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  • FIRST LOOK: Hong Kong Disneyland's Iron Man Experience

    We got a chance to try the first-ever Marvel-themed ride at any Disney Park around the world, and it's an experience for the whole family to enjoy together.
    by Jillianne E. Castillo .

  • It is probably doubtful that you and the kids need convincing that Disneyland is a great family holiday treat, but just in case, here’s an added incentive: Hong Kong Disneyland now has an Iron Man attraction, and SmartParenting.com.ph got a first look!

    Officially called the Iron Man Experience, it is the first-ever Marvel-themed ride at any Disney Park around the world. It is located in the Tomorrowland area of Hong Kong Disneyland, right next to Hyperspace Mountain. It's hard to miss because of the giant reactor poised at the top of the Iron Man Experience building. Check it out above. At night, it glows, just like Tony Stark’s!

    Moms, don’t worry, Iron Man Experience isn’t a rollercoaster. It’s more of an upgraded mini-theater (above shows the entrance) amped up with a flight simulator, 3D projection, moving seats, and surround sound so it is an exciting ride especially for the kids. You put on special glasses, aboard a 45-seater "Expo Edition Iron Wing" (seatbelts on!) and "soar" through Hong Kong, flying over iconic landmarks like Victoria Harbour and Tsing Ma Bridge. 

    Once the glasses are on, you’re immediately transported to Tony Stark’s world. The visuals are stunningly realistic, combined with sound effects, and the seats move in perfect sync, so it will take considerable effort to remember you’re not actually flying. (Tip: the best seats are the ones at the very back, we’re told by Disney cast members.) Kids below 7 years old are required to be accompanied by an adult, and must have a height of 3.4 feet up.  


    Aside from the ride itself, the Iron Man Experience also houses the new Stark Expo, a showcase of the latest high-tech creations of Stark Industries. Our favorites have to be the Iron Man suits, the MyJARVIS intelligent home system (imagine asking Tony Stark’s computer assistant to help with the laundry!) and the unbreakable Stark Everglass that heals itself when broken (we think the kids will get a kick out of this one). 

    One of the main purposes of the Stark Expo is to introduce guests to Tony Stark’s latest innovation, the Expo Edition Iron Wing Mark VIII. With the same features as the Iron Man suit, the flying vehicle is an important part of the Iron Man Experience ride.

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    Riders exit the through the Expo Shop filled with Iron Man and Marvel merchandise. The usuals are here like keychains and plushies but there are also head-to-toe kids’ costumes, toys and, to our amusement, a lot of Iron Man items that light up. Also inside the Expo Shop is the "Become Iron Man" interactive experience. Using motion sensors, you get to "fly" in Iron Man’s suit and shoot targets with the hand blaster. 

    In between the Expo Shop and the Iron Man Experience is the Iron Man Tech Showcase where guests get to meet the superhero himself! Expect Tony Stark to be his witty and cheeky self but also very willing to take pictures with his “adoring fans.” (Moms, sadly we don’t think Robert Downey Jr. is the man under the suit. However, we were told by Ted Robledo, the creative director for the Iron Man Experience, that the “the real Tony Stark” lent his voice for the attraction.)

    Now, if you really want the complete package until you wake up the following morning, you can ask for the “Iron Man” Room Decoration package at any Disney hotel (there is an additional fee on top of your hotel room price). Available until June 30, it comes with Iron Man bed runners that light-up (!), slippers, stickers, and a welcome gift. The package also comes with a free a photo print at any of the park attractions. 

    We especially liked how the room comes with slippers in different sizes, including those for children. We also found a stepping stool in the closet (for the little ones who can’t reach the sink) and a kiddie-sized hotel robe. Kiddie plastic cups are found in the food cabinet alongside porcelain mugs. 

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    We were not living without the opportunity to dig for some Hong Kong Disneyland secrets. Here’s what we uncovered: 

    • Disneyland cast members carry a secret in their pockets: nine times out of 10 they have a stack of stickers in there. You can ask for stickers from every cast member you see in the park. Just look for the Disneyland ID. Don’t forget to ask nicely. 
    • Several cast members highly recommend the Mickey Mouse waffles as a must-eat in Hong Kong Disneyland.  
    • There are at least two Hidden Mickeys in Tomorrowland. One is at the revolving tower structure (hint: you have to wait for the planets to line up) and the other is at Hyperspace Mountain. 

    • The grass isn’t unkempt at Toy Story Land. It’s purposely tall so you feel like one of the toy soldiers! Another fact: the number on the tail of the plane near the Toy Soldier Parachute Drop is actually the date Toy Story was released in Hong Kong. Plus, catch Toy Story Land at night to see the massive string lights overhead. 
    • At Adventureland, there’s a cave, a little off from the main walkway. On the walls are prehistoric doodles and markings. Look close enough, and you’ll be able to find Mickey’s silhouette holding a spear! There are a bunch of handprints on the wall, and one of them though only has four fingers (Mickey only has four!) and is placed a little below the rest.
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