Disneyland Hong Kong: Tomorrowland

Disneyland Hong Kong is a smaller Disney park and seems to be geared more towards younger children. It was heavy on characters and light on roller coasters. But it did have Space Mountain in Tomorrowland, so we spent a large amount of time in this land!

Tomorrowland in HK looked very similar to Tomorrowland at WDW. It was so familiar that I just loved being there!!

Scott and Taelyn immediately ran to check out the line situation for Space Mountain. They had intended on getting fast passes (still using the paper fp system in HK), but realized that there was no wait so they just jumped right on! The rest of us stood in a short line to meet Buzz Lightyear! Hollyn was quite scared of him. She wouldn’t walk up to him by herself. She was okay taking a picture as long as I was holding her, but she never took her eyes off of him!

After meeting Buzz Lightyear, the character, we rode Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters since it was right next door and there was no wait.

Hollyn loved spinning the car while Lillian and I shot the guns!

As soon as we were finished with the ride, Scott and Taelyn were about to walk on, so we went again with them. It was so nice not having any wait times and being able to ride several times in a row if you wanted. Although, at times, I had to pull the kids away from rides so that we could make sure and do everything!!

We rode the Orbitron a few times and this was one of Holly’s favorites!!

We met Stitch, who you may remember me describing as Lillian’s kindred spirit.

We rode Autopia, and Lillian got to drive!! I had to press the pedal for her, though. I had a severe case of whiplash when we got off of this ride!

Nid’s first time “driving” a car! I loved that when we were in line for this ride a cast member asked everyone as they came through, “Do you know how to drive a car,” and if you didn’t (which is so common here!!) they would explain the pedals to you!

Taelyn did well driving her vehicle!

With the exception of Hollyn, every single person in our group was able to ride Space Mountain! Nid did not like it at all, but everyone else loved it!!

This big girl’s first ride on Space Mountain!!

Unlike WDW, this Space Mountain had a double-rider seat, so Lillian didn’t have to sit by herself when she rode! Since we’ve been back, she’s been telling everyone, “Mommy screamed like this on Space Mountain – AHHHHHHHHHHHHH!”

Tomorrowland had the talking, moving trash can! Lemon loved watching this guy move around, but she definitely didn’t want him close to her!

There was a fun, interactive playground called UFO Zone. The times that Nid didn’t want to go on a ride, she would let Hollyn and Lemon play there while they waited on the rest of us.

The only attraction that we didn’t make it to in Tomorrowland was Stitch Encounter. This was an interactive show similar to Turtle Talk with Crush in WDW. They had shows in English and Cantonese, and we were never around at a good time to attend an English show. I’m sad we missed it.

We ate a quick-service lunch one day at Starliner Diner. They had a good selection of Western and Asian choices.

Hollyn really liked the corn!

Living in Asia, we eat rice… a lot. I get tired of it pretty often, but I think if it was always shaped like Mickey, I’d probably love it a lot more! On this day, half of us got burgers and half of us got this chicken and rice. They were both good.

The Starliner Diner has free wifi, so several times we found ourselves parked at a table in front of the restaurant as we waited on the rest of our group to join us! If you saw any of my social media posts while we were gone, chances are good I was posting from this spot!

One day while Nid and I were sitting in front of the diner catching up on our phones, these guys stopped by and put on an entertaining show for us.

 

They had Star Wars themed eggs in Tomorrowland!

We had such a great couple of days exploring Tomorrowland!! The favorites among the big kids was Space Mountain and the favorite among the little kids was Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters.

Thanks for following along on our journey!

Disneyland Hong Kong:Main Street USA

Entering Disneyland Hong Kong for the first time was so exciting!! There were plenty of photo opportunities on the way from the bus stops to the park entrance!

While we were there, the official park opening time was 10:30am. They would start taking tickets and letting you onto Main Street USA around 10:10am. However, from Main Street, the rest of the park was roped off until 10:30am. There was no entertainment or “rope drop” at the entrance to the park like there is at WDW. However, they did do a “ribbon cutting” on Main Street each morning before opening the ropes to the rest of the park.

Our kids entertained themselves with hand-clapping games until they started taking tickets!

They still use paper tickets at DHK. They run your ticket through the scanner and check your fingerprint when you enter.

I’ve decided that the easiest way to tell about the park is by land, so we will start with Main Street USA! Main Street in HK was surprisingly similar to Main Street at WDW except that it wasn’t nearly as crowded!! And I definitely will not be complaining about that!

After entering the park on Day 1, we picked up our park map and times guide and then headed to City Hall to check and see if they had buttons!

They didn’t have “First Visit” buttons, but they did give all of the kids these “Happy Holiday” buttons like the one Lillian is showing off below!

Main Street was so familiar and I felt like I had been transported back to the States!

They had a fun “Disney Character Egg Hunt” going on while we were there. They had these amazing painted eggs that looked like the characters scattered all through the park. Some were out in the open, like these, and some were much harder to find! The kids had a great time searching for all of the characters on their list!

Mike and Sulley eggs!!

Aurora gets to claim the castle in Hong Kong. It is way smaller than Cinderella’s castle at WDW, but no less exciting to see!

The lady of the house, herself!! I wasn’t sure what the characters would be like in Hong Kong, but if I’m being honest I have to say that this was THE BEST Aurora we have ever met. And the same could be said for a lot of the other princesses, too. They were SO GOOD!!

Sweet Snow White!!

At least Nid and Taelyn were excited to be at Disney!!

This is from the castle, looking back towards the Main Street Railway Station.

We just happened to be in the right place at the right time and were first in line to see Donald! He may have been our favorite of the entire trip! Hollyn was scared of him and kept her face covered and he had some fun teasing her!

Baymax egg!!!

Pluto! Hollyn was scared of all of the characters except for the princesses. It reminded me so much of our first trip to WDW with Taelyn, when she was wouldn’t get near characters until her last day!!

We spent the entire three days looking for the Joy and Sadness eggs, and finally, on Day 3, Lillian happened to look up and spot them on the eave of the Art of Animation building! Lillian was so excited to get to claim that find when we had looked so hard all week!

Meeting Baymax was AWESOME! Of course, both girls gave him a fist bump and said, “fa lalalala.”

The very last thing we did in the park on our final day was ride the train all the way around! It was so much fun!

We loved the view overlooking Main Street USA from the Railway Station!

Main Street was amazing and really made me feel like we were in the US!

Thanks for following along on our [Disney] journey!!

 

 

 

 

 

Disneyland Hong Kong: Travel & Check-In

Asia is different than America. I’m sure this surprises no one reading this blog. These differences apply to Disney as well. My one request when I knew that we would be living in Asia is that, at some point, we make the trip to Disneyland Hong Kong. So last summer we started trying to plan our trip. However, I quickly realized that planning a Disneyland HK trip was going to be quite a bit harder than planning a Disney trip in the States. There is very little information online about DHK. Even on the official website, it is hard to find information about what rides are currently open, which characters you can meet, etc. And while the website states that you can book your hotel reservations and park tickets up to 12 months in advance of your trip, this information isn’t accurate. We weren’t able to book hotel reservations until late December, and our trip was for April. The Disney fanatics in America would lose their minds over this detail!!

So about 3.5 months before our trip, we were finally able to book our hotel and park tickets for Disneyland HK. I found advice that said that advance dining reservations were recommended, so you should make them at the hotel front desk when you check in for your stay! This is so different from a Disney trip in the States, but once I grasped that DHK operates under the “way more relaxed” Asian style of living, I decided that we would just “go with the flow” and figure things out after we got there. I did end up emailing guest services the week before we left and made breakfast reservations for Chef Mickey and The Enchanted Garden Restaurant (because once a Type A American, always a Type A American), but we easily made changes to these reservations once we got there and it was no big deal.

Since it has been about 2.5 years since my last Disney blog posts, I have been looking forward to this trip and getting to share it with you guys! I took an insane amount of pictures, so I don’t think I’ll be able to post by day like I typically would, but I’ll try to include a lot of detail and a good visual of the park in case you ever get to make the treck to HK!

Finally the day for our trip came and Hollyn, being the baby of the family, was allowed to take off the last link on our paper chain.

That afternoon we piled all of us and our luggage into the car to head to the airport. Hollyn was in my lap in the front seat.

We had a little time at the airport before our flight, so we decided to start the vacation off right with a western meal at Burger King. This was Nid’s first time eating french fries. And after this meal, she had them as often as she could in HK! She would say, “What are the white things again?”

Around 6:30pm, we boarded our plane. Nid and the kids were pretty nervous because this was their first time flying on an airplane.

About half-way through the flight, I got up to take Taelyn to the bathroom and they were all three sound asleep, so I think they handled it pretty well!! My kids, on the other hand, had no intention of sleeping on the 2.5 hour flight. We landed about 10pm, and thankfully my husband had booked us a room for the night in a hotel attached to the airport. So pretty quickly we managed to gather our luggage and get checked into our room. It was a late night, but the kids woke up early the next morning because of their excitement to get to Disneyland! Once everyone was ready, we had a quick breakfast of doughnuts in our room.

After breakfast we went to catch a taxi to head to our Disney resort. This took awhile because taxis were scarce.

Seriously, we got downstairs, had 2 taxis right away, and were headed to Disney’s Hollywood Hotel!!!

It was about a 15 minute drive from the hotel/airport to Disneyland HK. We arrived at the resort before our official check-in time, but the concierge service immediately tagged and stored our bags for us. Scott headed inside the hotel to get our park tickets, while Nid and I kept watch over the wild excited little people. It’s been so long since we have been to Disney, that we enjoyed being surrounded by Mickey Mouse themed EVERYTHING!!

Even though check-in is at 3pm and we arrived at around 10:30am, they had some rooms available and let us go ahead and check-in to them.

Our luggage arrived after about 5 minutes and after getting our things together we went in search of transportation to the park!

In comparison to Disney World, the resort transportation in HK was large buses, more along the lines of the Magic Express that gets you from the airport to the resort, instead of the shuttle buses that run from the resorts to the park.  These were all Disney themed, and said to run every 20 minutes, but we never had to wait for a bus, and they were never full. The bus stop was right in front of the hotel so it only took us about 3-4 minutes to get from our hotel room to the bus stop. There is also a walking path from both resorts, Disney’s Hollywood Hotel and Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel, to the park that was said to be about a 20 minute walk, but the buses were so convenient, and only took about 5 minutes to get to the park, so we never attempted this.

We quickly boarded the bus and were headed to Disneyland Hong Kong for our first time! In the next post I’ll blog about our first day at the park!

Thanks for following along on our journey!

 

 

 

 

 

Happy 5th Birthday, Lillian

For her birthday, Lillian asked if she could stay in her pajamas all day long. Sure!! She asked if she could eat marshmallows with sprinkles for breakfast. Sure!!

We managed not to get into too much trouble on the day of our birthday, which is no small feat for Lillian. Then she wanted breakfast for dinner so we had french toast and eggs.

Throughout the day she said, “I can’t believe I’m FIVE,” about 2,345 times!! She is quite excited to hit such a huge milestone!

We finished off the evening with a Frozen Fever cake that she requested. It was a solid 106F while I was making this cake, so it was a difficult one to finish. Lillian was thrilled with it, though!

The inside was her favorite flavor… strawberry!!

And of course, the reason all of the children in our family love birthdays the most… They get COKE!!

Happy Birthday, Sweet Girl!!! We love you so much and are grateful that you keep our lives fun and exciting!

Thanks for following along on our journey!

School Fun!!

We have had quite a few events at the school recently for the kids to show off some of what they have learned. The video below is from the elementary music showcase. In this video, Taelyn is on the right hand side of the teacher playing the xylophone thingy.

 

Later in the week, the second grade class had a class bazaar where they got to show off the dance, The Virginia Reel, which they have been learning in class. The kids had so much fun with this!!

 

 

 

This is the video of Taelyn and her partner dancing The Virginia Reel.

 

A few weeks ago, the 2nd grade took a field trip to a grocery store in town. They were split into groups and each group had a list of items that they had to buy. In order to buy the items, they took out a loan from their teacher. On this day at school, they held their bazaar in order to provide goods and services to raise money to pay back their loan! It was such a fun activity for them and I feel like they learned so much about it!

Taelyn made and sold popcorn during the bazaar.

 

There were ice cream floats!

And bracelets that the kids had made.

Cookies!!

There were several games that you could play.

And other neat things that the kids made at school.

The bazaar was so fun and Taelyn learned a lot about borrowing money and making money!!

The month of March was reading month for the school, so they finished up the month with their favorite book character parade. Whichever book Taelyn read last is her favorite book (I’m not sure where she gets that from…), so Lizzie McGuire for President it was. She had a great time getting her costume together and participating in the parade!

 

Thanks for following along on our journey!

Lillian 5th Birthday Interview

Lillian’s 5th Birthday Interview:

Favorites

Color: It’s Still pink

Toy: Samantha (American Girl doll she got for her birthday)

Fruit: Strawberries and Blueberries

Movie: Sofia the First 

Snack: Apples

Outfit: Elsa dress

Game: Building blocks

Song: Twinkle, twinkle little star

Best Friend: Miss Jackie

Book: Sleeping Beauty

Restaurant: The market because they have pork on a stick

Outside: Riding my scooter

Drink: Coke

Sleep with: Blankie and Minnie Mouse

Be when I grow up: A ballerina teacher

 

[Addition from Mama: Lillian is WILD. She plays hard and she sleeps hard. She is a serious homebody. As soon as we leave the house to go anywhere she starts asking how long it’s going to be until we are home again and frequently says, “I want to go home.” Daily she builds extravagant towers with her blocks and plays with her little dollies in them. She also knows what her family member’s buttons are and her life’s goal is to press those buttons. Above all, she loves life and seeks to squeeze everything she can out of it!]

Easter Weekend 2016

We had a busy Easter weekend!! We started out with our Friday night Bible Study at Nid’s housing complex. We had pizza since it was a special day.

Nong Tip is eating pizza the way that is common here… with ketchup squirted on top!

It’s hot as blazes, but we like meeting outside because the kids can play on the playground while we are studying!

Nong Yut reading truth to the group.

On Saturday morning we were able to meet up with MISS JACKIE!! We were so excited to have her with us for a night! Miss Jackie is headed back to the States this month to stay for a few months before she comes back to our country for a teaching job that she accepted at an international school for next school year! Y’all please be in prayer for her! We are so, so proud of this girl!!

Lillian wanted to do school on a Saturday since she had a professional here to help her!

Does anyone question why Lillian says that Miss Jackie is her best friend?!

Saturday evening we had an Easter celebration at Scott’s office. The food was amazing.

And the dessert was even more amazing!

Char read the kids an Easter story! They also had an egg hunt and a craft time!

Mrs. Kelly loving on Baby Hollyn!!

On Sunday morning at church, the kids sang a song for the congregation. The national schools had school registration on this day, so that explains why it is mostly western children in the video!!

 

Our sweet friend at church made the girls these beautiful, traditional dresses!!

They wanted to put their dresses on immediately and wear them the rest of the day! They went great with their traditional Chinese shoes from Miss Caitlyn!

We enjoyed dinner out that evening! It was a great weekend celebrating the resurrection of our Savior!

Thanks for following along on our journey!!

Fun Surprises

It’s no surprise that we are headed to Disneyland Hong Kong in a little over a week. But guess who will be going with us??!!

Y’all.

Nid is just as excited to be the owner of passports as she is to be going on a trip!! The day these arrived in the mail was a huge day of celebration for us! We made her kids a paper chain countdown so that they could countdown the days with us. Her daughter has been trying to sneak more than one link off of the chain at a time because she thinks that will make the time pass quicker. And Nid’s son still doesn’t really believe we are going. He thinks it is just a cruel joke that we are all playing on him. This will be their first time on an airplane, and first time at a theme park. She said that they have stayed at a hotel before, but I can’t wait for them to see a Disney hotel!!! It’s magical, y’all. And I cannot wait to share this special trip with them. I’ll make sure to document the entire thing so that you can share it as well!!

Thanks for following along on our [magical] journey!!

Tae’s Eighth Birthday

Taelyn said the ONLY thing she wanted for her birthday celebration this year is for Josie to be able to come over for a sleepover. So that is what she did. There were no presents to open because our Disney trip is the girl’s birthday present this year and the package that Bebe sent in the mail still hasn’t made it, but Taelyn was perfectly happy with her sleepover with her friend. And since Josie’s birthday is the day before Taelyn’s, we had double the celebrating to do!

Nid and I made Taelyn and Josie a cake the day of the sleepover. Nid thinks that our “foreigner desserts” are waaaay too sweet. She said that she doesn’t like to eat foreigner desserts (farang kanom), but she sure likes to make them!

It was HOT so we had to work quickly with our buttercream. And I thought Nid was going to quit on the spot when I pulled out these sprinkles and millions of them got all over the kitchen.

We went to our Bible study early in the evening and then came home and had tacos, birthday girl’s request. Then we sang and the girls enjoyed their cake!

These girls were so sweet for the entire evening. After celebrating with cake, we had a movie night. Then the girls retired to Taelyn’s room (Lillian slept with us that night) and they built a tent. I never heard a peep out of them. I had planned to just let them stay up as long as they wanted (within reason, of course), but I figured at some point I’d have to tell them to go to sleep. Nope… they fell asleep on their own with lights out at 9:30pm. Whereas I was still yelling at Lillian to get still and go to sleep at 10:30pm that night. Being in the bed with Mama and Daddy was just proving too exciting for her.

Taelyn had a perfect birthday celebrating with her best friend!

Thanks for following along on our journey!!

Ballet Recital * 2016

Last weekend was filled with all things ballet recital! For the first time, I had two girls in a recital at once and it made for a busy, but wonderful, weekend.

We had a regular practice on Tuesday night, the week of the recital; however, it was at the venue, and more importantly, on the stage, that the girls would be performing on. The girls were thrilled. Then on Friday the girls finally got to put on their costumes that they had been asking to wear for weeks for the dress rehearsal. I think you can tell the excitement radiating from this one.

And Taelyn, pensive as always. She and Lillian couldn’t be more opposite. I’m not sure where she gets it from…

Saturday morning, recital day, started bright and early. We had to be at the venue at 8:30am and would be there all day. Scott and Hollyn dropped us off and then they headed back home to relax the day away while we practiced and prepped.

A line of beautiful bunheads.

We have been so grateful for the girls fabulous teacher, Mrs. Kim, this year!!

Waiting for the final rehearsal to begin [and trying to keep everyone calm so we wouldn’t have to redo hair and makeup].

These girls love the stage. I’m not sure where they get that from either…

This was one of my absolute favorite performances from the show. The ballet studio does classes at one of the national schools in our city and those kids did a dance that told a beautiful story of how God gives us gifts (the colored banners being waved in this picture) and how the enemy does his best to take those gifts away. I probably saw this dance performed no less than 10 times throughout the week and I cried every single time.

The group had gathered for one final review of notes and reminders before the two performances that afternoon. It had already been a long day for my little Lillian, who is still accustomed to taking a nap everyday. In case you can’t tell, she’s the one lying down face first on the front row.

The whole studio, gathered for a picture!

Our sweet friend, Nong Som, who attends church with us, was a part of the dance about God’s gifts that I mentioned earlier. She did a fantastic job… and isn’t she such a beauty?!

This one just turned 8, but I would swear from this picture that she is 12.

We had a lot of friends come to support the girls at the recital! Our sweet friend, Marie, is pictured with Taelyn below. She is actually the one who invited Taelyn and I to the recital for the dance studio last year. When we left the recital last year Taelyn begged to take ballet this year. After looking into the studio, it turned out that they were located within walking distance from our house (I know, right?!) and they were more than affordable. I’m so grateful that Taelyn and Lillian have been able to take ballet this year. This is one of the things that I grieved when we left the States, but it is just one more way that God has shown that He cares for us and He provides, even the special extras, for us.

And our friend, Khun Oat, who works in Scott’s office, came to see the girls!!!

Daddy and daughter.

Taelyn was doing some stretching and Hollyn jumped right in there to join. Hollyn loved watching the performances and would stand at the chairs doing exactly what the big girls were doing on stage. This was Lillian a few years ago and now she was one of the big girls on the stage this year. Hopefully, in a few years, Hollyn will join the other two on the stage.

You would think by the third time performing their routine that day that they would have been tired and unenthusiastic, but that was not the case at all. They were just as excited to be on stage for that final performance as they were for the first one.

Curtain call!!!

Taelyn’s friends, Josie and Abby, came to see her dance! Josie is from America and Abby is from Australia and they are all in 2nd grade together at Taelyn’s school.

Can’t thank this sweet lady enough for teaching ballet to the girls this year!! Mrs. Kim is from the south, like we are. At one point during rehearsals that week I made a new friend whose daughter was in Lillian’s ballet class. They are from Australia. After speaking a few sentences to her she side-eyed me and asked, “you must be from the southern part of America, right? You sound like Mrs. Kim.” I have never loved my southern accent more than I have since moving overseas.

These beautiful sisters did such a fabulous job and I could not be prouder of them!

It was a perfect day of all things dance! Thanks for following along on our journey!!