2023 Hong Kong Disneyland Planning Guide
This Hong Kong Disneyland planning guide will help you figure out all you need to know to prepare for your trip: park tickets, attractions, dining, transportation, hotels, and much more! Since Hong Kong only has one park and three hotels, it’s much easier to plan a visit here than just about any other Disney resort around the world. (Updated May 16, 2023.)
Seriously, even with the language barrier, a first trip to Hong Kong Disneyland is so much easier than a first trip to Walt Disney World! Various nuances of international travel can make it a little tricky, but overall, it’s a pretty simple place to visit. Since Hong Kong Disneyland is not too complicated, this guide covers more about the logistics of doing the trip and getting there, plus general info about traveling to Hong Kong in general, as opposed to specifics once you’re there.
All things considered, we view HKDL as one of the cooler destinations in Hong Kong. Even for people who are not Disney fans, it’s a fun way to spend a day, and it being located near the Tian Tan Buddha and Hong Kong International Airport makes it an easy place to visit outside of the city proper. This covers everything you need to know if you’re planning a visit to Hong Kong Disneyland in 2023 or beyond. We’ve stayed at all of the hotels at HKDL, done every attraction, and eaten at (almost) every restaurant…
As for serious Disney fans, Hong Kong Disneyland is finally a park that’s on many bucket lists, with the incredibly highly regarded Mystic Manor almost alone making Hong Kong Disneyland worth visiting. (Almost.) It’s also fun to compare and contrast the similarities and differences between it and the other parks, as well as experience other unique Hong Kong Disneyland attractions.
In addition to this guide, we recommend consulting our Hong Kong City Guide on TravelCaffeine, our non-Disney planning site, for your time downtown. We also recommend checking out Macau, which is a popular “side trip” from Hong Kong. Although we visit Hong Kong regularly, we’ve only been to Macau once. It was an interesting experience and potentially worth visiting, depending upon your interests (but a “one and done” for us).
With that said, let’s get started with the guide…
What’s New & Next in 2023-2024 at Hong Kong Disneyland
Arendelle – World of Frozen – This new land officially opens in November 2023 and will be home to two attractions, including an enhanced version of the Frozen Ever After boat ride and the all-new roller coaster, Wandering Oaken’s Sliding Sleighs. World of Frozen will also offer unique character experiences at the Playhouse in the Woods, plus a restaurant, retail, and other things to do.
“Momentous” Nighttime Spectacular – The new fireworks show above Castle of Magical Dreams features close to 40 classic Disney moments, nearly 150 cherished characters, and comes to life with multimedia elements, including large scale 3D projection mapping technology, choreographed fountains, illuminated water projection, lasers, theatrical lighting, pyrotechnics, and fireworks effects. What’s more, your ears will be regaled with newly-reimagined classic Disney songs. It’s a spellbinding experience that’s sure to melt hearts, warm smiles, and reawaken beloved memories.
Castle of Magical Dreams – The reimagined castle transformed the tiny Sleeping Beauty Castle into a much taller monument to 13 stories of beloved Disney Princesses and heroines. The Castle of Magical Dreams celebrates Cinderella, Tiana, Aurora, Ariel, Mulan, Snow White, Moana, Merida, Belle, Rapunzel, Pocahontas, Jasmine, plus Anna and Elsa. The central, raised stage in front of the Castle of Magical Dreams hosts a variety of daytime shows throughout the year focused on favorite Disney characters and stories through song and dance. At night, there’s the above-referenced Momentous fireworks show.
More Marvel…? – Over the course of the last several years, Marvel attractions have debuted at Hong Kong Disneyland. Tomorrowland is now home to Stark Expo, which currently includes the Iron Man Experience simulator and Ant-Man and The Wasp: Nano Battle! The former is a simulator very similar to Star Tours, whereas the latter is a shooter attraction that reimagined Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters.
At some point in the future, a Marvel E-Ticket might be built in Tomorrowland. Although originally announced several years ago, those plans are still up in the air. Between the closures and prior financial struggles–plus Disneyland in California revisiting the E-Ticket concept–it’s unclear what, if anything, else will be built. The Hong Kong government released a report in May 2023 indicating that only about half of the original expansion budget has been spent, but it’s unclear whether the other half will still come to fruition, or if the company and city will cut their losses.
Hong Kong Disneyland as a Destination
We love Hong Kong Disneyland, but no American should make the expensive trip to Hong Kong solely for Hong Kong Disneyland. That would just be foolish and excessive for a park that is a 1-day park for 95% of guests and a 2-day park only for extreme Disney fans. Fortunately, there are a couple of other ways to visit Hong Kong Disneyland that do make the trip reasonable.
We’ve been to Hong Kong Disneyland a few times, and each time, that has been in conjunction with another destination. Our first two times, we did Tokyo Disney Resort after HKDL, treating it as the “Gateway to Tokyo Disney Resort.” One our most recent visit, we went after attending the Grand Opening of Shanghai Disneyland.
There are a few reasons for stopping in Hong Kong. First, it’s very easy to book Hong Kong as a low/no-cost stopover on the way to Tokyo or Shanghai, which means that it’s about $0 to $50 to add Hong Kong to an Asia trip from an airfare perspective. (We are aware that a lot of people don’t understand how stopovers work, so you can read about that in our “How to Visit 3 Disney Destinations on 1 Airfare” post.)
Second, while Hong Kong Disneyland has come into its own as of the last couple of years in terms of being a quality Disney theme park, it still doesn’t compare to Tokyo Disneyland, Tokyo DisneySea, or Shanghai Disneyland. You should not fly to Asia solely for Hong Kong Disneyland.
Finally, although we don’t believe there’s a substantial language barrier at Tokyo Disney Resort or Shanghai Disneyland, English is much more common in Hong Kong (a British colony until the late 1990s), making it a good way to ease into a foreign environment for those inexperienced with international travel. If you’re also visiting the Japan or Shanghai parks, make sure to consult our Tokyo Disneyland Trip Planning Guide and our Shanghai Disneyland Trip Planning Guide. There’s a lot more you’ll need to know for those visits!
Another option is to visit Hong Kong Disneyland as part of a trip to Hong Kong and Macau. (For those unfamiliar with Hong Kong, although technically part of China, it’s a “Special Administrative Region” on an outlying island, meaning that visiting locations in mainland China like Shanghai and Beijing requires another flight.)
Hong Kong is frequently described as where “East Meets West,” and there’s truly something for everyone. From temples and shrines to a developed metropolis, Hong Kong has it all. Macau is akin to Las Vegas on steroids, and is a place where you can find UNESCO World Heritage Sites mere streets away from larger than life casinos.
Much like Disneyland Paris, Hong Kong Disneyland is a bit of a melting pot in terms of guest demographics. Many visitors come from Hong Kong, but it seems that just as many come from mainland China (there’s a pretty big difference between the two). Hong Kong Disneyland also sees its fair share of Australians, guests from other countries in Asia, and a variety of guests from other English speaking countries. Cantonese, Mandarin, and English are all commonly-spoken languages by Cast Members at Hong Kong Disneyland. In fact, some attractions offer options for each of those three languages.
Some attractions and aspects of the park are not in English, but as English-speaking guests, we did not at all feel isolated or at a disadvantage. The things that aren’t in English are pretty easy to understand given their largely visual nature, or through subtitles. We do not view Hong Kong Disneyland as having any significant language barrier.
How Long to Visit
We sort of touched upon this in the section above, but unless you’re a really serious Disney fan, we recommend one day at Hong Kong Disneyland. Contrary to popular lore, Hong Kong Disneyland is not a half day park. It’s also probably not a two day park, though. If you do opt for two days, that gives you time to slow down and do just about everything, plus repeat favorites, have a table service meal or two, and soak up the ambiance. That much time is not necessary (except perhaps on national holidays?), though.
You can hit the highlights in a single day, and if you’re traveling all the way to Hong Kong, you might want to allocate any additional time to exploring the city. If you are in any way crunched for time, (e.g. visiting both Hong Kong and Shanghai Disneyland or Tokyo), don’t spend more than 1 of your theme park days at Hong Kong Disneyland; spend the rest of your time at Shanghai Disneyland and/or Tokyo Disney Resort.
When to Visit
Hong Kong Disneyland is the international park at which we’ve spent the least time. We’ve researched it more, and have learned the following. Basically, you want to avoid three things: 1) the summer tourist season (not only are crowds high, but so is humidity–the area around Hong Kong Disneyland might technically be a jungle), 2) weekends, and 3) holidays, especially the Chinese New Year.
We’ve heard that crowds can be very high during these times. During our weekday off-season Christmas visit, the park seemed empty by US standards. There were several times in the middle of the day when Mystic Manor was a walk-on, and only a handful of popular, low-capacity rides had prohibitive waits.
When we returned in the summer, the humidity was killer. We will never go back to Hong Kong Disneyland between May and September ever again because the humidity is simply too brutal to have a pleasant time.
Halloween season is another time of year that Hong Kong Disneyland, but whether you should avoid it or go because of this is a good question. We went during Halloween a couple of years ago, and it was amazing. Take a look at our photos and thoughts on the elaborate (and genuinely scary!) Halloween entertainment offerings at Hong Kong Disneyland.
The one downside was that it was still pretty humid, but not nearly as bad. We wouldn’t hesitate to go back at Halloween-time, simply because the entertainment is so awesome. Crowds are a bit higher, but it’s totally worth it.
What to Pack
As always, we think the items on our Unique Disney Packing List will be helpful in any of the Disney theme parks. Specific to Hong Kong, we note that since it is a jungle (or jungle-like, at the very least) environment, plan for hot weather. Things like Frogg Togg Chilly Pads will come in handy, as will moisture wicking clothing.
In general, we would caution against overpacking. This is especially true in terms of toiletries if you’re staying at one of the on-site hotels. Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel provided a large set of toiletries in our room (large enough that it was themed to the Seven Dwarfs and there was a different item for each Dwarf!). Remember, Hong Kong is a world city, and you can purchase just about anything in Hong Kong that you’d be able to purchase at a convenience store in Orlando.
If you are going to be staying in multiple hotels in Asia, we highly recommend packing cubes or compression bags (I prefer the cubes) for organization. You can read more of our “carry-on philosophy” and which types of bags we use here.
Compared to Tokyo, getting to Hong Kong from the United States is super easy. Well, minus that whole 12-16 hour flight. Once you land in Hong Kong, if you’re going directly to Hong Kong Disneyland, you’re going to take a taxi there. Yes, you can take the MTR, but that will require two transfers and significantly more time than just taking a taxi. Both Hong Kong Disneyland hotels are basically “airport hotels,” and they are only about a 10-15 minute taxi ride that will cost around $20. You will certainly save a little money taking the MTR, but the time and headache savings more than justify taking a taxi.
If you are also visiting Hong Kong as part of your trip, we recommend doing the city itself before Hong Kong Disneyland, in which case taking the MTR into Hong Kong is the way to go. Our rationale for doing the city first is because it puts you at Hong Kong Disneyland right before your flight leaving Hong Kong, and you presumably will be on more of a strict schedule (since you flight has a set departure time) on the way out than you are on the way in, and it’s easier to bank on the 10-15 minute taxi ride to the airport than it is on the 30 minute to an hour long MTR ride from downtown Hong Kong to the airport.
The MTR is very reliable–it’s the best public transportation we’ve encountered anywhere in the world–but it’s still more predictable/safer to rely on a short taxi ride to the airport than a longer train ride, which means you won’t need to build as much of a time cushion into your return airport trip.
There are lots of options available for phones and internet in Hong Kong, but from what we could gather, very few reasonably priced options that would allow us to use our iPhones. Unlike Japan, where MiFi is an easy and relatively inexpensive option, it seemed that Hong Kong was more geared towards phone and SIM card rental.
Fortunately, we didn’t have to spend too much time researching this, as we quickly learned that Hong Kong has an impressive, free-for-visitors WiFi network. Rather than paying for anything, we have just used the free public WiFi when visiting Hong Kong.
Free WiFi is now available in Hong Kong Disneyland. However, it’s very spotty, meaning that you won’t have internet access at all in some lands. When this has happened, we just did without internet for an hour or so.
If you will literally die if you don’t post to Instagram for an hour, check out rental options. We wouldn’t want to be responsible for a headline in USA Today reading, “American Abroad Dies From Snapchat Withdrawal.” 😉
We strongly recommend having a credit card with no foreign transaction fees for any international travel and also carrying cash for emergencies (plus small merchants and taxis that may not accept credit cards), but we didn’t find ourselves using credit cards or cash much in Hong Kong. Instead, we used what’s called the Octopus card. You think Walt Disney World’s MagicBands are cool? The entire island of Hong Kong has had the tap-to-pay system down since 1997.
The Octopus card is a reloadable tap-to-pay card that can be used at a multitude of locations, from 7-11 to the trains. It’s super easy to use, and how we paid for probably 75%+ of our transactions in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong Disneyland has two official hotels, Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel and Disney’s Hollywood Hotel, both of which are walking distance to HDKL. (There’s also a shuttle if you’d prefer.) We’ve stayed at each of these hotels, and will give you a quick synopsis of each, along with links to our reviews.
- Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel is the flagship, Grand Floridian-esque hotel, and it’s slightly closer to the park. We loved Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel.
- Disney’s Hollywood Hotel is a Deluxe-caliber hotel that is Art Deco stylized, cheaper, and about 5 minutes farther away from the park. We also had a great stay at Hollywood Hotel, and found it to be a solid value.
- Explorers Lodge is the newest, and best, hotel at Hong Kong Disneyland. As you can read in our full Explorers Lodge Review, this is our favorite hotel at HKDL.
If you’re on a tighter budget, there are also some nearby hotels that you can find on the usual suspects of booking sites. We’ve stayed at a couple of those, and would recommend the Hong Kong SkyCity Marriott Hotel. It’s basically a business class airport hotel. Really nice (and you earn points!).
In terms of perks, there’s no real benefit to staying on-site. Hong Kong Disneyland does not have Extra Magic Hours, an airport shuttle, etc. The train ride in from the Sunny Bay Station is really nice, so we don’t see the harm. The biggest benefit of staying on-site is the convenience of walking between your hotel and the park, and also being enveloped in the Disney ambiance.
We do not recommend booking a hotel in downtown Hong Kong for the entirety of your stay. If you visit downtown Hong Kong, you should do a split stay, changing hotels for the Hong Kong Disneyland leg of the trip. Much like Disneyland Paris and Tokyo Disney Resort, Hong Kong Disneyland is a decent train ride from downtown, and you’ll spend a couple of hours per day in transit if you make downtown your home base for the duration of the trip.
Park tickets for Hong Kong Disneyland are super cheap as compared to the US parks. You can save money on Hong Kong Disneyland tickets by purchasing from Klook, which will also allow you to instantly print your ticket. You can also use the coupon to purchase a discounted meal voucher for Hong Kong Disneyland.
One thing to strong consider if you’re going for two or three days and plan to stay on-site is to have one person in your party purchase an Annual Pass. Currently, the breakeven point is 3 days in the park for an AP. Given that most people won’t be visiting for 3 days and the fact that the lowest tier of Annual Pass has 100+ blockout dates, it’s not going to be a good option for most people. (However, Annual Passes offer a variety of discounts, including on hotels for select dates.)
Dining at Hong Kong Disneyland is pretty simple, too. The restaurants are generally good, have a diverse selection of options (among them), and cater to a variety of dietary needs (including a couple of places that are Halal Certified). Think of it as sort of comparable to dining in the World Showcase in Epcot at Walt Disney World.
We’ve only reviewed a few Hong Kong Disneyland restaurants thus far; to read those make sure to check out our Disney Restaurant Reviews Index. We also have a Top 10 Hong Kong Disneyland Restaurants post, which is more to the point about where you should–and should not–dine.
As with Tokyo, make sure to sample Hong Kong Disneyland’s snacks. There aren’t nearly as many, but there are some good ones. These include the specialty drinks, seasonal donuts, Korean squid, turkey legs, and even Marvel-themed snacks in Tomorrowland.
Also, we highly recommend doing the dim sum meal at Crystal Lotus in Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel. This needs to be booked in advance, so stop in here the first night of your trip, or call in advance. If you are interested in character dining, our favorite option is the breakfast in Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel. As we wrote in our Enchanted Garden Restaurant Review, this buffet is one of the best character meals in the world!
Another thing worth trying is the afternoon high tea. As mentioned above, Hong Kong is a former British colony, so this isn’t out of place like it might seem. We have done high tea at both River View Cafe and Corner Cafe on Main Street, but we noticed that it was also available at a couple of other restaurants.
There’s also a Victorian high tea in Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel. The presentation of our desserts was excellent, and we felt it was well worth the money for the experience. This seemed fairly popular, so consider booking day-of reservations.
That’s really the bulk of our recommendations. You can find what type of cuisine each Hong Kong Disneyland restaurant serves here. You’ll notice not many burger places, so if you’re a picky eater, your options are limited. We avoided the burgers, and found the other options to be excellent and not so exotic that anyone should be scared away from trying them.
What to Do?
We’ve already written an extensive attraction guide for Hong Kong Disneyland, so there’s no point in reinventing the wheel here, just read that. It contains strategy as well as reviews of the attractions. There is also now an official Hong Kong Disneyland mobile app that offers wait times, among other things.
In our experience, Hong Kong Disneyland did not see massive crowds right at park opening like Tokyo. Rather, the attendance builds throughout the day, with the busiest time being in the late afternoon. We’re not advocating sleeping in (especially with the park’s short operating hours), but if you do, it’s probably not the end of the world.
There’s a lot more we could include in this guide, but Hong Kong Disneyland really doesn’t need to be “over-thought,” so let’s cut it off there. We will definitely add to this based on common questions, and I’m more than happy to offer assistance and advice in the comments if you have questions.
I know this just begins to scratch the surface of planning for a trip to Hong Kong Disneyland. If you have additional questions, please leave them in the comments. If you’ve been to Hong Kong Disneyland and have tips of your own, please add them in the comments—I might just borrow them for the guide itself!
Klook discount code didn’t work for me – not sure if there are other restrictions, but saved about $10 anyway, so maybe the discount was already too good.
We will be staying in Macau. How can I travel to Disneyland? Also, what is their opening and closing hours?
indeed, Its really a happiest place on earth, furthermore thie might help as well :
Disney World Vacation And Savings Travel Guide. http://oke.io/YGogwOMn
Were going to have a trip in Hongkong for 4Days this coming March and still i don’t have a itinerary.Do you have any recommendations or suggestions?
Hi! Would like to ask your opinion. I will be traveling with my 5 yr old son on april 28, 2019. Would you suggest 2 days for disneyland? Some says that we will be wasting time in falling in line. And any idea with the month of april may, are there lots of local or visitors in disney? Hope to hear from you. Thank you
Hi there – I have an 8 hour stopover, landing at 4pm on the Friday before Christmas, so am going to head to HKDL for the last few hours of the evening. I believe there is an 8pm Christmas parade, but what else is absolutely essential (and doable!) in what will basically be a 3 hour visit?
(Note, I’m a frequent traveller so don’t worry about what to do with bags, check in times, clearing security etc, I have all that down!)
Thanks for info! I would just let people know that if wanting Mickey ears with embroidery visit the jewellery store by Pandora in main Street. I had difficulty finding it! Unfortunately cannot take pictures at Castle as covered by walls . Overall great experience the rain cancelled a few parades. Also if wanting cheap accommodation near Disneyland…. Airbnb at Discovery bay is fantastic. Only a bus ride to sunny bay and aboard the Mickey mouse train!
Would you happen to know if Disneyland Hong Kong will have the scary mazes for 2018? I can’t find information anywhere regarding this. We’re planning on going next month
Hi Tom, I’m writing an article for my HK guide about Disney. I’d love to include some of your tips in a section called “Tips from other bloggers”. I’d include your tip, a profile pic, and a link back to this page or somewhere on your site you prefer. Would you like to do that? If so please reach out to me via email. Thanks. Raymond
Just there on Aug 27 2018. Park info spot on!!! Go to Tomorrowland first, then Adventure land 2nd if there for rope drop. Adventure land open 10:30 vs 10:00 for Tomorrow land. Used Klook with no issues!! Check with your credit card issuer and let them know you are away from home country- they may think purchases are fraud or your card got stolen. Great job Tom!
Hi Tom. Amazing Disney Land! I love this so I don’t have to visit only Japan.This is my new destination also. Thanks for sharing great information. It would help me a lot for planing. By the way, I have to buy a travel camera so it can fulfill my trip with wonderful moment and happiness with my family. I’m looking camera here http://www.pirt.org/best-travel-camera/. I’m thinking of travelling for 3 days. Do you think is it suitable to look around Hong Kong? Thank you in advance for your suggestion.
Are you spending the 3 days at Disney or HK in general? It’s plenty of time for Disney. We were just there in June. Our daughter lived in HK for the summer. Getting to the various places is probably the hardest part as it’s hilly to walk and the subway stations are spread out, unless you take a cab everywhere.
I recently went to Hong Kong and reading this article made it easier for me to roam around the city.
Can you make reservations for the Crystal Lotus online? Or is there a US number to call?
You are of course correct. I was referring to your attraction post. It is still very good but missing 2 main attractions and refferinng to one that is not active. I will post my comment there
There is absolutely a HKDL app and I’ve had it on my tablet for three years, not really sure how you missed that? Also, taking the MTR is incredibly easy, I wouldn’t steer people away from using it at all.
My bad on the mobile app–this was originally written 5 years ago, when there was no such app. I missed that line when I did the latest edit. We’ve also had the app for a few years.
As for the MTR, my suggestion is not to take public transit from the airport to HKDL because it’s time-consuming and taxis in Hong Kong are cheap.
I used your blog in Disneyworld Orlando and it was absolutely amazing. Really helped us a lot. This is why I didn’t doubt the Hong Kong blouge and treated it almost like a bible…This is why I wad dissapointed to find it out of date…
Mikey and the wonders is a very popular show..We passed by it as it wasn’t mentioned in the blog. By the time we wanted to go we arrived 15 min before the last show and it was already full.
Buzz lightning attraction isn’t existing..
There is a new Iron man ride..
And new (small) Mohana show
It’s important to say in advance to when the blog is updated to..
I’m not sure to what you’re referring, but this post has never included comprehensive attraction info. You can find that in our HKDL Ride Guide: https://www.disneytouristblog.com/best-hong-kong-disneyland-attractions-ride-guide/
Hi, I am planning to go hk end of october. I’m planning a 5 days trip. We will depart on a fri, stay in downtown hk for 3 nights. Monday check out- early morning take train to Disneyland, spend the day at Disneyland, after which we’ll stay there for one night. The next day (last day), we will have our breakfast and check out at about noon time and head to the airport. Does this plan sounds ok? What is the checking out time for hotel in Disneyland?
Can we store suitcases on site – we were thinking on checking out from downtown and then storing our luggage in Disney until we need to go to the airport.
Also – if we buy a 2 day ticket – can we go in separate days – 3 days between one and the other?
Does anyone know about access member exclusive collectibles at HK Disney? My daughter is there and has a pass. I keep asking on chat and email and they don’t have a clue. It is in the access pamphlet as such. Anyone know the story on this or is it not like the passholder only items at WDW? Thanks.
Is there a difference between Thursday and Friday during August re croud?
What are the park hours? Do they vary by season?
We were there June 7 and it was 10:30 -8:30. If you go to the website and click on park tickets, I think you can see the hours but only for a few days out (that was the case when I was planning). They sell tickets for a specific day so it is not like a mass ticket sale at World.