By Andy Guinigundo
Penny’s Bay, Lantau Island, Hong Kong – July 13, 2012 marked the official opening of Grizzly Gulch the largest themed area in the Hong Kong Disneyland expansion. In addition to Grizzly Gulch, the Hong Kong Disneyland expansion includes Toy Story Land that opened in 2011 and the final piece, Mystic Point, which is scheduled to open in 2013.
Tom Staggs, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, was present at the grand opening stating, “Grizzly Gulch transports guests to a Wild West mining town that recalls a golden era of hope, adventure and opportunity. With its interactive water features, immersive entertainment elements and thrilling multidirectional coaster that crisscrosses the entire area, Grizzly Gulch is a spectacular addition to Hong Kong Disneyland and the Disney Parks and Resorts portfolio.”
Among the attractions within Grizzly Gulch, the standout ride appears to be the Big Grizzly Runaway Mine Cars. The name alone makes one wonder whether there may be some design elements that are utilized for the forthcoming Seven Dwarves Mine Ride at the Magic Kingdom in Orlando, 2014. That conjecture aside, this sounds like a blast. In addition to what Staggs mentioned, the ride is described as dashing forward, racing backwards and making rapid turns. According to a description of the ride, some mischievous resident grizzly bears are in charge of directing the cars. At points during the ride, guests may see up to three other mine cars crisscrossing the terrain of Grizzly Gulch as they navigate a similar journey.
Additionally, guests will be able to eat some hearty fare at the Lucky Nugget Saloon restaurant. They will experience a Wild West show in the Grizzly Gulch Welcome Wagon Show. They will interact with the water jets of Geyser Gulch. Of course, there are plenty of Wild West photo opportunities with characters in themed costumes. Finally, to take home a souvenir of the whole experience, guests will stop by the Bear Necessities store.
• Andy Guinigundo is the author of the Out of The Loop column in “Orlando Attractions Magazine”. He lives in Cincinnati, Ohio with his wife and three daughters. He grew up frequenting theme parks around Ohio and making trips to Orlando with his family. While for most of the year, he’s out of the Orlando loop, he tries to visit Florida at least once a year.