Friday, November 24, 2017

Honeymoon Day 26: Hong Kong Disneyland and Cafe Grey Deluxe

Honeymoon Day 26: Hong Kong Disneyland and Cafe Grey Deluxe

Back to Mong Kok for Pineapple Buns!! First up, we headed to go get those same legendary Pineapple Buns as we got the day prior. Good call. Rather than trying a million things this time, we went straight for the gold and just bought 3 pineapple buns only. Also: we're insane.

I also, quite terribly and with the most incomprehensible Chinese accent of all time, attempted to order a "Yuan Yuang?!" The lade then corrected me. I tried again, in earnest. "1 Yuan Yang"?! The lady was so annoyed with my mispronunciation. Finally, and begrudgingly, I said, "Coffee-Tea Mix". "Ohhhhhhhhhhh", she replied *pronouncing the name of the drink I was trying to order and it sounds completely different*. Haha, anyway, this "Yuenyeung" was quite nice! This is a hot beverage similar to the Hong Kong "stocking tea" I had ordered the day before, but it's also quite popular -- it's literally a Coffee-Tea combo/hybrid. I think they just make coffee and then mix it with the "stocking tea". Michal gave it a questioning look, "This drink is confused as to whether it is tea or coffee".

Weird and good!
I actually liked this Yuenyeung more that the straight Hong Kong milk tea I'd gotten the day before. It went down a bit smoother! I kept trying to pinpoint the flavour, yeah... it actually kinda tastes like both tea AND coffee... but at the SAME TIME?!?!? Super weird and good.

The plan for the day was to head to Hong Kong Disneyland and check out the Iron Man Experience Ride which had recently opened. Once over in the area where Disneyland is, I wanted to also go to the fishing village of Tai O -- but the Ngong Ping 360 Cable Cars were out of order for 6 months, making Tai O even more remote than it already was. That seemed awesome... and there were some cool Buddhist Temples to visit near there as well. But it was not easy to get to on this trip, so off to HK Disneyland we went!

To get there was SUPER simple and convenient. The subway was straightforward and at some point you switch onto Disneyland station cars... they are so fun and have Mickey windows and hand grips.

Yes, we called this station "Lion King"

Cool Subway standing handles
Here we are!!

Funny Mickey Chinese symbol
Hong Kong Disneyland is very much like the Disneyland in LA! It gives the same initial vibe, but definitely has some clear Asian influence and vibe. There were some particularly fun and awesome things to see and experience right off the bat, as someone who knows the American Disneyland vibe pretty well. I loved the Mickey Chinese Character image on the way in. The characters in costume were quite Asian-influenced too, an Asian Goofy, Asian Mickey and Asian Minnie, wearing traditional Chinese clothing. I'm not sure, but I think some of this was particularly special due to the Chinese New Year being only a few days later, like that Mickey logo. Awesome.

Our first stop was, of course, the newly opened Iron Man Experience ride! This is an exclusive to Hong Kong Disneyland, so, like the Ratatouille ride in Paris, this is a must-do. This is also a ride with the effects done by some friends and colleagues at ILM, so I was suppper psyched to try it. It had just opened on January 11th, so it was so lucky that we had a chance to ride it! It was busy so we got a FastPass and continued on to Buzz Lightyear Blasters. I love that ride.

Asian Goofy!
Asian Mickey and Minnie!

Front of Iron Man Experience ride

Oh no, Zurg!
My aim is only very slightly better than Michal's, and definitely much worse than the kid's in front of us
"Ahh, my wee little arms!"
Next up was the Jedi Academy, this was similar looking to the one in California, but the speaking was of course in Chinese (and also some in English). It was SO cool to see this, and the kids were loving it. There was an awesome lightsaber swinging demonstration by the actors on stage, and that was super epic! I thought it was cool, interesting, and super awesome that they were incorporating Rogue One stuff already. One of the people performing in the show said the phrase, "I am one with the Force" (a line from Rogue One)!!!!!! So awesome.

Next up, it was time to go on the Iron Man Experience!! Yay!!! Inside they had tons of cool car/spaceship concepts, and some in Iron Man red & yellow colours!! The ride and ride-movie itself were great. Iron Man flies over Hong Kong in the video -- we'd only been here for a day and a bit and already we recognized places in the video. Super cool localization, that's for sure.

The beginning of the ride was similar to Star Tours, in that the room was a very similar setup and seating, and also just how the ride flow works. It was so cool and so fun to try it out... and funny to see Stark Tower in the midst of Hong Kong's downtown!! That was a really fun ride, and I also really liked all the pre-ride stuff like the models and videos playing.

After experiencing the fun Iron Man Experience, we headed over to the Adventureland area to check out the shops. It was pretty great -- there was a lot of Chinese-specific merchandise which was awesome and unique for people like us coming from the States. Certainly more so than in Paris, where there were the odd Ratatouille things, but not tons of localized stuff like here. Really neat, and even some local characters.

One such character was someone I had never heard of before (though maybe is in Disneyland California by now), Duffy the bear. There were also Chinese New Year sweets and cookie packs, super cool. The other hilarious character was a cat called "Gelatoni" which was taglined with "A new friend of Duffy's!" Haha. His origin story was hilarious -- Duffy is chillin' and eating a Gelato ice cream and enjoying it, and then accidentally drops his Ice Cream and is super sad. Gelatoni the cat says "Don't worry!" and paints a painting for Duffy, using his tail... and as far as I could tell... uses the spilled/melted ice cream AS THE PAINT?!?!?! Haha. It was so funny how they explained it in images and how they were introducing this new artistic cat. The epic merchandise continued, with some stuff I've never seen in California -- like an epic Zootopia backpack complete with bunny ears and a SMALLER BACKPACK attached to it (presumably, for your toy/plush to also have their own matching backpack). Epic.

Interesting snack options
Korean Squid and Coffee!

Cute kids stuff
Special things for Chinese New Year. Love that Mickey-ified Chinese character!!

Also a Christmas Baymax
A Gelatoni purse
Crazy awesome Zootopia Backpack with ears
More food options
Next up, we headed to Mystic Manor -- which was like the "Haunted Mansion" in California but presumably with the story modified to be "Magic" instead to be more Asian culture-friendly. I always find it so interesting to see how things are modified to blend in better in a different culture. Fascinating. Otherwise the ride was somewhat similar, but it was mostly about an Adventurer-type historian dude, kindof Indiana Jones-y, and they talked about the magic he discovered as things were lighting up and coming to life. The magic was unleashed by this little monkey, who upon arrival greeted us with a "Nee-how!". Funny also that things were spelled out explicitly, like a bunch of musical instruments on the wall were labelled as such "Musical Instruments"! The "Magic" on the walls was sparkly stuff flying around and this was causing the instruments to play themselves, not "haunted" like in USA Disneyland. Super interesting.

Monkey: "Nee-how!"
Next up!!! ahh!!! A Disney Tea Set!!!!!!!! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh!!! I was super excited about this and also Disneyland red envelopes to give a gift of money to friends/family over the Chinese New Year. So epic.

Mickey and Minnie Tea Set ahhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

From there we headed to Toy Story Land which is always so awesome to see. They had some awesome looking rides, especially the Slinky Dog one!

Hey, I recognize that ball...

The other thing that ROCKED about the Pixar area was that the store there had tons of Monsters, Inc stuff. YESSSS. Specifically, tons of Mike and Sulley stuff. It was totally awesome and a lot more than you'd see at Disneyland. I got a Hong Kong Disneyland Mike Wazowski name-badge pin that said "Mike" on it, which was pretty fun :) I also got this weird and wonderful Mike and Sulley-as-Ice-Cream-Scoops carry bag?!?! Odd, and awesome.

Weirdest and most awesome carry bag ever

Lots of phone cases too
Cool Chinese versions of the Blu-Rays
Well, howdy!

Gelatoni's origin story

Sweet hat
We headed back to Main St and they had an "Old Fashioned Candy" shop... where (in Disneyland California) it is full of candy apples and a bunch of junk food. This spot looked the same and was in the same location... but had only souvenirs! This was just like in France -- there's no sugar here!!! The sweetest possible thing we found was something called a "Superhero Waffle"... shaped like Iron Man's head!!!!! That was super hilarious, so we tried it... it came with a tinnnny amount of Chocolate Sauce to dip into. :) It was very strikingly different to see the variance in sugar and candy here as compared to the American version of the park.

"Piggy Pork Buns"

The Happiest Place on Earth!

Tsum Tsum chopsticks

Instead of super sweet pastries or candy, the sweetest thing we saw was this cheese tart

Super Hero Waffle!

OK, that was awesome. We had to try it. Tasty!

We got to a nice spot on Main St just in time for the parade, and after heading back into a shop near the front... we decided to buy the tea set and carefully take it home with us. It was even more epic as we went to get it, as it was called the "Mickey Wedding Tea Set"!!! Not sure why it was Wedding-specific (for a tea ceremony at a wedding, perhaps?!) but we were really psyched. It is awesome. Super glad we decided to go for it. It wasn't very expensive, and it was such an awesome souvenir of our time in Hong Kong.

Now, time for the Parade!! It was super fun. Again I was super interested to see how they modified the parade for the Chinese location and audience. There was some minor Asian-clothing Mickey, but sadly no Lion Dance. I was wondering if they might start it with a Lion Dance (or, if perhaps that wouldn't be appropriate for the setting). Also missing: no specific Dragon elements either. But you did see the Asian-clothing Mickey a few times, and signage was largely in Chinese.

The music was super fun and the dancing was pretty spectacular. There were some acrobatic things, people on crazy bouncing Tigger stilts, and a wide range of the characters from the park. The music in general seemed the same as the USA Park ("M-I-C-K-E-Y M-O-U-S-EEEEEE!") along with some dirty beattts (funny when they hip-hop-ified the Mickey Mouse song!!) haha. Also the music changed from English to the Chinese version of the lyrics and then back. I loved it. Kids (and Adults alike) were going nuts. Same here. Fun times for sure!

These guys were epic

Well, that was awesome!!! We figured this was a good time to wrap up at Disneyland and head out with our AMAZING Mickey Wedding Teaset :) Woo!

On the way out we visited the Artist area near the front of Disneyland (I knew where to look as it seemed like most things were in the same place as they are in Disneyland California!). This was particularly awesome, and I love this area since it was always so inspiring as a younger person, keen to work in this industry. The most awesome part of this specific exhibit is that there was a ton of Pixar-specific concept art and maquettes, no-doubt designed by some old colleagues. Super, super cool.


Haha I love this old version of Donald Duck with a SUPER long bill/mouth. So funny.

What an awesome day. By now, it was too late to head to Tai O Fishing Village (and a bit of a schlep) so we headed instead to Apliu St. and Golden Computer Arcade. Lonely Planet had implied that this was sortof like Akihabara St. in Tokyo... it was kinda similar, definitely cool to see and a really fun spot, but Tokyo is WAY bigger. This area would definitely be awesome if you were building your own computer, for sure. They had light up keyboards, lots of memory sticks, etc. We also wandered the electronics market, which was cool and I got 2 iPhone Charging cables.

So many charging cables!

That was fun. We had been going full-tilt all day and kindof forgot to eat. We really hadn't eaten all that much. It was about 5:30pm and we'd shared a corn on the cob, 3 pineapple buns, and a Super Hero Waffle all day. So... a quick return to Din Tai Fung Silverchord by our hotel for a Dinner #1 Takeaway!!! Smart move!

Bridal truck?
Din Tai Fung dumpling mascot
Din Tai Fung steam basket mascot
We had done LOTS of walking again today so it was definitely necessary to stop and take a bit of a break. At Din Tai Fung we re-bought our 3 favourite things: Chicken Xiolongbao, Egg Fried Rice, and Veggie Dumplings. We ate our "Dinner #1" and relaxed and sat in our room for a short while to chill... and took a bit of a break from the excitement and schlepping. And then... we changed into nicer clothes and headed right back out.... for our final dinner of the honeymoon! I had pre-booked an epic spot that Lausch had recommended from his time in Hong Kong, the Michelin 2-starred Cafe Grey Deluxe. (You're noticing, I'm sure, that this is a trend -- there are TONS of Michelin-starred restaurants in Hong Kong, and unlike in California, many are very affordable. Like Din Tai Fung, for instance, was so epic that we went again tonight for Dinner #1!).

We headed back over on the Subway to the Central area, through the JW Marriott and up to the top floor of "The Upper House" to get to Cafe Grey Deluxe. OMG what an EPIC frickin' view!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OMG. So incredible. This place was so awesome. I snapped some nice pics of my sweet love (sweet honeymoon love!) and the incredible view we had up there. Wow, what a great spot.

We got pasta and soup to start. For main, we got the Risotto and Beef Short Rib. The flavours were truly magnificent, and the epic view really also added immensely to the experience. With the awesome view of all the Central district neon lights, you really felt like you were in Hong Kong and not just in a fancy restaurant in any random city. The short rib really "falls off the bone" and the waiter had described, and was really well made. It was amazingly tasty, soft, had great flavour and texture. Mmm!! What a huge win this place was. There was an interesting-sounding beer called Hitachino Nest White Ale on the menu, and I asked about it and it was from Japan and sounded awesome... it sure was!! I had never tried it before and I really really enjoyed it.

What a view!
Amazing bread and butter to start
Pasta appetiser
Soup appetiser

Epic spot!!!!!!!!
What a great and special dinner to wrap up an AMAZING 3.5 week honeymoon trip. We truly traversed the world together... in the most incredible and unbelievable way. It was so awesome that we were able to pull this amazing trip off, and we chatted a lot over dinner about all of the fun things we did throughout the trip, and what some of our favourite things were.

Finally, we had dessert and great coffees, along with a Baked Alaska with Passion Fruit as dessert!! Yes!!!!!!!! The espresso and cappucino here was AMAZING. I couldn't believe it. A total slam dunk.

Happy Honeymoon!

Chocolates to wrap up the night

Before we left the excellent and fabulous Cafe Grey Deluxe, I had to check out the bathroom. Lausch had mentioned to me that it was hilarious and ridiculous, you had the same exact insane awesome view but from the urinals!!! Hahahaha. So I checked, and... yep. I snapped a quick picture of the bathroom view while no one else was in there :)

View from the hand-washing station in the bathroom!!
Well, that sure was awesome! We walked around a bit and worked down our amazing dinner, eventually heading back to the Causeway Bay area to see if we could again find the cell phone cover location for Michal that we'd seen on arrival. That was unsuccessful, but what was quite successful is we finally had a chance to take one of the super tall Trams!! It took a really weird line of streets (I guess these routes existed way before the neighbourhoods were built up!) It was an odd route but it was so cheap $2.20 HKD (about 28 cents per ride). It was fun to try it.


After a great day out and an incredible dinner, we headed back to the hotel quite late, about Midnight. What an awesome wrap up to such a GREAT world trip. Hong Kong has also been an awesome place to wrap up and change gears back into city life before heading back to San Francisco. Tomorrow is our last day of the honeymoon! We went to bed, dreaming of tasty food and fun Disney hip-hop tracks. :)

Our hotel room