Booking Your Flights
We have flown both Air New Zealand and Cathay Pacific to Hong Kong (HKG). My experiences with both a somewhat mixed.
In October 2012 we flew with Cathay Pacific from London Heathrow. On this particular trip we flew Cathay Pacific because they offered good connecting options to Tokyo, as we intended to go to Tokyo 4 days later.
The flight from Hong Kong to Tokyo is a further four hours.
Cathay's prices are overall not bad. They are one of the cheaper options, which is another factor in why we chose them.
I liked the airline overall and would recommend them. By my own standards, I wouldn't say they are the best I have flown, but they are better than nearly all US based airlines (though in my experience that isn't hard). If you're going to fly direct from Europe and have a bit more cash to spare, I would actually recommend Virgin Atlantic, who fly direct from London Heathrow. I fly Virgin to the US all the time (several times per year, at least), and if I could afford it, would definitely fly them to HKG, too.
Flights from West Coast USA and Europe both are around 11 or 12 hours. If you fly from Europe you'll usually flying overnight, and arrive the following day. Hong Kong is 7 hours ahead of the UK/GMT during the summer.
If you fly from the US, you'll usually fly westbound and head over the date line, which causes all sorts of confusion with your body! You'll be losing an entire day when you arrive, but when you return, you'll gain most of a day back. As an example, one time visiting Tokyo from the West Coast, we were actually able to visit Tokyo Disney Resort on the morning we left, and arrived in California "3 hours" later, and went to Disneyland there for the rest of the day! It certainly is an interesting, and exhausting, experience!
As a guide, flights from Europe can cost anywhere from 800 to 1000 pound/euros return fare. From the US, they can cost anywhere from $1000 upwards.
Booking early gets you the best fares
Flying internationally nearly always means the best deals are had when you book as far in advance as you can. Prices normally go up as more seats sell.
At the Airport
Upon landing in Hong Kong you proceed through all the usual annoyances associated with travelling internationally. The airport is modern and the staff friendly, and everything is well signposted in English.
The immigration line, though can look long, always moves fairly quickly and efficiently.
Once you have cleared customs you can collect your luggage and exit into the main terminal area.
Upon arrival in the main terminal, you immediately find that it is very different to Japan (if you're doing a multi-trip). There doesn't seem to be the strict rule of law imposed at every turn, and things seem more relaxed. The stores are not as bizarre and they even have a more westernised feel to them.
On your return journey you'll be pleased to find a HKDL Store just past the security gates (meaning on the departures side).
The store has a good selection of merchandise and included some of the offers from the park.
Transfers to Your Hotel and Disney
Once you have cleared customs and immigration, and collected your luggage, various options for getting to your hotel await you.
Trains, taxis and busses are all readily available at the exit of the terminal. All these options are discussed below.
Taking the Train
Getting to HKDL from the airport is interesting because, the airport is very near the resort, and yet you have to change trains twice to get there!
The route you have to take is:
- Airport - Tsing Yi
- Tsing Yi - Sunny Bay
- Sunny Bay - Disneyland Resort
Tickets can be purchased at the airport for your entire route to HKDL. Check the MTR website for the latest fare information.
Overall it isn't a complicated or painful experience. Everything in HK runs very efficiently and smoothly, and you'll be in HKDL in no time. Just be careful to check the signs for where to go to get tickets and which platform. Arriving in an unfamiliar country, with no idea of how their system works can be confusing at first.
Trust me, it isn't all too bad, but just be prepared to really have to pay attention.
The HKDL Station and Trains are well themed
The train from Sunny Bay station is really neat because it is just a Disney service that goes back and forth from one side of the mountain to the other. The train is all decked out with Disney icons and is certainly a nice welcome to the resort.
The train station at HKDL is equally well themed, and very clean.
From the train station you can take the short walk to the bus stop to get the shuttle to your hotel.
It's a very short ride around the outside of the park boundary to get there.
Overall, getting to HKDL is easy enough, although a little expensive.
Taking a Taxi or a Bus
When we left from our stay in October we decided to take a taxi, and to be honest, that was cheaper than the train, quicker and more comfortable. Also of course it was door to door!
Next time we go to HKDL we'll take a taxi both ways to save us time and money.
Many (if not nearly all to be honest) Hong Kong and Kowloon hotels offer a free shuttle bus service. A lot of these have a desk at the main terminal building after you exit from the customs area. Check with the hosts at the desks to see which bus will take you to your chosen HK hotel.
If your hotel doesn't have a designated desk, the hosts can normally put you in the right direction anyway, or ask at the general airport information desk, and they can tell you where a specific hotel bus pick-up is located.
If You're Staying in the City
If you're staying in Hong Kong, Kowloon or anywhere else, the best thing to do is take the airport express train direct from the airport to the centre of Hong Kong, where you can then make any connections.
The Hong Kong 'MTR' system is very clean, efficient and safe. You'll have no problems using it.
For Further Information
I have included the links on the panel on the right, but I just want to point out that the official Hong Kong Airport website has a ton of information for visitors, including links to all sorts of useful bus and train websites, and lots more really good travel information for visitors. Definitely recommend you read it!
The Hong Kong Disneyland Official website has a good amount of information and links about trains and busses. Links can be found on the side panel to the right of this article.