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Hong Kong Disneyland Trip Report - Part Five
DisneyDan  Friday, August 12, 2011 4:21:59 AM

Hi all,
Welcome to part five of my HKDL trip report.

In this section we move onto Tomorrowland.

I know you probably think I sound like a cracked record by now, but I'll say it anyway!  Like the rest of the park Tomorrowland has some really good features, but definitely needs more.  It has just five attractions, two restaurants and two minuscule stores. This is compared to say the Magic Kingdom that has eight, two and three respectively (you could even count the Lunching Pad which would make three restaurants).

Let us begin with the overall look and feel of Tomorrowland.

Considering the park is only nearly six years old, it is curious as to why they decided to go back to the Tomorrowland concept, although they have changed the concept slightly.  In the US the future has always become outdated very quickly, and now the attractions at the US parks seem to have become less tomorrow-like and more space themed or alien themed, which isn't necessarily futuristic.

In HK they have actually took that failure into account, and the theming is more space themed than futuristic, so the attractions, which are really hardly futuristic, don't feel so out of place with their surroundings. Jon used the phrase Spaceland to describe it more accurately.

On saying all that, sadly the theming is quite basic, and the land does feel a bit bland.  Tomorrowland in HKDL is also very small physically. The entire land is centered around a courtyard area that could easily be swallowed by Space Mountain from DLP alone.  This gives the land a very enclosed and circular feel. If you are standing at given point in the land you can pretty much turn your head around and see just about everything else in the land.

The buildings in Tomorrowland are also somewhat great and sterile looking, although they do have some splashes of colour to them here and there.

Let us take a closer look now at the individual offerings across Tomorrowland.

As I already mentioned, there are two stores - Star Command Suppliers and Space Traders. These are probably the two smallest and worst designed stores in the whole park, and probably any Disney park!

They are so cramped inside that you can barely move at the best of times, but remember these stairway are a the exit to two of the most popular rides in the park - Buzz Lightyear and Space Mountain.

Space Traders at the exit to SM I would say is actually smaller than most people's living rooms!

There isn't really theming to this store either, apart from some pictures of Mickey and friends riding SM and some Stitch light up panels.  With train loads of people exiting the ride every couple of minutes this is one store you do not want spend too much time in!

Star Command Suppliers at the exit to Buzz is a little bigger than the SM store, and has a bit more theming, complete with a mural and a giant Little Green Man spaceship looking thing hanging from the ceiling.

Again though, given the amount of people that exit the ride all day everyday, this is another store that you will not want to hang about in.

The two restaurants of Tomorrowland are Starliner Diner and Comet Cafe.

The Starliner Diner features the story of a yellow spaceship. Outside the restaurant the ship sits above the main entrance, and inside there are murals of it's travels across the universe.

HKDL July 2011 - Wandering through Tomorrowland

Despite the pictures on the walls and even a random side room that looks like a futuristic bar, the restaurant is somewhat basic. There are indoor and outdoor seating areas and the food is a little more Westernised than other eateries in the park, but still with a lot of Asian influence (their burgers claim to be "American", but have things like char siew pork in them!).

Over at the Comet Cafe, theming was, well, lost in space I think!

HKDL July 2011 - Wandering through Tomorrowland

Apart from the the neons on the outside roof that add more to Tomorrowland than the Comet Cafe, this restaurant was basically a walk up counter with a lot of seating, all outdoors. Lacking in inspiration, this is probably one of the worst "themed" restaurants at any Disney park. The menu was all Chinese.

There was also a snack window over by Space Mountain called Flying Saucer Snacks that was something akin to say Mrs Potts Cupboard or the former Friar's Nook in the Magic Kingdom, or Cafe de la Brousse at DLP. Again it was of a basic design.

HKDL July 2011 - Wandering through Tomorrowland

Moving onto the attractions now, and we'll begin with the Orbitron.

If there was one thing that Jon, Loren and I all agreed on, it was that the Orbitron here was a much nicer version. It had a blue central section with a galaxy motif running through it complete with stars, and the vehicles were flying saucers. It just looked nicer than the rockets at the other parks and was more colourful. The saucers were side by side seating too, whereas all the other versions around the world are bobsled style seating (one behind the other). This I think makes for an overall better ride experience, but essentially is just another spinning attraction.

One thing I did notice, and I haven't studied videos to see why this happens, but it didn't appear to go as high as it's counterparts.

HKDL July 2011 - Wandering through Tomorrowland

Next up is the Stitch Encounter.

The Stitch Encounter cleverly utilises some dead space under Space Mountain to house the attraction.
The attraction is essentially the same, complete with the chase at the end with Gantu though the theatre is smaller than in Paris. Of course some presentations are in Chinese and some are in English, whereas in DLP they rotate between English and French.

HKDL July 2011 - First glimpse of Tomorrowland

As for Space Mountain itself, it is probably about the same physical size as the one in California, and also has the same basic all over white paint.

HKDL July 2011 - Wandering through Tomorrowland

The queue area before the loading dock is somewhat boring looking, with "dark and metal" being the "space" theme.

The loading area has some light-up planets overhead, but again is more dark than anything else. There is only one loading platform, so only one train can leave at a time, and the trains are incredibly small physically. Two grown men with our camera bags could just barely squeeze into the carriage side by side. Not very comfortable!

HKDL July 2011 - Riding Space Mountain

The ride itself is a mixture between California's and Paris's. The track layout is very similar to California, and doesn't have any loops or anything. The special effects in the ride are similar to Paris, with projections of supernovas and other spacial anomalies.

The launch tunnel uses a similar idea to the US parks where it is multicoloured flashing lights, but they are different in their own way.

The re-entry tunnel is actually designed very similar to Paris whereby there are multicoloured flashing square arches (it's hard to explain, but if you know Paris's you'll know what I mean!).

Overall as a ride it is fun, if somewhat cramped. The first half of the ride can be disappointing the first time you ever ride it though as it feels incredibly slow, but about half way through the speed picks up and is more like a roller coaster.

The next attraction is Autopia. In HKDL Autopia lies outside the boundary of the park and features for the first time electric vehicles, which means the familiar noisy revving sounds as heard at the other parks is absent in HK.

The last attraction for Tomorrowland, and the last one left on my list for the whole park in fact, is Buzz Lightyear.

HKDL July 2011 - Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters

Apart from the issues with the exit and store that I described earlier, as far as I could tell the ride was more or less identical to the the California and Paris versions. There may have been some small cosmetic differences, but overall was the same ride.

So that concludes my tour of the park. There will be one more part to come of this trip report though, after the weekend, and that will be about the parade and some of the other entertainment offerings I haven't yet mentioned such as the 5th anniversary and summer stuff.

Have a good weekend all!

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