By Nickky Faustine P. de Guzman
FROM SIMULATED SNOW to new rides and shows, Hong Kong Disneyland (HKDL) is upgrading and refreshing its offerings in time for the holidays — and beyond.
Only two hours and a few minutes away from Metro Manila via plane, Hong Kong is one many Filipino’s favorite quick getaways, and to capitalize on this, HKDL will be offering new sights and sites for first-time and repeat visitors starting in November.
• Mickey Mouse’s 90th birthday — Every evening at 7 p.m. from Nov. 7 to February next year, the whole strip of Main Street USA will turn into a big movie screen for the We Love Mickey projection show, highlighting and revisiting the beloved character’s history and memorable moments. The eight-minute projection show concludes with Mickey Mouse’s live appearance and performance. Mickey Mouse’s 90th birthday celebration, called “World’s Biggest Mouse Party,” also features new costumes for Mickey and Minnie Mouse, exclusive merchandise, special themed food and drinks which may or may not include lots of cheese.
Guests dropping by on Mickey’s birthday on Nov. 18 will receive special birthday stickers.
• Winter Wonderland — For someone from a tropical country, snow is completely foreign and often a distant dream. But not in HKDL. Although it’s only a simulation, snow will fall periodically in HL Disney Land during the evening.
The entire park will be transformed into a big Christmas gathering where Disney characters will be dressed in Christmas outfits for the “Mickey and Friends Christmas-time Ball.” The park will be decked out in Christmas decorations, and there will be yuletide carols and merrymaking. The celebration will extend to Disney’s three hotels — the Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel, the Disney’s Hollywood Hotel, and the Disney Explorers Lodge — where guests will enjoy complimentary services and special offers. The winter festivities run from Nov. 15 to Jan. 1.
• Santa Goofy — For the holidays, Goofy, the clumsy but lovable dog, will transform into Santa Claus. Santa Goofy, as he will be called, will meet his fans at the Christmas Post Office on Main Street where he will receive their holiday letters and messages and have them delivered to their loved ones anywhere in the world. There will be selections of Christmas-themed cards available and they will come with a Santa Goofy commemorative stamp.
• 80 plus holiday-themed food and drinks — From Mickey Mouse-shaped crispy rice lollipops and Minnie-themed marshmallow to drinks — like tea, coffee, and chocolate shakes — with Disney character designs, the park and the Disneyland Hotel will offer treats that are not only too cute to eat (almost) but yummy as well.
• Exclusive HKDL treats: Moana and Ant Man — Since May 25, HK Disneyland has been presenting Moana: A Homecoming Celebration, a 20-minute show inspired by the movie heroine’s adventures. HKDL is the first Disney park in the world to show Moana (which, in case you didn’t know, is a name and a word in the South Pacific that means “ocean”). The outdoor show involves live acting, visual storytelling, dancing, live music, audience interaction, and puppetry.
Meanwhile, early in 2019, HK Disneyland will unveil another exclusive attraction: Ant Man and The Wasp: Nano Battle, featuring the tiny superhero with a big heart and massive superpowers.
• Sales for Filipino guests — Filipinos who stay in any of the Disney hotels can avail of special offers: up to 20% off on any room at any hotel until Feb. 13; avail of the “Two-Day Fun” special package at HK$699 and receive HK$30 worth of merchandise discounts and free popcorn (only until Dec. 31).
At the end of the day, when the merrymaking is over and done, it’s the memories shared with family and friends that we should treasure the most.
(Members of the media visited the park on the invitation of Hong Kong Disneyland on Sept. 27-29.)
A Disney Halloween
BEFORE Santa and sleigh bells fill Hong Kong Disneyland, first it has to make it through Halloween, and it knows how to make the celebration fun with the Disney Halloween Time 2018 Experience — the all-new “Journey to Halloween Town” immersive walkthrough.
The Nightmare Before Christmas’ Jack Skellington and Oogie Boogie will loom large at the Main Gate of the park, with themed decorations pointing the way to the new walkthrough experience, “Journey to Halloween Town,” at The Pavilion. Up until to Oct. 31 this recreation of Halloween Town from Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas will have visitors facing down the “Pumpkin King” and his friends.
Meanwhile, lots of Disney friends and villains will have wicked encounters with guests at Mickey’s Halloween Time Street Party and Halloween Time Festival Gardens. At night, the park will be hauntingly fun as Disney villains come out to join Villains Night Out! Chapter 3 and turn the park upside down.
In true Disney Halloween fashion, an extensive range of themed merchandise and food and beverage items are available, along with spooky Halloween decor and recreational activities across the resort’s three themed hotels.