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Old September 6th, 2005, 02:06 AM   #241
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Old September 6th, 2005, 03:41 AM   #242
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Beautiful pic !!!



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Old September 6th, 2005, 08:19 AM   #243
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Two politicians say they will demand that the government reveal full details of its joint-venture agreement with Hong Kong Disneyland
Doug Crets, Hong Kong Standard
Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Two politicians say they will demand that the government reveal full details of its joint-venture agreement with Hong Kong Disneyland.

Frontier Party legislator Emily Lau and Central and Western district councillor Cyd Ho said they will demand that the government allow public scrutiny of the agreement when Legco reconvenes after its summer break on October 12.

"The [government's] economic services panel should ... give a much fuller picture about the financial side [of the agreement] with Disney," Lau said.

The secrecy has left the public in doubt about the territory's relationship with Disney, she claimed.

In response, Disney's Esther Wong said: "Disney is a commercial entity, so I think those are commercial terms. As with any business entity, [privacy] is something that should be respected."

Disney received a HK$6.1 billion government loan, payable in 25 years, to build the project.

Estimates put the cost of construction at HK$14.1 billion and initial first- year revenue from tourism at HK$$25.2 billion.

The government has estimated that income from the park could reach more than HK$148 billion in 40 years.

Ho said the lead-up to the Hong Kong opening on September 12 has increased critical attention on the agreement.

Several public gatherings by the Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior and Disney Hunter have charged that Disney merchandise is created in harsh labor conditions in China. Activists have argued that the media should expose the agreement because of ambiguity over its positive or negative economic effect.

Ho said the primary worry is extra- territorial rights granted to Disney in theme parks in Tokyo and Europe, where the company was allowed to operate outside the jurisdiction of the country in which it operates.

In France, for example, Disney and the government concluded that allegations raised over practices in the theme park would be settled outside the court system.

Ho and others are asking if the same is true for Hong Kong. They have also questioned whether emergency personnel will be allowed full access to the park, though Disney and the Fire Services Division have both denied reports that access will be limited.

Ho said the public is concerned that the government is acting more like a corporation than a government, which must act transparently.

"We welcome investment of companies like Disney, but not a joint venture, because the administration's major job is to run the territory," she said.

But the joint venture has proven to be a thorn in the side of civil society leaders, who charge that government has a conflict of interest.

"Once [the SAR] enters into a business contract, it's a basic conflict of its duty and function," Ho said.

Questions about the Disneyland joint venture began in 1999 and early 2000 when legislators were invited to a Government House briefing held by then-Chief Secretary for Administration Anson Chan. "We were never given any substantial information," Ho said. She recalled that Chan said the agreement was a marriage between two world-class brand names, Disney and Hong Kong, and that the contract would help to correct the economic slump.

"The finance committee voted 'yes'... for this joint venture, and now that it is in operation the finance committee has the duty to follow up on this matter," Ho said.

Lau, who chairs the finance committee, said it is up to the Economic Services Panel to disclose details of the agreement.

Notes from a November 15, 1999 panel meeting say only that Disney and Hong Kong have a "predetermined mechanism," which would ensure that Disney's government loan would "bring equity support to the government" if Disney profits fell.

In that case, the loan would be repaid by its maturity.
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Old September 6th, 2005, 08:26 PM   #244
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Looks great anyway I preffer the original

Hello Mimi!
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Old September 7th, 2005, 03:40 AM   #245
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stexxno
Looks great anyway I preffer the original

Hello Mimi!
Me too! Although Disneyland HK was modeled after the one in Anaheim, it doesn't have nearly as many attractions/ "themed" lands. Speaking of which, why is that?
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Old September 7th, 2005, 10:35 AM   #246
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Recent 30,000-people-fiasco to speed up expansion

Inside blue loop is the current park, the blue loop is Phase 1 expansion, the red loop is phase 2.


Still behind all the other disneylands in the world unfortunately...
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Old September 7th, 2005, 10:35 AM   #247
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that's phase 1.
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Old September 7th, 2005, 10:37 AM   #248
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i didn't know there are such thing as phase 1 expansion, i thought that meant phase 2. Looks like there are more expansion than i thought.
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Old September 7th, 2005, 10:53 AM   #249
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Also they are going to think about Phase 3 (look at the remark)
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Old September 7th, 2005, 05:45 PM   #250
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New Disneyland Holds Promise For Hong Kong
By Geoffrey A. Fowler
7 September 2005
The Wall Street Journal Europe

Hong Kong -- THE DISNEYLAND theme park opening here Monday could give an extra jolt of energy to Hong Kong's already-humming economy. But it isn't certain which consumer stocks will gain from the opening.

Hong Kong Disneyland is a joint venture that Walt Disney and the Hong Kong government created in 1999, in the wake of Asia's financial crisis. It's a play on the growing purchasing power of mainland China's emerging middle class, which Disney predicts will make up more than one-third of the 10 million annual park visits the operator expects eventually.

About a week before it opens, Hong Kong Disneyland looks set to lure a lot of new tourists, at least for a while. An independent telephone survey last month by market researcher AC Nielsen found one-third of the 1,500 Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou residents polled are already considering a visit; 14% of them said they wouldn't go to Hong Kong were it not for the park.

One likely winner is Disney itself, which contributed US$314 million, or about 250 million euros, for a 43% stake in a park that cost US$3.2 billion to build. Most important, Hong Kong Disneyland will help the Burbank, California, entertainment company spread the lore of Mickey Mouse & Co. in the potentially huge Chinese media market, where Disney has limited access.

But the Hong Kong government, Disney and -- increasingly -- securities analysts tout much wider benefits from the park.

The government says the park will add US$19 billion to the city's economy over 40 years. A surge in visitors from mainland China, combined with a domestic-spending pickup from increasing local employment rates, will push the city's annual gross-domestic-product growth to almost 7% by the end of the year, up from 6.8% in the second quarter, CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets analyst Amar Gill predicts. He believes unemployment will fall to 4.9% by the end of the year from 5.7%, thanks to jobs created by the park and momentum spurred in the rest of the economy.

To be sure, many of the anticipated mainland tourists have already made a trip to Hong Kong, a special administrative region of China, since the Chinese government began lifting restrictions on their travel in 2003. Today, some 190 million are eligible to enter Hong Kong on their own, and more than 12 million did just that last year -- even without Disneyland.

"We see huge growth in these high-volume, low-margin tourists," says Yuwa Hedrick-Wong, an economic adviser for MasterCard International.

The risk lies in assuming the retail sector will benefit uniformly. Playing the Disneyland opening requires a sharp eye on where these tourists will spend their money and which retailers can turn it into profit.

While the average mainland resident still is relatively poor, even the first-time Chinese tourists coming to Hong Kong last year spent an average of US$125 a day, according to Mr. Hedrick-Wong. European and American tourists spend an average of US$190 a day.

Mainland tourists generally do only one-third of their spending on hotels, usually low-end ones, with the rest used on eating and shopping. They regularly buy brand-name gifts and souvenirs on the assumption that purchases made in Hong Kong are less likely to be knockoffs than those made on the mainland.

It might be difficult for investors to capitalize on that retail potential now, as many stocks in the sector have already risen strongly after being snapped up earlier this year as Hong Kong's economy was strengthening. Shares of clothing retailer Esprit Holdings have handily beaten Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index in the past year, rising 66%, compared with 16% for the index.

"When the park opens, a lot of retail stocks will retreat. . . . Many people will [take profits] on the good news," predicts Paul Pong, managing director Pegasus Fund Managers, based in Hong Kong.

In addition, high expectations for Hong Kong retailers have helped push rents on shopping-space as much as 30% higher in recent months, sharply cutting into retailers' bottom lines. Last week, Hong Kong-listed jewelry retailer Chow Sang Sang Holdings International blamed rental increases for slashing its first-half net profit by one-third compared with last year, despite higher sales at its shops.

Similarly, casual-wear retailer Giordano International, which has an exclusive deal with Disney to sell Mickey Mouse T-shirts in certain markets, last month reported a lower-than-expected first-half profit, citing higher rents. Merrill Lynch, noting a squeeze on the company's margins, reiterated its "sell" rating on Giordano and target price of HK$5, or about 51 European cents,a share. Giordano's stock, trading at about HK$5.80 in late July, yesterday closed up 10 Hong Kong cents at HK$5.15.

As the battle between Hong Kong landlords and tenants rages, "property companies will be the final beneficiary," Mr. Pong of Pegasus says.

Take MTR. As the mass-transport operator that opened a special train line for the park, MTR may realize some gains, but it must bear the costs of amortizing the new line. As a major Hong Kong property owner, though, MTR last month reported a sharp increase in first-half net profit thanks to higher real-estate prices and growth in property sales. The price of its Hong Kong-listed shares has risen about 28% so far this year, to HK$16.

Of course, even if Hong Kong Disneyland does as well as expected, there's no guarantee the magic will last forever. Oriental Land's Tokyo Disneyland has drawn throngs for more than 20 years largely because of its success with a very big niche: young working women who return to the park again and again. Hong Kong can't rely on that kind of return demographic because its core low-margin Chinese audience probably can't afford multiple trips. Instead it will rely on a steady stream of new visitors.

"For the next 15 years, there will be people entering the middle class in the pipeline," says MasterCard's Mr. Hedrick-Wong.

An additional Disneyland park in Shanghai could eventually divert some of that flow, drawing travelers from northern China. Disney has said a Shanghai park isn't likely to be built until at least 2010.
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Old September 8th, 2005, 05:42 PM   #251
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Disneyland refuses to cut crowds despite fears
Park running risk of negative publicity from long queues, says lawmaker
Dennis Eng
8 September 2005
South China Morning Post

Hong Kong Disneyland has refused to cut the maximum number of people it will admit to the park and is sticking to its capacity of about 30,000.

But group managing director Don Robinson said closing time would probably be extended from 9pm to 10pm over the Mid-Autumn Festival holiday weekend.

He said closing the park later would cause problems for Disney workers going home by public transport because the MTR service shut at 12.45am. The extra hour would allow visitors to continue enjoying the rides and shows or do some last-minute shopping after the fireworks display, which traditionally closes the theme park.

During peak holiday periods, when public transport runs all night, he said the park could stay open until midnight or 1am. It could also close in the evening and then reopen an hour later for special-event ticket holders.

But lawmaker Fred Li Wah-ming, who wants the theme park to reduce its maximum capacity to 20,000, warned that ticket holders would just stay longer if the hours were extended.

"That is the mentality of Hong Kong people and mainlanders. They are paying $350 each to get in so they want to get the most out of it and maximise their experience," Mr Li said.

He felt that the difference of a few thousand visitors was not worth the negative publicity Hong Kong Disneyland would get as a result of complaints about long waiting times and service deterioration.

Some of the 29,000 visitors to the charity event on Sunday complained of long queues to enter the park and two-hour waits to get on rides. Mr Robinson said this was a reflection of "created demand" as ticket holders for the event could only go to the theme park on that day.

By 9pm, when the fireworks show was held, more than 95 per cent of visitors were still in the park, compared to Disney's US average of 65 per cent, he added. Sunday's closing time was extended to 10pm.

As of Tuesday, the theme park had entertained 260,000 to 270,000 visitors, served about 300,000 meals and used 40 metric tonnes of rice over 16 rehearsal days. But Mr Robinson said the real test would come on Monday, when it officially opened to the public.

He also noted that there was still excess capacity on weekdays, despite the adoption of a two-tier pricing schedule that was not used at any other Disney theme park. Weekday tickets for adults cost $295 and rise to $350 at weekends and peak periods.

Mr Robinson said he had also discussed the possibility of discounting ticket prices for entry after 5pm or 6pm to boost weekday visitor numbers.

This is the arrangement that is used at Tokyo Disneyland, which offers cheaper passes for weekday admission in the late afternoon or early evening.
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Old September 9th, 2005, 05:19 PM   #252
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Friday September 9, 06:26 PM
Rollercoaster ride to Hong Kong Disneyland opening

HONG KONG (AFP) - When Mickey Mouse officially welcomes visitors to the three billion US dollar theme park here for the first time next week, he will no doubt breathe a sigh of relief that the rollercoaster ride to its opening has ended.

With problems from scam artists, run-ins with environmentalists and complaints about everything from the park's size to the food at its restaurants, the run up to Monday's opening day has been anything but a fairytale.

"It appears Disney has never had to deal with the likes of Hong Kong people before," quipped local commentator Nury Vittachi.

Disney is more sanguine: "We have already seen that our guests love the resort once they have a chance to experience it first hand," it said in a statement.

"We are confident that 50 years of operating experience will allow us to create a fantastic guest experience."

The most notable hiccup was an episode that Nemo, Disney's loveable cartoon fish hunted by a shark in the "Finding Nemo" movie, would no doubt have approved of.

In a huge promotion, Disney proposed to serve shark's fin soup at wedding banquets in the resort's two hotels.

Environmentalists, however, saw red and launched a global online campaign to have the item scrapped, blaming consumption of the luxury traditional Chinese dish for plunging shark populations.

In a bruising row, Disney initially resisted, saying it would serve the soup out of consideration for cultural sensitivities in Hong Kong where it is regarded as a delicacy.

But with its image as an animal-loving company threatened, Disney was forced to climb down and pull the meal.

Sharks were not the only aquatic creatures at risk; marine conservationists predicted catastrophic consequences for nearby coastal waters when the park was given the go-ahead in 1999.

Situated on 126 hectares of partly reclaimed land on leafy Lantau Island, it stretches across Penny's Bay Bay, an area that once housed a shipbuilding yard.

Green groups blamed the stirring of coastal mud laden with contaminants from the ship yard for a decline in the numbers of rare Chinese pink dolphins that once thrived nearby.

Among the most anticipated of Disney's attractions are the daily fireworks displays. However in smoggy Hong Kong, where air pollution is a growing concern, campaigners also complained the smoke posed a health risk.

Although repeated, government-monitored tests found no fault, Disney's refusal to use virtually smoke-free -- and more expensive -- launch technology angered Friends of the Earth Hong Kong.

"It will make the already bad pollution even worse," said a spokesman, Hahn Chu. "We expect the smog levels to reach record highs as a result."

For a company that makes cuddly caricatures of insects like crickets and caterpillars, Hong Kong Disneyland has been troubled by real wildlife.

An infestation of wood-boring insects reportedly forced the replacement of some guest-room furniture and dozens of wild dogs took to scavenging for food in the park.

After a pack reportedly chased park chief Don Robinson as he drove onto the site, Disney had 45 caught and killed. The public outcry, however, forced the company to adopt more humane -- and more expensive -- controls.

Disney's arrival was heralded with the promise of tourism riches for all -- and some took that literally, cashing in with scams.

Elected official Law Kam-fai was jailed for two years after stealing 800 tonnes of rocks to sell to landscapers building a nearby ornamental pond, in the process destroying a pristine local river.

And only this week, Disney was presented with what is likely to be an ongoing problem when touts were found to be selling tickets for a pre-opening charity day in an online auction.
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Old September 9th, 2005, 05:26 PM   #253
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Hong Kong Disneyland cross-boundary transport arrangements
Government Press Release
Friday, September 9, 2005

Mainland visitors are expected to flood into Hong Kong with the grand opening of Hong Kong Disneyland on Monday (September 12).

The Hong Kong and Mainland authorities have allocated 60 quotas in relation to cross-boundary coach services. Some of the quotas are dedicated to shuttle cross-boundary service between Huanggang Control Point and the theme park. Other quotas are for long-haul services between various places in Guangdong (such as Guangzhou, Zhongshan, Shunde and Shenzhen) and the theme park.

The Transport Department called on the visitors from the Mainland to plan their journeys in advance. They are advised to use the Lo Wu Control Point and to avoid coming to Hong Kong during peak hours. Waiting times at Lok Ma Chau Control Point may be longer, especially during peak seasons, holidays and weekends.

"Mainland visitors should buy return tickets and check in advance if admission tickets are still available before going to the theme park," Principal Transport Officer (Special Duty) Mr Lo Yat-cheung said today (September 9). "We encourage Mainland visitors to take the rail and come to Hong Kong via Lo Wu. Lo Wu Control Point can handle a larger number of visitors than other control points.

"The Transport Department has put up banners at the Huanggang/Lok Ma Chau Control Point, and distributed leaflets to visitors at Lok Ma Chau and Lo Wu Control Points, as well San Tin Public Transport Interchange. We advise them to use Lo Wu Control Point as far as possible, and remind them that they may have to wait longer if they use the Huanggang/Lok Ma Chau Control Point.

"To facilitate visitors coming to Hong Kong by the China Ferry Terminal (CFT) in Tsim Sha Tsui, we have arranged to re-route the franchised bus route R21 (Hung Hom to Disneyland) to stop at the bus terminus at CFT from Monday onwards.”

The following transport modes will start service on Monday:

* KCR Railbus – operating to/from Disneyland via Lo Wu Control Point. A single trip package of the KCR Railbus includes a Lo Wu Station – Sheung Shui Station KCR Travel Pass and a Sheung Shui Station – Disneyland bus coupon. The frequency of KCR Railbus ranges from three to 30 minutes. It will operate daily from 7.30am to the hour after the end of the fireworks display.

* Hong Kong Disneyland – Huanggang Shuttle Cross-Boundary Coach Service – operating to/from Disneyland via Lok Ma Chau Control Point. The frequency of the shuttle service ranges from three to 60 minutes. It will operate daily from 7am to one and a half hours after the end of the fireworks display.

The following six franchised bus routes are already in service:

R8 – Disneyland Resort Public Transport Interchange – Lantau Link Toll Plaza (circular)
R11 – Disneyland Resort Public Transport Interchange – North Point Ferry Pier
R21 – Disneyland Resort Public Transport Interchange – Hung Hom (Laguna Verde)
R22 – Disneyland Resort Public Transport Interchange – Yau Tong
R33 – Disneyland Resort Public Transport Interchange – West Rail Tuen Mun Station
R42 – Disneyland Resort Public Transport Interchange – Tai Wai Station Public Transport Interchange

Details of the transport arrangements have been uploaded onto the Transport Department's website, www.td.gov.hk. The public may also call the Transport Department Hotline 2804 2600 for enquires, or refer to the Tourism Commission's website, www.hkdisneyland.gov.hk.
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Old September 11th, 2005, 09:49 PM   #254
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Old September 11th, 2005, 11:42 PM   #255
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Disney now part of our Tomorrowland
12 September 2005
South China Morning Post

The official opening of Hong Kong Disneyland today quite literally launches our "Tomorrowland". Whether people support the theme park or not, it is ours - an investment in our future made by the government with our tax money in a bid to help our city prosper, move forward and succeed in a competitive world.

How we use what we have been given is up to us. We may patronise the tourist attraction frequently or never go near it; but one thing is certain - Disneyland is here to stay.

Rarely has a project so singularly caught our attention. The $27 billion price tag has been scrutinised from every angle since being announced 61/2 years ago and even as the gates swing open, continues to be hotly debated.

Our biggest infrastructure project to date, Hong Kong International Airport, was seen as less an investment than essential to ease the over-bearing congestion of the airport at Kai Tak. The teething problems encountered when it opened were far more serious than those so far experienced at Disneyland (although the biggest test for the theme park will come after the opening today.)

Love or loathe Disneyland, no magic wand will now make it go away. The fairytale castle, amusement rides, hotels and restaurants are in place and, it is hoped, fine-tuned to begin generating income today. Disney has a big responsibility to ensure that the various problems which have emerged in the last week of preparations are dealt with - and that everything goes well on the day.

Poor timing

That is, after all, the bottom line of any investment - and this is among Hong Kong's biggest. What has made Disney so controversial is that the decision for its construction came at difficult time.

After the uncertainty that accompanied the run-up to Hong Kong's return to China, the Asian economic crisis just months after the handover in 1997 came as a shock. Overnight, spectacular growth and prosperity began eroding. Profits turned into deficits, unemployment soared and property prices, the surest indicator of economic health, collapsed.

Hong Kong had famously weathered such storms before. Through war, disease outbreaks and social and political instability, it had survived and reinvented itself, with impressive results.

So in March 1999, when it was announced that the American cultural icon, Mickey Mouse, would be our saviour, public scepticism seemed to heavily outweigh enthusiasm. With Hong Kong newly reunited with China and still coming to terms with how it was now perceived internationally, turning to the American corporation Disney rather than to the mainland for help seemed, to some, to be a backward step. As details of the deal emerged, debate grew. For shouldering $23 billion, or about 82 per cent, of the cost of developing the Lantau Island site and building Disneyland, the government would get a 57 per cent stake and Disney the remainder.

Given such favourable terms for Disney, government justification through arguing that the benefits far outstripped the costs only heightened the scepticism. Doubts have since been cast over forecasts of $148 billion in profit over the next 40 years, the creation of 36,000 jobs and projections of 3.6 million extra tourists in the first year of operation. There is also the concern that Disney will open other theme parks in Asia, particularly on the mainland.

Dogged by Controversy

The controversies have not been limited to economic considerations. The loss of part of Lantau, our last great parkland reserve to development; environmental damage caused by land reclamation at Penny's Bay; destruction of archaeological treasures at the site; wild dogs; air pollution from fireworks; the presence of shark's fin on menus - later removed - and concerns about overcrowding, have all featured. And the controversy has continued throughout the preparations for the opening. The entertainment on offer today has certainly come at a cost.

Some of the worries have been dealt with, but others will remain impediments to "the magic kingdom" being embraced by all of Hong Kong.

Nonetheless, as Vice-President Zeng Qinghong prepares to officiate at the opening ceremony and a capacity crowd celebrates, the benefits are already apparent.

Most noticeable are the 5,000 new jobs created at the theme park. In coming months and years, the number will increase through expansion and as hotels come on stream to cater for the increased tourist arrivals. These may not be the highly paid jobs some would wish, but they are the beginning of careers for many young people and, at the least, reduce our unemployment.

Nor should we be overly worried about the financial figures; Disneyland in Florida and Paris opened with as much controversy, yet have become overwhelmingly as successful as Disney's other resorts.

If our reputation and ability to attract future investment is to be the cornerstone of our success, no harm can be done by being home to an iconic global brand.

A great deal of taxpayer's money has been invested. Hong Kong is entitled to have high expectations - and to demand that all goes well. But quality of life is a priority. If Disneyland provides this through promoting family togetherness and fun, the benefits will far outstrip the costs.
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Old September 11th, 2005, 11:43 PM   #256
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Hong Kong Disneyland gets ready to open on Monday
By WILLIAM FOREMAN
Associated Press writer
11 September 2005

HONG KONG (AP) - Mickey Mouse was busy Sunday spiffing up Hong Kong Disneyland on the eve of the park's official opening -- a bold move for the U.S. entertainment company seeking a stronger foothold in China's massive market.

About 1,000 reporters from around the world flew in to cover the opening of the Walt Disney Co.'s theme park -- an attraction with two resort hotels on a bay surrounded by mountains on Lantau, Hong Kong's largest island.

Disneyland held a "rehearsal day" on Sunday that gave thousands of guests a sneak peak of the park. The day's festivities included a fireworks show and a party featuring a concert with some of the biggest Chinese-language pop stars, including Coco Lee, Joey Yung and Jacky Cheung.

"Now we're poised to begin the next chapter of Disney history when Hong Kong Disneyland will officially open to the world," said Jay Rasulo, president of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, said Saturday.

"Hong Kong Disneyland is (our) first theme park in China. It's also the first Disney theme park that's modeled so closely to the first Disneyland in California," Rasulo said.

But not everyone thinks this new chapter is as magical as Disney would have it.

After the park closed Sunday, about 25 activists and anti-Disney groups set up loudspeakers in front of the park's entrance to greet the exiting crowds.

The protesters, who accused Disney of exploiting workers at factories making Disney goods in mainland China, stretched out a long white banner that said "Appealing to Mickey's conscience."

A couple of stern-faced Disney security guards tried to push the banner down but they backed off when the activists began shouting and resisting them.

"The workers in mainland China and inside the Disney park, their salaries are very low and the work days are very long," said Rex Cheung with Disney Hunters, a local anti-Disney group.

Disney has said it's investigating labor abuse reports.

The park features a pink Snow White Castle and the popular rides found at the U.S. Disneylands, including Space Mountain, Mad Hatter Tea Cups, Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters, Dumbo the Flying Elephant and the Jungle River Cruise. It also features the Broadway-style show "Festival of the Lion King" and daily parades with Disney characters on Main Street, USA -- the park's main strip lined with shops and restaurants.

Disneyland -- with a capacity of 30,000 people -- has received a generally warm welcome in Hong Kong. Large crowds strolled around a long red-brick public promenade outside the park over the weekend.

Many of the visitors who got a sneak peak in the past month have complained that the park is too small. It's Disney's most petite park, with only about 100 acres devoted to rides and other attractions -- a fact Disney doesn't highlight.

After having her picture taken with Cinderella, Joyce Yue, who works for a marketing firm, complained about the park's size. "I won't come back until it has the expansion," said Yue, who was in her late 20s.

The entire attraction -- including the two hotels -- is 298 acres -- and it can be expanded to 494 acres.

Disney President Robert Iger told The Associated Press that the park was a "giant step" in his company's push into the huge China market. The park plans to draw about 40 percent of its guests from across the border in mainland China.

Iger, who takes over as Disney's chief executive officer next month, said the park should boost interest in Disney's movies, TV shows and other products in China -- where generations have grown up with little familiarity with the American brand.

Visitor Wei Jun, 34, a businesswoman from Beijing, said she would definitely return with friends. "I like the indoor attractions, the theaters. I didn't care too much about the outdoor things. They're too crowded," she said.

The $3.5 billion park is a joint venture between Disney and the Hong Kong government. It employs 5,000 workers -- or "cast members" as Disney likes to call them -- and the park estimates that it will attract 5.6 million visitors in its opening year.

The park is a 30-minute subway ride from central Hong Kong, and it's served by its own public rail line -- the only one in the world specially built for a theme park. The train has windows shaped like Mickey Mouse's head and the subway cars sport velvet theater seats and statues of Disney characters.

The project was announced in 1999 and construction began in 2003. Disney's other parks are in Tokyo, Paris and the U.S. states of California and Florida.
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Old September 11th, 2005, 11:45 PM   #257
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Disney marketing chief works to bridge cultural divide with Hong Kong park

HONG KONG, Sept 11 (AFP) - Roy Hardy's task was simple when he was hired in 2002 to market Hong Kong Disneyland: make Mickey, Donald and company as familiar to families in China as they are in the West.

To kids in America and Europe, where for three generations Disney's cartoons and movies have been a part of growing up, it may seem a no-brainer.

But in China, the smiling face of Mickey Mouse is still alien to many youngsters and the task is daunting.

"A market like China is a green-field environment and so we have to build awareness and knowledge of what Disney is," Hardy told AFP during a break in a hectic schedule ahead of the park's opening day Monday.

"The better you understand the stories and the characters the better you enjoy the theme park experience -- it's a process of education," he added.

There are many reasons why Hong Kong was chosen as the launchpad for Disney's expansion into China, among them the readiness of the local government to cough up 1.8 billion of the 3 billion dollars needed to build the park.

But just as importantly, said Hardy, the former British colony is an oasis of Disney understanding, and a springboard from which word of the company can be spread.

"Hong Kong, like Singapore and Japan, has been exposed to Disney for many years through the TV and so on, but China is different," he said from an office in the park's Hollywood Hotel, one of two 500-room properties in the resort.

Although Hardy could tap into Disney's huge multimedia network to promote the park to most of the world, he was unable to use in China the most effective marketing tool the company has -- its cable and satellite TV channel.

The channel feed barely penetrates China, leaving Hardy only the merchandising arrangements to directly push the parks.

Instead, he struck a deal with southern China's prominent commercial TV channel TVB to carry the Disney message, securing the key 8:30 pm to 10:30 pm time slot when family viewing is at its peak.

"It's worked very well for us," he said, adding that recognition of the characters and stories has risen.

When the Hong Kong Disneyland project was first proposed in the mid-1990s, critics said Chinese and Asian audiences would not respond well to a giant corporation opening up its peculiarly American brand of entertainment in a region rich in its own heritage.

Hardy, however, said research showed that an American-style theme park was just what China wanted.

"We thought about customising it to this and that but when we got the data back it was clear people were telling us they wanted an American Disneyland," he said. "They want a bona fide Disney experience."

But to make Disney a little more accessible, the American giant hired Jackie Cheung, a Canto-pop superstar who is as recognisable to Chinese pop fans as Michael Jackson, to act as the park's public spokesman.

Before each TVB show airs, Cheung is seen on screen introducing the stories and the characters.

"We use Jackie to talk about the heritage of Disneyland and the stories behind it. The films that we show have a direct correlation to the rides we have at Disneyland -- Toy Story, Tarzan and so on."

Disney expects the resort to attract five million customers in its first 12 months of operation, split equally between visitors from China, Hong Kong and the rest of Southeast Asia.

Though significantly less than the 13 million that went through the turnstiles at the Tokyo Disneyland last year or the 15 million at the Walt Disney World Park in Orlando, Florida, it's a start that the company believes it can build on.

"Like the parks in the US our intention is to build a lifetime relationship with our guests so that multiple generations of families keep coming back," Hardy said.

So far, efforts to sell Disney have been concentrated on the nearest markets -- Hong Kong and southern China.

"It's the most logical way to do it," he said. "Within a 300-mile radius of Hong Kong there are 140 million people.

"We concentrate on that area first before moving to the rest of China."
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Old September 11th, 2005, 11:47 PM   #258
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Year of the mouse - Disneyland
10 September 2005
The Economist



Will Disneyland work in Hong Kong?

HONG KONG is in the grip of Mickey mania. It is pouring, unbearably humid and the official opening on September 12th is days away. But Hong Kong Disneyland is already packed. During a “rehearsal” last week it attracted close to its 30,000 daily capacity, forcing visitors to queue for hours. Ten thousand a day could visit from China's mainland alone: hundreds of extra border guards are in place this weekend in readiness.

It is a good omen for those hoping to profit from Asia's newest theme park—six years in the making at a cost of $3.5 billion. One is Walt Disney itself. This is only the American group's third international amusement park and its track record is mixed. Tokyo Disneyland makes money, but Euro Disney in Paris (of which it owns 39%) nearly went bankrupt and remains heavily indebted. This time, Disney's money should be safe. The Hong Kong park is predicted to attract a healthy 5.6m visitors in its first year, with numbers rising as it taps into the growing wealth of China's middle class. Disney's financial exposure is through a joint venture with the Hong Kong government—Disney paid $314m for its 43% stake. In return it gets management fees and royalties on merchandising, food and the nearby hotels.

Hong Kong should also profit. The government has invested heavily in securing the park: granting Disney a beautiful site on Lantau island, lending construction money and laying a dedicated train line (the carriages come with Mickey-shaped windows). Some costs will be defrayed through profits on its 57% stake in the park. But the main gains will come indirectly. The new Disneyland should help almost double tourist numbers this year, according to the city's tourist authority.

To extract the most from its guests, Hong Kong Disneyland has tried to adapt to local tastes. Though its attempts to serve shark's fin soup, a local delicacy, were thwarted by Greenpeace, dim sum restaurants sit, incongruously, on the wild west-themed “Main Street, USA.” Cartoon character-emblazoned merchandise comes in solid gold, and for the camera-mad Chinese there are fewer scary rides and more costumed staff scattered about for “photo-ops”.

The park's layout and opening date are ruled by strict feng-shui principles, but Disney may need more than this to persuade the cost-conscious Chinese to spend. Rather than buy official photographs, they tend to snap their own, even posing with shop toys which they then do not buy. Prices at HK$295 ($38) for an adult ticket on a weekday are cheaper than at other Disney parks. But whether such concessions create enough repeat business for long-term success remains to be seen. Several visitors complained to your correspondent that the park was too Chinese—with too many shops and not enough American razzle.
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Old September 12th, 2005, 12:20 AM   #259
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Would Disney in the future consider building more themed lands into the Magic Kingdom park such as Frontierland, Critter Country, and Mickey's Toon-town?

BTW, for Phase II, does anybody know what kind of park it'll be?
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Old September 13th, 2005, 05:38 AM   #260
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曾慶紅祝福迪士尼永遠的嘉年華
13/09/2005
《太陽報電子報》



全港市民期盼六年、富中國特色的香港迪士尼樂園昨終於誕生,開幕典禮以中國傳統鼓舞及舞龍舞獅配襯卡通人物,主禮嘉賓國家副主席曾慶紅祝願「樂園將永遠成為香港市民的嘉年華」。迪士尼樂園代表人物米奇說:「依家等我展開奇妙體驗啦!」將整個開幕典禮推至最高潮。今後,迪士尼樂園的璀璨花,將每晚劃破香港夜空,為港人帶來歡樂。

迪士尼樂園的奇妙體驗,由充滿中國傳統色彩的擊鼓作為序幕,接近中午十二時,園內響起一通又一通的鼓聲,十多位身穿金色或紅色衫褲的鼓手不停擊鼓,主禮嘉賓國家副主席曾慶紅,在鼓聲和樂聲中緩緩地由香港迪士尼樂園地標—睡公主城堡步出,他滿面笑容向台下嘉賓揮手致意,尾隨的三位主禮嘉賓,包括行政長官曾蔭權、迪士尼公司行政總裁邁克.艾斯納、迪士尼公司總裁及營運總監羅伯特.艾格。

醒獅鼓舞揭序幕
四位主禮嘉賓由台上步至台下,欣賞開幕慶典,此時,台上有數名小朋友步出,分別以廣東話及普通話說:「早晨,大家好,歡迎各位光臨迪士尼樂園。」此時,五頭金獅隨即登場,四位主禮嘉賓上台進行點睛儀式,再步下禮台欣賞醒獅及鼓舞表演,其中一頭金獅上到樁柱頂部後,「吐出」一個紅色底的迪士尼標誌,象徵香港迪士尼樂園誕生。

香港迪士尼樂園名譽大使張學友及香港迪士尼樂園親善大使杜苡樂也上台恭賀樂園開幕,來自全球四個迪士尼樂園的親善大使也上台致賀。稍後,《世界真細小》的音樂響起,香港兒童合唱團的成員出場,唱出樂園的主題曲《讓奇妙飛翔》。

曾蔭權致詞指出,迪士尼樂園是香港特區政府在旅遊業的策略投資,提供成千上萬職位,本港一系列適合一家老少遊玩的旅遊新景點,未來半年將陸續啟用。

國家副主席曾慶紅在壓軸致詞時說,歡樂的迪士尼將永遠成為香港市民的嘉年華,並為市民和訪港遊客增添一個充滿魅力的旅遊新景點,也為香港經濟繁榮發展提供一個新的增長點。他形容,在香港建設迪士尼樂園正是國際資本更看好香港的生動例證,他真誠地希望有更多的外國投資者來香港投資創業。

隨四位主禮嘉賓主持剪綵儀式,《世界真細小》的音樂再次響起,迪士尼公司行政總裁邁克.艾斯納以英語宣布:「香港迪士尼樂園正式開幕。」兩條龍由城堡出場,尾隨的是包括米奇和米妮在內的全體迪士尼樂園的卡通人物,他們隨音樂起舞,此時,城堡四周也放出花及彩帶,場面熱鬧,見證香港迪士尼樂園正式誕生。

一萬六千人盡興
開幕儀式後半小時,樂園正式開放予公眾人士,昨日入場參與感受開幕日的遊人共有一萬六千人,下午魚貫進場及盡情到各個機動遊戲遊玩,並沒有出現混亂情況。

樂園於晚上九時舉行的壓軸花匯演歷時約十二分鐘,在睡公主城堡上空綻放的花百變多端,一時如流星劃破夜空、又如火柱直沖天際,最後更是萬花齊放水銀瀉地,在多首迪士尼經典金曲及七彩繽紛的燈光襯托下,令逾萬名遊客經歷了一次奇妙之旅。花匯演結束後,遊客亦有秩序地朝樂園出口方向離去。
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