A trip to Disneyland is a dream for many children. For Australians, a trip to LA to visit the original park is a long way to travel. Australians have the advantage of Asia on our door step and with the influx of all things western, we now can travel to Hong Kong to experience a quintessential childhood bucket list item of a visit to Disneyland.
In April 2019 we spent a week in Hong Kong and decided to include a visit to Hong Kong Disneyland as part of our activities. Here are some useful tips for your family visit.
I am sure you have all heard the phrase that the journey is as important as the destination and Hong Kong Disneyland takes that ethos to heart with the amazing Disney Express Train. We were delighted to find a dedicated train service that takes you to the Disney doorstep, but even more surprised when the train turned up and it was actually Disney themed.
All the kids onboard absolutely loved it, taking selfies with the Mickey windows and checking out all the intricate details of the Disney train. The train is absolutely a great way to get to the park.
All the Classics
If you have visited any Disney Park around the world there are a few staple attractions that you expect to see. It’s a Small World for example takes you on a slow boat ride past displays from all over the world while the song runs on repeat - the tea cups spin making both young and old giddy - and space mountain takes you on an epic fast roller coaster ride through pitch darkness.
Having also visited Disneyland Parks in LA and Paris it was nice to recognise some of the classic rides and enjoy them in another country.
When you enter a Disneyland you are welcomed by a familiar main street that flows guests into and out of the park that is lined with stores and cafes ready to take your tourist dollars. If you are after anything Disney branded, you are going to find it here.
The stores have every imaginable item from key rings to Christmas decorations, dressing gowns to slippers, hats to sunglasses, cups to glasses - you name it you will find it in a store on Main Street and it will be Disney branded.
If you are a Marvel fan, you are going to enjoy your visit to Hong Kong Disneyland. Unique to this park are the Marvel attractions.
Ant-Man and The Wasp: Nano Battle officially opened March 31, 2019 - we visited in April allowing us to be amongst the first to experience the new attraction. An attraction for all ages this interactive ride uses laser technology to get you in amongst the action whilst competing against your fellow riders as you shoot at targets to earn points.
The park opened the Iron Man Experience in 2017 and has plans to continue the expansion of the Marvel Super Hero action to create an ultimate hub for fans. There is plenty of Marvel entertainment to keep guests entertained as well as a wide range of merchandise to purchase.
Great for Families
One of the benefits of a visit to Disneyland is that they offer entertainment for both young and old. The rides are more catered for younger families (and the grandparents that no longer seek thrills) and whilst there were a few thrill rides for our adventurous crew, there were a lot that our 9 and 12 yo were happy to pass on.
However the mix of thrill, rides for the young, interactive and walk through entertainment meant there was a good balance of activities to cater for all ages.
For the main part everything in the park was spoken in English. The only exception was a Jedi stage show that was bi lingual - and although we had no idea what words were being spoken we still managed to follow the story line and understand what was going on.
We had a fun day at Disneyland Hong Kong and would recommend a visit on your itinerary to this city. Have you been - what were your highlights or tips for a visit?
Penny - Itchy Feet Family
Note: Itchy Feet Family were guests of Hong Kong Disneyland.
Hobart is a fantastic city - I can’t believe it took me 44 years to visit this gem! Having never visited before I have now been twice in two months and I am looking for my next opportunity to return.
In June we took a family cruise from Sydney to Hobart for the dark MOFO festival that included a 48 hour stopover, in August we took advantage of new direct flights from Adelaide and indulged in a weekend girls trip.
As first time visitors to this southern city we were keen to pack in as much as possible on our short city breaks.
If you are looking for a reason to visit - and ideas for things to do while you are there - here are a few suggestions.
Red Decker Hop on Hop Off Bus
A great way to acclimatise yourself with a city is to take the Red Decker hop on hop off bus tour. This is a sure fire way to make sure you see all the major highlights of a city when you are short on time.
The double decker bus provided a loop of the city that takes you to locations including the wrest point casino, through battery point, past the Cascades Brewery and women’s prison, back through the city and then across to the Botanical Garden.
We opted for a 48 hour ticket and of course you can get off and on at any of the stops that spark your interest.
The advantage of a tour like this is the commentary that comes with it that offers a good insight into facts and figures about the city and a lesson on the history.
Walk to Cascades Brewery
If you are after a city walk, head uphill from Salamanca to the Cascades Brewery. A four kilometre route will take you through South Hobart (SOHO) past the heritage cottages and vintage stores to arrive at the Brewery visitor centre where you can enjoy a well deserved drink.
During winter you can enjoy a glass of mulled cider with a serve of chicken wings - and if the sun is shining there is plenty of seating in the outdoor gardens to take in the views.
Of course there are also brewery tours that you can take to see the back end operations to the Cascades brews.
Operating every Saturday, the markets are a fun way to spend your day meandering through a collection of market stalls offering local products and produce. From soy candles, to gin, pashminas to potatoes there is a wider variety of stalls to wander.
The open air markets operate from 8:30am to 3pm and have been lining the streets of Salamanca since 1972.
Hobart knows how to style a bar - there are some amazing venues to enjoy a classy cocktail in a chic setting.
In Salamanca you will find a great selection including The Den, The Botanical and The Whiskey Bar and don’t forget to head over to the Henry Jones Hotel and visit the IXL bar for rosemary infused glasses filled with tasty cocktails.
If you love Modern Art, you are going to love MONA. If you have no clue about modern art, you will still enjoy a trip to MONA! The Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) is the jewel in Hobart’s Crown and a must see activity.
The adventure starts when you board the camouflaged catamaran from the Brooke Street Pier and take the 25 minute fast ferry ride to the museum. If you don’t like the water, there is also a bus service to use as an alternative.
Upon arrival be prepared for an assault on the senses as you take the spiral staircase down into the underground tunnels of the museum. Download The O app and be guided through the exhibits with all you need to know by the phone in the palm of your hand.
Stop and enjoy a drink in the funky bar, visit the mechanical replica bowel depositing smelly outputs, explain the fish bowl with a knife in it sitting on a chair or just ask the question - what the MONA?
If you are after a picturesque setting for a long lunch head to the Brooke Street Pier and settle in at the Glass House restaurant. The floor to ceiling glass walls provide an uninterrupted view of the waterfront where you can gaze at the country side and watch the MONA fast ferries pull in and out on their journey from the pier.
Enjoy a three course meal, matched with a glass or two of Tasmanian wine, for a long lazy lunch.
If you are visiting in winter it is highly possible there will be snow fall on top Mt Wellington which is the back drop to Hobart city. A great way to get amongst the snow is to take the Mt Wellington Explorer Bus tour to the summit which sits at 1270m above sea level and provides spectacular views of Hobart. The tour bus leaves Hobart city regularly for the 2.5 hour return journey.
If it is snowing, the only way you will get to the summit is if you are on the Mt Wellington Explorer Bus. This tour operator has exclusive and unique access to the road that leads to the summit that is otherwise closed during snow. On the morning we visited our small bus of tourists were the only people on the summit. The fresh snow was untouched providing a unique experience for the kids who had never experienced snow fall before and were able to make their first snow angels.
Stay in Salamanca
If you are staying for a city break to enjoy the highlights of Hobart you really don’t need a car if you stay in the heart of Salamanca. We stayed at the Salamanca Wharf Hotel which is an apartment style boutique hotel right in the heart of all the city action.
Walking distance to everything you need for a weekend city break, the Salamanca Wharf Hotel provided great quality accommodation and fantastic service from friendly staff.
For a unique room, stay in the penthouse loft and enjoy the balcony views of the city. As this is an apartment hotel it features a kitchenette and laundry facilities which are always useful for families.
Have you visited Hobart before on a short break? What were the highlights of your city stay?
Itchy Feet Family
*Itchy Feet Family were hosted by Red Decker Hobart, Mt Wellington Explorer and the Salamanca Wharf Hotel.