Sunday, March 11, 2012

Field Trip: Hong Kong Disneyland's New Toy Story Land!

It is no secret that I try to take my kids to Hong Kong Disney once or twice a year. I am a kid at heart (and still a kid, really, LOL!) and I never, never tire of Disneyland. Ok, ok, maybe I don't do much of the rides (I enjoy more of the ambiance, looking at all sorts of people, AND browsing the stores) but I still love the parks.

Disneyland is truly a magical place to everyone who chooses to enter its gates. I still remember my first trip to Disneyland in Anaheim. Then of course to Walt Disney World. Eventually, my sibs and I started opting for the bigger, more adult parks for the coasters and wild rides, but hey, I always get excited when we have Disney on our itinerary.

Anyway, I digress. Last month, RL and I took a trip to the homeland to meet up with good friends currently based in Japan. They haven't really been to Hong Kong, except for E, who docked once and got to explore a bit of Harbour City. So last year, we planned a February trip. To tell you honestly, except for the weather, I don't really like taking trips to Hong Kong during the winter. There isn't much to buy (Hong Kong is shopping heaven especially during Sale Season) and the stores are stocked with winter clothes and maybe a bit of next season/ spring (read: full price). That, plus A can't really afford to miss school. So I ended up just taking RL.

Yes, I traveled with a toddler. Lone adult + toddler = crazy. But my little boy did so well. What a relief!

RL, on the S1 Bus to Tung Chung.
We got to Hong Kong about 7 hours before our friends, who arrived on the afternoon flight from Okinawa. So because I didn't want to take two trips to the city, we left our big bag at the airport's luggage counter and headed to Disneyland to while away the afternoon. We had Magic Access Passes, so entering and re-entering the park weren't problems.

I don't sleep much before flights (I pack at the last minute, oops), so I was really tired when we got to Hong Kong. RL couldn't wait to see "Yoody, Jessie and Boosay" so after resting a bit, we left on the S1 bus to Tung Chung. There, we took the MTR to Sunny Bay, then to Hong Kong Disneyland.  Hong Kong makes everything accessible via trains and buses - makes traveling with kids a breeze! And it's pretty easy as long as you know where you want to go and you know your way around.

RL and "Yoody", in front of the Disney Train - eager to get going. Hihih.
It was lunch time when we got to Disneyland but RL wasn't hungry. He was more interested in getting to the new themed land he's been seeing on Disney Junior. Supposedly, Hong Kong Disneyland's Toy Story Land is the first ever of its kind among all Disney parks worldwide. However, I also know of Toy Story Playland in Disneyland Paris - a park within Toon Studio, and a smaller version of what Hong Kong has. Now because RL loves Toy Story, this was where we headed first.

This way! To Toy Story Land. The whole area is full of bigger-than-life toys.
Entering the themed area of Toy Story Land, you get this feeling of being shrunk to the size of a toy (think "Honey, I Shrunk The Kids!"). I love how they made use of giant Popsicle sticks and corn stalks to make you feel small.

Howdy Pardner! There's a snake in my boot! Hehe, Bigger-than-life Woody welcomes you to Toy Story Land!
Rex is larger than life! Haha, soooo kyot! I wanted to take him home.
Did you ever play with this? Gigantic TinkerToy parts are literally all over Toy Story Land.
Barrel-o-Monkeys Monkeys and huge domino pieces.
Vertical Velocity on
Andy's RC Racer.
Photo credit: AAM
RL wanted to ride Andy's RC Racer. It was the one ride he was looking forward to the most. However, because of the nature of the ride (it is sort of like Anchor's Away, only in a car and not a galleon), you must be a certain height (1.2 meters) in order to ride. Sadly, RL didn't get his wish. Next time, I guess, when he's around 8 or so.

So we decided to ride the Slinky Dog Spin. The line was about 45 minutes long. I was dreading the wait as my little boy gets impatient really quick - a trait he got from R. Needless to say, it was a looooonnnggg wait, and RL wanted to get out after about 5 minutes or so. But there was a kid in front of us who was interested in "Yoody" - the doll we got from our last HK Disneyland visit around 6 months ago. So RL busied himself by hiding Woody in his woolly jacket. Thank goodness for persistent kids! That kid tried to pull on Woody's string for the next 30 minutes or so. Haha!

RL and Woody waiting in line for the Slinky Dog Spin ride. 
I don't really enjoy rides that go around, this one was no exception. Dizzytabs, please!
Woody: FINALLY! (Little boy is glad to FINALLY be on the 2-minute ride)
We weren't sure they'd allow RL on the Toy Soldiers Parachute Drop, but they did (minimum height requirement: .81 meters)! I was actually scared for my little boy, who didn't seem fazed by the height of this ride. Woody, however, wasn't allowed to ride this one.

Not sure if he was nervous or excited to be on this ride.
Anxious now, because the cast member took Woody away. And "Yoody wants to ride the parachute, Mom!"
I think, at this point, I was more nervous for him. Great job, RL! 
We were this high! Woohoo! (Overlooking Disneyland's expansion!) 
We were thinking about getting us some grub from here, but Jessie's Snack Roundup offers just that - Snacks. There was a wide variety - cookies, yogurt with toppings, pizza cones, popcorn, etc - but we wanted rice. So we decided to wait 'til we get elsewhere.

RL munching on Skittles.
Right when we were about to leave Toy Story Land for It's A Small World, we caught Woody and Jessie posing for photos at the Big Barrel by the entryway to this part of the park. Since we were here to while away the time, I thought it was best to see this through. We hardly ever get photos taken with Disney characters because the lines are looooooooooonnnnnngggggggg (you get the idea). When RL was 6 months old, we tried to get our photos with Mickey and Minnie over at Main Street, and we got sunburned waiting under the sun a good whole hour. So we rarely take photo ops. And like I said, RL gets grumpy waiting. It was no different this time. I had to distract RL with all sorts - Yakult, milk, Skittles, etc. Pretty soon, we were so near and he had a great view of the two characters that that distracted him enough to wait it out.

RL with Woody, "Yoody" and Jessie!  This made him so proud to have met his fave characters.
Overall, Toy Story Land is great for Toy Story fans. When we went back to Disneyland with our friends two days later, RL still enjoyed the themed land, except that he wasn't too keen on riding the rides anymore ("line too long, mom!) and opted to ask for stickers from cast members instead. That, plus the nice lady manning the gift kiosk had him play with a Slinky toy. He was happy doing just that while waiting for our friends take in the rides there.

Playing with this Slinky Dog toy.
This kept him entertained for a good 15 minutes.
Toy Story Land is Hong Kong Disneyland's newest themed land. Located right behind Adventureland, get to it through the back access road between Adventureland and Fantasyland (follow the path behind the Pixie Hollow photo kiosk). Aside from Toy Story Land, two more sections are set to open in the next two years.

2 more themed areas are coming to HK Disneyland! Plan your trips carefully if you don't want to miss these!
My kids and I really love Hong Kong Disneyland! Toy Story Land gives us more reason to see the park each time we're in the homeland.

See you again in July!


Toy Story Land attractions close approximately 1.5 hours before the fireworks spectacular. This part of the park gets extra full midday, so plan your visit well and make sure you get to see Hong Kong Disneyland's latest offering!

Know more about Toy Story Land here.

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