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MouseStation 245 - Hong Kong Disneyland with Shawn Coomer

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Thanks to our sponsor

Today's show is sponsored by Advantage Vacation Homes, a great vacation home rental company that gives you a place to stay with lots more space than a regular hotel room for a lot less money.

Through the end of September, Advantage Vacation Homes has a limited number of three, four and five bedroom vacation homes, all with private pools, at a special low price of three-bedroom homes for $79 a night, four bedrooms for $89 a night and 5 bedrooms for $109 a night. Remember, this is a limited offer, and only good through the end of September. Go to AdvantageVacationHomes.com, and when you reserve online or by phone, make sure to tell them that you heard about them on MousePlanet.

For more information on what a vacation home is and what to expect when renting one, check out our interview of Fred Zorayq from Advantage Vacation Homes in Episode 219!

Featured topic: Hong Kong Disneyland with Shawn Coomer

In this week's feature, Mark and Mike are joined by globe-trotting listener Shawn Coomer, who visited Hong Kong Disneyland during his 18-month round-the-world journey with his family.

We'll link to individual photo albums for each land, but the main site for all of the Hong Kong Disneyland albums is here.

The resort and getting there (photos)

To get to Hong Kong Disneyland, which is on Lantau Island, you take the dedicated MTR line train to the park, which starts the Disney theming of your journey. There are two hotels (the Victorian-style Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel and Art Deco-style Disney's Hollywood Hotel), a waterfront area, some park-like areas outside of the park. Shawn also talked about the walkway and other public spaces.

Main Street, U.S.A. (photos)

Shawn remarked how much the park is reminiscent of Disneyland in California. The park is actually the cheapest of all Disney parks, with a price of about US$42, depending on time of year. Shawn talked a bit about the setting of the park and how the view of the castle is so much different than any other Disney park, which makes the castle seem so much smaller than it is.

Adventureland (photos)

Tarzan's Treehouse combines a bit of Tom Sawyer Island with Tarzan's Treehouse. Instead of being surrounded by the Rivers of America, it's surrounded by the Jungle Cruise.

The Jungle Cruise is unique and action-packed with special water and fire effects. There are three separate queues based on which language you speak; one line is for Mandarin, one is for Cantonese and one is for English. It's one of many attractions that handles multiple languages. You can sort of see the yellow signs for the three lines in the background of this photo.

The Festival of the Lion King has a layout and floats similar to the show at Walt Disney World, but this version actually tells the story of The Lion King. In this version, Rafiki tells the story in English while two monkeys chatter to each other in Cantonese, commenting on everything that Rafiki says. Shawn thinks that this version is better than the version at Walt Disney World (and better than Finding Nemo - The Musical, for the record).

At the time that Shawn was visiting the park, there was construction underway in Adventureland, which affected train service on that side of the park.

Fantasyland (photos)

The only "dark ride" at Hong Kong Disneyland on opening day was The Many Adventures of Winnie-the-Pooh, which is more similar to the Walt Disney World version than the Tokyo Disneyland version, but Shawn says that it's better than the Walt Disney World version. Mickey's PhilharMagic is also in a location similar to where it appears at Walt Disney World.

Shawn feels like that overall decor in Fantasyland is more like Disneyland's version than Walt Disney World's version.

Fantasy Gardens is a garden-like character meet-and-greet area. A similar area on the other side of Fantasyland is currently parkland, but could easily hold a small attraction.

There is also the Mad Tea Party and a theater for The Golden Mickeys, the only land-based edition of the popular Disney Cruise Line show. The show (including character voices) is in Cantonese, with translation screens on the side of the stage, Mandarin on one side and English on the other.

"it's a small world" opened fairly recently, and is located outside the berm (somewhat similarly to Toontown at Disneyland Park.) The entry clock works more or less the same as at Disneyland Park. It's Shawn's favorite version of the attraction, and he likes the way that most of the Disney characters have been incorporated.

Shawn and Mark talked about the landscaping of the park and the views between lands.

Tomorrowland (photos)

Shawn noted that Tomorrowland is very small. There are six "attractions" including a water play zone.

The Orbitron is on the ground, simlar to the version in Disneyland. Autopia is the only attraction that Shawn's family was unable to ride before they left the park. It's outside the berm but looks very similar to the stateside tracks. Buzz Lightyear's Astro Blasters appears to be a duplicate of the one at Disneyland.

Stitch Encounter is actually built inside the Space Mountain building. It features an interactive Stitch that appears on the screen and talks with the audience, simlar to the way that Turtle Talk with Crush works. There are three separate versions of the show that are performed in Mandarin, Cantonese and English, which play in rotation.

Shawn noted that the traveling version of Turtle Talk with Crush was in a building on Main Street, U.S.A. in an area that is regularly converted for seasonal attractions. Shawn believes that it's currently being used for a fall hedge maze.

Space Mountain was built as a duplicate of California's attraction, but it has better projections inside. The music is different from what is used at Disneyland. Shawn prefers the Disneyland music and the Hong Kong decor.

Tomorrowland is Shawn's favorite land in the park.

Summing up

Shawn's favorites include Festival of the Lion King, Space Mountain and "it's a small world." The resort is actually Shawn's favorite, potentially with the exception of the Tokyo Disney Resort. The only reason that the park itself is not his favorite is that it is lacking in attractions.

The food around the park is largely Chinese, though there are a variety of dishes from different areas of China. "American" food is only available at a location in Tomorrowland and the Royal Banquet Hall in Fantasyland. Standard snack food is available around the park.

Shawn feels that the park is obviously modeled on the original Disneyland Park. While there are not a lot of attractions, he feels that each of the attractions that is there did have a lot of attention put on quality.

The attendance at the park is starting to move up again, so there's hope that the performance of the park will be good.

Shawn noted that the Railroad was only carrying guests from Fantasyland to Main Street, U.S.A., but the trains were running empty from Main Street to Fantasyland, likely because of weight issues on the new train bridge still being built in Adventureland.

If you're interested in reading about the Coomer family's trip around the world, you can check out the travelogue here. It's not complete yet, but so far destinations visited since leaving Las Vegas in April of last year include: San Antonio, Orlando, Atlanta, Durham NC, New York, Montreal, Chicago, Seattle, Vancouver, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Antigua, Guatemala, Mexico, Honduras, Los Angeles, Fiji, various cities in New Zealand and Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand, with Cambodia, Vietnam, Macau, Hong Kong and China, Japan and Mongolia coming up next.

Listener Feedback

Due to the length of the show, we skipped listener feedback this week.

What do you think? Let us know by sending us an email or calling our toll-free feedback line (1-866-939-2278)!

CHOC Walk/Team MousePlanet

For more information on supporting Team MousePlanet at this year's CHOC Walk, go to the Team MousePlanet page or get information on the MousePad discussion forums.

Send us your Adventurer's Club memories

The MouseStation is planning to give the Adventurer's Club a proper sendoff as it heads to YesterWorld at the end of September. You can be a part of it by sending your memories of the Adventurer's Club to podcast@mouseplanet.com or calling them in to 1-866-939-2278. Please get them in by September 28 to make sure that we get them before we record the show. Kungaloosh!

MouseFest

Registration is now open for MouseFest! You can sign up now, and check out the many meets being hosted by MousePlanet as you plan your trip.

Wrapping up

We've put together a new listener survey to help us learn more about you and what you like most about this podcast. This one is much more targeted than the old Podtrac survey. Please take a few minutes to fill it out and let us know what you think.

 

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Thanks to our audio engineer and sound editor Steven Ng.

Thank you for listening!

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(Send an email to MouseStation Crew)

The MouseStation crew (@MouseStation) currently consists of Mark Goldhaber (@MPMark) and Mike Demopoulos (@MPMike).