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Disneyland. Home of all my smashed childhood dreams and legendary place, that despite plenty of begging, stomping my little feet on the floor and crying tiny tears, I never got to visit. Too expensive, they said. Too far away. No time. Maybe my parents were anti-royalists with no appreciation for the intricacies of the animated film and singing aristocratic mermaids. Maybe they didn’t want to spend their hard earned vacation days in an eardrum-shredding amusement park for children. Maybe, they didn’t know that Disneyland is just as awesome for adults as it is for the little ones.
Growing up, it was always the same old story: what do you mean, you’ve never been to Disneyland? For reals?
Somehow, most friends and acquaintances were able to conjure sentimental vacation photos from Paris, California and Tokyo out of thin air as soon as the topic came up. Photos of smiling children next to a sweating Rapunzel and then there was always Buzz Lightyear, trying to covertly feel up the mother’s bottom. I had clearly missed an integral part of growing up. I felt old. In Disneyland-years, I must be a dithering old lady with a walker.
Yes, I’ve never been to Disneyland. Not even Disneyworld. For reals. Not until my chaotic route all over Asia brought be to Hong Kong and I somehow ended up in the Hong Kong version of Disneyland.
I don’t now how it’s done in the other Disneylands, but in Hong Kong you go there costumed. The children in full on princess robes, little squealing Snow Whites and Cinderellas, the adults a little bit more discreet. The least you can do without feeling left out is wearing shirts and hats with Disney characters on them – Mickey for him, Minnie for her. If you’re a couple, a syrupy matching look is pretty much compulsory. Sadly, I couldn’t convince Brendan to adapt to the local culture and get overly kitschy shirts together and had to go as a boring old ordinary person.
Disneyland Hong Kong is the smallest of the Disneyland parks and at the moment, offers seven thematic areas: Main Street, Adventureland, Fantasyland, Tomorrowland, Toy Story Land, Grizzly Gulch and Mystic Point. The park is obviously more geared towards small children and accordingly, there aren’t too many adrenalin-packed rides for us older folks. Hong Kong Disneyland was a lot of fun anyway though and due to the lines being really small, Brendan and I got on the Grizzly Gulch ride eight times in a row and almost puked.
The rest of the day was spent further torturing our stomachs with pink Mickey Mouse ice cream and caramel popcorn till we felt so sick, that we could only sit on a bench and people watch. The day ended with fireworks over the Sleeping Beauty Castle – a display so bright that it almost burned the retinas off our eyes.
It was awesome and I definitely plan to stop by the other Disneylands and -worlds as well. After all, in Florida there’s still a warm butterbeer waiting for me and I haven’t yet fully exploited the limits of unreasonable behaviour.