Like other Disney Parks, Hong Kong Disneyland has its own version of the Annual Pass, but instead of being called Annual Passes, they are called Magic Access Memberships. There are three tiers of Magic Access Membership: Silver, Gold and Platinum Passes. The Silver Pass is the most basic offering about 220 days of park access. The Gold Pass is the middle tier where guests can enjoy around 340 days of park access. The Platinum Pass is the highest tier offering guests 365 day access to the park and a plethora of other benefits including merchandise, dining and hotel discounts, exclusive entrance lanes for security and the main entrance, free luggage storage and many more. Added to this, Magic Access members are rewarded with various gifts and promotions throughout the year.
If that’s not enough, various events are held throughout the year to reward Magic Access Members. Fortunately, one of those events just took place, and I was lucky enough to attend. It was entitled the Pixar Pals Summer Party and was held on a Saturday evening. Guests were required to collect their event wristbands in the afternoon. Some activities became available mid-afternoon with the event’s official start time being [6:00] PM.
We arrived around [5:00] PM, along with what felt like everybody else. Due to this, we had to queue for about 20 minutes to receive our wristbands. Once we presented our membership and collected our wristbands, we were then gifted an event guide for the party. The event guide detailed what was happening, when it was happening and where. From [6:00] PM, Toy Story Land was closed to regular park Guests and only available to event Guests. Then, later in the night both Fantasyland and Tomorrowland were exclusively open to event guests and not regular park guests. Furthering this, the park was open for an extra two hours for event members to enjoy. This meant that throughout the night a lot of Hong Kong Disneyland’s biggest rides were open just to event Guests and had very low wait times. Such low wait times meant that my fiancé and I were the only guests on Hyperspace Mountain at one point.
Although that was a cool element of the evening, it was merely a side effect of the event and not the purpose. Hong Kong Disneyland was ready with many special attractions and experiences for Guests to enjoy throughout the night. The big one of these, were exclusive characters Guests could meet during the party. Characters were dotted throughout the park including The Incredibles in Futureland; Lotso in Toy Story Land; Carl, Russell and Flik outside Mickey’s Philharmagic in Fantasyland and many more.
On top of this, from [3:30] PM Fantasy Gardens in Fantasyland turned into an exclusive Meet and Greet area for event Guests. Here, Guests were able to meet Rapunzel and Merida, Joy and Sadness, Mike and Sully, Chip and Dale, Mulan, and Emile and Remy. I imagine Rapunzel was there to offer support to her Pixar counterparts as were Chip and Dale and Mulan. Mushu was also on the event program and scheduled to appear, but I didn’t see him. Maybe was there earlier in the evening.
This area was really cool and definitely the highlight of the evening. Hong Kong Disneyland isn’t short on Meet and Greets, but some of the characters that appeared in Fantasy Gardens had not appeared in the park for a very long time. Not only that, each booth had slight theming to compliment the characters that inhabited them. We were able to meet both Joy and Sully throughout the evening. Both characters were great and friendly. This space was really popular so characters were not afforded a huge amount of time with each Guest, but at no point did it feel like you were rushed through meeting them. I think this came down to how well the event was run with Cast Members being efficient yet affable throughout. Also, the characters had to walk to and from their stations passing Guests on their way, as they did this, they would stop and wave and were very aware that not everybody present in Fantasy Gardens would be able to meet them.
As well as these Meet and Greets, there were several performances throughout the evening. One of these was Toys Playtime Fun which was situated in Toy Story Land and happened twice throughout the evening. Toys Playtime Fun started when the Green Army Men came out to see if the coast was clear. Once they had surveyed the area, the Hong Kong Disneyland Band made an appearance, accompanied by Woody, Jesse and Buzz. Once in position the Hong Kong Disneyland Band played instrumental versions of “Strange Things” and “You’ve got a friend in me.” I LOVE the Hong Kong Disneyland Band so them playing two of my all-time favorite Disney songs was a personal highlight and a real treat.
There were also performances of another show during the Pixar Pals Summer Party. This show was A Whole New World: A Magical Disney Songbook and featured performances from characters such as Winnie the Pooh, Pocahontas and Moana. Unfortunately, there was just too much to see and do and having already seen A Whole New World earlier in the year when they previewed the show to Magic Access Members, we decided to skip the show this time around.
The “main event” of the evening was the Pixar Processional. A small section of the parade route had been cordoned off for a late evening show. This is where a plethora of different Pixar characters joined forces to meet their infatuated fans. Halfway through the processional, the Pixar characters decided that walking to meet their guests was a little dull and dance music started prompting all the characters to shake their stuff. I’m not going to lie, the Pixar Processional was a little basic, no floats just Pixar characters walking, dancing and waving to guests. Some people may not have enjoyed this, but it was still nice to see the different characters that we wouldn’t normally see in Hong Kong Disneyland.
All in all, I thought the Pixar Pals Summer Party was a great way to spend a Saturday evening. The event was run smoothly, and even if you didn’t want to take part in any of the scheduled events and activities, you would have been able to experience a lot of the attractions throughout the evening making the event worthwhile. What’s more, unlike other ticketed Disney events across the globe, this event was no extra charge; you just received it by being a Gold or Platinum Magic Access Member, which I think is a great touch. Hong Kong Disneyland seems to really take care of its Magic Access Members, which is something (being one of them) I am really happy about.
Have you experienced an event similar to this? What Pixar Character would you like to meet? What are your thoughts on non-Pixar IP crashing this event?
(All photos are from the personal collection of Daniel Morris.)
To learn more about Daniel and read his recent posts for WDW Radio, visit his author page by clicking the link on his name at the top of this post.