It’s time for another stop on the Hong Kong Disneyland tour. We’ve gotten to Adventureland, the last of the original lands. Out of the original lands, this one differs from any other the most. It takes its cue from both Disneyland and Magic Kingdom, but is its own brand of adventure…
Around The Riverbend
One of the big characteristics of this Adventureland is the large river that takes up most of the area. There are two attractions nestled in it: Jungle River Cruise and Tarzan’s Treehouse.
Jungle River Cruise is similar to its counterparts in many of the Disney parks. It’s the Jungle Cruise with a more straightforward track. Because Hong Kong has a diverse population, there are three different lines to accommodate languages: English, Mandarin, and Cantonese are the options. Guests board in a similar fashion and in similar boats to the other Cruise attractions.
Once on board, it’s clear that the “river” is large. From the loading you can see an elephant that is part of the bathing pool scene. That also explains that many of the same gags are found here. There’s the savannah area, the safari on the pole with the rhinos. The natives have a smaller, but similar place to ambush everyone. The different scene comes at the end. The boats stop at a geyser filled bend in the river. Two caves face the boats, one with a bit of water coming out, and the other fairly burned. The skipper explains that the gods of fire and water are fighting, and the boat is treated to a show of water spewing from the water side and erupting fire from the other. As steam engulfs the river and the boat, the ride gets back to the dock for unloading.
Many of the jokes are the same, though the English track has rather…uhm…interesting comedic timing to telling them. In all, it’s a fresh take on a classic attraction. The environment of Hong Kong gives it an even more real feel to it all. The finale was fun, and exciting!
The attraction circles around the other big Adventureland attraction: Tarzan’s Treehouse. This island is only accessible by raft from the “mainland.” Once on the island there is quite a bit of exploration for a straightforward climb up the treehouse. If you’re familiar with the Disneyland version it’s quite similar. What’s nice is that a lot of the scenes seem extended and more detailed than the Anaheim attraction. The rooms are bigger, with more interaction available. Having a lot of area to traverse across makes this feel large and great to explore at. Beautiful cavern areas are at the bottom near the rafts. They house small waterfalls and lots of plant life. It’s a spectacular island to get lost on. From the top you can see down the Jungle River Cruise into the Elephant Bathing Pools.
Both of these attractions make Adventureland a little more equivalent to Frontierlands. The Jungle Cruise is like the Rivers of America, with the watercraft taking journeys around the water way. Tarzan’s Treehouse is most similar to Tom Sawyer Island, which also needs rafts to journey to it. Both make use of exploration as the way to enjoy the areas. Though this seems like a Frontierland experience, the theming is very akin to Adventurelands, making it just a new type of land that appears in a lot of other parks.
Not In A Tiki Room
One thing marked as an attraction, but not what you would expect, is the Leaky Tikis. In the States we’re used to something like this being just a feature of a land, but not an attraction. In Hong Kong, a fountain water play area is an attraction. The reason? It gets very very hot on the island. I can attest to that. So, water spouting tiki statues are a great experience to have on the many hot days. Though they are tikis, there aren’t any birds that sing words. This both serves as an homage and the one tiki attraction in the land.
Circle Of Life
An attraction that isn’t found in any of the magic kingdom parks except here is Festival of the Lion King. This show takes place around a circular stage and tells the story of the famous lion. Though similar in production to the Animal Kingdom original, there are some key differences between the two.
First, what is similar are floats that have animal characters from the movie. Simba is aboard one, Pumbaa on another, and a cartoon giraffe and elephant round out the other two. They are seated between the audience seats, as they are in the Animal Kingdom version. A group of performers are still the storytellers, and it does all center around celebrating Simba’s reign as king. But, instead of a few performances of various acts, the group will recall the story of the Lion King.
And, here’s where things differ. There’s a linear plot for the show, and some acts have the same performances as the Florida show, they are all about the telling of the movie plot. Musical numbers take place with the songs from the film. The main 4 performers are each cast as the main characters – Simba, Nala, Scar and Rafiki. Timon is present to fulfill his role.
The other great feature about the show is the floor, which becomes a stage at different timings. There are two parts to it that make it come to life. The outer ring that rises can spin, while a center ring displays actors more prominently.
The show has all the exciting elements of the Animal Kingdom one. A high flying rope bird flies over the crowd. Fire dancers are displayed during Be Prepared. And, the great songs of the Lion King are better done in this show. The stage stood out for me, featuring great movement for a sometimes static floor. In all, it was a nice departure from the usual show I’ve seen before.
We’ll keep going on our tour with the next stop being multiple lands in one. Come back and see us again soon!