Thoughts on Kingdom, Church, and Grace from an American living in Hong Kong

Saturday, November 19, 2011

A Trip to Disney's Toy Story Land

Woody welcomes you to Toy Story Land
When Hong Kong Disneyland first opened in September of 2005 it's arrival was greeted with mixed reviews.  In addition to some embarrassing public relations gaffs, the park seemed to be universally proclaimed by the people of Hong Kong as being "too small."  When I first went to the park at Christmas time 2008 I was asked by friends if I've ever been to Disneyland in America.
"Of course" I replied.
"Well," they responded, "don't get your hopes up."

Maybe its because I had lowered expectations but Gabriel I spent that first day at Hong Kong Disneyland having a lot of fun.  Yes, compared to other Disneyland Parks is it too small.  And yes, the complaint that the rides are geared toward younger children (Space Mountain being the only "thrill" ride) was valid.  Perhaps Disney listened to its critics, or more likely responded to the unexpected competition that the newly renovated Ocean Park provided, but in 2009 Disneyland announced the planned expansion of the park with the addition of three "mini-lands"; Toy Story Land, Grizzly Gulch, and Mystic Point.

Yesterday November 18 was the opening of the first of the three: Toy Story Land. The new land is designed to make you feel like a "toy" surrounded by other toys.  A giant Woody welcomes you as you enter and all the familiar characters from the Pixar film are out and about.  The new park addition attempts to address the critique of the lack of thrill rides by providing, among others, a retro Hot Wheels roller coaster type ride.  I rode the attraction.  Honestly, when I first saw it I thought it didn't look to scary; but it turned to be much more "thrilling" than I had first thought.  The screaming and crying on my part giving my true feelings away :)

The land also includes a green army "parachute" ride but the 90 minute wait made me save it for another visit. Unfortunantly there is no addition of a restaurant save "Jessie's Snack Bar".  But I can say that pizza is FINALLY available in Disneyland.  Some of the snacks in the park, geared toward the Asian palate, have not always been exciting for us Westerners.  Yes, the advent of global diversity have provided us with fish balls, squid, and dried cuttlefish, but admittedly, it just won't ever replace pizza, hotdogs, and funnel cake in my amusement park experience.

Mystic Point coming soon!
I also got to peak through a barrier wall at the construction going on in Mystic Point.  An upcoming land featuring a Amazon Rain Forest haunted house.   I am really looking forward to that addition opening soon!

Christmas Lights come on!
Yesterday also marked the beginning of the Christmas season at Hong Kong Disneyland.  Main Street USA is decked out in all of its Dickensian glory.  They even lightly release imitation snow in the evening.  That mixed with the soundtrack of holiday music makes for a great Christmas memory.  If anyone knows how to do Christmas...its Disney!

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