This week we took a trip to Hong Kong for Zoe’s first trip to the island and everyone’s first trip to HK Disneyland! There were ups and downs, rain and shine, but overall we had a good time.
Day 1 – Trains, Subways, Bureaucracy, and Typhoons
The day started out pretty good. We got to the south train station by about 8 am and discovered mushroom soup and spaghetti in bread bowls at Rosa Cake and Cafe! I kid you not! And it was pretty good actually. So if anyone is headed to the South train station any time soon, definitely give one of them a try.
This was Zoe’s first trip on a fast train or a subway, so that was fun for her. Of course, three-hour train ride gets old after a bit, and she was glad to have Seth’s Kindle to play with…as was the kid sitting behind her.
Then we got to the China exit point. The night before, a small part of me wondered, “what if they don’t let us take Zoe out of the country because she is a minor?” But I brushed it off and just hoped for the best. But sure enough, we got stopped. Seth at least had the foresight to send her through first just in case anything went wrong so we wouldn’t be separated. They wouldn’t let Zoe exit China because of the type of HK visa they issued her back home. I don’t know the exact details or reason, but because she was a minor, she had to be in a “group.” Why they didn’t tell us this when she got her visa or simply included it in her visa processing is beyond me. But, thankfully, they just happened to have a booth right there at the check point. And for only 160 RMB they will gladly put you into this all-important group even if you are just one person. Thankfully, it didn’t take long and after about 20 minutes we were back on our way.
We got to the hotel and dropped off our things, waited for the rains to die down and then headed out for some shopping and dinner. My epic plan (as always when we go to HK) was to hit up Page One Books in Times Square for a People Magazine to read during a bubble bath later that night and find Taco Loco for a real Mexican dinner! Times Square was open and hosting an art exhibit by Mike Stilkey who uses books instead of paper to paint on. That was interesting.
But we did more than that. The shows and indoor rides were open, so we started with It’s a Small World (one of my favorite rides), did Space Mountain and Buzz Lightyear’s Space Rangers, and caught all the shows: the Golden Mickey’s, Festival of the Lion King, and Philharmagic. It rained off and on all day, but when it would start we would go do something inside and after a few minutes, it would stop again. We finished the evening with a trip to the art studio to learn to draw Winnie the Pooh…
…but we ended up finding something even cooler – the zoetrope!
Basically, a zoetrope is a spinning disc that uses light to simulate animation. We have probably all seen Victorian models of these which used slits to allow light into a cylinder at the right time to trick the eye (if you click the above link, you will see what I mean). This modern version at Disneyland uses strobe lights instead. Sorry for the quality of the video; a camera can’t catch the effect as quickly as the human eye. But it will still show you what happens. If you ever go to Hong Kong Disneyland, be sure to check it out. It is far more amazing in person (my jaw dropped).
Day three started out pretty good. It wasn’t raining so we got to the park just as main street was opening but the rest of the park wasn’t and got some pin-trading and shopping out of the way (10% off before 11:30!). Then we hit the newest area, Grizzly Gulch, for the new roller coaster. I really enjoyed the Grizzly Gulch area; it reminded me of Silver Dollar City. The roller coaster is a lot like Expedition Everest at Animal Kingdom since it goes backwards at one point.
Then we headed off to Toy Story land since most of those rides are outdoors too. These are mainly carnival style rides for the younglings, but it has it’s charm (like pizza cones! Sad I didn’t get a picture of them). Then it started to rain, so we decided to hit up all the characters for picture moments.
That evening, Zoe and I went to Hollywood Road to try and do some antiquing. I bought an antique puppet, but that was all because most of the stalls were closed because of the rain. Seth went to a fame store in Mong Kok to get some games he can’t get here in Mainland. We all finally made it to Page One to get some books and magazines. Then Zoe and I went to Temple Street night market and got some pretty Cheongsam dresses. We will go get our pictures taken in them before she goes back to school.
Overall, it was a good trip. It could have been better if not for the hurricane, but we all still had fun. You can see all of the pics from the trip here.