For Christmas this year, my parents and grandparents gifted us tickets to The Happiest Place on Earth: Hong Kong Disneyland. To make our visit a little easier, we decided to splurge on 2 nights at the Explorers Lodge, one of the three Disney hotels near the park.
Getting to Disneyland from Shenzhen was easy. Disney has its own bus, the Wonderland Express, that takes you directly from the Huanggang border crossing in Futian to the park. We arrived at the park shortly before noon and headed straight to the hotel to check in. Although we arrived earlier than the 3pm check-in time, the hotel was able to accommodate us and we quickly dropped our bags in our room before heading to the park.
Once at the park, our first priority was to find some food. We were not alone in this idea and every place with food had crazy long lines. After a 30 minute or so wait at the Starliner Diner in Tomorrowland, we filled our bellies with burgers and fries. After that, the kids quickly hustled us over to Orbitron, our first ride.
Next up was Hyperspace Mountain, a thrilling ride through the darkness of space. Hadley buried her face in my arms for the entire ride, but afterward claimed to have loved it and we ended up going on it 3 more times before our trip was over.
We then spent too much time waiting for Dumbo the Flying Elephant, but it was worth it to see the smile on Hadley’s face as she zipped up, down and around. Fortunately, Dumbo had the longest wait time and we didn’t have to wait more than 40 minutes for any other ride for the rest of the trip.
We spent the rest of the first day scoping out the other parts of the park and riding whatever rides we could. By the end of the day, the kids had identified their favorite rides (Big Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Cars, Hyperspace Mountain, and the Iron Man Experience) and decided which new rides they wanted to visit the next day.
The Paint the Night Parade was starting right as we were getting ready to leave the park for the evening, so although we had planned to catch it the following night we plopped down on the sidewalk near the park’s entrance to watch the neon magic pass by.
The next day we started our adventure at Tarzan’s Treehouse in Adventureland. Then we rode the Big Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Cars two more times since the lines weren’t too long before we headed to watch the Festival of the Lion King.
Before the day was over, we were able to go on all the rides we had missed the day before and visit our favorites two or three more times each.
That night, for New Year’s Eve, the hotel had a New Year’s Eve countdown party in the lobby where the kids were able to sing and dance along with some of the Disney characters and bring in the New Year with noisemakers and confetti.
Back in our room, we crashed hard after all the excitement wore off. Fortunately, we were able to sleep in a bit the next morning before checking out.
It’s been almost a month since our visit and the kids are still talking about Big Grizzly Mountain to anyone who will listen. Grady has decided he’s going to celebrate his birthday there in April and considering how easy it was to get to the park from Shenzhen I definitely think a day trip is possible.