If you are planning to bring your kids to Disneyland, the nearest one from Singapore would be Hong Kong Disneyland. The amusement park spans 27.5 hectares and first opened its door to the public in 2005. I have been there with my family three times and my son Asher enjoys his visit each and every time. To get the best Disneyland experience at the park, here are some useful tips to take note of.

1. First thing to do in the park – queue for free FastPasses

The biggest complain when visiting amusement park is always the long queues for rides. As such, make sure you arrive at the park early and head off to get FastPasses immediately.

FastPasses are passes issued in advance for selected attractions for you to return within specific time frames without having to waste long hours queuing. These are valid only on the day of issue and are FREE. You can get them with no extra charges if you queue early for them.

FastPass attractions include:

FastPass queue on one side and stand-by entrance the other

FastPass queue on one side and stand-by entrance the other

How FastPass works: See if there is a FastPass distribution sign near the entrance of the attraction you want to ride. You can also check the Guide Map. Look at the return time displayed on the sign. If the return time works for you, scan your valid park admission ticket at the FastPass machine. The machine will generate a FastPass ticket printed with your return time. Return to the FastPass return entrance at your return time, show your FastPass ticket to the cast member at the attraction and enjoy a minimal wait in line.

The long queue at Hyperspace Mountain if you don't get a FastPass

The long queue at Hyperspace Mountain if you don’t get a FastPass

2. Leave your stroller at home and rent one for HKD$120

Hong Kong Disneyland stroller

Hong Kong Disneyland stroller

For those with young kids and who do not like to travel with bulky strollers, stroller rental is available at Hong Kong Disneyland at HKD$120 (~SGD$21) per day per stroller.

The stroller with rain cover

The stroller with rain cover

To rent a stroller for use in the park only, visit the inside of the old-time firehouse next to City Hall, Main Street U.S.A. Rain covers come with strollers during forecasted rainy days. The maximum weight for a child seated in a stroller is 27 kg (60 lbs). The daily fee is HK$120 A refundable deposit of HK$100 per day is required. To redeem your deposit, you must return your stroller by the end of the day, during regular park hours; with a valid rental ticket to the location it was rented.

3. Free WiFi in Hong Kong Disneyland

Crystal Lotus restaurant at Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel

Crystal Lotus restaurant at Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel

You really shouldn’t be spending too much time on your smartphone instead of enjoying yourself at the physical attractions in the park, but if you really need to go online, free WiFi is available at the Hong Kong Disneyland restaurants and the lobbies of the hotels. You can head there for WiFi when you really need it.

4. Bring a water bottle to save on buying bottled water

If you are an environmentalist who do not like to buy bottled water or just looking to save money, there are various water points through the park for you to drink water from the tap or to top up your own water bottle.

5. Lots of opportunities to buy those Hong Kong Disneyland souvenirs (and not just within the park)

Most Hong Kong Disneyland souvenirs are available not just in the theme park, but at the two hotels and at the airport too. Prices are all the same. Hence cool down when you visit the first souvenir store and hold your wallet till you have decided what you really want versus buying too much on impulse.

Make your own Light Saber

There are some souvenirs which are exclusive like the experience of getting to customise your own Star Wars Light Saber at the Space Traders gift shop in Tomorrowland.

6. Kids love these attractions

“it’s a small world” boat ride

My family and I have the good fortune to try just about all the rides in Hong Kong Disneyland with FastPasses and careful planning. If you are interested in just the attractions which kids would enjoy, other than the FastPass attractions like The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh ride, our recommendation would be to go for the “it’s a small word” (short and fast queue); Mickey’s PhilHarMagic (3D cinematic experience with sensory triggers); Mystic Manor (Hong Kong Disneyland exclusive); Slinky Dog Spin (toddler friendly ride); and Festival of the Lion King (30 minutes musical with live cast).

Mickey’s PhilHarMagic

The toddler friendly Slinky Dog Spin

The toddler friendly Slinky Dog Spin

Festival of the Lion King

7. Hong Kong Disneyland is really kid friendly

There are plenty of rides and activities for kids at the park which are kid and toddler friendly. You can also leave your kid’s cutlery and baby food at home as the restaurants all provide kids’ meals, baby chairs and wares. Shuttle bus service is provided from the two hotels to the theme park; there’s storage room for luggage and baby stroller if you brought one along. Baby cots and wash basins are available in the hotel rooms.

The park really tries to make it as easy as possible for family with young kids to have a great time at the park without having to worry about the little stuff.

8. Don’t miss the two daily parades

There are two main parades which you don’t want to miss – the “Flights of Fantasy Parade” at 4pm and the “Disney Paint the Night Nighttime Spectacular” night parade at 8pm. Get to meet your favourite Disney characters such as the Toy Story gang; the cast from Cars; the various Disney princesses like Elsa and Ariel; and of course, Mickey Mouse and his friends.

Night parade

Flights of Fantasy parade in the day

Flights of Fantasy parade in the day

9. Themed dining at Hong Kong Disneyland

Foodies won’t want to miss the chance to either dine together with their favourite Disney characters or to eat food which are shaped like them – whichever you fancy.

Disney character dim sum items at Crystal Lotus

Disney character dim sum items at Crystal Lotus

Disney character dining is available at the various restaurants at the two hotels in Hong Kong Disneyland. The Disney characters will make appearance while you enjoy your meals to take photos and mingle with the guests.

Disney character dining

Disney character dining

10. Bring extra clothes for wet activities

Kids like to get wet especially when the weather is scorching hot during the summer. The Wild Wet area at Grizzly Gulch is perfect for wet and fun play. There are also a few attractions in the park whereby you can get a little wet from the boat rides or water sprinklings. Hence bringing along a change of clothes for your little ones is always a good idea.

Wild Wet at Grizzly Gulch where kids can get wild and wet

Wild Wet at Grizzly Gulch where kids can get wild and wet

11. Check out the Star Wars specials

Star Wars fans will totally love this. Launched in 2016, the Star Wars additions to the theme park came just in time with Disney taking over the Star Wars movie franchise, reigniting interest for the series once again. If you are feeling all nostalgic and want to experience the Star Wars universe in real-life, head down to Hong Kong Disneyland for an intimate experience.

Highlights include the Star Wars Hyperspace Mountain ride, Star Wars themed F&B and collectibles, as well as a Jedi training programme for the little ones. Details.

For more information about ticketing and how to get to Hong Kong Disneyland, visit the official website.