|Globetrotting Planning Articles|
Globetrotting Traveling Articles
Globetrotting Lodging Articles
Globetrotting Touring Articles
Globetrotting Dining Articles
Globetrotting Making Magic Articles
Globetrotting General Travel Articles
12 Tips to Hotel Bliss
Assateague Island National Seashore
Back To Barcelona
Bellagio of Las Vegas
Chateau de Chenonceau
Disney on Broadway
Disney's Magical Express
Exploring Chicago's Museums
Flying Premium Economy
Grotte de Pech-Merle, France
Hong Kong Disneyland Celebrates
Kennedy Space Center
Lake Constance, Switzerland
Lake Thunersee, Switzerland
Learning the Language
Longwood Gardens, Pennsylvania
Making Your Way by Ferry to the Magic in Disneyland Paris
Montezuma Castle National Monument
More of Hilton Head Island
Mount Fuji & Hakone, Japan
My Quest for the West
New Orleans Revisited
One Place is Never Enough!
Palm Beach, Florida
Serendipity 3 in New York City
St. Paul's Cathedral, London
Star Wars in Concert
Taking to the Road
The 'Other' Jersey
The Billie Swamp Safari Park
The Egyptian Museum
The Gardens of Versailles
The Green Heart of the Big Apple
The Manatee Tour
The Palace of Versailles
The Pyramids of Giza
The Walt Disney Family Museum
Tired, Tried And True
Traveling the Northern Oregon Coast
Valley of Fire
Viewing Cities From Above
Visiting the French Alps
Wimbledon Tennis Museum
You Don't Have to Cruise to See Alaska
View all PassPorter articles
Hong Kong Disneyland Celebrates: A New Year In A New Disney Park
|by Cheryl Pendry, PassPorter Featured Columnist|
Last modified 12/18/2008
Cool Tip: Click here to get a FREE PDF version of this article, fully formatted to print and put into your PassPorter Deluxe Binder!
Filed in Articles > International Travel > General Travel
The start of a new year is always something worth celebrating, wherever you are in the world -- and let's be honest, Disney parks do usually tend to see the New Year in with a flourish.
We've only been at Walt Disney World once to see the New Year in and the version of IllumiNations that led up to midnight and the dawn of a new 12 months was quite something to see. It more than made up for the fact that Mother Nature had decided to play a cruel trick that New Year's Eve, with torrential rain for the previous five or six hours that had emptied the whole of Epcot out, with just a few foolish souls, like ourselves, left watching the celebrations. Fortunately, things were very different when we visited Hong Kong Disneyland during the Chinese New Year celebrations.
I think it's important to point out here that we weren't actually there for the moment when the New Year began, but that really didn't matter, as the celebrations go on for a number of weeks. The Year of the Rat had started on February 7, 2008 and we headed for the park just over a week later. As there's no mouse in the Chinese calendar, a rat was going to be about as close to Mickey as Disney would get, so unsurprisingly, they'd gone to town over the link.
The second we approached the park entrance, we could see the decorations everywhere. That's not out of keeping with the rest of Hong Kong, with lanterns and decorations displayed in many shops and homes while we were there. What was out of place was the number of rats we saw on display, although entertainingly, they had been created so that you could clearly see a resemblance to another famous rodent!
Celebrating Chinese New Year with a dragon procession down Main Street.
I had already seen on the website that the main characters, such as Minnie, Mickey, Donald, Goofy, and Chip and Dale would be out in special Chinese New Year costumes, and that's exactly the sight that greeted us in Main Street. The costumes were all as beautiful and colorful as you'd expect and made for some wonderful keepsake photos. Mickey and Minnie were all dressed in red, a very traditional color, as the Chinese believe that it wards off bad fortune. It's also tradition for people to wear new clothes to symbolize the New Year and, although I've no way of knowing for sure, I would imagine that this probably was a new addition to both Mickey's and Minnie's wardrobe.
Chinese New Year has many traditions and one of those is the presence of a lion dance troupe, which is a symbolic ritual for evicting bad spirits from the home and welcoming in the forthcoming year. Of course, Disney also had one parading around Main Street, ensuring that the only spirits present were good ones. Another lovely touch was the decorations on the tree, with lots of red packets. At first, we weren't sure what they were, but we soon discovered that younger members of the family often receive these packets, containing cash, for Chinese New Year.
University of Cambridge
The beautiful campus of the University of Cambridge. - photo by Jennifer Marx
Our tour took us next to the hub in front of the castle, where mini Mickey statuettes had been added, with each representing the signs of good fortune, such as health, love, and prosperity that you want to usher in at this time of year.
With it being the Year of the Rat, Mickey certainly took center stage in these celebrations and even a version of his house from Toontown in Walt Disney World had arrived just for these few weeks. Walking through it, it was hard to believe that this was only a temporary addition to the park, but it is, although it does make appearances other times of the year, with the most recent one being as Mickey's Christmas House.
A Chinese New Year storyteller was also wandering around the Main Street area, spreading tales of joy, but one thing that wasn't specific to the New Year was the afternoon parade. I was surprised by that, given how Walt Disney World has its own special parade for Christmas, probably America's biggest celebration. The Chinese New Year is probably the biggest celebration in Hong Kong, so it was interesting to see them continue with their usual performance in the afternoon. Having said that, it was still unique, with a wonderfully Oriental feel to it, so we didn't feel deprived at all.
One of the main signs at the entrance to Hong Kong Disneyland
Chinese New Year turned out to be a wonderful time to visit Hong Kong Disneyland. The temperatures were lovely, with some beautiful weather while we were there and the added bonus of so many extras that really made the park stand out. As it's still the baby of the Disney theme parks, in all honesty, it is lacking in attractions, but what it lacks there, it more than makes up for in additional entertainment when the New Year arrives.
Norway, Playground Remnants
My children loved playing on the "Viking Ship" in the Norway Pavilion at EPCOT. They (and I) were devastated to find it is no longer available. This is part of the bow of the ship, now in a heap off to the side of the pavilion. - photo by Teresa
About the Author: Cheryl and husband Mark live in England and love to travel, particularly to Disney, and they have made numerous visits to destinations across America and Europe. They recently completed their tour of every Disney theme park around the world, which culminated in their visit to Japan, including the Tokyo Disney Resort. Click here to view more of Cheryl's articles!
Related Links:Read additional articles from PassPorter.com
Hong Kong Disneyland Photos in the PassPorter Photo Archive
Serendipity 3 in New York City - A Dining Review last updated 12/29/2008
Valencia, Spain - Travel Tips last updated 11/27/2008
Bellagio of Las Vegas - Simply Bellissimo! last updated 1/08/2009
Hever Castle - Kent, England last updated 1/15/2009
So what do you think? Click here to share your comments, feedback, and experiences on this article and topic!
(Note: You must be a member of our PassPorter Message Board Community to leave comments. Join today for free!)
Updated 12/18/2008 - Article #5
Subscribe to our free e-mail newsletter, PassPorter News, published for more than 58,000 opt-in subscribers worldwide.
As an added bonus for subscribing, you will receive a 20% discount coupon for the PassPorter Store -- no catch!|
We respect your privacy and never sell or rent our subscriber list. Subscribing will not result
in more spam! We guarantee it.
by PassPorter Travel Press, an imprint of MediaMarx, Inc.
| LEARN MORE|
Learn More With Our Award-Winning Guidebooks|
PassPorter Community - Boards & Forums on Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disn...
Planning a trip around the globe, or just away for the weekend? Ask questions and share experiences!
Forum Sponsored by CruisingCo.com
Stone Mountain Christmas
11 Oct 2014 at 11:27pm
We are planning on stopping at Stone Mountain on our drive south right after Thanksgiving and they have a Christmas village and celebration with...
(click title above to view replies)
by Queen of Everything
7 Oct 2014 at 11:11am
Next summer (2015) we will be traveling to Davis WV to my family reunion. This is the first time we will be reunioning :p in the general vicinity...
(click title above to view replies)
Renting a house in Europe?
30 Sep 2014 at 6:44pm
We have often rented homes for vacations in the US and Canada. I am planning a trip to Italy next year and hopefully will be joined by one of my...
(click title above to view replies)
Total Visits: 5319