Saturday, 17 October 2015

Traveling & Living: Hong Kong Disneyland Resort 10th Anniversary Review (2D1N Frozen Package)

The lobby of Hong Kong Disneyland Resort
Image from Locky's English Playground

It is Hong Kong Disneyland and its resort's 10th anniversary, yet it is only my very first time to ever set foot on the ground of the resort. Million thanks to my lovely sister who has prepared this very special birthday present. Not that I like Disneyland or the cartoon characters, but when you have a little one who loves them, whatever makes her happy makes me happy.

After 10 years of frequent visits by mostly mainland Chinese tourists, one would expect the resort to be pretty seriously dated, to my surprise, that is not true. Conversely, the resort has been kept in great condition. Everyone has a standard of measuring quality, and a pleasant first sight of the hotel is arguably the most crucial criteria in setting that maximum score of that standard, everything after that tends to only deduce points from this maximum. For Hong Kong Disneyland Resort, I will say they have done well to set a very high maximum in this scale of mine.

The Lobby
Image from Locky's English Playground
It is not easy to maintain furniture and carpets even at home, let alone those of a hotel. Definitely they suffer from wear and tear, mud and dirt at a much greater extent than that at home, so daily cleaning and polishing is a must. Have the resort replaced them in preparation for the 10th anniversary is beyond my knowledge, but spaciousness and cleanliness did earn my appreciation. That said, I was expecting many more statues of Disney characters in the first two photos, so yes, it is a nice hotel, but had I not mentioned its name few could have possibly realised that this was in fact taken in Hong Kong Disneyland Resort.

The Car Park

I began this review from my entrance to the lobby for the purpose of setting the maximum score for this blog post, but in actual fact, the first stop for me was the car park and its charging spot, and that is where I start deducting points.

The one and only charging spot at Hong Kong Disneyland Resort
Image from Locky's English Playground
The charging pole has two sockets on it but is located between the disabled and the charging spot, which means that it will not be convenient for the second EV's cable to reach that socket.

Charging spot next to disabled parking spot at the far end of the car park
Image from Locky's English Playground
I think the location of the charging spot, being furthest away from the hotel entrance, is fine for me and fine for most EV owners, but the fact that the 3 disabled parking spaces are also at the far side does lack consideration.

Sign on the charging pole
1Image from Locky's English Playground
The sign on the charging pole has clear instructions for the EV owner, but if the EV owner is one of those with walking difficulty, the lack of phone number to call for assistance means he will have to walk all the way to the entrance to get help, and then walk all the way back to his car to connect the charging cable.

Chinese and English instructions in chunks
Image from Locky's English Playground
I had to read the whole sign board just to discover the absence of a telephone number I could call for assistance when in fact a few cartoon strips to tell the key points are enough. The maximum charging current is stated as 13A, but my car only registered 6A (I suspect 13A is shared by 2 sockets), so charging from 50% to 100% took 20 hours. Good enough for hotel guests, next to nothing for restaurant diners.

Socket upside down
Image from Locky's English Playground
I was half done cleaning my car when the staff arrived to unlock the socket for me.

The sockets on the charging pole were placed in the most unfriendly way I have ever seen! I almost had to curse the designer and the company for approving this design. How on earth is it possible for a cable connected to an upside-down socket still come out from the bottom? Bend the cable you will say, but there is the metal "handle" in its way. The cable itself is heavy as the controller weighs quite a bit, then how did I manage to get it sorted?

Image from Locky's English Playground
I had to bend my cable such that it squeezed inside that handle before it could find space to bend down again. The weight was shared by the top of the pole or else, the plug would have easily unplugged itself because of the weight and bending of the cable. The socket cover had to be closed and locked before electricity begins to flow, and so my cable had to share that handle with the keylock lever, which means getting scratched was unavoidable and a second cable from another EV was out of the question.

I am happy with the complimentary parking at hotels and park during our stay.

The Package

I now talk about the package because the room is to follow.

Arrival Date: Sunday, October 11, 2015
Departure Date: Monday, October 12, 2015
Adults/Children: 2/0
Number of Rooms: 1
Room Type: Standard Room
Sunday, October 11, 2015 HKD 3,245.00

Package Name: “Frozen” Room Decoration
Package Description: Special in-room decoration: Frozen themed Door Frame Sticker, Window Stickers and Bed Runner
Package Price: HKD 600.00 Per Stay

Grand Total: HKD 3,845.00
(Note: Inclusive of government tax (if applicable) and 10% service charge.)

This is a special package that includes dinner buffet for 2. Assuming HK$500 per head, that is HK$1000 for two, then the room rate is HK$2845, with HK$600 added to a package called "Frozen" Room Decoration, which includes 3 things:

  1. Frozen themed door frame sticker, 
  2. Window stickers
  3. Bed runner

An additional HK$600 is not a small amount considering it is two days one night, equivalent to 15.6% of the total cost. At this price, one will expect some quality decorations.

But we were rather disappointed.

The Room --  Frozen theme

Frozen themed door frame sticker
Image from Locky's English Playground
On the door that looks as normal as any others, there was a Frozen door sticker the size of an A4.

There were two bed runners
Image from Locky's English Playground
There were two large bed runners, two very poorly handmade Olafs on the bed,

Anna wall stickers
Image from Locky's English Playground
and poorly stuck, bubble filled Anna window stickers on one side of the windows (next to an empty window with patches of glue residues on it).

The bottom line is, Disney resort has not cheated us, but they did trick us.

  1. Those so-called decorations are something I can put up within 2 mins. Taking away all these "decorations" and it becomes a standard room once again. Takes no effort, thus no thoughts, no love. 
  2. Little kids want to have something they can touch and feel, they can't feel the texture on the window stickers, on the door stickers, on the bed runners. The best of Frozen are Elsa and Anna, not two very ugly handmade Olaf.
  3. Even with the 3, 4 Frozen "things", there was still nothing Frozen about the room. Nothing else has changed. Absolutely nothing.

Baby Muse is very happy with her new toys, which costs us a bit more than $100, did not even notice the bed runners after awhile
Image from Locky's English Playground

With a little more than HK$600, we could have got our baby girl a set of rubber dolls as seen in the photo above, 2 decent breakfasts with Disney characters to take photos with her the next morning. But there was none. Most people would at most be interested in keeping those bed runners, which costs at most $100 each. Disney could have spent more time on designing an Elsa's room that resembles the one from the movie, could have put a box of these rubber toys with all the characters on the bed, could have played Frozen on TV, could have printed Frozen characters on the boxes of toothbrushes, could have stuck various Frozen stickers inside the wardrobe, beside the bed, on the headboard, on the ceiling, etc., could have used Frozen pillow cases, could have, so many could have...... Disney was just too stingy and too greedy for this kind of thoughts. Huge disappointment, they should not promote something if they have not tested.

The Room --  the Standard Room

The good:

  1. Viewing it from a normal room's perspective, the hotel room had been maintained well. Visually, furniture such as drawers, cupboards, wardrobe, bed frame have suffered very little scratches. 
  2. There were ample storage for any 4 to 5 person family during their stay. 
  3. Pillow cases, bed liners, bedsheets, quilt covers are pleasantly white. 
  4. Sun blinds, curtains, valance are all in mint condition. 
  5. The shower/bath was mold free even at tight wall corners. Shower curtains with double layer (one for inside the bathtub and one for outside) shows careful consideration from the user's perspective.

Image from Locky's English Playground
The bad:
  1. It took only one quick glance to see remains of prawn crackers, water bottle caps and leaflets hiding in the gap between the bed frame and the headboard. Though not everyone would notice, it was rather revolting for careful ones like me. I had not brought along a blacklight but I suppose I could have found something very interesting.
  2. TV is not the most important part of the hotel room for adults but it is for the kids. The lack of free Disney cartoon programs on it together with the same few cartoons repeating continually was very annoying. Disney channel at least?
  3. The selection of coffee and tea was very limited. Nescafe powder coffee -- the usual mediocrity. Liquid creamer was a plus though.
  4. Sockets were limited and were placed at inconvenient and impractical positions (see photos below). It was good that one adaptor for China plug was provided, though not useful to me.
  5. Child toilet seat did not fit the toilet seat. Bummer.

Socket near end of the bed
Image from Locky's English Playground
Zero socket between the beds unless you move the drawer away
Image from Locky's English Playground
Socket near the windows
Image from Locky's English Playground
So really, as a standard room, I can only say that it has barely lived up to the name of its room type.

The Service

The good:
My wife told check-in that we have 3 adults and 1 child, they provided 3 pairs of large slippers and 1 kid size when we entered the room at 3pm.

The bad:
Consulted staff at check-in counter about the complimentarity of the Frozen bed runners before I went for a morning swim, (he frowned a bit, I looked at his name tag and he was "Hans") and the reply was negative. Returned to the same staff and consulted about the inclusion of breakfast and he "updated" me that the bed runners are complimentary.

The Pool

Indoor pool
Image from Locky's English Playground
I enjoyed looking at the paintings on the walls of the pool. The suction pumps are placed on the sides of the pool with grill protectors so kids will not lose any limps if they are naughty. I was only not happy with the fact that it only opened at 9am, which means early swimmers can only wait. The lack of drinking water or juice means that I had to stay thirsty until I returned to my room. I did not use the outdoor pool because my baby was still in bed and there was no fun on the waterslide by myself.

The Playroom

Baby Muse enjoying herself in the castle
Image from Locky's English Playground
The playroom was one of the best part because my baby had had a marvelous time on the castle slides and making her own badges.

Baby Muse makes her own badges
Image from Locky's English Playground
The female staff there are very friendly and they loved to play with kids.

Soft playground
Image from Locky's English Playground
There are several themes for kids to roleplay in, such as Alice in Wonderland above,

Castle with slide
Image from Locky's English Playground
Castle and forest (could be from any Disney stories),

Pirate ship and shop
Image from Locky's English Playground
Pirate boats and piers,

There she crawls
Image from Locky's English Playground
and the toys are safe and friendly, so parents can just let go of their kids and allow them to have fun,

There they sail
Image from Locky's English Playground
or be a part of their imagination.

The Restaurant & Food

Enchanted Garden
Image from Locky's English Playground
The Enchanted Garden was very nicely designed at the entrance, it felt like a garden when we entered, but not so much when we are seated. The chairs look fine, but the tables simply do not match the theme.

The restaurant looking towards the food bar
Image from Locky's English Playground

The restaurant looking towards the windows
Image from Locky's English Playground

Baby Muse teaching Shellie May how to do "pointy pointy"
Image from Locky's English Playground
We love that the cartoon characters are eager to take photos and play with the children. Despite the weight and heat of that suit, they gave all they could and we really appreciate it. We even got free printed photos with every one of the cartoon characters we took photos with! These printed photos do not cost much, but give tonnes of good memories for the entire family to bring home!

Dessert bar
Image from Locky's English Playground
Food-wise, it is an unusually good experience for us in this restaurant as the food in the theme park are barely fast food quality. We love the splitted Alaskan king crabs, love the lamb racks. Can't name anything else that is spectacular but overall they are good. Dessert-wise, they are good enough to satisfy children but far from the kind of quality expected of a hotel. Cakes and jelly and chocolate cookies, not much skill is involved. Maybe kids do know about quality of the desserts, because my little girl were not tempted by the Winnie the Pooh mango mousse or the Mickey Mouse chocolate cake at all.

Overall, if the buffet is included in the package, then I do not see why not, but I will not consider coming to the restaurant solely for the buffet myself.

The Mickey Mouse Maze
Image from Locky's English Playground
My little girl's reactions and emotion spoke the truth that adults cannot. At the end of the day, for parents like me and my wife, everything is all meant to be for our children. Hong Kong Disneyland Resort apparently has done better in the exterior than in the interior. The resort still looks amazing from outside, with beautiful floral, gardens, pavilion and maze. There the non-guests can go, the hotel has presented that image well. If I am taking a hotel tour, I think everyone will appreciate the magic of it.

Baby Muse enjoying her time inside the maze
Image from Locky's English Playground
However, once you have become a patron, it is not hard to see the missing link between grown-up interior designers and what the kids really hope to see. Had this not been a magical world offering magical experience as their selling point, I would have considered the resort as a "good" resort for vacation. Now, I only feel the urge to squeeze every single penny out of that famous dream of Walt Disney,

Just before departure
Image from Locky's English Playground

"You can design and create, and build the most wonderful place in the world. 
But it takes people to make the dream a reality." -- Walt Disney

It is not difficult to make that dream come true. The solution has been emphasized in bold in my very first paragraph.

Hong Kong Disneyland Resort