Welcome back. As your read this I will be enjoying Toy Story Land in Disney’s Hollywood Studios for the very first time. When I return from my trip, I will share my thoughts as well as publish some other articles that have been on my mind. But until then, what follows is the second half of my list ranking every attraction at Hong Kong Disneyland. So without further ado…
18. Animation Academy
Disclaimer, The Animation Academy is the only attraction at Hong Kong Disneyland that I have not experienced. This is through no fault of my own. Unfortunately, this is the only attraction that does not cater to an English-speaking audience, so I have not been immersed in the full Animation Academy experience.
That being said, I have walked around the show building and watched one of the classes, and it looks like a lot of fun.
17. Iron Man Tech Showcase
Iron Man Tech Showcase is another permanent Meet and Greet location, and I bet you can’t guess who you meet in here? Yep, it’s Captain America… Gotcha! The Tech Showcase is a permanent Meet and Greet location where Guests can experience a wealth of Stark Tech and meet the (Iron) man himself.
This is clearly a fantastic experience for every budding superhero. Not only that, but what I like most about this whole experience is its world building element. The Iron Man Tech Showcase operates in conjunction with the Iron Man Experience, meaning that Iron Man is not in the Iron Man Experience because he’s meeting fans at the Iron Man Experience. Very clever.
16. Main Street Vehicles
I love the Main Street Vehicles. I think they’re quintessentially Main Street, U.S.A. The Main Street Vehicles are often overlooked and underrated, but I honestly think that if they disappeared from Main Street, U.S.A people would miss them more than they would ever realize.
Not just a respite for wary travelers, Disney is all about story building and having the Main Street Vehicles carry people to their next adventure adds to the story.
15. Mickey’s PhilharMagic
When I first experienced Mickey’s PhilharMagic I was blown away. The pageantry, the story and the effects all took my breath away, and I loved it. Sadly, that was a long time ago and now Mickey’s PhilarMagic feels a little dated.
It is still a great way to get out of the sun on a hot Hong Kong day. Mickey’s PhilarMagic is continues to be a lot of fun, but it could be better with a new coat of paint and some updated visuals.
14. Tarzan’s Treehouse
Tarzan’s Treehouse is similar to its Disneyland brethren and sits behind the Adventureland river forcing Guests to ride another attraction (Rafts to Tarzan’s Treehouse) to get there.
Tarzan’s Treehouse is a lot of fun. It takes a little while to get there, but I feel like you’re rewarded for getting there. The views from the Treehouse are as aesthetically pleasing as the Treehouse itself. I also love the story of Tarzan that plays throughout the treehouse with some really cool visuals and effects. A very enjoyable attraction.
13. Slinky Dog Spin
Yes, Slinky Dog Spin is an “off the rack” theme park attraction. But, it’s a fun one. Similar, to your traditional caterpillar ride, Guests board Slinky Dog Spin and help Slinky chase his tale, round and round and round. Not designed for everyone and not an attraction that I enjoy often, but it is an attraction in Toy Story Land that is suitable for all ages. I really like when Disney caters for everyone.
It also fits in beautifully with the theme of Toy Story Land and adds to the aesthetic of that part of the park.
12. Royal Princess Garden
Royal Princess Garden is one of the more recent additions to Hong Kong Disneyland. Royal Princess Garden can be found at the top of Main Street, U.S.A. The show building itself is dubbed the Royal Princess Garden, but inside the building is a store, Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, and a Meet and Greet.
This Meet and Greet location is one of the most popular in the park. Guests line up in the garden with a chance to meet a plethora of different princesses. From Sofia the First, to Elsa, to Snow White or Rapunzel, they all make appearances at Royal Princess Garden and their adoring Guests couldn’t be happier.
11. Karibuni Market Place
Like Royal Princess Garden, Karibuni Marketplace is one of the more recent attractions to make its debut at Hong Kong Disneyland. Also, like Royal Princess Garden, Karibuni Marketplace contains other elements but is essentially a permanent Meet and Greet location.
This is the highest ranked Meet and Greet location on my list, and it has very little to do with the actual location. I really like the Karibuni Marketplace because of the amount of various characters that make appearances. So far I have seen Genie, Rafiki, Timon, Flik, Russell, Carl and more. Also, due to it’s slightly out of the way location, the Karibuni Marketplace generally has the smallest queues.
10. Iron Man Experience
Now we’re entering the top 10 and having Iron Man Experience this far down the list may come as a surprise to some. But in all honesty, I feel like it’s lucky it made my top 10. The Iron Man Experience is enjoyable and for sure a marque attraction at Hong Kong Disneyland. But, I will be honest, I wanted more.
It’s an attraction that is very similar to Star Tours: The Adventure Continues, but without the ever-changing endings. Being comprised of only one storyline makes the Iron Man Experience feel a little dated and too linear. Yes, it’s enjoyable, but it’s not the best attraction at Hong Kong Disneyland.
9. “it’s a small world”
I do not understand the discourse surrounding “it’s a small world”. It’s an attraction that I have always thoroughly enjoyed. Boat rides are fun and yes the song is a little repetitive, but it’s upbeat and magical. I, for one, don’t get tired of it.
What’s even more enjoyable about this version of the “it’s a small word” attraction is that there are a handful of Disney IP’s in their respective countries. This makes the attraction here a lot of fun and a great opportunity to play a game where you try to spot them all.
8. Toy Soldier Parachute Drop
Toy Soldier Parachute Drop is an original attraction at both Toy Story Land in Hong Kong Disneyland and Disneyland Paris. It has been there since Toy Story Land opened and is a staple of the area. First of all, the attraction is impressive, standing tall at one end of Toy Story Land.
There are several things I like about Toy Soldier Parachute Drop. First of all, the queue building and aesthetic of the attraction is really immersive making you feel like an actual toy waiting for the attraction.
The other thing I like about the attraction is that for those younger Guests, riding Toy Soldiers Parachute Drop feels like a big deal, and serves as a gateway attraction for those aspiring thrill seekers.
7. Hong Kong Disneyland Railroad
In all honesty, this could be a lot higher. Apart from the castle, I think the Disneyland Railroad is the attraction most associated with a “castle park,” and I definitely feel like something is missing in Shanghai Disneyland due to the absence of a train attraction.
I love experiencing the railroad, and it really does feel like you’re on an adventure every time you climb aboard. The only thing that would make it extra special would be being able to ride the railroad all the way round the park.
6. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
Believe it or not, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh is arguably the most popular attraction at Hong Kong Disneyland. It is the attraction that consistently has the longest queue, and it’s the attraction where FastPasses run out the quickest. Although, it isn’t my favorite Pooh dark ride in a Disney park (Hello, Pooh’s Hunny Hunt, how are you doing?), it is still a classic Disney dark ride that is enjoyed by thousands of Guests each day.
5. Jungle River Cruise
When I used to visit Hong Kong Disneyland on vacation before I lived here, the first attraction we would experience each trip was Jungle River Cruise. I like the Jungle Cruise at the other Disney Parks, but Hong Kong Disneyland’s version is arguably my favorite.
There are very few puns on our cruise and a greater emphasis is placed on action and exploration. This is personified at the end of the attraction when your boat has to survive a battle between the gods of the jungle.
Jungle River Cruise is a very exciting attraction and one of the highlights at Hong Kong Disneyland.
4. RC Racer
Through coincidence alone, I was one of the first people to ride RC Coaster on the opening day of Toy Story Land at Disneyland Paris. Ever since then, I have been a big fan of the attraction. Yes, half-pipe coasters aren’t out of the ordinary in theme parks across the globe, but this version is unique to Disney.
RC Racer also has a great theme and makes complete sense as an attraction. What’s more, RC Racer is another attraction that acts as a gateway attraction to more thrill-seeker type rides. Finally, some of the views you can see on top of RC Racer will take your breath away.
3. Hyperspace Mountain
Not only is Hyperspace Mountain at HKDL my favorite Space Mountain in any Disney Park, it might be my favorite overlay of an attraction. Space Mountain was always enjoyable, but the change to Hyperspace Mountain was a match made in heaven. So much so that I think it’s impossible to tell that this attraction hasn’t always been Hyperspace Mountain.
The ride is a lot of fun; fast, while still managing to be smooth. It is also thrilling for any Star Wars fan to have the iconic films merged with a Disney experience.
2. Big Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Cars
I think #2 and #3 are very close, and sometimes I prefer Hyperspace Mountain. But, for me I would have to give the edge to Big Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Cars. Despite the fact that it has too long of an attraction name (locals refer to it at Grizzly Gulch, the name of the land), Big Grizzly Mountain is a lot of fun.
Riders take a trip up to Big Grizzly Mountain where the bears that occupy the mountain start to run amok. Thrilling and surprising, Big Grizzly Mountain is a lot of fun. Furthermore, my parents experienced this attraction for the first time this year. At the beginning, their expectations weren’t exceedingly high, but after the attraction was over, they were both incredibly impressed. That’s why it’s at #2.
1. Mystic Manor
Could it be anything else? In my opinion this is not only the best attraction at HKDL, it also one of the top 5 attractions in any Disney Park. Mystic Manor has it all. It’s available and accessible to everyone, it’s fun, it’s technologically impressive and it has more than a touch of magic.
For me it’s a quintessential Disney dark ride that has been revolutionized for the 21st century. I would love for Walt to have experienced this attraction, because I bet he’d be pretty impressed.
So that’s my list. What are your thoughts? Were you expecting #1? Does anything seem too high? Too low? Let’s carry on the conversation on the WDW Radio Box People Facebook group.
(All photos are from the personal library 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.