Iya’s Third Birthday!

I have been waiting for years to take Iya to Disneyland for her 3rd birthday. I was excited and booked the flight, the Disney hotel, the Disney park tickets, and the city hotel as early as July. Planning the trip was my break from the research study that I had been busy with. I booked early to avail the original stay-two-day price in Disneyland Park before its increase in August. Iya has been a fan of Mickey Mouse before she could talk, has three Mickey Mouse stuffed toys, watches the Mickey Mouse clubhouse series almost daily, dances to the hotdog song, and regards herself as Minnie mouse – Mickey’s other half.
Night Before
Different versions of the Disneyland castle had been made but the latest one was before our trip while I was packing.
A Castle with a tree?

Day 1

Our flight is at 6:20am at NAIA Terminal 1. We were at the waiting area for a long time so to pass the time we amused ourselves looking at the baggage being loaded inside the plane. The plane left on time, we were served breakfast with orange juice and watched short haul videos in the plane.
Plane pictures with Iya intently watching videos from the Disney Channel.
We reached HK International Airport at 8:20am and we were shuttled to the Disney Hollywood Hotel at 9:30am. Disney Park opens at 10am so the lobby was full of families ready to leave. We left our bags and got our tickets, room keys, and assorted stickers from the front desk.
At the hotel lobby. They have a mini lobby for kids!
While waiting for the Shuttle
We got to the park through the shuttle service. The entrance hall is filled with familiar Disney tunes. The entrance to the park was different because it was decorated with Halloween pumpkins and the orange colored pumpkin face of Mickey Mouse.
We were hungry so we proceed directly to the Banquet Hall for lunch. It was still closed and will open at 11:30am so we tried the Winnie the Pooh ride first. I think Iya did not enjoy it that much because she is afraid of the dark but it was a really nice ride. No wonder they have a fast pass for that. We went to the banquet hall for lunch and we ate in the grand hall with sculptures of the Disney princes and princesses. Iya insisted on the gelatin Mickey and we all got my favorite orange juice.

Family Pic

After lunch we rode the carousel, watched the Philharmagic, the small world, and the golden Mickeys. We enjoyed all the shows. Iya even got a handshake from Goofy while parading down the aisle for the Golden Mickey performance. I guess we were all starstrucked and had the goofy smile on.

After the shows we lined up along the Main Street USA for the parade. Nanay squeezed a little shopping in between while I did a little window shopping tee hee! The parade was amazing! The floats were all grand and beautiful. Each has its own special feature like blowing bubbles, animated characters and jumping performers. The costumes were colorful and the music fun. Almost all the band members and most of the performers were talented Filipinos. Aside from the parade, I was looking at the details of the building façade along the street. I was really curious as to how they keep them looking as if it just opened yesterday. They have an excellent maintenance plan. This was demonstrated as soon as the crowd dispersed because the cleaning staff was already there cleaning up the mess.
After the parade we headed to the exit to freshen up before the fireworks. But we were sidetracked by the train going around the park. Iya fell asleep within minutes!
When we got back to the hotel, we rested for a few hours and got ready for dinner in Café Mickey. It was Iya’s birthday and we wanted to celebrate with a hotel dinner. The buffet was really expensive because of the customized Mickey food. Even the pasta noodles have faces of Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, and Donald. Nanay and Tatay enjoyed the lobsters while both Iya and I enjoyed the desserts. We ate all the strawberries until we were about to burst. I ask Iya to find all the hidden mickeys in the restaurant because there is not a single view without one. The chairs, the floor, the formation of the circle lamps, the food are detailed to form the infamous logo.
Birthday Dinner
My minnie mouse!

We went to watch the fireworks at 8pm. The park is different with sounds from Nightmare before Christmas and the buildings reflect ghosts. We were disappointed to see the crowd already positioned when we got there. We vowed to be earlier the second day. Since the park hours were extended to 11pm, we went to see the small world again at night with Tatay. Henry and I went and tried the river cruise and found it a better at night. After that we went back to the hotel. Zombies were scattered everywhere and luckily Iya was sleepy and was not disturbed by the monsters.

With Lolo and Lola
Small World at Night

Day 2

We got up about 8am to do the morning rituals. Took a few pictures, and then proceed to checkout. We bought trinkets in the hotel giftshop. Iya got an RC club car there for her birthday gift. I got my own advance birthday present from Nanay too! Hahaha a Dooney and Burke Mickey bag. That morning we decided to take our time strolling around the park. We saw the pool and Iya played in the playground. It was her first time to slide alone! I let her run around because it was safe. The flooring was made of rubber even if it looks like stone pavers. After convincing her to leave, which was really hard, we took pictures with the famous Hollywood sign. Then we had lunch at the hotel diner and were again surrounded by Mickey food! We bought noodles, potato salad, fruits, and orange juice. The place was relaxed and better than the park. After lunch she played in the hotel playhouse. It was filled with wood toys and again it took us a while before we left. There were also drawings of characters that you can choose and ask for to color but she only did that for a short time. She was more interested with the kitchen and cooking stuff. The toys are all so cute! I want to take them home!
Hotel room
Playground
Hotel Park
Mickey Diner
Play place 🙂

We went to the park at 2:30pm and explored the Main Street USA shops while waiting for the afternoon parade. Henry took pictures while we just enjoyed it the second time.  Iya fell asleep on the stroller and we ate Mickey Ice cream on a stick. After the parade we headed to the Festival of the Lion King. The show was at 5:15 pm so I asked Nanay and Tatay to watch Iya so Henry and I can see the Haunted Hotel. It was my first time to go inside a Haunted Hotel or House so I was a little apprehensive which is really so dorky. While we were waiting in line, there was a child in front of us that went outside immediately and I was thinking that I might do that too! It was scary but I was with Henry and he was discussing the technical details of some of the props. I love how he thinks! I was relieved that the exit sign was almost there. It was really scary especially if you are in front of the group. I realized that the performers in the Haunted Hotel were the ones we saw the night before scaring people along the Main Street.

with Lolo and Lola
Adventureland stroll

The Festival of the Lion King production is just a short production taken from the movie and the broadway play but it is nonetheless entertaining. The singers are really good and we can’t help but clap after each song. Even Iya clapped with us. We all enjoyed it, even Tatay who usually sleeps watching an action movie!

Festival of the Lion King show
 We went to have our picture taken with Minnie Mouse dressed in her orange Halloween costume. She ran and took Minnie’s hand. We all joined after her picture.
Minnie Mouse and Minnie Me
Cheese!!
She rode the carousel again and asked us if she could ride Dumbo the Flying Elephant. I was with her and Henry told me I could play with the toggle switch if I wanted our elephant to go up or down. Being curious I did meddle with the switch and we were taken at the highest level, I got scared and said “ayoko na! baka mahulog ako!”, Iya replied “Nanay nakaseatbelt ka naman eh, tsaka tingnan mo umiikot lang tayo”. But honestly I did get a little scared because of the height. Luckily Iya’s not like me!
Carousel Ride

We watched the Halloween parade after the Dumbo ride. We saw the villains of Disney and Jack Skellington. The floats were almost as grand as the Flights of Fantasy Parade. We were glad we did not miss it. After that we positioned ourselves to get a good spot for the Tinkerbel Illumination and the fireworks so Nanay bought us food and ate like we were having a picnic.

After the fireworks we got to see the Art of Animation museum before heading to the hotel. We were picked up shortly after arriving and we were transported to our city hotel. Goodbye Mickeys!
Day 3
We got up early for the city day tour. It was not unusual, we just got to see the Avenue of the Stars, a jewelry factory, a chocolate factory, the pier, and one of the peak view. It was a little disappointing but the tour guide was really friendly and was very kind to Iya, giving her marshmallows from the start to the end of the trip. We had lunch in Café de Coral, which is their HK version of Mcdonalds with rice. We shopped within the shopping district for Nanay’s pasalubong.
Day tour

That night we prepared to meet Jing and Dang. I made Iya a bubble bath and she played in the tub until she got crinkly. We met Jing and Dang at the lobby and we took the train and the tram to eat in a Thai Restaurant. We were also joined by Frank so it was a TFA moment then. Iya and I were coloring her book we bought from the streets of Kowloon with Alphabets and Chinese writing. After dinner we drank Hong Kong’s Milk Tea Gong Cha. The girls’ favorite! We had a good time catching up and teasing Jing and Dang to have their own Iya.

With Jing, Dang, and Frank
Tom YUM dinner!

Day 4

Day 4 is just shopping day. We had a difficult check out which is a whole different story. We had lunch in Harbour City where all the high end shops are found. Tatay left something in Harbour City and Harbour City also gave him something back. I bought my shirts in the nearby mall. Ate Ben and Jerry’s icecream and walked around the area.

We went to the airport at around 5pm and ate dinner.. Iya entertained the passengers with her stories while waiting for the plane.

HK airport
Waiting for departure

Until the next trip!

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