You know you’ve been to Hong Kong Disneyland a lot when you get an invite to an exclusive event.
In this case, the sprogs and I were invited to the 2013 Magic Access Appreciation Night. Hong Kong Disneyland hosts two nights limited to 6000 to 8000 annual passholders who have held their annual pass continuously for more than 3 years… yep … that’d be us!
At a specially designated ticket office we were given our exclusive pin for the night along with the special lanyard and pass we needed to access all areas and distinguish ourselves from the regular guests they were herding out of the park. There was also a coupon for a free ice lolly – any of the disney branded ice creams. That was swiftly used up as it was around 30 degrees C even at night. Want a closer look at the pin? …
As you can tell we haven’t taken them out of their wrapper. It is a lovely keepsake that has joined our collection of Hong Kong memorabilia as a fond memory of some of the magical times we get to experience in this little region of Asia.
As the regular guests departed for the night at around 8 pm, we were able to enjoy access to almost all areas of the park without the normal throng of crowds and chaos. In fact, you don’t realise just how many people are in Disneyland until you see it virtually empty. In some areas of the park we felt like we had it all to ourselves. Toy Story land was quiet, but that was PERFECT as it allowed the kids to venture on the rides there as many times as they liked.
This access to the park also gave us the rare opportunity to see areas of Disneyland normally closed off because of the fireworks lit up at night. Mystic Manor looks very creepy shrouded in a hue of blue light. It had no queue and the kids were able to go on the ride without any wait whatsoever.
Mitchell decided we would ride on the Parachute Drop several times. I took the opportunity to try and take shots of Disneyland lit up from above. Directly below us is Toy Story land, but if you look to the distance you should be able to make out Space Mountain, and if you look above Toy Story Land you might be able to make out “It’s a Small World”.
Riding the parachutes once again (I told you we went on it SEVERAL times) I was able to try unsuccessfully (sorry about the blur) to take a photo over Mystic Manor and Grizzly Gulch. Look onto the horizon and you might be able to make out part of the Hong Kong skyline away in the distance. I’m going to speculate the tall skyscraper is probably ICC in Kowloon.
Mitchell found the ride a little more scary in the dark but loved the freedom to choose different seats and not have to queue for 45 minutes to an hour. As much as I hate Autopia (because lets face it – it’s BORING … AND you have the queue for an hour in normal times to get in a car) I actually enjoyed it just a smidge more when faced with a queue time of 5 minutes. We made the choice to target the rides that always have large queues allowing the kids a bit more excitement as they knew how lucky they were to have this privilege.
Another benefit of the night was the opportunity to meet and greet characters that aren’t normally accessible from the everyday operations of the park. Pooh was out with several of his friends, Jimminy Cricket and Pinnochio were over near It’s a Small World, and Golden Mickey and Minnie were over near the Golden Mickey Theatre. My kids don’t like Pooh, and the line for Jimminy was insanely long, but truth be told the kids only had eyes for Mickey and Minnie. These costumes are only seen in the live stage performance, so the kids were very excited to grab a photo, although we did have to wait 10 minutes for the chance … the longest we queued all night.
All around the park, Magic Access lights danced around on the pavement while the kids tried to chase them down.
Before we knew it, 11 pm had arrived and it was finally time for Hong Kong Disneyland to close for the night – even for us. Only then did we discover where all the other people had been as everyone converged on the shops where it was a scene of total chaos as people went crazy grabbing items to buy … 30% off everything in-store for the night will do that to a shopping obsessed Hong Kong public. 😉
It was the best night. We got an appreciation of how busy Hong Kong Disneyland is, and how much MORE FUN it can be when you get to have it virtually all to yourself. We got to see the back part of Disneyland at night and ride in the dark. The kids were filled with the magic Disneyland stands for and I am appreciative of Disney for acknowledging the loyalty of those of us who do continue to buy our annual passes and support the theme park year after year.
My only regret is we now have to go back to Disneyland during normal hours and masses of people and queues …