The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

Monday, 10 January 2011

HK Disneyland and Ocean Park

I am normally too cynical to get even remotely excited about the cuteness overload of Disneyland, yet somehow the experience is a little different when you bring along a little one. Mind you, our first and only other experience at Tokyo Disneyland almost exactly three years ago left a lot to be desired (note: never go to Disneyland on a New Year holiday, especially in a country where cute rules even in adults). Although our 2 year old doesn't watch much TV and only knows the Pooh Bear characters, he had a blast on the rides, watching the shows and receiving lots of attention from his visiting granddad, yiayia and uncle at Hong Kong Disneyland. Even someone like me can appreciate the attention to detail applied to everything to make the Disneyland experience - as corny as it sounds - "magical". I just love watching our boy's enthralled expression towards all the bright colours, happy sounds and Disney characters - and that, for me, is what makes it magical.

The Disney-themed Disneyland Resort Line:

A large fountain near Disneyland's entrance featuring Mickey Mouse surfing the water squirting out of a whale's blowhole:

Hubby and the boy seriously dwarfed by this humungous Christmas tree:

My little boy and I in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle:

There were several snack carts and quick service stalls in Disneyland, but only three places that does a proper table service. We headed over to the Corner Cafe for a proper sit-down meal, and had to wait about 30 minutes for a table. Sure enough, the dining area was crowded, and service was a little sporadic. The main course arrived very soon after the entrees were placed on the table, and then it was a good 20 minute wait for the desserts after we finished with the mains. The food was rather unimpressive, although it was nice that they put a little effort into the presentation. The price wasn't too bad, about HK$130 per person for a three course meal - any more and we would have felt ripped off. Hubby and I chose the Christmas menu where there were two or three choices for each course, and we were careful to select different ones so that we could have more variety.

Some kind of tomato-based soup, complete with a Mickey Mouse-shaped crouton:

Smoked turkey and watermelon salad - pretty good:

Smoked duck with dark cherry sauce - not too bad, definitely better than the fish option (see below):

Duo of salmon and sole with herbed butter - this dish tasted old, like it had been sitting somewhere for a while and then reheated. The sole fillet had a crumb coating with slivered almonds which had the potential to be a good dish, but it was stale. That disc of herbed butter did absolutely nothing to improve the dish and went largely ignored:

Waffle with cream:

Christmas cake that had two layers (chocolate mousse and a flavour I've forgotten) and topped with a lime-flavoured white chocolate. This was so-so:

HK Disneyland is the smallest Disneyland park, so it was possible to do most of the stuff and leave around 6pm without feeling like we missed out a lot. It is definitely not as popular as the Tokyo one, so thankfully we didn't have to deal with much crowd and ridiculously long queues. Thank you to my lovely step-mother-in-law for watching our son during his nap and taking him to a show while the rest of us kiddies got on the big kids' rides.

We caught the end of the Christmas parade:

The Aussie display in the South Seas room of the It's a Small World boat ride:

A couple of days after our trip to Disneyland, we headed for Ocean Park, but the 2 year old had woken up on the wrong side of the bed that day and we had a crappy start to the day. We didn't do much at the park before stopping for an early lunch just so the boy could just finally have his nap and give us all a break from his grumpiness. At least his granddad, yiayia and uncle now knows that he is no little angel! Unlike Disneyland, there were more thrilling rides at Ocean Park, and thanks again to my step-mother-in-law for watching the boy while us big kiddies went on the scary rides.

The oceanside ocean-themed amusement and marine park:

Lunch was from a quick-service station that offered a variety of asian and western-style food. Hubby got the combo charsiu (barbecued pork) and roast duck, and I got the combo charsiu with soy sauce chicken. Not much to talk about, but it did the job of filling our tums:

A show featuring dolphins and seals:

The day out at Ocean Park had potential to be good fun, but I was only too glad when we were finally home and the boy was in bed. It's amazing how a child's temperament can make or break a day out anywhere with them!

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