1) Buy your tickets online
This is an easy process and at busier times of year could save you waiting in a line to buy tickets. You just need the confirmation details (just in case there is an issue) and the credit card(s) you used to buy the tickets. Essentially you put the same credit card into the automated ticket machines and it spits out your tickets immediately.
Tickets can be purchased directly from Hong Kong Disney via this link.
2) Arrive 1 hour before park opening
When we visited, the official open time was 10am. I recommend being there 1 hour before whatever the official open time is.
- Arrive (& get your tickets if you need them – see item 1 above or purchase at the ticket booth)
- 45 minutes before official open there is a short opening ceremony
- 30 minutes prior to park open is when the gates open
You will have time to meet some characters in town square, get a stroller if need be. Make a toilet stop. Grab a coffee at the bakery. Stroll through the shops and be ready at rope drop, ready to hit your first attraction.
Current park hours calendar is found on this link.
3) Use the far left hand queue to enter the park
Unless guests walk from the resort hotels, the resort buses and all day guest arrive on the right as you are facing the turnstiles. If you use the far left queue line to enter, its the shortest line. (at least it was on the two days we were there)
4) Make use of the Single Rider and FASTPASS system
Lines can get long, even at quiet times of year, so be sure to make sure of the FASTPASS system and Single Rider lines. FASTPASS attractions are noted on the map. For Single Rider you just need to watch out for the single rider line at the attraction as its not marked on the park map.
FASTPASS attractions are Space Mountain and The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.
Single Rider line attractions are Space Mountain, Big Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Cars and Toy Soldier Parachute Drop.
If you aren’t familiar with the use of FASTPASS, see this link.
5) Read your times guide
Some attractions, mostly the shows, The Flights of Fantasy Parade and fireworks are only on limited a number of times per day (or only have one showing). If something on the guide is a “must do for you”, make sure you schedule accordingly so you don’t miss it.
6) Mind your language
As Hong Kong is a multi-lingual country some attractions are in 3 different languages (Cantonese, Mandarin and English). Even the times guide is in 3 languages.
You will need to wait for the English time slot for some attractions, Stitch Encounter for example. For Stitch Encounter, the times for the English show will be listed at the attraction so you may need to work your touring around this show.
Some attractions are mostly in English with a small amount of Cantonese – Mystic Manor, Festival of the Lion King are two examples.
For The Jungle Cruise you will wait in a queue for the English boat (but our skipper had a very strong Chinese accent so was difficult to understand, however, we struggle to understand the mumbling of some of the American skippers too so that didn’t make a lot of difference 🙂 ).
Many attractions, language doesn’t matter – Space Mountain, Big Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Cars, It’s a Small World.
7) Take your trading pins
I foolishly assumed there would be no pin trading – as there wasn’t in Tokyo Disneyland. This is not the case in Hong Kong. If you are a pin trader, take your trading pins. A lot of cast members have them to trade and they have some really neat pins too (really wish I knew this in advance!)
8) Stating the obvious
Even if you go on a quiet day, you will still be doing a lot of walking and standing in line, make sure you wear comfortable shoes that won’t rub blisters.
We also got caught out by going on a slightly cool drizzly day, which turned sunny and humid. I got sunburn on the back of my neck as I hadn’t thought I’d be taking off my cardigan and didn’t have sunscreen on.
9) Avoid the weekends and if possible any public holidays
The parks will definitely be more busy at the weekends with locals visiting. We noticed both on the Tuesday and Friday that we visited that nearly all the children in the park were pre-schoolers. This meant, the park cleared out after the parade when there was a mass exodus of people leaving with strollers.
Likewise, if possible avoid Chinese New Year, Easter, Christmas and New Years. The parks will be a lot busier during these holiday periods.
Final thoughts about Hong Kong Disneyland
Even if you are a die hard Disney fan like me, set your expectations, this is a small park compared to the parks in the USA and Tokyo.
Rides are very tame. Space Mountain and Big Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Cars are the “thrill” attractions and my (not quite) 70 year old Mum was happy to ride Big Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Cars. Yes, it goes backwards but its not as thrilling as Expedition Everest at Disney’s Animal Kingdom – its more like a smooth version of Big Thunder Mountain crossed with Expedition Everest.
In my opinion, Tokyo Disneyland is worth going to Japan for alone. Tokyo DisneySea especially is incredible. However I don’t feel the same about Hong Kong Disneyland. Hong Kong in itself is amazing and a great travel destination on its own, make that your primary reason to visit – use Hong Kong Disneyland as a break from the rest of your sightseeing.