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Hong Kong Disneyland Resort

The Hong Kong Disneyland Resort (香港迪士尼樂園度假區) was built by the Government of Hong Kong and The Walt Disney Company and officially opened on September 12, 2005. The world's smallest Disneyland resort, it consists of the Hong Kong Disneyland theme parkmarker, two hotels (Disneyland Hotelmarker and Disney's Hollywood Hotelmarker), and retail, dining and entertainment facilities stretching over on Lantau Islandmarker. It is located on reclaimed land beside Penny's Bay, at the northeastern tip of Lantau Islandmarker (approximately two kilometres from Discovery Bay), in Hong Kongmarker.

This is the second project of The Walt Disney Company's extension into Asia after the opening of the Tokyo Disney Resort more than 20 years ago. Currently, the Resort is overseen by Managing Director Andrew Kam who reports to Bill Ernest, President and Managing Director, Disney Parks & Resorts, Asia.


A joint-venture company, Hong Kong International Theme Parks Limited (HKITP), was created in 1999 with Disney investing US$316 million for a 43% equity stake in the project. The Hong Kong government expects it to provide 18,400 jobs on opening and up to 35,800 jobs over the following 20 years. The total economic benefits amount to an estimated HK$ 148 billion (US$19 billion), or about 6% of gross domestic product (GDP) over 40 years of operation.

The construction of the theme park itself started in January 2003, and it opened on September 12, 2005. An artificial lakemarker of some 12 hectares was also created to serve the resort's water irrigation needs.

Hong Kong Disneyland under construction (October 2004)

In an effort to avoid cultural friction similar to what happened when Disneyland Resort Parismarker opened in Francemarker, Disney has taken efforts to make this new park reflect the local culture. The New York Times reported that feng shui consultants have helped with the layout of the park and the grounds. Incense was burned when the construction of each building was completed, and one of the main ballrooms is 888 square meters large, as eight is an auspicious number in Chinese culture, signifying fortune. The hotels will skip the number four when numbering of their floors because four is considered bad luck. Hong Kong Disneyland Cast Members speak English, Cantonese, and Mandarin. Around 500 of the Grand Opening Team were trained at Walt Disney World Resortmarker while their home park was being constructed.

The park was projected to attract five to six million visitors in its opening year, mostly locals, tourists from mainland China and nearby Asian countries. The World Tourism Organization predicts that the Hong Kong Disneyland Resort will become one of the world's largest tourist destinations within the next fifteen years.

If the park's first working year is successful financially, and both the government of Hong Kong and Disney see benefits, Phase Two of construction will commence. (There is room for a 40% expansion.) Disney forums across the world wide web have been busy with rumours and ideas for the second phase, mainly made up of installing classic Disney attractions that were not built in the first phase. At launch, Hong Kong Disneyland was the smallest of any Disney parks. The most likely result of Phase Two will be a fifth land, probably Frontierland, Mickey's Toontown or less likely an original and unique land not built before at a previous park.

The government of Hong Kong has made it clear to the public and Disney that there is land next to the resort for a second theme park and several more hotels, but with a much higher price than what Disney paid for the land they already own, the government is liable to sell the land to one of Disney's theme park industry rivals. Names rumoured to be looking at the land feature NBC Universal, Six Flags and Anheuser Buschmarker. Many view this move as a way of getting more money out of Disney, as the government does not actually want another company to build a separate theme park in the area.

Theme park

The Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel.

Currently, the resort only consists of one Disney theme park, Hong Kong Disneylandmarker. As of June 2009, a Google Maps satellite view of Hong Kong Disneyland shows a newly reclaimed tract of land east of the park, across from its front entrance. According to the agreement of Walt Disney Company and the Government of Hong Kong, the land is reserved for the future development of the resort, so it is expected that Hong Kong Disneyland Resort's second park will be built there.


There are two hotels in the Resort, the five-star Hong Kong Disneyland Hotelmarker and the four-star Disney's Hollywood Hotelmarker, located on the seashore of the reclaimed land with about 1,000 rooms in total.

There is also land reserved for a third Disney hotel, which is situated between Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel and Disney's Hollywood Hotel. Officials says they will fix a schedule for the construction of the third hotel based on the demand and will discuss details with the government later. However, it will only be built in the coming few years because the site is currently using for the Asia-Pacific Little League Regional Tournament which will last for another two years.


The Resort has the key advantage of being linked to Hong Kong's public transit system. It is accessible via train from Hong Kong International Airportmarker and the city centre.

The performance of the resort

2005 - 2006: Performance for the first year

During the opening of Hong Kong Disneyland in September 2005, most Hong Kong Residents criticized the size of the park and the attractiveness of the rides and attractions in the park. In addition to this, during Chinese New Year 2006, many visitors from the mainland bore valid tickets but were refused entrance to the park. Some disgruntled visitors attempted to force their way into the park by climbing over the closed barrier gates. The reputation of the resort was tarnished by this incident. The park was unable to drag as many mainland visitors as before in the coming Labour Day Holidays in May 2006. After the incident, Disney made it so that admission on days close to (public) holidays only happens if the person has a date specific ticket.

In order to boost the park attendance, Hong Kong Disneyland introduced Summer Passes in summer 2006 to attract more visitors. Each Summer passholder could visit the park unlimitedly throughout summer 2006 for just HK$450. The park also provided exclusive treats for the Summer Passholder in the summer holidays in order to encourage them to visit the park several times, such as extending the operating hours of Fantasyland for passholders and releasing limited pins for passholders to purchase. Apart from these, the park offered free tickets to the friends and family members of the cast members. Each cast member can invite a limited number of friends and family members to visit Disneyland every day during the summer. Although the park had sold more than 60,000 Summer Passes throughout summer 2006, the park missed its target of 5.6 million in its first year, with only about 5.2 million guests entering the park during the first year of operation. The government overestimated Hong Kong Disneyland's attendance numbers during the Asian Financial Crisis. Rumour suggested that the relatively low-key celebration of the 1st Anniversary was due to the disappointing performance of the theme park.

October 2006 - Present

Annual Passes were introduced and released by the Disney park in September 2006 after its success in selling 60,000 Summer Passes. The theme park also continued to lure more visitors by holding Disney's Halloween for the very first time in October 2006. However, the Halloween event could hardly help boosting the attendance, but the park plans to have a larger and more scary Disney's Haunted Halloween event in 2007 with an exclusive new attraction called Main Street Haunted Hotel and a new night-time 7-float festive parade during the event period. Furthermore, Hong Kong Disneyland extended the length of most festive celebrations, such as Christmas and Chinese New Year, in the year of 2006 / 2007. It also introduced Pirate Takeover to celebrate the release of Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End from May 2007 throughout summer 2007. However, the Hong Kong park's attendance continued to be disappointing according to the Walt Disney Company's third-quarter performance released in August 2007. In addition, the South China Morning Post estimated the attendance of Hong Kong Disneyland will only reach a mere 4 million in its second year, far lower than its first year of operation, citing unnamed sources. There of course, the SCMP's sources are still unknown, and some of its speculation is a bit overly optimistic. In the first year, Hong Kong Disney purportedly missed its attendance target of 5.6 million by a mere 400,000. And that year the Park reported a loss of $363 million Hong Kong dollar (46.5 million USD). In the second year (2007), the Park reported a loss of $1.261 billion (161 million USD). If Hong Kong Disney were priced to break even in the first year, the expected per visitor spending at the park must be at least $906 Hong Kong ($116 USD). Assuming the same per visitor spending at the park for 2007, the park attracted about 4.2 million people. However, the most expensive full fare ticket one can purchase from Hong Kong Disney is just $350 HKD ($45 USD). Therefore, in all likelihood, Hong Kong Disney has attracted far fewer visitors than 4 million in 2007.

In December 2007, the Disney park admitted that the park had only attracted 4 million visitors in the year 2006-2007, which had fallen 23 percent when compared to the first year attendance. In order to attract more visitors, the park has announced to add 4 new attractions, apart from the already-announced It's a Small World, in 2008.

In February 2008, the Walt Disney Company announced that the attendance of Hong Kong Disneyland had increased, according to the company's first-quarter performance. Besides, the park attendance is expected to be boosted in 2008 after the opening of the new attraction, "it's a small world", and other new addititons such as High School Musical: LIVE!, Muppet Mobile Lab and Turtle Talk with Crush. Also, the Walt Disney Company is now negotiating with the Hong Kong Government in starting the Phase 1 Extension next to Adventureland. Some construction works have been started in Adventureland since May 2008.

In August 2008, according to the reports of the local newspapers, the attendance of Hong Kong Disneyland has improved, and it may reach 4.5 million in the third year of operation (2007 - 2008). Speculation is that the attendance may even reach 5.6 million, according to South China Morning Post.

Due to the success of the Halloween event in 2007, Hong Kong Disneyland has announced the return of Disney's Haunted Halloween in mid September to 1 November 2008 in order to compete with the Halloween event held by its local competitor, Ocean Park. Hong Kong Disneyland Park will expand the festive atmosphere into Adventureland and add a brand new haunted house attraction: Demon Jungle, beyond the Disneyland Railroad track. Also, Main Street Haunted Hotel will also be back in Main Street, U.S.A. with new additions.


  • August 1998 - The Walt Disney Company and the government of Hong Kong announce their intention to construct a themed entertainment park in Hong Kong, the second in Asia
  • February 1999 - Penny's Bay, Lantau Island is announced as the future site of the Hong Kong Disneyland Resort
  • December 10, 1999 - Disney and the Hong Kong Government sign an agreement for building the second Disney Resort in Asia
  • January, 2003 - Construction on Hong Kong Disneyland Resort begins.
  • November 22, 2004 - Disney announces that the opening day of the parkhas been re-scheduled from 2006 to September 12, 2005
  • September 12, 2005 - Hong Kong Disneyland opens to the public at 13:00 local time
  • June, 2006 - Hong Kong Disneyland announces to release Summer Passes to boost its first year attendance
  • July 13, 2006 - Autopia, Stitch Encounter and UFO Zone opens in Hong Kong Disneyland as first part of its extension
  • August, 2006 - Exclusive treats are provided for Summer Pass holders so as to further boost the park's attendance
  • September 4, 2006 - More than 60,000 Summer Passes have been sold since July 1. However, Hong Kong Disneyland has missed its target of 5.6 million in the first year of operation, with only about 5 million guests entered the park since the opening
  • September 28, 2006 - Hong Kong Disneyland launches its Annual Pass
  • September 30, 2006 - Disney's Halloween celebration will be held for the very first time until October 31, 2006
  • December 14, 2006 - Hong Kong International Theme Parks announced three new attractions to be added to the park in 2007/2008
  • June 26, 2007 - Hong Kong Disneyland revealed its attracttions for the park's 2007 summer - 'Mickey's Summer Blast' and announcement of Mickey's Water Works Parade and Animation Academy's opening date- 14 July 2007
  • December 19, 2007 - Hong Kong Disneyland revealed 4 new attractions and entertainment venues to open in 2008 with It's A Small World. They are: Muppet Mobile Lab, High School Musical Celebration, Turtle Talk with Crush and the Art of Animation.
  • April 28, 2008 - It's a Small World opens in Hong Kong Disneyland as first extension of Fantasyland.
  • September 12, 2008 - Hong Kong Disneyland's 3rd Anniversary
  • July, 2009 - Hong Kong Legislative Council approved the three land expansion of Hong Kong Disneyland.


Shark fin soup controversy

Disney originally planned to serve shark fin soup, a traditional Chinese delicacy, at wedding banquets. Animal rights groups protested in June 2005, citing the declining shark population in global waters and the cruel methods sometimes used of cutting the fin and discarding the live sharks back into the water.

At first, Disney removed shark fin soup from its menu but said it would still offer the soup if their clients insisted on having it served at their wedding. They said they would distribute leaflets about shark conservation to discourage the choice.

However, after constant and continuous pressure from environmental groups and schoolchildren, shareholders concerned about the company's image, Disney announced on June 24, 2005 that shark fin soup will not be served at all, because, according to their press release, "After careful consideration and a thorough review process, we were not able to identify an environmentally sustainable fishing source, leaving us no alternative except to remove shark's fin soup from our wedding banquet menu".

Other controversies

  • Fish around Ma Wanmarker died as a result of land reclamation.
  • When health officers came to inspect the facility after several reports of food poisoning, they were asked to remove their caps and badges. Although two of the officers did so, the department has taken offence.
  • The official size of the entire development as released by the government was 1.26 km2. Furthermore, the size of the first phase was reported to be only 700,000 m2. However the area of just the Disneyland theme park portion, is estimated to be between 152,100 and 187,200 m2. If it accommodates a maximum capacity of 34 000 visitors, the area per visitor would be 2.5 m2 . The commercial area is divided into:
    • Theme Park: 325,700 m2
    • Hotels: 165,300 m2
    • Parking and Transit Hub: 171,900 m2
    • Inspiration Lakemarker 300,000 m2

See also


  1. Hong Kong Disneyland | Discover More
  2. The HKDL Source: Disney Plans Third Hotel
  3. "Disney set to miss mark on visitors", The Standard, September 5, 2006.
  4. "Disneyland finds little to celebrate on its anniversary", The Standard, September 12, 2006.
  5. "TV, theme parks boost Disney's profit", USA Today, August 2, 2007.
  6. "Attendance woes for Hong Kong Disney: report", AFP, August 16, 2007.
  7. "Hong Kong Disney Homepage"
  8. "Hong Kong Disneyland Visitors Fall 23 Percent", Bloomberg, December 18, 2007.
  9. "Hong Kong Disneyland Visitors Plunge in Second Year", Bloomberg, December 18, 2007.
  10. "Disney profit down after 2006 sale gains", AP via Yahoo News, February 6, 2008.
  11. Yung, Chester. "End this 'barbaric and cruel waste'", The Standard, May 31, 2005. Accessed May 5, 2007.
  12. Hui, Sylvia. "Disney takes shark's fin off menu ", The Standard, June 10, 2005. Accessed May 5, 2007.
  13. Crets & Hui. New shark slap at Disney, The Standard, June 13, 2005. Accessed May 5, 2007.
  14. Under-fire Disney takes shark's fin off menu at Hong Kong park, Monster and Critics, June 24, 2005. Accessed May 5, 2007.
  15. Kan, Wendy. Smells a Little Fishy, Times Asia, December 25, 2000. Accessed May 5, 2007.
  16. Disney launches new HK theme park, BBC News, September 12, 2005. Accessed May 5, 2007.

External links

Official Websites

Fan Websites

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