*Updated March 2017*
One of the best things to do in Hong Kong with kids is taking them to Hong Kong Disneyland. With a whole host of Disney characters to meet, rides to enjoy, a Lion King show, the Fantasy Parade and fireworks, you are guaranteed a day of fun and much excitement from the kids with this Hong Kong experience.
There are seven themed lands to explore at Hong Kong Disneyland, including Fantasyland, Toy Story Land and Adventureland, with all the favourite rides such as It’s a Small World, Mad Hatter Tea Cups and Space Mountain to enjoy, as well as some that are unique to Hong Kong Disneyland.
A commonly asked question is “Is one day enough at Hong Kong Disneyland?” I think this depends on the age of your kids and how much of the park you want to fit in. We have always visited in one day – arriving at 10am, and leaving at around 4pm. My kids are just 5 and 3, and they have usually had enough by then, and sleep in the car all the way home.
However, if you have older kids – you will almost certainly want to watch the nighttime parade and see the fireworks, which aren’t until closing at 8.45pm. If that’s the case, you might want to spread your visit over two days rather than face a really long day. You could then choose to stay at the Disneyland Hotel to complete the experience (more on this below).
Hong Kong Disneyland is one of Hong Kong’s most popular visitor attractions, and it can get very busy. With this in mind, more than just being a Hong Kong Disneyland review, here are my best Hong Kong Disneyland tips to help you get the most out of your visit. Use the tips below to create your own Hong Kong Disneyland itinerary and beat the crowds.
Buy tickets online
Save time queuing for tickets when you get to Hong Kong Disneyland and buy online before you go. You can buy these at the Hong Kong Disneyland website, and then collect your tickets from the automated machine on arrival. Better yet, you can buy discounted tickets online at Voyagin here.
Visit during the week
As I have already said, Hong Kong Disneyland can get very busy. If you have the flexibility, the best time to go to Hong Kong Disneyland is during the week and not during school holidays. Also try to avoid public holidays in China as a lot of visitors to Hong Kong Disneyland come from mainland China. These are typically over Chinese New Year, early May and early October, but check for others too.
Get there before opening time
The best time to visit Hong Kong Disneyland is at opening time. Hong Kong Disneyland opens at 10am, so one of my best Hong Kong Disneyland tips is to get there at 9.45am at the latest, as there will already be a queue to get through the turnstiles. The good news is they do start letting you in before the park opens, but you can only access Main Street.
If you make your way up Main Street and head towards the Sleeping Beauty Castle, you will then be there at ‘rope drop’ and be the first in the doors (and yes, people will run to get there ahead of you).
Head straight for the Rides (and ignore the characters)
It will be very very tempting to hang around Main Street and try to meet the characters, including Mickey and Minnie, who arrive here for photographs as soon as the park opens. My next Hong Kong Disneyland tip is “don’t do it”. You will queue for at least half an hour here, and will waste valuable riding time.
If you want to have the best chance to ride as many of the Hong Kong Disneyland rides as possible, you need to head straight to them. You have about an hour to ride the rides with virtually no queues. Once that clock hits 11am, the queues start to build. So do your research and find out which rides you really don’t want to miss, and head there first.
As my kids are still young, when we visit Hong Kong Disneyland we head straight to Fantasyland, where the majority of small rides are. First up, we head for Dumbo, as this is one that gets busy quickly. Our other favourites in Fantasyland are the Madhatter Teacups, “it’s a small world” (you can save this one ‘til last; it never seems to have a queue), Cinderella Carousel, and the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. Once we’ve done those rides, we head to Mickey’s PhilharMagic, a 3D concert-movie starring Donald Duck, which is really fun and often overlooked.
Another option is to head to Tomorrowland, home to Autopia, which seems to be Hong Kong Disneyland’s most popular ride. We have never done Autopia as there is usually a minimum 45-minute wait, so if you want to experience it, get there early. Other fun rides here include Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters, Orbitron and everybody’s favourite – Space Mountain.
Use your Fastpass
If it is busy when you are at Hong Kong Disneyland, you can use your Fastpass. The Hong Kong Disneyland Fastpass is included in your ticket for certain rides – although at the time of writing the only rides eligible for Fastpass were The Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and Space Mountain. However, it is worth knowing that you can save these rides for later.
To use your Hong Kong Disneyland Fastpass, put your ticket into the machine near your chosen ride, and you will be allocated a time to return, where you can access the ride via a fast track queue.
Take a lock for your stroller
Ok this is a case of ‘do as I say, not as I do’. I have never locked my stroller when we have been to Hong Kong Disneyland, and have never had a problem. However, I have heard many cases of strollers being stolen when people are on the rides or in the Lion King show. So if you do take your stroller, either lock it with a bicycle lock or do your best to keep an eye on it. Alternatively you can rent a stroller at Hong Kong Disneyland.
Watch the Lion King
Here is another of my best Hong Kong Disneyland tips: Do not miss the Festival of the Lion King show. It’s fantastic. This all-singing-all-dancing performance tells the story of the Lion King in a compact 30-minutes of entertainment. There’s fire dancers, acrobats, giant animals and plenty of dancing – plus of course everyone gets to sing along to ‘Hakuna Matata’.
Current show times are 12noon, 2pm, 4.30pm and 6pm but check the Hong Kong Disneyland website for updated information.
Feed the Troops
I find the food quality to be the most disappointing thing about Hong Kong Disneyland. You are not allowed to take your own food into the park, and they do check bags on the way in, although you can sometimes get away with homemade sandwiches for younger kids, and they don’t seem to mind snacks in a snack box.
For Western food your best bet for a sit-down meal at Hong Kong Disneyland is the Starliner Diner in Tomorrowland, where you can feast on fried chicken and burgers. It’s also air-conditioned which is important in the summer months. For something lighter, check out Market House Bakery on Main Street for takeaway sandwiches, pizzas, pastries and cakes.
There are plenty of Chinese/Asian options – including noodles and Guangdong BBQ at Clopin’s Festival of Foods in Fantasyland, and Comet Café in Tomorrowland, or you could opt for Indian specialties at the Tahitian Terrace in Adventureland.
Most importantly, the best ice-cream stop is at Small World Ice Cream, in Fantasyland outside “it’s a small world”.
Meet the Characters
I have already advised against queuing to see the characters as soon as you enter Hong Kong Disneyland, but there are plenty of other opportunities to meet some of the characters. If you want to have your photo taken with Mickey or Minnie, be prepared to queue for at least 30 minutes.
And don’t overlook all the other Disney characters you can meet at various locations around the park, including Disney princesses, Winnie the Pooh, Goofy, Donald, Buzz Lightyear and Woody. Look out for the character-meeting symbol on your park map, or read more information on the Hong Kong Disneyland website. Better yet, stay the night at the Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel and you can meet all the characters over breakfast, with no queues at all!
Watch the Parade
The Hong Kong Disneyland parades are fun for everyone, and a chance to get a good look at all the characters and get caught up in the feel-good Disney vibe, as everyone smiles and waves and dances their way past you.
The Flights of Fancy Parade is at 3pm every day along Main Street. Get there early to get yourself a good spot at the front. The “Disney Paint the Night” Nighttime Spectacular is at 7.30pm and has all the favourite characters and floats magically aglow. Don’t forget to wear your own Minnie Glow-Bow!
Download the App
The Hong Kong Disneyland app is a great weapon to have in your arsenal as it allows you to keep an eye on queue times for all the rides around the park at any given time. Hong Kong Disneyland is relatively small, so if you are in Fantasyland and see that there is only a 10-minute queue time at the Hyperspace Mountain ride in Tomorrowland, you can get there quickly enough. It also has maps showing nearest dining options, shops and restrooms and showtimes for all the entertainment. You can download it at the iTunes store here.
Stay the Night
To complete this Hong Kong experience, you can choose to stay at one of the two Hong Kong Disneyland hotels and start the day with breakfast with the characters. The more upmarket (ie expensive) of the two hotels is the Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel. Here you can have breakfast in the morning with Mickey and some of his friends at the Enchanted Garden restaurant, and there is also an evening story time by a Cast member.
Disney’s Hollywood Hotel is a more cost effective option, and you can still have breakfast with Mickey at Chef Mickey buffet restaurant.
Getting to Hong Kong Disneyland
The best way to get to Hong Kong Disneyland is either by MTR or by taxi. A taxi from Central will take around 30-minutes, if you don’t get stuck in traffic.
To go by MTR, take the Tung Chung line from Hong Kong Station or Kowloon to Sunny Bay and switch to the Disneyland Resort line. It will also take around 30 minutes.
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