A Travellerspoint blog

Disneyland Supplement

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

View 2012 Cherry Blossom on greynomadm's travel map.

There was so much to write about Disneyland and I just didn't have the energy to do it justice so I'm putting together this Supplement as time and energy permits.
The park created a good impression from the start. We were carefully queued and staff prevented any queue jumpers. There was no need to prove our "Senior" status, the lass at the ticket counter must have realised we were both ancient. Next was the security check, a very apologetic lady peeked into our hand-bag and my belly-bag. Saying "Sorry, sorry" over and over again and she had the brightest smile while doing this necessary task.
We decided to take the train around the park to get an impression of the place. All very civilised and orderly with staff fussing about and being politely firm with those who wanted to stand on the moving train. We didn't see all that much from the train but it did impress on us just how extensive the place is.
Then on to the "Emporium" for the necessary souvenirs, a huge building filled with everything Disney. Most of the stock on display is a "Sample" and when you've made your selection a staff person ducks off and acquires the item from a back room. I actually enjoyed watching them dart here and there and pop up when you thought there was no-one around.
Through some of the speciality shops featuring high quality glass-ware and etched or engraved crystal. About all I could afford was to take a photo. Back on Main Street and past some high standard eateries to "Tomorrow Land".
We sampled the flying saucer ride and wandered around watching the 'kids' both young and old marvel at the strange futuristic objects and structures. Buz Lightyear is the iconic figure in this section. While Jenny was out of sight, a young woman approached me and asked if I'd let her husband take a photo of her and I. No problem, did my best VIP impression and her husband took three or four pictures. Then I was asked to pose with their young son. I really enjoyed my minute or two in the spotlight.
We crossed the draw bridge and entered "Fantasy Land". This was an amazing area featuring Dumbo the flying elephant. There was also the Mad Hatter's tea party where we rode in a tea-cup. Then we watched in amusement as people and their kids lined up in long queues to have their picture taken with one of the Disney characters. The character Pluto had only a very short queue and Jenny went up to him and received a big hug.
While heading for the next section we stopped to watch a 'side show' consisting of a slim black guy who performed unbelievable acts with a diabolo. He threw it a long way into the air and caught it again and at one stage had it run vertically up the rope. finally he got two of them running in different directions on the one rope almost tying himself into knots in the process.
Next we wandered into the "Toy Story" where Jenny braved a ride where a car full of people defies gravity and races inside a vertical track from the 2 o'clock to the 10 o'clock position - almost upside down and hanging there for a second before dashing off in the opposite direction.
The "Adventure Land" was very crowded and there was a mob of young Indian men who were very pushy and talked so loudly as to intrude into everything being said by the 'guide'. We evaded them on the climb up into Tarzan's tree house. This is an amazing structure that actually looks like a tree but is completely artificial. The incredible attention to detail had me disbelieving my senses.
As we headed back to Main Street with the intention of leaving because our feet were killing us, we discovered that the Grand parade was due to start at 1530, just 20 minutes from now. We decided to stay and are very glad we did. The floats were awesome and the who troop of performers did an incredible job. I'd expected the parade to just march past and was surprised when it stopped a number of times and the performers invited kids onto the street to join them.
I know I've used words like 'incredible' and 'amazing' and 'awesome' but they truly describe my reaction. Kids enjoy the place, I just marvel at how it runs and what the creators have achieved.
Hope you enjoyed this little supplement.

Posted by greynomadm 14:33 Comments (0)

Hong Kong Day 1

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

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Arrived in Hong Kong to a grey foggy dawn. No sunrise to photograph but plenty of awesome sights to focus on. All manner of water-craft criss-cross the harbour at varying speeds without any apparent mishaps.
There was some issue with the gang-plank equipment and there was a considerable delay getting ashore. The terminal building contains a huge variety of up-market shops. Fortunately they were not yet open for business and we managed to get to the visitor's information place without spending any cash.
We received basic instructions on how to get to Disneyland using the MRT System. I'm not sure if it was peak time or if it is always like this but we were assaulted by a tidal wave of people coming towards us, there were quite a few heading the same way too. With the assistance of an elderly gent we found our way to the station and even managed to buy our train tickets. The one way fare was HK$ 9 each (that's about AU$ 1.20). We travelled nine stations on the Red Line then transferred to the Orange Line and at the third stop transferred to the Disneyland Line. The windows of the train comprise of three circles, one large one for the basic head and two smaller ones attached at the 2 and 10 o'clock position.
Arrive at the entrance to Disneyland and purchased two senior concession tickets HK$ 100 each, that's about AU$ 25 for the two of us.
We bought some presents for the children of our two regular waiters and had the package sent to the express pickup for collection on our way out. i don't have the energy to write about all the sights we saw or the rides we went on. We stayed long enough to see the grand parade at 1530 and made our way back to the train station. Arrived safely at the one we started from first thing this morning but came out through a different exit. Totally lost and confused, my normally reliable cense of direction lets me down when I'm in the Northern hemisphere, the sun is in the wrong place. Some helpful directions eventually found us back at the terminal building - totally whacked.
Went to dinner in our street cloths, no one cared and we enjoyed our meal. There is a famed laser-light and sound show here every night. We saw the laser-lights from the ship and called it quits after about 10 minutes. No sound and a descending fog took the edge off the show. The sky-line is most impressive and the water-craft keep up their crazy choreography.
Jenny was asleep within minutes of hitting the pillow and I'm barely awake as I type this.

Posted by greynomadm 14:31 Comments (0)

On Track to Hong Kong

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

A spectacular sun-rise to start another sea-day. Standard routine for Jenny and I and we spend some time in the Wheelhouse bar before I join other passengers in the Princess Theatre to listen to Lindsay describing what's in store for us in Shanghai.
I stayed in the theatre for Heather's lecture on the subject of Hong Kong, history, problems and likely future.
A quick lunch and then off to William's lecture on the "Battle of the Coral Sea" in the Vista Lounge. A quick break and then back to the Vista Lounge for an "Interview with the Captain". Back to the cabin and a quick change in readiness for dinner.
Another impressive choice of dishes and a most enjoyable meal.
We're not attending either of the 'shows' tonight, we've seen them both and don't care for a repeat performance.
Hong Kong for two days starting tomorrow.

Posted by greynomadm 14:29 Comments (0)

Through the Palawan Passage

Monday, 19 March 2012

Not a spectacular sun-rise this morning but at least it wasn't raining. Breakfast, a walk, some photos and a chat with Mr Paul who pointed out that we were heading on a North Easterly course to avoid a large area of shallow water. We will change direction later heading North West to Hong Kong.
Another 'destination lecture' from Lindsay providing greater depth to her coverage of our two-day post call in Hong Kong. Her talks are so popular they are recorded and played back on the TV. Today's was also shown on the big screen on deck 12.
Shortly after, William Roberts' lecture covered the first US Navy's actions against the Japanese and the impact these relatively minor success had on Japan's strategy, causing them to re-deploy many of their naval assets.
Lunch on the Lido where there was an Indonesian theme in the central area. Lots of fruit and also a suckling pig.
After lunch, Heather's lecture on Taoism and Confucianism provided an outline of their fundamental beliefs and how it has spread from China into the neighbouring countries.
Nothing much to do until dinner so back to the cabin and a short nap.
Dinner was as good as ever with a whole list of new choices which is quite amazing given that we're into our third week. Most days have been well filled and despite eleven sea-days I'm still on the same book on the Kindle. Taking photos, little chats, writing these journals and just walking around fill in the day.
I think I've spent more time explaining the benefits of the Kindle than actually reading. Because the theatre fills quickly we go in up to 30 minutes early and we take the Kindles with us and before long someone beside or behind us will ask what we think of them. There are quite a number of Kindles, e-readers and I-pads on board.
Tonight's act in the Princess Theatre is Simon Gillespie. His entire performance was a homage to Peter Allen, a performer I never liked very much. This may have influenced my reaction, but it is the first time I felt like leaving after the first number. His entire performance left me totally under-whelmed. I certainly won't be attending his repeat performance tomorrow.
One more sea-day then two days in Hong Kong, looking forward to that.

Posted by greynomadm 06:43 Comments (2)

Koto Kinabalu Sabah Malaysia

Sunday, 18 March 2012

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No sunrise of any significance this morning so no colourful images. An early breakfast in the Lido buffet and then prepared to go ashore. The ship docked without any fuss and we assembled with the others of the Cruise Critic group and we followed Jenny Williams ashore. A very colourful greeting from some lovely young people in traditional costume courtesy of the Sabah Tourism Board.
Before long we were herded onto the coach under the guidance of our tour guide Augustin. He provided an interesting and amusing commentary on our trip out to the Montsopiad Cultural Village where we were greeted with tea and coffee refreshment.
We then assembled in the bamboo clad long-house where we were entertained by a group of traditional musicians and dancers. Following these performances we were taken to a number of 'stations' where elements of their cultural past were explained.
Back on the coach and off to lunch at the Lombah Impian Country Homes Resort. Very classy place and an interesting lunch, two courses and tea or coffee. The entrance to the place was too tight for the coach so they dropped us off and took the coach somewhere to park it. It then returned and continued down the narrow road for some distance and then performed a three point turn so that we could head back the way we'd come.
On the way to our next stop, the Lok Kawi Wildlife Park (AKA the KK Zoo). On the way there Augustin told us that before the scientists named the "Proboscis Monkey" the locals called it the "Dutchman Monkey" - big nose and big belly. The zoo contains many local wildlife specimens but is in sad need of repair or redevelopment.
Next stop, at the end of some narrow back streets, we were brought to Beryl's Coffee Tree. A shop packed with all manner of chocolates and coated coffee beans. We managed to dispose of our remaining Malaysian currency. Back to the ship and the comfort of 'home'.
The dinner menu was filled with the usual array of tempting dishes. It is hard to choose. The desert menu contained "Rum & Raisin" ice-cream, my all time favourite. Jeffery managed to deliver FIVE scoops!!
Off to the Vista Lounge where were entertained by a young, Australian female ventriloquist Sarah Jones. Very clever young lady.
Still having problems with the camera lens fogging up when I take it on deck. Tried to capture the flare from an oil platform as we passed, by the time I cleared the lens it was well astern.

Posted by greynomadm 06:38 Comments (0)

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