So, I thought I would try something a little different for this post.
Most of the time, I review different elements concerning the different Asian Disney Parks. I delve in to the macro a lot of the time, leaving the micro behind. Thus, I have decided to do a Frequently Asked Questions about the different parks.
There are hundred questions I could answer, but since I don’t want this article to be 10,000 words long (and I want you to actually read it), I will stick to just a few questions.
I will cover various questions for each resort (Hong Kong Disneyland, Tokyo Disney Resort, and Shanghai Disney Resort) and some general questions about the Asian Disney Parks. If you like what you are read, let me know and this may become a recurring feature.
The Asian Disney Parks – In General
Can you communicate in English with the Cast Members?
This is a very common question. Sometimes, I think it is people’s biggest worry that they will not be able to communicate to the Asian Cast Members in English. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Yes, there are some CMs that are not as confident at speaking English as others, but every CM I have met in all three Asian Resorts has been able to answer my needs in English.
Will my bank cards work there?
Again, another worry for travelers who haven’t been to Asia before is about how to access their cash when they are there. As a precaution, I always will have some currency for whatever Disney Park I visit, but as a whole, most of the counters will except Visa, MasterCard and Union Pay. Also, all three resorts have cash machines that accept that vast majority of major bank cards, so this really shouldn’t be an issue.
A slight side tip: cash machines in Mainland China operate a little differently to those in other countries. They will return your cash before your bank card. Just remember this if you are using an ATM as they have been known to eat several bank cards (mine included) if you forget to wait for it.
Is there food available for picky eaters?
I would say the food is consistently great at all of the Asian Disney Parks. There is plenty from which to choose. However, some people aren’t as adventurous of eaters and that’s completely OK. Each Disney resort has a wide array of western food also, catering to even the pickiest of eaters. From hamburgers to pizza to deli sandwiches, I have no doubt that every individual will be able to find someting.
Are the parks hard to find?
This is a question with various answers, but in short: not really. For Hong Kong Disneyland, the park is a 10-15 minute taxi journey from Hong Kong International Airport, but you can always get a bus/train from the airport. HKDL also has its own MTR stop which is well sign-posted in all MTR stations.
Shanghai Disney Resort is also not too far from the airport and will cost around $15 US by cab. Like HKDL, SDR also has its own Metro stop that is very easy to access from any of Shanghai’s many Metro stations (it just might take a little while).
Tokyo Disney Resort isn’t that close to either Haneda or Narito airport, but you can still reach it by the Metro service or by bus.
What I would say, is if in doubt. Ask an airport staff member (especially in Tokyo), and they will be more than happy to help you.
Hong Kong Disneyland
Can I do it in a day?
“It’s a half day park,” is something I hear very often when it comes to HKDL. While it is a little smaller than the other parks, there is still plenty to do. To do it in a day, it really depends what you want to do? If you want to do everything, then my answer would probably be “no.” But, if you only wanted to do the “E Ticket Attractions” then “possibly.”
What HKDL probably does have in its favor is that it’s one of the least busy parks, especially on weekdays and early on weekends. I would implore anyone to get there for rope drop, and the odds of you doing everything you want to do in one day will be relatively high.
What attraction should I FastPass?
Unlike the American Disney Parks, HKDL still utilizes the paper FastPass system. However, as previously mentioned, due to its relatively short queue times, even on the busiest of days, this means that there are only 3 attractions that you can FastPass at HKDL. They are The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Hyperspace Mountain and The Ironman Experience. I would tell you NOT to FastPass The Ironman Experience. The queue is seriously one of the best things about the attraction and even if there is a queue for the attraction it is not normally until after you have passed the FastPass merger line.
I would recommend FastPass-ing The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh as your first FastPass, then Hyperspace Mountain as your second FastPass attraction. Queue times for Pooh are not extravagant, but they still reach round 40-45 minutes on weekends, so it would be best to utilize your FastPass for this attraction.
Is it worth visiting?
Yes, yes and more yes! HKDL gets more than its fair share of criticism for being small or “just OK.” But, I think nothing could be further from the truth. Yes, it is smaller than some of the other parks, but I think it has bags and bags of Disney charm and feels like a traditional “castle park,” much more than some of the other Asian Disney Parks. It also has great attractions throughout the park. If you are thinking about coming to Asia, I beg you to include HKDL, even just for a day.
What characters are popular there?
HKDL has a lot of Meet and Greet characters dotted throughout the park, and all of these are popular to varying degrees, due to the big photo taking culture in Hong Kong. However, I would be amiss if I didn’t mention Duffy. Duffy and his ever expanding friendship group are hands down the most popular characters to meet in the park. So if you’re looking to get a photo with the big bear himself, you can do so at the My Adventures with Duffy store, but be prepared to wait.
What time of year should I go?
There are a lot of good times to go to HKDL. But, in all honesty there are sometimes where it is just too hot. I would say anytime between May and October, would be a little unbearable. It’s manageable but not ideal. It starts to cool down mid-October and this for me is the perfect time to go as it is Halloween season. As previously mentioned in an earlier article, HKDL really excels at Halloween and there are plenty of added extras scattered throughout the park, Furthermore, unlike the American Disney Parks, these Halloween celebrations are included in the price.
Tokyo Disney Resort
Which is better Disneyland or DisneySea?
Now this is a tough question. Tokyo DIsneySea is heralded as perhaps the greatest Disney Park in the world, and there is definitely justification for this claim. It is grand, spectacular and has some very good attractions.
That being said, Tokyo Disneyland is the classic “castle park”with a Japanese twist and also has great attractions (Pooh’s Hunny Hunt) in it. I think they’re both exceptional, and I would implore you to visit both even if you did a day ticket to one and an evening ticket to the other, just to say you have seen them both.
But, if you really had to pick, maybe choose DisneySea, as it is just a little different than anything else you will have seen before.
What should I FastPass?
What I would first say, is get there around an hour before rope drop, because it does get busy. This will make it easier to get a FastPass to one of the major attractions in either park.
For Disneyland, most Guests will FastPass either Pooh’s Hunny Hunt and ride Monsters, INC or the other way round. If you want to hit both, then I would say this is the way to do it.
I personally FastPass Pooh’s Hunny Hunt, and then go ride Splash Mountain as I’ve already done Monsters, Inc, and I have found the attraction a little anti-climactic.
DisneySea is a different kettle of fish. Most people will rush to FastPass Toy Story Mania first. But, if you have done this plenty of times at other Disney Parks, then Nemo and Friends Searider is also a very popular attraction.
Does it get busy?
Yes, very much so. Going on a weekday is manageable and probably the equivalent to one of the American Parks. However, on my last trip I went on a weekend and that was crazy busy. So, just plan accordingly and maybe try to highlight what you find is ‘can’t miss’ or… just stay longer!
How do you meet the characters there?
Once again, there are many characters to meet at TDR. However, the really cool thing about this is a lot of characters in Tokyo don’t have a scheduled time as they just roam the park, this offers up a lot of unique and interesting interactions. So if you have the time, I would encourage you to just go wander. You never know who you are going to run into.
How do I book my tickets?
Now, this can be a complex one. I have tried several credit and debit cards on the TDR website and for some reason they don’t work. That being said, there are third party sellers like Klook.com (which is great) where this shouldn’t be a problem.
Also, if you have time to explore Tokyo beforehand, you can always pick up your tickets at the Disney Store in Shibuyu saving you from having to buy your tickets at the park.
Shanghai Disney Resort
What attractions should I FastPass?
When I lived in Shanghai, the plan was simple. You would fight the crowds to FastPass Soaring Over the Horizon and then ride Roaring Rapids. However, since I left Shanghai over a year ago, they have completely changed their FastPass system to one that is electronic. Thus, when I have checked the app, all attractions seem a lot more manageable with queue times.
I would still say Soaring Over the Horizon, Roaring Rapids and Rex’s Racer are the three attractions to try to FastPass as Tron, Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for the Sunken Treasure and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train all have single rider queues.
What’s the best attraction there?
A lot of people will say Tron Lightcycle Power Run. There is a case for it. But, it’s not my answer. I think hands down the best attraction in Shanghai Disney Resort is Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for the Sunken Treasure. This attraction blends “classic Disney dark ride” with state-of-the-art technology that is a sight to behold, and it is the one attraction that I would say is more “can’t miss” than any of the others.
What is the atmosphere of the park like?
So when SDR first opened, it received a lot of negative press on social media for being dirty and a little chaotic. I have to say, this was initially true. There was a lot of trash in the queues, Guests were defecating where they shouldn’t, and a lot of people tried to sell unauthorized “Disney” products in the park. Now, I believe that Disney has gone to better lengths to stop this and from what I hear, the park is a little more pleasant, I would just be prepared that you might see things that you would not normally see in an American Disney Park.
How are the shows?
The shows at Shanghai Disney Resort are a funny beast. Tarzan: Call of the Jungle, is a traditional Chinese circus with a Disney touch and is pretty great. The Pirates Stunt Show in Treasure Cove is a little hit or miss. There are some cool effects, but the whole show is in Mandarin, and a large portion of the show is centered on the dialogue, leaving it to be a little boring to English-only western viewers (in my opinion.)
This could also be said about Frozen Sing-a-long as the songs are also sung in Mandarin so lacks that interactive, magical touch that westerners would have at the sing-a-long in Disney’s Hollywood Studios has. If you have the time, I would recommend seeing all three, but Tarzan would be the priority for me.
So that’s it. There are my quick FAQs about the Asian Disney Parks. I hope I was able to help, and please let me know if you have any more questions you would like answered. We can carry on the conversation in the WDW Radio Box People Facebook Group.
(All photos are from the personal collection of Daniel Morris)
To learn more about Daniel and read his recent posts for the WDW Radio Blog, visit his author page by clicking the link on his name at the top of this post.