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Disneyland Throwdown: Tokyo Disney Sea vs. Hong Kong Disneyland

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In the red corner: Disney Sea in Tokyo, Japan
In the blue corner: Disneyland in Hong Kong, Republic of China

Two different parks in two different countries with two different holiday theme with the same Disney magic flowing through them. Let’s see the tale of the tape between these two tourist magnets in Asia.

 

1. Holiday Theme

Tokyo Disney Sea was decked out in total Easter threads from head to toe. Bursts of color plagued the park – well, parts of the part – especially the younger section of the park. On the other hand, Hong Kong Disneyland was using the fall colors of Halloween to celebrate. Pumpkins also laid down the boogie throughout the entire park.

For the use of the holiday theme though, the cake has to go to Hong Kong Disneyland – other than the décor being present throughout the ENTIRE park – every section  – but they also have special attractions like the two Halloween-only haunted houses and the trick-or-treating.

Even if we weren’t able to get into the haunted house (some-one had to uncontrollably bawl out when she found out she had to walk “by herself” through the haunted house)

 

 

 

 

 

 2. Waiting Times

Tokyo Disney Sea had an average waiting time of 3.25 hours per ride. Toy Story Mania, the ONLY ride we really intended to get into- even through Fast Pass – had the longest waiting line of all – topping off at 220 minutes, which is 20 minutes shy of a 4 hour wait. Crossing that out, we should’ve opted for the Fast Pass but even that, at 10.30am, was only available for a 7.20pm return. Crazy. The shortest line there was Tower of Terror which was at a 2.5 hour wait. Crazy. Just crazy.

But I do have to mention though, we did come at the worst possible day in the ENTIRE year to go – Saturday Spring Break. Although, to be fair, normal weekends already warrant a 3-hour wait for a ride so it’s not really too far off from usual waiting times.

As for Hong Kong Disneyland, the longest time we had to wait in line was for Astral Orbiter and Autopia, which were 15 and 20 minutes respectively. We had the awesome opportunity to only stand in line for a total of 10 seconds for the boat in It’s a Small World.

Clearly… Hong Kong takes this round.

[Care for a 3-4 hour wait for a 2-minute ride?]

[This is Hong Kong Disneyland and the <sacasm> loooooong 10 minute wait. </sarcasm>]

 

3. Food

For the 2 days that we made our pilgrimage to Hong Kong Disneyland, we ate our lunches at the same place, at the same spot and on both days, we had the same thing: 2 pieces of fried chicken, fries and a fruit cup. It was the one place that I was sure to get food that Tonie was sure to gobble up. For some reason, we always found ourselves in Tomorrowland at lunch time.

For Tokyo Disney Sea, we even had to wait another 30 minutes just to get in line to get seated. This was a swanky lunch that consisted of a 3-course meal. We had soup, steak and a dessert. It was a fine dining joint and though we skipped the dining etiquette of taking off our overcoats and hats (it was THAT cold that we were still freezing in a temperature controlled place).

We decided to have this lunch rather than the usual burger and chicken fingers because this was the only where we could hide from the cold (relatively) and be able to hang out for a while. You have no idea how long it took us to consume our steak: the oil on the steak was already turning white right in front of our eyes. We sucked it up because we didn’t want to be thrown out into the cold. No, please, not again!

Tokyo Disney Sea for a runaway winner on the food – just because we really needed the escape from the cold.

 

 

[Too cold to be hanging outside in the cold]

In Tokyo, there was a line EVERYWHERE. The lines for popcorn and hotdog kiosks were 45 minutes long. The ultra swanky lunch place had a 30 minute wait *just* to get in.]

 

 

4. Afternoon Parade

Tokyo Disney Sea was certainly themed differently than the usual Disneyland and the afternoon parade was so much more different than the usual parades I grew up watching. No attack of color to the senses here. The “parade” was much more adult-version and centered around the giant pond in the middle of the park. Instead of having the parade go through the entire park while people lined the streets, everybody crowded around the entire pond and no matter you parked your butt, you had a pretty awesome view of the park. Couldn’t understand a single lick of the voice overs though as they were all in Japanese.

The Hong Kong Disneyland afternoon parade though alternated between Chinese and English lyrics of the songs so that helped a lot. The parade is still the same ride as the one we saw a whole two years ago. It had the same props, same music, same theme, and same dance routines. I didn’t even bother taking photos anymore.

For the Happy Meal though, the parade from two years ago and this year were not the same parades. The first time, she was just this about-to-turn-2 year old who could NOT believe her eyes. And this year, she was giving the ROCK ON sign to the Disney Princesses. And that, my friends, was Disney Magic at work, right there.

 

 

 

 

5. Souvenirs

Tokyo Disney Sea was, honestly, disappointing when it came to souvenirs. They had Duffy in all of the shelves and there was only 1 kind of Mickey and Minnie dolls. And if it weren’t for a quick Google search, I really would have NO idea who the hell Duffy is.

Duffy in actuality, is just some random bear that the Japanese decided was going to be the face of Disneyland in Japan. Eventually, Duffy has managed his way to the different parks around the world and along with it, a back story which is basically that Minnie gave Mickey Duffy so that he would have company when Mickey traveled the world – or something like that.

There really wasn’t a lot to choose from in Disney Sea. It was the same Mickey and Minnie Easter themed dolls and just a bunch of Duffies with an assortment of clothes. We already had a Mickey doll and we wanted one that would closely resemble him in terms of size and outfits. We ended up with a Minnie Mouse Easter themed doll.

And for Hong Kong Disneyland, it was dizzying. The selection of souvenirs almost went to the point of being like the selection in Anaheim. Main street was particularly impressive with the vintage Goofy hat that made going to Disneyland iconic. Oh and they also have iPhone and iPad covers. For this visit, we got away with a Daisy Doll and her newest lunch box. I got me my 2014 planner.

 

 

 

Final Tally:

Tokyo Disney Sea: 2
Hong Kong Disneyland: 3

 

Although I may be biased, I am usually if not all the effing time, I really have to say that Hong Kong Disneyland definitely is my favorite. It’s smaller but at least here, we are able to get on the rides easily with very minimal waiting times – or even no waiting time at all. The crew has a LOT of English on them (compared to their Japanese counterparts).

As long as Hong Kong and the rest of China plays nice, I can see us going to Hong Kong Disneyland for several more times in our lifetimes. You don’t have to endure a 16-hour flight to go to the one in Anaheim and you don’t need to apply for a visa to go to the one in Japan! It’s instant Disneyland!

 

Do you believe in the magic of Disneyland? What’s your favorite part?

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Eileen Campos loves cheese and The Walking Dead. Currently doing a great job in post grad studies but awful with regards to ruling the universe. She also thinks that she is married to Robert Downey Jr.
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