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Old June 30th, 2009, 10:20 PM   #21
hkskyline
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Disney to pump $452 mln new funds into HK theme park

HONG KONG, June 30 (Reuters) - Hong Kong said on Tuesday the Walt Disney Co will invest $452 million to expand its Hong Kong theme park, seen as necessary to bolster the park's long-term prospects against a planned rival park in Shanghai.

Hong Kong Chief Executive Donald Tsang said Hong Kong would not invest more capital in the joint venture but would convert a substantial part of its loan to the project into equity. He added Disney's capital investment would be about HK$3.5 billion.

Disney will also convert the entire balance of its outstanding HK$2.76 billion loan to the theme park to equity.

"In total this means that the Walt Disney Company will invest about HK$6.2 billion new capital in demonstration of the company's confidence in Hong Kong Disneyland," said Rita Lau, Hong Kong's Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development.

After Disney's new investment and the government's debt to equity swap, Hong Kong will see its stake in the underperforming park fall to 52 percent from 57 percent in the theme park's first major expansion since its opening to great fanfare in 2005.

Since then however, the park's performance has been sluggish, with attendance figures falling short of initial targets.

The government's outstanding loan to the theme park is about HK$6.89 billion. After the conversion, this balance will not drop below HK$1 billion, the government said in a statement.

It said the expansion, with a mix of thrill rides, would "broaden the park's appeal" and act as a "catalyst" in improving the park's operating and financial performance.

"If there is no expansion, the attraction of the theme park will fall over time," government economist Helen Chan said at a briefing to announce details of the long-awaited expansion.

SHANGHAI RIVAL

The Hong Kong government desperately needs the expansion to boost flagging attendance, with a much larger rival Disneyland expected to be built in Shanghai in 2014 that could draw much visitor traffic from the burgeoning mainland China market.

"We're only increasing it (the size) by some 20 percent but the Shanghai Disneyland is going to be ten times the size of Hong Kong Disneyland, how are we going to compete with them," said lawmaker Emily Lau during a briefing on the plan.

But officials, who must still lobby lawmakers to green-light the deal in a legislative session on July 10, stressed the park's unique attractions would bolster the park's current reported attendance of about 4.5 million annually, to between 5.2-8.4 million visitors by 2015 when the expansion is done.

"We often talk about uniqueness and exclusiveness and therefore it's not just about the size," said Hong Kong official Lau.

"We're not competing on the basis of size, we are competing on the basis of these attractions," Lau added.

The park is currently the smallest 'Magic Kingdom' globally.

The expansion, which will cost HK$3.63 billion, will include 30 new attractions and three new theme areas -- two unique to any Disneyland -- and will see the total area of Hong Kong Disneyland increase by 23 percent over five years.

The total net economic benefit of the expanded theme park over 40 years would range from HK$64.7 billion to HK$117.3 billion, the government said, with the theme park having already added 0.2 percent to the city's annual GDP since opening.

Hong Kong's Financial Secretary John Tsang travelled to Los Angeles in May, where he met senior Disney executives. The trip is seen to have paved the way for the breakthrough after Disney earlier said it would stall any expansion amid the credit crunch.

As part of the deal, Disney promised to boost transparency by disclosing its annual visitor figures and financial performance.
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Old July 1st, 2009, 05:59 AM   #22
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Old July 1st, 2009, 10:54 AM   #23
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well at least it's expanding. I read on singtao that with the expansion it's gonna be "roughly" the same size as the one in LA.
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Old July 1st, 2009, 01:31 PM   #24
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the detail of the expansion plan is exactly the same as what they suggested before, so i'm not surprised by the result. what shocked me is that it will take 5 years to complete the whole expansion. it is very disappointing that the empty space right next to the disneyland, that is reserved for the future expansion, will remain empty for at least another 5 years, i hope they will begin the "phase 2" right after this one, and they better come up with something new, i hope they wont copy the entire DisneySea from Tokyo!
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Old July 1st, 2009, 02:55 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EricIsHim View Post
Finally something solid is going... but expanding by only not even 25% with three more "lands," it is rather disappointing.

I was hoping for a more aggressive scheme.
And back in May we thought it would be a third... now it's not even a fourth...

Plans look alright to me though... but as caelus pointed out... why does it take 5 years to build?
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Old July 5th, 2009, 09:07 AM   #26
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Details on Disney or no deal, say legislators
5 July 2009
South China Morning Post

The government has urged legislators to fast track approval of Hong Kong Disneyland's expansion plan because of the global economic crisis.

But lawmakers say they cannot support the deal without details of the park's performance.

Secretary of Commerce and Economic Development Rita Lau Ng Wai-lan warned lawmakers at a panel meeting yesterday that the economic climate could threaten the plan.

"We want to grab time to confirm it, and then realise the deal," Mrs Lau said.

But legislators continued to criticise the government for disclosing too little information about the park's financial situation. Some said the Finance Committee should postpone discussing the matter at its meeting on Friday so the government could provide more data.

"You [the government] can't tell when the park will generate profit. You also can't tell when it will offer [to pay] interest," the Democratic Party's Emily Lau Wai-hing said.

Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong legislator Starry Lee Wai-king also said it was "disappointing and frustrating" that the information provided to the council was so limited.

Democrat Fred Li Wah-ming asked whether the government had considered instead selling its stake in the theme park because of its poor performance.

But Rita Lau questioned the possibility of finding investors considering the joint venture's financial situation.

"Although the operation of the company was not ideal in the last three years, the park has generated {hellip} HK$10.3 billion in actual economic benefit, so again we hope lawmakers see this project as one to promote Hong Kong's economy," she said.

On Tuesday, the government revealed the long-awaited expansion plan. It will cost HK$3.63 billion, towards which Disney will contribute HK$3.5 billion.

More than 30 new rides will be added by 2014.

To maintain its majority stake, the government will convert some HK$5.9 billion of existing debt to equity; its new shareholding will be about 52 per cent.

Disney's stake will rise to about 48 per cent.
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Old July 5th, 2009, 03:30 PM   #27
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迪士尼勁蝕冇人願買本文重點
2009年07月05日(日)




香港迪士尼樂園擴建計劃爭論不休。不同黨派的立法會議員昨日齊炮轟迪士尼公布的財務數據太少,難以在周五的財務委員會上表決擴建計劃的融資安排,有議員更批評迪士尼猶如爛橙,作為納稅人應該要知「係咪爛到入心」,亦有議員要求當局索性撤走資金及出售所有股份,以免跌進無底深潭。商務及經濟發展局局長劉吳惠蘭坦言以迪士尼現時的財政狀況未必會有人願意購買政府持有的迪士尼股份,意味迪士尼每年的虧蝕相當嚴重。

劉吳惠蘭坦言以迪士尼現時的財政狀況,未必會有人願意購買政府持有的迪士尼股份。
另外,有民間團體揶揄政府明知壞帳一盤仍硬要「落疊」,明顯是肉在砧板上,凸顯政府管治能力差勁。

立法會經濟發展事務委員會昨日舉行特別會議,討論迪士尼擴建計劃。各黨派的議員都一面倒批評迪士尼欠缺透明度,開幕三年不曾公布賺或蝕,亦未曾公布過去幾年的入場人數,令議員難以決定是否支持政府的擴建計劃融資安排。

拒公開實際賺蝕
民主黨的李華明炮轟迪士尼過去三年表現與原來預期南轅北轍,又不願公開實際賺蝕,建議當局倒不如索性考慮撤走資金及出售所有股份,以免再跌入無底深潭。

議員陳偉業更指政府一味盲目支持「搵笨樂園」,認為根本「唔應該隨便再揼錢落去」,又指迪士尼猶如爛橙,作為納稅人應該要知「係咪爛到入心」,不能倉卒通過擴建的融資方案。

自由黨方剛及民建聯陳鑑林雖然表明原則上支持擴建的融資方案,但亦不忘批評政府已沒有選擇餘地,又質疑當局以商業秘密為由拒絕透露迪士尼財務情況的做法,促請政府日後要加強糾正。

劉吳惠蘭則指受保密條款限制,不能披露敏感財務數據,包括營業損益,但雙方已同意由○八至○九年度開始,迪士尼會公布入場數字、收支、資產及負債表等主要數據,相信有助增加透明度。

至於會否考慮撤走資金及出售所有股份,劉吳惠蘭表示,以「目前咁嘅情況,迪士尼或任何投資者都知公司有幾多價值,(迪士尼)會唔會買你呢?」意味迪士尼每年的虧蝕相當嚴重。但她聲言若議員否決擴建的融資方案,重新開始談判或有變數,包括擔心迪士尼不再注資。

政府肉在砧板上
107動力召集人何民傑指港府明知迪士尼是壞帳一盤,仍不肯認衰、為臉子硬要港人再「落疊」,對政府管治能力感到失望。

嶺南大學公共政策研究中心主任何濼生亦形容港府猶如肉在砧板上,「洗濕咗個頭好難搞」,現在離場就等如輸清光,由於港府再投資涉及公帑,迪士尼必須提供更多資料,如蝕錢狀況,讓議員考慮是否支持。

此外,多名泛民議員雖然在會上都要求押後一星期召開財委會表決,以便政府提供更多數據,但是委員會主席林健鋒指議員在上次的會議已經同意交財委會,否決有關建議。
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Old July 8th, 2009, 08:50 PM   #28
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Expansion plan draws mixed reactions
1 July 2009
China Daily - Hong Kong Edition

HONG KONG: Disneyland's HK$3.63 billion expansion plan drew mixed reactions yesterday among members of the Legislative Council.

Lawmaker Abraham Shek Lai-him was fully supportive of the expansion: "If we didn't have Disneyland, we would lose many tourists," said Shek.

He said it took other theme parks like Ocean Park a lot of years to take off, so investing in the theme park is a wise decision.

Hong Kong Inbound Travel Association chairman Paul Leung said: "We welcome Disney's expansion. We can expect more tourists to visit Hong Kong. No doubt our theme park appears to be a bit small as compared to Disneylands abroad, but with more attractions, it will be a success." He believes the expansion will entice tourists to stay longer in the city.

Hong Kong Association of Travel Agents chairman Michael Wu said Disney's expansion will not dramatically increase the number of visitors to the city, but it nevertheless helps maintain the competitiveness of the city's tourism sector.

Some legislators, however, seemed concerned about the viability of the ambitious project.

Emily Lau Wai-hing pointed out Hong Kong will face stiff competition from other theme parks in the region. She said: "A 23 percent expansion of the park is not that much. Shanghai's Disneyland will be 10 times bigger than our park, how can we compete with them?"

Ronny Tong Ka-wah agreed with Lau: "Singapore has Universal Studios, Shanghai will have another Disneyland. We are dealing with a lot of competition in the region. There is a saying: Don't throw good money after bad. The project might not draw as many tourists to the city as we expect."

"The success of the park rests on its appeal and uniqueness, not its size," responded Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Rita Lau.

To guarantee that Hong Kong Disneyland remains unique, Lau said Disney has promised it will not recreate two of new attractions elsewhere. They will be truly one-of-a-kind.

"Is Disneyland pushing for the expansion, because without it, the theme park will fall over time?" questioned Lee Wing-tat.

Commissioner for Tourism Margaret Fong explained: "We have looked at and studied Disney's attractions abroad, like in United States and France. The attractions in the proposal are the most suitable for Hong Kong and they target young adults."
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Old July 11th, 2009, 08:22 AM   #29
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Hong Kong votes for $468 mln Disneyland expansion
10 July 2009

HONG KONG, (Reuters) - Hong Kong lawmakers approved a government plan on Friday to spend HK$3.63 billion ($468 million) expanding the city's Disneyland theme park and boosting the smallest of Disney's five resorts.

With attendance falling short of targets, the government has been seeking ways to boost the number of visitors in the long term, given the threat from a rival Disney theme park planned for Shanghai.

Hong Kong will convert a significant amount of its HK$6.89 billion outstanding loan to the park into equity, while Walt Disney will invest HK$3.5 billion to help finance the construction cost and also convert its outstanding HK$2.76 billion loan to the theme park into equity.

After Disney's new investment and Hong Kong's debt-to-equity swap, Hong Kong's stake in the park will fall to 52 percent from 57 percent.

In a joint statement, Disney and the Hong Kong SAR Government applauded the Legislative Council's vote on the plan to build three new themed areas at the park by 2014.

Financial Secretary John Tsang said the park already "has brought substantial economic benefits to Hong Kong."

With its new features, the park "will rise up to the keen competition in the region on the tourism front, attracting more family visitors from around the world," Tsang said.

Jay Rasulo, chairman of Disney Parks & Resorts, said the company was "eager to begin work" on the expansion.

"This substantial investment represents our continued commitment to and confidence in Hong Kong Disneyland and solidifies our partnership with the Hong Kong government helping assure the resort's long-term success," Rasulo said.

The three new themed "lands" will be called "Grizzly Trail," "Mystic Point" and "Toy Story Land."
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Old July 12th, 2009, 07:03 PM   #30
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Reclaimed land may not be used
11 July 2009
SCMP

Despite the expansion of Hong Kong Disneyland, approved by lawmakers yesterday, 60 hectares of reclaimed land could be left unused until 2029.

The 5.1 hectare extension will take the park to 27.5 hectares - less than a quarter of the 125.4 hectares set aside for Phase 1 of the park.

And the theme park operator since 1999 has a 20-year option to buy a further 60 hectares known as Phase 2, with the possibility of extending the option for a further 10 years.

Corporate governance activist David Webb called for the agreement to be scrapped, saying Disney was never likely to make enough money to be able to exercise the option.

Legislator Audrey Eu Yuet-mee aired similar views saying it was "almost a crime" to have the land tied up for so long.

On his website, Mr Webb noted that while Phase 2 was owned by the government, Hong Kong International Theme Parks - the joint venture between the government and The Walt Disney Company that runs the park - has a 20-year option to buy it at the reclamation cost of HK$2.8 billion plus inflation.

The option can automatically be extended for five years and conditionally for a further five if park attendance is more than 8 million but less than 10 million, meaning it could have priority until 2029.

"One can only assume, in the absence of published accounts, that the park generates just enough cash to cover its operating expenses but not to finance any expansion," Mr Webb wrote.

"Given the looming competition from Shanghai Disneyland ... it seems unlikely that Hong Kong Disneyland would ever be able to justify, on financial grounds, exercising the option to purchase and build out Phase 2. So we face the prospect of watching 60 hectares of public land sit empty for 20 years, or be subject to low-rent, short-term projects like golf driving ranges."

At the Legislative Council's finance committee, Civic Party leader Ms Eu stressed how valuable land was in Hong Kong. "To find land for schools and hospitals is already a painful search."

Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Rita Lau Ng Wai-lan said Disneyland still had first right of refusal over the land, but was in the process of discussing whether it could be used for other purposes on a short-term lease.

Afterwards, Ms Eu said the government still did not seem to know what to do with the land in Phase 2.

"It's almost a crime to have that land tied up," she said. "So far, it's all just promises up in the air, and the government has not been good at keeping promises."
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Old July 17th, 2009, 05:13 AM   #31
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Lashing for limit on Disney deal talks
16 July 2009
The Standard

The 10-day limit lawmakers were given to discuss the HK$3.63 billion Disneyland expansion deal was yesterday described as being ``terrible and undesirable.'' Finance Committee chairwoman Miriam Lau Kin-yee said: ``In fact the administration knew of the short time available [for members to make a decision], so maybe that was a deliberate move.''

Most committee members ended up supporting the deal, but only after expressing their frustration.

Lau, addressing the Legislative Council, described the Disneyland project as ``particularly disturbing.''

The amount of time lawmakers were given to discuss and think through the deal was undesirable and prohibited them from having in-depth discussions.

She also said that although funding was approved in the end, even members who voted in favor felt unhappy about the situation.

Some were also upset that Disneyland did not sent a representative to answer committee questions.

``It was a very frustrating exercise,'' Lau said.

Relations between the administration and Legco members have become stagnant, she said, and principal officials often fail to show up and send civil servant representatives in their place.

Wrapping up the year's performance, Lau confirmed the committee has approved projects worth HK$188.8 billion, more than double the amount of the previous year.

``During the current legislative session, the committee held 31 meetings, examined and approved 67 individual financial proposal items, including those to implement a number of major infrastructure projects such as the Hong Kong- Zhuhai-Macau Bridge, the West Island Line, and the Central-Wan Chai Bypass,'' she added.

``The public works and infrastructure projects approved this year amounted to more than HK$126 billion.''
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Old July 17th, 2009, 09:18 AM   #32
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Old July 21st, 2009, 05:08 AM   #33
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Staff sacked by Disney asked to come back
17 July 2009
SCMP

Former Walt Disney creative designers - including 30 who were sacked four months ago after Hong Kong Disneyland expansion talks stalled - are being recruited to rejoin the theme park now that expansion plans have been approved.

Letters were sent out on Monday to all former "imagineers" who had worked on the park since it opened almost four years ago, including those who were laid off in March. They have been asked to submit their resumes by next Friday if they want to rejoin.

Sources familiar with the situation said that while all the imagineers were previously paid by parent corporation The Walt Disney Company, based in Burbank, California, some would now be paid by Hong Kong Disneyland.

The move, which came just three days after the Legislative Council approved the park's expansion, has raised suspicions that at least some of the dismissals were a tactical move to put pressure on the government.

In March, Disney halted all creative and design work related to expanding the theme park and laid off more than 30 imagineers. The drastic job cuts reduced the size of the Hong Kong-based imagineering team to a skeleton crew of only about 10 staff.

Events have left some of the sacked staff feeling used and doubtful about whether they want to return.

"I'm still thinking about it," one of the former imagineers said.

Disney expert Dennis Speigel, president of Cincinnati, Ohio-based consultancy International Theme Park Services, said he believed the dismissals were partly tactical and partly to help Disney trim overheads during the economic downturn.

"To some degree, it was calculated," Mr Speigel said. "When the imagineers were laid off, it sent a signal over the bow of the government that it had to do something."

The government has a 57 per cent equity stake in the joint venture that runs the Hong Kong park, with Disney holding the rest.

Under a new structure that is part of the expansion deal, the government will retain about 52 per cent while Disney's stake will rise to 48 per cent.

Imagineers are responsible for planning, creative development, design, engineering, production, project management, and research and development of Disney's theme parks.

Given the highly specialised nature of their work, many former imagineers are expected to take up Disney's offer, although some are understood to have found other jobs already.

As much of the design work for the expansion's three new themed "lands" had already been completed, the locally based imagineering team would focus mainly on managing and co-ordinating construction, overseeing show quality and handling architecture and other projects, the sources said.

"We have begun approaching the former imagineers, and re-employment will be considered according to the newly approved expansion plan," a Hong Kong Disneyland official said.

Expatriate pay packages, which usually feature full housing allowances and other benefits, will be included in the HK$3.63 billion estimated cost of the expansion plan.

The Walt Disney Company is paying almost HK$3.5 billion of the expansion's HK$3.63 billion cost. The company has budgeted about HK$162 million for project and construction management expenses, including the cost of hiring imagineers.
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Old July 31st, 2009, 09:40 PM   #34
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Analysis: Brand Health Check - Mickey must put his Hong Kong house in order
30 July 2009
Media Asia

HONG KONG: Disneyland is in search of fresh ideas. The theme park, Disney's second in the region, opened up a creative pitch this month as it seeks to reverse four years of underwhelming gate receipts and critical mauling.

After two years of negotiation, the park's two shareholders, the Hong Kong Government and Walt Disney, have agreed to invest USdollars 465 million to expand over the next five years. The Government hopes the plan, which will add another 30 attractions and three themed 'lands', will answer critics' complaints of overcrowding and boring rides, and increase visitor numbers by 60 per cent by 2014.

Under the new arrangement, Disney will fund most of the improvements, and will convert hundreds of millions of dollars of existing loans into equity.

Hong Kong Disneyland opened to great fanfare in September 2005, bringing in about five million visitors within its first year, according to Euromonitor International. But problems began when the attraction was hit by a string of controversies. These included a long-running feud with unions over working conditions, several food poisoning scares and an overbooking mix-up that provoked a near-riot by customers who were denied entry. As a result, the park was forced to reshuffle its management team within just a few months of opening. Last year, the attraction appointed a new managing director, Andrew Kam, who had previously worked for Coca-Cola.

But Disneyland has failed to keep up with local rival Ocean Park, which attracts a larger number of visitors and has a lower ticket price. And it will also face growing competition for its core mainland Chinese customer base when the USdollars 3.6 billion Shanghai Disneyland opens in 2014. Even after its expansion, Hong Kong Disneyland will remain the smallest Disneyland in the world.

As agencies prepare for the creative pitch, what marketing strategies should they be advising to help Hong Kong Disneyland boost its performance?

FACT BOX

- Visitor numbers failed to meet the target 5.6 million in the first year and suffered a 20 per cent decline in numbers in the second Visitors rose eight per cent from 2007 to 2008 to 4.5 million but remain below expectations.

- Earlier this year, Disneyland raised its admission prices for Hong Kong residents from HKdollars 295 to HKdollars 350 for adults.

- In June, Disney announced it would invest USdollars 448 million in the expansion of the park and swap its outstanding loans, totalling USdollars 353 million, into additional equity in a joint venture company, Hong Kong International Theme Parks. The Hong Kong Government will retain majority ownership.

DIAGNOSIS 1

As visitors poured into Hong Kong Disneyland in its opening months in 2005, many wondered: 'Where's the rest of it?' The park's somewhat disappointing foray into the Hong Kong and mainland markets can be explained almost exclusively by its modest scale.

In a fervent rush to establish its presence, Disney unveiled a small 'beta' version of the park. Word spread that Mickey Mouse's Hong Kong home is small, crowded, and unimpressive. Attendance figures fell short of expectations in the first year, and declined in the second year Meanwhile, Ocean Park - Hong Kong's answer to a home-grown theme park experience - was enjoying record visitor levels after a facelift.

But few brands can engage consumers the way Disney can. Hong Kong Disneyland is still a solid and entertaining product. The executives simply did not manage expectations effectively when they unveiled the park.

So, is expansion the answer to the park's woes? Only if the lessons from its opening are taken to heart and all efforts are exhausted to ensure that the addition of three new themed areas is all that is needed to convey the entire Disneyland experience.

- Howard Ho, senior consultant, Horwath Hotel, Tourism & Leisure

DIAGNOSIS 2

The brand challenge is to deal with Disney first, and then Disneyland. The secret to Disneyland's appeal is the promise of being able to feel the Disney experience first-hand. It isn't the promise of going on a ride. But it only works if people understand and want to experience Disney.

The agency and client have to figure out if the Disney brand is being conveyed and understood correctly - the promise of happiness and a chance to rediscover the kid inside each of us. Hong Kong Disneyland needs to ask itself what activities and exposure by the Disney brand are influencing perceptions and what the Disney dream represents to Asians.

I suspect Hong Kong Disneyland is working from a disadvantage. In Asia, brand perceptions may be driven more by merchandising than storytelling. But an emotional vein must be tapped to drive differentiation without the benefit of years of brand-building.

This calls for consumer learning, co-ordination of messages across all touchpoints and a focus on an emotional promise that competitors cannot match. Ultimately Disneyland should be asking itself this: do we want to offer people a chance to go on a ride? Or a chance to fulfil a dream?

- Jaime Prieto, regional managing director, Y&R Brands
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Old August 22nd, 2009, 06:06 PM   #35
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Disneyland to submit plans for more attractions this month
14 August 2009
South China Morning Post

Detailed building plans for more rides and attractions at Hong Kong Disneyland will be submitted to the government for approval this month, paving the way for construction work on expanding the theme park to start by late December, people briefed on the matter say.

After the plans receive official approval, the infrastructure work will be tendered out.

Several recently sacked Disney "imagineers", or creative staff, have already been rehired and have started work. More than 30 imagineers were expected to be hired as part of the expansion, those who had been briefed said. If everything goes smoothly, construction work will start by the end of the year.

The government, which holds 57 per cent of the equity in the theme park joint venture with The Walt Disney Company, is keen to demonstrate how the HK$3.63 billion expansion will benefit the community. During construction, the project will create more than 3,000 jobs and, on completion, 600 more permanent staff will be hired.

Board members of Hong Kong Disneyland met yesterday and will meet again in about three months' time.

The expansion will add three new themed areas, for a total of seven "lands", and see the area of the theme park increase by about 23 per cent. The new lands are Grizzly Trail, Mystic Point and Toy Story, which is based on the animated film.

Up to the end of May, more than 17 million people had visited the theme park since it opened in September 2005, but summer attendance this year had suffered, those who had been briefed said.

The expansion deal is seen as the best possible option for the government as there is no need for more taxpayer funds. Taxpayers shouldered about HK$23 billion of the HK$27 billion development cost, yet the government only acquired a 57 per cent stake. Disney invested just HK$2.45 billion for a 43 per cent share.

To facilitate the expansion, Disney will inject new funds while the government will use previous loans to the theme park to buy more of its shares. According to details provided by the government to the Legislative Council last month, the changes to the shareholding structure will take place in phases starting from Disneyland's 2008-09 financial year, which ends on September 30.

The government will convert more than HK$2.97 billion of its loans to shares, while Disney will convert its HK$2.76 billion loan to shares and inject HK$212 million in capital.

The changes will lower the government's stake to 53.43 per cent and increase Disney's holding to 46.56 per cent. By 2011-12, annual incremental changes will leave the government with 52.19 per cent and Disney with 47.81 per cent.
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Old August 26th, 2009, 10:43 AM   #36
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Disneyland needs to be more than just different
17 August 2009
South China Morning Post

Hong Kong's government went to extraordinary lengths to become the first city in China to have a Disneyland. The Walt Disney Corporation was won over through being offered attractive and generous financing terms. But hosting the theme park is no guarantee of turning a profit, as lower-than-expected visitor numbers have proven. Worse, as far as authorities are concerned, fears of competition have been confirmed with the steady release of information about plans for a Disneyland in Shanghai.

There has been no formal announcement of what Shanghai Disneyland will look like. Attractions, entrance fees and even size can only be guessed at. A city tourism official has said it could be 10 times as big as Hong Kong's version. Given the challenges our park faces in recouping investment and operating costs, every insight into the project is being scrutinised.

The Shanghai official said we need not worry: China was big enough to host three Disneylands. The only competition would be the distance needed to travel to the parks and the cost involved. Residents from mainland provinces close to Hong Kong would naturally gravitate to the one nearest to them. The official's thinking would be sound were it not for the simple fact that even with the whole of the country as a catchment area and favourable tourism policies, our Disneyland is not doing as well as had been expected.

Just how poorly it is performing cannot be properly gauged. Disneyland has always refused to disclose full visitor figures and profit-and-loss details - despite the people of Hong Kong being the biggest shareholder. The government has won a pledge from the company to be more transparent. The announcement in June that the park would be enlarged with the creation of three new theme areas, two of them exclusive to Hong Kong, are among measures aimed at boosting visitor numbers.

Tourism ranks among Hong Kong's three biggest industries. The majority of visitors are from the mainland; they mostly come here to shop. Disneyland was seen as a magnet to boost numbers. But it will only be a draw if it has a reputation for being worth visiting.

Our Disneyland is the world's smallest and expansion is vital to its success. But being bigger will not in itself boost attendance. If it is to shrug off the tag of "boring" that is increasingly being attached to it, the park must have attractions that are found nowhere else. This is especially so in light of rival theme parks beyond the Disney brand being developed in Singapore and elsewhere, and the globalised world increasing tourists' expectations.

"Being different" is a sound motto for Hong Kong Disneyland, but it also has to be embraced by our tourism officials. They must know that tourists are increasingly sophisticated and demanding. Copycat ideas are not enough to satisfy their expectations, nor will they garner return visits or the word-of-mouth recommendations so vital to increasing volume. New attractions would do well to have a Hong Kong or Chinese theme, and our officials should help encourage such thinking. The government has locked us into Disneyland and it has no choice other than to make it profitable. The expansion plans are moving in the right direction. Concern about the impact of a Disney theme park in Shanghai is justified.

Just as with Hong Kong tourism in general, competition has to be tackled head-on by making our attraction as different, appealing and affordable as possible. Above all else, it has to be reflective of where it is located - Hong Kong, China.
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Old September 1st, 2009, 05:56 PM   #37
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Alien invasion to give Disney a - Halloween howl
27 August 2009
The Standard

Ghouls and mean spirits aren't the only otherworldly elements you'll find at Disneyland over the next two months _ the aliens are coming for the annual Haunted Halloween bash.

Two of last year's three haunted houses are coming back and, with a new third attraction - which will make use of Disney's strength in storytelling and Hollywood-style production - the theme park believes it will pull in the crowds.

``We have recorded double-digit growth in attendances at the past two Halloween events.

``This year's event is the largest so far. We hope visitors will have a lot of fun in the attractions, which will be equipped with top-notch technology and special effects,'' Disney marketing director Frederick Chan Kwok-yu said.

Alien Invasion will be set up in Tomorrowland, where thrill seekers will be able to explore a spaceship.

Two other haunted houses - Main Street Haunted Hotel and Demon Jungle - along with the Glow in the Park Halloween Parade and a scary version of the Space Mountain ride will return.

Inbound Tour Operators Association chairman Simon Hau Suk-kei said many visitors are young adults and have probably gone to previous Halloween events.

He said adding ``freshness'' to the attractions is important.

``Bringing back old stuff is not the biggest problem, but the park ought to modify these attractions so visitors will get new sensations,'' Hau said.

The 44-day Halloween special will start a week early this year, on September 18, and end on October 31.

Night tickets are available for adults and children at HK$258 and HK$228 for Fridays, Saturdays and some Thursdays.
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Old September 8th, 2009, 06:12 PM   #38
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By 二少...易笑 from dchome :

















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Old September 9th, 2009, 11:47 AM   #39
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so.....empty
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Old September 9th, 2009, 01:38 PM   #40
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I love Disneyland. One more reason to visit Hong Kong
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