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Old April 5th, 2006, 09:06 AM   #361
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There must be a thread of 'de Efteling' aswell. that's one of the best parks from europe.
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Old April 7th, 2006, 07:08 AM   #362
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Disneyland has failed to make mark, poll finds
6 April 2006
South China Morning Post

Mainlanders and Taiwanese have voted Ocean Park as the top entertainment destination, but Disneyland has not even been shortlisted in the category, a poll has found.

The two-month poll of mainland visitors was conducted in December by marketing company Just Events, along with the Hong Kong Association of China Travel Organisations, the Chamber of Hong Kong Computer Industry and Ho To (HK) Commercial.

Voters came from more than 10 mainland cities and provinces, including Shanghai and Guangdong, and some were from Taiwan.

In the entertainment category, Ocean Park, Lan Kwai Fong and the Jockey Club were rated the top three brands from five shortlisted entries. The two others shortlisted were Star Cruises and activities on Lantau Island including the Big Buddha, a Chinese village and the Ngong Ping 360 cable car project.

A detailed breakdown on the votes in the "PRC Provinces Tourists' My Best Hong Kong Brands" poll was not available.

Travel Industry Council executive director Joseph Tung Yao-chung said mainlanders viewed Disneyland as an icon of American culture instead of a Hong Kong brand.

"It does not mean that mainlanders don't find Disneyland attractive," Mr Tung said. "But it is true that they don't find it as unique as Ocean Park, Lantau Island and Lan Kwai Fong which are products of local culture."

A Disneyland spokeswoman said the park was less than a year old and it was no surprise that mainlanders were more familiar with established brands.

The survey also covered cosmetics retail stores, which were topped by Sasa, Bonjour and Aster. The best three shopping centres were APM Mall in Kwun Tong, Times Square in Causeway Bay and Langham Place in Mongkok.
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Old April 7th, 2006, 07:16 AM   #363
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hkskyline
Disneyland has failed to make mark, poll finds
6 April 2006
South China Morning Post

Mainlanders and Taiwanese have voted Ocean Park as the top entertainment destination, but Disneyland has not even been shortlisted in the category, a poll has found.

The two-month poll of mainland visitors was conducted in December by marketing company Just Events, along with the Hong Kong Association of China Travel Organisations, the Chamber of Hong Kong Computer Industry and Ho To (HK) Commercial.

Voters came from more than 10 mainland cities and provinces, including Shanghai and Guangdong, and some were from Taiwan.

In the entertainment category, Ocean Park, Lan Kwai Fong and the Jockey Club were rated the top three brands from five shortlisted entries. The two others shortlisted were Star Cruises and activities on Lantau Island including the Big Buddha, a Chinese village and the Ngong Ping 360 cable car project.

A detailed breakdown on the votes in the "PRC Provinces Tourists' My Best Hong Kong Brands" poll was not available.

Travel Industry Council executive director Joseph Tung Yao-chung said mainlanders viewed Disneyland as an icon of American culture instead of a Hong Kong brand.

"It does not mean that mainlanders don't find Disneyland attractive," Mr Tung said. "But it is true that they don't find it as unique as Ocean Park, Lantau Island and Lan Kwai Fong which are products of local culture."

A Disneyland spokeswoman said the park was less than a year old and it was no surprise that mainlanders were more familiar with established brands.

The survey also covered cosmetics retail stores, which were topped by Sasa, Bonjour and Aster. The best three shopping centres were APM Mall in Kwun Tong, Times Square in Causeway Bay and Langham Place in Mongkok.
What do you except. One thing, HK Disneyland is small. Also, I think HK DL is attracting more to South East Asians than the mainland especially to Filipinos since they always have competitions where HK Disneyland is the grand prize. Definitely not to Koreans and Japanese.
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Old April 7th, 2006, 07:19 AM   #364
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The problem isn't so much Disneyland's size, but rather some communication gaps between Disney officials and visitors. They have been quite secretive about their attendance numbers and didn't do enough PR right from the start, which has angered a lot of Hong Kongers since the government paid a substantial investment for the park. The ticketing scheme also had problems, and visitors' emotions boiled over when some mainland tourists tried to storm the gates of the sold-out park on the last major holiday break.
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Old April 7th, 2006, 06:38 PM   #365
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Disneyland's image has soured since its opening
5 April 2006
South China Morning Post

The public's impressions of Disneyland have soured since it opened in September, probably because of operational problems, a survey has found.

Disney put on a brave face yesterday, saying people were generally positive but had probably been influenced by widely publicised chaos, such as mainland visitors being denied entry during the Lunar New Year.

Seventy per cent of 524 randomly selected respondents to last month's phone survey by Polytechnic University's school of hotel and tourism management were more negative about the theme park now than before it opened.

The survey, carried out every year since 2000 except last year, found that 63 per cent of respondents thought the park's benefits outweighed its costs, down 13 points from 2004.

While 61 per cent said media coverage had been negative, 71 per cent said they had not been influenced by such reports. On a more positive note, 56 per cent thought the government's $13.6 billion investment in Disney was fair value - the highest rate since the annual study began.

But when asked if Disney was a socially responsible company, 47 per cent said no, and 95 per cent agreed it should improve communication with the public.

Comparing Ocean Park with Disneyland, two-thirds agreed they would complement, rather than compete with, each other. The survey had a margin of error of plus or minus 4 per cent.

Survey researcher John Ap, an associate professor at the school, said Disney needed to better cater to the behaviour and habits of mainland tourists.

"What is unpredictable is human behaviour. This is what Disneyland has to sort out - the way the mainland visitors are," he said.

A park spokeswoman said the poll results were probably affected by the "incidents in Lunar New Year", when thousands of frustrated ticket-holders were stranded outside the park because it was full.

"The overall response to the park has been positive," she said. "Disneyland has been talking to a wide range of stakeholders {hellip} We will continue to provide quality entertainment to our guests."

Hong Kong Inbound Travel Association chairman Paul Leung Yiu-lam said most mainland tourists were more concerned with park facilities than bad news coverage. "Tourists have said they wish to see more attractions," he said.
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Old April 12th, 2006, 05:58 AM   #366
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Disney boss eager to add attractions
Wendy Leung
Hong Kong Standard
Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Disneyland managing director Bill Ernest said Tuesday the government should speed up the reclamation work for phase two of the theme park.

However, he agreed that several phase-one attractions have still to come on line, but will soon.

Ernest said concrete plans for phase two have still to be agreed between the two sides and will take some time.

He said that, apart from three "coming soon" attractions, there is room for other shows and exhibits in phase one. "It is not the number of attractions, but their size," Ernest said, adding that designing the various attractions was similar to fitting pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.

Ernest said that, when completed, phase one will be able to handle 10 million guests annually.

He said the most popular attraction is the Hong Kong Disneyland Railroad, which runs from Mainstreet USA through Fantasyland.

In order to avoid the chaos that occurred during the Lunar New Year holidays, Ernest said the park will be adding 11 more "special days" for Easter and the May Day holidays, during which sales of tickets will be limited to prevent overcrowding.

During the Easter holidays the park will adopt a "cross utilization" system whereby back office staff will help those at the front line handle the crowd.
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Old June 4th, 2006, 06:04 PM   #367
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Disneyland unfazed by Ocean Park ranking news
Wendy Leung
3 June 2006
Hong Kong Standard

Note : it seems the Forbes ranking does not include a large number of US parks with high attendance, so the rankings are not entirely accurate.

Hong Kong Disneyland has reacted cautiously to news that Ocean Park has been ranked the world's seventh most popular amusement park in a survey by Forbes magazine, urging critics to wait and see before passing judgment on Disneyland.

With its 4.03 million record- breaking year in 2005, Ocean Park ranked the seventh best-attended park in the world.

If Hong Kong Disneyland reaches its first year projected attendance of 5.6 million visitors, it will rank fifth this year.

"We're confident of reaching 5.6 million this year. The next four months this summer, with the school vacations, are critical,'' Disney managing director Bill Ernest said Friday.

Ocean Park chairman Allan Zeman said: ``It is difficult to believe they will, but who knows? I hope they do.''

Several Chinese-language newspapers have made comparisons between the two theme parks.

"It's unfair to compare this year,'' said Ernest, noting Hong Kong Disneyland was only open for 3 months in 2005. "After a full-year's operations, the real story will come out.''

It is the first time Ocean Park has been listed in the Forbes ranking, Zeman said, adding the park had not enjoyed good attendances in recent years. "It was a huge surprise when I got the call,'' Zeman said. "I am also happy for Hong Kong, because Forbes is a worldwide magazine, so it's a great honor. It puts Hong Kong on the map.''

Given that Ocean Park is a home- grown theme park, the honor was a tribute to Hong Kong people's innovative spirit, Zeman said. He agreed that Hong Kong Disneyland has the potential to get on the list before long.

"Hong Kong Disney is a new park. It has just opened, so it's too early to tell. Disney parks in the US, Tokyo and Paris are all on the top of the list. It's good news for them too,'' he said.

"I won't predict figures for next year, because it depends on many factors, such as the weather and economy. But we will have many attractions to help us stay in the running.''

An article published in Forbes on Thursday, titled "The World's Most Popular Amusement Parks,'' said Ocean Park's new rides, discounts and other incentives helped pull in summer crowds.

Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World in Florida, Tokyo Disney and Disneyland Paris ranked the top three parks this year.

Forbes.com worked with trade publication Amusement Business and consulting firm Economic Research Associates to rank the top 10 international amusement parks by attendance last year.
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Old June 4th, 2006, 06:09 PM   #368
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HK Disneyland tries best to attract mainlanders
29 May 2006
China Daily

Their intentions are crystal clear. Simplified Chinese characters are everywhere, and regional products such as Inner Mongolian milk are on sale at food and beverage stands. Travel agents offer customized promotional packages, and special tickets were issued for the Golden Week peak travel period in May.

Hong Kong Disneyland has been doing everything it can to attract more visitors from the Chinese mainland, says Bill Ernest, vice-president and managing director of Hong Kong Disneyland Resort.

The scripts written in simplified Chinese characters available at two shows Golden Mickey and the Lion King help mainlanders understand the storylines, Ernest tells China Business Weekly. In the past, all the shows at the theme park were in English, and Chinese-language scripts were simply unavailable, according to Ernest.

Visitors can also opt for familiar Meng Niu dairy products, providing a welcome alternative to other famous beverages such as Coca-Cola. Ernest says Hong Kong Disneyland signed an agreement late last month with domestic milk producer Meng Niu, making it the theme park's official dairy supplier.

The vice-president says Disneyland has been actively seeking co-operative opportunities with other mainland companies.

"It is always nice to have our visitors see brands from their own region."

He says that offering familiar food and beverages is very important, since visitors will immediately feel comfortable in the park.

"Mainland visitors enjoy our food, especially the noodles, dim sum and barbecue."

Mainland visitors like to take a lot of pictures when they travel, so Disneyland has set up five locations throughout Fantasyland where visitors can meet characters and take pictures with them at any time of day.

"We set these locations aside, because we know our Asian guests, especially mainlanders, love to take pictures. This only happens at the park in Hong Kong, but not at other Disneyland parks," Ernest says. "Guests from the Chinese mainland are wonderful. They are curious about what our park looks like and what the attractions are. And they love to take photos."

The park has also launched a special promotion, "Extra Magic", which is exclusively targeted at mainland visitors.

Visitors can choose their own "Extra Magic" when they book a trip to Hong Kong Disneyland through a travel agent. The offer includes a photo on Space Mountain or The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, a 2-for-1 meal deal, or a Disney-themed souvenir. The promotion is available until the end of September.

Ernest mentions another promotion, "Double the Magic", that provides Hong Kong citizens with a second free trip to the theme park.

"Our friends from the mainland can't visit Hong Kong as frequently, so we offer them something else."

More and more mainland visitors have been coming to the theme park since it opened six months ago. Ernest says word-of-mouth has been a huge help. "Our visitors always tell their friends about their great experiences here."

Ernest says that between 85 and 90 percent of visitors have provided positive feedback. He adds that Disneyland offers guests a unique experience.

"We spend a lot of time thinking about the storytelling, costume design, the parades, the attractions and the different theme products. We want our visitors to really immerse themselves in the whole experience."

With two Broadway-style shows, unique Disney attractions, a nightly fireworks display, and two spectacular hotels, there's always something for everybody in the family, Ernest tells China Business Weekly.

The park was swamped with visitors during the Chinese New Year in late-January, and it had to shut its gates after hundreds of mainland ticket-holders tried to force their way in after being turned away when the park reached full capacity. But Ernest says they managed to successfully cope with the crowds during the May Day holiday.

The park sold special entry tickets from April 30 to May 6, in order to guarantee that guests come to the park on specific days, he says.

Mainland travellers currently account for one-third of the park's visitors, with another third from Hong Kong. Most other park-goers are from elsewhere in Southeast Asia.

The Hong Kong Disneyland Resort is a joint venture between Walt Disney Co and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) Government. It employs 5,000 people.

The SAR government estimates the first phase of the project will bring up to HK$148 billion (US$19.0 billion) to Hong Kong over the next 40 years.

Earlier reports have quoted Shanghai Mayor Han Zheng as having confirmed that the city is preparing to build its own Disney theme park. It is currently waiting for permission from the State Council.

Hong Kong Disneyland declines to comment on the possibility of competition from the mainland's most developed city, however.
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Old June 18th, 2006, 08:10 AM   #369
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Monday, May. 08, 2006
Disney's Hong Kong Headache
The launch of its new theme park got off to a rocky start, but Disney's still got an appetite for the China market
BY MICHAEL SCHUMAN



Disneyland is supposed to be "The Happiest Place on Earth," but Liang Ning isn't too happy. The engineer brought his family to Disney's new theme park in Hong Kong from the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou one Saturday in April with high hopes, but by day's end, he was less than spellbound. "I wanted to forget the world and feel like I was in a fairytale," he says. Instead, he complains, "it's just not big enough" and "not very different from the amusement parks we have" in China. His seven-year-old daughter Yaqin disagrees, calling the park "fantastic," but her father grumbles: "If she wants to come again, "I'll send her with somebody else."

Hong Kong's Magic Kingdom has so far been a little short on magic. The $1.8 billion theme park, which opened last September, was touted by Disney executives as its biggest, boldest effort to build its brand in China, a potentially vast new market for its toys, dvds and movies. The Hong Kong government—which aggressively wooed Disney and is the park's majority owner"hoped Disneyland would help secure the city's reputation as one of Asia's top tourist destinations. However, the conservative approach of Disney and its partner has produced a pint-sized park that so far hasn't matched visitors' lofty expectations. Hong Kong Disneyland has a mere 16 attractions—only one a classic Disney thrill ride, Space Mountain—compared to 52 at Disneyland Resort Paris. Meanwhile, management glitches involving everything from ticketing to employee relations have further tarnished the venture's image. In a recent survey conducted by Hong Kong Polytechnic University, 70% of the local residents polled said they had a more negative opinion of Disneyland since its opening. "Disney knows the theme-park business, but when it comes to understanding the Chinese guest, it's an entirely new ball game," says John Ap, an associate professor at the university's School of Hotel and Tourism Management.

Nonetheless, Disney executives insist the park is on track. Jay Rasulo, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, says: "I feel great about how Hong Kong Disneyland is doing." Disney's own surveys of park visitors show an 80% satisfaction rate, among the highest of any of the company's parks, says Rasulo: "People feel this is a great experience."

The Burbank, California, headquartered company knows what it is talking about; it welcomed its 2 billionth visitor last week. And it is no stranger to tempestuous beginnings at an international park, at times caused by imposing a very American sensibility on foreign guests. When Disneyland Paris opened in 1992, Disney famously banned wine from park restaurants, much to the dismay of European bons vivants. In Hong Kong, Disney went out of its way to tailor the park to local tastes. Its "imagineers" installed Main Street's first Chinese eatery, along with Fantasy Gardens where Mickey Mouse, local favorite Mulan and other Disney characters reside so tourists can readily snap pictures with them—a priority for many Chinese visitors. Ironically, Disney's most high-profile stumble resulted from being too local. When executives decided to serve shark-fin soup, a Hong Kong favorite, environmentalists howled and Disney ignominiously yanked it from the menu.

Another embarrassment came over the Lunar New Year holiday beginning in January, a popular vacation time in China. Disney neglected to block off the entire week as "special days" for which visitors required specific tickets. Tourists with valid tickets got turned away at the front gates after the park quickly filled up; the jilted travelers screamed at park employees, while TV cameras filmed one family trying to pass a child over the fence. Henry Tang, the city's Financial Secretary, voiced concern that this disarray "might affect the image of Hong Kong's tourism industry." Bill Ernest, Hong Kong Disneyland's managing director, says the company "had no idea" that demand would spike so sharply at that time and adds that Disney has since expanded the number of "special days" to improve crowd control during holidays: "We don't make the same mistake twice."

Disney has also strained its relationship with Chinese travel agencies, which play a crucial role in funneling tourists into the park. Victor Yu Limin, a general manager at China CYTS Outbound Travel Service in Beijing, complains that Disney originally demanded several weeks' notice when the agency wanted to reserve a guaranteed number of rooms"a nearly impossible deadline, he says, as Chinese travelers often don't finalize trips more than a few days in advance. Agents also say they make so little money organizing Disneyland trips that they don't have any incentive to market the park. Disney has tried to improve its ties to travel agents by, for example, boosting the commission they earn on selling tickets and reducing the advance notice needed to secure hotel bookings. "We're listening to everything they have to say and adjusting where we can," says Josh D'Amaro, Hong Kong Disneyland's vice president for sales and travel-trade marketing. But, Yu says, Disney is "still far from understanding the real market in China. They started off doing business the American way, so they have encountered problems."

Some workers assigned to play the parts of supposedly cheery characters like Mickey and Tigger have also complained. In April, the Hong Kong Disneyland Cast Members' Union made public a litany of gripes over poor pay, excessive work hours and, most of all, the sweltering conditions inside their costumes. Disney counters that the complaints are an "inaccurate representation" of the work environment at the park, that staffers have been granted extra rest days beyond those mandated by their contracts, and that their costumes are no different to those worn at its hot park in Florida.

Given the complexity of the Hong Kong operation, such "teething pains" are hardly surprising, says Rasulo. What may be tougher to solve, though, are the yawns the miniature park is generating among tourists. Rasulo says the park wasn't built on a grand scale because the Chinese didn't grow up with Disney and don't know the characters as well as Americans and Europeans do, which acts as a constraint on its potential audience. Ernest calls it a "great introductory park." They also point out that the company plans to keep adding new attractions at Hong Kong Disneyland, including an updated version of Disney's classic Autopia racing game, scheduled to open this summer. The government is reclaiming land on an adjoining site to expand the park further. But James Zoltak, editor of Amusement Business, a trade magazine for the theme-park industry, says Disney isn't moving quickly enough: it needs to "get on a crash course in terms of expansion. The rate of building it up has to be swifter than anything they've done at any of their parks."

While Ernest concedes that attendance is "a little behind" expectations, Disney is sticking to its target of 5.6 million guests in its first year. To hit these numbers, Disney is running aggressive promotions. Last month, the park offered free tickets for 50,000 Hong Kong taxi drivers, says Susan Chan, Hong Kong Disneyland's director of publicity, so they "can experience the Disney magic themselves [and] better share it with their passengers." And even if attendance lags for a while, Disney says the park is already benefiting its other businesses in Asia. Andy Bird, president of Walt Disney International, says there's been "a noticeable lift in our brand and character awareness" in China since the park's opening—for example, sales of Buzz Lightyear merchandise have jumped, in part because the character features in Disneyland's popular Astro Blasters ride. David Miller, an analyst at investment-banking firm Sanders Morris Harris in Los Angeles, agrees: "Hong Kong Disneyland has been a solid success in terms of opening up the brand in China."

Indeed, Disney continues to bet that its long-range investment plans in China will pay off, regardless of the recent headaches in Hong Kong. The firm is still in talks with Chinese officials about opening a mainland theme park, possibly in Shanghai, says Rasulo. "Have we made some mistakes?" he asks. "Absolutely. We are in a brand-new market. We have to keep listening and keep learning." Restoring Tinkerbell's health only requires a round of applause, but Hong Kong Disneyland will need a bit more work.

With reporting by Jeffrey Ressner/Los Angeles and Jodi Xu/Beijing

From TIME Asia Magazine, issue dated May 8, 2006 Vol. 167, No. 18
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Old June 18th, 2006, 08:32 AM   #370
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I really want to go there!
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Old July 11th, 2006, 06:53 PM   #371
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Hong Kong Disneyland Gets Set to Drive to the Future on July 13
Three new family attractions to offer more magic in Tomorrowland
Corporate Press Release

(HONG KONG, July 3, 2006) - Hong Kong Disneyland announced today that guests will soon experience more magic this summer as the Park unveils three new attractions in Tomorrowland - Autopia, Stitch Encounter and UFO Zone.

From July 13, 2006, guests will be able to cruise along the highways of tomorrow in innovative electric cars in Autopia, talk in real time with the mischievous blue alien, Stitch, in an intimate theatre at Stitch Encounter, and cool off from the summer heat with the water spraying and squirting UFO Zone.

A region-wide advertising campaign will provide a taste of the magic in store for guests at Tomorrowland from July 4.

READY TO ROLL: Buzz Lightyear, who makes regular meet-and-greet and photo appearances with guests in Tomorrowland at Hong Kong Disneyland, watches closely as cast members (Disney parlance for employees) put the final touches on the convertible scale model cars at Autopia, the newest Tomorrowland attraction at Hong Kong Disneyland.

Buzz Lightyear, who stars in the adjacent attraction, Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters, is the popular character made famous in "Toy Story" and "Toy Story 2," both Walt Disney Pictures presentations of Pixar Animation Studios films.

Tomorrowland at Hong Kong Disneyland has been expanded this summer with the addition of Autopia, Stitch Encounter and UFO Zone. The three attractions will open to guests July 13, 2006.

STITCH SPOTS HIS NEW HOME AT HONG KONG DISNEYLAND: The tiny and talkative alien known as "Stitch" spots the gleaming spires of Sleeping Beauty Castle at Hong Kong Disneyland on his space cruiser's radar screen.

With the help of young park guests, the animated Stitch sets the coordinates of his spaceship for a "landing" in Tomorrowland as he prepares for the July 13, 2006 Grand Opening of his new attraction, Stitch Encounter.

The blue alien, who debuted in Disney's hit animated comedy "Lilo & Stitch," stars in the new cutting-edge attraction where park guests, seated in an intimate theatre, carry on real-time conversations with the famous animated character.

The jaw-dropping technology allows for Disney fun like never before - Guests visiting the Space Traffic Control Center discover Stitch, aka "Experiment 626," tuned in on the Center's massive video screen. Stitch can talk to guests, play games and interact with them in surprising new ways. Stitch Encounter will be presented daily in three languages - Cantonese, English and Putonghua.

Hong Kong Disneyland is the first and only Disney theme park in the world where guests can experience Stitch Encounter.

SPLASH-TASTIC FUN: An alien oasis in the heart of Tomorrowland, the new UFO Zone (which stands for "Unbelievably Fun Objects") delights Hong Kong Disneyland guests amidst a futuristic spaceport where keeping cool is the number one rule. Water-full good times are always on tap whether guests want to get soaked or just enjoy a little sprinkling to keep cool from the Hong Kong sun.

Bathed in bright colors, UFO Zone is an interactive, alien landscape replete with splash-tastic fun bursting from water pop jets, bubblers, misters, thrusters and quirky squirters. Outer space sound effects combine with water effects to provide even more H2O-hijinks.

UFO Zone is just one part of a Tomorrowland expansion taking place at Hong Kong Disneyland. In addition, guests this summer are able to enjoy new attractions including Autopia, an outer space-themed, automobile driving attraction and Stitch Encounter, an intimate theatre featuring an immersive adventure into the wacky world of the tiny blue alien, Experiment 626, aka Stitch.
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Old July 31st, 2006, 06:52 AM   #372
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Disneyland 'predicts 500,000 shortfall'
31 July 2006
South China Morning Post

Hong Kong Disneyland is forecasting a potential attendance shortfall of about 500,000 in its first-year target of 5.6 million, according to sources close to finance and public relations staff at the theme park.

"Whatever the result of our first year, Hong Kong Disneyland is here for the long term. We are rooted in Hong Kong and we are part of the Hong Kong community now," said a spokesman, who added it was company policy not to disclose or discuss attendance figures.

The projection comes as the theme park gears up for the final two months of its first year of operation with hopes of an attendance boost from tourists and a strong summer showing. Average daily attendance so far this summer was between 13,000 and 14,000, said an operations source, half of the park's capacity of 28,000.

A pass offering unlimited visits during the summer break was launched on July 1 and sales have been higher than expected.

"We have taken into account the local seasonality and travel patterns of each region and are working to adapt our summer marketing and sales strategies to continue to build up attendance," the spokesman said.

Internally, before the theme park opened last September, Hong Kong Disneyland had forecast first-year attendance of 6.4 million, finance sources said. This is a daily average of about 18,000. But 5.6 million is the present forecast.

The launch of three new attractions at Disneyland about two weeks ago does not change its licensed capacity, which is partly based on washroom and toilet facilities.

The government confirmed the park is licensed to handle a maximum of 28,000 people at any one time. But during the Lunar New Year holiday, when the theme park was forced to shut its gates to visitors after quickly selling out, there were crowds of up to 36,000, the sources said.

"As the expansion of the theme park progresses, the handling capacity will also increase," an Economic Development and Labour Bureau spokesman said.
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Old July 31st, 2006, 10:46 AM   #373
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I will say for first year it is better that Paris frist year already and keep in mind it is the smallest park (and "ONLY" 500K short of what?? 5.6M!!), so far so good I will say. Why people need to be so hard on Disney, give it some time.
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Old July 31st, 2006, 08:51 PM   #374
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I was a bit surprised when they said only 500k less than expected. Given the press coverage, I expected a 1/3 discount at least. Perhaps once the final numbers are released, it will show yet again how the media likes to jump on the smallest thing and make it into the next big bomb.
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Old August 8th, 2006, 06:14 AM   #375
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Disney in birthday gift to SAR
Wendy Leung
Hong Kong Standard
Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Disney is planning to bring its special brand of magic to the city next month as part of the theme park's first anniversary celebrations.

Susan Chan Shou-shan, publicity director of Hong Kong Disneyland, said that instead of only holding programs and events inside the theme park, Disney is considering a series of celebrations, such as carnivals and lucky draws, in some busy spots in the city.

"Victoria Park in Causeway Bay is one of our options," Chan said, noting that it will be a celebration throughout the month, not just one day.

Unlike the grand opening ceremony last year, which dignitaries including Vice President Zeng Qinghong and Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam- kuen attended, Chan said the theme park will not invite political figures for the birthday celebrations.

"These events are aimed at thanking local residents for their support. We are still considering many options and working out the details," Chan said.

Hong Kong Disneyland opened on September 12 last year. The theme park had been expecting 5.6 million visitors to have attended by the time of its first anniversary. However, Disney managing director Bill Ernest said earlier that attendances were lagging behind the projected figures.

Chan said visitor numbers have been increasing by up to 30 percent since this summer started, but there is still a challenge to hit the projection.

An unlimited visitor summer pass introduced last month has helped contribute to the rise, Chan said, noting "the summer pass has been well- received."

Summer pass holders are now able to take advantage of extended operating hours and meet with Disney characters in Fantasyland exclusively, Chan said.

The theme park is considering introducing annual passes ranging in price from HK$375-HK$1,600.

Democratic party lawmaker Fred Li Wah-ming does not expect Disney to reach its first year attendance target.

"It really needs to attract more tourists by expanding and adding more attractions as soon as possible," he said.
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Old September 7th, 2006, 07:35 AM   #376
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Hong Kong Disneyland falls short of 5.6 million visitor target in 1st year
By WILLIAM FOREMAN
4 September 2006

HONG KONG (AP) - Hong Kong Disneyland missed its target of 5.6 million visitors in its first year as the park had "teething problems" while trying to attract masses of tourists from mainland China's booming economy, an executive said.

The park has been extremely secretive about its attendance figures since it opened last Sept. 12. There has been wide speculation that it was struggling to meet its conservative attendance goal.

Bill Ernest, the park's managing director, told reporters at a first-year review briefing on Monday that Disneyland would meet its target later in September or in early October.

"We have well exceeded the 5 million figure already," said Ernest, who repeatedly declined to provide an exact figure.

Ernest said the attendance figure included people who visited the park on "familiarization tours" using free or discounted tickets. He said these people made up a small percentage of the overall visitors, but he wouldn't provide a figure.

The executive also wouldn't provide specific information about revenue or net profit. "I think we are on solid financial footing," he said without elaborating.

Hong Kong Disneyland and its two resort hotels are surrounded by mountains on lush Lantau Island, just 30 minutes away by subway from central Hong Kong. The park is a joint venture between The Walt Disney Co. and the local government, and local taxpayers paid most of the US$3.5 billion construction cost.

The park marked the U.S. company's biggest push into the Chinese market. The strategy was to lure the growing number of Chinese who can afford to travel to Hong Kong.

Ernest acknowledged that Disneyland has had difficulty trying to figure out the mainland market.

"Like all new ventures, there have been teething problems and adjustments," he said.

He said the park learned that guests demanded more flexibility and choices, especially when it came to tickets. They also wanted more special events, he said, and the park plans to launch new promotions for Halloween, Christmas and Chinese New Year.

Ernest said many of the Chinese tourists didn't understand the park's themes because they didn't grow up with Disney characters and stories. He said Disneyland was preparing a "pre-show" that visitors could watch after they enter the park. The show, between 10 minutes and 15 minutes, would explain "how the stories and characters knit together," he said.

The 5.6 million attendance figure was a conservative estimate because it was made in 2002 when mainland Chinese could only visit Hong Kong in tour groups. The regulation was relaxed in 2003 when the tourists were allowed to come on their own. That change led to a big jump in arrivals from the mainland -- Hong Kong's biggest source of tourists.

Ernest said Monday that the number of Chinese tourists at Disneyland traveling as individuals exceeded those in tour groups.

He said the summer months saw the best attendance, with between 20,000 and 30,000 visitors on any given day in July and August. In recent weeks about 50 percent of the guests were from mainland China, he said.
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Old September 7th, 2006, 04:18 PM   #377
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Long expected...
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Old September 12th, 2006, 07:26 PM   #378
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Tuesday September 12, 2:50 PM
Hong Kong Disneyland Marks Anniversary

AP - Hong Kong Disneyland marked its first anniversary Tuesday, overshadowed by poorer-than-expected visitor figures, bad publicity and chaos at the gates.

Braving heavy rain, Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy helped piece together a large puzzle that resembled a birthday cake, surrounded by park workers waving large Mickey-style gloves. Pop star Jacky Cheung, a celebrity spokesman for the park, applauded.

The cake was emblazoned with the words, "Thank you Hong Kong."

The Hong Kong government invested massively in the first Disney theme park on Chinese soil on hopes it would tap the huge China market and transform the territory into a regional family tourism hub.

Hong Kong taxpayers shouldered most of the $3.5 billion construction cost and own a 57 percent stake in the joint venture with The Walt Disney Co.

Hong Kong Disneyland, however, hasn't been an instant success. It missed its first-year target of 5.6 million visitors.

The park's managing director, Bill Ernest, said a week before the anniversary that attendance had exceeded 5 million but won't hit 5.6 million until later in September or in early October.

Adding to worries, that goal was conservative because it was made in 2002, when China only allowed its citizens to visit Hong Kong as part of tour groups. Beijing authorized individual travel to this semiautonomous former British colony in 2003.

In a ticketing miscalculation that became a major publicity debacle, the park had to turn away thousands of Chinese tourists with tickets during the peak Chinese New Year holidays in February. Angry guests tried to storm the park gates, with some climbing over them.

The park has also been dogged by negative publicity. Environmentalists protested shark's fin on the menu, and it was eventually dropped.

Critics accused park management of abusing its jurisdiction by asking health officers to remove identifying parts of their uniform in the park, and complained about the park's secrecy on attendance figures despite Hong Kong's huge public investment in the project.

Ernest called the initial slip-ups "teething problems."

He acknowledged not doing a good job of educating mainland Chinese tourists who haven't been exposed to Disney characters and themes in the past. The park plans to launch a "pre-show" briefing for visitors. It will also launch new promotions during Halloween, Christmas and Chinese New Year.

"They should understand they can't just bank on the Disney brand and not have to do any publicity or promotion. They shouldn't be so complacent," opposition lawmaker Sin Chung-kai said.

"I think they have learned their lesson after this year," he added.

John Ap, professor of hotel and tourism management at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, said it's too early to deliver the final verdict on Hong Kong Disneyland.

"It's going to take 10, 15 years for us to really say 'yeah, was it worth our while?'" Ap said. "No business is necessarily going to be operationally successful and viable in the first year of operation."

He said the park's record was still outstanding by local standards.

"How many attractions in Hong Kong can get 5 million plus visitors in its first year of operation?" Ap said.

The Hong Kong government has defended its investment, saying it's already seen signs of increased family tourism. Official figures show over 40 percent of overnight visitors to Hong Kong in the first quarter of 2006 brought their children, compared to 20 percent in the same period last year.

The government said in a statement ahead of the anniversary, Hong Kong Disneyland has created jobs and "provided a very good training ground for tourism practitioners."

"The government considers its stake in the Hong Kong International Theme Park Ltd. (Hong Kong Disneyland) as a long-term investment," the statement said.

"We know we've got a lot of work to do, but we're very pleased about the momentum," Ernest said at the anniversary celebration Tuesday.
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Old September 14th, 2006, 06:10 PM   #379
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Disney balks as Hong Kong seeks transparency
Lawmakers want more specific figures

Joshua Fellman
Bloomberg News
13 September 2006

Walt Disney is facing demands from Hong Kong lawmakers to reveal attendance and earnings figures at its theme park in the city, after missing its first-year target of 5.6 million visitors.

The park, in which the Hong Kong government invested $2.2 billion, has had more than 5 million visitors, Disney said last week. Bill Ernest, the group managing director said that the park had missed its target but declined to give exact figures, saying the park is on a "solid financial footing."

The world's biggest theme park operator is struggling to rebuild the image of Hong Kong Disneyland, which opened a year ago with the aim of tapping tourists from China. The park suffered a series of problems, including a mistimed ticket promotion that forced it to turn away thousands of people during Lunar New Year holidays.

"This involves a lot of public money and everyone is concerned the government has made a big mistake," said Emily Lau, a Legislative Council member who belongs to the pro-democracy Frontier group. "I would have thought that Disney is in favor of transparency and accountability, but apparently I've been mistaken."

The Hong Kong government invested $418 million for a 57 percent stake in the park and a further $1.8 billion on landfill, roads, sewers and a rail link. It has not released details of its agreement with Disney, despite the investment of public money.

The government of a former Hong Kong chief executive, Tung Chee- hwa, agreed to the park deal in November 1999, when the economy was recovering from its worst recession on record and unemployment was rising. Donald Tsang, then financial secretary for Hong Kong and now its chief executive, touted the park's economic returns to secure funding.

"The Tung administration wanted to do more to stimulate the economy and was keen to present a success," said Joseph Cheng, who teaches politics at the City University of Hong Kong. "There was also a general perception that we hadn't done much to develop our tourism industry compared with, say, Thailand and Macao."

Disney, which invested $320 million for a 43 percent stake in the park, and receives management and franchise fees, was also subject to negative media coverage and criticism from labor activists and travel agents. Ernest, who came from Disney's cruise line business, replaced Don Robinson in January.

"The management came in right from the U.S. They didn't really understand Hong Kong people's thinking and didn't communicate well with tourist agencies," said Fred Li, a Democratic Party of Hong Kong legislator. "It was a terrible beginning. It really brought disasters."

During the Lunar New Year, a weeklong holiday for mainland Chinese, hundreds of visitors were locked out of the park due to a ticketing mix-up. That resulted in televised scenes of mainland tourists scrambling over gates to enter the park.

Ernest told reporters at a ceremony marking the park's first anniversary on Tuesday that Disney had improved marketing in China and mainlanders made up about half of the about 1 million visitors to Hong Kong Disneyland in the third quarter.

Disney needs to enlarge the park, the company's smallest, lawmakers Li and Lau said. Disney has declined to disclose the size of the site, instead saying that the entire resort, including its two hotels, covers 310 acres, or 125 hectares. The park has added three attractions since it opened, and Ernest said it would announce additions in the next few months.

"Whether we like it or not, we're stuck with it, so we want to make sure it's run properly and it's going to be a success," Lau said.

Hong Kong attendance figures included people using multiple- entry tickets and non-paying guests, like those who visited on trial days before the official opening, Ernest said.

The park has not disclosed regular attendance figures and will not release targets for its second year, he said.

"Disclosure of commercially sensitive information may compromise the company's commercial interest," the park said Tuesday. "We are held accountable to the board to deliver good business performance."

The Hong Kong Tourism Commission said in an e-mail that the park's board would ensure the public interest, and that the park operates on commercial principles.

Hong Kong appoints five members to the park's 11-member board, Disney appoints four directors, and they jointly appoint two independent directors.

Park officials declined to comment on a report in Ming Pao Daily last Friday that it had breached the cash flow conditions for a 15- year, 2.3 billion Hong Kong dollar, or $296 million, loan and had obtained a waiver from the lending banks. Chase Manhattan Bank arranged the loan in 2000.
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Old September 15th, 2006, 06:03 AM   #380
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If they had spent two billion on the actual park instead of the landfill, they would have had a stunning showcase. This magic kingdom has three principal themed areas instead of the usual four, a big reason why it will always feel kind of cramped. There is certainly room to add attractions to Fantasy- and Adventureland, but they have left no space to expand Tomorrowland. Still, its a good thing the Disney imagineers chose to build a small, high quality park instead of a big, low quality one with the limited budget the company gave them. Otherwise HK could have ended up with the kind of banality found at Disney's California Adventure in Anaheim or Walt Disney Studios in Paris. To see what Disney can build when money is not an issue, one has only to look at Disneyland Paris or Tokyo Disney Sea...which are as much works of art as much as they are theme parks.
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