Have you been planning for years to take that trip to Disneyland? Are your kids now at that special age where they still believe in the magic that is Disney? Have you saved up the cash and are ready for the trip of a lifetime?
Then you need to learn a few tricks before heading off to Disneyland and wasting much of your hard earned money.
I highly recommend you try out Hong Kong Disneyland. I have found it to be one of the more affordable Disney parks. It is one of the smaller parks but promises to be one of the better parks as they are currently rolling out an expansion program that started with the launch of the Antman and the Wasp attraction earlier this year. Among other highlights rolling out in the next six years include a Frozen-themed area featuring rides, dining, shopping and entertainment based around the characters and stories from the kingdom of Arendelle, due to open in 2020.
Disney fans around the world let out a collective gasp when Disney announced last year that they were closing its Sleeping Beauty Castle (a copy of the Anaheim castle) last year. It is still visible behind the blue construction fencing bearing the words "Magic is happening,". However, they are planning to unveil a bigger, better version later in 2019.
The newly opened Antman and the Wasp
Look For Package Deals
Accommodation in Hong Kong can be pricey. However, Disneyland regularly offers package deals that include accommodation. We usually stay at another hotel on Lantau Island (where Disneyland is situated) however, this time we found a package deal that cost less.
Package deals are easy, they offer great seasonal specials, you can reserve now and pay part later and you get lots of small souvenirs that are not available otherwise. Lexi almost filled a suitcase with freebies she collected.
Look for package deals that include:
Meal vouchers - The free drink and snacks kept us going throughout the day
Character dining - This is very expensive otherwise
Preferred seating - Certain shows are packed, you'll appreciate the preferred seating
In-park discounts - These are invaluable as things inside the park are pricey
From left to right: Lexi with her free Mickey mouse, kids lounge in the lobby of the Hollywood Hotel, character dining with Mickey Mouse
Download the Hong Kong Disneyland App
The Hong Kong Disneyland app was my favourite go-to during both our visits to the park. It's simple to use and has all the information you need. The best feature is that it shows wait times at each attraction.
Ask For Stickers
Don't forget to ask every hotel and park employee (known as cast members) for stickers. Even cleaners keep stickers in their pockets. They don't really serve any purpose, but they're fun and provided Lexi with lots of entertainment when it was raining.
Make Use of Fast Pass To Beat The Queues
Disney's Fast Pass is a system for reserving attraction times. With a Fast Pass reservation, instead of waiting in the regular line for a ride, you’re directed to a special line with a shorter wait time. It’s like making a restaurant reservation, but for rides.
Start At The Back of The Park
Everyone tends to start at the front of the park and work their way around. We started at Toy Story Land and worked our way towards the front of the park.
It's A Small World remains one of the most popular attractions at all the Disney parks and queues are normally very long. On our first day we went straight there at opening and didn't have to wait. We decided to go a second time and there was already a queue. The second time we waited 10 minutes.
Stay Until The Last Minute
Disneyland has a special charm at night. Again, you can miss a lot of queues if you go on rides just before they close. The nighttime attractions are worth staying for. The parade is, of course, spectacular but this time we caught a light and music show in Main Street.
Then there are the fireworks! I've been in Sydney on new years eve a few times, but somehow Disneyland manages to outdo their fireworks EVERY NIGHT. It's a much shorter show, but with the lights and music it is one of my favourite highlights.
Don't Miss The Shows And Parades
The Disneyland app is particularly useful for show times and updates. Shows and parades are usually packed and so with the app you can make sure you arrive in time to get a good seat.
Hong Kong Disneyland currently has these parades and shows:
Disney Paint the Night Parade
Disney Stars Springtime Celebration
Flights of Fantasy Parade
Festival of The Lion King
Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple
Mickey and the Wondrous Book (my favourite show)
Moana: A Homecoming Celebration
Disney Paint the Night Parade
Skip the bubbles! They are a nightmare when they get stuck in your hair, on your clothes and when they hit you in the face.
Be mindful of others when taking pictures. It's Disneyland, one of the most Instagrammable places on earth, but please be aware of not standing in paths and not taking too long. Everyone wants a turn.
Only pack what you can carry. For us this was our Pure Beginnings wipes, raincoats and water. It's a long day and you don't want to be carrying a heavy bag all day.
Buy balloons later in the day. They're cute and kids love them, but buy balloons once you've been on all the rides you intend riding for the day, otherwise someone has to stay behind and hold the balloons. Not fun!