Thursday, April 29, 2010

All you need to know about The Hong Kong Disneyland Part I

Our family visited Hong Kong Disneyland during last Christmas. Due to our recent shift-over from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City, I didn't have the time to post this up much earlier.

Basically to sum up our trip experience to Hong Kong Disneyland, it was a visit worthwhile. Prior to the visit, I was a bit sceptical as I was told that the park is small and not as fanstastic as Disneyland in Japan.

It turned out fascinating I must say. Further, it was the Christmas month during our visit. Therefore, there were more to experience! Your kids will definitely leave Hong Kong Disneyland happily and wanting to come back again.

Hong Kong Disneyland hotels every now and then will offer "booking a hotel stay in Hong Kong Disneyland, you enjoy an extra day at Hong Kong Disneyland when you purchase a one-day ticket". Try to catch this!

This is definitely very very helpful because the crowd is just too great that you really need to spare 2 days to enjoy the park leisurely. One day is definitely not enough!!

If I am not mistaken, the promotion has been extended from 31 Mar 2010 to June 30 2010.

There are two hotels to choose from: Disney's Hollywood Hotel and Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel.

Disney's Hollywood Hotel is the cheaper option. For us, this hotel is good enough to stay. Besides, in order to enjoy the most out of the park, we didn't get to enjoy the hotel facilities much. 

Check this out if you want to find out more  about the hotels and any on-going promotions.

All you need to know about Hong Kong Disneyland Part II

The Main Street of U.S.A.

To start-off, you can hop onto the Hong Kong Disneyland Railroad or the Main Street Vehicles to go around the park. However, the queue can be quite long. Besides, it is not difficult to walk about the park by foot. 

You may have a chance to meet some Disney characters and get to experience snowing (only available during Christmas month) along the way.

We chose to walk about ourselves. You will first welcomed by the Main Street of U.S.A. Plenty of shops, cute and lovely things on their window showcase for sale.

The trick is DON'T GET IN THERE!

I mean don't get in there now.

Do it later as we need to beat the rest of the "traffic"!

You will have plenty of time to shop, before and after the Disney on Stars Fireworks.

Don't worry, won't go back empty handed!

Check the performance schedule for the next Disney on ParadeSchedule your time so that you can come back for the Parade.

Any spot along the main aisle of the Main Street of U.S.A. is a good spot. Try to get as close to the side of the aisle as possible to have interaction with the dancers.

Be there 15 - 20 minutes before the show starts. Don't miss this!  

Street Entertainment is everywhere around the park. Not to worry too much as you will meet them somewhere.

The Adventureland

Next, make your way to the Adventureland. It can easily take up 1.5 hours here. The main attractions there are:

Festival of The Lion King - real live performance.
If there is fast pass available for this, go for it before you move on to the others. You will have sufficient time to explore the others while waiting for the show. Be at the waiting area at least 20 - 30 minutes before the show time (unless you have fast pass). As soon as the theater door opens, head towards the seats on either the right or the left side.

The Rafts and Tarzan Treehouse

Find your way to the raft. You need to take a raft ride to get to the Tarzan Treehouse. Experience the life being Tarzan. 

The Jungle Cruise

This cruise will bring you into the rainforest. Fascinating experience awaits you. Make a choice between Mandarin, Cantonese or English speaking tour guide. Don't queue on the wrong lane.

Spot the Mickey? This man is the park cleaner. As he feel bored of cleaning, he will draw a Mickey on the floor using his broom.

Finally, you can give the Tiki Likis a total miss as it is really nothing to shout about. Let's go to The Fantasyland.

Click here to continue.

All you need to know about Hong Kong Disneyland Part III

The Fantasyland

The Sleeping Beauty castle is the entrance to The Fantasyland. You can't really go inside the castle. This castle is the centre stage where the Disney on Stars Fireworks comes alive at 8pm every night. 

This is how The Sleeping Beauty Castle looks like at night.

The Fantasyland is the park with most numbers of rides. If you really do not have enough time to complete all the rides, then make sure you don't miss the following: 

- The 4D Mickey PhilharMagic - this is way much better than the 3D movies. Be there at least 20 minutes before the show time. Try to get the centre front seats.

- The Many Adventure of Winnie The Pooh - Enter the world of Winnie. Pooh bear is so so cute! For this ride, there is fast pass. So, make sure you grab one as soon as you arrive at The Fantasyland. Time is stipulated on your fast pass. Usually it is 1 - 2 hours before the ride. You can utilise this waiting time to enjoy other rides. 
- The Golden Mickey - It is a real live stage performance by Disney's most famous characters. Try to get the seats in the centre of the theater by the aisle. No regrets!

- It's a Small World - Though the world is really small, it is fascinating!
- Mad Hatter's Tea Cups - Similar to those tea cups ride you can find in other theme park but this one is more fun!
- Cinderella's Carousel - beautiful and grand. Must try! Be Cinderella for once!
You can skip Snow White Grotto all together as it is a totally-normal wishing well.

The rest of the rides in Fantasyland are normal. It is all right if you can't make it.

We spent almost 4 hours in Fantasyland. It was time for dinner then. Plenty of restaurants / stalls to choose. Just hop into any of them. The food are not bad but it is pricy though! You need to spend easily a HKD30 - HKD50 per person if you dine in any restaurants.  

After dinner, spend sometime in the retails shops around the Sleeping Beauty Castle. Around 7.00pm, the Disneyland staff will direct everybody to exit from the park. The only area that remains open is The Main Street of U.S.A. You can continue your shopping until the Disney On Stars Fireworks. It starts at 8.00pm but make sure you find a good spot and be there 30 minutes before the show.

The entire fireworks performance was almost half an hour. There is only one word to decribe this -- MAGICAL!

After the fireworks, the retail shops will remain open if the crowd is still there. You can continue to shop until you drop.

Head back to the hotel for a rest and start another day fresh.
The Tomorrowland

The park opens at 10am. You can be there earlier. They open around 9.45am. When we were there, we head towards The Tomorrowland.

What we enjoyed most in Tomorrowland was Stitch Encounter, the Space Mountain and Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters. We didn't get to try out the Autopia. I believe it is nice as the queue was extremely long that we decided to spend out time elsewhere.

Stitch Encounter - I won't tell you exactly what will happen but do get the front seat if you wish to have interaction with Stitch. Very very funny! It is multi-lingual. So, please check the schedule for the language you prefer. 
Space Mountain - In door roller coaster. For those who are scared of roller coaster like me, this one seems very safe. Children above 102cm are allowed to take the ride. But if you ask me, any children below 7 or timid child, I would think that you may want to wait for them to grow older. 
I was told by a friend that if you ride on a roller coaster with your eyes opened, the ride is not scared at all. I am not too sure how true this is, perhaps you can give it a try!

Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters
This one is fun especially for boys. It is like playing computer games but it is real life. There are plenty of fast pass to give away for this ride. So, you can play it over and over again. In fact, that was wat we did!
After you have experience all the parks, now is the time you can revisit some of the rides or performances you like best.

We still have time, so we headed back to Fantasyland for the Mickey's PhilharMagic, the Many Adventure of Winnie The Pooh and The Golden Mickey.

One last stop that you must not missed, The Art Academy. The queue was surprisingly short. Perhaps it is tucked at one corner, not many people realise it.

Once you are in, anybody can be a cartoonist! Here, they teach you how to draw a Disney character. We learned to draw Winnie The Pooh and believe me, I never knew I could draw! 

It is almost time for us to say goodbye to Hong Kong Disneyland. I hope the information provided here is helpful enough to make your journey to Hong Kong Disneyland as leisure and as fruitful as possible.

Oh yes, one last thing I forgot to mention, spot the real live Disney characters and get a snap with them. They are everywhere around the park. The only thing is the queue is extremely long as well.


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

What soup to make for today?

A meal without a soup is just incomplete in Chinese crusine. It will be much more pleasant for my girl when there is soup on the table. Therefore, I have the habit of having a pot of soup on our dinner table everyday. Be it a bowl of Marmite or Bowvil soup, it has to be something.

Whenever I shop for fresh food in the market, my priority is always the soup.  I always have this question in my mind :"What soup to cook for today?" 

I glance around for... nothing new as usual. Watercress soup, raddish soup, old cucumber soup, ABC soup, spinach, lotus root soup .... not again! 

Recently a friend recommended me to try something new - artichoke. 

Artichoke soup has a very soothing and exquisite taste. 

I was told that artichoke has high nutritional value.
So to satisfy my curiousity, I did some checks on this.

Quick facts about Benefits of Artichoke:

Artichoke is a plant that contains protein. Unlike protein from animals, artichoke is cholesterol-free, saturated fat free and trans fat free too! 

Artichoke aids our liver in regenerating tissue growth.
It has anti-inflammatory and anti-allergenic properties. 
It helps in regulating our body temperature.

Apart from the above, artichoke also has the following benefits.

  • high Antioxidant to protect against cancer.
  • A substance called Rutin helps prevention of vascular disease.
  • Artichoke is Trans-fat free. Also cholesterol free despite it being a plant-based protein.
  • The presence of Vitamin C promote strong Immune system.
  • Artichoke contains Colour pigments to improve memory function.
  • Artichoke promotes Healthy aging.
  • Osteoporosis prevention as artichoke contains magnesium good for bones building.
  • The presence of multi-nutritiens in artichoke has helped in Keeping blood-sugar levels stable particularly beneficial to diabetic patients.
  • Artichoke also has super Excellent source of dietary fiber.
That makes ARTICHOKE!

Friday, April 2, 2010

WED 2010 World Environment Day

Let's join thousands and millions of people around the world to celebrate 2010 WED on 5th of June. 

Check out this website for more information on what you can do to save the enviroment and the earth.

Since last week, I noticed my girl has been doing something extraordinary. It has been quite a few days she is doing it now.

She turns off the TV by pressing the on/off button on the TV instead of using the remote control. 

She switches on timer to check how much time she needs to finish her bath and make sure she takes no more than 10 minutes.

She switches off air cond and lights when after using them.

In school, she held on to her plastic cup even when she was playing tag because teacher said that they have to recycle the plastic cups!

I am very delighted and grateful that her school and teacher have really treat this environmental issue seriously. I must say they have been doing this really well in educating the children the importance of helping the environment, how to save the environment and what they can do to save the world.

Since young I have been telling or I should say nagging my daughter:

"Girl, switch off the lights in your room!"  

"Why you take so long to bath?"

"You left your room without switching off the air cond again!"

It has been the same old song I have been singing in the house for god knows how long. It didn't improve. Once in a while, she would do it if she remembered. Other times, I was the one doing it for her as I was nagging her. 

I forgot one most important thing. I didn't tell her why she needs to do that. I didn't tell her what would be the consequences if she didn't do it. Instead, her teacher has shared with her hundreds and thousands of incidents happening in the world now which will lead to distinction of wild life, global warming, damage to Earth... So, it all makes sense to her now why she needs to do it.

In fact, in conjunction with the WED 2010, we have made a list in the house what we can do at home to preserve the environment. Here are 20 things we can do to preserve the environment. Please try this at home.

1 - use both side of the paper before chucking it into the bin;
2 - switch off lights after use;
3 - switch off fan after use;
4 - switch off air cond after use;
5 - finish bath within 10 minutes;
6 - wash our clothes in washing machine only when it is full load; 

7 - wash our dishes in dish washer only when it is full load;
8 - when heat water, heat just as much as we need;
9 - try to use recycle containers instead of disposables;
10 - reuse wrapping papers for other purpose;
11 - reuse old magazines for making cards and crafts;
12 - use towel to dry our face and hands instead of using tissues;

13 - don't let water running continuously when brushing teeth, washing face / hands;
14 - don't litter, throw rubbish in dustbin;
15 - don't waste food on the plate, finish them;
16 - don't waste water in the glass, finish them;
17 - recycle the bottles instead of throwing them;
18 - don't use party cups and plates at home unless really necessary;
19 - don't throw away unwanted clothes, donate or reuse for something else, bedazzle them if you like!
20 - don't wash oil down the sink.  

I think if every parent does a bit, every kid does a bit, we will be able to achieve something. 

Bear in mind that the best way to educate our children to love the environment is by doing it ourselves.

"A Greening Planet is a Grinning Planet.

Let's work together to make our earth greener."

For this purpose, I created a "What Have You Done Today?" measuring chart. I reward my girl one point for each and every good gesture she did at home.

The rules are simple. In fact there is only one rule. For as long as she does it on her own without anybody tipping her, she gets a point.

She will win herself free play time if she gets 50 points in a week. After this whole exercise, these good gestures will soon become habits. It will continue with her for the rest of her life.

To download the "What Have You Done Today?" measuring chart :-  Click here

Earth Hour

In 2009, millions of people all around the world turned off their lights in conjunction with Earth Hour. This year, once again we saw many people around the world have come together on 27 March 2010 (Saturday) 8.30pm to 9.30pm local time in support to take action on the climate change.

New Zealand’s Chatham Islands was the first territory to start Earth Hour and South Pacific island of Samoa was the last, taken place 24 ¾ hours later.

A small gesture by each individual around the world, we could bring our act together and be united as one. I believe this is the spirit of Earth Hour

I always wonder what it would be like seeing this event taking place from the universe? It would definitely be a spectacular view overseeing the whole event taking place! I hope God is somewhere watching this and would appreciate our efforts and be kind enough to continue to protect us and the Earth.

On the night of Earth Hour, we had a torch light night. A kid asked me why do we need to switch off lights on Earth Hour? I said we want to protect our Earth.

The kid asked again: "Why do we do it only on Earth Hour and not everyday? If we do it everyday, I can play with torch light everyday and we can protect our Earth everyday too!"  

What he said really struck me. Yeah, why we don't do this everyday? What would it have contributed to Earth if we only do it one hour in a year?  

So, I have decided in continuing the spirit of Earth Hour, I will do this everyday instead of once a year :- 

- switch off the lights when not using them;

- minimize the number of lights to be switched on if can't switch them off totally;

- remind , myself to do it and educate my children to do the same.

I hope everybody out there will do the same. 

Don't blow it - good planets are hard to find.
Quoted in Time