Hope's Hong Kong Vacation (with pictures!)

Discussion in 'Disney Chat' started by hopemax, Jun 4, 2018.

  1. hopemax

    hopemax DPF Charter Member DPF Charter Member

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    @Spr175psu Pin Haul post made me get my act together and get photos of my haul and start on my Trip Report. When I usually write Trip Reports, I tend to write a lot. Since I've been so much of a slacker, I am going to try to post a bunch of stuff quickly, and then go back and edit the posts with more words and details, and photos. I have my "haul" photos readily available, but I took over 2300 pictures (not including DH's phone pictures) so sorting through to figure out which ones to share, might take another day or two.

    We left Denver @ 9:45 AM May 8th, arrived in HK about 6:30 on May 9th. We spent 4 nights at the Island Pacific Hotel on Hong Kong Island (recommended by DH's former co-worker), and then moved over to Disneyland where we stayed another 4 nights at Disney's Explorers Lodge.

    This trip was to celebrate our 20th Anniversary (traditional gift is china, I figured going to China would be way more fun). We financed the trip through Chase Ultimate Rewards Points. If you are extremely disciplined with your finances, and not already on the using credit cards to earn points, you might want to check it out. At the end of 2016, Chase rolled out a fancy, schmancy new card with a $450 annual fee. Nuts you say, ridiculous you say. I agree! And then we did the math. The initial offer was for 100,000 Chase points which can be transferred to a myriad of hotel and airline programs at 1 pt Chase = 1 pt whatever. Or you could use your points on Chase's travel portal. You got a statement credit of $300 per year for "travel" purchases, and you could get a statement credit for 1 Global Entry application, plus you are enrolled in Priority Pass (airport lounge system). We signed up because we were looking for a "no foreign fee" card before our 2017 trip to London, and this sounded "interesting."

    So we've been earning our points, and then we decided, "Well, what are they good for?" We both decided that we had to use them on a trip we would never take otherwise. So no visiting our parents, Disneyland or WDW. We had originally joked about going to the Maldives, but it seemed like it would take awhile to earn enough points for that. I figured out the china/China gift thing, so we went to the portal and looked it up. So to pause for just a minute, United offers Hong Kong flights for 40,000 pts each way, per person. So to book through United we would need 160,000 points. Through the Chase Vacation Portal, they were offering the same United flight for a total of 103,000 pts. Sold. Plus, the hotel that was recommended to us was offering a special rate too. In a Harbor View room. So our airfare/half our hotel we only had to pay taxes/fees which were like $50. However, I did buy the Global Premium Economy Upgrade thingy United offers to upgrade your seats for a year for you and 1 companion. That was $900, so it wasn't as dirt cheap as it could have been. But 15 hour flight! We wanted more room.

    I love Disney hotels. But Disney Deluxe accommodations really bite into the pin budget. Not so in Hong Kong! We booked the best category (Sea View) at the newest hotel for 4 nights, and the US $ conversion made it about $1000. $250/night. Obviously, there are cheaper hotels in the world, but WDW moderates are going for those prices now. I will take my Deluxe Resort, thank you very much.

    So we have gotten ourselves to Hong Kong, and with a places to stay for $2K. Not doing the airline upgrade, choosing a cheaper Disney hotel, choosing a cheaper room category. You could do a trip for two adults with Credit Card points for less than $1000. And the two 2-day park tickets, plus 2 days worth of meal vouchers for the both us? Tack on only another $240.

    I post the numbers, because a lot of people think there is no way they can afford a trip to Asia. What did you pay for your last vacation at WDW?
     
  2. hopemax

    hopemax DPF Charter Member DPF Charter Member

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    Trip Report Part 1

    So because this CC point thing worked out so well, we have already started on Part 2, which is free airfare to Japan. So step 1 was applying for the United Mileage Plus card. That came with 2 passes to the United Lounge. Since we don't have a Priority Pass lounge here in Denver, we went to the United Lounge instead. This was the 4th of 5 airport lounge I have been in now, and probably the least impressive. Just cold food, and juices, but a better place to wait for our flight than at the gate. We had to change planes in San Francisco, picked up some lunch because we didn't know what we would get on the plane. It turned out United fed us twice, but the food was not nearly as good as what we had on British Airways going to London, so we were glad we brought something with us.

    Immigration in Hong Kong, was a short line, and very quick. No questions, just scan the passport and print out a receipt. Baggage claim, also quick and easy. The first thing we had to do was pick up tickets for Airport Express (quick train to central Hong Kong) and get our Octopus cards. These are like Oyster cards in London, and a myriad of other transportation cards in cities around the world. But Octopus cards are also good on the buses, DingDing (trolley), Star Ferry, convenience stores (Circle K and 7-11) and a lot of quick service restaurants. And bonus, the Magical Coin (aka pressed penny) machines at Disneyland. An Airport Express was waiting when we walked over, and so we were out of the airport about an our after we had arrived (there have been times I can't do that in Denver).

    We had to change trains to get to our hotel. The MTR station was about a 3 minute walk from the hotel. Again, check-in was a breeze. We had been warned the rooms would be small, and they were, but it had everything we needed. They had a daily breakfast buffet for about $13 US per person. We found it easier to just eat here each morning.

    Day 1 - Hong Kong Island

    So we had a small list of things we wanted to do, but what we did was going to be dependent on the weather. If it was a clear day we would go up Victoria Peak. It was overcast, so we just wandered around Hong Kong Island instead. We visited the mid-level Escalators, did some shopping, got lunch at a Poke place and ate it in a local park, walked through some markets, found the park where the UK took possession of Hong Kong, went back to the hotel for a break.

    Street Art
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    For dinner we visited two Tiki Bars (my DH is a big Tiki fan due to Trader Sams). He had made contact with both of them via Facebook before we left. Honi Honi was first, and has been open for several years now. It's pretty casual, a place to simply hang out with your friends. We ordered a drink each, but were also given a free shot each, plus a bunch of postcards. The 2nd place is Wahtiki. It is much newer, and is operated by the son of a gentleman who worked at, and eventually became the manager of Trader Vic's in London from 1969 to the mid-90s. It definitely had a more Trader Vic's vibe. More polished, the perfect place to entertain clients. Here we ordered small plate appetizers, and a drink each. We finished those, and were also given a 2nd drink, a shot and a sample of their Mai Tai mix each. DH and I are not normally drinkers, so drinking 3 drinks and 2 shots each...Both places were different, but we had a very good time.

    At Honi Honi
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    After dinner, we took the MTR down to Causeway Bay, I found the shop that sold Disney things (secondary market place), I mentioned already Koby Gifts. We visited Times Square shopping mall, which had a Lego Store (more on that later), and to my surprise an official Licensed shop for Studio Ghibli!!! It's called Donguri Republic and they have stores in Japan and Hong Kong (there is one at the airport I think). So I spent a ton of money there on Totoro and Kiki's Delivery Service Stuff. The mall also had some sort of Pokemon Event going on, so we took some pictures with the inflatable Pikachu, and signs.

    Donguri Republic
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    Day 2 - Kowloon

    So still overcast skies, so no Peak and we instead headed to Kowloon. We took the Ding Ding, and were supposed to get off a stop close to where we could get the Star Ferry. But we missed it, and by the time we realized it, it was easier to just take the MTR across. Our destination was Sham Shui Po, which is not what you normally see for "the place to go to the markets," as it is one of the poorer areas of the city. But in my research, it was where the craft markets are. I scrapbook, my MIL beads, and my Mom used to love to look at pretty fabric. So I thought it would be more interesting than visiting the recommended "tourist" markets which I assumed would be filled more with clothes, trinkets and knockoffs. We spent about an hour looking around, and I bought a few items. DH and I certainly noticed we were the only tourists anywhere in the area. Since it was geared more for locals, it was interesting to see how people shopped. Eye opening was the amount of knockoff LEGO clones. We knew Lepin existed, but it was amazing to see the volume and how close they resembled real LEGO in person.

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    Not the $800 LEGO Millenium Falcon
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    Lunch, we grabbed at McDonald's at the Dragon Center shopping mall. I know, but it was a known commodity when we were in an unknown area, where we knew English would be more difficult. Even ordering at McDonalds and pointing we had to do it twice to get everything we wanted (we got our sandwiches the first time, had to go back for the fries/drinks. Value Meals are more limited, apparently).

    Next, we headed to the Chi Lin Nunnery and Nan Lin Gardens. The MTR exited by another shopping mall that had a Uniqlo, so we took a quick peak. The Gardens are Nunnery were beautiful, and the overcast skies were starting to clear off. It took awhile to look around, so when we were finished we headed into the mall to find Starbucks. They have a very tasty Mango Passion Fruit smoothie, and free wi-fi and the mall had a bathroom, so we took a little respite.

    Nan Lin Gardens
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    Chi Lin Nunnery

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    The next stop was Mongkok. So I have mentioned LEGO a few times. DH does LEGO like I do Disney pins. We had learned that in 2016, they had released four Hong Kong exclusive sets featuring local landmarks. So our goal was to see if we could find these sets. I had researched a few possible toy stores (we had previously visited one on the Hong Kong Island side). But these places aren't meant for tourists. Which meant they were located on higher floors, and to find the right "small" entry that would take you to an elevator / escalator was a little challenging. But we had Google Maps and Apple Maps, and we made it to where we wanted to go. The first store had one of the sets, and at a price DH was happy with, and they took credit cards. So woo hoo.

    The 2nd place, wasn't a specific store, but a shopping mall called In's Point. It is two levels, of very narrow walkways of toy stores, and since it was Friday afternoon, completely packed with people. Each store is about the size of a bathroom, and filled top to bottom with whatever they happened to be selling. Tons of Anime toys, some Disney, and a lot of LEGO. Again, we were the only white people / tourists. We found one place that had the sets we were after, and with a bunch of pointing, broken English, and a calculator we found out they were only selling them in a set of four for $2150HKD (about $275 US). We knew it would be a cash only place, and we didn't have that much in smaller bills (we had a couple 1000HKD bills but were planning on using them at Disneyland because most places don't take them because of counterfeiting), plus we already had one of the sets. So DH regretfully left them behind. But the experience was definitely one of those things you only get when you leave the tourist places behind.

    By this point our feet were shot, we were hot, tired, hungry so we headed to a tourist shopping mall and found their food court. But no US chains, we ate at a noodle and rice place. We found the other official LEGO store and took some pictures of the models. We realized the person who built the models was the same Master Builder that designed the HK LEGO sets.

    It was getting late, so we made our way down to Tsim Sha Tsui for the evening light show. It had gotten overcast again, and there was a lot of construction in the area. After waiting the show started, and I guess we are just too used to Disney...it wasn't worth it. There was music playing, and some lasers but not really coordinated in anyway. After the show, we took the Star Ferry back to Hong Kong Island. It really is a nice little trip, and I decided even though we didn't plan on going back to Kowloon, I wanted to take it again during daylight...just wasn't sure when.

    The skyline is still cool

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    Last edited: Jun 5, 2018
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  3. hopemax

    hopemax DPF Charter Member DPF Charter Member

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    Day 3 - Victoria Peak & Kowloon

    Since this was our last city day, we were committed to going up the Peak today. Good news, the weather looked like it was going to cooperate. We had learned that in the late morning, the cloud cover would burn off for a few hours, and this was the clearest morning we had had. Bad news, it was a Saturday, which means it would be crowded. There are two ways to the top, the touristy and unique way is to take the Peak Tram, which is a 8-min funicular ride. But with our planned, "late morning" intended arrival we knew the queue line would be pretty long (up to 2 hour waits are not unheard of). So we went with option 2, the bus. The bus is cheaper, but takes 45 minutes.

    We boarded at one end of the line, so we were one of the first people on the bus, which allowed us to get the front row seats in the upper deck. So we had some great views of the city, and allowed us to see the "backside" of Hong Kong Island, as well as experience some "adventurous" bus driving. We arrived up top about 11 AM, and walked down Lugard Road to a couple view points which gave us spectacular views of the harbor (although it was still a little hazy). The entire loop is a recommended walk, but it takes an hour, which is more than we wanted to commit to. We poked around the shopping center, grabbed a quick lunch at Burger King, and paid to visit the Sky Terrace. It also has spectacular views, but was super crowded. Once we were finished, we checked the queue for the Peak Tram going back down, but it was pretty full, so we headed back to the bus to head back into the city.

    "Backside of the Island"

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    View from Lugard Road viewpoint

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    View from Sky Terrace

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    The Peak Tram

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    The bus queue was pretty full too, but we were still able to score upper level seats. The terminus is right next to the Star Ferry terminal, so we decided to take advantage of that and return to Kowloon. I can't say enough about the Ferry. It's a quintessential Hong Kong thing, the view is spectacular, at this point the weather was spectacular and it only cost $3.70HKD (not even 50 cents USD). Our goals were to take pictures of the Clock Tower, visit the nearby shopping mall (because they had a Toys R Us and another Donguri Republic store) and then visit the MTR kiosk at one of the MTR stations so DH could look at their souvenirs.

    View from Star Ferry looking back toward Hong Kong Island

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    But the weather, was a little too nice. We had been handling the humidity okay, but could have used a towel, but now we were walking around in full, brutal sunlight. The shopping mall was insanely crowded. The spaces were US mall sized, but full of so many people that it felt like the tiny, walkways of our toy store adventure. Then the walk from their to the MTR station we needed, wasn't that far, but three days of vacation was starting to wear on us. Plus, will all the people there aren't that many places to stop, sit and rest. So by the time we made it the MTR shop, I was basically toast. So DH shopped (he did find something he liked, so I guess it was worth it) and I sat in one of the few chairs available for people waiting for the cross-border train passengers to clear immigration.

    I had intended us to try and find one other Toy Store in Mongkok, but after failing to find it on our first attempt, we decided we better start making our way back to our hotel, as we had a few stops along the way. First, was to see the Supreme Court building because that was the LEGO model we had successful purchased. Second, I wanted another ride on the Ding Ding and figured we could just head back to our hotel that way. Only it was late afternoon / early evening and it was packed. And hot. The MTR trains could be super packed as well, but they had fabulous A/C!

    We eventually made it back to the hotel, dinner was desserts and snacks in the room, and packed up for our next adventure...DISNEYLAND!

    The view we had from our hotel room

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    Day 4 - Transfer to Hong Kong Disneyland and Hotel Exploring

    So there is a restaurant at the Disneyland Hotel, Crystal Lotus, that serves Disney themed dim sum. The catch is you have to order it advance. So a couple weeks before we left, we got a $1.99 Skype package to call Hong Kong and made a reservation for our transfer day (as well as a character breakfast for the following morning). They take your email address, and send you the dim sum menu, you select what you want and email them back. You need to order with 48 hours notice. We knew we had to be there at 12:30, so we worked out we needed to leave our hotel about 10:15. To get from our hotel to Disney we had to take 3 different MTR trains, but the transfers were easy since we had a few days to get comfortable of the layout of the stations, and knew where we were going. Once you get to the HKDL MTR station, you board a shuttle bus to the hotel you require, and it's a 5 minute ride from the station to the hotel.

    Explorers Lodge, as @Spr175psu previously mentioned is heavily modeled after Animal Kingdom Lodge, so the moment we arrived it felt like we were home. Short line at check-in, but rooms aren't available until 3PM. So we took our bags to the luggage storage, which had it's own queue line. The CM's were super efficient of tagging people's bags, and giving us a receipt. With all of that done, we walked over to the Disneyland Hotel via the Explorers Lodge pool, along the waterway, and through the garden by the Disneyland Hotel.

    Took a few pictures in the lobby, before heading over to Crystal Lotus. When we made the reservation, we were reminded that it was Mother's Day, so the restaurant was fully booked. So unfortunately, we were seated in one of the back rooms and not the central area, with the chandeliers and the windows overlooking the gardens. We had pre-ordered 4 dim sums and additionally order a bbq pork dish and a fried rice dish. The dim sum were very cute and photogenic. There were several other tables doing the same thing we were, taking lots of pictures before actually eating our food. The food itself...honestly, it was a lot like WDW not nearly as tasty as it looks and costs. And the service wasn't as attentive as we received in other restaurants. It wasn't bad, and I'm glad we went partook in the experience. But I went into it feeling like this was a unique HKDL experience (and it is) but it was not so satisfying that I would recommend people try to squeeze it into their trip if they are pressed for time. It was perfect for our transfer day. Maybe, if it had been less crowded it would have also been a more satisfying visit.

    Too cute to eat
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    After lunch was more pictures, and shopping! I think I surprised the lady with how much I purchased, but I wanted to buy what I could on our "free" day, so I didn't have to spend to much time buying things in the park. And when we had finished it was time to return to our hotel to get into our room. There was a line for key pickup, so we went to our hotel shop for more shopping before getting in the mostly empty line for our keys. They asked for our bag receipt, and so our bags were ordered to our room without having to go back to luggage services. Once we got into the room, it was maybe 15-20 minutes before there was a knock and our bags had arrived.

    The view
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    Our room had been decorated with a few cute towel animals. I had marked we were celebrating our anniversary, and since it was Mother's Day, there was also a towel rose. Toiletries were presented in a cute Tsum Tsum Easter themed tin, and the room was probably double the size of our previous hotel.

    After resting for a bit, we checked out the menu for the Chart Room Cafe (quick service) and then decided to walk over to the Hollywood Hotel to check out their quick service food option. We also looked at the menu for the bar, and decided that looked like a better menu. So far, our trip had been full of "cheaper than we were expecting" prices, but once we hit Disney dining that flipped. I felt like the food prices were more expensive than WDW, and with smaller portions. But the food was tasty, and more American than we had had, so satisfying. Bought a couple pins at their store, walked back to our hotel via their pool and the water walkway. It's only a 5 minute walk from Explorers Lodge to the Hollywood Hotel, 10 minutes to the Disneyland Hotel (because there is an empty lot between the 2), so it was super easy to get from place to place.

    The whole time we were in Hong Kong, I got the best sleep I had had in a long time. I apparently love, super firm Asian Style mattresses, and we were so tired we'd fall asleep almost instantly. Which was great, because the most anticipated part of our vacation was about to begin and we weren't completely worn out.

    Before, we skip to the next post, I have a few comments I wanted to make about Hong Kong's Disneyland.

    As you might have gleaned from my pin collection themes, I am am "old school" Disney fan. Between 1996-2008ish I was very into posting on forums like the old RADP usenet group, LaughingPlace.com when it was first launched, the DIS Rumors & News board, and eventually a small board our DIS friends started because apparently we were too hyper-critical. We dissected everything including the run up to Disney's first China theme park, which opened in 2005 , it's tiny size, gardens used in place of attractions, and basically no E-ticket attractions, the financial disappointments, etc.

    So part of me was a little hesitant of making HKDL my first International Disney park. Would it have better to start with Paris, or shoot for the grail and visit Tokyo? But I had satisfied my questions by thinking that if I started with a "lesser" park, I could judge it on its own merits and not compare it to Tokyo. I knew a lot had changed, and as more and more typical Disney attractions (but plussed) were added it was shaping up to be a nice little park. But it is still small, and still struggling for an audience. While we were there the park hours were 10:30AM-8:15PM. 10:30! At WDW or DL, we would already have made our first assault on the park, hit the headliners and were getting ready to change gears. Most people only visit for one day, and I had seen trip reports where people didn't even arrive until after 2, stayed until park closing and that was their day.
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2018
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  4. hopemax

    hopemax DPF Charter Member DPF Charter Member

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    Day 5 - Hong Kong Disneyland

    So with the late park opening, we started with a breakfast buffet at the Enchanted Garden Restaurant at the Disneyland Hotel. There are two seatings, and we chose the first 7:30-9. The characters walk-around the tables. We met with Mickey, Minnie and Pluto. The characters each had about 4 attendants. Two to handle the cameras, and two to handle the characters. They were quick, but you could quickly see why so many people were needed. Most of the diners were Japanese guests, and they really do completely bonkers for Disney. But because of that expectation, the characters really played it up with ALL guests not just those with children. So we had some of our best character interactions we have had. There were several different food stations featuring: pastries, fruits, Chinese, Japanese, American and Indian food selections and five different juices. We tried to sample a lot of different things. Food quality was mostly decent, but some items felt like they were sitting around a little too long, and some items were pretty bland when we didn't think they should have been. The price is $338 HKD per person ($43 USD) + 10% service charge. I may have to cut Boma at WDW some slack about their prices, now.

    We took the shuttle from the Disneyland Hotel to the park. We had our Klook reservation for our meal plan, but they had to be exchanged for physical vouchers. All the online instructions said you had to go to Guest Services, which is what we did. But the actual Klook paperwork said we only needed to go to the turnstyle. I didn't want to have to backtrack, and we had time to kill, so that's why we went to GS, but after entering the park, I did see a place where we could have exchanged them, all the way to the right of the entrance. Our food voucher gave us one meal combo and one popcorn / ice cream snack. They also had an option of 2 meal combos + snack, but we correctly figured out that with our big breakfast we only needed one full park meal, and snacks would be fine for whatever else. There is a separate security line for hotel guests, and a separate turnstyle line for hotel guests. So we were ready to go when we were let in at 10:15. One disappointment, the Railroad Station was under tarps. I knew the Castle was going through extensive renovations but I was sad I couldn't get a nice picture of the train station. You exchange your ticket reservation for a physical ticket right at the gate. And that only took a moment.

    Once inside, it became clear that even though it was a Monday, the park was going to be CROWDED. Main Street was already full. We first spotted Goofy, wearing a Graduation costume? And then we noticed multiple groups of very small children wearing graduation gowns being led to Goofy. We assume it was the equivalent of our Kindergarten graduations, and to be able to visit Disneyland to celebrate. I'm sure it must have been a wonderful experience for those kids. I only wished I had snapped a picture. The shops on Main Street were open, and so we quickly made our way to the Emporium where I successfully purchased the Mystic Manor LE pin that had been released on Saturday.

    While waiting for the rope drop, I took a look around and realized I was in a very surreal place. It looks like California. The Opera House, City Hall, the Fire Station, Emporium, Crystal Arcade, Penny Arcade, all of it. But it's all different! It's Centennial Hall not the Penny Arcade, it's not the Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln it's Animation Academy, it's not the old Bank now Disneyana shop it's where you go for your Magic Access card (Annual Passholder). All I could do was laugh. After rope drop, we beelined it over to the IronMan Experience. Which is a rethemed Star Tours style attraction. This was the one attraction that was in Cantonese, with English sprinkled through out (basically, whenever IronMan spoke was English). It was an okay attraction, but I'm glad we had visited the actual Hong Kong places that are shown in the movie so we had some reference. Next up, was Hyperspace Mountain. I love DL's Space Mountain and I refuse to ride WDW's because I don't trust the track, even with the "rehab" a few years ago. But this was more Disneyland than WDW, so it was a lot of fun. And only a 5 minute line. We didn't need to ride Astro Orbiter, so we stopped into the quick service restaurant to get some water (it was already hot & humid and we needed hydration). And while sitting there, I suddenly remembered @Gelatoni saying there was a pin trading game that went until noon, and it was 11:35.

    So we headed back to the appropriate shop on Main Street, which was nothing to walk because HKDL's Tomorrowland is tiny. People complain about how small Disneyland's castle is...not nearly as small as this Tomorrowland. There was still a significant line, but when else was I going to get a chance to win a Hidden Mickey pin? I already shared about my pin trading experience while in line, so I'll just talk about the game. For the price of two pins (ala and Epcot pin trading event line) you have an opportunity to win up to 2 HM pins. You are given a basket of 6 Tsum Tsums and you have to stand behind a line and throw the Tsum Tsum into a pyramid of 6 Tsum Tsums and knock them down to get a pin. Knock them over and you have tsums left to throw, they rebuild it and you can try again for a 2nd one. I didn't even make contact with the pyramid. DH at least hit it once and knocked a couple off.

    After the game, things get a little confusing. I tried, on the first day, to keep my camera in my bag and just take in the surroundings and experiences. But pictures, also serve as a diary, since my memory is terrible. So I think this is how things played out. We headed into Adventureland, and I noticed how much of the Tiki theming is duplicated from DL's Tiki Room and especially the Tiki Garden (although I didn't notice Tangaroa anywhere). We headed into Grizzly Gulch, but the ride was temporarily down and so we continued onto Mystic Point.

    Mystic Manor is the centerpiece of this miniland, and over the years there has been much discussion in forums that kvetch about such stuff of, "Is this Disney's best ride? A friend of ours had visited HKDL several years ago, and fell in love with Albert the Monkey (so much so, her only request on our visit was if we could purchase the souvenir music / jewelry box that she regretted not buying on her trip). I have purposefully, not watched POV ride videos from attractions I have not personally done. I'll look at a few still pictures, but I have chosen not to spoil myself too much. I knew the ride utilized the trackless ride system debuted in Tokyo's Winnie the Pooh. I knew that the Chinese operating partners were feeling disenchanted with how Disney originally built out the park, and so during expansion negotiations included language that would deny Disney the ability to duplicate the attraction in another park for a period of time. So we were going into the ride with a lot of expectations.

    I didn't mention the eggs. As part of the Springtime decor, tons of character eggs, were sprinkled around

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    The queue line was only about 15 minutes long, so we chose not to use one of our extra FPs by staying in the Sea View Room at our hotel. Long enough of a line, so the queue was full and we could really look at all the theming, but still board quickly. Mystic Manor, for those that don't know, plays the role of HKDL's version of the Haunted Mansion. However, due to Chinese beliefs regarding death all the ghosts and macabre are replaced with an eccentric Adventurer and his mischievous monkey who opens something he shouldn't. We are introduced to them in a way that is similar to the Stretching Room, after we board our carriage to begin our tour. The attraction proceeds through a series of rooms, similar to the first half of the HM with a bunch of objects brought to life. Albert eventually fixes his mischievousness and we are returned to where we began. The trackless ride system allows the cars to change places, so if your view is a little less at the beginning, it will be better at the end. And allows different cars to have a different "featured" effect. I have tried to be purposefully vague, because I don't want to spoil too much.

    The WDW HM has a Solarium too.
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    So is this Disney's best ride? For us, the answer is no. Flight of Passage could make a good case, but our hearts still reside with the classics - Disneyland's Pirates and Haunted Mansion. The ride does utilize several Audio-Animatronics, but not nearly in the volume as those, and so there is nothing as impressive as the Ballroom, Graveyard or floating through the ransacking of Port Royale. This is a very, very, very good ride and not disappointing. Recent US park dark rides have consisted of Superstar Limo and it's Monsters Inc re-theme, the Little Mermaid and Frozen, and MM is far superior to any of those, and so I'm disappointed all over again by Disney's half-baked attractions presented to American tourists when they have the creative ability to do so much more.

    When we checked into the hotel, we were given a special Fastpass for Festival of the Lion King, but we had to choose a time. We had selected the 2PM show and given the time, we were debating whether we had time to eat at our chosen restaurant or should we use our snack option and eat after the show. We went with option 2, and so we found ourselves a bench in Mystic Point to enjoy our Mickey Premium bar / Stitch Paw Sorbet before returning to Adventureland for the show. I was disappointed going into our trip that Mickey and the Wonderous Book would be closed for rehab, and Moana wouldn't be open yet, so this would be our one opportunity to experience a show at HKDL. I went into it expecting basically the same show that is presented at Animal Kingdom.

    Our special FP allowed us to enter the theater first, and select the best seats before the masses entered. The theater is set up the same as AK, with 4 sections. The four floats come out, just like AK. There are 4 main singers, and a bunch of performers dressed as animals, but that is basically where the similarities end. In this version, they are performing the story of the Lion King so the main singers are playing the roles of Rafiki, Simba, Nala, and Scar. There are no Tumble Monkeys, but instead two Chinese monkeys whose job it is to present the Cantonese telling of the story, because all of the dialog and singing is done in English. All the costumes, IMO were improved, two fire dancers - improved, and the section most similar to the AK version, the Asian birds was improved with more difficult acrobatic tricks. I didn't think the AK version could be improved that much, but I was wrong. So don't skip the show, thinking it's the same as home.

    Now, we were heading to lunch at the Explorer's Club back in Mystic Point, but this time the Mine Train ride in Grizzly Gulch was open, so we hopped in line (about 10 minutes). There is no Frontierland in HKDL, so this miniland gives a taste of Frontierland, and there is a lot of stuff to look at when you aren't riding the one attraction. Being a Mine Train ride, there are comparisons to be made to Big Thunder, with some elements of Everest thrown in as well. Since I had avoided spoilers, I did not know the track does what it does and so that was a fun surprise. The ride is definitely tamer than Everest, and maybe even BTMRR, so don't let it scare you. Good theming throughout, a worthy Mountain in Disney's Mountain Range. I just wish there was attraction merchandise to go with it.

    Continue TR after haul
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2018
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  5. hopemax

    hopemax DPF Charter Member DPF Charter Member

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    Haul

    So far, I have a lot of text but no pictures yet. So I am going to stick in my "haul" pics.

    The damage from Donguri Republic
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    Random goodies from the markets and shops

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    Disney items found around town. I forgot to mention the Tomica stores. There were a couple official ones, and then smaller shops had the cars as well.

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    Spoilers...wait, there are four LEGO sets here, but you only said you got one! And I forgot to mention stopping in at Hard Rock Cafe. I don't really collect their pins, but if I happen to be in a unique place and in proximity to a HRC, I will pick up a couple.

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    Hong Kong Explorers Lodge Goodies. The tins were left one per day, and held toiletries. And free slippers. The rest were purchases.
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    Hong Kong Disneyland Souvenirs

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    Stuff for our existing collections

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    New collections - Mystic Manor

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    The cute little grey cat

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    Some other stuff. Roquefort and Heimlich are "loser" prizes from the pin games when a pin wasn't the loser prize. They had a choice of three characters, both Heimlich and Roquefort were ones I had wanted, but didn't buy stateside, because I didn't think I "needed" them. Mulan and Mushu are new Tsums that have so far only been released at Hong Kong Disneyland. There is also a Li Shang but he wasn't in stock yet. Some of you may remember that my Mom collected Mulan, so I got them in honor of her.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2018
  6. hopemax

    hopemax DPF Charter Member DPF Charter Member

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    Continuation of Day 5 - HKDL

    In researching the trip, we learned the best places to use our meal vouchers was the Explorer's Club. There are 4 bays (Indonesian, South East Asian, Korean and Japanese). We could each chose a combo meal (drink included) and we both ended up chosing the Chicken Tikka Masala and Lamb combo meal, which also came with rice, naan bread and some vegetables. There are 5 dining rooms (Chinese, Indian, Russian are inside and have A/C, Moroccan and Egyptian are outside in open air, but the Egyptian room is usually closed off). Since we were having Indian food, we ate in the Indian Room (not really, but despite eating off-hours it was the only room we could find a table inside). If there is one disappointment I had at HKDL it's the food quality. I just had Trader Joe's Tikka Masala and rice frozen meal, and it may have tasted better. It was carbs and protein, which I guess was all we really needed, but you want your theme park food to be better than that. The restaurant itself, is really cool for people like us. Fans of the Adventurer's Club will be happy to see so much of the decor re-purposed. The entryway has many of the masks from the old Mask Room. Also, the Imagineers have started weaving SEA (the Society of Explorers and Adventurers) throughout the parks. Tokyo DisneySea has a lot of SEA details, as well as the Skipper's Canteen restaurant at WDW, and here in HKDL you would find SEA details in the restaurant. After we ate, we took a bunch of pictures, and a CM, opened the rope blocking the Egyptian section so we could take pictures in that section too.

    The new home of the Mask Room masks from Adventurer's Club
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    After our meal, we returned to experience Mystic Manor a second time (this time with my DSLR out) and while we hoped for a different track layout we ended up being sat in the exact same place as our first ride. We then headed for Toy Story Land. I didn't think I would care that much for this land because it is basically a collection of amusement park low capacity rides with Toy Story character theming. The first ride is the Parachute Drop which had the longest line we say (40 minutes) but this is where our extra FP's from our hotel came in handy. Our wait time...5 minutes. The theming is Green Army Men, the view is overlooking Toy Story Land and into the construction area for Frozen expansion. Not a lot of vertical construction yet, but I'm already excited to return once it is completed. Next, was Slinky Dog Spin where we also used our hotel FPs to reduce a 30 min wait to 5 minutes, and lastly was RC Racers. You couldn't use FPs here, but the wait was only 20 minutes. Because of HKDL's lower attendance keeping wait times sort of in check, and our FPs this miniland turned out to be pretty fun for it's age intended audience. However, if these same rides were in WDW and you had to reserve them with FP+, it would be a disaster, there wouldn't be enough capacity, lines would balloon to 90 minutes for 90 second rides. Negative to the land is that it is entirely exposed to the burning sun. We got there about 5, so the sun was starting to retreat and so we didn't feel the full brunt of it. The three minilands along this path, do close early so that gives you a limited window to experience it in comfortable temps, and we were lucky to stumble into that window. Bonus, the theming is wonderful, lots of photo opportunities and so now I have a high bar set for Hollywood Studios, but I expect they will have chipped away at the budget so the land won't feel as "full and complete." DH grabbed a churro and some water before we headed on.

    At the far end of Toy Story Land is a crossroads where you could choose to enter Fantasyland or return to Adventureland. Fantasyland was on the agenda for tomorrow, so we headed to the Jungle River Cruise. Three lines are offered at this attraction: English, Cantonese or Mandarin. We chose English. Posted wait was 20 minutes, I think, but it was closer to 30-40 minutes because they were only running one English boat. I had read, that the English can be so intelligible that you might as well take one of the other lines because you wouldn't understand anyway. That kind of turned out to be the case. The CM was very enthusiastic, and tried to do the jokes, but the accent and enunciation just wasn't strong enough to understand every word. But it is the Jungle Cruise so even though the path is different, we knew what was going on. The ride is supposed to conclude with a fiery finale, but this effect was not working for us.

    Popcorn Turners like Disneyland
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    It was starting to get late, so we didn't have time for the Treehouse today. According to my pictures, we returned to Grizzly Gulch, and I think we must have ridden the ride again before heading to Main Street to get a spot for the We Love Mickey! Projection show which is being offered in lieu of fireworks due to Castle construction. The curb was all taken, but we found spots in front of the candy store behind a stroller and trash can, so our views would be good even though we had to stand. The projection show is cute enough, but honestly, I'm tired of them at this point. But it was nice to see Mickey get some love, and they used clips from shorts I haven't seen in awhile. Once people cleared out, we staked out a spot for Paint the Night on the opposite side of the street. This is when we experienced our one major annoyance with other guests. We were standing on the curb in our "spots" and I was taking pictures. A Mom came by with two kids and indicated she wanted to sit where we were standing, we shook our heads, we were there, and so she sat down in the one open space, and had her kids sit down basically at DH's feet pushing him out. So I immediately sat down, and there was no longer curb space for DH, and so he had to sit behind me. We had seen PtN at Disneyland, I didn't notice differences (other than the language of the song) but I had read someone else's TR commenting about differences, so maybe I need to review my photos.

    Not the Penny Arcade
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    After the parade, we did some quick shopping in the Candy store, and we headed out. We could have taken the shuttle, but I figured this might be our only opportunity to walk the path to the Hotels instead (I didn't want to walk it in morning sunlight) so we played Pokemon Go on our walk, and it took maybe 15-20 minutes. After dropping stuff off at our room, DH was feeling a little hungry so we went down to the Chart Room Cafe and ordered a Meat Lovers flatbread and some french fries. This food was actually really good! The pizza cheeses were different than normal mozzarella and the meats were different too (prosciutto was one of them). It was maybe on the salty side, but after all the sweating we had been doing, it was exactly what we needed.

    Day 6 - HKDL Day 2

    We took a little longer time getting ready, and skipped the buffet breakfast opting to try out the Main Street Bakery in the park. I had read that although HKDL is light on the snack game, one of the unique options was an Egg Tart. So we arrived at the park with enough time to take pictures of the fountain that is out front, arriving at the turnstyles only just before the 10:15 entry into Main Street, avoiding standing in the sun. We walked through the shops we hadn't visited the day before, and without a pin game going on, I purchased a bunch more pins at the pin store. Our tickets came with two $30 HKD merchandise vouchers a piece, and the pin store was one place we could use them so that worked out.

    We made our way to the Bakery and found out it was also having a rehab, *sigh* but it was open although with a limited menu. They did still offer the Egg Tart and I also spied what I thought was a basic chocolate croissant with pistachio sprinkles and the coffee was Starbucks so we got more Mango Passion Fruit smoothies. And luckily there was an open table in the courtyard that shares with the people eating Mickey Waffles. The Egg Tart turned out to be not my thing, but the croissant more than made up for it. It was actually filled with chocolate custard, and was the best thing I ate in the park. We noticed that the receipt said Maxim's on it, which is a chain of pastry shops we had noticed while we were in the city (in the MTR stations, and on the streets). They looked good, and were busy so I was kind of interested in stopping, but we never felt it was the right time. Had I know about chocolate, pistachio croissant I would have done things differently.

    Yummy
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    Once we were finished eating, the park was open so we headed into Fantasyland taking a ton of pictures of the construction walls. In the banners outside the park, and throughout the Easter and Springtime decorations, and the construction walls HKDL did a much better job of utilizing characters that we don't necessarily see in the US parks.

    First stop was "it's a small world." The facade outside is more like Disneyland's, but with soft pastel coloring not the blue & white or the bright coloring. And a huge inside queue with A/C. But since it was early it was a walk on. This is where the insertion of Disney Characters debuted. Given the Asian love of cute everything, and given that Disney has some work to do to introduce all the characters, I am okay with it here. The scenes were well done, good lighting, photogenic and so the characters feel natural. I still don't like the characters in the CA version.

    Before heading away, the clock struck an appropriate time, and so we got to see the dolls come out. We actually rode the Mad Tea Party, which is something we usually skip at WDW (love it at night at DL still) before proceeding to Dumbo. Dumbo's posted wait was 10 minutes but due to a malfunctioning gate, turned into 30 minutes. We travel with a stuffed elephant and giraffe we had bought for each other in 1996 when we were only dating. And you can't take an elephant to Disney and not ride Dumbo. And before we knew it it was lunchtime (we needed to get it in before the first parade).

    One of the other recommended places to use our meal vouchers was the Royal Banquet Hall. This also has 4 bays and multiple princess themed dining halls. After consulting the menu outside, we decided what we wanted and went inside...only to find the item I wanted wasn't available because the Guangdong section is rarely open. I really didn't know what I wanted so I ended up getting a meat combo at the same window DH was getting his fish & chips. They also had a bunch of character themed cupcakes so I picked out a Gelatoni, of course. The dessert wasn't included with our meal, but I was prepared with having my voucher and my $50HKD ready which I could tell the CM appreciated that she didn't have to explain too much that the cupcake wasn't included. I wanted to sit in the Belle room, so I bypassed the empty table in the Cinderella area. Of course, Belle was full and our delays had cost us dearly and all the inside tables were full. So we had to eat outside. It was covered, but the humidity was very oppressive. My food was not even as good as yesterday's meal. But Gelatoni was very tasty, and hadn't melted too much in the heat.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2018
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  7. hopemax

    hopemax DPF Charter Member DPF Charter Member

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    Continuation of Day 6

    In my pre-trip research, I had learned that in HKDL people didn't really stake out parade spots early. So after lunch, we headed to the parade route and found an open bench in the shade. It was only about 25 minutes before scheduled start, and we were near the kickoff point. About 10 minutes prior, I moved to a "front row" location so I could get better pictures. Once the 5 minute announcement came on, that's when people really started filling in. The first parade is the Flights of Fantasy parade which is the "standard" daytime parade. All the floats are really cute, and it was a good length, so I was quite pleased. DH enjoyed his shady bench.

    We headed over to Winnie the Pooh (same as WDW's version), used another hotel FP. And then returned to Adventureland. The game area where you win the pins was deserted, so we played. I had posted before about how helpful and friendly the CM's were. Then we took the rafts to Tarzan's Treehouse. Since there is no Frontierland, there is no Rivers of America. Instead, there is a large river in Adventureland. The Jungle River Cruise boats take the path the ROA traffic takes at the US parks. There is an island in the center, only accessible by raft, but the only thing to do is visit the Treehouse. There are no additional play areas like on Tom Sawyer Island.

    Now, here's where our day got a little screwy. I had read that they had Mango Dole Whip somewhere, but I forgot to note where it was. Overnight, I had checked and found out it was in Toy Story Land, the same place DH had bought his churro. He didn't remember seeing Mango Dole Whip, and we couldn't NOT try it if it was available, so we trekked through the blazing sun to the food stand and...no Dole Whip. They had an ice cream with matcha edging (I can't have too much dairy, so we passed). So then we trekked back through the blazing sun to Mickey's Philharmagic. The show had just started so we had to wait, and the queue got very busy and there wasn't good airflow so by the time we entered we were overheated, and dead tired. But eventually, we were let into the beautifully air conditioned theater with seats. I don't think I've enjoyed Mickey's Philharmagic so much! Plus, it was in English. The shop nearest to the theater is called Merlin's Treasures. Unfortunately, there was no Sword in the Stone merchandise ( I checked) but cute theming (I took a couple pics, coming shortly).

    Time was going by so fast, and so we returned to the parade route for the Springtime Processional. We ended up in the same area, as before, but DH's shady bench was on the Tomorrowland side of the street and I was a little closer to the Wonderous Book theater. I didn't know what to expect, but this was another decent length parade. This one had a lot more walk around characters, including Duffy & Friends. I was on the right side of the street for Gelatoni and the White Rabbit. And the train carrying Mickey & Friends was very beautiful.

    Now, we had to be very careful with how we used our remaining time. Since we right next to Tomorrowland, we did another ride on Hyperspace Mountain. Prior, I went into the actual Fastpass dispensing line (This was one of three attractions that had, old school paper fastpasses). The CM's were concerned, telling us, "no line inside," I replied "souvenir!" and they laughed. I also took some photos, and we purchased a few gifts for our nephews.

    It was about this time we realized, that the Gardens in Fantasyland we were going to do later, and the train...they all closed at 5:30 or 6:00. So we booked it back though Fantasyland, first knocking off the Fairytale Forest, and then the Fantasy Gardens. I took pics, but we didn't really have time to enjoy the experience. Our plan was to take the train from Fantasyland, past the Alice in Wonderland theming over to Mystic Point but because of the construction everyone had to disembark at Main Street. Something had to give, so regretfully we did not ride the train (check your times guide, people!).

    It was faster to get to Mystic Point by walking through Toy Story Land (this our third walk through today, if you have been keeping track) but at least the sun was starting to set. First we took some posed pictures in front of the house. Then we rode Mystic Manor a 3rd time, this time getting a different car, which took us a different route so our featured effect was different. I did our Mystic Manor shopping, where we were helped by a CM with amazing English. The best we had. I complimented him on how confident he spoke, and he thanked us. I thought for sure he must have gone to school in North America, but nope, he loves American movies! We said he would be going on an exchange program to work in the China pavilion at WDW later that year. I wonder if I will see him when I visit my Dad.

    So far I haven't talked about Magical Coins. These are the equivalent of Pressed Pennies, which I collect. I didn't have to worry about collecting $5HKD coins because I could use our Octopus Card (except at a couple hotel machines, which we did need coins for. I didn't have enough, so I had to skip a few designs). We had been collecting these throughout our 2 days. Some machines were, unfortunately broken. Including, what I thought was the really cool machine in Grizzly Gulch. As we were walking back from Mystic Point, I noticed a CM by the machine and I hoped she was fixing it. Nope, it turned out this machine had a trick! Not only did you have to scan your card, you had to turn the wheel before it would let you select which coin to press. So I was very happy I was able to collect these coins.

    We took one more spin on the Mine Train ride, before heading to the hub for some dusk pictures of the Bambi topiaries and Main Street buildings lit up. Since we did the nighttime entertainment already, we decided to call it a day, say goodbye to Disneyland and head back to the hotel. We ended up doing the exact same thing for dinner, flatbread & fries from the Chart Room. I had originally wanted to do Chef Mickey's at the Hollywood Hotel. But we had spent enough, and it would have taken more time, so we kept it simple.

    One more day to go. So check out post 14 for a continuation of the trip report.
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2018
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  8. Spr175psu

    Spr175psu Well-Known Member

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    Great pictures and thanks for sharing! I totally agree about Crystal Lotus, the dim sum was very cute, but way too overpriced and was not very good. One of my regrets in Hong Kong was not making it to Tim Ho Wan as planned because they closed at 9:30 and we stayed to watch Paint the Night. Chi Lin Nunnery looks amazing. Next time, we'll have to carve out some time to sightsee.
     
  9. Booger1964

    Booger1964 Well-Known Member

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    I'm glad you had a great time! Thanks so much for sharing your experiences and pictures. I really enjoyed them!
     
  10. timeerkat

    timeerkat Your Friend Who Likes To Play

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    Thank you for sharing! It sounds like an amazing trip with what you've written so far! And that's an amazing haul! (Though I did notice that Fear was left out of the Inside Out chopstick set. Poor guy can't get a break, ever!)
     
  11. watzshakinbacon

    watzshakinbacon B for Belle or B for bacon?

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    Awesome haul!!! Loves all those non-pin goodies as well!! I can't wait to check out the Asian disney parks! Their dumbo pins are so cute!!
     
  12. broadwaybookworm

    broadwaybookworm Member

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    Wow looks like so much fun! Thank you for sharing your experience and photos, I love seeing what is different at the international parks!
     
  13. Addicted to Alice Pins

    Addicted to Alice Pins My name is Ann, and I'm here to enable you!

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    I'm not gonna lie, you haven't completely finished your posting yet as I write this, and the entirety of your adventures is of interest ... but yes indeed, my biggest question was going to be WAIT YOUR HUSBAND DIDN'T GET THE OTHER THREE LEGO SETS?!?! I'm mega-relieved to know that there is more to the story! Ha ha ha.
     
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  14. hopemax

    hopemax DPF Charter Member DPF Charter Member

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    Day 7 - Return to Hong Kong Island

    Before we left, we unfortunately that our planned experience the Ngong Ping Gondola ride up to the Tian Tan Buddha was going under renovation the entire length of our vacation. So we were left with an open day. We could have taken the bus up to the Buddha, but that would require two trains and then the 45 minute bus ride each direction. We could have gone to Tai O fishing village, but it was the same sort of time commitment. So ultimately we decided to go back to where we started, because there were a couple things we didn't get done, and a couple things we wanted "do overs" for.

    We started with a breakfast buffet at Dragon Wind. We did not have a reservation and the restaurant was not nearly as full as Enchanted Garden was. So we had planned appropriately, and reserved the right meal. You can meet Explorer Mickey & Minnie, but they don't walk through the restaurant. Instead, you are given a ticket and either before or after you eat, you wait in a small line. The food selection was even greater, more unique, and better tasting than at Enchanted Garden. EG wins for characters, but Dragon Wind wins for food and dining experience. This was also not cheap, but slightly cheaper than EG at $298HKD per person ($38 USD) + 10% service charge.

    The previous night, we had ridden back with 2 other obviously American tourists and they were talking about a "tour group" they were on. I was eavesdropping, and didn't any questions. And before that, we were walking through the Emporium and I thought I recognized the guy from the TDR Explorer website (which we had used for much of our planning, and where we had gotten the Klook advice from). Well, sitting at the table near us was the whole tour group. When they were leaving, I approached the TDR Explorer guy and thanked him for all the helpful tips. It turns out they were doing the whole Asian loop. HKDL, Shanghai and Tokyo. The world is so big, but in some ways it can be so small. When we lived in WA, we would run into people we knew in WDW and CA. And even though we didn't "know" the TDR Explorer guy, it was a little like we did because of all the planning.

    After our meet & greet, we took the shuttle over to the MTR station and worked our way back to Hong Kong Island. Our first stop, wait for it @Addicted to Alice Pins one last attempt to track down the Hong Kong LEGO sets. We ran out of steam, before we could visit the shop while we were, you know, staying near it. And it turns out, our wandering around the island on the first day we were literally around the corner from it and didn't know it. This store has a huge selection online, and says they are the #1 online LEGO retailer for Asia. So we had high hopes.

    The shop was smaller than we expected, but I knew there warehouse was elsewhere. Not as small as the In's Point shops but close. They DID offer the sets, but they also wanted to sell them as a set for $2600 (for those keeping track we had previous seen them for $2150 but in Mongkok). He did have one set he would sell separately, but it was the one we had previously purchased. While we were at Disney, DH had posted on the LEGO Colorado FB group about finding the one set. Someone had posted that if we had found another one about the same price he would be interested in it. We left the shop, and I knew DH was disappointed. He is very disciplined with money, and doesn't like to splurge. This whole job situation left us with a nice severance, so before we got too far, I basically stopped him and said. Get the sets. He hadn't bought a lot of souvenirs, so this would be his major purchase. So we go back to the store to ask if they took a credit card (since they did have an online store, I thought he might). But no luck, there was an ATM across the street.

    Again, I could tell DH was disappointed. Getting money out would cost fees. Plus, to avoid getting $1000 HKD bills that we didn't think he would accept, we would have to do it in $900 chunks each transaction a separate fee. Adding more cost to the already higher priced sets. But again I pushed. I know DH's instinct is to "be responsible." And he always regrets it later. We had to wait for a customer to finish, and then we got the first set of $900 HKD out. Another customer came, so we let him go next. Got back in and did the 2nd $900 transaction. We started the 3rd and got REJECTED. I figured it might be because we had hit our daily withdrawl limit or because they were so close together. Thankfully, we have debit cards from two different banks so we pulled out the 2nd card and got out the 3rd $900.

    DH at this point is excited HE IS GETTING THE SETS! He contacts the FB guy and offers to sell him the first set we got at the price we bought it for. We go back up to the shop... The sets are in the warehouse. Could we come back at 5PM to pick them up? Crushing disappointment. 5 was later than what we were planning on staying, and what if we waited and he didn't come through? Plus, he wanted us to leave a 500HKD deposit. We were already this deep into it, so we agreed and continued on with our day.

    Next we walked to the Western Market, which was one of the LEGO designs (we actually visited 3 of the 4 sets. The 4th was in New Territories way outside of the city center). Western Market is one of the last remaining British buildings, and the oldest Market still in operation. Time has marched on, and so there aren't that many tenants, but a few silk fabric shops on the 2nd floor. They were a little pushy, I just wanted to look. I said, "I don't sew, just look." But one of the sellers was prepared for this, and had a small group of finished silk table runners. I did think it would make a good gift for DH's sister. So I purchased one. I honestly don't know if it's the real deal. He said, This more expensive in Central, they rip you off. His wife, make." But then he had some already pre-wrapped and ready to go. Don't know if what he said was true, but we are going for experience. I did Google, and found out that some people were very happy with their silk purchases from the Western Market. "A little more expensive than in year's past, but the real deal (I guess, real silk burns, while the fakey stuff just melts). " I haven't tested that yet. There was also a shop selling diecast vehicles. We picked up a "Year of the Ram" one for our one nephew. Unfortunately, our other nephew was born in the "Year of the Dragon." That stuff is always gone because tourists like the Dragon.

    Ding Dings
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    Our last Ding Ding experience didn't go well, so we tried again. Much better. Morning is the better time to ride the Ding Ding, avoid late afternoons. Our next stop was the Tai Yuen Street Market in Wan Chai. It's mostly a street filed with toy shops, the remnant of a time when Hong Kong was the center of Toy Production before it moved to the mainland. The street market had a variety of items. I only bought a tiny cat trinket for $20HKD, but the area was very colorful, and not too filled with tourists, more locals. We continued on the Ding Ding back to Causeway Bay. Returning to Times Square mall where we looked around a bit more than the first time. Took a picture of the Solo display, and got a bit of respite at Starbucks.

    Tai Yuen Street
    [​IMG]

    Solo
    [​IMG]

    We also stopped at the HMV flagship store where I found a few more Tomy Disney items. Returned to Koby Gifts where I got my Disney FAN magazines and a couple of Teacup Magic Access pins. And we visited the SOGO department store. Shopping in Hong Kong is an adventure. So very different than we are used to. It was like 12 floors, but each floor was small. So tight walkways, and massive amount of people. One of the things we didn't get done was visit the Kitchen Market on the Kowloon side. I had been hoping to find a special tea set, or chopsticks kit or something. They did have a nice selection here, but we were way too tired to try to find a place to checkout or stand in line.

    It wasn't time to return for the LEGO, but I didn't have any more in me. He mentioned it might get there before 5, so we figured, by the time we took the MTR back over it would be about 4:30. Of course, we get there...no sets...5:30. *internal head banging* We knew there was another Starbucks around the corner, so we headed over there for our second Starbucks of the day (and like 5th of the trip). About 5:15 DH, decided to head back over, and I stayed at Starbucks. A short time later, he comes back with a huge smile on his face. Mission Accomplished. Finally.

    We had previously determined that dinner would be a stop at the Pret a Manger sandwich shop (a chain we had liked when we were in London) in the Central MTR station and take it back to Disney. So with that accomplished, we boarded our trains back to our room. We found it even more decorations, and a box of 3 macarons. Still kicking WDW's Deluxe room experience's behinds. After our dinner, and a rest, we got to work packing up our 7 days of goodies. We headed to the lobby for a few last photos, and DH talked to Bell Services about arranging our taxi to the airport. And used online check-in for our flight. Or at least I did. DH got a message about not being able to give him a boarding pass, and get at airport. Okaaayyyy....
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2018
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  15. hopemax

    hopemax DPF Charter Member DPF Charter Member

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    Day 8 - Return home

    We met our taxi at 7:30. It's only a 15 minute ride, and it was $180HKD with our bags and tip ($23). Drop our bags, get physical boarding passes, security, immigration. Once in the Departure Area past security there are a bunch of shops and restaurants. This is where you find the larger of the airport Disney Stores. I bought a pin I intended to buy at the park but forgot. Unfortunately they didn't have the other pins I was hoping to buy. Regrets! I noticed the Mulan Tsums but I didn't need more Tsums, right? Took the train to the gates. Checked into the Priority Pass Lounge, which was crowded, but had a massive spread of food and drinks.

    While we were waiting, I found out the Mulan Tsums were recent releases and only in Hong Kong. Regret started to sink in, and I wondered if I should try to go back and get them. I left the lounge, and realized there was no way back. But there was a 2nd store location here! They had the Tsums (but no pins) and so at least one regret was avoided. Meet back up with DH and head to the gate. It's here we realize DH has big SSSSS on his first ticket at NO TSA precheck on our SFO to DEN flight. He had been pre-selected to go through additional security. Ugh. I continue boarding and find our seats, he eventually catches up and we are on our way. The food was no better on this flight, but we had leftover snacks to keep ourselves satisfied. Watch a bunch of movies and despite leaving a half hour late, we arrived only 10 min late in SFO.

    DH is concerned because of his no TSA precheck (we have Global Entry, dang it). But thankfully the airport isn't too busy. We do the Global Entry kiosks and they just look at the receipt (so, totally worth it), claim our bags and are officially back in the USA. Thankfully, United had a bag recheck station, and there is a security bypass line going from the International Terminal to the other terminals. So we weren't thrown in with the main domestic traffic flow. I had TSA precheck, so I breezed through, with my only delay being the people who didn't have their boarding passes out or were in the wrong line. So I wait for DH to go through the non-precheck line. It really only added 15 minutes, but he was annoyed.

    We had time to grab sandwiches, and wolf them down (American food...). Boarded our final flight, and made our way home. Called my Dad, rescued our senior kitty from his vet boarding. And we collapsed.

    Vacation over.


    Final Thoughts
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2018
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  16. hopemax

    hopemax DPF Charter Member DPF Charter Member

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    Photo Galleries
     
  17. hopemax

    hopemax DPF Charter Member DPF Charter Member

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    Maybe one more...
     
  18. bookhugger

    bookhugger I love books!

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    What a great trip report!
     
  19. momin.ator

    momin.ator Well-Known Member

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    That was a great trip. The info you gave on pricing, etc. was very helpful.
     
  20. Disneychildwithin

    Disneychildwithin Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for sharing!
     
  21. Spr175psu

    Spr175psu Well-Known Member

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    Our friends who we traveled with actually became really good friends with TDR Explorer Chris and we met up with him in Tokyo. He, and one of our travel companions and best friends of course, actually watched our daughter and took her on Country Bear Vacation while my wife and I went on Snow White's Scary Adventures since we had heard horror tales about that ride and its "surprise ending" and knew it would traumatize our daughter. Heck, it basically traumatized us! But more of that to come in my own trip report, which is presently in the works.
     
  22. slbrabham

    slbrabham Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for a great trip report. I loved reading about all the details and pictures.
     
  23. Snoffsan

    Snoffsan Well-Known Member

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    Loved reading the trip report and all the pics! And I LOVE LOVE LOVE the idea of celebrating your anniversary in China instead of a gift of china! In 5 years I want to do the same with my husband!!!
     

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