Spring R&R 2011 – first port of call – Disneyland Hong Kong

Kids at Mickey's Breakfast Buffet
Kids at Mickey's Breakfast Buffet
Our entry to the international terminal in Kathmandu (GMT +5:45) told me this had to be real and not a dream. Nearly eight months after entering the realm of Nepal, we were taking a break and going on our R&R. Not 36 hours previous, I’d just received the stack of e-tickets denoting our “12 Monkeys”-like itinerary around South East Asia. Each step of the way into the international terminal had less ornately carved wood and shiny brass objects, and more of the modern world, but not yet the organization that I would call a place of today. The connected rows of lounge seats were strewn through the lobby, perhaps too much of an oddity to be known to their purveyors. We arranged ourselves on one of the ones closest to the massive two-story craft we could see outside which bore the name of our carrier. Some staff in vests walked around, surveying the mismatched crowd of westerners and Asians, another man with a daisy wheel dot matrix printout hurried around calling various names. Finally someone made the call to have us board, and ushered us out into the dark, onto the tarmac. Was that a swollen eyelid in Eleanor’s right eye? Maybe she got hit with the swing, but I couldn’t really tell…We boarded the craft via the stair-truck parked beside it and found ourselves in the climate-controlled world of a massive jumbo airliner, well-dressed flight attendants on hand to show us (!) where to find our seats. Within minutes we were all boarded and buckled, and the eight feet round jet engines were whining, then roaring, and the lights of Kathmandu were twinkling, then lost beneath us, either due to distance or load shedding.
Jean and Kidd in the tea cups
Jean and Kidd in the tea cups
We caught fitful bits of sleep, after a meal, and then bounced awake as we gently landed in Hong Kong (GMT +8) a few hours later.
Hong Kong’s airport was massive, and clean, and shiny. And air conditioned. No one was spitting. People threw trash in waste baskets.
ed and Asian Jack Sparrow at Disneyland
ed and Asian Jack Sparrow at Disneyland

We were whisked through customs and immigration, collected our luggage, and got ushered into one of the color-coded, zone-regulated taxis (having been discouraged from getting the train by a vendor at the train ticket counter no less, due to switching stations and hassle), and assisted by our gruff driver, we left the airport and got launched onto the open road. At speeds nearing 130kph (the fastest we’ve been since going to Nepal), we rocketed along the glasslike pavement, scaling suspension bridges and winding through the picturesque hills and sounds of Hong Kong’s Lantau island to be delivered to Disneyland’s Hollywood Hotel.
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It was still quite early, so we were relieved to find that our rooms (family of five be warned, even with a three year old, two rooms required on AND off park!) were ready. We grabbed a quick nap, and then quite refreshed, partook in breakfast at Mickey’s buffet. Quite the steal (ack, no these prices are nuts actually), Jean and I chowed down on elections of dim sum, while the kids contented themselves with chocolate rice crispies and Mickey-shaped waffles. Eleanor’s eye was definitely looking weird…
We hopped on the bus (“every ten minutes!”) to Disneyland Park and walked into the magic. I think I can appreciate it even more now that I’m there with Jean and the kiddos, Merrill really goes nuts for her princess stuff now and Eleanor is right behind her. The fountain with Mickey on the surfboard, catching a wave on the whale’s spout (pinnochio) was pretty cool.
The first day we cruised through Main Street USA and then wound our way around counter-clockwise (“anti” for you Brits and Islanders) from Tomorrowland to Fantasyland and then Adventureland. Tomorrowland had Space Mountain of course, under construction when we were last at Disney World in Orlando; we had to do that a couple of times, only Eleanor missing out due to height. We gave the orbitron a whirl (Mickey laugh there for the bad joke) and then I trounced everyone at the Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters. We even waited and rode on Autopia, way different since the change to electric cars from 2hp go cart engines. Of course, it should still be called “traffic”; who wants to sit in cars, let alone wait in a line to then wait in cars in the track? Yuck!
us in front of Sleeping Beauty's castle at Disneyland Hong Kong
us in front of Sleeping Beauty's castle at Disneyland Hong Kong

The future secured, we meandered over to Fantasyland, and drifted through the classic “It’s a small world,” where we found that this version had a few of Disney and Pixar’s characters worked into the various country scenes. As we went on the winnie the pooh ride, we mused how a ride for Kathmandu driving, a-la “Mr Toad’s Wild Ride,” would go. Everything with pneumatic power, appropriately hissing and jerky, a motorcycle on a rocker, engine racing and driver looking the other way, rocking into your path. A cow popping up into frame just before your tram jerked a 90 degree turn on it’s rail-driven path. A bobble headed shop keeper looking at you, a la pirates of the carribbean, while a dog tugs at a piece of meat. We giggled far too much for our own good.
I even braved the tea cups…just once. Then we were off to Adventureland and Tarzan’s tree house (Swiss Family Robinson thematically scrapped I think). We bailed a bit early for a nap, and because we had essentially not had any sleep the night before. Another nap refreshed us for dinner at one of the restaurants on site and we were off to bed…
Jeano drumming her way through Disneyland Hong Kong
Jeano drumming her way through Disneyland Hong Kong

The next morning Eleanor’s eye was swollen shut. Crap. At least we’re in Hong Kong! E and I taxied off to the nearest hospital, while Jean and the other kids went park-side. We found ourselves in a sort of medical treatment factory, shunted from one countertop to the next, getting a number, waiting, getting sent to another room, waiting, getting a diagnosis, more waiting, all the while the process was actually quite efficient. Finally we ere told to come back in two hours to see the opthamologist, who could prescribe antibiotics and perhaps surgery (!). We went back to the hotel for lunch and playground, and made it back. Indeed, we were given a regime of antibiotics to take, eye drops and ointment. Back to the park!
Jean enjoying cotton candy at Disneyland Hong Kong
Jean enjoying cotton candy at Disneyland Hong Kong

We met Jean at the pre-set place and time and enjoyed the rest of the afternoon, (more high scores at Astro Blasters) and then a dinner at the other hotel. We had a nice stroll back on the path between the hotels that looks to the South China Sea. We had a laugh-stifling moment when Lucas decided to show off his parcours skills on the sea wall, wiped out in a squeaking of shoes and flailing of limbs, and sent his Buzz grabbing claw sailing over the sea wall. Fortunately I was able to rescue it, and Lucas’ ego was no worse for wear. We retired early that evening, ready for our next day which would bring VIETNAM and CAMBODIA!!!!!!
Casualties: expensive Disney Princess umbrellas, buzz lightyear claw, trim light cycle purchased, noting spilled broken or ruined.
kiddos at Pixie Hollow
kiddos at Pixie Hollow