An American in Hong Kong Disneyland – 5 Things to be Aware of Before Your Trip

If you’re planning on going to Hong Kong Disneyland, here are 5 helpful tips to make the most of your stay!  Although I’m sure if you’ve invested the time and money to go there you’ll already have thought of the basics (like food, lodging, transportation) these were some things that might have been helpful to be aware of about the parks.

Both good for hydration and your taste buds! These yummy treats were refreshing and tasty from the hotel at dinner
Both good for hydration and your taste buds! These yummy treats from the Crystal Lotus restaurant were refreshing and tasty. My daughter particularly liked the Duffy drink

1.  Hydrate! Hydrate! Hydrate! – I can’t say that enough.  I don’t know what it’s like in the winter, but when we visited in the summer it was hotter than Florida.  If you’ve gone to Orlando and thought it was humid there, believe me it can get worse.  The beautiful thing about Hong Kong though is that it didn’t rain at all despite the looming clouds and high humidity.  I’m sure it does rain at times, but we were blessed to have all rain-free days.  Still, you’ll want to bring clothes that breathe, protection from the sun, and mostly drink lots of fluids.  Water will be your best friend.  Thankfully, bottled water is relatively inexpensive in the parks and can be found nearly everywhere.  You’ll also see people carrying these rechargeable mini-fans that really make it more bearable (and can be found in many street shops in Hong Kong for about $8-10 USD).

Our server at Crystal Lotus slicing roast duck
Our server at Crystal Lotus slicing roast duck

2.  No tipping please – As it was in Tokyo Disneyland (and the rest of Japan and Hong Kong), tips are not expected and will often be refused.  The people at HKDL are just as helpful and thoughtful as folks in the United States and you’ll want to tip them to show your appreciation, but a simple, heartfelt “thank you” goes a long way.  There isn’t even a place to put your tip on your bill.  It really makes dining at the parks and the hotel that much more affordable when you don’t have to bump up the price by 18-20%!

3.  Beware of pushy people! – I was surprised at how pushy people can be at HKDL.  Literally.  In lines for rides, in lines for shows, in lines for getting into and out of the bus, people are constantly pushing you and invading your private space.  When they dropped the ropes at park opening and everyone was told to please walk, there wasn’t even a semblance of obeying that rule.  People sprinted and shoved and pushed to get ahead, joyfully.  Protect the kids and keep your hands held together when in crowded spaces because there is little else between them and getting shoved to the side.  It was kind of shocking.  That being said, nobody minded when I pushed back to protect my daughter to keep her from getting shoved.  Perhaps its a cultural expectation (especially when you see how crowded public transportation can get), but they didn’t glare or even look back.  So just be aware that in highly crowded situations there will likely be pushing and shoving, but none of it is meant to be offensive.

4. Allergen information is not always comprehensive – Be aware that if you have allergies to food, you’ll need to be extra aware.  Going through the buffet line at our hotel (Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel) we found it to be highly inconsistent.  One label said something contained gluten, while the breaded nuggets and the naan didn’t have any such designation.  Maybe they thought it was obvious.  Eggs, dairy, and nuts were not always pointed out either and I found that asking about gluten was difficult even though most people spoke English very well.  Not surprising as many people in the states do not know what gluten is, but you just need to be extra aware of any food allergies.  Even their website states in several places that they may not be able to accommodate allergy requests.

One of the rare rides with FastPass at Hong Kong Disneyland
One of the rare rides with FastPass at Hong Kong Disneyland

5. Don’t rely on Fastpass to hold your place in line – Unlike other Disney theme parks, Fastpass rides are not plentiful.  And for the most part, not needed.  There are two rides that do have a Fastpass queue – Space Mountain and The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.  Be warned that the Pooh ride is VERY popular (not sure why when Mystic Manor is in the same park) and Fastpass tickets will run out for that attraction.  Frozen Village, the sort of “pop up” land between Adventureland and Grizzly Gulch, does have a reservation pass and it runs out EXTREMELY quickly.  If you’re planning on going there, even though it’s the longest line in the park, you need to head there immediately upon park opening.

Hopefully, these simple tips will help you as you plan your trip.  HKDL is certainly a worthwhile place to visit and can be incredibly fun!  Being prepared though, always helps.

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