Disney Says Park's Finances OK
From the Associated Press
May 12, 2006
HONG KONG — Attendance at Hong Kong Disneyland has fallen below expectations, but the park's finances are solid, Walt Disney Co. said Thursday.
The park, Disney's latest, has been hit by a slew of bad publicity and reports of poor attendance since its opening in September. Park officials recently offered free entry to more than 40,000 taxi drivers to promote the theme park.
In a statement, Hong Kong Disneyland said the park was in good financial shape.
"Hong Kong Disneyland is on a very firm financial footing. We are in our first year of business and are showing a positive cash flow and great liquidity," it said.
The statement called the park "a solid asset that is going to be a real lynchpin for both Hong Kong and the Walt Disney Co. for decades to come," adding that more than 80% of guests surveyed rated their experience at the park as positive.
The statement said Hong Kong Disneyland expected a busy summer season, with three attractions opening by early July.
Announcing its earnings this week, Disney said crowd figures at Hong Kong Disneyland had been lower than expected, but that it still expected to hit a one-year goal of 5.6 million visitors.
Disney gave no details about the number of visitors or revenue from its Hong Kong park.
"We clearly have a lot to learn about the market," Disney Chief Executive Robert Iger said Tuesday. "Overall, I don't think our marketing efforts have been as effective as they could be. But we're going to figure this out."
Hong Kong Disneyland came under attack last year from environmentalists for planning to serve shark's fin soup — a plan it later abandoned. Critics also accuse the park of exceeding its powers by asking health officers investigating suspected food poisoning at the park to remove parts of their uniform.
In February, park executives sparked a backlash by turning away guests, who had tickets, because the park reached capacity.