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Old December 19th, 2005, 07:00 PM   #321
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In fantasy country
18 December 2005

Essential tips for a day tripper to Hong Kong Disneyland

Disneyland has always been a land of the imagination whether it be in Florida, France or Tokyo. And even in the newbie theme park in Hong Kong, the charm of fantasy isn't far away.

Hong Kong Disneyland is the smallest Disney park and has the least number of rides. And one day is enough to experience the 16 rides and shows in all three zones of the theme park - Adventureland, Fantasyland and Tomorrowland.

The park is open from 10am to 7pm on weekdays and until 9pm on weekends, so, you have a maximum of 9.4 hours to complete all you may want to do in a day.

One way of speeding up things is to pay double and get a "Fast Track" ticket.

However, it's probably not the fairest thing to do because while you're on the "Fast Track", hundreds of people are queuing out there trying to get in.

Well, to spend a day in Hong Kong's Disneyland without regret, here are some pointers to what you shouldn't miss.

When you step into the park, you see Main Street USA, a typical American town of the early 1900s with a variety of charming shops and restaurants, as well as lively marching bands.

At every corner, several Disney characters, including Mickey and Minnie, Donald Duck, Goofy and Pluto, hang around to pose for pictures with the visitors.

Age is no barrier here. Kids, adults and even old people queue up to have a few photographs taken with the friendly looking characters.

Next, walking through the Sleeping Beauty Castle and turning to Adventureland, you see the Jungle River Cruise.

A guide takes you on an exotic journey along a river where intrigue, surprises and jungle humour wait at every turn.

Disneyland has guides who speak three languages - Cantonese, Mandarin and English.

Since the opening, thousands of people from the mainland have flooded the theme park. Therefore, taking the English-language ride would be wiser because the queue for it is far shorter.

Another highlight is the Festival of the Lion King. Visitors can witness a colourful pageant of music and dance, celebrating Disney's animated classic "The Lion King".

The 30-minute show takes place at noon, 2, 4.30 and 6pm.

The next spectacle worth witnessing is The Golden Mickeys in Fantasyland.

It takes place at Disney's Storybook Theatre and is an event in which awards resembling the Oscars are presented to doyens in the world of animation. The 30-minute show takes you back to Disney's well-known animated films, including "Tarzan", "Mulan", "The Little Mermaid" and "Beauty and the Beast".

Next on the list is Mickey's PhilharMagic where Mickey and his friends take you on a three-dimensional journey. Seeing the animated characters close up with surround sound and other special effects is truly impressive.

The next two attractions are in Tomorrowland, called Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters and Space Mountain. At Astro Blasters, players can spin their Star Cruisers 360 degrees while firing hand-held laser cannons. You blast enemies and amass points, then compare the score with other Space Rangers. Space Mountain has roller-coasters that ride into space.

Even Napoleon's army travelled on its stomach. So do the visitors to Disneyland. There are eight restaurants in the park , each decorated in the style of a Disney cartoon town, and 11 souvenir shops along the Main Street, smothered in the aroma of fresh-baked goods.
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Old December 20th, 2005, 06:33 PM   #322
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205 gold medalists prepare for HK trip
Some people probably thought it was a joke when First Gentleman Mike Arroyo promised that if the country won the Southeast Asian Games overall championship the gold medal winners will be treated to a Hong Kong Disneyland vacation
17 December 2005
Manila Bulletin

It seems the joke is on the skeptics as the preparations for the HK trip were completed yesterday for the grandest vacation for top Filipino athletes.

The SEA Games gold medalists and other sports officials, including Philippine Sports Commission Chairman William ‘Butch’ Ramirez, will be leaving for Hong Kong on Monday and will return on Wednesday.

"This is a good Christmas gift to all the athletes who helped us win our first overall SEA Games title," said Ramirez. "At last, after all the hard work of our athletes, First Gentleman has fulfilled his promise and I’m happy about it."

"After this vacation we are now looking forward to the training of our athletes for this year’s Asian Games and 2008 Beijing Olympics. Each gold medalist really deserves to enjoy this memorable Hong Kong trip," he added.

A total of 205 SEA Games gold medalists – 39 from traditional boat race men and women team, 18 from men’s baseball, 34 from men and women’s softball team, 10 from Wushu, 7 from aquatics, 9 from athletics, 8 from archery, 7 from Arnis, 5 from Billiards, 10 from boxing, 2 each from cycling and bodybuilding, 3 from dance sport, 10 from fencing, 4 each from bowling, golf, judo, muay thai and shooting, 5 from wrestling, 6 from tae kwon do, one each from sailing, Pencak Silat, gymnastics, lawn ball and equestrian – will be enjoying the Hong Kong trip.

The all-expenses paid trip will also include a $300 pocket money for each athlete from the First Gentleman’s fund.
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Old January 3rd, 2006, 06:31 PM   #323
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South China Morning Post
December 28, 2005
Mousekeeping
A few rocky starts taught Disney some valuable lessons. Only time will tell if Hong Kong will get its money's worth
Robin Kwong

There was a palpable excitement when the new Disneyland theme park opened, but the sceptics and critics were not so easily impressed. Press reports described the first few months as a "rocky start". Controversy arose over the cultural sensitivity of the park's food, and some locals called the park's management policies "absurd".

Then there was the matter of attendance. Two months after opening, the number of visitors was just over half of what Disney had estimated. Questions arose as to whether the park's prices were too expensive. Others questioned its finances, particularly in view of its costly construction.

Any of that sound familiar? Perhaps, but the above description was reconstructed from old newspaper articles of Tokyo Disneyland's opening in April 1983. By summer, the crowds were streaming in, and on August 13, the park drew a record 94,378 visitors. When September rolled around, a reporter from The New York Times was already writing that the park "may become as big a success as its big brothers in California and Florida".

In its first year, Tokyo Disneyland attracted 10 million visitors, and this was despite the fact that there was no direct train service to the park at the time. Attendance hovered at just above the 10 million mark for the next three years, before it started a more or less steady climb upwards - benefiting along the way from the opening of a second park, Tokyo DisneySea, and a new monorail line - to more than 25 million visitors last year.

If Tokyo Disneyland's eventual success could serve as an encouraging model for Hong Kong Disneyland, park and government officials in Hong Kong can also take some consolation, of a different kind, from comparisons with Paris' EuroDisney venture.

Local press lauded Disneyland, in comparison with the US$4.4 billion EuroDisney's opening in 1992.

A year before its opening, EuroDisney's then chairman, Robert Fitzpatrick, said: "My biggest fear is that we will be too successful." Those words would soon come back to haunt him.

The first sign of trouble was a controversy over Disney's strict staff dress code during the hiring phase before the park's opening. But unlike Hong Kong, where the code merely raised eyebrows, in France it sparked the indignation of local unions and prompted a government labour inspector to lodge a complaint against EuroDisney.

The conflict, in particular with the communist-led Confederation Generale du Travail, escalated with the unions carrying out a strike on the commuter rail line linking Paris with the theme park on its opening day. By mid-afternoon on opening day, 12,000 parking spaces at EuroDisney - which has a capacity for 60,000 - had not been filled. Disney officials did not release attendance figures for that day.

French intellectuals also lambasted the "invasion" of Mickey and Minnie. Prominent theatre director Ariane Mnouchkine dubbed EuroDisney a "cultural Chernobyl". It hardly helped either that the park initially failed to offer wine in its restaurants.

By the end of the second month, only 1.5 million had visited the park, hardly up with Disney's ambitious projection of 15 million in the first year. EuroDisney seems now to have found its feet, attracting 12 million visitors a year, and it is now the No1 European destination, although it still falls far short of original estimates.

It is, however, EuroDisney's finances that are still a worry. Euro Disney SCA, the listed theme park operator that was 49 per cent owned by Disney, saw its shares lose more than half their value within the park's first year, partly because of the company's high debt and rising costs.

On December 23 that year, Euro Disney's auditors warned that the park may have to be shut down. Euro Disney has since gone through two debt restructurings to stave off bankruptcy, in 1994 and last year.

John Ap, associate professor in tourism management at Polytechnic University, said Hong Kong Disneyland was unlikely to repeat Euro Disney's mistakes. "The Disneyland Paris park itself was very successful," Professor Ap said. EuroDisney's finances were dragged down by large loans taken out to develop more than 5,000 hotel rooms - far more than demand could support. "[Disney] truly got their fingers burnt," he said. "I think they learned a lesson from that experience."

In Hong Kong, Disney built only two hotels, with a total of 1,400 rooms.

Given the fortunes of the Tokyo and Paris Disneylands, it is hardly surprising that the general consensus of those keeping an eye on Hong Kong Disneyland is that it is still too early to tell. As Roy Tan Hardy, Hong Kong Disneyland's vice-president of marketing and sales, said: "Judging success now is like watching the opening credits for a movie and deciding right then if it will be an Oscar winner."

Richard Foglesong, a political science professor at Rollins College in the United States and author of Married to the Mouse: Walt Disney World and Orlando, said: "There is some precedent for a slow start followed by a rush of visitors ... It may take five years to know for sure whether the park is economically successful."

Both Hong Kong Disneyland and the Tourism Commission, however, were upbeat about the park's performance and the benefits it promises to bring to Hong Kong. They said there was little worry that the park would fail to attract sufficient mainland visitors. "We know that Hong Kong Disneyland is clearly resonating with people from Hong Kong, mainland China and other parts of the region," Mr Hardy said.

That was echoed by Paul Leung, chairman of Hong Kong Inbound Travel Association, who predicted Disney would reach its target of having one third of its visitors from the mainland. "The new open tickets scheme from Disney helps a lot," he said. "Unlike Ocean Park, many tour operators did not build Disneyland into their itinerary originally, because it was too risky to commit to fixed-date tickets."

He said, however, that the big boost would not likely come until next year, when the Ngong Ping 360 cable car opened. "Then tour operators will be able to offer both attractions in one package. As it is, Hong Kong Disneyland is not enough to occupy a full day." Professor Ap added that brand recognition and pricing were two factors that would determine Hong Kong Disneyland's popularity north of the border.

However, legislator Emily Lau Wai-hing said initial impressions of the park among legislators were not good. She criticised that projection of economic benefits as being too distant. "I worry about whether we'll see any benefits in the next four years, let alone 40," Ms Lau said.

Professor Foglesong said that apart from time, paucity of information also hampered any assessment of Hong Kong Disneyland's success. "It's very hard to tell whether Hong Kong Disneyland is meeting expectations, because the Disney Company is even less transparent than the Hong Kong government," he said.

Andrew Work, executive director of the Lion Rock Institute, a local free-market think-tank, said more than just attendance or revenue figures would be needed to measure the success of Disneyland for Hong Kong. "Aside from direct consumption at the park, it's very difficult to estimate how much off-site tourism spending is attributable to those who came only because a Disney exists," he said. There was also no information on whether tourists stayed in Hong Kong longer because of Disney, or what Hong Kong Disneyland's profits were after remittances to its parent Disney Company.

These were all questions that "should have been considered before asking Hong Kong taxpayers to bear the majority of the financial risk for the project", Mr Work said.

At the end of the day, the discussion may be moot for the government and Disney, Mr Work said. "Will missing targets be a problem?" he asked. "Only Disney and the Hong Kong government know. Disney gets a guaranteed management fee. The Hong Kong government doesn't have to worry about Disney - it's off books. So who cares if it makes money or not?"

Hong Kong's taxpayers should, for one.
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Old January 8th, 2006, 08:03 PM   #324
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Hong Kong a roller coaster for Disney
By Kent Ewing
Asia Times
January 6, 2006

HONG KONG - There was good end-of-year news for the Walt Disney Co in this newly crowned Disney city: finally, three months after its much-heralded opening, Hong Kong Disneyland sold out twice in December. The bad news, however, may be that the World Trade Organization had to come to town for its sixth ministerial conference, which culminated in street rioting and 1,000 arrests, to fill the park the first time. And nothing less than the birth of Christ was required for the second full house.

The holiday season has been kind to Disney. Overall, however, the company's first four months in Hong Kong have been like one of its more exhilarating roller-coaster rides - full of dips and rises and marked by sharp, exciting and sometimes even frightening turns. For the record, Disney executives express beaming satisfaction with their Hong Kong takeoff. But they also have no doubt written up a list of new year's resolutions for the Hong Kong park, chief of which must be to boost the so-far-disappointing attendance.

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government, which owns 57% of the US$3.2 billion resort, is counting on 5.6 million visitors in its first year, or an average of 15,342 a day. A head count over a two-day period by four reporters for a local newspaper, however, tallied 12,972 on one day and 11,399 on the other. Disney's vice president of marketing and sales in Hong Kong, Roy Tan Hardy, dismissed the count as inaccurate and misleading, adding: "We're actually very happy with the attendance ... so we are not concerned."

But Tan Hardy also refused to reveal the company's own attendance figures, which goes to the heart of Disney's public relations problems in Hong Kong. Surveys show that as many as 80% of Hong Kong residents support Disneyland's presence here. But most also chafe at the company's lack of transparency - especially since Hong Kong taxpayers footed 90% of the cost of constructing the resort in a sweetheart deal that gave Disney a 43% share of the profits for a 10% investment. The lopsided arrangement shows just how badly the Hong Kong government wanted to bring the Magic Kingdom to the city. Just as badly, the government now wants the deal to pay off.

So far, reviews are mixed. Although Disney plans to expand the park, its present size of 130 hectares makes it by far the smallest Disneyland in the world. Consequently, many Western visitors find Hong Kong Disneyland cramped and, on those infrequent occasions when large crowds do turn out, claustrophobic. Westernized Hong Kong Chinese also complain.

But for visitors from mainland China, Disney's biggest target audience in Hong Kong, the experience is very different. For the most part, they appear to be having a great time, but there is a twist: they do not spend as much money as Disney would like, because they take so much time snapping photos and lingering over meals. Some of them make the short trip on the special Disney train line that runs from the city to Lantau Island, where Disneyland is located, and spend all their time taking photos in the beautifully landscaped public area, which features a lake and a large arboretum, without ever actually entering the park.

Other strange tales emerging from these opening months include reports of mainland visitors taking photos of themselves on the monitor image of the Space Mountain roller-coaster ride, instead of purchasing the photo from Disney; jumping out of the Mad Hatter's Tea Cups as the ride begins (to snap pictures, of course), thus halting the ride for everyone; photographing their children standing beside the balloon seller, but not buying any balloons; and occupying restaurant tables for as long as an entire day.

Disney may not have anticipated every cultural challenge from the mainland, but the company has nevertheless gone to great lengths to make the Hong Kong park attractive and culturally sensitive to Chinese visitors. After all, it is not Hong Kong's population of nearly 7 million that has Disney executives so excited; rather, the potential audience of 1.3 billion on the mainland is the company's biggest target. Disney, for example, consulted feng shui masters - that is, experts in the Chinese art of harmonizing people and their environment - about the design of the resort, which faces the South China Sea with mountainous Lantau serving as a striking backdrop. The only eyesore in the area, the three stacks of Lamma Island's power station, are hidden behind hectares of parking lots.

In addition, signs throughout the park are written in both Chinese and English, and there are bilingual how-to explanations for each of the park's 13 rides. While Westerners complain that other Disney parks offer more rides and bigger thrills, Disney's research showed that mainland visitors desire a tamer experience. You will still find Disney standards such as Space Mountain, the problematic Mad Hatter's Tea Cups, the Jungle Cruise and the Buzz Lightyear Astro-Blasters. But it seems such creations as Fantasy Gardens - where visitors can mingle and pose for photographs with Mickey, Minnie and other Disney characters - are more appealing to mainland visitors.

Disney has also clearly been attentive to local tastes in its choice of food. There is a wide variety of international cuisine on offer at the Hong Kong park, but Chinese staples abound. Disney even took (yet another) public relations hit, this time from conservationists, when it put shark's fin soup, a traditional Chinese delicacy served to mark big occasions, on the wedding-banquet menu at the Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel. (Because of fears of overfishing and revulsion against the brutal way in which the fins are harvested, the dish is illegal in a number of countries, but not in Hong Kong or on the mainland.)

With all this effort to attract mainland visitors, why, then, are the results so far modest at best? There could be a number of reasons.

First of all, the 17 test days on which Disney opened the park gates for selected visitors before the official September 12 opening were generally considered a disappointment, receiving unfavorable reviews in both the Chinese- and English-language media in Hong Kong. One particular test day - a charity day that filled the park to its supposed capacity of 30,000 people - was a notable fiasco, with visitors suffering waits of more than two hours for rides and restaurant tables. Government officials were alarmed enough by what happened to question whether Disney had overestimated the number of people the park could hold.

And then, once the park opened, it did not help the company's image when a former security guard, sacked by Disney for allegedly using foul language on the job, climbed to the top of the building housing Space Mountain and threatened a suicide jump in protest against his release. In November, Disney employees, complaining of unfair treatment, launched a union, taking some more of the "magic" out of Hong Kong's Disney experience.

In fairness to Disney, however, Euro Disney (now Paris Disneyland) faced more controversy and teething problems than Hong Kong Disneyland when it opened in 1992. You can be certain that Euro Disney did not have 80% support from the French when it opened, one reason being that the park initially did not serve wine - in France! Disney has a track record of learning from its mistakes, and demonstrated this during the past month when the company proved that the Hong Kong park could hold 30,000 and run smoothly. Now Disney executives must figure out a way to make that happen on a more regular basis.

Some observers have wondered whether the hotel and ticket prices at the resort are too high to lure the mainland hordes across the border. The resort's two hotels, with the cheapest room going for $128, are expensive by any standard. To Hong Kong residents, however, admission prices to the park are quite reasonable: on week days, it is $38 for an adult ticket and $27 for children; on weekends, the respective prices go up to $45 and $32. That makes Hong Kong Disneyland the cheapest of any of Disney's five parks around the world, but it is still a costly proposition for many on the mainland - where, despite roaring economic growth, the gross domestic product per capita is only $5,600, as compared with $30,000 in Hong Kong and $40,000 in the United States.

Coming off an attendance bump over the holidays, Hong Kong Disneyland starts the new year with fresh resolve and optimism. "The biggest challenge of bringing a Disney park to this part of the world," said Disney marketing strategist Tan Hardy, "is that not all audiences grew up with Disney stories and characters, so there are varying levels of familiarity and understanding. Our priority has been to introduce audiences all over the region to the classic Disney experience ... through TV, road shows and interactive media events."

Although the results to date are somewhat underwhelming, Disney executives are betting the bank on linking the success of Hong Kong Disneyland to continued economic growth on the mainland. And, despite a few public relations glitches, it remains a very good bet - especially after Hong Kong taxpayers put down 90% of the $3.2 billion ante.

Kent Ewing is a teacher and writer at Hong Kong International School.
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Old January 8th, 2006, 08:25 PM   #325
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YES YOU CAN TRAVEL ON A FERRIE TO DISNEYLAND IN FLORIDA
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Old January 11th, 2006, 12:27 AM   #326
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Hong Kong Disneyland Promotes Bull Ernest
Mon Jan 9, 10:58 PM ET
AP

HONG KONG - Bill Ernest has been promoted to executive vice president and managing director of the Hong Kong Disneyland Resort, the company said Tuesday.

Ernest, a 12-year Disney veteran, replaces Don Robinson, who's leaving the company to be president of the Baha Mar Resorts in Nassau, Bahamas, according to a Disney statement.

Ernest has been managing director of operations at the Hong Kong park. He helped launch the Disney Cruise Line in Florida in 1998 before transferring to Hong Kong.

He had also managed resort operations at Walt Disney World in Florida and other Disney resorts since he joined the company in 1994.

Hong Kong Disneyland, which opened last September, is a joint venture between The Walt Disney Co. and the local government.
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Old January 13th, 2006, 02:02 PM   #327
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I hope this park proves to be a success. Correct me if I'm wrong but aren't there two more large phases of the park to be completed. My first impression was that this park is only 1/3 completed. They should put some spectacular rollercoasters, a tall observation tower and something grand like Epcot Center. I've never been to a Disney park but I thought it would have been really nice if they built a full fledged castle like ones you see in Europe. Something large and grand like the city it self.

Hong Kong is a spectacular place all by itself. It's nice to see it complemented with a Disney park.
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Old January 14th, 2006, 08:27 AM   #328
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桃花王迎賓 售米奇揮春
迪士尼變身賀狗年

14/01/2006





充滿美國文化色彩的香港迪士尼樂園,今年春節將變身為富有中國節慶色彩的主題公園。這也是全球迪士尼樂園,首個舉辦慶祝農曆新年的活動,迪士尼大小卡通主角在農曆新年期間,都會穿上應節服裝;美國小鎮大街更會擺放十四呎高「桃花王」迎賓,迪士尼精品店亦首見米奇揮春、食肆更供應發財年糕。迪士尼最大規模的本土化活動,將在這個春節為市民帶來驚喜。

迪士尼商品發展、旅遊、特別項目及聯盟市務總監林寶彤指出,是次乃全球迪士尼樂園首次舉辦農曆新年活動,狗年大年初一,「奇妙新春」賀歲活動正式拉開序幕,為了尊重中國傳統,進入樂園的樂迎道上,燈柱都會掛上色彩鮮豔的揮春,由樂園正門通往美國小鎮大街的拱門上,會貼上桃花樹枝為背景的春聯,而兩旁的樓房亦會掛上大紅爆竹及貼上精緻的剪紙工藝,寓意迎接春天來臨及為樂園帶來好運。米妮昨日更督促工人在園內擺放花卉,裝飾樂園每一角落。

每晚舞龍舞獅表演
由大年初一至正月十五日(本月二十九日至下月十二日),樂園為遊客準備了一系列特別的賀歲活動。在這段期間每晚六時三十分,銅鑼鼓聲將徐徐響起,配襯精采奪目的舞龍舞獅表演,在睡公主城堡前的舞台載歌載舞。每晚將有一個幸運家庭獲邀上台為三隻醒獅點睛,而迪士尼多名卡通人物亦會穿上一身傳統應節服飾,加入表演隊伍。

炮製招財進寶盆菜
樂園廚師亦趁農曆新年炮製了多款傳統應節食品,小鎮大街上的小賣亭及市集餅店會售賣各種可口小食,如年年有餘脆米餅及米奇賀年曲奇等。樂園及酒店內的餐廳亦會推出多款新春佳餚,如河景餐廳會供應「招財進寶盆菜套餐」;香港迪士尼樂園酒店內的中菜廳晶荷軒,則會推出集大江南北特色的九道菜新春菜譜。

香港迪士尼亦特別在農曆新年期間,推出過百款獨家發售的中式精品,包括印有中文吉祥語句的揮春、利是封及徽章、中式應節服飾、布偶及糖果禮盒等。其中一套以穿中式禮服的米奇老鼠、米妮老鼠及布魯托為造型的特別版徽章,更是限量二千六百套,但中國人重「好意頭」,徽章將不會有與「四」字相關的編碼出現。
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Old January 19th, 2006, 04:50 AM   #329
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LCQ3: Employment of PWDs by HK Disneyland
Wednesday, January 18, 2006
Government Press Release

Following is a question by the Hon Dr Fernando Cheung Chiu-hung and a reply by the Secretary for Economic Development and Labour, Mr Stephen Ip, in the Legislative Council today (January 18):

Question:

Regarding the employment of persons with disabilities (PWDs) by the Hong Kong Disneyland ("HKD"), will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the number of PWDs currently employed by HKD, with a breakdown by the modes of employment and job nature;

(b) of the respective longest and shortest employment periods among the former and existing HKD employees who are PWDs; and

(c) whether the Administration will request HKD management to set an indicator for employing PWDs; if it will not, whether it has assessed if this runs contrary to the Government policy of assisting PWDs in securing jobs?

Reply:

Madam President,

The Hongkong International Theme Parks Limited (HKITP)'s employment policy is to provide equal opportunities to all applicants, including persons with disabilities (PWDs). If an applicant, who is a PWD, possesses the necessary skills and qualities for a job, HKITP is very willing to employ him. To ensure that potential PWDs are aware of job opportunities at HKITP, apart from its normal advertising channels, HKITP has since August 2005 developed a process to disseminate recruitment information to PWDs. It passes a monthly update on all job openings to the Social Welfare Department (SWD), Labour Department (LD) and Hong Kong Council of Social Services. HKITP has undertaken to review every application referred by these channels.

In addition, HKITP has arranged site visits for representatives from SWD and LD to introduce the operation of the theme park to them so that the two departments can better explain the job opportunities offered by HKITP to their clients. Representatives of the Health, Welfare and Food Bureau, SWD and LD have met with the Hong Kong Disneyland to introduce to them the employability of PWDs and the support services provided by government departments for the employment of PWDs, e.g., job matching and referral services and how to make use of the services and products of non-governmental rehabilitation organisations. This two-way communication will continue.

Since August 2005 over 100 PWDs have expressed interest to HKITP in employment opportunities at Hong Kong Disneyland. Currently, 25 PWDs are working full-time in various positions across different lines of business in the theme park, including cleaning, hotels, food and beverage, and clerical and administration support. They joined the company at different points in time since park opening. In addition, HKITP has contracted out short-term projects to rehabilitation organisations through the Marketing Consultancy Office (Rehabilitation) under SWD. This has provided job opportunities to PWDs. Between August and December 2005, a total of 66 employment opportunities for PWDs have been provided through this channel.

It is the Government's policy to assist PWDs to develop their personal capabilities for securing jobs in the open market, so as to enable them to become self-reliant and integrate fully into society. The Health, Welfare and Food Bureau, SWD and LD encourage and help employers to employ PWDs. The Government has also launched a series of measures to encourage and assist employers in the public and private sectors to employ PWDs. For example, SWD and LD have provided funding to non-governmental organisations to provide employment-related training to PWDs. LD itself will also provide training of similar nature to some of its clients, e.g. job interview skills.

The Government will not require a particular employer to set up a specific employment indicator for the employment of PWDs. Hon Lee Cheuk-yan asked a question on employment of PWDs by the Government on 4 May 2005. The Secretary for the Civil Service’s reply stated our long-standing policy: "The Government, and indeed the whole community, should help PWDs to find jobs on the basis of their abilities rather than disabilities. Under a compulsory employment quota system, PWDs will be perceived as a liability, making them difficult to be accepted by their peers at work. A mandatory employment quota system is therefore unlikely to be effective in achieving the desired results." On the same occasion, the Secretary for Health, Welfare and Food also said, "A majority of the countries which used to implement the quota system, the United Kingdom, for example, have already given up the system since 1995 as it was not reckoned as a good measure. A lot of European countries deem that combating discrimination is the most important task presently. ....From the point of view of PWDs generally, especially those PWDs having a job at the present moment, they think that they have to be treated equally with other staff at work. They should enjoy no special status, nor should they enjoy any status simply because of compliance with certain legislation."

We believe that the prevailing policy and arrangements, which place emphasis on vocational rehabilitation, promotion and practical assistance, are appropriate for the objective of promoting employment opportunities for PWDs.
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Old January 20th, 2006, 03:56 AM   #330
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Celebrate the Magic of Chinese New Year at Hong Kong Disneyland
Corporate Press Release

(HONG KONG, January 9, 2006) - Thundering drum beats, swirling dragon dancers, striking red and gold Chinese outfits and blossoming flowers will all herald the start of a magical Chinese New Year celebration at Hong Kong Disneyland.

From January 29 to February 12, 2006, a series of special activities will take place throughout Hong Kong Disneyland to welcome the start of the Year of the Dog.

Every day, the park will come alive to the sound of drum rolls, cymbals and gongs and a wave of bright color as dragons, lions, dancers and musicians dance their way around a specially designed stage in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle.

Special guests will be chosen to bring the three lions to life in an eye dotting ceremony on stage. As the live percussion grows louder the lions and dragons will perform a lively dance to welcome the start of Chinese New Year, before being joined on stage by Disney friends Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Pluto and Chip and Dale all looking elegant in their new Chinese outfits.

The Disney friends will offer their Chinese New Year greetings to an excited crowd before welcoming one lucky family to receive a special gift. As popular Disney tunes sound through the air, streamers will cascade from the top of Sleeping Beauty Castle onto the crowd below for a vividly colorful finish to the ceremony.

A visit to Hong Kong Disneyland at Chinese New Year would not be complete without a special photo with beloved Disney friends, who will be dressed up in their specially tailored Chinese outfits just in time to create memorable photos for every guest.

Adding to the Chinese New Year atmosphere, blossoming plants will welcome guests as they enter the park and stroll along Main Street USA. In Town Square, a delicate plum blossom tree will flower throughout the first 15 days of Chinese New Year.

The lampposts on the entranceway to the park will feature brightly hued fai chun (red couplets) wishing guests a happy Chinese New Year while over the archway leading into Main Street USA a large greeting decorated with sprigs of plum blossoms will welcome the arrival of spring and good fortune into Hong Kong Disneyland.

Long strings of red firecrackers will dangle from the stately columns of the buildings along Main Street USA, while the windows overlooking the main thoroughfare will be beautifully ornamented with paper cutting designs in the shape of flowers and leaves.

Inside the many stores at Hong Kong Disneyland there will be plenty of special Chinese New Year-inspired gifts available for family and friends.

Guests will be able to choose from Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and Pluto stuffed toys wearing traditional Chinese outfits and decorative wall hangings featuring a range of Disney friends with Chinese New Year greetings, which are sure to add a festive sparkle to every home.

Children will delight in wearing the Disney-inspired Chinese outfits over the Chinese New Year holiday. For little boys there is a royal blue satin jacquard outfit woven with Mickey Mouse and small red firecrackers, while little girls will love wearing a red long-sleeved Chinese-style satin, jacquard jacket and matching skirt embellished with the smiling face of Winnie the Pooh and gossamer white dragonflies.

Wafting through the air of Hong Kong Disneyland will be the scent of delicious treats as chefs whip up tantalizing traditional menus to bring guests together during this very special holiday.

Outdoor vendors will be dotted throughout Main Street USA selling an assortment of Chinese New Year snacks including savory turnip cake, corn in sweet honey butter sauce and deep fried fish skin chips.

At the nearby Market House Bakery, guests can select from Mickey-shaped mango pudding, Fortune Fish crispy rice cakes and a delicious selection of take home goodies including Mickey's Chinese New Year cookies all tied up in a golden gift bag.

Traditional Chinese meals for lunch and dinner can be enjoyed at restaurants throughout the park, including Riverview Cafe in Adventureland, Plaza Inn on Main Street USA and the Royal Banquet Hall in Fantasyland from January 27 to February 12.

For guests who extend their Hong Kong Disneyland experience and choose to stay in one of the two hotels, the Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel or Disney's Hollywood Hotel, the magic never ends. Special set menus, decorations, balloon crackers and dragon dances will ensure an immersive experience like never before. And, to commemorate the start of the Year of the Dog, every night children will be told a different tale about a famous Disney dog.

Whether guests choose to celebrate in small or large groups, Hong Kong Disneyland is the place to gather for a truly magical start to the Chinese New Year.
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Old February 4th, 2006, 03:08 AM   #331
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Disneyland may change ticket system after protests
Wendy Leung
Hong Kong Standard
Saturday, February 04, 2006



Hong Kong Disneyland is considering changing its ticketing system following three days of chaos outside the park sparked by ticket holders being turned away because the park was full.

A Disney spokeswoman said Friday that the company has learned from the unruly behavior over the Lunar New Year, and will consider making changes to ticket arrangements for peak holidays.

Some mainland visitors queued outside the Magic Kingdom from 5.30am hoping to get in Friday after hundreds of ticket holders were locked out Wednesday and Thursday, and then tried to storm the gates.

All visitors Friday were allowed inside even though Disney said the park was full.

One of the main criticisms of the park has been that, unlike for the first few days of the Lunar New year, Wednesday and Thursday were not deemed special days, which would have required tickets valid only for that day.

The debacle over the holiday period has drawn strong condemnation.

Legislator Fred Li said: "Disney keeps making mistakes, so I think we should send non-government and non- Disney people to sit on the board of directors to represent the Hong Kong people and monitor its management. It's time for the government to review [the situation]."

Li also quoted Financial Secretary Henry Tang as saying he is unhappy about the problems at Disney, and agreed that it has ruined Hong Kong's image. The park is 57 percent owned by the city and the rest by the US entertainment giant.

Permanent Secretary for Economic Development and Labour Sandra Lee said: "The government has already ordered [Disney] to solve the problems as soon as possible."

Friday, visitors complained of long queues for rides and for facilities such as washrooms. Mr Tan, a home decoration company owner who came with eight friends and relatives from Guangdong, said the theme park had left a bad impression. "There are too many people and the park is too small," he said. "We didn't enjoy our time here, so we just left at 10am."

Michael Wu, chairman of the Hong Kong Association of Travel Agents, anticipated the theme park would return to normal Saturday, as the holiday peak would be over.
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Old February 4th, 2006, 06:21 PM   #332
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Thousands queue at Hong Kong Disneyland after chaos

HONG KONG, Feb 3, 2006 (AFP) - Thousands of people queued outside Hong Kong Disneyland before dawn on Friday, hoping to get in after two days of angry scenes between park staff and ticket-holders who were denied entry.

The park apologised for the chaos, which saw crowds try to storm through the gates on Thursday after guards said Disneyland had been sold out even though hundreds of visitors, many from mainland China, had purchased valid tickets.

Scores of people scaled the fences to get to the rides after the gates were locked, and some disappointed customers scuffled with security personnel at the site. Many ticket-holders were also locked out on Wednesday.

"We are very sorry some of our guests have not been able to visit Hong Kong Disneyland over the past few days, and fully understand their disappointment," managing director Bill Ernest said in a statement.

"But to ensure guest safety and preserve the unique guest experience, we have had to limit guest entry at certain times," he said.

Disneyland recently introduced "flexible" tickets which customers can use on any one day during a six-month period but which do not guarantee entry if the complex, which is majority-owned by the Hong Kong government, is full.

"Disney's decision to refuse holders entry was a breach of contract," said Hong Kong lawmaker Ronny Tong.

The park's reported daily capacity is 30,000, and tickets cost 300 Hong Kong (38 US) dollars.

Hong Kong television showed thousands of people waiting outside on Friday morning, with the first arriving at 5:30 am (2230 GMT Thursday) to ensure they were allowed in. The company said it would stay open later than usual.

It also said demand was higher than expected due to a large number of mainland Chinese tourists visiting during the Lunar New Year holiday week.

The park has suffered several public relations setbacks since opening in September.

A row over plans to serve shark's fin soup prompted an international outcry from conservationists. The plan was dropped.

The park also ran into trouble with labour leaders after staff complained of being overworked and underpaid.
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Old February 4th, 2006, 06:24 PM   #333
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Hong Kong Disneyland to adjust ticketing system after crowds tried to storm park
4 February 2006

HONG KONG (AP) - Hong Kong Disneyland will adjust its admission system after hundreds of ticket holders from mainland China were turned away and tried to storm the park, a Disney executive said Saturday.

The problem stemmed from a system in which most tickets sold are valid for six months, but do not guarantee entry on any given day. Hundreds of Chinese New Year holiday-makers who held such tickets, many from the mainland or Taiwan, were barred from the park Wednesday and Thursday because it was already full.

Television footage showed crowds rebuffed trying to push through the entrance gate, while others clambered over the iron fence.

Hong Kong Disneyland Managing Director Bill Ernest said the park will not scrap flexible-time tickets, which the tourism industry had demanded.

But the park may set aside peak days for date-specific ticket holders only, Ernest told a news conference.

Turned-away holders of flexible tickets can ask for refunds, he said.

"I personally apologize to the people of Hong Kong, as well as the people of mainland China, for the experience," Ernest said. "We are still learning in this market. This our very first Chinese New Year, frankly."

Ernest said visitor numbers during the holidays have been "unprecedented," but declined to provide an attendance figure.

Hong Kong Disneyland, a joint venture between The Walt Disney Co. and the Hong Kong government, opened in September to lukewarm demand. Officials have said the lower-than-expected initial attendance was because many tourists believed that the park would be too crowded in the first few months.

Ernest said keeping crowding under control in the park is important for public safety.
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Old February 5th, 2006, 10:04 AM   #334
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South China Morning Post
February 5, 2006
Disney chief chokes on his words, but gets out an apology
May Chan

The head of Hong Kong Disneyland yesterday made an emotional public apology over the ticketing chaos during the Lunar New Year holiday.

Bill Ernest, executive vice-president and managing director of the Lantau theme park, also conceded the entertainment giant needed to improve its understanding of Chinese culture.

He had to pause between sentences as he choked back his words during a press conference.

"We regret that anyone may have been inconvenienced. No one is more disappointed than we are. As a father, I understand how frustrating it is to disappoint your children," he said, his voice tailing off as he spoke.

Mr Ernest, who has been in the top job for less than a month after the surprise departure of Don Robinson, then bowed his head and remained silent before continuing: "But our first priority is to protect our guests."

A Disney spokeswoman later said Mr Ernest had become emotional because he was thinking about his daughter, who had just celebrated her birthday.

The park drew fire from government officials, travel agents and the Consumer Council after hundreds of ticket holders were turned away on Wednesday and Thursday because the park was full.

Critics say a dual system of flexible tickets, which allow one visit within a six-month period, and date-specific tickets was at the heart of the problem. Date-specific tickets are issued for special event days and holidays, but those issued before the introduction of the flexible-ticket system on January 3 do not guarantee entry.

Wednesday, Thursday and Friday were deemed "regular" days, even though the Lunar New Year holiday on the mainland runs for a week. Many of those turned back were mainland tourists.

Mr Ernest said the park had no plans to scrap the flexible ticket system but would look at adjusting it.

When asked if Disney needed to better understand Chinese culture, he replied: "That's a good question [and] we're still learning."

Hundreds of visitors queued outside the park before it opened at 8.15am yesterday, but the chaotic scenes of last week were not repeated. Disney refused to release figures on park admissions or the number of tickets sold during the Lunar New Year.

Consumer Council chief executive Pamela Chan Wong Shui said the park could be in breach of contract by denying entrance to ticket holders. She urged the park to meet the council to discuss refunds and compensation.

Mandy Tam Heung-man, of the Legislative Council's economic services panel, said the apology was too late. "And it's ? meaningless because [management] fails to be accountable to the public."
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Old February 6th, 2006, 01:41 AM   #335
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Hong Kong leader says city 'disconsolate' over Disneyland chaos
By HELEN LUK
5 February 2006

HONG KONG (AP) - Hong Kong's leader Donald Tsang said Sunday his city is "disconsolate" over the chaos that erupted when hundreds of mainland Chinese tried to storm Hong Kong Disneyland after they were refused entry despite having tickets.

"We feel disconsolate, but we have learnt a lesson," Tsang said on a radio program.

"I feel sorry for our mainland compatriots who were disappointed by the incident," Tsang said. "I hope there'll be no repeat of what happened."

Hundreds of angry Chinese New Year holiday-makers, mostly from mainland China or Taiwan, tried last week to force their way into the park after they were denied entry because it was full.

They had earlier bought tickets that were valid for six months but did not guarantee entry on a specific day. Some of the rebuffed patrons tried to push through the entrance gate, while others clambered over an iron fence.

Tsang said Sunday the government has expressed its concern to the Walt Disney Co.

At a news conference a day earlier, Hong Kong Disneyland Managing Director Bill Ernest emotionally apologized to turned-away tourists and promised to adjust the park's admission system.

Ernest said visitor numbers during the Lunar New Year holidays were "unprecedented."

"As a father, I understand how frustrating it is to disappoint your children," he said.

However, he defended the use of the open-date tickets, saying there was a high demand for them.

He said the park may set aside peak days for date-specific ticket holders in the future, and will offer refunds to flexible ticket holders who are turned away.

Hong Kong Disneyland, a joint venture between The Walt Disney Co. and the Hong Kong government, opened in September.
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Old February 6th, 2006, 10:23 AM   #336
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That's not a good news for HK disneyland and its image.
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Old February 7th, 2006, 01:43 PM   #337
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I say when the park is full then the park is full. You can't go crashing into a carpark if a carpark is full! You can't go squashing into an elevator when it's taking the maximum load!

I'm quite ashamed with the immature way of our compatriots acting. That's something to deface our race. Can't they just get civilised?
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Old February 8th, 2006, 12:56 AM   #338
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In America, something being "full" is usually based on local fire codes dictating how many people are allowed in a building or park for safety reason. Is the same true in Hong Kong? Or was this limit set by the park owners themselves?
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Old February 8th, 2006, 01:28 AM   #339
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Full is full, but this is a lesson learnt by Disneyland regarding the way it sells tickets.
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Old February 8th, 2006, 05:02 AM   #340
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If they had built the park bigger, they wouldn't have this problem. Hong Kong Disneyland filled to its capacity of 30,000 guests, with 1000 people denied entry on the Chinese New Year.

Disneyland in California has a capacity of 50,000, and Magic Kingdom in Disneyworld has a capacity of 55,000.

Hong Kong Disneyland, SOOOO SMALL !!!
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