Sunday, January 11, 2015

Day 1 Hong Kong Disneyland

After a great night of rest, between a long day and jet lag we were all exhausted, on amazing Disney hotel comfy beds we were ready for a full day at the Hong Kong Disneyland resort!  The park opened at 10 but I wanted to make sure we were there early in case they had an opening show at the gate like they have in the States.
We were one of the few Westerners at the park and we got a lot of attention.  Honestly, I didn't see many other Westerns except one or two families throughout our whole day!  The kids were loving the attention!  Here, everyone hands out stickers so our sticker collecting started before we even entered the gates into the park!
First picture through the gate!  I was living in a dream at this point!!!
And then we turned the corner and stepped onto Main Street with a view of the castle!  True Disney magic!

Do you see Addyson hiding behind that light pole???  She is trying very hard to hide from Donald Duck!  See, the park gates open early and the characters are out on Main Street for you to meet while you wait until 10 for the rides to open!  We took full advantage of this opportunity!  Brad stood in the LONG line for Mickey and Minnie while I took the kids over to meet Chip and Dale.  Turns out we couldn't take pictures with them because it was their break time but Owen got to give them a hug!  Still magical.  We were told Donald was coming out next so we just waited so we would be first in line.... well all of us minus Addyson who continued to hide! : )
Donald came out and went right to Owen!  It was so special!
Then Ethan was open to going in for a picture with Donald as long as I held him!!  No worries, I wanted to meet Donald too!  And I love that the Characters all have escorts with them that are more than willing to help take pictures with your camera so you don't have to buy all of the professional pictures that are taken at that time as well.
I wanted to see if Ethan would be open to taking a picture with Donald without mommy so I put him down and told him to stand with Owen, and he did!!!!  I was so amazed.
And what happened next was one of the most magical experiences of our trip and still brings me to tears.  You can tell Donald wants to get closer to Ethan and Ethan knows what is coming, just look at the look on his face!!!!
Donald wanted to shake Ethan's hand and with his big brother's help and support he did!!!  I love how Owen has one hand on Ethan's back and the other hand is helping hold Ethan's hand up to meet Donald's.  Both of them have smiles on their faces!  This meeting isn't something you can script.  This meeting and support came out of brotherly love and trust and was magical!!!
The three of us (with Addyson following behind with lots of skepticism) couldn't wait to go find daddy to tell him what just happened!  Ethan was SO proud of himself for meeting Donald and told Daddy that he was a brave boy and that he shook Donald's hand.  I think in that moment Donald became one of Ethan's favorite characters!
And then it was our time to meet Mickey and Minnie.  I was afraid Addyson wasn't going to be up for this either but she agreed to it as long as daddy held her!  Perfect!!!  And here it is folks, that classical family photo with Mickey and Minnie!!!  I got it!  Merry Christmas to me!! :)
Then Brad and I asked who wanted their picture with Mickey and Minnie without mommy and daddy.  Owen was the only one interested in this option!!!  He was loving meeting the characters as much as I was !
Finally it was 10 and the park was open and the kids were off!!!  We couldn't get our day started quick enough! 
Princess Castle selfie!!!
First stop, Tomorrow Land!
The Buzz Lightyear ride started our ride fun!
Downside to having three kids is that one person sometimes had to ride by themselves.  Downside to having young kids, is that two of the kids needed an adult to ride with them so that left Owen, our cautious child, having to ride by himself.  This didn't go over so well at first.  The Buzz ride was dark and a lot of noises and Owen was NOT keen on being on this ride alone.  Wasn't a good start.  He was right behind my car so I just kept trying to encourage him and let him know it would be okay.  There were moments of fun for him but I think he was glad when the ride was over!
Addyson was my ride buddy while Brad and Ethan paired up for most of the rides that day!!!
Next stop, Autopia!  We just had to point out the funny sign that recommended, "You SHOULD be sober to ride."  Haha!  Funny thing is, they don't even serve alcohol in the park!
Addyson was our driver.  Owen wanted to see how it worked first before he braved behind the wheel!
Ethan was the driver for their car!  He wanted to do it, "by myself"!
"Ahhhhh, help us!!!  Crazy girl driver in charge of our car!!!"
The more Owen and I screamed the more she giggled and hammed it up!! : )  Yes, the car is on a track so you have to go a certain direction however, there is some wiggle room and how you steer does make a difference.  She was loving it.  The crazier she got, the more Owen chimed in, "Addyson, be careful!  Addyson, don't do that!"  Their personalities were really coming out in full force here!!
The next ride we can across was Space Mountain.  Brad was afraid he couldn't stomach the ride and Owen didn't want to find out so, Addyson and I lined up for the fun!  When the ride started it was great... and then it picked up speed and the turns became more frequent and then Addyson called out, "I'm done with this ride.  I want off!!!"  Couldn't really explain that that is not how rides work so I just held on to her and we rode it out!  When she got off she exclaimed, "That was scary fun!!!"  I think she was just glad she survived it!!!  I was impressed that she rode such a big girl ride!  I was also glad that neither Brad nor Owen rode it because it wouldn't have been pretty!
As we met up with the boys it was perfect timing for the afternoon parade!!!  The kids were in awe to see so many characters in one spot!!!  Our blonde haired blue eyed kids got a lot of attention for the characters!!!

I also should note that right before this we went to the Stitch Encounter.  It is a small stadium type room where we interact with Stitch on a big screen.  Our kids were sitting in the first row and Stitch asked to talk with Owen first!!  He asked Owen where we were from and I was curious to see how Owen responded, he told Stitch we were from Saudi Arabia!  That is now home for our kids!  Wow, kids really are the truth sayers!  Stitch also talked with "Daddy Brad" before talking to two other audience members! This was a very special moment for Owen and Stitch became Owen's theme for the rest of our trip!!!
In love with the princess float!!!
It's a Small World selfie!
SO much to see!!!
The Middle East!
We were exhausted and knew it was going to be a late night so we went back to our hotel for  a quick lunch and a power nap!!   It was the perfect break.... and we could finally enjoy that well earned beer! :)
After nap we headed back to the park to hang out until closing!  We headed towards Adventure Land and made it just in time for the Lion King show!!  This was one of my favorite shows when working at Animal Kingdom and the one here didn't disappoint!
While the shows were very similar they were also different!  So, if you are a Disney fan and think you might skip out because you saw the on in Florida, don't!  I love how there are many similarities between the parks but enough differences that you feel like you are experiencing something new!
Another classic!  Dumbo!!!  Our two little kids think it is called "Gumbo".  We had to giggle every time they said it!  Another ride Owen had to ride alone but he loved it.... and he still managed to get in on the selfie! : )
Waiting for the carousel.  This turned out to be the turning point of our night.  Poor Owen just got off of Dumbo, which he stomached well, but then we waited in line for the carousel. (which was probably the longest line of our day) and Owen watched it go around and around.  By the time I realized what he was doing it was too late.  Just as I whispered to him, "You probably shouldn't be watching this." his face changed and he said he didn't feel so good. : (
Owen and Brad (much to Brad's delight) ended up sitting this one out.  I rode with the little kids who were so excited to finally be getting a turn after the LONG wait!
After this we rode the Winnie the Pooh and Tigger ride, again just the little kids and I as Owen was now in the stroller with his eyes closed and trying SO hard to get over the headaches and sick feeling, as our last ride for the evening!  We wanted to skip the fireworks so we could beat the crowd and get Owen back to the hotel sooner than later.  It wasn't the ideal ending to our day but it was perfect for us.  Owen felt better by the time we got on the bus (thanks to the first aide room we got him some water and medicine- which by the way all water is served warm/hot here, so weird) and we were able to recap our day and all of the magical memories!  It didn't take the kids long to fall asleep once their heads hit the pillow!  Thanks Disney for a memorable day!

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