Thursday morning we all slept in. We talked with our kids at home. We enjoyed our last breakfast buffet at the hotel and we packed up to leave.
A driver picked us up at 3pm and drove us to the Consulate. A driver from Hong Kong, who did not speak English.
And did I mention in HK they sit on the wrong side of the car? Not to mention they drive on the wrong side of the road. But they have some fancy vans.
We arrived at the Consulate where our guide had said he would meet us. We pull up and the driver points at Consulate. Does this mean our guide is inside? Does this mean, WE go inside? We have no idea and no way to contact our guide. Mark decides to get out and go check. Because you can just go in and check the US consulate for fun. (that is sarcasm, you don’t do that!)
Eventually our guide shows up at the van, Mark comes back and we have the kids passports and visas in hand.
Richard (guide) tells our driver to drive safely. Gulp. I asked how we would tell him if we need a potty stop. Toilet is known in both languages he said. So off we go.
We had a few options to get to Hong Kong from GZ. Fly, which you know for me is a big no. Train or hire a driver.
Let me just say a bit on transportation in China. I hate flying, that is no secret. BUT I also hate the wasted time it takes. Sitting at airports waiting because you have to be early, AND the chances your flight leaves on time are slim. The train is obviously my favorite because it is never late, it is smooth and easy and roomy and it is ON THE GROUND. But you also do have to get tickets so you are on a time table, you have to carry your own luggage on and find a spot for that luggage. Plus the train to HK still requires a driver because of immigration. SO, we opted to have a driver pick us up at hotel in GZ, drive us through immigration and drop us right off at the HK hotel. 3 hour drive.
The negative on this is that you are on the highway, in a car, with your children, who are not in car seats. Because China does not do car seats. Going REALLY fast. And our driver was texting while driving. But he did understand toilet. And thankfully the kids did really well in the car.
We arrived in Hong Kong and when we pulled through the gates of the Disney Property, I about cried. It looked like HOME. (well that and we were ALIVE and not in a car crash like I kept envisioning!)
We stayed at the Disney Hollywood Resort. On the way into HK we stayed at the airport hotel, but figured it would be nice to be near Disney to visit Disney on our way out.
And I am glad we chose that! It was fun to have the Disney touches and exciting for Syler.
We had breakfast at Chef Mickey in the hotel Friday morning. Syler was SO cute seeing Mickey mouse there! He could not stop staring at him through breakfast, which is a BIG deal because he did not eat as much as normal!
We headed to the park where we had no expectations or agendas. Just have fun and when we stop having fun, we come back to the hotel.
We read other families opinions who have done it both ways, Disney first, Disney last. And for us I am so thankful we did it with Syler. Seeing the magic of Disney through your 8 year old’s eyes is unforgettable. Disney is magical the first time for most kids, of course. But take a child from an orphanage and it is the sweetest thing. The first ride we went on he tried to give us change from his pocket, thinking it cost money to ride. To realize he could ride ANYTHING was priceless. The rides my kids are bored on typically, he was giddy over! I constantly had tears in my eyes and whiplash from tying to keep up with all he was pointing out!
My boy can also read a map. He studies it, leads us to things and knew exactly what he wanted to see. Space Mountain was at the top of his list. I guess it looked cool on the map. Now, you know that we are a thrill seeking family and our kids all love to ride rides. But I was just not sure about putting him on this! I asked the attendant to describe the ride in mandarin and Syler insisted he wanted to ride. We did child swap so we could both ride and take turns with Mercie.
Who by the way was CARRIED the entire day. How did I NOT lose weight on this trip??? Or maybe I did and it is now muscles showing up on my scale. Hmmm….
Mark and I decided the ride would either be REALLY good or really bad and at least we already knew a good therapist if needed! :-/
In true Laxton fashion Syler LOVED it and so we now know there are no worries with him fitting in just perfectly with the rest of his siblings!
This is a MUCH smaller park and if you try to compare it to Orlando, you would be disappointed. But we enjoyed that it was small for the kids. It was a bit more crowded than I expected so some of the lines were longer than I wanted to see. Our favorite ride was the Mine Train ride (can’t remember name).
Mercie enjoyed it about as much as any 2 year old does. She is terrified of characters, won’t sit on her own seat and by days end was done. But she did not seem traumatized by being there or anything and if she would have sat in a stroller it would have been great with her. One tantrum when she was dead tired, and it was not fun, but it was expected.
Syler did run off at lunch, EEK! Mark took him in line to order while I held a table for us. Mark came back with him and said he was about to order (after waiting in a long line) and Syler took off. So he left him with me, took Malaine with him and went back to the long line. Well Syler took off on ME. Who was at the table (which were hard to get) with the baby and all the stuff. I had just translated that he had to stay close. He looked at me and started inching away, glaring. All of a sudden he was gone, so I grabbed the baby, left the stuff hoping for the best and went to find him. I think he knew by the look on my face he was not going to be doing that again. That was the last time he has done that to us, so the pure terror on my face must really have worked. Or anger, they were both there!
We left the park and headed back to our hotel where we met up with Alex again and her kids. (you might remember she lived with us for a time in 2010) She was so sweet to even bring me a cake for my birthday, which was delicious!