Disneyesque China

This item appears on page 35 of the April 2010 issue.
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On a trip to China with Grand Circle Travel, Nov. 12-Dec. 2, 2009, my wife, Anne, and I didn’t visit Hong Kong Disneyland. However, we saw a number of attractions that reminded us of Disney, some of which out-Disneyed Disney.

Top of the list has to be the Hong Kong Symphony of Lights, a show in which colored lights of the buildings on both sides of Victoria Harbour are coordinated to form patterns, pictures and words, all accompanied by symphonic music.

The “Guinness Book of World Records” has named this show the world’s largest permanent sound-and-light show. Think of Epcot’s laser show and multiply it by about 1,000. It is presented nightly free of charge.

The nightly light and music show at the Big Wild Goose Pagoda in Xi’an is another “must see.” Among the many records it holds, it has the biggest fountain and waterscape square in Asia, and the Tang Dynasty Arts Museum, on 2,910 square meters of land near the pagoda, has the largest exhibit of Tang Dynasty culture.

The most quaint Disney-like experience we had was on the Daning River, one of the main tributaries of the Yangtze. We cruised the Daning on a sampan in 2002 and were able to pick up rocks on the shore at one stop. Not so today! With the filling of the Three Gorges Reservoir, the water surface of the Daning River has become broader and more tranquil. Also, there are now riverside resorts available for visitors to enjoy.

We boarded small, willow-shaped wooden boats for a Disney-like excursion; think “Jungle Boat Cruise.” The boatman up front wore a fur hat and fur “feathers,” and along the way there was a horn player on one of the cliffs and a boat with singers (four of them) as we went around one bend. All boat riders could pose in a boatman’s costume. The boatman serenaded us as did the tour guide, who also pitched books and videos of the trips.

JACK DINI
Livermore, CA

Please login or subscribe to ITN to read the entire post.

On a trip to China with Grand Circle Travel, Nov. 12-Dec. 2, 2009, my wife, Anne, and I didn’t visit Hong Kong Disneyland. However, we saw a number of attractions that reminded us of Disney, some of which out-Disneyed Disney.

Top of the list has to be the Hong Kong Symphony of Lights, a show in which colored lights of the buildings on both sides of Victoria Harbour are coordinated to form patterns, pictures and words, all accompanied by symphonic music.

The “Guinness Book of World Records” has named this show the world’s largest permanent sound-and-light show. Think of Epcot’s laser show and multiply it by about 1,000. It is presented nightly free of charge.

The nightly light and music show at the Big Wild Goose Pagoda in Xi’an is another “must see.” Among the many records it holds, it has the biggest fountain and waterscape square in Asia, and the Tang Dynasty Arts Museum, on 2,910 square meters of land near the pagoda, has the largest exhibit of Tang Dynasty culture.

The most quaint Disney-like experience we had was on the Daning River, one of the main tributaries of the Yangtze. We cruised the Daning on a sampan in 2002 and were able to pick up rocks on the shore at one stop. Not so today! With the filling of the Three Gorges Reservoir, the water surface of the Daning River has become broader and more tranquil. Also, there are now riverside resorts available for visitors to enjoy.

We boarded small, willow-shaped wooden boats for a Disney-like excursion; think “Jungle Boat Cruise.” The boatman up front wore a fur hat and fur “feathers,” and along the way there was a horn player on one of the cliffs and a boat with singers (four of them) as we went around one bend. All boat riders could pose in a boatman’s costume. The boatman serenaded us as did the tour guide, who also pitched books and videos of the trips.

JACK DINI
Livermore, CA