sooooo...why? we are over here to adopt, not Play! come on, family--this isn't a vacation--why add to the time with places not even associated with the adoption?!
Well, last time, there wasn't really a choice. It was all set up in advance, through our agency. Very well guided tours through Beijing, showing us the history of the country and the major historical landmarks...Forbidden City, Tienanmen Square, the Great Wall...and we really enjoyed it all! Plus, it gave us a chance to recover from the jet lag without having to instantly care for a new little person. This time, I really wanted to show all of those same sights to the kiddos, but, being winter instead of summer, the temperature was very unpredicatable...looking like it could be down to 20s while we were there. And, while most of us have adapted fairly well to the colder, northeast weather, we certainly don't enjoy being out in it for very long! So, Beijing was out.
That left Hong Kong on the 'places we'd like to see in China that will most likely be warmer than Beijing' short list.
And that meant we'd be near HK Disneyland.
It was actually a difficult decision for us, since we knew we couldn't take Charlie. And it wasn't just because he wan't with us yet--because we could have done the Disneyland part at the end of our trip, before our flight home. It was because having been very few places other than the orphanage and his school (they are about 20 minutes apart via bus ride), plus having just acquired a family who doesn't speak his language...taking him to a theme park where he might not understand that the 'world' within was make believe is just not a great idea.
But that means all photos will show us as a family of 6. When, we are so excited to become a family of 7.
In the end, Disneyland won out. And I'm so glad it did!! It was such fun to see the differences between Disneyland and Walt Disney World. My favorite ride was the Mine Train/Big Thunder/Runaway thingy.
*warning* I am going to describe a couple of rides in this post. I am going to spoil a couple of surprises in the rides. Stop reading now if you want to be surprised when you visit HK Disneyland and ride them.
No, not it's official name, but the official name is not all that far from that! The train began much like Big Thunder, but did a dead end like Mt. Everest, then shot backwards on the track to a room with two bears playing with gun powder which they exploded--shooting the train forward again, faster this time and onto a different track. It took me by total surprise the first time, but I loved it the second ;)
Photos from the western area (I think it is called Frontierland as well) and in the queue for the ride:
The ride that was the most intriguing/different from any I'd experienced was the Haunted Mansion/Mr. Toad's/Indiana Jones thingy. Also not it's real name. Magnets were used in the technology to propel the vehicles ~ giving it a very smooth flow. They looked like Mr. Toad cars, but were in sets, like Roger Rabbit's, then paired with another set--so four car loads of guests at a time moved from scene to scene. The cars stopped at each scene and the objects in the room came to life. Some were very cool. Most were pretty creepy. I didn't quite understand the whole story line but it was something like this guy has a monkey for a friend and tells the monkey not to open a box (Pandoras?) that they found on an adventure. But his friend is a monkey. So, he opened the box. And it brings the other objects they have collected to life. Dislike the dart wall in Indiana Jones? me too. This has an entire room full of objects with holes in it. I ducked, just like I always do in Indy. but they outsmarted me. I didn't make it.
Photo of Mystic Manor (real name) exterior:
The entire park contains only 25 rides, but each area was elaborately decorated and felt much more spacious than Disneyland in Anaheim. Very open, like WDW, but with better decor.
Tomorrowland contained Space Mountain (very different, slower and lighter inside, easier to see the tracks--not actually a great thing!--better graphics, more 3-D planet sculptures vs. just projected graphics), Astro Orbitor type thingy (except the rockets were UFO discs! very cool!) and Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters (seemed to be the same) plus a planet water play area and photo op. oh, and speaking of photos...they would like you to pay for a good shot of yourself riding Space here.
Photos from Tomorrowland:
And now, I have decided to make this a 2-part post! It is quite long already, and I am tired, and I want to publish at least something today! So, goodnight...or rather Good Morning, to most of you!
In real time (not reflect-on-disney-day time) we had a great day today. Our consulate appt was this morning, so Jeff and I had to be up early with Charlie to get ready and have breakfast before the bus picked us up...we had our guide talk to Charlie last night about the importance of getting ready when mom and dad request so that we can make sure we get everything done that needs to be done to complete the adoption. I'm not sure if it was that, or daddy buying him a very awesome helicopter yesterday, or all of the amazing prayers and words of encouragement we have been receiving these last couple days (I'm thinking a combo but mainly the last) but it was our easiest and BEST morning with him so far :) <---that's a huge smile!!
so thank you, again. and I'll be back with part 2 of HK DL soon. or maybe I'll get distracted and never return. either way, I love you all.