Time to go to Hong Kong for our flight home on Saturday!. We packed up (actually the night before, and Adri was in charge as she volunteered her professional world traveler packing services (I do not say this sarcastically). We got on a bus headed for the Consulate again to pick up the infamous BROWN ENVELOPE that everyone who has adopted internationally knows about. They had warned us before as if our life depended on it, DO NOT OPEN THE BROWN ENVELOPE! It was to be given to the important officer in America. So we got the precious envelope and started our projected 4 hour trip through customs to Hong Kong.
We said goodbye to our security, Rosa- our wonderful guide who we felt safe around. It's just odd and a bit frightening to get into a van with someone you cannot even communicate with. We had two minivans. We decided we would put luggage in one and humans in the other even though we had been told this might slow us down going through customs and we should consider splitting up. Again....I Shouldn't Be Alive. We stayed together. The kids ALL did so great. I cannot say enough good things about how great the kids were on the trip. There were MANY situations that a complete hysterical breakdown would have been warranted and it never happened. In fact, since one of us had to carry Hope and the other had to carry Lily, Johnny who would've normally gotten carried in tired circumstances had to pull it together and walk.
We had been forewarned by an adoption friend who had been to Hong Kong a few weeks prior that customs could be dreadful and long! So we had prepared for that. But it all went smoothly and it didn't take long at all. In fact when we got there we were so happy yet sad to see signs for tour buses that were directing people to Hong Kong Disneyland. We felt like we were in the airport in Orlando looking for the magical express.
Let me explain. Or maybe I don't need to. We are a Disney family. That is our splurge in life! We go to Disney World every year at Thanksgiving. We love it. It is our fun time with the kids. We stay in the parks until we are the last ones there. Daniel says he works hard all year looking forward to the trip (and he is the hardest working person I know, no exaggeration). We of course, cancelled our trip in 2010 but had tried to save up some money to attempt to visit Tokyo Disney on a layover or Hong Kong Disney. But it didn't work out schedule wise or finance wise. I was sad for husband but we were thankful for the reason we didn't get to go....Hope and Lily. But then seeing the signs now, it was tough. Adri and I out of compassion for Daniel tried not to mention it much. It was around 6 ish and Disney closed at 8 that night (on a Friday which made husband mad). Front seat riding Adri asked the man and through broken english and chinese, a deal was made. On the way to our hotel the driver would drive up to the entrance of Disney and we could take a photo there. At first I just thought, what's the use (I don't think Husband could handle the pain). Phoebe surely couldn't, which she continually told us! Too sad to go and not go in. But sly Adri had a plan which would thrust her into Daniel's favorite persons in the world category for life!
We saw the Disney signs on the interstate and road signs every mile! We were excited. It made us feel like we were home. It almost felt like America. We pulled up to the furthest place the driver could take us to drop us off for the photo. He told us that we needed to walk about half a mile or more to get to the entrance. It was about 6:40. We shuffled outta the van as if time was ticking and we would be returning shortly. We grabbed Phoebe's epi pen, etc, but nothing else. No jackets for kids, no diaper bag for baby. We'd be right back.....
The walkway to the entrance was divine! Suddenly we were not AT CHINA anymore. We were at DISNEY. Everything looked like Disney in America. The standards were the same or better! I saw the sign for toilets an almost cried! A real bathroom with real toilet paper and a real potty! The music, the lights, the smells! WE WERE AT DISNEYWORLD!!!!!
We get to the entrance and it happens. Everyone starts looking at each other and calculating costs (the cost of going in for only an hour before closing). The kids are begging. Without sounding disrespectful, it was like we were standing at Heaven's gate and could see and smell Heaven but were not allowed to go in!!!! Adri starting working her magic. She volunteered to run the marathon back to the vans and beg/nicely tell the drivers that we were going in! We agreed. We would wait there for her. Daniel asked her how fast she could run (we knew how many noodles she had eaten in the previous two weeks!!! LOL) and when she returned we'd see what the drivers said. We felt like kids and the drivers were our responsible/ fun-ruining parents!
Adri runs off into the darkness (forfeitting our no one left behind rule for the sake of Disney....surely never an I Shouldn't Be Alive episode ever started at Disney!) and we all hover around the ticket booth where the "magic" is already happening! We were given maps and stickers and smiles and warmth! Daniel figured out he could use his debit card to pay for the alarming much cheaper than American Disney tickets. The lady asked us three times if we were aware the park closed in ONE HOUR!!!! We were aware. But we also knew that Disney doesn't kick out people past closing hours who are in their shops!
Tick tock tick tock tick tock. FINALLY Adri appears out of the abyss of darkness. She tells us that the vans are locked and dark and the drivers are no where to be found. ANY OTHER TIME OR PLACE IN CHINA IF OUR VANS UPON RETURNING HAD BEEN LOCKED AND DARK AND UNATTENDED WE WOULD'VE SURELY BEEN STARTING AN EPISODE OF I SHOULDN'T BE ALIVE! But right here right now, without thinking we purchased tickets and skipped frantically to the security lines with tickets in hand!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
HUSBAND HAS NEVER BEEN HAPPIER!!!!!!!!!! inside the park we felt at home. It was no longer like we were on another continent and couldn't speak the language. We were on Disney planet and speaking Disney language and smelling Disney smells and hearing Disney sounds!!! Rob quickly pointed out in bliss that the trash cans on Main Street said "Main Street USA!" Ahhhhhhhhh!!! God Bless America! God Bless Walt Disney!!!!
Like good children we called our Chinese tour guides and Adri informed then that our drivers had left us and that we decided to go into the park. Our guide said HAVE FUN! And we did. We made a deal to return to parking lot A at 9:00! Let the fun begin!!!
We rode three rides but more than that, we had a blast! Lily loved it! Hope slept most of the time (which was great because like a very responsible mother of five with a brand new former Chinese orphan as my daughter, I didn't bring her diaper bag or food!) All I could think of was the blogs, people, books that had warned us of OVERSTIMULATING our adopted children in their first days, weeks, months! Oops.
The look on Lily' face on It's a Small World was worth the risk! She loved it. She fits RIGHT IN with our family. She is wild and confident and fun! We couldn't believe that we were at DISNEY with our new daughters!!!!!! Adri was queen!!! She group hugged and thanked her and laughed and played. And when the park closed we headed for the bathrooms first, then the shops. We had so much fun. The kids picked out a souvenir to which Husband said it HAD to say Honk Kong Disneyland on it. And then we headed to the Bakery where we purchased Hot Dogs, Pizza, Quiche for Phoebe, Tarts, and Rice Krispy treats!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
We returned to our van at 9:10 and skipped and obsessively thanked our drivers who we feared would be mad. But they weren't. Husband paid them extra to which they told us more was required, to which Husband paid. Hooray. Worth it all and not near the cost we had thought it would be. Those TWO hours in Disney were like a week! It was fabulous!!!! Husband said perfect ending to a perfect trip! Agreed!
We spent the night at our hotel which was connected to the Honk Kong airport. I've heard people talk about the majesty of the skyline in Hong Kong and now we know why. It's breathtaking. Bright sparking city lights surrounded by clean ocean water (first clean body of water we had seen in China) and giant misty mountains! Almost like Hawaii but better I thought.
We crawled into our beds with a smile on our face! I looked at my iphone. The time was 12:01. The date was Saturday, Feb. 26. I gasped! The day we would be home had come! I told Daniel to which he replied, "We are starting the longest day of our life!"