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Disneyland Hong Kong

09.17.09

This morning I woke up and felt a marker in this passage through parenthood.  Today, we were taking our child to Disneyland.

Hubs told Schäfer we were going to Disneyland before breakfast. Schäfer was pretty excited once he understood that Disneyland is where Mickey Mouse lives. Right now, Schäfer doesn’t know the Disney stories, but he does have one book so he knows the basic characters.

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After our traditional Hong Kong breakfast of Oatmeal Squares, we hopped on the subway to Disneyland.

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But first, let me share a few facts about going to Disneyland on Thursday, September 17th.

The Unexpected
1. It’s still 91 degrees in tropical Hong Kong. Yes, there was a slight breeze, but it was trumped by the humidity.

2. They celebrate Halloween at Disneyland. Who knew that on September 17th the park would be decked out in spooky theme?

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Schäfer is still too young to know about Halloween so he called all the skeletons lying around “monkeys”. He called the ghosts “hot steam birds”.

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This is the main Halloween character from from The Night Before Christmas. (So I was told by the t-shirts for sale.) Schäfer called him “Baseball man”.   Apparently, the Halloween celebration officially starts tomorrow so today it was toned down. Thank goodness.

While we’re on the holiday note, I think it would be really fun to go to Disneyland Hong Kong in November. I bet the weather is perfect and the Christmas decorations extravagant.

3. Instead of the 7:30 closing parade and fireworks, they were starting (yes, today) the Glow in the Park parade at 7:30 and the fireworks at 10:30pm.

The Delights
1. Schäfer was under three so he was free!

2. Nobody came to the park today. We did not wait in line for one single thing. You want to ride It’s a Small World – hop on. You want a car at Autopia – drive on. You want to play with Mickey for 10 minutes – play on.

3. Despite the fact that Schäfer is under three, he could go on almost all the rides (except for Space Mountain).

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When we first entered the park, Mickey and Minnie were waiting!

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Schäfer’s favorite 3 rides were:

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Dumbo the Flying Elephant.

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Cinderella’s Carousel.

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Autopia.

Disneyland can also be traumatic for an almost 3-year-old. It all started with the “Adventures of Winnie the Pooh” ride. Initially, the ride was alright. Then our little car “crashed” through a barn door and ended up in stormy weather with VERY LOUD lightning, thunder and psychedelic twenty-foot tall jack-in-the-boxes. Schäfer decided that he didn’t like the ride and wanted out. Of course, we couldn’t hop out of the car mid-way so we cuddled him to the end.

After this we told him we’d go see Mickey Mouse play some instruments. He said, “OK!”

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Waiting for the doors to open to Mickey’s PhilharMagic.

Mickey’s PhilharMagic is a 3d musical performance. But like Winnie, they had the music cranked loud. In the beginning, Donald Duck got in a tussle with the band instruments which then all came flying out of the dust cloud toward us. Schäfer thought Donald Duck was trying to “eat his forehead” and wanted out of the theater immediately. So we exited and he calmed down.

After popsicle treat, we asked if he wanted to go on a boat ride. He said, “OK!” and off we went to the “It’s a Small World” ride. Once again, LOUD MUSIC! This time it was coming from all directions and in many different languages. Schäfer was not amused and voiced his objections. We, once again, had to wait until out boat reached the end.

From this point on, Schäfer was highly unwilling to go indoors. I think overall it was just the volume in the rides that frightened him. I admit it was a bit loud when I thought about it – especially for a wee one who hasn’t been on many theme park rides.

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Meeting the characters was one of Schäfer’s favorite things. He really wanted to meet Donald Duck, but he was not at the main character meeting point.

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Schäfer gave everyone “nose nose”.

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Schäfer said, “Mommy can I meet Space Man?” Sure! He really liked Buzz Lightyear (the character – unfortunately he wouldn’t go in the ride because it was inside). Schäfer’s shirt was stained by a orange popsicle. He was having such a great time!

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We rented a stroller during nap time.

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Schäfer loved his Mickey Mouse ears. He kept making squeak noises like a mouse.

On our way home I asked Schäfer:

Who was your favorite character?
“Mi Laoshu! And the animal friends.”

What was your favorite ride?
“The elephant ride and the horsey ride.”

What was your least favorite ride?
“The one where the doors opened.” (Winnie-the-Pooh)

In order to spare us all from a blog post with 400 photos, Hubs made a movie with video and photos. (I’m so in love with this movie that I want to submit it to Sundance.)

In the movie, Schäfer gives some pretty interesting commentary on what he didn’t like about certain rides. Unfortunately, we didn’t get commentary after his favorite rides. I’m sure you’ll agree – he had a magical day.

Disneyland Hong Kong from Easternjourney.com on Vimeo.

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