“Half day park” is a term that really grinds my gears. It is a term that was used for many years to describe some of the US Disney Parks such as Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom. It is also bandied about when talking about Hong Kong Disneyland. Yes, if you only visit the “E-ticket Attractions” in these parks you might be done in half a day. But, to me that doesn’t make a park a “half day park” and Hong Kong Disneyland certainly isn’t a “half day park.” To really get a sense of the park and experience everything the resort has to offer, I would suggest 2-3 days. That being said, I know that Hong Kong, is a stop gap location a lot of the time. People will come here on a lay over from Australia or will have a day or two to spend in the city before moving on to other parts of Asia. Thus, they will only have one day available to spend in the park. This means having to cram in a lot in not a lot of time, making planning your trip key.
Thus, I have decided to write out how I would (and have) done the vast majority of Hong Kong Disneyland in a single day. This plan obviously does not cover every little thing in the park, but it covers most of it. This has actually been executed when I have taken family and friends to the park, when they only have one day to see everything.
First of all, I think it’s important to reach the park at rope drop. Most days the park is scheduled to open at [10:00] AM. I would get to HKDL at [9:30] AM. This means you will get into the park at about [9:40] AM, and you will have around 20 minutes to explore Main Street, U.S.A. before some of the other lands open. It is during this time, where I will grab an iced coffee at The Main Street Bakery, but you can enjoy the street and take in the atmosphere, also. One thing I wouldn’t advise doing is lining up to meet Mickey and Minnie who are at the front of Main Street. The vast majority of people start their day by doing this, meaning the queue is a lot larger than later in the day.
At [10:00] AM, the rope at the caste end of Main Street, U.S.A. will drop and Adventureland, Tomorrowland and Fantasyland will open. The vast majority of people will head to either Tomorrowland or Fantasyland. I would suggest going to Adventureland and lining up for the Jungle Cruise attraction. You will barely have a wait to get on the attraction. Once finished, it will be around [10:20]. When the park opens at [10:00] AM, Grizzly Gulch, Mystic Point and Toy Story Land open at [10:30] AM. Thus, I would advise waiting at the rope between Adventureland and Grizzly Gulch. Once the land opens, I would walk towards Grizzly Gulch and ride Big Grizzly Mountain with a very short wait time. After Big Grizzly Mountain, I would head to Mystic Manor and then on to Toy Story Land to ride Parachute Drop, RC Racer and Slinky Dog Spin (If you have little ones or fancy a more tame attraction.)
This will take you to around [11:15] -[11:30] AM. I would then walk from Toy Story Land back to Adventureland to make the first showing of the Festival of the Lion King. After FOTLK, I would quickly walk to Jungle Junction to catch the first showing of Moana: A Homecoming Celebration (this works right now, but the show times may change, so I would check the APP or Times Guide once you have entered the park and be mindful that FOTLK is about a 25-30 minute show with a 2 minute walk to Jungle Junction.)
After a busy morning of getting some of the highest profile attractions under your belt, I would suggest eating. My preference is the Explorers Club Restaurant back at Mystic Point, but there are other good quick service locations to eat throughout the park.
Once you have finished lunch, it should be around [1:30]-[1:45] PM, the Flights of Fantasy Parade starts at [1:30]. However it’s not until [1:45] that it reaches Main Street, U.S.A. meaning you can walk from where you have eaten to Main Street and still catch the parade. Alternatively, if you want a better view for the parade, you could watch Flights of Fantasy first, then go to grab some lunch.
If you watch the parade on the right side of Main Street, U.S.A (when facing the castle), you can send one of your party to get FastPasses for Hyperspace Mountain. Once Flights of Fantasy has finished, it would be time to head to Tomorrowland. If you have not gotten Hyperspace Mountain FastPasses yet, I would suggest getting them now. Then, head over to The Iron Man Experience. Due to its high ride capacity, Iron Man Experience, never has that much of a queue, also the queue for the actual attraction might be the most impressive thing about the attraction, meaning that I’d suggest waiting standby for Iron Man and FastPass-ing Hyperspace. Once off of Iron Man, it will usually be time for your FastPass.
Now it’s on to Fantasyland. If there is a showing for Mickey and The Wondrous Book soon, I would suggest going to watch that (But, get a FastPass for The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh before you do.), if you have time to kill, “it’s a small world” is next to the theatre for Mickey and the Wondrous Book. After the show, it will probably be time for your Winnie the Pooh FastPass, if not there are characters in the Fantasy Gardens or Mickey’s Philarmagic is across the way. Fairy Tale Forrest is also a unique way to kill a bit of time.
After your Winnie the Pooh FastPass, if all has gone according to plan, you should have a couple of hours to kill before the nighttime extravaganza. You could use this time to meet the various characters throughout the park or experience less “to do” attractions such as Tarzan’s Treehouse or the Orbitron, or maybe you’d like something else to eat. Depending when you go, there could be a seasonal parade later in the afternoon. That will normally be around [4:00] PM/ [4:30] PM.
As of right now, the We Love Mickey projection show is on at [7:45] PM, I would suggest finding a place to sit on Main Street, U.S.A. about 20 minutes before. You don’t need to sit down for the show, but I would highly recommend it, because Paint the Night runs at [8:30] PM, and if you sit down for We Love Mickey, you won’t need to move for Paint the Night, and you will have a good seat.
Once Paint the Night is finished, you can exit the park and return to your hotel/the airport. This is obviously just a general plan that could be tailored to fit any group’s needs due to what they prefer or do not prefer doing. But, it does cover almost everything in the park in a limited time frame. Yes, you will be tired by the end of it, but I honestly believe it will be worth it.
I hope this plan helps at least one person planning to visit HKDL. If you enjoyed reading this and would like to read how I would visit the other Asian Disney Parks in a day, let me know in the comments or on the WDW Radio Facebook page, and I’ll happily oblige.
(All photos 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.