A magical adventure

A magical adventure

The world of Arendelle and beloved characters from Frozen come to life at Hong Kong Disneyland

TRAVEL
A magical adventure
World of Frozen is the latest addition to Hong Kong Disneyland Resort. Photo © Hong Kong Disneyland Resort

Amid winter winds and brilliant sunshine, stunning arrangements of familiar songs and a huge festive banner hanging from a tunnel welcome visitors to the World of Frozen where two beloved characters, Elsa and Anna, come to life.

Inspired by Disney's Frozen and Frozen 2, this theme land recently debuted as the newest addition to Hong Kong Disneyland Resort. To create a new immersive experience for people of all ages, the Summer Snow Day celebration commemorates the day when Anna fearlessly sacrificed all to save her loving sister Elsa and the Arendelle kingdom from the merciless Prince Hans. It stands for genuine affection.

"The Frozen franchise is one of the most successful in Disney history and it's a testament to the power of great storytelling, which is the foundation of the Walt Disney Company. It's been this way for 100 years, and our commitment to storytelling and creativity will continue to define our next 100," said Robert Iger, chief executive officer of the Walt Disney Company.

This brand-new theme land was conceptualised seven years ago by Michel den Dulk, executive creative director at Walt Disney Imagineering, using cutting-edge technology, world-class expertise, beautiful craftsmanship and entrancing music to transport visitors to a fanciful and enchanting world.

Lantau Island's lush surroundings gives visitors the sense they are standing in the heart of the Arendelle kingdom, which was influenced by the town of Bergen and the Balestrand village of Norway in the mid-19th century, representing a harmonious blend of East and West architectural styles.

"We could not have dreamt that one day, we would have the opportunity to walk through and experience the kingdom of Arendelle as we all are today. I stand here -- representing all of our artists who have worked together to create the Frozen films -- inspired and amazed," said Jennifer Lee, chief creative officer of Walt Disney Animation Studios and Oscar-winning writer/ director of Frozen and Frozen 2.

After passing the entrance, visitors reach the King Agnarr Bridge, which was named after the father of the royal sisters. It connects a lively Norwegian hamlet and verdant forest, making it one of the greatest places to admire a panoramic view of enchanting Arendelle.

Our journey begins at Arendelle Village, where the Friendship Foundation was created to recognise the eternal love of two princesses, as seen in the film Olaf's Frozen Adventure. Every night, Frozen music is played in the background and the fountain is lit up with 13 different effects as Elsa uses her Ice Magic to transform the water into a stunning snowflake-like sculpture in honour of Summer Snow Day.

Taking it a step further, a collection of classic Dragestil-style houses with colourful walls and steep roofs perfectly capture the spirit of rustic Norwegian architecture and Victorian elegance, giving us the impression that we are about to immerse ourselves in the fantastical world of the Frozen 2 movie.

The Bay of Arendelle and Bayside Wharf. Photo: Pattarawadee Saengmanee

With shops and a dining alfresco area, Bayside Wharf offers visitors a place to unwind and take in breathtaking vistas of Arendelle Harbor. A small rowboat and two larger boats are moored to illustrate a romantic scene in the Frozen film when Anna falls in love with Prince Hans at first sight.

The shops and ports are adorned with sacks, boxes and barrels, signifying nautical trade; specific locations from Frozen mythology including the Seven Isles, Weselton, Chatho, Snoob and Zaria are listed on their labels.

Once the residence of the royal family in more joyous times, Arendelle Castle rises up at the other end of the fjord surrounded by stunning mountainous landscapes. It draws inspiration from 12th-century stave churches which fuse Celtic art, Viking culture and Roman spatial design.

Elsa also creates frosty details with her Ice Magic such as a snowflake on the spire and ornamental finials. The castle is illuminated at night to symbolise the royal family's defence of Arendelle. During the day, visitors may join a gathering of townsfolk in the streets to sing and dance as the Royal Arendellian Troubadours perform well-known songs.

In addition, the royal family has sent the Royal Arendellian Conjurer to tour the town, captivating the crowd with amazing magic shows and telling the legendary tale of Anna and Elsa. While roaming around Clock Tower Square, visitors may have a chance to meet and greet much-loved characters like Anna, Elsa, Kristoff and Oaken.

Beloved characters come to life at World of Frozen. Photo: Henry.W

Toymakers Thea and Björn of Tick Tock Toys & Collectibles fashioned two wooden glockenspiel sculptures of Anna and Elsa to put in the clock tower in honour of Summer Snow Day. It brings up sweet memories of Elsa's Making Today A Perfect Day performance on top of the clock tower in Frozen Fever and Anna and Prince Hans' dancing while singing Love Is An Open Door in Frozen. At Clock Tower Square, our exciting journey continues with a boat voyage on the Frozen Ever After to discover the magnificent Ice Palace which Elsa created with her magic as her home on the North Mountain. At the Royal Dock, we go on a boat and head through a snowy forest, passing by a small glacial canal where Olaf and Sven the reindeer serenade guests with a rendition of the hit song Do You Want To Build A Snowman?.

Upon arriving at Troll Valley, we find Pabbie Troll amusing a group of juvenile trolls by narrating their beloved fairy tales. As the boat ascends, seemingly drawn by Elsa's enchantment, we can make out the Ice Palace from a distance as the chorus of Arendelle starts singing the song Vuelie.

Then, as we pass through a cave beneath the Ice Palace and climb to the peak of North Mountain, Elsa crafts a gigantic sparkling snowflake, and Anna and Kristoff perform their own version of For The First Time In Forever to greet guests. Elsa appears on a balcony, singing Let It Go and displaying her magic as the Ice Palace doors open.

After leaving the palace, the boat sails through a hazy portal and emerges on top of a snow-capped mountain crest. There, we encounter a giant Marshmallow and other smiling Snowgies waiting to send us on our way before the boat plunges down to the Bay of Arendelle.

Then we make our way into Arendelle Forest and stop at Playhouse in the Woods. It was constructed by Anna and Elsa's parents so that she could freely utilise her magic in the middle of the jungle. The musical show makes use of projection-mapped content, special effects and sensory elements to create an immersive experience.

Frozen Ever After is a fun boat ride to explore the Ice Palace. Photo: Graham Uden

Close to the Playhouse, our next visit is Wandering Oaken's Sliding Sleighs, which is behind Trading Post. Oaken teamed up with Olaf and Sven the reindeer to build a roller coaster that resembles a sleigh and can carry passengers all the way to the top of the mountain.

While strolling through Trading Post, visitors can observe how Oaken has transformed his store into a summer treasure trove before leaping onto a sleigh at the loading zone. Sven hops on a track lift with Olaf and carries our sleigh at top speed, making it seem like it's whirling on a treadmill.

The sleighs ascend and dive into the surrounding forest, racing over hills, into caverns and across fjords. However, I have to admit it passes pretty swiftly.

To recharge our batteries, we take a break at the Golden Crocus Inn where we enjoy delectable Norwegian cuisine in a nostalgic atmosphere. The innkeeper's famous braised lamb shank, woodland mushroom pasta, bayside seafood and village chicken rolls loaded with ham and cheese are among recommended dishes. They are all served with rosettes and a soft drink or water.

After departing the Arendelle kingdom, we stroll down the ornamented Main Street USA and a happy mood is created by the glistening Christmas lights, bells and garlands. The big Christmas tree is a popular picturesque backdrop for visitors to capture their delightful memories.

Arendelle Village. Pattarawadee Saengmanee

A little distance away, the Mickey And Friends Christmas Time Ball show takes to the stage and cheers us up. Together with their friends Chip 'n' Dale, Donald Duck, Daisy Duck, Goofy and Pluto, Mickey and Minnie Mouse are having a song and dance. Duffy also calls on his friends ShellieMay, StellaLou, CookieAnn and LinaBell to lift the spirits of patrons.

A stay at Disney Explorers Lodge with the World of Frozen In Room Celebration package brings our journey to a close. At a price of HKD599 (2,700 baht) for reservations made until Nov 19 next year, guests will receive a door decoration, amenity pouch and a family set of slippers as gifts.

For more details, visit hongkongdisneyland.com.

 

The Friendship Foundation was created to honour the eternal love of Anna and Elsa. Pattarawadee Saengmanee

Visitors to the Playhouse in the Woods can see how Elsa performs her Ice Magic. Photo © Hong Kong Disneyland Resort

Villagers gather in the streets to sing and dance on Summer Snow Day. Pattarawadee Saengmanee

Frozen Ever After is a fun boat ride to explore the Ice Palace. Pattarawadee Saengmanee

Oaken's Sliding Sleighs. Pattarawadee Saengmanee

The King Agnarr Bridge links Arendelle Village and Arendelle Forest. Pattarawadee Saengmanee

The Golden Crocus Inn offers a selection of tempting Norwegian delicacies. Photo: Graham Uden

Hong Kong Disneyland Resort is trimmed with Christmas décor to create a festive environment. Photos: Pattarawadee Saengmanee

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