Hong Kong Disneyland / by Tyler Wood

Disneyland is notorious for long lines and crying babies, right?

I had a plan, one round of seeing the park and then finding the few rides I would want to ride and wait in line. This was all to happen before going to the airport for my flight back to Seoul that night. Could it be done? Youʼre about to find out.

I had to check out of the hotel and bring my luggage (a duffle bag and backpack) to Disneyland on Lantau Island so I could check them and enjoy my day. Right outside the gate to the left as you come in, past the large fountain with Disney characters chillin in it, is the guest services building. They relieved me of my bags, and only a little money, and I was on my way.

After the airplane runway-sized entrance, I got my first look at Cinderellaʼs Castle towering over the park. The park is basically a copy, albeit a significantly smaller one, of Disneyland in Anaheim. The castle is in the middle and the six lands surround it. “The happiest place on Earth” seemed to be mostly Filipino tourists. Walking down Main Street USA, with its old movie-set style buildings, it seemed to be living up to the stereotype - crowds of people crawling over each other to get some Minnie Mouse ears, balloons, and stall food.

I made it to a round garden where there was a line to take the perfect picture in front of the castle, and I took that picture with my fingers affixed in two Vs. Then went left into Adventureland. I was excited to see the Swiss Family Robinson tree-house. Turns out that reference is outdated, it was Tarzanʼs tree-house now. That made me feel old, but as I walked through Adventureland it didnʼt look too crowded, but I carried on with the plan.

I passed the river with all the animatronic hippos into Grizzly Gulch. I remembered why I liked Disney amusement parks because of the detail of the themes. The buildings, the random working geyser, and the lynching post, er, I mean sign post representing an old mining town. I was expecting to see Thunder Mountain here, but it was a Chinese knock-off mine ride. Just kidding, it was the new Big Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Cars. I saw the line length and it said 20 minutes. What?! Excuse me. Not 4 hours? Plan - out the window! My feet were in line before my head had moved followed by a smoke cloud indicating I moved so fast that I created fire. The ride was actually great. It had a little twist - the track ran out and the train cars ran in reverse for a bit until running into a tunnel, then an explosion behind us rocketed us back into the daylight and to the end of the ride. I had the Cheshire cat grin across my face by the end of it.

I wandered into Mystic Point assuming that might have been a fluke to catch the line so short. Mystic Manor was also a short-ish line, so I jumped in. I was expecting the haunted house from Disneyland with the spinning chairs and mirrors, but it was redesigned with a more cartoonish feel. It was an old treasure seekers house from the British Imperialist era, but his pet monkey decided to open the only box he told him not to open, silly monkey. And he keeps doing it all day everyday, heʼll never learn. The spirits escape and all hell breaks loose, in the cartoonish, not scary kind of way. Luckily the spirits return before the old imperialist treasure stealer returns, that scoundrel.

Then it got all Pixar up in there. Toy Story Land, was the next stop and boy was it full of screaming, snot-filled children with breakaway potty pants. The rides were a little too childish for me to be interested, but it looked like a good place to keep the kids while the rest of use enjoyed the rest of the park, so I was sold.

Next was the coleslaw section of the park, you know, the food thatʼs always on the table but no one really wants to eat it - Fantasyland. The second place to lose the kids in the technicolor pastel world of annoyingly repetitive songs and lovable characters the children have never heard of but the parents remember from their parents showing them when they were kids. I can still hear “Itʼs a small world after all” and I was only there for a few minutes. Itʼs like walking by Hollister in the mall and wreaking of the Eau de Douche-baggette that oozes out of the store like a roach bomb went off.

Then I traveled into the future/past in Tomorrowland, circa 1975. But, Space Mountain was there and, damn it, I was so excited! The line was, can you guess? Short! This was the least crowded Disney experience I have ever had. So we rode it twice.

I decided to do a second round, since I had way more time than anticipated on the original plan. I hit up the Tom Sawyer-esque raft to Tarzanʼs tree-house. Then I went on the mine car again and finished with a good old fashioned Ho down with the wenches spinning them bloomers like the good olʼ days.

I was hoping Iʼd be lucky to get one or two rides under my belt in the time I had before having to head to the airport because of the lines, but it was actually a really pleasant and short-lined experience. A diamond in the rough of the Disney park franchise. Iʼm looking forward to going back someday.