The BEST Guide to Visiting Hong Kong Disneyland
This post is updated annually to reflect new rides, hotel offers and other news - it's our favorite Disney park!
To give you a little bit of background, we lived in Hong Kong, still go to Hong Kong Disneyland during every return visit and have been there more times than many of our friends who still live there. We’ve stayed in two Hong Kong Disneyland hotels (we’ll stay in the new hotel this spring), eaten Disney dim sum, dressed up at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique multiple times, enjoyed character dining and much more.
In this guide, I will share insider tips for of the above, how to buy tickets, how to skip the lines, and more to ensure your visit to this amazing Hong Kong attraction is absolutely perfect.
Table of Contents
- About Hong Kong Disneyland
- How Much Time to Spend in the Park
- Hong Kong Disneyland’s Seven Lands
- 10 Best Rides at Hong Kong Disneyland
- Navigating Ride Wait Times
- Miscellaneous Tips
- Hong Kong Disneyland Ticket Prices
- Hong Kong Disneyland Hotels
- Inspiration Lake Recreation Center
- How to Get to Hong Kong Disneyland
- Important Cultural Differences
- The Bottom Line
About Hong Kong Disneyland
Hong Kong Disneyland opened in 2005. It is the city’s largest theme park, but the smallest Disney park in the world. Smaller size though is part of its charm as it has lower capacity limits and usually shorter lines (we’ll discuss lines later). Cast members speak English, Cantonese and Mandarin. Like other Disney parks, they are incredibly friendly and hand out stickers for the kids to collect.
The park was designed to adhere to principles of feng shui, incorporates Chinese culture throughout, and is built on reclaimed land in Penny’s Bay on Lantau Island.
The park has seven lands (themed areas) that we’ll go over in detail and boasts elaborate holiday decor during Halloween, Christmas, Chinese New Year and Easter.
How Much Time to Spend in the Park
The answer is that it depends, but here is what you need to know to make that decision.
You can absolutely spend a full day or even multiple days especially if you’re a Disney enthusiast. However, a half-day in either the morning or afternoon is worthwhile, too. The park is fairly small with similar rides to Magic Kingdom, Disneyland Paris and Disneyland. The tickets are less costly than the aforementioned parks so if you choose to visit for a half-day, your wallet isn’t too hurt by it.
Consider how much time you are spending in Hong Kong. If the answer is just a few days, a half-day at the park would allow you to explore the rest of the things to do in Hong Kong with kids (the list is long). Ocean Park is another Hong Kong theme park we like to visit, too.
The time of year matters. Summer heat and humidity is brutal. If visiting in summer, it would be wise, especially with young kids, to break the visit into two half-days. One half-day could be first thing in the morning and another could happen in the evening to see the fireworks. I have written a guide for visiting this Disneyland in the summer.
Hong Kong Disneyland’s Seven Lands
Check the app or daily park schedule for ride closures.
Main Street U.S.A
The buildings of Main Street U.S.A. at Hong Kong Disneyland are architecturally identical to those at Disneyland with stories appropriate to its Hong Kong location woven in. It still looks like 20th-century small-town America. Here is where the best souvenir shops are located, like the Emporium. Tsum Tsums are VERY popular in Hong Kong as is Duffy. In fact, you can see Duffy, ShellieMay, Gelatoni and StellaLou inside the Main Street Cinema store here.
Rides and Attractions:
- Animation Academy
- Art of Animation
- Hong Kong Disneyland Railroad – Main Street U.S.A. Station
- Main Street Vehicles
Upon entering Main Street U.S.A., there is a grassy rotunda where a character greeting is usually in progress. Since it’s near the park entrance, the line here can be long so we skip it and wait for other character greetings.
Eat: The Corner Cafe has a decent selection of pasta and salads, set menus and afternoon tea. It’s just fine, nothing great. For takeaway, grab a good pastry or sandwich from Market House Bakery. Near here is also a snack cart with waffles, turkey drumsticks and more in addition to outdoor tables. I have not eaten at the Plaza Inn here.
A walk through from Main Street U.S.A. through Sleeping Beauty’s castle lands you in Fantasyland which is where young children will be the happiest and the rides are in close proximity to each other.
Rides and attractions:
- Cinderella’s Carousel
- Dumbo the Flying Elephant
- Fairytale Forest presented by PANDORA
- Fantasy Gardens
- Hong Kong Disneyland Railroad – Fantasyland Station
- it’s a small world (the line moves very quickly, if there is even a line)
- Mad Hatter Tea Cups
- The Many Adventures of Winnie the Poo
- Mickey’s PhilharMagic (a very cute 4D show – recommend)
- Sleeping Beauty’s Castle
- Snow White Grotto
- Sword in the Stone (characters appear here sometimes, otherwise it’s just a fake sword in a stone)
Fantasy Gardens is where character greetings take place. It’s relatively shaded and there are nice benches to sit on. Characters appear in pagodas that are spread out through the garden. A photographer is onsite to take professional photos for purchase and also will take photos using your camera.
Eat: Royal Banquet Hall has four stations: Grill, Japanese, Guangdong and International. We ate here last time and the kids enjoyed the dim sum, sushi and other foods on offer. I was pleasantly surprised by the quality.
I would choose this over Clopin’s Festival of Food, which is basically mediocre Chinese. Clopin’s usually displays mock dishes at the entrance which give you an idea of what the food looks like. (If you want Asian food though, I would highly suggest you go to Mystic Point’s Explorer’s Club… but they do not have Chinese food.) The ice cream stand near the exit of it’s a small world is also amazing but if want to have a special Disney dessert, see below.
Toy Story Land
This land is themed after the popular Toy Story movies and is conveniently located next to Fantasyland.
Rides and Attractions:
- Barrel of Fun
- RC Racer (a thrill ride, currently closed)
- Slinky Dog Spin (a must for young kids)
- Toy Soldier Parachute Drop (one of the best rides in the park with a great view but the line does not move quickly)
You’ll be asked to put your handbags and belongings in a cubby before boarding Toy Soldier Parachute Drop but if you have a smartphone on a neck strap (a DSLR is too big) or a secured-to-you GoPro, the view right before the parachute drops is pretty great.
Eat: There is only Jessie’s Snack Cart here which sells drinks and snack foods including soft serve with boba. I had a churro soft serve last time that was delicious.
Mystic Point is the most recent land to open at Hong Kong Disneyland and its main attraction is Mystic Manor.
It is similar in style to the Haunted House ride but with an entirely different storyline and is much more high tech. Basically, Mystic Point is the site of mysterious forces and supernatural events in the heart of a dense, uncharted Papua New Guinea rain forest and the home to an explorer named Lord Henry Mystic.
Rides and Attractions:
- Garden of Wonders
- Mystic Manor (one of the best rides in the park with great special effects and music scored by Danny Elfman)
- Mystic Point Freight Depot (a place for kids to walk through and explore)
Eat: The Explorer’s Club Restaurant is the best Hong Kong Disneyland restaurant. Here, there are different counter-order stations featuring Indonesian, Japanese, Korean and Southeast Asian food. I had a very good Hainanese chicken rice and my daughter’s bento box was also very good. The only complicated thing is that if you want Southeast Asian and your kids want Japanese, you’ll need to line up twice (I did and it wasn’t too inconvenient). This Hong Kong Disneyland restaurant has five dining rooms themed after various part of the world. All food here is also Halal.
None of the food in the park is Michelin-star quality but it’s definitely improved over the years.
Grizzly Gulch is Hong Kong Disneyland’s version of Frontierland which mirror’s the 19th century Wild West. It is small and the only ride is Big Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Cars, which is a roller coaster similar in style to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Disneyland. This is my favorite ride in the entire park and a good intro to roller coasters for younger kids.
Its different because it shifts from high forward speed to a high but manageable backward speed at one point. The launch is cool, too. The rest of Grizzly Gulch is quick to walk through.
Rides and attractions:
- Big Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Cars
- Geyser Gulch
- Wild West Photo Fun
Eat: There is a popcorn cart and a snack outlet.
I recently learned that this is the largest Adventureland in all of the Disney Parks.
Rides and attractions:
- Jungle River Cruise (you line up based on language… signs indicate where to queue)
- Liki Tikis (it’s more of an interactive water play area not a ride)
- Rafts to Tarzan’s Treehouse
- Tarzan’s Treehouse
Eat: Chocolate Banana Dippers (I love these) at the snack cart bearing the same name. You can also find fresh cut fruit here, too.
Turn right after leaving Main Street U.S.A. and you’ll land in Tomorrowland.
Rides and attractions
- Hyperspace Mountain (Space Mountain, really)
- Iron Man Experience
- Star Wars Command Post
My daughter and her friends recently enjoyed Jedi training at Star Wars Command Post. At age 10, they are a bit old for it but the theatrics are funny to them. The show is in Cantonese.
About the new Iron Man Experience: The new Iron Man Experience is a big deal because it is exclusive to this park and the first Disney attraction to be based on a Marvel property. It is awesome. I love how they feature prominent Hong Kong buildings in the ride (that, truthfully, might not be recognizable to tourists who just landed). Here’s the ride description.
The eminent innovator and pioneer, Tony Stark has selected Tomorrowland in Hong Kong Disneyland to host Stark Expo, where he will show off his latest high-tech creations in various exhibition halls – the Hall of Legacy, the Hall of Protection, the Hall of Energy and the Hall of Mobility. Guests will be among the first to explore Tony Stark’s latest innovations up close and fly in a gravity-defying Iron Wing flight vehicle in Iron Man Experience. He has also made Hong Kong the Asia headquarters of Stark Industries hereafter.
The park spent over three years to design and create Iron Man Experience – complete with flight simulators, 3-D projection, surround sound and other special effects that immerse guests in the Marvel story of a battle with the evil forces of Hydra.
Recent ride closures: Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters sadly closed in Tomorrowland in August 2017 to make way for a new Marvel attraction. Autopia was removed to make way for Iron Man Experience. It’s a shame because I found the left hand drive cars a hoot as we Americans drive on the right.
Eat: The Starlight Diner is the best place in the park for a burger, basket of chicken fingers and other similar American-style food. Note that as you are in Asia, some of the condiments are modified to suit local tastes. Instead of a pickle, my last burger sported a cucumber and was heavy on the mayonnaise. But it’s a huge dining area, the counter ordering seems to move quickly and kids will like the space-themed decor.
10 Best Rides at Hong Kong Disneyland
Here is our list of favorites:
- Big Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Cars (Grizzly Gulch)
- Hyperspace Mountain (Tomorrowland)
- Iron Man Experience (Tomorrowland)
- Toy Soldier Parachute Drop (Toy Story Land)
- Mystic Manor (Mystic Point)
- it’s a small world (Fantasyland)
- Dumbo the Flying Elephant (Fantasyland)
- The Many Adventures of Winnie the Poo (Fantasyland)
- Jungle River Cruise (Adventureland)
- RC Racer
Like other parks, if you can go right when the park opens on a weekday that is not during a holiday season, this is your best bet. It’s what I do and we’re able to more or less walk on and off of rides.
We did go in August recently which is peak holiday season. It was miserably hot and crowded with loads of tourists from the mainland. The new Shanghai Disneyland has eased these crowds a little but but they are likely to still be there during school holidays like this.
But during Easter week recently, when it was considered crowded, a wait for Dumbo (one of the most popular rides) was 25 minutes. Having just been at Shanghai Disneyland where wait times exceeded 3 hours, 25 minutes is not a big deal to me but it is considered “long” by Hong Kong Disneyland standards. The exception is that the Toy Soldier Parachute Drop can easily be an hour during any season.
Download the Hong Kong Disneyland App
The Hong Kong Disneyland app will tell you approximately how long the wait times are at certain rides, tell you where and what time certain characters will appear, show a GPS enabled map, make reservations and provide a myriad of other details. Downloading this free app is a must.
Hong Kong Disneyland FastPass
Three rides have a FastPass option:
- Hyperspace Mountain
- The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.
- Iron Man Experience
This is where you insert your ticket to receive a time to return to a special expedited line. On crowded days, there will still be a bit of a wait even with a Fast Pass. Everyone in your party must have a FastPass to enter the line, however. Guests with Gold or Platinum annual Magic Access pass are eligible for up to two extra FastPasses.
There is no limit to the amount of FastPasses that you can pull in one day but you can only have one FastPass per person at a time.
3-Hour Disney Spectacular Tour
Hong Kong Disneyland’s VIP tour is called the Disney Spectacular Tour. At the time of this writing, the price is $5688 HKD (about $728 USD) for up to six people and does not include park admission. This VIP tour provides direct access to rides of your choice, reserved seating at shows, reserved seating at the day time parade and evening Paint the Night parade, should either fall during your tour time. I have never needed this tour but it is worth considering during summer weekends, August, and Chinese New Year or for general piece of mind if the possibility of crowds worries you.
Stay in a Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel (More on These Below)
Guests who choose to stay in one of the three Hong Kong Disneyland hotels will now receive at least one Priority Admissions Pass. These passes are different from the FastPasses. How many and the type you get depends on the room you book.
Available Priority Admission Pass attractions include Big Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Cars, Hyperspace Mountain, Iron Man Experience, it’s a small world and Mystic Manor for all room types. Guests staying in Sea View or above room category will have also have Slinky Dog Spin, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and Toy Soldier Parachute Drop to choose from.
Read on for more information about the Hong Kong Disneyland hotels.
Arrive Before the Park Opens
They will let you through the turnstiles at least 15 minutes early (probably earlier but I’ve never tried) so that you can get all the way to the end of Main Street U.S.A. before the park officially opens. The reason to do this is first to see the opening ceremony where a pre-selected child/family will cut the ribbon with scissors.
The main reason thought is that being this far into the park will put you in prime position to get to your favorite ride first. It used to be that everyone headed to Autopia. I would suggest you head to Toy Story Land for the Toy Soldier Parachute Drop as that normally is a slow-moving line.
What to Bring and Rules
Be sure to pack sunscreen and bug spray. The latter is mostly useful if staying until nightfall. If it is summer, bring a travel umbrella for shade and a hand-held fan (the latter will be sold at a premium in the park if it’s hot but it will likely be a cuter, Disney-branded fan). I’ve recently been using a USB fan that plugs into my phone though fans that actually mist water are super handy in an Asian summer.
You are not permitted to bring in outside food or drinks. Adults over the age of 16 are not permitted to dress up. Selfie sticks are not allowed. Read the rest of the park’s rules and regulations.
Leaving a Stroller
I had a Bugaboo stroller and never had an issue with leaving my stroller anywhere in Hong Kong Disneyland while I went on a ride. However, I never leave anything valuable in it and this is something to be done at your own risk. Stroller rentals are available at the park, too.
Disney Characters Greetings
They do a good job of outlining where and at what time the characters will be out greeting. However, they take simultaneous breaks every 20 minutes or so. I understand this, but find it aggravating. The breaks are about 5-10 minutes, though I never timed them exactly. We have best luck at Fantasy Gardens (which some days opens at noon) versus getting stuck in uber-long lines on Main Street. Popular characters include Elsa, Anna, Snow White, Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Buzz Lightyear, Sleeping Beauty, Sofia, Tinkerbell and more.
Characters commonly sign autograph books, which you can buy in the Emporium on Main Street. It is a nice souvenir for your kids to have. They can put the stickers staff around the park will give them in this book, too.
Character Dining and Princess Dress-Up
Character Dining only occurs at the Hong Kong Disneyland Resort Hotels. Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel is also where the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique is. The hotels are accessible by shuttle bus but you will need to leave the park. It is common for little girls to want to visit the park after the dress-up boutique so you may want to plan to leave the park for lunch or dinner and return with them in full princess dress up.
- Little Girls Become Princesses at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique
- Cute Disney Dim Sum at Hong Kong Disneyland
- Should You Book Hong Kong Disneyland Character Dining
Hong Kong Disneyland Ticket Prices
Single-Day Passes: Adults are $589 HKD ($75 USD) and children are $419 HKD ($54 USD). They also offer 2-Day Hong Kong Disneyland ticket prices and promotional packages throughout the year.
Meal Vouchers: Hong Kong Disneyland now offers the ability to buy meal vouchers in advance. If you do, you will save $10 HKD.
- 2-in-1 Meal Voucher: This includes park lunch or dinner and a snack ($125 HKD online/$135 HKD at the park)
- 3-in- 1 Meal Voucher: This includes park lunch, dinner and a snack. ($225 HKD online/$135 HKD at the park)
To give you an idea, I would buy the 2-in-1 Meal Voucher. If I order a $159 combo meal at Explorer’s Cafe (which I have in the past), a $38 snack mid-day in the park, and get a $5 discount on a water or soda from a snack cart, that’s a total of $202 I would normally spend. The price of the 2-in-1 voucher online is $125 ($135 at the park) so I save $77 HKD.
The voucher will need to be scanned on your smartphone or printed copy when ordering your food. I normally don’t buy meal plans but these really can save you money especially if you are ordering meal combos on the higher range of what is allowable. The allowable restaurants are my favorite anyway. Read more about Hong Kong Disneyland meal vouchers.
Annual Passes: Magic Passes (prices start at $1178 HKD for adults) are available to all guests, regardless of country of residence. There are various levels. If you plan to go for two days and stay in the hotel, it is worth considering an annual pass as they include 10% discount on food outlets and shops within the park, discounted hotels stays, discounts on hotel dining and more. Some passes have a few blackout dates that you’ll need to check. The top tiers of Magic Access are more suitable for Hong Kong residents and long stays, but it’s worth comparing the options.
Where to Buy Tickets: Buy tickets for Hong Kong Disneyland at:
- the park ticket booths
- Disney’s Hollywood Hotel
- Disney Explorer’s Hotel
- Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel
- most Hong Kong luxury hotel concierge desks
- Hong Kong Disneyland Ticket Express at the MTR Hong Kong Station (Tung Chung Line Concourse)
Whatever you do, I would highly recommend you get the actual ticket in-hand at your hotel or the Ticket Express booth in Central so you can skip the ticket booth line at the park.
Hong Kong Disneyland Hotels
There are now three Hong Kong Disneyland Hotels and they are all quite different from each other. I wouldn’t necessarily say that one is better than the other… it just depends on the experience you’d like.
Benefits of Staying in a Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel
Finally, Hong Kong Disneyland hotel guests have perks!
Hotel guests use a special “Disney Hotel Guests Entrance” at the Main Entrance of the park.
Guests will receive the Priority Admission Pass to at least 1 park attraction, based on the type of hotel room booked. Sea View Room guests will receive Priority Admission Passes to 3 attractions, and guests staying in a Kingdom Club Room of Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel will receive Priority Admission Passes to 4 attractions. Each room guest will receive the allowed number of Priority Admission Passes, up to 4 per room.
Guests staying in a Sea View room of Disney Explorers Lodge or Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel will receive seat reservations to “Festival of the Lion King” , while guests staying in a Kingdom Club Room of Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel will receive seat reservations to the first show of “Mickey and the Wondrous Book” on the day of their visit
Notes about the hotels: A convenient shuttle runs between the hotels and the park. You can walk to the park but it would be long with kids in tow. The hotels are both busy so, in my experience, they lack that “white glove” experience one might expect in a similarly-priced hotel in other parts of Hong Kong. That being said, my daughter loves staying at Hong Kong Disneyland so we usually do.
Reservations: I’ve included links so that you can check the price through the hotel directly or on Agoda. Agoda is one of the most popular sites for booking hotels in Asia as their pricing can be lower at times.
Disney’s Hollywood Hotel
Art Deco in style, Disney’s Hollywood Hotel is the least expensive option, however, I found it to be good value for money. Kids will love the piano-shaped pool, relaxed vibe and expansive grassy areas to run through. Character breakfast and dinner happen here (dates and times for the latter vary) and the food is honestly not bad. Standard rooms are quite colorful though comfortable. The Rooms start at $1800 HKD. You can read our full Disney’s Hollywood Hotel review for more details.
Learn more on their website.Check Prices on Agoda
Disney Explorers Lodge
The 750-room, resort-style Disney Explorers Lodge opened in April 2017. It’s furnished according to the four unique tropical climates of Asia, Oceania, South America and Africa and priced in between Disney’s Hollywood Hotel and Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel. We will stay here in spring 2018 and give you a full report.
Learn more on their website.Check Prices on Agoda
Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel
This hotel is definitely the luxury option though it pales in comparison to the fabulous five star hotels elsewhere in Hong Kong. Victorian in style, similar to Orlando’s Grand Floridian, the rooms are fine and a bit nicer than Disney’s Hollywood Hotel though I wouldn’t classify them as luxurious. This hotel is where Crystal Lotus (the excellent Cantonese restaurant that offers Disney dim sum is located), Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique and more elaborate character dining is located. There is a pool, a fun hedge maze kids love and and nice sea views from the rooms. I haven’t written a review of this hotel yet but will shortly.
Learn more on their website.Check Prices on Agoda
If you’d like to immerse in all things Disney and enjoy the perks resort hotels offer, then by all means stay on the resort. But the park is so easy to get to (details below) that you could very easily stay in Central or Kowloon in a nicer hotel for the same or less money. We usually stay at the Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong and the Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong. Both are kid-friendly and well-located in Central, but Hong Kong is full of wonderful hotels.
Inspiration Lake Recreation Center
Especially in good weather, this neat area of Hong Kong is a gem that I think is often overlooked. It is indeed a lake with a woodsy park next to it. Admission to Inspiration Lake is free and it’s a nice place for exercise, walking and a change of pace. Surrey bikes and pedal boats are available to rent. There is also a snack shop.
How to Get to Hong Kong Disneyland
From Central Hong Kong: It’s so easy and inexpensive to get to Hong Kong Disneyland via the MTR. Take the Tung Chung MTR line to Sunny Bay station (all trains from Central are headed in the same direction). At Sunny Bay, switch to the Disney Resort Line. It’s a very easy ride that takes about 20 minutes.
Other MTR lines from other spots in Hong Kong can navigate you to Sunny Bay and then to the Disney Resort Line. The MTR is an easy subway system to understand because of English signage and maps in each train car. The trains “speak” in English too. And, they’re clean, probably because you’re not supposed to eat or drink on them.
By Taxi from Central: Don’t do it, if you don’t have to, because Hong Kong traffic can be brutal. However, I took a taxi mid week from the Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel to Central Hong Kong. It cost about $150 HKD (about $19 USD) and we hit no traffic. This is rare.
From the Airport: Even though the airport is also on Lantau Island, it takes about 20 minutes or so with no traffic to get to Hong Kong Disneyland. It cost us $100 HKD plus an extra $5 HKD per bag. Be sure to take a blue Lantau taxi. Red taxis go to Central, Kowloon and a few other parts of Hong Kong. Green taxis go to the New Territories.
Important Cultural Differences
Visitors are primarily from mainland China with Hong Kong residents sprinkled in. The ratio of adults to kids is much higher in comparison to U.S. Disney parks.
Kids: If your child has light coloring, he or she may receive attention as this look is still not common on the mainland. My daughter is strawberry blonde with pale white skin and blue eyes. She is stopped constantly by very nice mainland Chinese who compliment her features or would like to take a photo of her or with her (decide in advance how you feel about this as not to be caught off-guard).
Line cutting: In complete converse to the polite behavior I mentioned above, there can be line cutting. Hong Kongers are quick to point out that the people who do this are foreigners. This has always made me crazy. It’s such a bold maneuver that you almost can’t believe that it’s happening. This has decreased in recent years but I would suggest you stand in line with purpose and a good stance, if that makes sense, to prevent this from happening.
The Bottom Line
I hope you enjoy your visit to this amazing Disney park that we love so much. Feel free to ask a question in the comments and I’ll do my best to respond.
What do you enjoy most about Hong Kong Disneyland?
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Top photo credit: Hong Kong Disneyland (characters are in Chinese New Year costumes)