Best Hong Kong Disneyland Attractions & Ride Guide

Our Hong Kong Disneyland ride guide offers reviews and numerical ratings for every attraction in HKDL, located on Lantau Island in Hong Kong, China. This will help plan your visit, and provide analysis on which rides are must-dos, and what you can skip. (Last updated August 10, 2018.)

If you’re planning a trip to Hong Kong Disneyland, this is a great place to start when determining what to do and when to do it. The guide will give you a rough idea of an itinerary, and we update this regularly with our experiences from our annual visits to Hong Kong. If you’re planning a trip and want comprehensive advice for all the ins and outs, make sure to read our Hong Kong Disneyland Trip Planning Guide, too!

We’ve tried to keep this guide to Hong Kong Disneyland’s attraction as objective as possible with enough description so you’ll know whether particular attractions will appeal to your group. This Hong Kong Disneyland guide includes headliners, smaller attractions, and shows. Due to its relatively low number of attractions and limited waits at these attractions, you probably won’t want to skip much here, but we’ve still divided the list into “Top” and “The Rest” sections in case your time is limited or you’d rather enjoy the ambiance of the park or its dining.

Since its opening, Hong Kong Disneyland has developed a reputation of being an incomplete park full of clones that isn’t worth the time of an American guest who has visited Walt Disney World or Disneyland. Regardless of whether this reputation was deserved at one time, it no longer is. In the last few years, Hong Kong Disneyland has made numerous additions, with many more on the way–as well as a new castle–as Hong Kong Disney embarks upon another colossal expansion.

The newest of these major attractions is Iron Man Experience in Tomorrowland, which will soon be joined by two other Marvel rides. Prior to that, three new mini-lands open that include Big Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Cars and Mystic Manor, two of the best attractions Disney has to offer. Add to this a selection of other solid rides and a great setting, and Hong Kong Disneyland is a park that is really coming into its own.

Still, this doesn’t change the fact that it’s a one-park resort in a foreign country with a surplus of unoriginal attractions. Everyone but the biggest Disney fans or those visiting during the Halloween or Chinese New Year seasons will probably be able to finish the park in a single day. Because of these things, we do not recommend a visit to Hong Kong Disneyland solely for the park.

This shouldn’t be a problem, because Hong Kong is a culturally-rich metropolis and a visit to it is an easy stopover on most flights to Tokyo (the hotels at Hong Kong Disneyland could be considered “airport hotels” given their proximity to Hong Kong International Airport). So there’s minimal cost in spending a day or two here, besides the time, for those already visiting Hong Kong or heading on to Tokyo Disney Resort.

This guide will mention similarities and differences between attractions in Walt Disney World & Disneyland, and Hong Kong Disneyland where pertinent. This is for those of you who have been to the U.S. parks to determine what can be safely skipped, should you so desire. Hong Kong Disneyland is a 1-day park, and most guests will be able to accomplish all they wish to see in that one day.

If you approach Hong Kong Disneyland with an attraction checklist and that’s it, you’ll certainly only need one day. This guide is written in English on a site catering to US Disney theme park enthusiasts, so it’s written from the perspective of Disney fans. If you’re not, our recommendations and ratings are still relevant, you just might not be quite as enthusiastic about some of these attractions as us.

Numerical scores are on a scale of 1 to 10, and only take into consideration overall quality relative to that specific type of attraction. Dark rides are judged against other dark rides, roller coasters are judged against other coasters, etc., to create a relatively level playing field. Attractions are rated based upon how much their target audience will enjoy them. In our ratings, we only consider how well done the attraction is, overall and within its category, when experienced by its target demographic.

Top Hong Kong Disneyland Attractions

Paint the Night Parade (9/10) – Hong Kong Disneyland’s nightly light parade, that runs so long as there is not seasonal entertainment instead (usually this happens at Halloween). If you’ve ever seen Main Street Electrical Parade, the Disneyland classic, you’ll be familiar with the idea of Paint the Night.

The main concept of the light parade is the same with Paint the Night, but the execution has been technically modernized, as has the soundtrack and the Disney characters featured. This parade is heavy on Pixar and newer characters, and is high-energy fun. Grab a spot ~30 minutes in advance.

Disney’s Flights of Fantasy Parade (8/10) – Hong Kong Disneyland’s daytime parade debuted during the park’s 5th Anniversary and is very solid for a daytime parade. There are some cool floats (the lead Mickey Mouse balloon float is very impressive and definitely the highlight) and the music is very catchy.

It has two show stops, and features a combination of more traditional floats and higher energy acrobatic performers. It’s especially popular in the hub around Sleeping Beauty Castle, so should up at least 30 minutes (more if it’s busy) in advance to stake out a spot for the parade.

Mystic Manor (10/10) – Trackless dark ride “tour” through manor/museum with displays coming alive due to enchanted music box. Mystic Manor sets the new gold standard for Disney attractions. There really aren’t enough superlatives to describe this attraction (that bears little resemblance to the Haunted Mansion attractions to which it’s often erroneously compared).

Its exterior is beautiful, the queue sets the tone for what’s to come, the pre-show introduces the attraction’s memorable characters, and then the main ride itself blows guests away with a combination of ride technology, an engaging story, details, and beautiful music. This is arguably the best attraction Disney has ever done. Mystic Manor alone is reason-enough for a stop in Hong Kong Disneyland if you’re a Disney fan visiting Asia. Despite its incredible quality, we never encounter any waits for Mystic Manor. If you visit on a busy day, it likely will have lines, and should definitely be prioritized.

Iron Man Experience (9/10) – A simulator attraction that flies guests above Hong Kong in the park’s first Marvel attraction (with a couple more to come). The concept here is that Tony Stark is hosting Stark Expo where he’s showcasing his latest inventions, which guests see up close in the queue before boarding the Iron Wing flight vehicle.

Iron Man Experience is a lot of fun, and a great addition to Hong Kong Disneyland. The queue is interesting, and the ride itself is a hoot, with a ton of detail and eye-candy. If you’ve spent at least a couple of days in the city before heading to HKDL, you’ll see many recognizable landmarks–and we think all of this detail adds to re-rideability as you’ll want to see everything you missed. One of the few rides with FastPass, and it should be utilized unless you do Iron Man Experience at the beginning or end of the day.

Jungle River Cruise (8/10) – Comedic boat ride through the jungles of the world. Jungle River Cruise has the same premise as the Jungle Cruise–the skipper is still the star of the show, with the scenery as a backdrop for their jokes. Three separate lines are available, for Cantonese, English, and Mandarin and boats.

Unfortunately, the skippers are (usually) not native English-speakers, so the dry comedy of the attraction doesn’t totally work. Comedy that’s dependent upon delivery is hard enough in your first language, so I can’t even imagine trying it in a second language. Fortunately, that ride has been enhanced with better effects and a really impressive finale. Due to having three lines for different languages, Jungle River Cruise can have long lines; we recommend doing it early in the day, after Toy Story Land if you do that.

Festival of the Lion King (8.5/10) – Acrobats, singers, and other performers in tribal attire and vibrant costumes, plus barges with Lion King characters and other creatures enact scenes from the Lion King in a very lively theatrical show. There’s a lot of stuff going on, but unlike the Animal Kingdom abstract version, this is a condensed retelling of the movie.

The performers are still the highlight of the show, and they are fantastic–and high energy. I prefer the abstract style, but this lacks the audience ‘animal sounds,’ which was nice. Regardless, an amazing show that is absolutely worth seeing. This version is in English with supplementary performers repeating some lines in Cantonese.

Tarzan’s Treehouse (8/10) – Similar to Tom Sawyer Island, this is a walk-through/play area on an island (in the center of the Jungle River Cruise) that is serviced by ferry. This is much more than just the Treehouse at Disneyland. There’s plenty to do on the island without going into the treehouse, with areas to explore, and several interactive exhibits. Tarzan’s Treehouse itself offers stunning views of the park, too.

Big Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Cars (10/10) – Themed roller coaster with Audio Animatronics and a section that goes backwards. Think of it as Big Thunder Mountain Railroad meets Expedition Everest with a slight dash of Country Bear Jamboree. The result is a great mix of thrill ride and detailed Disney attraction, with some really lovable bears.

While I have a soft spot for Space Mountain at Walt Disney World, this might be my favorite Disney coaster anywhere. This is like a milder version of Expedition Everest, although it also made Sarah nauseous the one time she did it. This had mostly short waits during our visit, but it has the potential for longer lines. We recommend doing it first thing on your way back to Toy Story Land (if you’re doing those attractions).

Animation Academy (7.5/10) – A drawing class, plus the adjacent ‘Art of Animation’ (we don’t consider that a separate/distinct attraction). For those interested in sketching a character, the drawing class is fun. The walk-through Art of Animation portion includes an awesome Toy Story Zoetrope, maquettes, storyboards, and background paintings of Disney characters.

olaf-puppet-mickey-wondrous-book-new-show

Mickey and the Wondrous Book (8.5/10) – Stage show that is basically a montage musical show within the framework of Mickey Mouse getting stuck in a book and Olaf getting stuck outside of it. There are some humorous moments, and the music is very catchy. The show is in Cantonese with English subtitles, which likely cause the nuance and comedic delivery of spoken language to be lost (other guests were laughing).

Mickey’s PhilharMagic (9/10) –  3D montage film mostly from the “Disney Animation Renaissance” cleverly tied together with Donald Duck. Children of the 90s are sure to love this film, but really, anyone should enjoy it. The theater in Hong Kong was specially built for PhilharMagic, so it’s a little bit nicer of a venue than the other parks’ venues that show PhilharMagic. This show is in Cantonese.

it’s a small world (8/10) – The classic boat ride featuring the children of the world. This was the first version to feature Disney animated characters (certainly a divisive addition, but one we don’t mind), and it does the best job of integrating them. It also seems to be the longest version of the attraction, with scenes not found elsewhere. Unlike the Disneyland Paris version, this maintains the original Mary Blair style, and executes it well. Nothing tops the Disneyland version of ‘it’s a small world’ for us, but the Hong Kong Disneyland version is a close second.

Fairytale Forest (7/10) – A walk-through area with a variety of cute vignettes and photo ops themed to various Disney fairytales and princess films. This is really charming, and vaguely reminiscent of Storybook Land at Disneyland.

For what it is, it’s a nice attraction, but it’s far from ambitious (and probably would’ve been better as a boat ride). There’s never a wait, so do it whenever, but just be careful of that midday heat during the summer.

Orbitron (6.5/10) – Spinner ride similar to Dumbo; this one makes it onto our ‘top’ list because it has cool UFO ride vehicles, and offers great views of Space Mountain and the mountains behind Hong Kong Disneyland. Side by side seating is also more comfortable. Do it at dusk when the neon is coming on and the mountains are still visible.

Hyperspace Mountain (9.5/10) – Part of the Star Wars Tomorrowland Takeover, Hyperspace Mountain a dark roller coaster through outer space that encounters X-wings and other starfleet along the way. The LaunchPort queue and load area is a bit different than the Disneyland version of Hyperspace Mountain, with Star Wars props making it seem a bit like a hangar. The projections and laser effects are really cool, making Hyperspace Mountain the most popular attraction right now at Hong Kong Disneyland. Use FastPass for Hyperspace Mountain.

RC Racer (6.5/10) – Steel shutter ‘half loop’ coaster where guests strap into the RC car from Toy Story and go back and forth on the track. As guests are parallel to the ground at the top of each side of the track, this is deceptively thrilling and offers cool views of the park. Do all of the Toy Story Land attractions first thing in the morning, if at all.

Hong Kong Disneyland Railroad (6/10) – A railroad ride around the perimeter of Hong Kong Disneyland with scenic surprises along the way. Inferior to the Disneyland Railroad, but still worth doing to see parts of the park you otherwise wouldn’t.

The Rest

Slinky Dog Spin (5/10) – The tamest of the Toy Story Land attractions, a ride with Slinky Dog essentially chasing his tail as it spins in circles. Do all of the Toy Story Land attractions first thing in the morning, if at all.

Toy Soldiers Parachute Drop (6/10) – A tame, slow-moving up and down drop ride themed to Toy Story. Do all of the Toy Story Land attractions first thing in the morning, if at all.

Moana: A Homecoming Celebration (6/10) – Cute for what it is, which is a small scale stage show (say that 3 times fast!) aimed exclusively at children. The songs are nice, but the presentation and production value will bore most adults.

Jedi Training Academy: Trials of the Temple (7.5/10) – Replacing Autopia in Hong Kong Disneyland’s Tomorrowland, this small scale stage show giving kids the opportunity to become Jedi. This is an attraction that kids will absolutely love if they’re into Star Wars and are extroverted. It’s not quite as much fun for the audience, but it’s still decent.

Cinderella Carousel (5/10) – Garden variety carousel located behind Sleeping Beauty Castle. (Isn’t it odd the Cinderella has a carousel behind the castle that’s home to Sleeping Beauty?)

Dumbo (6/10) – The iconic Disney spinner attraction. The highlight of this version is that it’s behind Sleeping Beauty Castle and offers a nice view of the mountains behind Hong Kong Disneyland. Otherwise, it’s nothing special.

Mad Hatter Tea Cups (5/10) – The spinning teacups at every castle park in the world.

The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (6.5/10) – Fantasyland dark ride through the world of Winnie the Pooh. Due to its otherwise complete lack of Fantasyland dark rides, this one is very popular. As best we could tell, this was a near-identical clone of the Walt Disney World version. If you do this, use FastPass. We went on slow days, and it was the second-longest wait in the park.

This leaves out some additional photo ops (which are listed as attractions on the map!), small play areas (in abundance in Hong Kong Disneyland), entertainment, and character meet & greets, but it’s all of the significant, year-round attractions. You should have the time to do virtually everything on this list in a single day. Make sure to take time to enjoy the park’s dining (including afternoon tea!), too.

For the rest of your planning needs, consult our Hong Kong Disneyland Trip Planning GuideIt covers everything you need to know for a visit to HKDL, including reviews, strategy, packing, and more. If you’re visiting the city as well, please consult our Hong Kong City Guide on TravelCaffeine, our non-Disney planning site.

Your Thoughts…

Which of these attractions interest you the most? If you’ve been to Hong Kong Disneyland, what are your favorite attractions? With which of our ratings do you agree and disagree? Anything else to add? Hearing from you is half the fun, so please share your questions and thoughts in the comments!


59 Responses to “Best Hong Kong Disneyland Attractions & Ride Guide”
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