It’s now time to go to what I call the “mini-lands” of Hong Kong Disneyland. These areas of the park were built after park opening and maybe aren’t quite full fledged lands. The other interesting part to them is that they aren’t accessible from the hub. Mystic Point, in particular, is only accessible via the other two lands. This is all why I grouped them together in this post…
Toy Story Land
Though the characters are supposed to be smaller than us, this place will make you feel pint sized! We are “shrunk” down to even smaller than some toys to enjoy the attractions and atmosphere. Out of the three side lands, this has some of the richest of detail. It also has the most attractions out of them all.
Toy Soldier Parachute Drop, Slinky Dog Spin, and RC Racer are the main attractions. Parachute Drop may seem like a usual tower drop ride, but I found it a unique experience. It isn’t quite the wild type like Tower of Terror, or the old Maliboomer. It does feel like training, which is what it makes it out to be. The detail here has a lot of camo and you can hear Sarge giving instructions while in line. Though it all seems relatively tame, it’s probably one of the more exciting in the area, and not for the faint of heart.
Beside it is the other adrenaline attraction of the place: RC Racer. It’s a fairly straightforward ride where guests are zoomed on a track aboard RC. You go straight up, and then backwards straight up on the other side. Simple? Sure. Exciting? You bet! The speed gets faster as you rock back and forth on the orange lane. One fun detail to the whole thing: a switch on the outside will move according to the state the ride is in. Off is when people are loading. On is, of course, when it’s going. Another note is that this is one of two Disney attractions that I’ve encountered that has you store your belongings in cubby/lockers before boarding. Because of the nature of angles that you get to, it’s possible for lots of items to fall out while you ride.
The third ride of the Toy Story Land is Slinky Dog Spin. It’s, again, a fairly straightforward but fun attraction. You board in various cars that make up Slinky’s body. Then, he gets going to spin you around. It’s a classic spin ride, but with little dizziness.
There is a lot to see in Toy Story Land besides the rides. Woody greets visitors on one end, while Rex is on the other. Both will “talk” to you, and also seem to know when you are up close versus walking past. Once inside the area, much of the buildings and utilities are decorated as toys. The shop and bathrooms look like structures Andy has made for the toys to take residence. A barrel of monkeys makes up the character greeting area. It’s a delightful place to be a toy, or guest walking around having fun!
The land that I found myself in most often was Mystic Point. Why? It was the place that had my favorite attraction in the park, and my favorite restaurant of the park.
The land, though not decked out in detail, had a great story behind it. Henry Mystic has opened his estate up for visitors to peruse. He’s converted one part of his home to be an Explorer’s Club that features the restaurant, and a wonderful shop. Then there’s the Garden of Wonders, a small walk around park to see some optical illusions.
Garden of Wonders has a wonderful atmosphere to take a break in. It’s lush plant life provides some great shelter from rain (which happens often in Hong Kong) and shade from the harsh sun. There’s a few statues that make up the illusions, and a trompe l’oeil painting to provide the optical tricks that are fun. It adds to the story of Mystic’s collecting artifacts around the world. One illusion that doesn’t mean to be is the train depot. It says it’s for import and export, and looks like the Hong Kong Disneyland Railroad makes a stop at it. But, the train does not stop here. You can see it go past amidst a wooded area, but it doesn’t even go right past the station. There’s a giant Greek statue head for photo ops. And, it’s another nice rest area for the park.
Over at the Explorer’s Club, Henry Mystic has each dining room represent a different country that he has collected treasures from. There’s an Egypt, Russia, and China room. Each is decorated accordingly, and has pictures and statues that make up “rare finds” from around the globe. The food itself is a bit exotic. Much of the fare represents the same countries as the dining rooms. And, it was the best that I found in the park! It was one of the better restaurants for the unique tastes and plenty of indoor tables. Both of that is a winning combination at Hong Kong Disneyland. Its remoteness in the park enabled it to be a hidden gem that didn’t attract a lot of people either.
Besides these two great finds within the mini-land, there was the great Mystic Manor – Hong Kong Disneyland’s version of a Haunted Mansion. There are no ghosts to be found here, though. The reason? Spirits are too precious to Chinese culture, and to have ghosts represent people would be offensive in this country. Instead, Henry Mystic and his monkey companion, Albert, have found an enchanted music box that brings inanimate objects to life. Guests are supposed to take a tour via vehicles of Mystic’s design, but Albert unleashed the music box on the house. This trackless dark ride can give a different experience each time riding, though it’s not a huge variety. There was something new I found each time I rode, and I rode quite a bit!
Mystic Manor has a great soundtrack provided by Danny Elfman. The song had lyrics in only one part of the ride, but it was still a catchy melody to get stuck in my head through most of the day! Albert is an adorable character that steals the show, and is a victim of it as well. The Audio-Animatronics featured for this ride are very animated and provide a state of the art experience. There are great effects featured throughout as well. This was one of the best rides that Imagineering has come up with! I found myself enjoying it every time I went on!
Heading to Hong Kong Disneyland I was looking most forward to Toy Story Land and Mystic Point. Grizzly Gulch with Big Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Cars (which will now be known as Grizzly Mountain for the rest of the post) was something I really wanted to experience, but I didn’t have high hopes for. I was surprised by Gulch and its Mountain! It ended up being one of my favorite lands, and one of my favorite attractions!
Grizzly Gulch is Hong Kong Disneyland’s Frontierland. The town is a mining town with architecture similar to Frontierlands of other parks around the world. But, this has an easily recognizable story to go with it. Though it’s a gold mining town, there are some inhabitants that have caused chaos among the miners: grizzly bears. Evidence of their wanderings are everywhere, but also the notion of being able to strike it rich too. It may be a small footprint for a land, but there is so much detail that it seems like it has a deep history, and immersive enough to make you feel like you’ve set foot to find your fortune in the mine tunnels of Grizzly Mountain.
Grizzly Mountain is a roller coaster ride featuring gold, bears, and dynamite! Like it’s noted, bears are causing havoc throughout Grizzly Gulch, and the mountain is no exception. A bear causes the track to switch, which sends the train careening to areas not designated for you. Then there’s the lift hill rope that breaks (don’t worry, it’s an effect for the ride) that sends you going backwards through the tunnels. A mama and baby bear accidentally set off a blast that sends you zooming to the finale.
The ride had some fun animatronic bears that seemed inspired by Marc Davis gag drawings. They had a realistic, yet cartoon-like approach to them. It was a nice combo that didn’t detract from the western ride. The coaster track and system was akin to the Expedition Everest style found in Animal Kingdom. But, improvements were made that made the experience seamless. Though I greatly enjoy Expedition Everest, an awkward part of the ride is getting to the snowy cap at the top where you wait for a bird to cry out and appear. Then you go backwards, but for it being about a broken track, it seems like you would slide down a lot sooner. Grizzly Mountain has a fast turnover from when the rope snaps to when you descend backwards. It made it all scary and fun, with no down time to get a grip on what just happened.
With a fun story and a fun ride, Grizzly Gulch was one of the most dynamic places in the park. Geyser Gulch was a water playground also found amidst the frontier buildings. Water cannons let people battle to see who would get soaked in two shacks. Trying to avoid springs that shot up from the ground made a wet time for other guests. It’s a cool atmosphere for the humid Hong Kong.
These three lands are the most fun and interesting out of the whole Disneyland park in Hong Kong. There’s a story in each to tie all the elements together. They contain some of the newest attractions of the drawing board of Imagineering to make guests’ imagination come to life. They were the places that I kept going back to, not just because they were so different from anything here in the States, but because they were so well done with immersive theme and fun rides. It made it worth every time I went into Hong Kong Disneyland!
And, we’re still not done with the tour! Come back to see what else the resort has to offer!