Hong Kong Day #1: Disneyland: A fairytale Christmas


25 December: Christmas Day, we are on our way to Disneyland. It’s a 30 minute drive from our hotel and I recollect reading somewhere how Disneyland was an example of the Blue Ocean Strategy.

The book, Blue Ocean Strategy was published in 2005 by W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne, professors at INSEAD. It became a bestseller. Disneyland was not an example quoted in the book but I remember reading someone else drawing a parallel to Walt Disney opening the Disneyland in 1955 to the Blue Ocean Strategy.

There are the Red Ocean companies, they are in a crowded market space, trying to outperform their competition in order to increase market share and profits, while the Blue Ocean companies seek new opportunities and create demand to become trail blazers or first movers and thus make the profits.

Together with the World War II, the Great Depression and the television growing as the major source of entertainment, the 1950s saw a decline in the demand for amusement parks. The amusement parks were modelled after the “fairs” or carnivals. There were rides like roller-coaster, merry-go round, Ferris wheel; exhibitions, freak shows, picnic areas, shops, acrobatics, tricks by animals, conjuring, juggling, games and competitions. The parks were dirty, deteriorating, safety was a concern, alcohol were all problems seen by Walt Disney. But he also saw an opportunity and decided to create a clean and happy space catering to the entire family and thus envisaged and built Disneyland. There were not many who could see the new avatar of the fast deteriorating amusement parks as the footfalls and revenues were decreasing in the already existing ones, nor thought the concept could work. But it did and Disneyland became a Blue Ocean Strategy – a rapid growth story in a declining industry. The amusement park industry modelled on the lines of Disneyland rose to be a Blue Ocean – a concept with an opportunity for high profitable growth.

We soon arrived at Disneyland, had pre-booked tickets and joined the herd making way to the entrance. The sign read “ Welcome Hong Kong Disneyland Resort”, the Disneyland was located in the resort. Here’s the first sight……

Disney Land Hong Kong
Disney Land Hong Kong

The park is divided into 7 themes – Main Street USA, Fantasyland, Adventureland, Tomorrowland, Grizzly Gulch, Mystic Point and Toy Story Land.

The Main street USA is the first area, lined by restaurants and souvenir shops, it represents the stereotype American main street of the yesteryears.

We ventured into Tomorrowland and the first ride we tried was called “ Hyperspace Mountain”, an indoor rollercoaster set in the middle of a Star Wars battle. There was a long queue and it’s then that we discovered the Disney FASTPASS. It’s Disney’s way of crowd control and a way for guests to beat the queue.  You can take a FASTPASS for free and it allots a time slot when you can just walk-in to the ride.

We took a FASTPASS for the “Ironman Experience”, another attraction in Tomorrowland and we had an allotted time slot two hours later. It’s a 3D experience where you take a flight with Ironman above Hong Kong and battle the evil Hydra.

While waiting for our turn for the “ Ironman Experience”, we proceeded to see the Adventureland. Here we were just in time for the show “Festival of the Lion King”. A colourful musical with acrobats, dancers and at the end you are cast under the Disney spell of happily ever after. A brilliant show !!

It was time for the “Flights of Fantasy” Parade, a colourful display of floats carrying the Disney characters complete with music and acrobats. There were floats depicting the Jungle Book, The Lion King, Toy Story etc. Impressive !!

After lunch, we walked through the Grizzly Gulch, Mystic Point and Toy Story Land. We missed the tour of the Mystic Manor, kept it for later, but closed by 6:30pm.

We went in the “Fairytale Forest” in the Fantasyland, a manicured garden where scenes from the princess fairy tales were created in miniature scale and enacted on turning a winding key. There were scenes from Tangled, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, The Little Mermaid etc.

There was another musical called “Mickey and the Wondrous Book”. Olaf comes out of the book & Mickey has to return Olaf back to his story before he melts. Mickey, Goofy & Olaf sets off into the enchanted book to discover many other Disney characters  – Ariel in The Little Mermaid, Rapunzel in Tangled, Merida in Brave, The Genie, Alladdin and Jasmine in Aladdin, Tiana in The Princess & the Frog, Princess, Queen Elsa in Frozen and many more. It’s a mesmerizing show with singing and dancing and with the last song, the very popular “Let it Go” from the movie Frozen, many in the audience start singing along and you carry the song with you.

The light became dark and it was time for the famous “Disney Paint the Night” Parade, a very colourful procession of Disney characters all aglow in the dark and dancing to music, with Tinker Bell, Lighting McQueen, Buzz Lightyear, Mike & Sulley from Monsters Inc and many others. Loved it !!

The day ended with “Disney in the Stars” a spectacular display of fireworks that lasted for 15 minutes. We said goodbye to the magical land, happy to have been there and carried the feeling that dreams come true as all the fairy tales seem to convey. And just as Walt Disney wanted, the whole family had a good time.





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