We’re nearing the end of the tour of Hong Kong Disneyland. And before we get there, we’re going to visit a grand show and take a detour out of the park…
Mickey and the Wondrous Book
Wondrous Book is one of two stage shows located in Hong Kong Disneyland. The second is Festival of the Lion King. Though not confirmed, Mickey and the Wondrous Book spins a little out of the same idea and style as Mickey and the Magical Map found in the original Disneyland. One of the main differences is the theater. Wondrous Book is located in Fantasyland’s Disney Storybook Theater. It’s a fully enclosed theater, whereas the Fantasyland one is in somewhat open air. The theater being one of the larger attractions at the park means that there is quite the queue for the show. And I was warned to get to a show 45 minutes before its showing, and it’s a good warning! People lined up about that time and it gets packed full.
The theater is dimly lit with some rather ominous music playing. Seats are comfortable, and are basically bench seats divided in rows. The curtained stage displays some giant books on the sides, of course to set up the Wondrous Book idea.
As the story begins, two singing narrators set the scene for what is in store for us, and the two main characters: Mickey and Goofy. The song is reminiscent of the opening for Mickey and the Magical Map, but is different enough to be pleasant. After the song, Mickey and Goofy are wanting to open the mysterious book to see what’s inside. As they do, a snowman (Olaf from Frozen) pops out. He can’t remember where he’s from, and the two pals are don’t know either. Mickey volunteers to go through the book to find the right place for Olaf. Goofy agrees to keep an eye on the snowman.
The first stop is the Jungle Book with a rollicking number of I Want To Be Like You with King Louie. I liked that the scenery was more akin to the actual setting of the original film. It had a very Asian jungle temple look. A surprise took place when one of the statues on Louie’s throne came to life to provide some dancing and flexible feats. Otherwise, the piece was a lot like the Magical Map one. But, still had originality to have me enjoy it quite a bit.
After the song and dance, Mickey asks Louie if he’s missing a snowman. Of course he’s not, and Mickey travels onward through the chapters. Meanwhile, Olaf eludes Goofy, but when he finds the snowman he realizes that Olaf is melting! Mickey must hurry!
Mickey stumbles on a princess medley with Ariel, Rapunzel, and Merida. Each sing take turns coming on stage singing their signature songs, but Ariel and Rapunzel join Merida to sing the chorus of Touch the Sky. Again, reminiscent of Magical Map, but with a couple different princesses and a better stage backdrop. I hate to compare, but the show feels like the Anaheim show in the beginning.
Here’s where it starts to differentiate. In between songs, Goofy is taking care of Olaf. It’s now the Genie’s turn to sing Friend Like Me and help Mickey on his way. This isn’t a cartoon Genie we find in the films. It’s not a full blue face one like Disney California Adventure has. It’s unique. And it turned out great. A lot of lights and stage tricks made this song number come to life. The dancers were great. And it was just a fun performance to a modern classic. Aladdin and Jasmine did appear, but were more part of a trick than part of the stage dialogue. Genie points Mickey in the right direction to find Olaf and he’s on his way.
Tiana and Tiana’s Place was the next stop for Mickey. This was my favorite number out of the whole show. The lighting was spectacular. A single spotlight illuminated Tiana and a jazz horn player, giving just the right mood to an almost sad start of the song. It suddenly becomes Tiana’s Place and it looks like it sprang right from the film! The hues were dead on! The costuming was perfect! It was watching a live version of the Princess and the Frog. And then, it transformed back to the blue mood of the one light. It made me think they could do a remarkable Broadway version of the film.
Finally Mickey finds the land of Arendelle and is able to return Olaf before he melts. Anna and Elsa thank Mickey with the song of Let It Go. Then, Mickey begins to freeze. The crew help him out of the book, and he’s reunited with Goofy. The narrators return to finish with a final number with much of the chorus behind them all. Confetti fills the air as the group heads off stage.
Wondrous Book was full of great music and wonderful storytelling. It was fun to have so many elements be used to tell the story. Olaf was a puppet. Mickey and Goofy moved eyes and mouths. The book itself was a screen that featured video of pages flipping and characters running through. Some of the musical numbers used it as part of the set. It proved effective, but having a video screen didn’t take away from the actual set pieces, which was very nice. I gladly saw the show twice and would have seen it more if there weren’t more to do around the parks!
During my time at Hong Kong Disneyland I stayed at the Hollywood Hotel – one of two hotels at the time.
Disney’s Hollywood Hotel features a very art deco theme and decor. It makes it a very grand place, like what you would imagine an extravagant New York hotel in the 1940’s to be like. The outside features a blue and off white palette and has that great art deco approach as the inside. The lobby is a long width wise floor. Straight ahead you can look out windows towards the pool area. To the left are the check in desks. The right has the small shop and restaurants. Hollywood and Dine was the quick serve food area that was open most of the day. The Studio Lounge was a bar that played Disney movies throughout the night. It was actually a family friendly lounge that had some food for everyone to enjoy. Chef Mickey was semi character dining for breakfast and dinners. Mickey had a photo greeting area in the restaurant for guests to get that photo.
I ate at Chef Mickey for breakfast and it had great food! But, it was not quite traditional Western meal themed. This was an Asian breakfast. In addition to the usual eggs, bacon, and pastries, there’s also noodles, dumplings, and other items you wouldn’t think to have for breakfast in America. It was a buffet, so if something didn’t seem great the first time you could get a different item the next time up at the food line.
Back throughout the hotel, the elevators announced floors by Mickey and Minnie doing the talking. The rooms had a lot of room for Hong Kong. They were quiet and pleasant. The deco decor kept going into these places, and it coupled with the Hollywood theme.
In all, this was a great hotel to stay at and would stay again!
Now, come back again as we finish up the tour!