We’ve stayed at all three Hong Kong Disneyland hotels. Each has its benefits, but I’ll tell you why our favorite is now Disney Explorers Lodge.
It’s ironic because we typically choose the luxury hotel in any category. This one usually prices in between Disney’s Hollywood Hotel and Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel. Because Disney Explorers Lodge is a newer property, they could include conveniences that are currently trending in the family travel market. Here’s what you need to know about it.
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WHAT I LOVE
- Double queen rooms that families of four can stay in (Hong Kong hotel room maximum occupancy is usually three people)
- Peaceful sea views sans skyscrapers
- Convenient, grab-and-go dining and drinks (including nice beer and wine selections)
- Speaking of food, it’s shockingly good and well-presented (photos below)
- Pool cabanas
- Large rooms with complimentary in-room coffee, tea, and bottled water
- Priority Admission Passes and a special park entrance
GOOD TO KNOW
- The hotel’s 750 rooms, located across four wings, overlook themed gardens
- A shuttle runs between Hong Kong Disneyland park and all three hotels
- It is best to walk to Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel and Disney’s Hollywood Hotel (10-15 minutes) because we hit a few snafus trying to take the shuttle
- Don’t expect early check-in and or late check-out privileges
- Breakfast starts at 7:30 a.m.
A busy hotel means dedicated check-in and check-out lines separated by red velvet ropes. We checked in early intending to leave our bags at the luggage hold and head straight to the park with Priority Admission Passes in-hand.
Our room wasn’t ready, but we didn’t expect it to be. We were handed the passes and an Explorers passport that explained various things to do at the hotel and park. We then walked back outside with our luggage to the luggage hold area. After checking it in, we boarded the shuttle to the park.
Now, you can check in online. Approximately seven days before check-in, the hotel will email a link to begin the process, allowing them to prioritize your room for early check-in, enable accompanying guests to pick up keys and more.
Disney Explorers Lodge Rooms
The Hong Kong Disneyland hotels are some of the only hotels in Hong Kong that allow four people in one room.
We opted for a sea view room. The other unique thing that I noticed is that it’s possible to slightly open the windows. Now, this I’ve seen this change at hotels around the world on a whim, but at the time of our stay, you could tilt them open slightly.
It’s a relatively open room with high ceilings. It feels large also perhaps because there isn’t a closet (a wooden cabinet stores hanging clothes) and only the shower and toilet are closed off to the rest of the room. I’d prefer a wholly enclosed bathroom area and I don’t think there’s enough storage for a family to fully unpack for a lengthy stay. It’s fine for a few days.
Also interesting is that you’re encouraged to take the amenities. They even provide a bag for the used soap. I found this packet of amenities to be quite generous actually as it included toothbrushes, a razor, floss, toothpaste and more.
Another nice touch included complimentary bottled water, coffee (with powdered creamer) and tea.
My daughter’s favorite amenity was the little shelf beside her bed. This is one of the thoughtful touches I spotted around the hotel as it’s essential to have a place for water, a cell phone or dwarfs on your side of the bed.
Speaking of the beds, they were decently comfortable. Beds can be uncomfortable in China even in nice hotels. And, this is our view of the South China Sea.
Hong Kong Disneyland Character Dining
Not-to-be-missed is character breakfast at World of Color restaurant. As my daughter eats early, we arrived right at the 7:30 a.m. opening time. Donald Duck came out just before 8:00 a.m., I’d say. Goofy also comes out a bit later, but we finished before he arrived.
Breakfast is a semi-buffet where fruit, cereals, pastries, coffee and more is serve-yourself. Select a hot item from a menu and have it delivered to the table.
Dinner character dining happens at Enchanted Garden inside Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel. This is also the location of Disney dim sum. Disney’s Hollywood Hotel also offers character breakfast daily and character lunch and dinners on some days (check the calendar).
Disney Explorers Lodge Restaurants
World of Color also serves lunch and dinner, and I was tremendously impressed by the flavor and presentation of the multi-course set meal we ordered at this restaurant which showcases cuisine from around the world. I don’t say this lightly as we checked out of Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong with its fabulous dining to stay here.
I couldn’t believe how much food it was. We each had a choice of an appetizer, pizza or pasta, main course, and dessert. Bread was served in the beginning as well, and the service was excellent.
The Chart Room Cafe is a tremendous asset to the hotel with its grab-and-go food. They had everything from sandwiches to packs of veggies and fruit. Buy wine, beer, themed pastries and more on a whim and without a wait (unless you choose a made-to-order item). Eat it in your room or the spacious seat-yourself dining area.
This is important because you are limited to hotel restaurant offerings when staying at Hong Kong Disneyland hotels because there are no convenience stores or fast food options nearby.
Hong Kong Hotel Activities
Hong Kong Disneyland hotel guests have access to activities at all three hotels. It’s worthwhile to check the schedules to see when programming of interest is happening.
The Rain Drop Pool
You’ll be grateful for these cabanas during a Hong Kong summer. The Rain Drop Pool deck was designed to make guests feel like they’re on a tropical vacation with its turquoise water, sea views, and sand-colored stone decking. Hotel guests can also take advantage of complimentary towels, lounge chairs, water, and life jackets.
Disney Explorers Lodge Gardens
Kids have lots of space to roam the four themed gardens: Kevin Garden, Little Squirt Garden, Hathi Jr. Garden and Rafiki Garden.
And, the path along The Waterfront is a fantastic spot for morning exercise. It’s also the best way to get to Hong Kong Disneyland Park (about a 25-minute walk) and the other two hotels.
Priority Admission Passes and Other Perks
Hong Kong Disneyland recently rolled our a few perks to hotel guests. The most important is the Priority Admission Pass. How many you get depends on the type of room you reserve. Each pass is good for four guests. We received three with our sea view room in addition to priority reservations at Festival of the Lion King.
Hong Kong Disneyland hotel guests also enter the park through a dedicated line which does save time seeing that everyone must go through a security check and then present a ticket at the turnstile.
How Long to Stay at a Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel?
My answer is usually somewhere between one and three nights. While there are other things to do on Lantau Island such as see the Big Buddha or visit Tai O fishing villages, it’s a little isolated. Nearby dining is limited to what’s inside the park and hotels.
It’s not uncommon for travelers to split time between Hong Kong Disneyland and Central or Kowloon. In the latter two spots, it’s easier to access the fabulous street food, markets, and other sights on a whim and to break in your hotel room for a few hours here and there. Plus, Hong Kong luxury hotels are some of the finest in the world.
Disney Explorers Lodge Location
Hong Kong Disneyland Resort is located on Lantau Island, about 15 minutes by taxi from Hong Kong International Airport. Be sure to take a blue Lantau Island taxi.
It’s possible also to take the Airport Express train to Tsing Yi station, change to the Tung Chung MTR line, get off at Sunny Bay Station and switch to the Disneyland Resort line. If you do this, make sure to have an Octopus card to avoid buying an Airport Express ticket and separate MTR ticket). Personally, I would take a taxi from the airport.
Getting to Hong Kong Disneyland Resort by MTR from the rest of Hong Kong is easy. Take the MTR to Sunny Bay station and switch to the Disneyland Resort Line (complete with Mickey Mouse silhouette windows) which only stops at the Disneyland Resort station. Plenty of signage around the station will guide you to the park or hotel shuttle buses.
Shuttle buses run between Hong Kong Disneyland park and the three Hong Kong Disneyland hotels. It would take too long to walk to Disney Explorers Lodge especially in heat or with luggage.
Star Ferry operates a daily water taxi tour to and from a pier in front of the Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel. From here, it’s possible to walk about 15 minutes to Disney Explorers Lodge along the water. At the moment the water taxi runs once per day, departing Kowloon at 11:00 a.m. It’s a 45-minute ride.
While we’re sure to repeat stays at all three Hong Kong Disneyland hotels, Disney Explorers Lodge has the best grab-and-go cafe, gardens, and rooms.