Disneyland and the literary life

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August 28th 2010
Published: August 29th 2010
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Disneyland is one of those places in Hong Kong we were yet to explore, and as Georgia and Byron were growing to the age of fascination with the Disney characters, we decided it was time to address this omission.

Disneyland is about as far from Stanley as you can get in Hong Kong, so we travelled the 50km and camped out at the local Marriott hotel. It was a good choice - a relaxing meal, a swim, and then a five minute drive from the hotel to Disneyland. The kids were well rested and looking for fun, but they did not expect the excitement that is Disneyland. Byron was agape at the people, activity and wonderful scenes all around him. Georgia was taking it in and trying to spot her favourite characters, and her intermittent squeals of delight when Mickey Mouse was spotted, or Pluto, or Minnie, made the visit worthwhile. But even much more was in store.

We went straight to Fantasyland, and didn't move beyond its fantastic borders. It seemed to be four hours of highlights, with each minute bringing something new and exciting. Georgia loved the Cinderella Merry-go-round, which we went on twice, with Georgia riding the same horse both times - Cinderella's big black horse, according to Georgia. Georgia and Byron adore Dumbo, but Georgia wasn't keen on taking the airborne Dumbo ride. More fun for kids was the "Small World" boat ride, where scenes from around the world are populated by child mannequins singing "Its a small world after all ...". G & B were captivated.

But perhaps the best part in an afternoon of childhood pleasure, was seeing the Disney characters. Georgia and Byron had chats with Tigger, Pluto and Goofy. It couldn't have been a nicer experience for them, largely because the people in the Disney outfits couldn't have been kinder and more engaging with Georgia and Byron. All of them gave the kids big hugs and were wonderfully patient. Georgia and Byron were very excited, and Byron gave Goofy a big kiss on the nose.

At the end of the day we took two tired but happy kids back to the hotel. Luckily we had bought a yearly pass to Disneyland, for it seems we'll be returning there soon. It is clear to us that the afternoon was more than just an outing for Georgia and Byron. A few days later, Simone and I listened for five minutes while Georgia told her teddy bear about going to Disneyland and seeing Dumbo and meeting the others.

More prosaically, summer continues to be a wonderful time of swimming in the pool, sometimes accompanied by pizza and wine with our neighbours, Clemens, Jen and (appropriately named) Summer. There are also happy visits to Ocean Park, where the Pandas remain the star attractions for Georgia and Byron, and an occasional visit to my office, where Georgia and Byron playfully exploit their popularity with the Consulate staff. Sometimes we unleash Georgia and Byron at Pacific Place, an upmarket shopping complex with open spaces, their favourite book shop, and happily for Simone, sales at Zara.

Simone and I also celebrated another anniversary. We also hosted a farewell dinner for Christian, the French Deputy Consul-General, and his wife Brigitte - a wonderful couple whose company we have really enjoyed during our time in Hong Kong. Christian has been posted to Karachi as Consul-General, and will do a great job there.

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