Archive for February, 2012

27
Feb
12

OUR HONG KONG DISNEYLAND TRIP 2012 : SPECTACULAR BURST OF COLORS

He's the major reason to watch the Flights of Fantasy Parade at Hong Kong Disneyland!

HONG KONG DISNEYLAND IS  UPON US!

You may think I have lost my sanity but granting that I am still single and hypothetically speaking, one could marry a theme park, without a doubt, I would definitely wed and give my forever commitment to Hong Kong Disnyeland, bar none! haha! :P  I could not see any reason why anyone would not dare LOVE Hong Kong Disneyland; everything a kid and kids-at-hearts could ask for is present there–day and night! It’ll be a never ending happiness! Life would be more colorful and whimsical!  But then again, I LOVE TINA and GABBY SO MUCH and TOGETHER, WE ALL LOVE HONG KONG DISNEYLAND!

Out of the 5 Disneyland Park locations around the globe, I am grateful to have experienced 3 of them already–Hong Kong, California & Tokyo (Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea) making only that in Florida and Paris still on my bucket list.

Every Disneyland Park has uniquely beautiful charm but that in Hong Kong remains close to our hearts.  Reasons are beyond words, let our photos on this blog entry convince you why.  So are you ready for some 80+ photos to view and some raves to read?

Don’t ever think I am overwhelming you…

I believe there’s NOTHING TOO MUCH in HONG KONG DISNEYLAND’S MAGICAL EXTRAVAGANCE!

Ready?  Here we go!

After our memorable long trip from our present place in Butterworth, Penang to Kuala Lumpur to our arrival in Hong Kong Disney’s Hollywood Hotel and our fantastic Dim Sum Lunch at Crystal Lotus Restaurant in Disneyland Hotel, we excitingly trooped to Disneyland Park via the resort’s shuttle bus.

Tina and Gabby at the entrance of the park. Happy much! :D

Because we already have our 2-day theme park tickets (and fast passes to 3 rides), passing through the turnstiles at the gate was fuss-free.

Gabby to me : “Daddy, jump shot! :D

And because he’s on the healthy-chubby side, Gabby wasn’t able to jump high, but nevertheless his smiling eyes said it all! hehe! :D

After a brief photo-op at the entrance of the park, our group was led to the Main Street, U.S.A., the first of the five lands inside the park where Hong Kong Disneyland Railroad, Animation Academy and the City Hall are located and where Main Street vehicles are parked. Food places like the Market House Bakery, Main Street Market and the restaurants, Corner Cafe (that offers premium American menu; it’s where we had our dinner on our first night which I will post soon!), and Plaza Inn (that provides Cantonese cuisine hosted by Maxim’s) plus a number of novelty and souvenir shops are housed.

Walking through Main Street, U.S.A. again instantly brought back blissful memories! It was surreal!!! I smiled when I remember my first visit to that same park when my parents brought me and my siblings there. :) I also recalled our trip about 5 years ago when I got a chance to bring my own family–Tina and Gabby to the Happiest Place on Earth. “Time flies so fast,” I silently uttered. Then I looked at my wrist watch and it’s almost few minutes before 3:30PM, the FLIGHTS OF FANTASY PARADE is about to start! 

MAIN STREET, U.S.A.

With a very fine and cool weather (Thank God, we didn’t have a downpour!), the welcoming atmosphere was very apt for fantastic parade-watching!  People of all ages already found their own areas to watch the parade at one end of Main Steet, U.S.A. just in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle.  Everyone was organized and was patiently waiting for the floats of our favorite Disney characters to pass by.

While everyone was anticipating the magical parade to begin, we were ushered to our reserved exclusive viewing area for the Flights of Fantasy Parade…

Notice the rope and pole that secured our reserved exclusive viewing spot?  We absolutely felt more than VIPs with such treatment! You too can enjoy the experience of DISNEY’S PRESTIGE TOUR that includes :

  • Direct Entrance to All Attractions (including RC Racer, Toy Soldier Parachute Drop and Slinky Dog Spin at the park’s newest attraction, Toy Story Land which I will post soon!)
  • Reserved Seating for Theater Shows
  • Exclusive “Toy Story Land” Themed Pin Box Set
  • Exclusive Viewing Area for Flights of Fantasy Parade
  • All for 3 consecutive hours for up to 6 guests (HK$3,888)

or you may opt to avail of DISNEY’S SUPREME TOUR that includes :

  • Direct Entrance to All Attractions (in Main Street, U.S.A., Tomorrowland, Fantasyland and Adventureland only),
  • Reserved Seating for Theater Shows
  • Exclusive Viewing Area for Flights of Fantasy Parade
  • All for 3 consecutive hours for up to 6 guests (HK$ 3,200)

It’s a wonderful experience to meet the warm and friendly, Disneyland’s Tour Hosts!

Our group’s exclusive Disneyland’s Tour Hosts were Janice (far left on the photo) and Danny (the only guy on the photo).

THANK YOU SO MUCH, HONG KONG DISNEYLAND! :D

Sleeping Beauty Castle, Hong Kong Disneyland, 17 February 2012

*Because Tina, Gabby and I were so amazed with the Flights of Fantasy Parade, we watched it twice on 2 consecutive days in 2 different spots. Thus, some photos here were taken on Friday, February 17, 2012 at the VIP area at the MAIN STREET, U.S.A., and some were snapped the following day just in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle

FLIGHTS  OF  FANTASY  PARADE

Expectators know that the parade’s about to start when the Grand Marshall’s car rolls on the street…

Dumbo and Timothy Mouse in “Dreams Take Flight”

Who would be more fitting to open the Flights of Fantasy Parade but the cute elephant with ears that make him fly, Dumbo!

Dumbo’s even cuter when he flips his ears and blinks his eyes!

Then came the Disneyland Marching Band, oops, let me rephrase that –the Disneyland Marching and Dancing Band! :D

They surely have the tunes, the moves and the smiles!

A quick glance at Wiki : “The Flights of Fantasy Parade premiered on January 18, 2011 as part of the Celebration in the Air, celebrating the 5th anniversary of Hong Kong Disneyland. The parade celebrates the dreams of Disney characters and includes Disney characters such as Mickey, and friends, Dumbo, Winnie the Pooh, Snow White, Cinderella, Aurora, Belle, Baloo & King Louie, Tantor, Simba, Tinkerbell, Stitch and Woody and Buzz Lightyear. The parade includes seven floats which include Mickey’s Magical Airship, Caught Up in Daydreams, Romance Takes Wing, Jumpin’ Jungle Jam, The Magic of Pixie Dust, Hangin’ Ten and Ridin’ High, and To infinity and Beyond. This parade replaced the former Disney Parade which had been running since the park opened in 2005.”

Don’t you just love those wind instruments?

“Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah, Zip-A-Dee-A.  Wonderful feeling,  Wonderful day!”

…Alright, I’m still having a hangover of the parade! :D

The colorful flags and ribbons thrown and swirled into the air by dancers in virbant costumes were followed by the float of Mickey Mouse and his friends!

Mickey’s Magical Airship

Mickey’s giant airship called, Flights of Friendship has his friends on board –Minnie, Pluto, Donald, Chip n’ Dale.

Chasing rainbows with Minnie Mouse!

Witness Mickey Mouse dance on  air! Click photo to enlarge.

Seeing Mickey Mouse up close never fails to bring out the child in us!

Mickey Mouse is an epitome of every child’s fantasy!

You're the mouse, Mickey! You're the mouse! ;-)

We so love his float!

Chip or Dale?!

Let’s salute Donald and Goofy! :)

If you must know, Flights of Fantasy Parade is exclusive to Hong Kong Disneyland. And one thing unique with it is its being interactive. I didn’t see that awesome parade-perfomer-audience interaction in parades in Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea when I went there in 2010 nor in Anaheim, California back in 2000; perhaps things have changed now for the better.  In Hong Kong Disneyland, dancers, performers and cast members encourage the kids to participate in the fun of the parade!  Even some from our group joined the limbo rock!  It’s just that our very own Gabby was so shy to actively involved himself in the street fun! Perhaps on our next visit. :D

The float of Mickey’s Magical Airship was followed by the float inspired by The Adventure of Winnie the Pooh.

Caught Up In Daydreams

Eeyore and Tigger were ever present with their friend, Winnie.

An eye-candy for me were those prostheses used by Tigger-dancers for jumping and hopping!

Those cast members must love their job of hopping and jumping with those cool-leg prostheses! I want a pair, haha! :P

There are specified areas in the park where a certain unit or float would take its full stop to fully entertain the audience.

And in Winnie the Pooh’s Caught Up In Daydream colorful float, four bungee-jumping performers rise and somersault in the air and do their tricks!

She may not be one of the Disney’s Princesses but she’s definitely Winnie the Pooh’s hunny! :D

Romance  Takes  Wing


After that playful Winnie the Pooh float, comes the Disney Princess unit called, Romance Takes Wing.

Regal, elegant and lovely. These words seems an understatement to describe the cast members dancing in the street, ushering the Disney Princess float.

A crowned swan airboat nestled on a bed of roses takes the Disney Princesses : Cinderella, Snow White, Belle (from Beauty and the Beast), and Princess Aurora (from Sleeping Beauty).

The sweet smiles and fine movements of these Disney Princesses makes the afternoon even more enchanting!  They smile and wave and move perfectly like those in the cartoons.  I wonder what happens if anyone of them needs to sneeze. *just kidding!* :D

Jumpin’  Jungle  Jam

Vivid and bright Safari-inspired costumes of cast members with their impressive moves can immediately put anyone into that “Lion King” mood! :D

Precision in dancing coupled with widest smiles must be pure talent!

Baloo & King Louie from Disney’s The Jungle Book, Rafiki and Timon and of course, Simba -all from The Lion King and Tantor from Tarzan bring life into the Jumpin’ Jungle Jam float!

Hail to the Lion King!

After that African-designed float comes various fairies and Tinker Bell!

The  Magic  of  Pixie  Dust

It’s Tink! :D

Tinker Bell is on board a cotton float, ushered by four fairies driving bug cars and two flower girls following the unit.

I love that feather-dart detail at the back of Tink’s The Magic of Pixie Dust float!

I like this photo; looks like Stitch is chasing Tink!

Even the Hawaiian themed animated characters, Lilo and Stitch participates in Flights of Fantasy Parade with their windsurfing float!

Hangin’  Ten and Ridin’  High

Hangin’ Ten and Ridin’ High  proudly features Stitch windsurfing in the air and beneath his image are two daredevil acrobats that swing a rattan-looking airboat up in the air!  Amazing!

It’s fun to watch them rock that airboat! While leading the Haiwaian street dancers are no less than Lilo and Stitch!

Beautiful Oriental lady-dancers dressed in pink grass skirts smile and say, Aloha! :D

I like to have those sneakers in various hues, one for each day of the week. But then again, without Hawaiian shirts and shorts and a beach or a parade like this, one may appear histrionic! hehe! :D

While my mom was viewing these photos at home, she became so particular with the picture below, so she called and asked me, “Is this boy, Gabby?”  

Our articulate son, told his grandma, “Lola, I’m not that boy; look at his shoes, I’m not wearing those shoes and jacket in Disneyland.”

And then, there’s the handsome cowboy, Woody…

To Infinity And Beyond

Admittedly, Toy Story is a personal favorite! Tina and Gabby love it too! If I could have a collection of huge toys, it would have to be Buzz and Woody!

The newest attraction in Hong Kong Disneyland is Toy Story Land which will be included in my next post. It is expected to see Woody and Jessie and Buzz Lightyear leading the float representing Toy Story Land and their memorable fun and touching movies, of course.

Hi there, Buzz! ....To Infinity And Beyond!!!

Green Paratroopers, Rex and Hamm adorn the eye-catching float of Toy Story!

Wonderful parade, isn’t it?

Flights of Fantasy Parade is more than enough reason for people to visit Hong Kong Disneyland. It’s such a visual feast; a burst of colors that everyone will surely enjoy!

You may have viewed the photos of the parade on this humble site but being there and experiencing the parade itself as it happens before your eyes is totally a different overwhelming experience! Indeed, fantasy comes alive in the Flights of Fantasy Parade! Whenever you find time to go to Hong Kong Disneyland, the parade is always a spectacular you should not missed!

Stay tuned on this blog for more fascinating features about Hong Kong Disneyland! The magic continues soon! *wink*

DocGelo, Tina and Gabby are extremely grateful to Hong Kong Disneyland! Thank You So Much! Until our next visit! :D

         Watch out for more posts about Hong Kong Disneyland! –there’ll be more of Family bonding.Food.Fun soon!

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About Hong Kong Disneyland Resort

Hong Kong Disneyland Resort offers immersive, unique Disney experiences for all families, generations and ages to enjoy. Hong Kong is one of only five locations in the world that is home to a Disney themed park and the many Disney characters that are beloved the world over, such as Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Stitch and Buzz Lightyear. Since the Grand Opening in September 2005, Hong Kong Disneyland has received more than 31 million Guests from around the globe. Through the unique product offering and the world-class service provided by the 5,000 strong Cast at the theme park and the two hotels, the Resort has received outstanding Guest satisfaction ratings and a range of awards from the hospitality and entertainment sectors.

If you want to know more about Hong Kong Disneyland and want to enjoy a unique magical experience, click on to http://www.hongkongdisneyland.com for more information.

For the latest news and photos from Hong Kong Disneyland, please visit our media website at: www.hongkongdisneyland.com/news.

 

This Blog Series Includes :

23
Feb
12

OUR HONG KONG DISNEYLAND TRIP 2012 : ARRIVAL & LUNCH


DOCGELO  X  MICKEY MOUSE

FAMILY.FOOD.FUN @ the Happiest Place on Earth!

Similar to a shot of  adrenaline, the thought of revisiting Hong Kong Disneyland increases the heart beat and quickens the pulse, at least for Tina, Gabby and me. :D It’s incredibly different and NOT physiologically tiring but a special feeling of excitement that my family and I would love to go through over and over again, despite and inspite of everything!  Hong Kong Disneyland has that positively addicting charm that effortlessly draws the young and equally attracts the young-at-hearts! It’s a Nirvana for family bonding, food indulgence and lots of fun! :D

HONG KONG DISNEYLAND : DEFINITELY,  A  STRESS ANTIDOTE

Before Tina, Gabby and I immersed ourselves in a worry-free-three-day-and-two-night-fun-filled-vacation in Hong Kong Disneyland, we had to travel a day before from our current place in Butterworth, Penang to Kuala Lumpur to catch our flight earliest in the morning. We all thought it’s wise to travel via KL if you’re coming from Malaysia because the trip from Penang would take us to Hong Kong International Airport at around half hour past 8 in the evening hence, we’ll lose a day. :( Either we go a day earlier  to Hong Kong which will be more expensive or take the alternative route of via Kuala Lumpur.  We opted the latter. However, since we didn’t reserve a flight from Penang to Malaysia’s capital city  because of  steeper cost (read: we are 3), we chose to take the 5-hour-road trip via the public tourist bus from Butterworth, Penang to Puduraya, Kuala Lumpur, then with our luggage and bags in tow, we hailed a taxi cab from Puduraya Bus Station to KL Sentral where buses that take passengers to KL-LCCT airport are parked.

We arrived in Kuala Lumpur-Low Cost Carrier Terminal at around 8 in the evening of Thursday via Aerobus after an hour trip from KL Sentral.  My family and I had to spend the night inside food and coffee shops. After our quick family dinner and some coffee for Tina and me, chocolate frap for Gabby, we found a corner inside LCCT and called it a night (Actually, it was only Gabby who slept for few hours; Tina and I rarely shut our eyes).  And few hours after midnight, we took turns in taking showers, changed into new clothes and queued to check in at 4 in the morning.

Some may find our travel very stressful but believe me, we’ve experienced more difficult instances than you could imagine.  So this Hong Kong Disneyland trip is definitely a stress antidote for me and my family. We cannot thank the good Lord enough for such opportunity! :D

We took the flight from KUL to HK at 6:45AM, Friday, February 17, 2012 and arrived at HKIA 4 hours after. Before I slept in my seat, I accomplished the Immigration Arrival forms for Tina, Gabby and myself as what I used to do on our few travels.

That long travel to Kuala Lumpur from Penang and finally to Hong Kong, those frequent air pockets and lack of sleep were absolutely NOT enough to kill our excitement and enjoy the Happiest Place on Earth!

Finally, we set foot again at one of the biggest and most impressive terminals in the world! Sweet! :D

Hong Kong Disneyland, here we come! :D

Passing through HK Immigration was a breeze, so did the luggage pick up from the conveyor belt. I wish all terminals particularly that of the Philippines would have such remarkable efficiency. Upon arrival at the HKIA lobby, we trooped immediately to the Train Information Counter. Our initial game plan was to take the MTR from the airport to our hotel but after learning that the waiting and transfer period from one train to the other will take us around an hour, we decided to take a cab.

After paying the metered taxi HKD 150, we arrived at the hotel lobby all in one piece. Yahoooo!!!

DISNEY’S  HOLLYWOOD HOTEL : FAMILY FRIENDLY!

From its exteriors that reflects similarities with Pan Pacific Auditorium, the art-deco theme reminiscent of the golden age of Hollywood echoes to the interiors of Disney’s Hollywood Hotel to every detail in the lobby and in its rooms.

And since it’s Disneyland Resorts, the head of Mickey Mouse with other Disney figures including Minnie Mouse’s of course, are a constant decor. Wonderful!!!

Tina and I have lately developed the appreciation for boutique and themed hotels. It’s nice to see how people put so much attention to details. The first sight of the lobby of Disney’s Hollywood Hotel was definitely a feast to our senses!

 

Just before those bilateral lifts take Disney’s Hollywood Hotel guests to their rooms, the Disney magic manifests with the voice of Mickey Mouse no less, welcoming everyone to their room-level, night and day. So cool! :) It makes you think that Mickey Mouse doesn’t sleep too! *kidding*

Certainly, the glass etching on the doors of the lifts also has the same Hollywood art-deco theme and to make it distinctly Disney’s, there are so many Mickey Mouse embedded on it. Can you spot some?

 

We’re checked in at the 8th level where the view’s fantastic! The blurry hazy skyline at the backdrop confirmed that we’re about to experience a misty cool Hong Kong climate despite the clock already hit 12 noon. And coming from the tropical state of Penang, that for me, was so inviting! Thankfully, we didn’t have any downpour, God is really great! :D

 

The view from our room offers a relaxing sight of Lantau island, its bay stretching to South China Sea and Disney’s Hollywood Hotel’s swimming pool. Can you feel the cool atmosphere despite the clock hit 12 noon? It’s Hong Kong, baby! ;-)

Another view from our window gives you a glimpse of how Disney’s Hollywood Hotel back lot looks like…

I wish I’ve photographed it too at night. Some other time perhaps (that’s another little reason to go back!).

Tina and I basically want few essentials in a hotel room; just nice and comfy bed and pillows to provide us a restful sleep, an insect-free-airconditioned and clean room, toilet and bath and Disney’s Hollywood Hotel doesn’t disappoint. Its theme is continuously obvious. The play of colors are vibrant and definitely puts everyone into the Disneyland euphoric mood! :D

I guess each room with a twin-deluxe beds has a black and white cartoon of Mickey and Minnie from one of their movies.

How sweet it was to sleep with worries and stress far from your cerebrum.

A little while later, Gabby felt so at home!

From Malaysia to Hong Kong, this 7-year-old-Filipino kid loves his Disney cartoons!

It may not be the most spacious toilet and bath that we had experienced but nonetheless, its cleanliness and the generous volume of towels are truly noteworthy. It’s expected that Disney Hollywood Hotel would be family-friendly and we proved it correctly. How many hotels have thought of providing kid-sized slippers? This hotel has it making Gabby simply delighted. Toothbrushes, toothpaste and some wipes and cotton buds are provided in a pack inside 3 paper cups capped with Mickey Mouse ears.  Even the toilet is richly themed! :D

And again, the little artsy details made us smile and utter, “so cute!” :D

Cast members (or those who work for Hong Kong Disneyland Park and Hotels) are amazingly creative at these towel crafts. They even refill it everyday in different colors and adorable animal and alien-designs. We brought home some pieces, actually! ;-)

Riding the theme park’s own resort shuttle buses for FREE was definitely convenience in its truest sense of the word. After checking in and quick freshening up in our room at Disney’s Hollywood Hotel, we went to the resorts’ other hotel, Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel for the much needed lunch.

The HK Disneyland Resorts Shuttle Buses take passengers for FREE from the theme park to Disneyland Hotel then to Disney Hollywood Hotel in 10 minute interval. It spells convenience particularly when you’re traveling with kids. It’s so nice when you’re worry-free of going back to the hotel and theme park or hopping to a restaurant located at either of Disney hotels.

Experiencing two hotels of Hong Kong Disneyland was so awesome! Both hotels have unique themes, one takes you back in time to Hollywood’s golden years and the other is lavishly Victorian-inspired.

HONG KONG DISNEYLAND HOTEL : ENTICINGLY ELEGANT!

We saw luxury and sophistication at every corner of Disneyland Hotel… Our little-big boy, Gabby’s so amazed! I wonder what other kids think of  Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel. Surely, most of them believe that it’s a magical mansion!

what a gorgeous pair of chandeliers!

Everything’s so fanciful!  Even the men’s toilet melted all my worries away, haha! :D

While Tina and Gabby were checking out the merchandise at the hotel’s souvenir shop, I walked towards the concierge and didn’t pass the chance of capturing the framed paintings hanging at the back of the counters.

I asked permission from the Cast Members who are at the reception prior to snapping my cam; made me smile when they gave me a nod.

Aren’t these paintings fascinating?  I remember the Mark Twain’s steamboat that we saw in Disneyland Anaheim on the next painting.

Those bursts of colors are too beautiful in my eyes!

Sincere to their work place, I noticed Cast Members of Hong Kong Disneyland Park and Resorts are all service-oriented, warm and friendly. Just when I was thinking for someone who could snap a photo of us, one male hotel staff offered to take our family pic even without asking him. That’s marvelous! :D

Look at my very own Minnie. Lovely, isn’t she? :)

The hedge maze in the garden of Disneyland Hotel fronting South China Sea really caught Gabby’s attention.

Did Gabby and I try and finish the maze? Find out on my succeeding posts! :D

Meanwhile, can you spot Mickey Mouse’s profile on this green maze?

LUNCH at CRYSTAL LOTUS RESTAURANT, HONG KONG DISNEYLAND HOTEL.

What warmed our souls and filled our stomachs after that long tiring trip from Butterworth, Penang to Puduraya and KL Sentral in Kuala Lumpur, to Kuala Lumpur-Low Cost Carrier Terminal to Hong Kong International Airport then finally to Hong Kong Disneyland apart from seeing Mickey Mouse again at the theme park was a sumptuous and divine Chinese cuisine at Crystal Lotus Restaurant.

With rich, classy and exceptional ambience, coupled with prompt and attentive service and a delightful menu, Crystal Lotus Restaurant is the best option when you feel like indulging in some Chinese favorites with Disneyland’s kiddie appeal.

Modern and sophisticated Oriental ambience of Crystal Lotus Restaurant. We’re so blessed to have experienced it.

Tina, Gabby and I met a few bunch of Filipinos who own blog sites too; Mom and Lifestyle blogger, ThammieSy, Fashion bloggers Laureen Uy and Kryz Uy of Break My Style and KryzUy.com respectively, Foodie blogger, Leslie of Shoot First Eat Later, and travel blogger Gael of The Pinay Solo Backpacker. We communed with our families and friends and with delicious gastronomic treats at this luxurious room.

Crystal Lotus Restaurant brought our taste buds to a variety of Chinese dishes that we all happily took in.

stunningly gorgeous chandeliers

Now, let your eyes feast on the set meal we savored….you might need tissues to wipe your keyboard when you drooled! *kidding!* A glass of ice cold water beside you might be helpful. :D

If it’s Chinese, there must be Jasmine Tea.

We started our delicious dimsum lunch with Roasted Suckling Pig with Cucumber and Sweetened Paste in Steamed and Piggy Mask Buns…

Crisp and flavorful. I’m in heaven! ;-)

Family bonding comes in different packages. At this moment, it came with authentic Chinese cum Disney’s culinary. :P

 Next on the menu brought to our table was Disney Dim Sum Platter. Consisting of Three Little Pigs Barbecue Pork Bun, Little Green Men Pork and Vegetable Bun, Mickey’s Glutinous Seafood Pancake which Gabby liked so much! :D

Eating Dim Sum has never been this cute! :D  It took me several minutes to take them with chopsticks and bite, haha!

I see harmony in steam basket, haha! Then I gave these 2 cute buns a peaceful death via taking them in, LOL!

Pink ears or orange ones? Doesn’t matter, both are appetizingly delicious!

Then came Braised Seafood Soup with Crab Roe. This warm soup dish won my palate! Tina liked it too.

D.E.L.I.C.I.O.U.S

The meal got more interesting when the next dish was brought in. It’s called Wok Fried Chicken and Longan with Sweet Sour Sauce.

My palate is familiar with the fusion of pineapples and chicken meat in a dish but with longan, it must be fascinating! And it is!

With Wok-Fried Shrimps and Disney Root Vegetables, Disneyland and Crystal Lotus Restaurant really know how to make vegetables and seafoods appealing to kids. The dish to me is so impressive!

You know how some children have aversion to veggies and making the ingredients of this dish cut into Mickey Mouse’s gloves and head is pure brilliance!

Who says eating veggies is never fun?

Blessings continued to pour on our table with this golden crab dish…

This one really brought out the kid in me. I was in awe with the plating of this crab dish. Indeed, a crab plated in gold, hehe!

Flip the golden shell of this crustacean plate et voila…

Baked Tasmanian Crab Meat Fried Rice in Whole Crab Shell : Eating crab has never been this edgy!

And of course, a meal isn’t complete without a sweet ending. Crystal Lotus prepared and offered us Chilled “Mickey’s” Red Bean Honey Pudding and Chilled Mickey’s Green Tea Jelly. 

Gabby like these desserts and so did Tina. As for me, I like the fusion of textures and its light flavors.

Must take a detail shot… :D

Did I mention that we EACH received a full course meal? What Gabby cannot finish, Daddy Gelo’s there to rescue. hehehe! Immediately after our very first meal at Hong Kong Disneyland, I thought I gained a few more pounds! Who wouldn’t with such hearty Dim Sum lunch set?  :D

It’s not on a daily basis that we get to eat Disney-themed Dim Sum nor a crab dish on a golden crab shell and of course, not everyone is given the chance to have such indulgence in very sophisticated food place thus, Tina, Gabby and I are grateful for this great dining experience. THANK YOU, LORD FOR ALL OF YOUR BLESSINGS! THANK YOU, HONG KONG DISNEYLAND!

Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel : Such a Magical Dreamy Place!

After our sublime Oriental lunch at Crystal Lotus, we headed directly to the Hong Kong Disneyland Park via the resort’s shuttle bus. We got our fast passes to Space Mountain, Astro Blasters and The Adventure of Winnie the Pooh rides and tickets to the theme park for 2 days!  Excitement soared the highest! :D All that and a lot more in the part 2 of this blog series! Stay tuned! :D

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*for more information about Hong Kong Disneyland Park, Crystal Lotus Restaurant, Disney’s Hollywood Hotel and Disneyland Hotel, kindly visit the theme park website at http://park.hongkongdisneyland.com

This Blog Series Includes :

20
Feb
12

BACK TO HOMEBASE

And we’re back in Penang with so many wonderful and fun experiences from Hong Kong Disneyland.

Will prepare a blog series about it;  stay tuned!  *wink*

16
Feb
12

LESSONS FROM THE TREN EXPERIENCE

When you’re unfamiliar to a place and you choose to take the unknown, you have to be ready to digest the consequences. :D This thought dawned on me when my mom suggested for us to take a train ride from our cheap hotel in Chinatown, Kuala Lumpur to Petronas Twin Towers-Suria-KLCC Shopping Complex instead of the affordably reliable taxi ride. We all gave in with a smile to my mom’s suggestion so no one’s to blame. We all took the path without the aid of a techie gadget that shows direction; worse without googling the how-to-get-there thing. We should have asked guidance from the spirit of Dora the Explorer before we embarked on such common adventure, LOL! :D

Smiling to our own little misfortune, I took a photo first of our family! With such sweet smiles, who would have thought that we didn’t know where to go next? hahaha!

Perhaps, the idea that the train line of Kuala Lumpur looks quite similar to Manila’s LRT and MRT systems gave us the kick that we would not be lost and we could find our way easily.

Other than I am used to taking the MRT and LRT systems in Manila, I was also fortunate to experienced 2 of the world’s most efficient railway commuting systems- the multi-leveled subways in Tokyo and in Singapore. With some similarities of these trains in mind, I never expected that a portion of KL’s train would give us an unexpected TREK.

We never walked, we didn’t stroll en route to train platforms, we trekked!!! hahaha!

Without a clue of what’s in for us, we were happy to pay RM11 (PhP 154) for the 2 train rides that would take us from Puduraya to KLCC-Suria Shopping Complex; the amount covered 2 adults (Tina and me), a senior citizen (my mom) and a 7-year-old kid (Gabby). It’s really cheaper than taking unmetered taxi cab but it cost us our thighs and legs!

These are the chips the counter gave us that passengers need to tap at the turnstile at the entrance. We thought it’s like chips in slot or vendo machines, hahaha! After asking a man in uniform before the turnstiles, we learned that these chips are only for tapping and there’s no need to drop it until you reach your final destination (sounds like a title of a scary movie! heheh!).

Right or left? What escalator should we take? We had to ask again and confirm. Better to be sure than to assume! We rode the escalator on the right and we took the path to the platform that’s far than you could imagine!

On our search for that train platform, we saw fascinating views…

Signs are there to guide you but nothing stated we’re in for a walkaton…

“Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish” -John Quincy Adams.

OK, so going down the stairs was easy.

When we reached Masjid Jamek station and rode the first train, we had to alight the next station to transfer to another line that would take us to KLCC-Petronas Twin Towers. This is it! :D

Again it was not a walk, nor a stroll but a trek! hahaha!

forrest gump, is that you? hehe!

We got in the train at no fuss except for the long walk to its platform. Had I googled something about it, we could have been more ready. Nonetheless, it’s a fun experience!

After struggling for directions and being surprised at the ups and downs, literally,  my family and I were still all smiles of course! Look, I captured that moment, haha! (parang hindi pagod!)

Just when we thought that the challenges are over, we’re in again for a new one!

Then Miley Cyrus began humming in my mind : “There’s always gonna be another mountain, I’m always gonna make it move.  Always gonna be an uphill battle; sometimes I’m gonna have to lose. Aint about how fast I get there, Ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side. It’s the climb!”  hahaha! :D

Mamy, Tina, and I, more so Gabby are not ready yet for trekking. It’s not our cup of tea for the moment. Imagine it was only a long walk to the train platforms, up and down steps to the flight of stairs and we were laughing down to our knees! What more a real trek that adventurers and travelers do.

Finally, our destinasi!!!

Napabili tuloy kami ng fresh fruit juices! :D

“Most of our obstacles would melt away if, instead of cowering before them, we should make up our minds to walk boldly through them.” – Orison Swett Marden

“For every mountain there is a miracle.” -Robert H. Schuller. :D

10
Feb
12

EXPERIENCING THAIPUSAM 2012 IN PENANG

*WARNING : Some photos contain SELF-MORTIFICATION BY PIERCING.  The volume of photos in this post may be overwhelming. That’s how I define something in epic proportion, LOL!!! :P

——————————————————————————————–

Seriously, how deep is your faith?

I am astronomically far from being religious but I certainly keep a constant communication with my Creator and Savior. My family and I don’t go to Catholic masses that often. I have not read the entire Holy Bible neither I am familiar with all the Catholic Saints. Not that I am proud of it but logically, there’s no use of being a hypocrite. Now, this  isn’t about our own faith nor our own religion. However, a reflection of one’s own is unavoidable particularly when you witness someone else’s expression of faith.

They crushed and smashed countless coconuts on the ground where the silver chariot of Hindu God, Murugan passed by a day prior to Thaipusam. The same scene was noticed in front of their Hindu temples at Thaipusam festival itself.

I missed it last year so I didn’t pass the chance to experience Thaipusam this year. It’s an annual festival celebrated by the Hindus here in Penang, Malaysia every last week of January or the first week of February. This year, it fell on dates Feb.6,7, and 8. The second day (Feb.7,2012) was declared public Holiday in Malaysia (read: And Feb 6 which was a Monday was also a holiday for the Muslim’s Prophet Mohammad’s Birthday, thus we got a loooong weekend again!).

There’s no excuse for me not to attend or at least witness for a few hours this remarkable religious event. However, Tina decided to spend the day at home to rest with Gabby; luckily, my mom who’s on her second month of vacation here in Penang (she applied for another month of Visa extension) was so willing to tag along with me to experience Thaipusam.

Peacock feathers among Hindus, I read somewhere they supposed to symbolize protection from harm and snakes. Can someone confirm?

My mom and I took a pre-arranged taxi cab (read : I called the driver few days prior) from our place in Butterworth that picked us up at 6 in the morning to Jetty where we had 12minute-ferry ride to Jetty in George Town, Pulau Pinang. From there, Thaipusam-Shuttle buses brought us to what supposed to be the location of the Hindu festival.

Then a funny thing happened to us. This was because we followed “Spongebob!” :P

Just before alighting the bus, Mamy asked me if I know the place. I told her that I just read it’s held every year at Waterfall Road. The almost clueless me told my mom to just follow pilgrims en route to the site. Logical, eh?  We saw one Indian family, barefooted who walked with a Spongebob balloon. We followed the balloon!  I saw a familiar looking hospital and there was no sight of a hill, neither a Hindu Temple nor the Thaipusam festival itself. The Indian family that we thought will lead us to the site went directly to their car that was parked at a gasoline station. Toinks!!! :D Then we concluded, they’re done with their devotion and we’re kind of lost at that moment!

My mom saw a Chinese lady at the bus stop who gave us instructions of where to go.  And after seeing a lengthy stretch of road shut to traffic and people in sarees walking barefooted, we knew we’re already on the right track.  So we walked, walked and walked until we reached the foot of the hill at Waterfall Road.

It was still dark at nearly 7 in the morning. Didn't I tell you that sun rises in Malaysia later than you think?

The presence of some people handing free cups of coffee which we didn’t sample, those many temporary stalls selling vegetarian food, commercially branded fresh milk in tetra packs (Hindus put milk in brass and silver pots and used it as offering to Murugan), souvenir items and a lot more made the atmosphere so alive and joyous.

But the day wasn’t meant for merry-making but more so for expression of faith, devotion and thanksgiving.

Malaysian Hindus proudly wore clean shaven heads smeared with sandalwood paste. This is one expression of their spiritual belief a Tamil family shares.

At few minutes past 7 in the morning, there’s already a build up of volume of faithfuls and Indian pilgrims queued patiently just to worship their deity Murugan.

A parade of various colors of sarees amidst the yellow and saffron clad devotees was a feast to the eyes. But frankly, as my eyes were delighted to their gears, my nose didn’t like the aroma of mixed coconuts smashed on the grounds with smell of fresh milk; it hit my olfaction and was wafted as curdled milk-like smell and it was definitely a- no-good-for-me; Sorry!  Nonetheless, I cannot resist the picturesque event happening right before my eyes. Kaya deadma na sa amoy!

Fresh milk were either carried in silver or brass pots as offering.

Before devotees climb the hills via flight of stairs, they drop by this Hindu temple and venerate.

A Sea of Faith

People across the life span gathered in troops to celebrate their faith and religion.

An arresting sight of brass and silver milk-pots called PAAL KUDAM.

They carried brass and silver pots of milk over their heads as offerings to Hindu deity, Murugan.

Elders…

Men…

Women…

and even children showed their devotion with pride.

KAVADIS are ornately adorned religious loads carried over their shoulders as offerings to Murugan.

Kavadis and more kavadis…

Didn’t I mention they walked without footwears?

Are these betel leaves?

Do you have any idea what’s on that saffron sling?

Couples who were blessed with offsprings over the past year carried their babies in saffron slings under stalks of sugarcane.

When he grows older, he will understand everything…  *i hope*

Thaipusam, therefore is a celebration of Thanksgiving and Penance as well…

Thuderous drum rolls esorted this devotee…

He was one of those who had vels or piercing and…

Drums that accompanied this devotee.

hooks individually attached to his back subcutaneously.  Note it was bloodless…

The same man almost caught everyone’s attention for a while when he began to move like a galloping horse that gave a more pull and tension to the hooks at his back. Painful to my eyes!

At this point, I knelt down and clicked my cam and became breathless for a sec.

Like all pilgrims, the man waited his turned, step by step on the stairs towards Murugan.

I saw a few non-looking Indian who professed their Hindu faith too..

Others had lime to weigh down their hooks attached to their back.

Some had miniature milk pots used as weights for their hooks.

I wonder how heavy this Kavadi was.

Peacock feathers were used to decorate their  Kavadis.

Imagine if someone accidentally pull or push either ends of that piercings. Call me morbid or paranoid but it surely is painful if your not in trance or at least on anesthesia.

More piercing and kavadis…

While I was busy clicking my cam, my mom was waiting for me at the sloped area still at foot of the hill. She had an engaging conversation with tourists from abroad. The not-so-ordinary-couple whom she conversed with was from Auckland, New Zealand.  What made them extraordinary among the many tourist out there (no, my mom did not spent hours talking to all of them, hell no! hahaha!), was the fact that they’re traveling the globe from New Zealand by their own boat. Repeat, they’re traveling the globe from NZ with their own boat docked in Langkawi Island in North of Penang. My mom, who was with us in Auckland, NZ back in 2005 during our 7-week break then, was truly amazed with the uncommon passion of the couple she talked with.

I called my mom after an hour and we decied to leave. I guess we had seen enough.

But en route from Waterfall Road to the main exit road (where we followed Spongebob), we saw some more devotees…

As my mom and I left the site of Thaipusam, we carried in our memories how Hindus worship their God, manifest their religion and practice their faith. Although it’s totally different from ours, nonetheless a common belief in Superior Being makes us all mere mortals and far from being seamless.

05
Feb
12

REVISITING HONG KONG DISNEYLAND VERY SOON!

Excited is an understatement to describe how Tina, Gabby and I actually feel about our upcoming trip to HONG KONG DISNEYLAND!  The wonderful anticipation to revisit the whimsical kiddie’s paradise heightens as days go by! Who would not be thrilled to return to the “Happiest place on Earth” with no less than the most important people in your life? :D  It will be a some sort of Post-Valentine celebration for the three of us but with or without occasion, just being there, leaving all our worries and stress behind makes any day definitely lovely and special!

HONG KONG DISNEYLAND, January 01, 2007

Gabby was only 2 years and 3 months old when we first brought him to Hong Kong Disneyland and that young experience gave him an early positive impression of how a life full of dreams looks like!

I’ve been to HONG KONG DISNEYLAND thrice in the past and had been to other Disneyland as well (Tokyo and Anaheim, California) but admittedly, my first trip outside the Philippines with my parents and siblings to Hong Kong Disneyland was the most memorable of them all! Meeting Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse in person back then was absolutely surreal for someone who remains a kid at heart.

I was blessed to bring Tina and Gabby to Hong Kong Disneyland back in 2007 to celebrate New Year at the theme park.  Five years after, we’re so geared to go back and relive that magical experience! We can’t wait to see the newest attraction in HKDL that is dedicated to one of our favorite Disney animations of all time: TOYSTORY LAND!

It's PLAYTIME, baby! ;-)

We’re ready to see Mickey and Minnie again, together with Goofy, Pluto, Donald and Daisy, the gorgeous Disney Princesses and of course, my personal favorites, Woody and Buzz Lightyear and a whole lot more in HONG KONG DISNEYLAND!

I am sure it’ll be an extraordinary weekend full of FUN and FAMILY BONDING!

Have you been to HONG KONG DISNEYLAND? I’m sure! What are your most unforgettable memories about this fantastic theme park?

05
Feb
12

THE COLORS OF CNY 2012 IN GEORGE TOWN, PENANG

Road closure is inevitable when there’s either a repair or an important event. More than a week ago, the streets of George Town, Penang were not accessible to traffic because of the Chinese New Year Heritage and Cultural Celebration.

Kapitan Keling Street along Lebuh Chulia : Closed for the festivities

Everyone’s feet were on the go to welcome the Lunar Year of the Dragon!

Every spot and almost every laterals of Lebuh Chulia rendered a festive mood. Even Penang’s famous trishaws were dressed to the nines for the occasions!

Do you have any idea in mind about the next photo? Have you seen similar dry runs before?

They're rehearsing LION DANCE ON STILTS; Yup! LION DANCES ON AIR are observed in this part of Southeast Asia! Roads are not enough to dance to the beat of the drums! ....Too bad the shows were scheduled 7 and 9 that evening and I had to go home early. :(

As I marveled at the various preparations to make the event lavish and merry, I followed a few groups of people walking down the red carpet.

Walking on Red Carpet

Youngsters who rule the drums came in troops…

Drum roll, please!

Their thunderous drum rolls led me to the Opera Stage of Khoo Kongsi Temple…

The Opera Stage had these kids in traditional Chinese costumes prancing in lively tunes…

I only spent few minutes inside the Cannon Square of Khoo Kongsi because “something happened” to me (don’t ask what for now, will post it one day. Let’s just say, it happened all for the love of this hobby called photography). Moving on…

I exited the compound of Khoo Kongsi and went back to one of the streets of George Town…

Buddhist temples and clan mansions at this side of Malaysia are located left and right! :P

As I turned my back, another visual feast greeted my eyes : Chinese Opera Rehearsal…

The artists were stunningly beautiful in their costumes despite sans make up! I think this is because they proudly wear their culture on their skin.

Then, my feet brought me to this corner where kids were practicing what I assumed as yo-yo.

I wonder what they call this uniquely looking yo-yo. These kids are amazing! They're practicing the skill in sync

One more temple facade and I found myself back in Armenian Street.

In one of the souvenir stalls there, my eyes caught these pieces, won my heart and made me smile…

I know Tina would love these paintings as she appreciates art too. If only I have an extra budget for pretty but unnecessary things, I would have brought a frame or two for her. Perhaps, next time…

Do they appeal to you?

I’m sorry I failed to get the name of the artist, most of the artworks weren’t signed too so there’s no way for me to credit them.

CNY 2012 is being observed in Penang from 23rd January to 15 days after. A lot more streets will surely witness dragon and lion dances in the remaining days of the event; either on the grounds or on top of the stilts!

I know red is considered to be the most auspicious of all the colors. Does black attracts good fortune too? I guess so. It’s not a black cat anyway, it’s a lion! LOL! hehehe :D

And among the volume of  inspiring sights I’ve seen, this one’s most enticing…*wink*

01
Feb
12

DRAGONS IN KUALA LUMPUR & PENANG

As I am an ordinary spectator of the biggest annual event for the Chinese community here in Malaysia, my eyes continue to feast on the colors and festive moods extremely associated with the Spring Festival, the Lunar Year or simply, the Chinese New Year. It’s such a delight to learn that at the end of every grandiose day of celebration, a family reunion dinner and gatherings with friends remain to be the occasion’s most inspiring spirit!

Apparently, 2012 is the year of the DRAGON.

“In Sung Dynasty (a Chinese imperial dynasty lasting from AD 960 – 1279) texts, the dragon is described as having the head of an ox, muzzle of a donkey, eyes of a shrimp, horns of a deer, body of a serpent covered with fish scales, and feet of a phoenix.  The dragon usually clutches a pearl symbolic of its super-natural powers.  Invariably accompanied by thunder and rain, dragons move like lightning and whirlwinds – - all powerful yet totally unpredictable” (-sourced here).

And because Tina and I, together with my mom who’s with us currently here in Penang, are all under the DRAGON sign, behold my blog’s tribute to the ultimate auspicious symbol representing success and happiness…

In KUALA LUMPUR, dragons come in varied elegance…

At Suria-KLCC Shopping Complex at the foot of the Petronas Twin Towers, Kuala Lumpur, My

Detail shot of one of the dragons in Pavilion Mall…

Pavilion Mall, Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur

And its entirety…

Pavilion Mall outdid Suria-KLCC Shopping Complex in terms of volume and size of their dragon displays. This is how Pavilion Mall’s 600-foot-dragon looks like…

And what’s a Chinese New Year celebration without dragon dances?

Embroidered dragon in a man’s court suit on display at Pavilion Mall…

In PENANG, the Chinese community also shows solidarity and unity in welcoming the New Lunar Year…

Drum rolls and beats make the atmosphere so stellar!

Armenian and Kapitan Keling Streets welcome everyone with this dragon-designed arch.

Dragons in Pulau Pinang are everywhere!  From stage…

to novelty stores selling stuffed dragons…

and street kiosks with paper ones…

fifteen ringgit is two hundred ten pesos. mahal!

The streets of George Town, particularly the laterals of Lebuh Chulia display a lot more dragons…

Do you like your dragon on textile?

which are obviously hand-painted…

Or would you care your dragon be inked on you?

To environmentalists and those who care for Mother Earth, a dragon made of recycled bottles surely looks awesome!

but to foodies like my family and me, these last two photos certainly seems enticing!

Gong Xi Fa Cai, everyone! :D

*CNY in Malaysia this year starts 23rd January 2012 until 15 days after.




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