Friday, 29 November 2013

Hong Kong Disneyland (Alissa and Don Eat Asia Day 5, Part 1)

Friday was Alissa's day. When we first started looking at different places in Hong Kong, a very excited Alissa exclaimed with joy when she saw something she absolutely had to do - DISNEYLAND!

While we were here I thought we might as well try the food at Crystal Lotus, an award winning dim sum restaurant located within the Disneyland Hotel that specialised in Disney character dim sum if you book 48 hours prior. In the end however, we decided against eat there due to a number of factors.

Unlike a lot of other restaurants in Hong Kong, Crystal Lotus was very difficult to contact. I wrote to the hotel (it is located just outside Disneyland at their hotel) while we were in Australia and was given a number to call, and I was not going to waste my money on an international call just for that. When we got to Hong Kong I made a call from a pay phone in Central to try and make a booking, and when I asked about the character dim sum I was told the restaurant would give me a call to confirm... except of course that the only way to confirm this was for me to turn my phone on to roaming and then accept the charges when they called me. There seemed no escape from having to pay a pricey international call just to get a booking. If this was the Fat Duck or Momofuku or Sushi Jiro I'd jump through hoops, but for somewhere nowhere near as special this is really poor given that every other place I'd contacted was able to accommodate me via email. In the end they lost our business for it.

So we ended up having a less exciting meal at Disneyland. Of course, one doesn't go to Disneyland for the food, but here is a snapshot of what we ate that day:

After making it our mission to get to the excellent Grizzly Gulch Rollercoaster for the opening to avoid the queues and having the 'is that all?' experience of Tarzan's Treehouse, Alissa and I snacked on ice confectionery of Frozen Blackcurrant Jelly & Mango Sherbet (I think they mean Sherbet in the American sense of the word, ie sorbet). Nice, mass produced sugary treats full of fake flavour goodness!

For Lunch we were going to try another dim sum place that is actually within the park, however the queues were outrageously long. Most of the better places had long queues so we ended up at the future themed Starliner Diner in Tomorrowland. I ordered the deluxe looking hot dog, which was unfortunately served to me at too cold a temperature to fully enjoy. The fries on the other hand were pretty decent with the drink being pretty ordinary. About as disappointing as queuing for 50 minutes to get on the boring Winnie the Pooh ride.

Alissa's order was the enormous Starliner Burger with the 'surprise drink'. The burger was actually pretty good; a fairly tasty beef, cheese and vege burger it its own right with the patty tasting juicy and with good fat content.

The drink was an interesting clear peach fizz of some variety being sold as a space drink, complete with light up ice cubes. This was tastier than my generic drink, featuring excellent bursts of artificial flavour in a suspiciously transparent form. Overall, the more satisfying order.

After going through Space Mountain and joining Buzz Lightyear in a battle against Zurg we went to visit It's A Small World in honour of my Uncle Keiron, who does an fantastic impersonation of the slightly creepy dancing dolls. The It's A Small World song is a particularly nostalgic song for me, as while most kids in Australia had a neighbourhood ice cream van that played Greensleeves, ours played Its A Small World. As such, I always associate the song with ice cream and conveniently there was an ice cream stall at the end of the ride! Having already eaten mango in the morning I ordered a scoop of chocolate and a scoop of strawberry, while Alissa had mango and strawberry. The chocolate and the mango were okay, with the mango edging ahead as the better of the two. We both agreed that the strawberry on the other hand was quite a good strawberry ice cream, very flavourful and tasting very fruity.

The Verdict: Okay
Eating at Disneyland was never going to be as good as a fine dining experience, or a really good street stall for that matter. The food very much appealed to the palate of small children – high in sugar and fake flavours, with the fake peach and the strawberry ice cream being highlights. The burger was surprisingly good but my not so hot hot dog was a disappointment. I mean, at the very least a hot dog should be hot, right? Needless to say, I wouldn't recommend heading to Disneyland just to eat, but if you're there I would suggest heading to the dim sum restaurant within the park before it opens so you can beat the queue and have a (presumably) better meal than what we had.

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