Disneyland HK: The happiest place on Earth turns 10

Hong Kong Disneyland celebrates its 10th anniversary with new shows and merchandise

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Celebrating Hong Kong Disneyland’s 10th Anniversary, we caught the premiere of its new “Disney in the Stars” fireworks display.

 

I perched on tiptoes by the curb of Main Street, USA, jostling with cameras and other reporters for a view of Frozen’s Queen Elsa serenading “Let It Go”.

Hong Kong (HK) Disneyland was throwing a grand opening party for their Christmas and 10th Anniversary celebrations, and I — as well as hordes of other media from around Southeast Asia — was lucky enough to be invited.

Unable to catch a glimpse of the blue-gowned beauty behind the crowd, I decided to turn my eyes to the sky above her, where the tall Christmas tree behind her sparkled against the cloudless night. Speckles of (artificial) snow now wafted through the sky, and in that moment, the November heat dissolved into a cool and enchanting evening.

 

A WHOLE NEW WORLD

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Our travel writer at the big 10th Anniversary photobooth in Fantasyland.

 

But there was no time to dally. At the stroke of 8.30pm, Sleeping Beauty’s Castle at the opposite end of Main Street would be bathed in a whole new shower of lights and fireworks.

We pressed through the crowds to the media stand, just in time for the show.

I must have looked fanatical at the “Disney in the Stars” display; my eyes darted back and forth between the fiery pyrotechnics and projections on the castle as I tried to spot my favourite characters, like Aladdin, Jasmine and Baymax.

At one point, the whole building even transformed into the oriental palace from Mulan.

 

HAPPILY EVER AFTER

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There are cool performances by Elsa of Frozen.

 

The next morning, we settled down in Fantasyland’s Storybook Theatre for the premiere of a new musical, “Mickey and the Wondrous Book”, which promised to have its audience tapping their feet and singing along.

As the lights dimmed, a giant antique book reaching from floor to ceiling appeared on stage. Mickey and Goofy trotted out chattering in Cantonese.

Unable to understand the language, I whipped out my phone for companionship — as did the man seated in front — until I spotted a little snowman sauntering out.

I never thought I’d hear a whole room of grown-ups squeal on cue but the moment Frozen’s Olaf appeared, restraint flew out the window. Camera shutters crackled from behind, and arms shot up in the air wielding cameras on video mode.

From then, the show was at an all-time high. We were transported to almost every Disney universe in the book, bopping along to childhood classics like “Bare Necessities” with a lifelike King Louie.

I even got closure from previously missing Queen Elsa’s Christmas perfor-mance, because she now delivered a stunning ‘icy’ show, and I caught every minute of it.

 

PIECES OF DISNEY

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The adorable high tea set at the Corner Cafe is part of the 10th Anniversary spread of feasts available throughout the park.

 

Walking away misty-eyed and thoroughly enthralled, my group was itching to take our very own pieces of Disney home.

We had a strict schedule to follow, so any free time was spent ravenously poring through every merchandise store in our path. We had developed a strange, unquenchable thirst borne from one realisation: Every store in the park stocked different exclusives.

We devoted an hour to the main and largest store, the Emporium, and then another hour to the store in Tomorrowland that had three more shelves of Star Wars items. But search as we might, we were sorely missing one character: Bing Bong, the imaginary friend from Inside Out.

So we did the next best thing — speak to Jim Greene, HK Disneyland’s director of merchandise.

More items, he revealed, will be released monthly in the coming year, including 10th Anniversary collab-orations with famous brands, more Star Wars memorabilia and — to my delight — Inside Out characters.

This news, and our discovery of a new secret garden flanking Fantasyland that would open this month, gave me reason to come back.

I’m already saving up for my return in the middle of next year. Though the summer heat may beat down on me then, I’ll take my chances, especially for my beloved Bing Bong.

 

By Pamela Chow

 

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