Fond memories of Hong Kong
by Anna Marie Fegi-Brown
Visiting Hong Kong is a little like coming home for me. I lived there for two years while performing as Nala at Hong Kong Disneyland. Also, my brother Reymond, my sister Jing, and their families live there now. Jing was part of the opening team in 2005, I came in 2006, and in 2007 Reymond joined us.
For those who knew, there was a standing joke about the “Lion King” being retitled “Fegi King”! While performing and traveling around the world is very fulfilling, I always welcome the chance to spend time with family and recharge.
After leaving South Korea, we traveled south to reach Hong Kong. Luckily, the farther south we went, the warmer it started to get. Gone were the below zero temperatures as we reached Hong Kong, which was beginning to feel the warmth of summer.
Every time we come to Hong Kong, the ship has the best location, docking right in the middle of the famous Victoria Harbor.
Two years ago was the first time I visited Hong Kong with my then-fiance and now husband Adam. Since we met while working on a ship in Europe, it was the first time for him to meet anyone in my family. I could tell that he was a bit nervous, but everything went well. We watched my brother and sister perform as Simba and Nala in “Lion King.”
Of course, I was proud of my siblings. It was also an opportunity to show Adam a part of my world.
So much has happened since that time two years ago—Reymond and his wife Aissa have a new baby boy, Rome; while my sister and her husband JR have a new baby girl, Ina. It turned out that both women became pregnant right around the time of our visit. And then, Adam and I got married in Cebu and stayed for two years.
This was our return visit to Hong Kong. We went back to Disney and spent the day with Reymond, Aissa, our niece Reese, and baby Rome. Unfortunately, Jing, JR, and their children were on vacation in the United States so we weren’t able to see them.
I also brought my castmates and one of our directors to Disney, for them to ride the rides and watch all the shows. For most of them, it was their first time to visit Hong Kong, so they were amazed with the MTR (train) system.
We docked at Victoria Harbor, right next to Harbour City Mall, and took the train and transferred to Disney in 30 to 45 minutes. The MTR has a great system for getting to Disney. You can go from anywhere in the city to the Sunny Bar station and then transfer to the Disnleyland Resort Line.
The station for Disney is right at the park entrance and even the train is full of Disney touches, such as the Mickey Mouse ears as windows, or the Jiminy Cricket statue.
We arrived at the front gates and I have never seen so many little Disney princesses dressed in their gowns, ready to spot their favorite characters. No matter how many times in my life I enter through the gates of a Disney theme park, there is something magical that brings every one, young and old, into a different world.
Our niece Reese is seven years old, so she is in the prime age of enjoying the park. And our nephew Rome, who is just one, is starting to get that sparkle in his eye every time he sees a character he recognizes.
Since 2011, the park has undergone an expansion and opened one new area in each year. The new areas are Toy Story Land, Grizzly Gulch, and Mystic Point. I would suggest visiting these new areas early in the day as to avoid the crowds later in the day. So if you have visited Disney in the past, but not in the last three years, there will be something new during your next visit.
As we walked around the park, I was so proud to see many Filipinos working and entertaining visitors from all over the world. My husband, a musical director, was so impressed with the Filipino musicians and performers.
We were told that although they do hire local Hong Kong-based musicians, the Filipino musicians are their favorite. I have to recommend checking out the entertainment throughout the park. Of course, the two theater shows, “Festival of the Lion King” and “Golden Mickeys” are my favorites.
But there are many parades, street performers, and small musical groups as well.
In this trip, although the “Lion King” show was not being performed, I did get to cheer for my brother Reymond in “Golden Mickeys.” It was fun sitting and watching baby Rome and his Ate Reese watch their dad on stage.
After Reymond finished his last performance of the day, we decided to go to their house for dinner. If you come to the park, make sure to stay for the fireworks at night because it’s an incredible sight. But, for us, the point of coming was to spend time with family, so we preferred a quieter place to bond and catch up with each other.
Plus, while we travel around on the ship, we miss being inside a real home. We can’t complain about our room on a 5-star ship: king-sized bed, aircon, cable TV with movie channels, someone cleaning the room every other day, and meals prepared for us (we never have to do the dishes!). But even with the amenities, nothing compares to a real home.
We sat and talked for as long as we could before we had to head back to our ship.
It was the first time I’ve been to Reymond and Aissa’s house. We ate pizza and chicken, watched TV, and talked. While it might sound like a regular night for most people, this is something rare for us, one that we miss while working out of the country.
Adam and I have already talked about going back to Hong Kong once our contract on the ship ends. It’s an easy flight from Cebu and we’ll have a lot more time to explore next time. Plus, we always welcome that chance to see and spend time with family.
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