Saturday, October 22, 2016

Hong Kong 2016 - Day 1 (Disneyland)

If you have been following my blog for sometime, you will realize that we have been traveling to Hong Kong quite a bit for the past few years. I can't really pinpoint why we have been going back, because its not that I really love Hong Kong that much, but somehow after this trip I find myself starting to like this city more and I am secretly looking forward to the next time we go back again.

We have been planning to go for a vacation after I delivered Coen, and the timing of this holiday couldn't be better because after going back to work for 2 months, I desperately needed a getaway to recharge myself. Hong Kong was ideal because Zoe was coming along with us and Disneyland seemed like a great idea. We left Coen with my in-laws whom had a really awesome time caring for him and spending quality time with. Thankfully he also adjusted extremely well at their place, and showed no signs of missing us. I on the other hand was really missing him very much throughout the trip. In fact, I teared up when I said goodbye to him and would think of him whenever I see a baby on the streets of Hong Kong. He's definitely coming with us on our next vacation!

This was Zoe's 3rd vacation, and I was pretty sure she was going to be a great flyer on this trip because she now has her own seat with a screen in front of her. I was 100% sure she was going to sit still at least for quite a bit. Also, not forgetting that the husband had packed a whole lot of brand new coloring materials and toys in our hand carry. Truth is I find that out of the 3 times we flew with her, this has got to be the easiest. 4 hours of flying, I think we got this under control! Tips for parents traveling with kids - always try to book a flight that coincides with your kids' nap time. Or if not, in our case we flew off at 9am which means she had to be up slightly before 6am, and by the time we were done with eating onboard, Zoe was yawning away and it was quite easy for her to fall asleep even though it wasn't even her nap time.

Check out how compact our Babyzen Yoyo+ stroller is! It fits right into the overhead compartment and we could use it immediately off our flight where Zoe could sit in it and be wheeled to collect our luggage. (Click here to read my review on this stroller)

20 minutes after drinking the entire bottle of milk, she puked everything out. Thankfully it wasn't really messy because we are kind of used to her vomiting. This girl here has quite severe motion sickness. Out of 10 taxi rides that she take, she would puke on 9 of it. This is why I rather we spend 1.5 hours taking public transport over taking a taxi if time permits. It used to be really messy when we first discover her motion sickness, but now she is a professional and would tell me beforehand so that I can put a plastic bag in front of her.

SQ kids' meal which I thought wasn't too bad. Omelette with mixed vegetables in a tomato based sauce, Yoghurt, Meiji milk, Honey Stars, Raisins. But...she doesn't like airplane food just like her mum. I can't stand the smell of it and truth is I too puke on the plane all the time when I was growing up. Now that I am cleaning up after my daughter, I sure look up to my mum who had to deal with me being so sick on every plane ride.

Breastfeeding is really a high commitment thing, no break even on a holiday.

 Quick lunch after touching down at the airport!

Out of our entire trip in Hong Kong, the first day is the only day that felt like we were constantly in a rush. Why so rush? Well, we decided that since Disneyland is so near to the airport, we might as well stay for a night at the hotel there and finish our Disneyland trip so as not to waste too much time traveling from the city to Disneyland which could take up to 40 mins or more via train. So, the moment we finished lunch at the airport, we rushed to check in, threw our luggage on the floor and then literally ran into Disneyland to catch the 3pm parade.

Tip for travelling from the airport to Disneyland: Take a taxi instead of the train. We did our homework and found that commuting by taxi is cheaper and it takes you right to the hotel lobby instead of having to change into a shuttle bus from the Disneyland train station.

Was the running worth it? Nooooooooooo. Since Halloween was around the corner, the entire Disneyland was clad in that theme and hence the afternoon parade did not have any of the usual parade characters like Toy Story, Winne the Pooh, Jungle Book etc. All we saw was just some dancers and then Mickey and Minnie on their pumpkin ride. It ended in a short 10 mins which pale in comparison to the usual parade that lasted way longer than this. We were quite bummed honestly.

To make up for our disappointment, we went queuing for the mandatory photos with Mickey and Minnie. Took us 1 whole hour of queuing, and I am not even sure if it was Zoe who wanted to take photos or her mum. hahaha.

Okay, this room is a life saver for all parents with young children. When we were here last year, Zoe just turned 1 years old and we had to keep coming in here to change her diapers, heat up her bottled food etc. It's really clean, spacious and has almost everything that a parent need. This time round, we had to come here as I got to pump and I felt so thankful that I could do it in peace and comfort in one of the two rooms in here. They even allow me to store my expressed breast milk in their fridge and collect it just before the fireworks display. Oh and not forgetting, its a perfect getaway from the hot weather.

Prior to the trip, we were really excited to see how Zoe would enjoy herself and how she may be super star struck and excited to see some of her favorite cartoon characters come to live. The husband has been prepping her for months, and exposing her to all the Disney characters so that she would enjoy herself on this trip. We watched Toy Story, Cars, Mickey and friends on repeat for the past half a year at least! And just a week before flying, she has been telling us she is going to "Mickey's house!" But, to our surprise, when we were there, she wasn't that super impressed with Disneyland and at some point, she was a little bored? She did have fun and was happy and cheery, but we were expecting her to really really really super happy and excited.

Okay, so highlight of Disneyland for her was when she started seeing park rangers and mascots giving out free marshmallows as part of the Halloween's "trick or treat". She was extremely delighted because marshmallow is one of her favorite food. So, for her this has to be the most memorable part of the entire Disneyland trip - to collect as many marshmallows as possible. Just look at that face!

Yup, still eating her marshmallow....

Confession: We did not even take a single ride at all because erm motion sickness? I must be the 1% who doesn't really like to ride on a carousel because I feel extremely giddy on it and do not feel a slight magical feeling at all. As for Zoe, I remembered her on it last year and her face tells me she clearly did not enjoy it just like her mum.

Maybe, because she's not a ride person hence the park was not as fun for her. But she does enjoy watching people on the rides. Perhaps, when she is older we might attempt it again and even try the slinky dog ride at Toy Story land whom we saw kids as young as under 1 year old on it! Well, actually we were about to queue for it because Zoe said she wanted to go on it, but she backed out the last minute and decides that standing there for 15 mins watching people on it was much more fun.

Disneyland is beautiful during the evening!

More marshmallow please!

Going to Disneyland is not complete without bringing home some souvenirs! As I was happily shopping, the husband brought Zoe around the huge shop and told her that she could pick any 1 item in the store for herself. I was feeling quite positive that perhaps buying a toy from the store will make it a really memorable trip for her even if she did not get to enjoy the park as much as we thought she would. But, to both my husband's and my surprise, she saw a giant marshmallow and told us that this is her "1 item" What?! After a day of eating countless marshmallows, she still wants more?! We tried to show her other impressive toys, like a walking Pluto, a really sweet looking Minnie soft toy, and explained that if she gets a toy she could bring back home and show it to Coen, whereas a marshmallow isn't really a souvenir that you want to buy from Disneyland!

But, she was insistent and certain that she did not want anything else but that big marshmallow. Erm okay, so we bought it and she happily ate her souvenir even before leaving the park.

So, after a disappointing day parade. We thought the night parade would make up for it, because we remembered that last year the night parade was so impressive that we felt all our money spent on the tickets was worth it. But sadly, it was another 10 mins of Halloween themed parade. Featuring the evil queens of Disney stories whom honestly I don't think any kid likes evil queens? I would preferred seeing the huge LED lit Cars and other usual items! Speaking of which, you can see the night parade photos of my previous year's trip here! (And how different she looks within a year and a half!)

And of course, the spectacular fireworks display!

After such a long day, we were so thankful that "home" is just a bus ride away. There are two hotels in Disneyland - "Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel" or "Disney's Hollywood Hotel". We stayed at the slightly cheaper one which is "Disney's Hollywood Hotel". It was comfortable, spacious, and of course fun to be staying in a hotel where you see Mickey mouse icons everywhere.

We came back at close to 10pm and were intending to order room service, but realized that there wasn't this option. So, the husband went down to get food and being a tourist place you can expect rather expensive food options. Our chicken rice set cost us a whopping SGD $30 and an extra portion of plain white rice was SGD $5. Yikes! So, with that extra rice, 3 of us could share comfortably with that one set and I slept that night thinking about the dim sum and milk tea that I was going to eat the next day when we were in the city.

Alright, that's it for day 1! Took me 3 hours on this and I am going to crash now hoping that the kids sleep through tonight! Day 2 of Hong Kong hopefully will be up in a week's time. Have a lovely weekend everyone!

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