Once I got back from Minneapolis I had to take my first day off work sick since we moved to India (which is pretty good going - over four months without having to take a day off) as I'd picked up a nasty cold. Just needed a day of taking it easy and feeling a bit rubbish. But it was important to get better, as I had one more day in the office before we went on our big family Christmas vacation to Hong Kong.
Back in September I'd booked this trip - it felt that by that time we'd probably need a break from India, and Emma and I wanted to give Toby and Dara (and ourselves) a big Christmas treat, so we figured that Christmas at Disneyland would be pretty awesome. We got a direct flight on Dragonair - just under five hours, but like pretty much all the international flights out of Bangalore it left in the middle of the night - 3am to be precise. Somehow we all got to sleep at 8pm, then up again at 11ish to get to the airport. Having done all my work jet setting lately it felt really strange to be in economy class seats, and I think that Dragonair's seats are also particularly cramped and small. But it was a nice smooth flight with really friendly service, so no problems really.
When we arrived at Hong Kong airport we just couldn't believe how clean it all was. In fact the first thing Toby did was to get water from a drinking fountain - he was thrilled! There was quite a wait in line for immigration, but it moved pretty well and gave lots of locals the chance to smile at Dara and take pictures of her - there aren't many people here with blue eyes and blonde curly hair, although I'd expected she'd be a bit less of a novelty than in India. We got a cab from the airport to the Disneyland Hotel and were really impressed at how smooth and clear the roads were.
There are two Disney hotels here - one is the Hollywood Hotel and kind of art deco, and we're staying in the Disneyland hotel which is more Victorian style. Obviously they're both totally fake but really well done at the same time. Immaculately put together, really really clean, and amazing attention to detail. We have one room for the four of us - it's not huge but really comfortable. The bathroom is totally lined with marble, and there are Disney touches everywhere. Even the tissue box has a picture of Sneezy next to it. We hung around the hotel for a couple of hours till it was official check-in time, which meant we got to walk along the waterfront for a bit and enjoy some fresh sea air, and we had an amazing Chinese lunch - totally delicious noodles, shrimp and pork, just what we needed.
We headed over to the Disney park around 4, and got in right as the parade was going through Main Street. It was pretty amazing to walk right into, and perfect timing for the kids to see all the dancers and the characters right in front of them. It might sound ridiculous but it was kind of overwhelming to have this Americana right in our faces after being away for such a long time - Emma confessed later that she was also a bit emotional. The parade was really well done, and I was really impressed with the performers - they must have done this a million times, but they were all really smiling and into it.
We spent some time wondering around, and of course the first thing the kids wanted was some food. We found a bakery, where we got some coffee, and a Christmas market food stall where they were doing roasted chestnuts, turkey drumsticks, pizza on a stick and Mickey Mouse waffles. As well as packets of Korean dried squid. The kids shared a waffle and pronounced it to be good. It was certainly great to be able to have iced drinks and cut fruit without being concerned about getting sick, as we've had to do for the last five months.
|An elderly couple prepares to ride a flying saucer|
|Wearing 3D glasses (they're referred to as opera glasses)|
|Dara meets Tinkerbell - a dream come true|
Once we were refreshed we went off to look at some rides - nothing too crazy but good fun. This first day we wanted to get the lay of the land, so we saw the future world stuff, flew some flying saucers, went through the princess castle and on the carousel. We also found a great 3D musical movie show, Dara met Tinkerbell, and we explored the new Toy Story section. We finished up with some pretty good fish and chips, then got back to the hotel. I wasn't sure if the kids would be totally wired and impossible to get to sleep, but they conked out pretty quickly, as did us grown-ups.
|Dara being cool in her new Toy Story hoodie|
|Main Street, USA|