Planning a Hong Kong Disneyland vacation is easier than you think – just follow these steps!
NOTE: These steps work in any order. If Step 3 is the most important for you, then move Step 4 to the top. If Step 3 is more important than Step 2, swap them. This is a plug and play step-by-step guide. So…here we go!
Step 1: Choose Your Travel Buddies
Disney Park Nerds love going on a Hong Kong Disneyland vacation and traveling to Disney parks with (and sometimes without) the Nerdlings. You can read our review here. On occasion, grand-parents and other family/friends may be invited. Generally, though, we choose the “core” group first and invite people once the other steps have been completed.
Once you’ve figured out which folks are worth planning around, it’s time to…
Step 2: Select Dates
Date selection, perhaps more than anything else, will have the biggest impact on your Hong Kong Disneyland vacation. The Disney Park Nerds will go to great lengths to avoid crowds; this is the top priority for us when planning a trip to a Disney park and we will face wind, sleet and snow. An added bonus is that this typically comes with lower prices.
Of course, gather the availability of those with whom you plan to travel. From there, we always start off by considering local holidays. That’s right – we are more focused on the holidays for locals who will visit the park than our own holidays!
A quick google search yields a handful of holidays here. We will often verify the holidays on a couple of sites to ensure nothing was missed. If you MUST travel during one of these holidays, we recommend doing everything you can to not visit Hong Kong Disneyland on the actual holiday. Google a couple of images of crowds and then look at pictures from our article on the beauty of avoiding crowds!
Hotel prices are often a great indicator of crowd levels when planning a Hong Kong Disneyland vacation. A quick view of the Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel reservation site has some very useful information.Play around with dates and look for significant changes in pricing and package inclusions. These, for example, include park tickets. Lower prices are an indicator that you can expect fewer crowds. Disney is good at a lot of things and predicting crowds – and charging appropriately – is one of their best skills!
For some, a Hong Kong Disneyland vacation is incomplete if the park is not decorated for Halloween or Christmas. Perhaps there is a festival or other special event. It’s also a good idea to reference rides that are scheduled to be close for refurbishment (official refurbishment schedule is a little wonky in the age of COVID and essentially requires you check what is scheduled for closure on the dates of your visit) to ensure you and your travel party do not miss a “must see”. Some resorts, like the Tokyo Disney Resort often post their refurbishment schedule as much as 6 months in advance.Here is an example of what what you can find on the official Hong Kong Disneyland calendar indicating what is scheduled to be closed.
Other Disney parks, like the Walt Disney World Resort, provide this list in conjunction with their calendar – generally 2 or 3 months in advance. In either case, be sure to keep monitoring this list up until your vacation so your expectations are properly set upon arrival.
Crowds are one element of date selection as they impact your enjoyment of the parks and the price you will pay for flights, lodging, tickets, etc. Another crucial element of when to travel is weather.
The Hong Kong Disneyland Resort is located on Lantau Island in the South China Sea. The weather shocked the Nerds on our first trip! We found Hong Kong – specifically the Hong Kong Disneyland Resort – the be humid and wet. In fact, it felt like we were in Hawaii during our first visit in November. Even the rain was warm! Other times in the winter, including deep into February, the weather was wet and cool but still excellent for theme parking (we would have preferred a little less rain).
Parkas are a must any time and the summer months can be hot and muggy. Like many aspects of planning a Hong Kong Disneyland vacation, weather can have a huge impact on any trip. We Nerds prefer it cool (maybe not quite “cold”) for theme park touring and mild is where it’s at….and there are plenty of options for mild weather in Hong Kong.
Like any vacation, grab your favorite weather app or web page and take a look at expected weather for the dates you are considering.As weather.com shows, the Hong Kong climate is tropical. The Nerds enjoy visiting from October to March for the optimal theme parking weather…less rain and comfortable temperatures.
Using this information, we generally piece together a date range of options. Sometimes, the dates fit snuggly and the dates are the dates. Other times, there is a range and we let the price or availability of transportation and/or the hotels break the tie. So, now we are on to…
Step 3: Lock Down Flights
Flying to Hong Kong can feel intimidating and a site aggregator like Kayak is often a great way to gain quick insight into your options. Furthermore, Kayak can provide prices for a number of dates AND allows you to select multiple airports; so you can pick schedule or price, based on importance. If the ticket prices are out of your range, check out travel sites like The Points Guy and learn how using the right credit cards for every day expenses (and some great sign-on bonuses!) could lead to free flights…possibly even in a premium cabin.
Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) has regular service from the USA, including non-stops from some major airports (especially on the west coast).This screen shot from Kayak shows a multitude of options and allows you to sort by quickest, cheapest and more.
Next up is securing transportation. Although you could arrange public transportation, our very strong recommendation is that you schedule car service from the airport to your hotel. We discuss this experience in depth in our Hong Kong Disneyland article Getting There! Although it will feel like a bit of a splurge, walking out of an unfamiliar international airport, bleary-eyed after hours of travel and trying to find your way around (or worse – arriving on a delayed flight and the public transportation options are no longer available…been there) is no fun.
Okay, stepping off of our Nerdy soapbox about transportation. Hong Kong Disneyland has an official page dedicated to getting to the Resort – and it’s a “must study”.
Step 4: Select Your Hotel
Choosing the right hotel will have an impact on your Hong Kong Disneyland vacation. Things to consider are cost including parking and resort fees, distance from the parks and travel time, size, and bed configuration. Then, there is the whole “on property” vs “off property” discussion – generally surrounding each item mentioned above.
As a general rule, we are fans of staying on Disney property whenever feasible because we think it is a more seamless Hong Kong Disneyland vacation – and the hotels and resort property are beautiful. The official hotels of the Hong Kong Disneyland Resort are pretty affordable, especially by Disney standards. Rooms can be booked from +/- $175 to +/- $250 during less crowded times. As we discussed, prices fluctuate based on holidays and expected crowd levels.
Hotels of the Hong Kong Disneyland Resort all fall into different levels of “deluxe” and are all right next to each other. Unlike other Disney resorts, “on property” hotel selection is not particularly overwhelming when planning a Hong Kong Disneyland vacation!
There are three Disney-branded hotels with a variety of rooms, views and dining options. Here they are in order from closest to furthest from Hong Kong Disneyland:
- Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel – just over a half mile (10 min)
- Disney Explorers Lodge – just under a mile (18 min)
- Disney’s Hollywood Hotel – about a mile (19 min)
All three hotels are terrific. Our favorite is the Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel (you can read our review here) because of its timeless Victorian theming and proximity to the park. The walk to Hong Kong Disneyland is peaceful, serene and “other-worldly” so close to a theme park. The Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel and Disney’s Hollywood Hotel both opened in 2005 when the park debuted. Disney Explorers Lodge is the newest hotel having opened in 2017.
Given Hong Kong Disneyland’s unique-for-any-Disney-theme-park operating hours, staying “off property” and commuting to the park is quite reasonable. In fact, the park generally opens around 10:30am (no! we are not kidding) and the commute time on the metro (MTR) is less than 30 minutes from Hong Kong.
Upon arrival, you’ll find the Hong Kong Disneyland metro station is just a few hundred yards from the park’s turnstiles and is even closer than where the resort busses drop off guests. Next to the original Disneyland in Anaheim, Hong Kong Disneyland is the easiest “commute” park in the Disney arsenal.
Once you have honed in on your hotel selection, don’t book it just yet. Next, let’s…
Step 5: Select Your Tickets
Before actually purchasing tickets, we need to figure out our travel plan. Here is the critical question:
- How many days do you have dedicated to visit parks?
The Disney Park Nerds think two days is the sweet spot for a Hong Kong Disneyland vacation. The park is small and intimate and although it can easily be done in a day, two days makes the entire experience a relaxing (that’s right, we said relaxing) experience, especially in the off-season. You can read all about it in our article Hong Kong Disneyland: 1 and 2-day Itineraries as well as some time savings tips and tricks here.
Although there have traditionally been some approved retailers where you can purchase tickets, sometimes at a small discount, the Nerds feel the extra few dollars is warranted for peace of mind when traveling internationally. Plus, many Hong Kong Disneyland Resort hotel packages include tickets.
Step 6 (optional): Quick Price Comparisons
Armed with your travel companions, dates, transportation plans, hotel, tickets/days in each park schedule, we’d recommend a quick price check (Blue Light Special on Aisle 5?). Sketch out the costs of booking a la carte vs. a package. We discuss how Disney vacation packages can sometimes be quite a bit more expensive without much benefit in our Easy Disney World Vacation Tip #1 – Packages vs a la Carte article. With a Hong Kong Disneyland vacation, there are generally some good values available when booking direct. Sometimes a package looks good and sometimes the package is a significant premium, but it’s worth a few minutes checking out the Hong Kong Disneyland Resort vacation packages.
Step 7: Make Your Hong Kong Disneyland Vacation Purchases and Prepare for Once-in-a-Lifetime Fun!
Hopefully, you have enough information to get the details mapped out for your Hong Kong Disneyland vacation. It’s time to click “check-out” on your cart and let the moment sink in….you’re going on a HONG KONG DISNEYLAND VACATION!!