with. I still maintain that view.

Oh my goodness. I sound so… old. Hahaha! Good stuff! :-D

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