January 22, 2016

Hong Kong Disneyland: The Little Park That Could

Woefully under built at opening, a Disney park fan could easily pass on visiting Hong Kong Disneyland. There were no landmark, unique to this park big budget attractions, a cheap knock-off castle from the original park in Anaheim, and in general, just not much to make this stand on its own. However...

There were photographs like this one above. (Photographer unknown.) A new twist on the classic Jungle Cruise. With the stunning mountains that surround the island, this Asian Adventureland has on air of authenticity not duplicated in Anaheim or in Tokyo Disneyland. And it was photos like this that made me take a second and third look.

New twists on old favorites.

Then, finally, the expansion began, and the park began to take on a unique personality. First Grizzly Gulch brought something fresh to the park as Imagineers satisfied guest's desire for something new. Granted, it is Big Thunder Mountain Railroad meets Expedition Everest and Grizzly River Rapids, but it looks pretty impressive nonetheless. 

Now that's a showstopping attraction!

Then, Mystic Manor opened, finally putting the little park on the international map.  This very original take on Disney's classic  Haunted Mansion totally redefined the place, creating the park attraction every Disney fan wanted in their home park.  In one swift move, Hong Kong Disneyland became a destination I'd want to see.

Can this little resort hold its own with Shanghai Disneyland opening soon? More surprises are coming with Marvel's Iron Man Experience and beyond. Rumors continue that this park will be receiving some significant investment in the next few years: new attractions, new hotels, and even a new theme park. Things are getting interesting!

(Art and bottom photograph copyright The Walt Disney Company.)

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