and since our friend has never been to a Disney park - ever, anywhere - we decided that the surprise inside the surprise was going to be a day at Hong Kong Disneyland.
our trip started off well - Hello Kitty was on our plane and we were welcomed in Hong Kong with cute cartoons. we were only staying one night, so after our arrival we walked over from our hotel in SoHo to the peak tram terminal. things were a bit hazy and misty for us, but the views were still better than from inside our hotel room.
I have actually been to Victoria Peak every time I've visited Hong Kong - which made this my third visit. I've done the fancy 428 viewing deck, but we opted for free views and more exploring this time. the Lion's Pavillion area is not far from where you exit the tram. it's usually pretty crowded. but then, so is most of the peak area.
we also wandered down Lugard Road for a different perspective of the city. things were more quiet out that way, and professional-looking photographers waiting for sunset mark the best photo vantages. then we found a bar to enjoy some beverages while the sun went down and the buildings lit up.
I have some not great feelings about my last trip to Hong Kong. and I kindof hate that traveling with two men instead of wandering as a solo woman was a lot more comfortable for me. but no one demanded my photo then stalked me into a Starbucks this time so maybe that has more to do with my feelings.
anyway, it was nice to revisit and replace that experience with some better memories. especially since I FINALLY got to visit Hong Kong Disneyland.
it's pretty much impossible not to have fun at Disney. when you're surrounded by little kids alight with wonder, it's infectious. we spent the day being whisked away to a mystical manor full of enchanted antiquities, barreling through space in hyperdrive, floating down a crocodile-infested jungle river, blasting Emperor Zurg, hunting for character eggs, and giggling with delight at all the magical details they put into the park. and THEN we met Mickey.
I've been curious about Hong Kong Disney since our first visit to HK in 2013, and even more since we visited Tokyo Disney to celebrate my 29th birthday in 2014. [coincidentally, my first "travel by iphone" post was upon return from our Tokyo Disney trip.] and for the scoop on Tokyo, you can read my Tokyo Disney tips and tricks post which also links to more detailed info about various areas of the park, or just scroll through this post full of castle photos.
after visiting both parks, I have to admit I prefer Tokyo. the park is bigger and there's more rides, the castle is full-size and there is a whole second park [Disney Sea] to explore. Mystic Manor was fun in its own way, but it's no Haunted Mansion. that being said - all the attractions in Hong Kong were in English, and the park is small enough to easily see everything in one day. it's worth visiting and I'm glad we were able to go.
I think it's safe to say we had a magical time in Hong Kong 💕