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Hong Kong Disneyland Trip Report - Part Four
DisneyDan  Thursday, August 4, 2011 12:40:43 PM
Hi all,

Next up on my tour around HKDL is Fantasyland.
From Adventureland you can enter Fantasyland from near the Liki Tikis and the drumming area.
Alternatively you can go back to the hub and wall through the Castle or via the parade route to the right. Fantasyland in HK like the whole park is in need of more.
Overall it is a pretty land and has some good attractions, but it does lack a lot.
I would say in terms of design and theming it is better than the Magic Kingdom (once the expansion is done this statement will no doubt change), and it is certainly far better than the miserable Fantasyland in Tokyo!
However it is not as pretty as Paris's or California's.
There seemed to be a lot of wasted opportunities in HK as there was a lot of open space, and given the fact the park lacks a lot, every inch should count.

The Castle doesn't have a walkthrough and there are no Peter Pan, Snow White or Pinocchio rides.
It does have the three spinning rides, a Winnie the Pooh, "it's a small world" and a PhilharMagic. It also has an excellent musical revue show called the Golden Mickeys.

The land had some topiaries, and was made more interesting than Florida's because things are a bit more broken up.

"it's a small world" is in an area outside the train track, which meant you had to go under a bridge, and has an ice cream stand and a grand façade like California’s and Paris’s – but not quite as pretty as either of those two.

HKDL July 2011 - Wandering through Fantasyland

The actual attraction is on par I would say with California's, and features no less than 35 Disney characters in various forms. The queue and exit aren't as pretty as California or Paris though as it is situated indoors and, well, lacks something.

PhilharMagic was set in a much nicer looking theatre than in the MK, and the Tea Cups, although not as nice as Paris's, overlooked the Small World plaza area and were in a better setting than the MK.

Dumbo was quite basic and lacked the inspiration that they had for the Paris one, and the Carousel was fairly standard too. The Pooh ride felt a bit fresher than the US versions, but had the festival tent entrance like the old version in Florida. Why when they built the park they didn't make this a Pooh's Hunny Hunt I do not know. Pooh Hunny Hunt in Tokyo far exceeds any of the other three Pooh rides (And most other dark rides for that matter), and should have been copied over into such a new park.

The Golden Mickey's is at the Storybook Theater near "it's a small world", and is meant to be an awards ceremony for the greatest Disney Classics. In amongst the loose storyline are stunning musical scenes from mvies including The Little Mermaid, Lilo and Stitch, Mulan, Beauty and the Beast, Tarzan and The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
An excellent show, and definitely worth seeing more than once.

There are two more things Fantasyland does offer, but I don't consider them attractions in the usual way.
There is the second stop for the Railroad, but really that is part of the whole Railroad attraction that begins on Main Street.
The design of the train station is a fairly simple design, but has bright colours and topiaries surrounding it.

HKDL July 2011 - Wandering through Fantasyland

The last one is Fantasy Gardens, which is a character meet 'n' greet area. Although not particularly extravagant, the little themed huts are set in nice surroundings, complete with topiaries. Each hut has a different personality of it’s own, and reflects the characters you can normally meet there.

There is a Mickey hut, complete with Mickey head ornaments on the rails and a Mickey statue on the roof. The colours are the same as his house in California, and also from the Mickey Mouse Club House TV show.
There is also a pink house with hearts that Minnie occupies, and sometimes (I have seen photos) some of the other female characters too, such as Lilo.
There is a very distinctly Pooh themed hut, complete with beehive over the door, and of course all the Pooh friends meet here on a rotating basis.
Then there is a very Chinese looking hut. It has Li Shang’s horse in statue form out front of it, and Mushu’s worked into the hut’s design. Mulan sometimes meets here, but normally it is Chinese Pluto or Goofy.
The last hut has a more princess-y feel to it, and has crowns worked into the design, but when we went Duffy was meeting there. I have seen photos of the princesses there, and Duffy normally on Main Street, so I am not sure why this changed when we visited!

Meeting Duffy the Disney Bear

Meeting Chinese Pluto!

The Pooh Corner boutique is at the exit to the Pooh ride and suffers the same fate as the Tomorrowland stores at the exits to Buzz and Space Mountain - immensely small for such a busy place.
Overall the theming of the store was nice, but after experiencing Pooh's Hunny Hunt last year, none of the Pooh rides and exit stores will ever compare!

Merlin's Treasures is the store at the exit to PhilharMagic, and quite appropriately too.
I really liked this store a lot. You never see anything to do with Merlin anymore and so to have a store themed after him is neat. Complete with his magic bag that spews the contents across the ceiling of the store to his desk, the store offers a good range of merchandise, and appeared to have some good sale items while we were there also.

HKDL July 2011 - Wandering through Fantasyland

The third store is the Storybook Shoppe. This is a surprisingly large store (it looks small like the rest from the outside), and offers a good selection of merchandise. The theme something akin to a dress making workshop – for the princesses - and has the various princess icons dotted around the store (Belle’s rose, Cinderella’s glass slipper, for example).

Moving onto the dining options now, and there are two restaurants in Fantasyland. There is the cleverly named Clopin’s Festival of Foods, and the Royal Banquet Hall.

Clopin’s Festival of Foods overall is ok. I think that they cheated a bit by choosing something carnival-like where they could use the old fashioned tent style to “theme” it. There are some nice touches though, and overall is it a nice place, but I do think that they could have done better, as really it amounts to not much more than an undercover counter with some outdoor seating.

HKDL July 2011 - Wandering through Fantasyland

The Royal Banquet Hall is a lovely restaurant, and has murals and statues of all the Disney Princesses. It felt a bit like a cross between the Akershus from EPCOT and Cinderella’s Royal Table at the Magic Kingdom, but somehow a bit better.
There is one thing I did not like about this restaurant though, and that’s its location. It is just off to the left of the Castle Courtyard, not directly in it, but closer into the Courtyard than any other restaurant is at any other park. I am not sure how I feel about this intimate space, where you walk through the Castle arches into this magical realm, suddenly being overwhelmed with tables and chairs complete with people eating Chinese fast food. It just doesn’t sit right with me. Great restaurant, but bad location.

Both restaurants as far as I can recall serve Chinese and/or other Asian dishes.

Finally, there are a number of characters that meet throughout the land on top of those features at the Fantasy Gardens. Rapunzel, Tinker Bell and any number of the other Disney Princesses can be found either at set locations or wandering about.

Meeting Tinker Bell

Overall, as with the rest of the park, I liked Fantasyland but it just needs more. It needs more detailed theming, more waterways, more attractions and more – bigger - boutiques.

That’s all for now. Look out for the next part in a few days where we’ll be blasting off into Tomorrowland!

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