Thursday, August 5, 2010

HK Disneyland

Day 6 - Well, my mom will be delighted that Theo and I are now annual pass holders to HK Disneyland! After our first skype from Hong Kong with Ed and Hillary in Atlanta and Theo's favorite fortifying macaroni and cheese for lunch we left the Kowloon Cocoon for Disneyland. It was really easy to get there from Kowloon as we went to the MTR station in the mall complex beneath our building and then took the Tung Chung line direct for 5 stops. The total trip from apartment to the gates of the HK magic kingdom was a little bit less than 30 minutes.

The MTR ride out was really interesting because the amount of high-rise buildings all along the way was staggering. People say that HK is a small spatial area - this is true in terms of the actual physical footprint on the earth but if you consider adding all the floors of high rises together the physical footprint (and certainly the ecological footprint) of HK are substantial. An interesting calculation that could require a First in Maths from Oxford to properly assess.

We arrived at 'Sunny Bay' and took a transfer line to the HK Disneyland Resort. This special or should I say 'magical' train was very clearly for Disney as the windows, much to Theo's delight, were in the shape of Mickey Mouse. Having learned its lesson in Anaheim, the HK Disneyland property is like that of Orlando or Paris and has significant room to grow around it with a buffer of green space for future development. In the HK property market this alone was a good investment even if never built upon. The resort is on Lantau Island which is where the airport and also the much heralded (but not yet visited by us) largest seated bronze Budda is located.

As we walked from the train station to the ticket booth down a long, unshaded walkway I thought that I had made a mistake by bringing the children out in the heat. We arrived about 2:00 in the afternoon hoping to miss the worst of the heat - while this may be the case the only times I've ever been so close to melting was in Sevilla in August and Cumberland Island, Georgia in August. Thankfully Theo and I do carry British passports so we can now fall under the Englishmen rather than the 'Mad dogs' category.

By the time we reached the top of (a shortened compared to Orlando) Main Street I could feel my arms with spf 50 sunblock baking in the heat and see them turning red. We stopped in the still sweltering shade to feed Quentin and have some water. Then we proceeded to the Main Street Cafe for a late lunch largely because it offered air conditioning. The logo on the walls was of an old fashioned American lady and her son but the menu offerings included absolutely no American food - not even a burger. This was not a problem but I was surprised how non-American the food offerings were at a Disney resort. I guess the obviously sold more if they catered to local tastes. I've noticed that the W downstairs is even switching their western restaurant to the 'best new place to eat Cantonese cuisine'.

After a leisurely lunch it had cooled offer mercifully a little bit. We dashed through the open air to the Buzz Lightyear ride, timing it well to coincide with an upcoming parade start. First, having learned from my sister's expertise at maximizing your time at Disney, we got a Fastpass and then proceeded to go on the Buzz Lightyear ride two times. The second time Theo must have pulled the trigger at just the right time as he ended up with an amazing score of 209690 - he is a star commander. We were able to go on a third time with our Fastpass and to the delight of Theo we saw Buzz Lightyear in the plastic himself on our way out. Little Quentin was delighted by the whole thing - he rode in front of me on the Baby Bjorn and his little chubby legs kicked rapidly and he was in rapt attention as we went through the ride.

As one of us was now a star commander and we had a pleasant trip I thought it best to stop while we were all still in a good mood - plus we can go back anytime. I think I must have melted off a few pounds in the heat. It was a relief to head to the pool - or as Theo likes to say "I find the pool very refreshing".

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