Once you step through the gates of Disneyland, you will feel the magic in the air and all over again, you’ll start seeing the world through the eyes of a child, full of wonder – the wonder of the atmosphere, the wonder of all things Disney, the wonder of how you are going to bear the mad crowd and long lines for the rides.
But fret not.
All it takes is
faith, trust, and pixie dust some prior planning, and these tips and tricks to make your Hong Kong Disneyland experience a lot more enjoyable.
1. Avoid weekends and holidays like the plague
If the picture above is a scene you are not anticipating, as a general rule of thumb, avoid at all costs visiting Hong Kong Disneyland on a weekend or holiday. Not only will you find the streets occupied, you may find yourself waiting in line for over two hours just to ride attractions and watch the shows.
Ideally, visit the park on a weekday, and early in the morning as the crowd usually starts to come in around lunchtime. That way, you will have the whole day to explore and visit the attraction rides and shows without having to worry about too much traffic.
2. Buy your tickets in advance
This one is a bit of a no-brainer, but many people take for granted the luxury of being able to opt out of wasting precious Disneyland time waiting in line to purchase tickets. These tickets can be bought from official hotels, partner hotels or through agencies. Sometimes if you are lucky, you might be able to buy your tickets at a discounted rate.
3. Familiarize yourself with the map & strategize your day
One of the best things you can do before entering Disneyland is familiarizing yourself with the layout of the park by downloading the map and studying it. This helps you strategize your flow for the day (trust us, this is very important), from the attractions you would want to visit, to the shows or parades of interest, as well as their showtimes. Plenty of time will be spent on waiting so you would not want to waste any more time trying to figure out what to do or where to go.
At the centre of the park where the ‘Partners’ statue (a statue of Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse) is located, you can very easily access all sections of the park. This would be the best place to meet should you lose your group members.
Something so important Disneyland decided to caps and trademark it, the FASTPASS® is a system that churns out passes that allow you to skip lines by coming back at a designated time. All you need to do is look for the FASTPASS® machines that are located outside the attractions, insert your park ticket, and receive your printed FASTPASS®.
Do keep in mind that they are pretty strict when it comes to timing and the Disneyland Cast Members (employees) may not allow you to use the FASTPASS® system if you are late. Also, FASTPASS® passes do run out so it’s best to head over to your favourite attractions as soon as you can to secure your pass.
Attractions with FASTPASS®:
Space Mountain (Tomorrowland)
The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (Fantasyland)
5. Use Single Rider lanes
Are you the only person in your group that wants to hop on Space Mountain? Lucky you!
The single rider feature in Disneyland allows you to skip that painfully long queue if you do not mind sitting with a stranger – Disneyland’s way of eliminating long lines by allowing single riders to fill in empty seats, making sure that each ride carries the maximum amount of allowed passengers.
Just follow the ‘Single Rider’ signs and you’ll be singing Jason Derulo’s ‘Ridin’ Solo’ all the way to the front, much to the envy of those lining up with their groups.
Single rider attractions:
Big Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Cars (Grizzly Gulch)
Space Mountain (Tomorrowland)
Toy Soldier Parachute Drop (Toy Story Land)
6. Make a Priority Seating booking
Regardless of what people say about food prices in Disneyland, it is an absolute must to pay a visit to at least one restaurant on park grounds. When it comes to an all round amazing experience, Disneyland has it down to a pat. You will be talking about the amazing decor, fancily dressed Cast Members and amazing food for years to come.
Essentially a reservation booking, all you need to do is to walk up to one of the fancily dressed Cast Members in front of the restaurant and ask for Priority Seating with your preferred time. They will then pass you a printed ticket and you can go on your merry way.
Here are the restaurants you can opt for Priority Seating:
Main Street Corner Cafe (Main Street)
Plaza Inn (Main Street)
River View Cafe (Adventureland)
7. Save your spot for parades and outdoor shows an hour in advance
No trip to Disneyland is complete without watching one of their amazing parades or outdoor shows. There are several that take place on a daily basis so you have no excuse to miss out on them. Expect to see the craziest floats, amazing dancers and Disney characters in costume; a visual and auditory feast for those aged 1-100!
Disney parade and outdoor show enthusiasts are known to book their place three hours in advanced but if you are there for just a day, you could always come back 45 minutes to an hour prior to the show. All you would need is to either sit down or bring a mat to secure your position, but if you leave your spot, it will be taken.
People are generally kinder to children so if your kid is being blocked by others, you can ask the person in front of you if it’s okay for your kid to stand in front of them. Please don’t put your kid on your shoulders as this makes it harder for the people behind you to enjoy the show.
If you are a fan of fireworks, be sure to stay till the end of the parade come nightfall.
8. Collect pressed pennies as souvenirs for friends and family
Souvenirs in the Disney Stores strewn across the park grounds are top-notch but not exactly friendly on the wallet. If souvenirs are what you are looking for, pressed pennies are perfect for you.
Essentially coins melted and then pressed with various moulds, these affordable gifts are not only nice to look at but the penny pressing process is fun to watch as well.
Where to find them? This is the fun part as they are ‘hidden’ all over the parks and as each penny pressing machine has different designs, you will find yourself running high and low in attempts to find favourite characters. From Jessica Rabbit to Nemo, you name it, they’ve got it!
9. Don’t be afraid to ask Cast Members for help
Cast Members are your Disneyland Wikipedia, TripAdvisor, and Quora, all in one. All part of the Disney experience, they are there to help you however they can. From directions to the restrooms to advice on attractions, and restaurants, they cover it all. Even if you need a little first-aid, these are the people to look for.
Nothing ventured, nothing gained and from piloting boats to getting free souvenirs, you won’t know what you can get from these lovely people until you ask, and nicely at that. Try asking for stickers, you might be pleasantly surprised.
10. If you are a big Disney fan, buy the two-day ticket
Trust us – if you are quite the Disney enthusiast, one day will not be enough. There is more to Disneyland than just the rides as there are plenty of shows to watch and a lot more to explore in each section of the park, right down to every nook and cranny.
Use the first day to learn how to navigate through the park and to visit all the major rides and shows. That way, you can get the ‘must-dos’ out of the way so you can leisurely enjoy and explore the second day of your Disneyland visit. This also gives you the chance to visit your favourite ride and shows for a second time on the following day.
Have you got any of your own Hong Kong Disneyland tips and tricks?
We want to know! Do share with us your tips and tricks in the comments below.
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