It seems there's little chance of escaping the Hello Kitty "juggernaut". When I first spotted my friends uploading their Facebook albums on their visit to the theme park, I knew it's matter of time that my parental duty will be called upon to fulfill my children dreams.
It started innocuously with "Daddy, can we go visit the Hello Kitty Land?" by my eight year old daughter. After two weeks of incessant reminders before the school September holidays, the requests morphed into an "assumption close" - "Daddy, when we are going ? Daddy? !" and to finally, the demand : "Daddy, I want to go Hello Kitty Land !!!". (x__x)
If any parents readers find this familiar, I am please to share that at least they should "survive" the theme park visit and perhaps even enjoy it. I had mixed feedback that the theme park was boring and really nothing much. But I like put in my two cents worth- go with the right mindset and learn to enjoy again. Personally, much as I am not into the "cat with no mouth", I enjoyed my self by trying to capture as nice images as I can of the visit. When you have a purpose, you have clarity.
How to get there (by car, via Woodlands checkpoint)
I chanced upon this lovely blog by Jayne Chua, which pretty much explains everything: http://www.jaynechua.com/directions-hello-kitty-town-puteri-harbour-woodlands/
(By car, via Tuas 2nd Link)
After exiting the Malaysia CIQ - proceed to Nusajaya Look out for EXIT 312 (E3). Follow signs to Kota Iskandar/Puteri Harbour. At roundabout take 2nd exit onto Persiaran Laksamana. At Bulatan Laksamana take 1st exit onto Lebuh Laksamana. Look out for Puteri Harbour Family Theme Park. Estimated journey time is 15-20min. (I would recommend using the 2nd Link, for convenience and time saving).
The Family Theme Park is housed in a sleek building called the Little Red Cube. It is not really cube shaped but rather rectangular. Just look out for Sanrio Kitty Town, Little Big Club signs and you will know you are at the right place. The Traders Hotel by Shangri-La is just beside it. Car parking is free at this moment.
The building is divided into 4 levels - (a) the Sanrio Hello Kitty Town is housed at the 1st floor and Merchandise Store (Ground floor) (b) The Little Big Club (2nd floor) and (c) Thomas & Friends (3rd floor).
Upon entering the balmy aircon interior, many visitors will make a beeline to this signboard for a picture. Temper may get frayed if you visit on weekends and public holidays. As some "inconsiderate" visitors will take their own sweet time executing various poses here. Yes, the sweetie "V", pinkie on cheek, etc, poses. My solution? Go on a weekday or off-peak season (Please be advised : the Theme park is CLOSED TUESDAYS except during Malaysian and Singaporean school and public holidays). Opening hours are Mon-Sun 10am - 6pm.
Do book on-line for the tickets to save on queue time. Collect the "Daily Activity Card" and you will also be tagged with a wrist ID. Remove this wrist ID tag only when you departs at the end of the visit, as it is needed for free re-entry should you choose to dine at eateries outside the theme park in between the same visit. The Activity Card has 5 columns limiting the consumption of some activities like "Wishful Studio" to 1-time each, as each column will be stamped upon entry. As my wife and myself do not participate in the activities, my two daughters have 2 chances each.
Biscuit painting - certainly one of the more popular activities at the park. And you get to eat the biscuit after the session. The "paint" used include strawberry jams and chocolate. During off-peak, the thin crowd meant that we got to crunch plenty more Sanrio biscuits as the staff were chatting among themselves and looking away...so we helped ourselves to more than a few pieces. LOL (^__^)d .
Have a Hello Kitty biscuit ? Deliciously "painted" by yourself ? I asked the staff if the biscuits were made in Sanrio bakery in Japan (it's tasted nice). She replied : " Hehehe...I don't know, Sir". Short and sweet answer. Ignorance is bliss.
How about a cat bath ? Buy the bathtub home and be happy ever after. Merchandising is certainly a lucrative trade with this "cat with no mouth". But , in my opinion, a cat with no limits.
And what's a bath tub without matching bathroom accessories ? It's so incomplete without it ... KacHiNg ! kaChinG ! $$$$$...
More merchandise option! Seems this theme park is one giant Hello Kitty merchandise store! After going through all the displays, the final stop at the merchandise store will test the patience of many parents. Get that wallet and credit cards ready.
Another girly all-time favourite activity - manicure session! Little girls can paint their nails assortment of colours and with nail art to go with it... Ohhhh...so sweeeeeettt....
This is no X-Men Wolverine's claws but the nail arts sure stand on their own...
Another popular activity - necklace making ! mix and match your own customized necklace. Sigh... I'm getting drowsy already..
Caution ! the kitchen set-up is really sweet! How about renovating your kitchen to look like one ?
Stimulating kitchen beauty appreciation in children. Perhaps contractors and kitchen equipment engineers will do well to study the design and layout, the next generation of ladies will want this kitchen concept.
Have a ball of a time at the Friendship Land ! Awesome colourful moments .
The Hello Kitty mini-shows can be quite entertaining, especially to kids. Do make time to attend the various shows (varied on weekdays and weekends). The dances and choreography are pretty high quality.
Quite a BIG cat as you can see... but no one question the size. Ahhh...the suspension of disbelief.
Russian dance ! Part of the mini-show. Visitors are presented with different countries at different time/day. Sort of cultural exchange and awareness.
A section of the crowd on a quite Friday afternoon.. yes, quiet Friday afternoon. Kid-centric theme parks will be recession proofed !
And of course, the feline idol worship. Must make contact, otherwise, felt "incomplete". LOL
Once you reached the "Black Wonder", you would have completed the entire Hello Kitty Town activities. Solve the riddles, rescue the kidnapped Hello Kitty and Dear Daniel and be rewarded with certificates. Perhaps they should reward us with "Kit Kat" instead.
Within the Black Wonder lair .. solve the clues...quick!
Have a last look before you exit the Black Wonder. It may be sometime yet before you will visit again.
The final showtime of the day - the Happy Parade at 430pm promises to add colours to the visit. Some of my friends did not even bother to wait for this parade. No wonder they find it boring. I find the female performers particularly happy ;-)
Many kids will love getting up close and personal with their favourite felines, specially decked out in their colourful outfits. Sort of Mardi Gras ambience.
Happy at last ! shaking hand with the Cat without a Mouth..Fantasy fulfilled...lol
For a more rounded and eventful outing at the theme park, I would seriously recommend the 2-in-1 package. As the activities on the Little Big Club (2nd floor) and Thomas & Friends (3rd floor) can be fun,...fun fun, fun. Pic shows the 2nd floor, during early opening hours.
Parents can join in the fun at the Bumping Buffers Steamies & Diesels Ride (aka bumper cars) . Just 30sec per session. But during our off-peak visits, we remained in our cars and just asked for repeated session - "Lagi satu! abang".. as there were no queue. Really quite fun.
Or perhaps airborne feeling for your kids at the Harold's Helitours Ride ? Just about 3-4 rounds each session. But during off-peak hours, go as many times as you want.
How about a Thomas train ride ? no worries about timing and breakdown.
Showtime at the Thomas & Friends. Only enjoyed by those who know.. judging by the the relatively thin crowd (off-peak during my visit).
Before leaving the theme park, how about adopting a cute little Kitty here ? You can't say No, can you ? You can ???!!! OK then, how about a few hundred other cute items ?
My wife and I left the theme park a happy parents. Because as in all parents, when your children are delighted and animated, it all makes sense. Do plan a visit to the park (off-peak recommended) and be happy. Thanks for joining me on this happy journey (^___^)//