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Old February 27th, 2005, 01:39 AM   #41
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HK Disneyland is seriously shaping up! Where other Disney parks allow high-speed ferry from Central to a Disney pier for park entrance???


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Old March 6th, 2005, 12:38 AM   #42
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Hong Kong Disneyland Opens Hotel Reservation Hotline



HONG KONG (February 15, 2005) - A magical vacation at Hong Kong Disneyland is now just a phone call away as the theme park today announced the launch of its Hotel Reservation Hotline on (852) 1830 830.

In the lead up to Hong Kong Disneyland's opening on September 12, the Hotel Reservation Hotline is open to guests who have been waiting to be among the first to book a complete magical Disney vacation. The exciting vacation package includes a stay at either the Victorian-style Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel or the Tinseltown-inspired Disney's Hollywood Hotel, accompanied with Hong Kong Disneyland Park tickets.

During today's official launch ceremony, Roy Tan Hardy, Vice President Marketing and Sales and Peter Lowe, General Manager Hotel Operations, presented an exciting glimpse into the magical vacations guests will enjoy.

"The Hong Kong Disneyland Resort, which includes two Disney hotels and our world famous Disney theme park, will offer an unparalleled, world-class family vacation experience for guests of all ages," Hardy said. "Our Disney hotels are the first premium resorts in Hong Kong designed specifically for families and will extend and complement the immersive and magical experience that our Park offers, complete with dining, shopping and entertainment."

Built on Walt Disney's founding vision of a family place where 'parents and children can have fun together', the Hong Kong Disneyland Resort will offer families an ultimate retreat from their usual daily setting to a place where they can actually stay in the heart of the Disney magic.

"In an urban setting like Hong Kong, our hotels are uniquely positioned with our theme park setting and a spacious and naturally spectacular environment. The Hong Kong Disneyland Resort is a world away from the hustle and bustle of city life yet is still close enough - just 20 minutes from Central - to be a convenient retreat for both local and international guests," Hardy said.

In keeping with the tradition of Disney resorts worldwide, Hong Kong Disneyland's family friendliness will be reflected throughout, from the hotels' design and themed dining experiences to the world-class facilities and famous guest hospitality.

"Our guests will delight in the unique and special touches that are dedicated to children and families, which include complimentary mini bar, bedtime stories on TV, Mickey wake-up calls and bite-sized kids menus," Lowe said. "This attention to detail - what we call the Disney Difference - has become the hallmark of a Disney vacation and is why Disney Resorts are the number one family vacation destinations in the world."

Whether guests choose to stay at the Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel or Disney's Hollywood Hotel, the Resort promises an unforgettable vacation that will inspire family traditions for years to come.

From today onwards, the Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel Reservation Hotline welcomes individual bookings from guests, and will operate from 9:00am to 6:00pm Monday to Sunday.

For the convenience of callers, information will be available in three languages - Cantonese, English, and Mandarin. Local calls will be toll free while standard IDD rates will apply to international calls.

Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel features 400 rooms in a lush and relaxing landscape of gardens, offering a choice of park view, sea view or even sea view rooms with balconies. This world-class hotel will offer a variety of dining experiences featuring local and international cuisines, a wedding gazebo where Disney's Fairytale Weddings will be held, a Victorian Spa and a Mickey-inspired botanical maze. Room rates start from HK$1,600 for a Park View Room and HK$1,800 for a Sea View Room.

The Hotel will also boast a sophisticated convention center featuring one of Hong Kong's largest and most spectacular ballrooms. It is the perfect setting for private and corporate entertainment and meetings.

Disney's Hollywood Hotel is designed in the Art Deco style of architecture with whimsical Mickey Mouse-inspired motifs. It includes dining, shopping, a lounge, a piano-shaped swimming pool, and an expansive lawn that unfolds like a map of Los Angeles with popular and well-known Hollywood streets, landmarks and icons.

It offers 600 rooms with garden views, park views and sea views. Room rates start from HK$1,000 for a Garden View Room and HK$1,100 for a Park View Room to HK$1,200 for a Sea View Room.

All prices for both hotels already include 10% service charge and are subject to government tax.
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Old March 6th, 2005, 06:43 AM   #43
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Old March 6th, 2005, 06:55 AM   #44
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It would be nice if Universal Studios could be built in HK, but Sunny Bay does look awfully small for a park as big as Universal.

It'll make it up for not having Splash Mountain @ Disneyland HK.
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Old March 7th, 2005, 12:07 AM   #45
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Pictures of the Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel, they are ultra-beautiful and ultra-upscale!



Lobby:




Ballrooms:


Guest Rooms:




Restaurants:
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Old March 7th, 2005, 12:12 AM   #46
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Pictures of the Hollywood Hotel, a more affortable hotel but still very nice!



Lobby:



Guest Rooms:


Restaurants:


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Old March 9th, 2005, 05:23 PM   #47
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New Disneyland Takes 10,000 Hotel Bookings
Wednesday March 9, 7:48 am ET
By William Foreman, Associated Press Writer

HONG KONG (AP) -- The Hong Kong Disneyland theme park set to open in September has already booked 10,000 room reservations for its hotel since it opened a customer call center three weeks ago, officials said Wednesday.

"It really took us by surprise, the volume of calls coming in," said Bill Ernest, managing director of operations at Hong Kong Disneyland.

Ernest said Hong Kong residents have made most of the 10,000 reservations at the park's 1,000-room hotel, though the park expects that about 40 percent of the visitors will eventually come from mainland China.

The park, scheduled to open Sept. 12 as a joint venture between the Hong Kong government and The Walt Disney Co., is being built on reclaimed land at Penny's Bay on Hong Kong's outlying Lantau island.

It will employ about 5,000 people, from cleaners and concession workers to musicians and dancers, said Esther Wong, manager of public affairs. It will begin by hiring 3,000 during in third week of April, she said.

About 500 performers will be needed -- and the park will probably have to look outside Hong Kong for many of them, said Don Robinson, the park's group managing director. "We've already been doing auditions for characters, singers and dancers," he said.

The territory's environmental secretary said Wednesday Hong Kong Disneyland is expected to generate 29,000 pounds of trash every day.

Disney operations in France are having financial problems, and Ernest said the company has learned it needs to do a better job of listening to what the public wants. Hong Kong Disneyland will make special efforts to cater to Asian tastes, Ernest said, adding that most of the food will be Chinese.
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Old March 11th, 2005, 07:46 AM   #48
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Waste management plan for Hong Kong Disneyland being drawn up

Following is a question by the Hon Choy So-yuk and an oral reply by the Secretary for the Environment, Transport and Works, Dr Sarah Liao, in the Legislative Council meeting today (March 9) :

Question:
Will the Government inform this Council whether it knows:

(a) the amount of waste to be produced daily by the Hong Kong Disneyland ("HKDL") upon its opening in September this year; and whether there are plans to recover and recycle such waste; if so, of the details of the plans;

(b) which of the facilities in HKDL have adopted energy-saving designs; and

(c) whether renewable energy will be used in HKDL; if so, of the details, including the percentage of the electricity thus saved against the total electricity consumption?

Reply:

Madam President,

(a) According to information provided by the Hong Kong International Theme Parks Limited (HKITPL), Hong Kong Disneyland (HKDL), including the affiliated hotels, will generate about 13 tons of waste per day after its opening. In the course of providing entertainment, HKITPL also attaches great importance to protecting the environment. It is now drawing up a comprehensive Waste Management Plan (WMP) and will design and implement suitable measures to minimise waste. HKITPL is required to submit the WMP to the Director of Environmental Protection for approval at least one month before HKDL commences operation. The WMP shall include details of how the mitigation measures of operational waste management will be implemented, together with the arrangements for avoidance, minimisation, material recovery/recycling, collection, transportation and disposal of various types of waste generated during the operation of the theme park. Preliminary information from HKITPL suggests that examples of waste management measures to be adopted include :

* Encouraging separation at source of recyclable materials by providing convenient access to recycling bins both in guest areas and back of house facilities;

* Reducing the use of paper towels through the use of hand-dryers in lieu of paper towels in most public washroom facilities;

* Use of reusable delivery cages, totes and containers for transportation of food and products between warehouses/back of house facilities to various outlets within the theme park; and

* Encouraging the use of reusable utensils and containers in restaurants and food outlets within the theme park where feasible.

(b) According to the HKITPL, its environmental policy is to strive for improved water and energy conservation in existing operations, and to incorporate into its design and operations an extensive Energy Management System which monitors and controls the energy consumption of electrical and mechanical facilities, air conditioning systems, water supply systems, lighting systems, etc in the theme park.

The Energy Management System enables precise and efficient ventilation, temperature and humidity control. The theme park uses high-efficiency centralised water-cooled systems. Depending on the number of occupants at the time, the ventilation systems introduce suitable amount of fresh air into buildings thereby avoiding excessive hot, humid outside air mixing with indoor air. Cool, dry exhaust air is used to remove heat and moisture from the entering ventilation air and as a result, the compressor operations of the air conditioning systems can be minimised.

The Energy Management System also precisely coordinates outdoor lighting installations. Dusk and dawn times are calculated daily to control the lighting and avoid wastage.

The system monitors and records the energy consumption levels park-wide and will generate notification to responsible personnel where energy consumption limits are exceeded. This will enable early detection and rectification of faulty facilities.

In addition, where feasible, heat-insulating materials have been used in walls, roofs and windows to reduce cooling loads during summer.

(c) According to HKITPL, HKDL has not used renewable energy systems for the time being. However, the company will continue to monitor developments in the use of renewable energy in Hong Kong and consider the feasibility of doing so at the theme park where this could fully meet the design and operational requirements of HKDL.
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Old March 17th, 2005, 06:51 AM   #49
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Lawmakers Question Disney on Hong Kong
Wednesday March 16, 1:12 am ET
By Min Lee, Associated Press Writer

HONG KONG (AP) -- Lawmakers on Wednesday questioned The Walt Disney Co.'s 20-year option to buy a 54-hectare (130-acre) site near Hong Kong Disneyland, saying the government should consider letting other theme parks use the land.

"From Hong Kong's standpoint, it doesn't necessarily have to be Disneyland. Other than Disneyland, there are many other theme parks popular in the world," opposition lawmaker Sin Chung-kai said at a legislative hearing on Hong Kong Disneyland, due to open Sept. 12.

Disney has the first claim to the site up to 2019. The option can be extended up to 10 years if visitor numbers hit 8 million.

Commissioner for Tourism Eva Cheng defended the arrangement, saying it was necessary to secure the Disney deal.

"If Disney knew there would be a different theme park nearby, it would have affected Disney's decision to build Hong Kong Disneyland at the time. This is fair," she said.

She said the government hopes to launch talks with Disney on exercising its land option soon.

However, Hong Kong media last year quoted Financial Secretary Henry Tang as saying that the government has approached three other U.S. theme park companies about coming to Hong Kong -- Six Flags Inc., Universal Studios, and Warner Bros. Studios -- a subsidiary of Time Warner Inc.

The 125-hectare (310-acre) Hong Kong Disneyland is a joint venture between Disney and the Hong Kong government, but local taxpayers are footing most of its US$3.5 billion (euro2.6 million) price tag. Critics have questioned whether Hong Kong got a good deal.

Cheng said the government will test the park and its transportation infrastructure ahead of the scheduled opening by inviting tour operators and Hong Kong residents to visit.

Separately, government engineering official Yip Sai-chor told lawmakers the government has nearly finished processing 30,000 cubic meters (1.05 million cubic feet) of toxic mud from a shipyard cleared for Disneyland's construction. The waste was treated at an island off Hong Kong, prompting at least one protest.
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Old March 17th, 2005, 06:00 PM   #50
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Lawmakers want third theme park near Disney
Grace Lam, Hong Kong Standard
March 17, 2005

Legislators have questioned the government's decision to give Hong Kong Disneyland a 20-year option to buy an adjacent site for expansion, saying other theme parks ought to get a crack at the land.

Commissioner for Tourism Eva Cheng said the government would like to hold talks with Disneyland soon about exercising the option.

But Cheng said Disney might never have agreed to open its park on Lantau Island if it had thought a competitor might set up shop next door.

Hong Kong Disneyland, a joint venture between the government and Walt Disney, was granted an option in 1999 on a site immediately east of Phase 1 of its park, which is due to open on September 12. The company has said it will wait to see if the first phase is successful before deciding whether to build a second phase.

The option is valid for 20 years from 1999, with an automatic right to extend for a futher five years and a conditional right to extend for five years beyond that.

Lawmakers, including Democrat Sin Chung-kai, argued at a Legislative Council committee meeting Wednesday that other popular theme parks might well want the land, and they recalled that Financial Secretary Henry Tang said last year the government was open to the idea of a third theme park, after Ocean Park and Disneyland. He mentioned other park operators like Six Flags and Warner Bros Studio as possibilities.

The Tourism Commision said all infrastructure work at Hong Kong Disneyland is on schedule and on budget, while work on the rail link between the park and Penny's Bay is scheduled for completion in July.

Before it opens, the theme park and all supporting facilities will undergo a month-long comprehensive testing and adjustment period, the commission said. According to the government, the park will attract 5.6 million visitors a year and generate HK$148 billion over 40 years.
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Old March 18th, 2005, 06:57 AM   #51
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How Eisner Handles the Transition Is Crucial
By Bruce Orwall and Kate Kelly
16 March 2005
The Asian Wall Street Journal

When Michael Eisner was unemployed after graduating from college in 1964, he traveled to Paris and wrote three plays. One of them was about a couple that froze to death after getting trapped on a ski lift in Canada. Mr. Eisner quickly decided he wasn't a playwright, returned to New York and began climbing the entertainment-industry ladder with a job logging TV commercials for the U.S. Federal Communications Commission.

More than 40 years later, Mr. Eisner will soon be at loose ends again. At the end of September, 21 years after he became Walt Disney Co.'s chief executive, he will hand the job off to Disney President Robert Iger. Mr. Eisner will stay on the board for five months after that. Under his employment agreement, he will receive post-termination bonuses of at least $6 million annually for the three years after his departure.

The 63-year-old Mr. Eisner, who declined an interview request, hasn't specified what he wants to do after Disney but has suggested he would like to continue in the entertainment industry in some capacity. That may mean some kind of production company that generates content for film, television and maybe even Broadway, an area he long has been drawn to. And though his ambitions as a dramatist weren't realized, Mr. Eisner has turned to another kind of writing: He is the author of "Camp," a book about his youthful summer-camp experiences in Vermont that will be published this year.

Disney Chairman George Mitchell has said that Messrs. Eisner and Iger will "share duties" during the transition. Since Mr. Eisner isn't known as the most collegial executive in the business world -- his clashes with colleagues have been the stuff of both legend and courtroom drama -- sharing may be a difficult assignment for the longtime Disney chief.

Yet people close to the company say Mr. Eisner already has been more low-key within Disney since announcing last fall that he would be stepping down as CEO. He has been less visible, these people say, and his famously hands-on approach to managing the company's movie studio and other operations has been muted.

However, others point out that Mr. Eisner has traveled extensively in the past few months, going several times to London, where Disney has opened a stage version of "Mary Poppins," and accompanying Mr. Iger recently to China, where negotiations for a theme park on the mainland are under way.

It is another theme-park project -- Hong Kong Disneyland -- that may be front and center on Mr. Eisner's agenda as he winds up his tenure. The new park, a crucial component of Disney's overall foray into China, is set to open on Sept. 12, and some people close to the company say Mr. Eisner is keen to preside over the debut.

Also on the transition agenda: clearing out other remnants of various unresolved controversies and business deals. At the top of that to-do list is completing the company's expected divorce from Harvey and Bob Weinstein, the co-chairmen of its Miramax Films unit. Talks between Disney and the Weinsteins have been moving slowly for months, but may be nearing resolution, according to people close to the situation.

Joann S. Lublin contributed to this article.
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Old March 29th, 2005, 09:01 AM   #52
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Who's afraid of a mouse?
Hong Kong theme park gets ready to compete with Disneyland

By WILLIAM FOREMAN
Associated Press Writer
28 March 2005

HONG KONG (AP) - Ocean Park has been Hong Kong's most successful theme park for nearly 30 years, wowing generations of visitors with dolphin shows, stomach-churning roller coasters and a cable car ride over a mountain with spectacular views of the South China Sea.

But the marine park's hammerhead sharks are about to face a fierce new competitor: Mickey Mouse. Disneyland is opening in Hong Kong in September, so Ocean Park has to figure out how to compete with one of the biggest names in its industry.

It's a problem more companies are facing in the era of globalization. Some stick to what they've always been doing and hope the foreign intruder will stumble or be spurned by loyal local customers. But Ocean Park is taking a riskier approach, making plans to spend 5.55 billion Hong Kong dollars (US$711 million) to revamp an attraction that has become faded, worn and dated.

"Ocean Park needs to survive," said Allan Zeman, one of Hong Kong's most successful entrepreneurs who's overseeing the park's overhaul. "The only way it can survive is if it becomes world class."

But Ocean Park's makeover isn't just about spiffing up a venue. It's also key to Hong Kong's strategy to become Asia's top holiday destination for families. The government is backing both parks financially, and their success might depend on luring enough foreign visitors to a city known more for fine dining, dealmaking and shopping than thrill rides.

"When families think of having a holiday, they will think of Hong Kong first," said Eva Cheng, Hong Kong's tourism commissioner.

Ocean Park has no plans to go head-to-head with Disney, a US$3.5 billion (euro2.7 billion) park built on reclaimed land on Hong Kong's outlying Lantau island, said Tom Mehrmann, Ocean Park's chief executive.

Mehrmann said the two parks will complement each other, and tourists will want to visit both of them. Ocean Park will be about animals and Disney will be about cartoons. Ocean Park will highlight nature, and Disney's theme will be movies. One will have a cable car, and the other a castle.

"We're Hong Kong. They're an American import," Mehrmann said.

Disneyland also says it wants to be a friendly neighbor and work together to make Hong Kong the top draw for families.

"Together with Ocean Park, Hong Kong Disneyland will bring the family tourists to Hong Kong, diversifying the tourism mix and creating new opportunities for the territory," said Don Robinson, group managing director for the Disneyland park.

The government is expected to soon approve the construction of a new subway line to Ocean Park. If built, visitors would be able to take a 30-minute ride between the park and Disneyland, which opens Sept. 12.

About 70 million people have visited Ocean Park since it opened in 1977, says the nonprofit organization that runs the government-owned venue. It calls itself an "edu-tainment" attraction because it mixes rides like the turbo drop with displays of live pandas, sharks, killer whales and other educational sites. It's a popular stop on the school field trip circuit.

A mountain divides the park into two, and the cable car ride over the mountain shuttles people back and forth, providing a stunning view of the South China Sea. The park's new blueprint includes a 1.4-kilometer (0.9-mile) funicular tunnel through the mountain that can transport 5,000 passengers per hour, Mehrmann said.

Other new planned attractions include a "soaker coaster," a roller coaster equipped with water cannons in the cars and on the ground. People riding in the cars can shoot water at people on the ground and they can fire back.

The plans also call for:

-- A typhoon stunt show that combines the special effects of a typhoon with a display of actors fighting with kung fu on a fishing village set.

--A swim with dolphins program and an enclosed stadium -- shaped like a sea turtle's shell -- for killer whale shows.

--An "Ice Palace" with a sub-zero environment that allows visitors to don parkas and have snowball fights and carve ice sculptures.

--A 7.6 million liter (2 million gallon) aquarium with an underwater restaurant.

Ocean Park also wants to copy Disneyland and provide hotels at the site, and the revamp will be mostly funded with a HK$4.05 billion (US$519 million, euro400 million) construction loan from the government or commercial markets.

The park is waiting for the government's approval for the revamp, which would be completed by 2010 and would be done in phases so the entire attraction wouldn't have to be closed.

Tourism Commissioner Cheng said a government task force that's studying the park's proposal is sold on the idea of a refit. "We are now working to see how to best take this forward," she said.
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Old March 31st, 2005, 07:06 PM   #53
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Hong Kong Disneyland Seeks Workers
March 31, 2005
By HELEN LUK, Associated Press Writer

HONG KONG - Disney executives on Thursday kicked off a two-month recruitment drive for 3,000 future employees at its Hong Kong theme park set to open in September.

The recruitment — to begin Friday — will fill positions for hotel and park operations, catering, costuming, entertainment, sales, cleaning and security services, Hong Kong Disneyland's Group Managing Director Don Robinson told a news conference.

"To hire 3,000 people within such a short period of time is certainly a challenging job, but we are confident with the high caliber of talent and excellent service attitudes we've witnessed here in Hong Kong, we will be able to recruit the very best people in town," Robinson said.

Greg Wann, the park's vice president of human resources, said 95 percent of the new jobs will be full-time positions and the vast majority of them will have a starting monthly salary of 9,000 Hong Kong dollars ($1,154).

Most of the positions will be filled by locals, except for a few acting roles, Robinson said.

Scheduled to open Sept. 12, the park — a joint venture between the Hong Kong government and The Walt Disney Co. — is being built on reclaimed land at Penny's Bay on Hong Kong's outlying island.

Critics had questioned why the government agreed to shoulder most of the $3.5 billion construction cost for the park. But officials argued that the park will boost the territory's tourism and employment.
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Old April 5th, 2005, 12:30 AM   #54
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Hong Kong Disneyland Launches Recruitment Drive

HONG KONG, April 1 Asia Pulse - Hong Kong Disneyland Thursday launched one of the city's largest ever recruitment drives, inviting about 3,000 front-line workers.

The world-famous theme park and resort, set to open on Sept. 12 this year, is recruiting 3,000 front-line cast members to help deliver an immerse entertainment experience to guests.

Don Robinson, Hong Kong Disneyland Group Managing Director said "this is one of the most important milestones we have reached in preparation for the opening of Hong Kong Disneyland. We are pleased to be able to contribute to the local economy by creating these magical' job opportunities for the people of Hong Kong."

He added "we are confident that with the high caliber of talent and excellent service attitudes we have witnessed here in Hong Kong, we will be able to recruit the very best people in town. Hong Kong Disneyland will be an ideal platform from which to showcase the best of Hong Kong's hospitality and performing talents to the world."

From April 1, Hong Kong Disneyland will invite eligible candidates to apply for Cast Member roles from a variety of disciplines including hotel operations, merchandise, food & beverage, entertainment, park operations, costuming and security services.

Hong Kong Disneyland project is a joint venture between the Walt Disney Company and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government. At the opening day of Sept. 12, Hong Kong Disneyland will comprise a theme park and two hotels. At lease 5.6 million people are expected to visit the Hong Kong Disneyland at the first year of its opening.
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Old April 10th, 2005, 07:09 PM   #55
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MICKEY MAO
The Magic Kingdom meets the Middle Kingdom, as Disney sets its sights on China. But for new chief Robert Iger, who has been leading the charge, wishing on a red star could be a risky strategy.
18 April 2005
Fortune

Last October, on the eve of the National Basketball Association's first exhibition game in China, Walt Disney president Robert Iger stepped before a battery of television cameras flanked by NBA commissioner David Stern, Houston Rockets center Yao Ming, and a cadre of other NBA stars. A press conference to announce some blockbuster marketing deal between the NBA and China? Not quite. The venue for the high-profile gathering was a cramped classroom at Yao's alma mater, Gaoan Road Primary School in Shanghai. As cameras whirred and flashbulbs popped, Iger, Yao, and the other NBA luminaries joined a chorus of Chinese children in red neckerchiefs reciting from the pages of a Yao-sized book at the front of the room: "It's a gray, gray rainy day, but Piglet and Roo are ready to play."

Piglet and Roo are characters from A.A. Milne's popular children's stories about a stuffed bear named Winnie-the-Pooh, and Disney billed the storytelling session as part of a worldwide public- service initiative to encourage kids to read. But to properly connect the dots between the beloved bear, the world's second- largest media and entertainment conglomerate, the NBA's tallest player, and the world's fastest-growing economy, it helps to know that Disney owns the rights to Milne's characters; that Disney is the parent company of ESPN sports network; that ESPN secured rights to broadcast the Shanghai exhibition game; and that Iger wants a piece of the China market as badly as Pooh craves honey.

That last also explains why Iger, just anointed successor to CEO Michael Eisner, visited China four times last year. In October, while Eisner was slugging it out with former president Michael Ovitz in a Delaware courtroom, Iger was in Hong Kong inspecting progress on the theme park Disney is building there, in Shanghai catching the NBA game, and in Beijing chatting with China's vice president. Get Disney's new chief talking about China's potential, and he'll rattle off a list of statistics: income levels, Internet penetration figures, mobile-phone and cable-television subscription rates. The way Iger sees it, China, with 290 million people under the age of 14- -more potential Mouseketeers than the entire U.S. population--isn't just a growth opportunity, "it's a needle mover."

Iger has taken to goading executives at Disney's Burbank, Calif., headquarters to prove their China savvy: "If I come back from a China trip and I know more than the guy running the business back in Burbank, he's got a problem." Indeed, so keen is Disney's new chief to bring the Magic Kingdom to the Middle Kingdom that he describes himself as the company's China country manager. "On any given day, I may talk to the person who's running Baby Einstein to see what he's up to [in China] or call the head of television there. It's constant, constant attention."

That's the sort of relentless focus championed by management experts as the secret to cracking the Chinese market. But with apologies to the Disney song, when you wish upon a red star, it makes a big difference who you are. If you're a large foreign multinational selling autos, mobile phones, or fried chicken, have at it: China waits with open arms to take in every dollar you care to invest. But if you happen to be a giant media and entertainment conglomerate--a Disney, say--be prepared for China's mandarins to wrap you in red tape.

Governments the world over restrict foreign media ownership, but China has raised regulation of the industry to a fine and excruciating art. In the developed world and in many other fast- growing economies in Asia, foreign content providers are at least allowed to purchase airtime for their programming over domestically owned networks. Not in China, where regulators limit the ability of non-Chinese companies to sell, distribute, market, and identify the programs they produce. Even cartoons are tightly controlled. Disney's most significant encroachment into China's airwaves is a half-hour kids' show that mixes Disney programming with short segments produced in China. Yet Disney can't call it Mickey Mouse Club lest its signature rodent get too well known, so the program airs as Dragon Club. The myriad prohibitions are meant to prevent criticism of China's communist rulers and to shield the Chinese from the evils of Western cultural imperialism. They're also driven, says Lehman Brothers Asia media analyst Stephen McKeever, by "good old- fashioned mercantilism" to make sure Chinese players get their share of a burgeoning market.

That's bad news for Iger, who has identified international expansion as a cornerstone of Disney strategy. Though Disney's animated menagerie includes some of the most widely recognized characters on the planet, the financial statements of the company that spawned them remain surprisingly provincial. Last year overseas revenue accounted for $6.7 billion, or 22%, of Disney's $30.7 billion in sales, and generated $1.5 billion, or 35%, of operating profit. Sure, that's enough to keep Dumbo in peanuts. But Iger has long argued that given the brand's global reach, the composition of Disney's revenue should look more like that of Coca-Cola or McDonald's, truly multinational giants that count on non-U.S. markets for more than 65% of sales. Iger is pushing for double- digit growth in foreign sales and a more diversified revenue stream. Foreign markets, he vows, must generate at least half of Disney's profits "within the next five years."

Iger's goal implies a radical redeployment of Disney's resources. Last year 70% of the company's overseas sales came from markets in slow-growing Europe; Asia contributed only $566 million, much of that from Japan, where Disney made more than $160 million in royalties from the consortium that runs Tokyo Disneyland. Iger stands little chance of hitting his foreign-profit mark without substantial gains in Asia's emerging dynamos, China and India. Disney won't say how much it earns in either market--like many multinationals, it doesn't disclose financial results by country. But the consensus among analysts and competitors is that Disney earns considerably less in the two countries combined than the $140 million that Ovitz's severance package was worth. That could change quickly as components of Iger's battle plan fall into place. In India, where broadcast regulations allow more leeway, Disney has made inroads with a sports television joint venture and the launch last year of two animation channels. But the big bet is China, where the company has identified theme parks and consumer products as its dominant profit engines.

On its face, counting on those businesses seems ... well, goofy. Movies and media networks, not parks and plush toys, are Disney's mainstay, accounting for more than two-thirds of worldwide revenues last year. In the U.S., Disney has sold off its stores, unable to make a go of hawking mouse ears and Piglet pencil boxes on its own. Why should it fare any better in a country famed for plunging prices, razor-thin margins, and rampant piracy? And while Disney's flagship U.S. parks are reliable cash cows, the company's record in operating theme parks overseas is spottier than 101 Dalmatians. Burbank balked in the 1980s when Japanese developers pitched the idea of bringing Disneyland to Tokyo, judging the Disneyland experience too American to export. Instead of investing, Disney opted to license rights in Japan in exchange for 10% of ticket sales and 5% of receipts on food and concessions. Big mistake: Japanese families can't get enough of Tokyo Disneyland. "The failure to take an ownership position in Tokyo Disneyland was exceptionally costly," Eisner wrote in his 1998 autobiography, Work in Progress. But his decision to retain a stake in Euro Disney, a theme park outside Paris, proved an even bigger error. The French venture, of which Disney now owns 40%, has been a financial sinkhole. In 12 years of operation, it has never come close to meeting its original target of 17 million visitors a year, despite generous capital infusions from Disney and Saudi Arabia's Prince al-Waleed.

Determined to finally get it right, Disney drove a hard bargain in Hong Kong, demanding a fat stake for a next-to-nothing investment. Desperate to bring jobs and tourists to their then- beleaguered economy, Hong Kong officials capitulated, agreeing to put up $2.9 billion in taxpayer money, donate land, and build a network of access roads and railways in exchange for a 57% share. Disney got its 43% for just $314 million, a sum it will recoup almost immediately because it also insisted on a 5% royalty fee for management and operation.

Nestled in a cove on Lantau Island, with views of the downtown skyline six miles away, Hong Kong Disneyland, which is scheduled to open Sept. 12, will look and feel like the original Disneyland, complete with Main Street, Sleeping Beauty's castle, and Tomorrowland. But there are some modifications. Architects went to great lengths to heed instructions of a feng shui master who, among other things, ordered the entire layout rotated several degrees to foster harmony with the elements. Staff will accommodate guests in English, Mandarin, and Cantonese, and food will cater to Chinese palates. Disney projects that the park will receive about six million visitors the first year, about 40% of them from China's mainland.

Hong Kong Disneyland is mostly a dress rehearsal for the main event--a theme park in Shanghai. Iger says Disney has been engaged for some time in "a cordial discussion, if not actual negotiations," with Shanghai officials about opening a park within the next six years. There, too, he is playing hardball, rebuffing demands to move faster. But the long-term success of Disney's Chinese parks will require more than good feng shui and hard bargaining. In other markets, Disney's film, TV, and publishing operations smoothed the way for new parks, ensuring that from the moment they set foot on Main Street, visitors felt at home. In China, says Jay Rasulo, president of Walt Disney Parks & Resorts, "for the first time, we'll be opening in a market where not all of our guests will know us well. The brand recognition is high, but the depth of the storytelling isn't there." That matters, executives say, because guests stay longer, spend more, and return more often when they invest emotionally in the characters.

To fill the void, Disney is mounting a grass-roots brand- building campaign--and experimenting with novel marketing techniques. In perhaps the most unlikely union of Mickey and Mao, Disney last year teamed up with the 70 million--member Communist Youth League to host a series of sessions billed as aiding reading skills and creativity. Disney performers toured half a dozen "children's palaces" in Guangdong province, telling stories using the Disney characters and encouraging children to draw pictures of Mickey Mouse. More sessions are planned this spring. Disney's alliance with the youth league doesn't raise eyebrows in a nation where few distinguish between advertising and propaganda. Sometimes it's unclear who's propagandizing whom. At Yao Ming's elementary school, a zealous 12-year-old scolded NBA veteran Bob Lanier for mispronouncing the word "ooze" while reading a Winnie-the-Pooh story. Afterward the boy explained that he knew the proper English pronunciation because his class had spent weeks practicing for the event.

Disney's bid for China's hearts and minds reaches back to the 1930s, when its first animated features played at cinemas in Beijing and Shanghai. Disney films, along with most other forms of foreign entertainment, were banned after Mao swept to power in 1949. During the Cultural Revolution, the mere possession of a Mickey Mouse watch would have constituted a serious cultural crime. Mickey had to wait until 1986, a decade after Mao's death, for rehabilitation. In that year Disney signed a licensing agreement with China's national network to supply cartoons for broadcast on Sunday evenings. That remained the extent of Disney's presence in China until well into the 1990s, when ESPN struck a deal to syndicate international sports programming and Disney won permission to publish a weekly comics magazine for children. In 1994, Disney forged the partnership with Beijing TV that created Dragon Club. Now in its tenth year, Dragon Club airs on more than 40 stations across China, reaching an estimated 60 million households. Winnie-the-Pooh figures prominently in CCTV's flagship kids' show, The Big Windmill, and on CCTV's new children's channel. All told, Disney-branded segments reach more than 380 million households, making the company "the No. 1 provider of Western programming to China," according to Andy Bird, president of Disney International.

Iger's own interest in China goes back to his first Beijing visit in 1979, when he was with ABC Sports. "I stayed in a hotel--I swear, this is the complete truth--my mattress was filled with straw," he recalls. "No one spoke English. I spoke no Chinese. It was almost a joke, but a great adventure." He returned in 1994, as the president of ABC-TV, to inaugurate Dragon Club.

But Disney is hardly the only belle at the ball. In programming of all forms, Disney lags behind News Corp., whose China ambitions are no less grand. The centerpiece of News Corp.'s China strategy is its 38% stake in Phoenix Satellite, a Chinese-language network based in Hong Kong. Operated in partnership with a former People's Liberation Army officer, Phoenix owns five channels and boasts that its shows reach 200 million mainland viewers. The company's biggest success is news and current-affairs programming, which offers a livelier alternative to the official fare on state-run channels. Last year Phoenix, listed in Hong Kong, reported a profit of $21 million on ad sales of $100 million. Beijing has also allowed News Corp.'s StarTV to broadcast Chinese-language entertainment programs via cable networks in Guangdong province.

Viacom, which owns Nickelodeon, announced an agreement with Shanghai Media Group in November to produce children's TV programming. The deal was the first to follow a declaration by China's State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television that foreigners are permitted to own up to 49% of Chinese television production companies. Time Warner, the largest of the global media giants (and parent of FORTUNE's publisher), has been least active in pressing for entry into the China market. Its affiliate, Chinese Entertainment Television, has also been granted permission to broadcast in Guangdong, but Time Warner ceded majority interest in 2003 to Tom Group, a media company controlled by Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing.

Each year titles from Disney and Warner dominate the list of films cleared for distribution in Chinese cinemas. Disney's The Lion King was the first foreign film released in China, and the company has distributed more than a dozen others, including Toy Story, Tarzan, Finding Nemo,and Pirates of the Caribbean. The terms of China's 2001 admission to the World Trade Organization require Beijing to allow the release of 50 foreign films this year, up from ten before accession. But those films do limited box office despite China's vast population and the popularity of Hollywood fare. Consumers would just as soon pay $1 for a counterfeit DVD than two or three times that to see a movie on a large screen in a dilapidated theater.

The breadth of Disney's offerings gives it a distinct advantage in China. Disney on Ice gave 30 performances in three Chinese cities last year and is preparing to expand the tour to 40 cities. Disney is also pushing content over the web in a partnership with Sohu.com, a Chinese Internet portal. Says Rasulo: "No company in the world is better than Disney at marshaling all its business lines for brand building."

But how to make that brand building pay? Piracy has crippled Disney's efforts to profit from DVD sales in China. Since entering the market in 1997, Disney has released nearly 500 VCR and DVD titles, more than any other foreign studio. Still, in 2003 it sold just 3.4 million disks. Finding Nemo,which Disney touts as the bestselling animated feature in China, had legal sales of only 284,000 copies. Legitimate disks sell for as much as ten times the price of a knockoff, and most Chinese consumers wouldn't know where to buy them even if they were willing to pay the difference. At the Xiangyang market in Shanghai, vendors tout pirated Disney titles alongside phony handbags. At one table a woman shows shoppers a trash bag stuffed with Disney knockoffs, including The Incredibles,Aladdin, and The Little Mermaid. Nine dollars buys an eight-disk set of Mickey Mouse in Living Color, with the forged signature of Roy E. Disney on the box. "This Disney stuff sells like crazy," she says. "I usually have 100 titles, but I can't keep them in stock."

It says a lot about Iger's battle plan that in December, when he finally hired a full-time China country manager, he picked Stanley Cheung, former head of Johnson & Johnson's consumer products business in China. Cheung's first task will be to expand Disney's retail and distribution network. Disney reported that China consumer products sales topped $128 million in 2003 and that the segment's contribution to overall sales in China is double Disney's global average of 8%. Cheung wants to double the number of Disney Corners, upscale retail outlets selling toys and branded kids' wear, to 2,200 shops by the end of the year. He also sees improved opportunities for Disney products as foreign retailers such as Wal-Mart and Carrefour expand in China. "Regulations are loosening," says Cheung. "We have the right legal structure. Suddenly everything's coming together."

That would no doubt gratify Iger, who joked before getting the nod to succeed Eisner that he could be the subject of his own reality TV show. His suggested title: The Apprentice Survivor Millionaire. Just don't look for it to be broadcast on Chinese airwaves anytime soon. ?

As Iger sees it, with 290 million people under the age of 14--more potential Mousketeers than the entire population of the U.S.--China is a "needle mover."The consensus among analysts is that Disney earns considerably less in China and India combined than the $140 million Ovitz's severance package was worth."We'll be opening in a market where not all of our guests will know us well. The brand recognition is high, but the depth of the storytelling isn't there.""This Disney stuff sells like crazy," says a woman hawking pirated Disney tapes in Shanghai. "I usually have 100 titles, but I can't keep them in stock."
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Old April 12th, 2005, 03:12 AM   #56
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九月開幕 工程密鑼緊鼓
鳥瞰迷人迪士尼

12/04/2005




【本報訊】香港迪士尼樂園開幕倒數期尚餘五個月,為爭取更多內地人於九月十二日開幕日來港,及八月中安排的公眾試玩,樂園工程分秒必爭。本報記者昨由直升機鳥瞰樂園所見,大部分遊戲設施已準備就緒,「探險世界」內的「森林河流之旅」有小船行駛測試。

歷險河小船試航

位於竹篙灣、面積達一百二十六公頃的樂園已見雛形。大家最關心的機動遊戲接近完成,「明日世界」的地標「飛越太空山」更是非常矚目。由多個小行星組成、屬香港獨有的「太空飛碟」已準備就緒,遊客可駕駛太空飛碟於三分鐘內穿梭各個行星。面積佔整個樂園幾乎三分一的「探險世界」,恍如一個非洲原始森林。昨日所見,「森林河流之旅」小船在歷險河流中徐徐行駛,測試航道安全。

至於迪士尼兩間酒店正進行最後修葺,迪士尼好萊塢酒店亦設計獨特,室外有一個鋼琴形泳池,「琴鍵」向�酒店大堂。樂園其他配套設施也接近完成,樂園外的大型停車場足以停泊數百輛私家車,方便市民駕車往遊玩;迪士尼樂園酒店旁的碼頭亦隨時歡迎客人登陸。
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Old April 17th, 2005, 02:48 AM   #57
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5 months to go.
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Old April 17th, 2005, 04:08 AM   #58
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Quote:
Originally Posted by philip
If you mean BIG ATTRACTIONS, then there are jungle cruise, Lion Kong Show, Space mountain.

There are many smaller rides at the 3 themed sections, click on the links to seee them:
Adventureland
...

Fantasyland
...


Tomorrowland
...


Great, but how come they don't have 'Westernland' 'Toontown' 'Critter country' et al like Tokyo Disneyland?
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Old April 17th, 2005, 04:15 AM   #59
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again, this is only phase1 of the disneyland guys.
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Old April 25th, 2005, 04:32 PM   #60
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Monday April 25, 3:20 PM
Hong Kong Disneyland unveils rail line for its theme park

AP - With the help of Donald Duck and a cloud of silver confetti, officials unveiled a new rail line Monday for Hong Kong Disneyland _ the world's first train route specifically dedicated for a theme park.

The 3.5-kilometer (2-mile) train line, which cost 2 billion Hong Kong dollars (US$257 million, €197 million), will be able to shuttle about 10,000 passengers per hour to the park, set to open Sept. 12, said Disneyland and the city's Mass Transit Rail Corp. The park and subway operator financed the project.

The line will be a branch off the subway line from Central Hong Kong to outlying Lantau Island, where Disneyland is being built.

"Disneyland Resort line will take visitors to a magical world," MTRC Chief Executive C.K. Chow said. "The 3.5 minute train journey is not to be missed for all Disneyland visitors who wish to enjoy the full experience."

The trains' windows and the straphangers are shaped like Mickey Mouse. The ceiling and the sides of the train are painted red, yellow, purple and blue.

The park is a joint venture between the Hong Kong government and The Walt Disney Co. It's being built on reclaimed land at Penny's Bay.

Critics have criticized the government for shouldering most of the US$3.5 billion construction cost for the park. But officials have argued that the park will boost employment and help make Hong Kong a major tourist destination.
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