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HK Disneyland Article

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HK Disneyland Article

Here is a HK Disneyland article from scmp.com:

Hiccups as Disneyland throws open the doors for a trial run


Hong Kong Disneyland opened its doors to 2,000 staff members and their families in a special trial yesterday, with some saying the park is too small.

An otherwise smooth day was marred when the Winnie the Pooh ride suddenly stopped. One relative of a staff member said she was asked to get out of the cart by workers without explanation.

A Disney spokesman confirmed the ride had been interrupted but said it was not due to safety reasons. He gave no details of the incident, saying the opening was an internal Disneyland event.

The opening to Disney's staff members and their families was held to thank them for their contribution to Hong Kong Disneyland, and provided an early test of the facilities.

Some staff members said only 60 to 70 per cent of the park was opened yesterday as many attractions were still being built. The two hotels, the Hollywood Hotel and Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel, 11 rides and some shows were open.

David Holts, a staff interior decorator, said he was satisfied with the facilities and decoration but thought there were too few attractions.

"Compared with other Disneylands, it is much smaller," said Mr Holts who has worked in the Tokyo and Florida theme parks.

Ms Lam, another worker's relative, said she had been to Disney parks in Los Angeles and Paris and Hong Kong's park was as good, even if it was a little smaller.

Michael Yingling, assistant technical director of the creative entertainment department, said he felt the park was about the right size, even though it was smaller than the others.

He said he had had a pleasant day travelling around the park and the fact that it was located in a hilly area made it different from the others.

Michael Warzocha, the park's graphic designer, said the hilly terrain made the Hong Kong theme park unique.

A woman giving her name as Ms Scott visited the park with her family yesterday and said she would visit again when it opened.

She said the Hollywood Hotel had good facilities including a piano-shaped swimming pool.

Every visitor received a Mickey Mouse souvenir from the park when they left.

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21. Re: HK Disneyland Article

Grounds for complaint

WHEN HONG KONG DISNEYLAND officially opens on Monday, the 126-hectare facility will be the newest - and smallest - of Disney's parks. The facility has some local characteristics, with restaurant menus featuring dim sum, for example. But after two weeks of trials, how does the Penny's Bay site compare with Disney's other playgrounds in Los Angeles, Orlando, Tokyo and Paris?

"I felt like I was in Mongkok," says university student Kelvin Sham, who visited Disneyland two weeks ago with his family. "It's just so small and the attractions were crammed together in several streets. I prefer Ocean Park, which is so much more spacious. My dad even prefers one of those local carnivals."

Interior designer Joanne Wong Chung-yan agrees. There's appreciably more open space for crowds at peak periods in Disney parks such as the one in Tokyo, she says. Sham says he thought the California and Tokyo parks were great, "so I had high expectations" of Hong Kong Disneyland. But he says his experience was spoiled by the small selection of rides - 21 in Penny's Bay compared with 80 in Tokyo, for example.

"The height of the Space Mountain is just about that of the convention centre in Wan Chai," Sham says. "The one in LA is much bigger. So you begin to just wonder: How great can a roller coaster be [in that space]?"

Hong Kong Disneyland's comparatively smaller choice of rides is a common gripe. Wong, who has visited all of Disney's parks, emerged from the local park on Tuesday with mixed feelings. She started at 10am, and was ready to leave by 5.30pm - an indication of how little she had to do. She says she rode the Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters six times and Space Mountain four times. In between, she enjoyed relaxing lunch and tea breaks. The two things she liked most were the Broadway-style Festival of the Lion King and the food, she says. Some visitors headed straight to Tomorrowland because they knew that was where the exciting rides were, Wong says.

Nevertheless, she says she appreciates having a make-believe world, where visitors can get away from the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong. Penny's Bay is a good location, being surrounded by beautiful hills, and the Disney characters look a lot jollier than those in Ocean Park, she says.

But it was harder to lose herself in the fantasy world in Hong Kong compared with the California park. There, Disney has small houses where cartoon scenes are recreated using primary colours, she says. "You really feel like you've entered the world of cartoons," Wong says. And in Orlando, "the park is so huge that you can really indulge yourself".

But Michelle Sham, a graduate student who has yet to visit Hong Kong Disneyland, says Disneyworld in Florida "is too big. It takes forever to walk between places. In California, the Disney theme park is near Universal Studios. So, you don't just hike all the way out there for one park."

Perhaps Hongkongers are just too restrained, and don't allow themselves to really enjoy the attractions. Thrill rides give visitors a chance to unleash their inhibitions, but Wong says "no one screamed on Space Mountain. It was a silent ride."

Such self-consciousness can affect the quality of service, some Disney visitors say. Wu Ka-yan, a writer, says local staff appear to be doing their best, but their patter comes across as rehearsed. "You don't really feel they're whole-heartedly happy about being in the park," Wu says. "My friends who went to Florida said the staff looked so excited there that they made you happy. Hong Kong people just keep on saying, `Welcome' and `Thank you' mechanically."

Queueing time was an issue for many visitors. Wong says she visited Hong Kong Disneyland on a relatively quiet day, and the average wait for a ride was only 10 minutes. She says the longest delay was one hour for photos with the Disney characters at the Chinese-style pavilions of Fantasyland - a feature of the local park. Not that Wong minded waiting. But she says that staff manning the Winnie the Pooh attraction allowed crowds to queue for 20 minutes before they announced that the equipment had broken down.

The were also complaints about the computerised "fast pass" system, which distributes tickets indicating when visitors can enjoy a ride. "The fast pass told me to come back at 5pm," says Kelvin Sham. "But it was only 1pm. I didn't bother waiting." Hong Kong Disneyland's crowd control could have been better, too, Sham says. There was a commotion at the 3D-theatre featuring Mickey's PhilharMagic, because there were no ushers. "In the US, people are much more disciplined and polite," Sham says. "In Hong Kong, they're always worried about missing out on something."

Has Disneyland adequately taken local preferences into account? When Disneyland Paris opened in 1992, it was criticised for being insensitive to European culture. In Hong Kong, Disney executives seem to have learnt from the past, consulting fung shui masters about the layout and hiring Jacky Cheung Hok-yau as a spokesman.

But teacher Louisa Kwok says Disney executives haven't done enough. For one thing, there aren't enough covered areas - which may be an issue during Hong Kong's hot, humid summers.

Wong also questioned attractions such as Tarzan's Treehouse and Jungle Cruise River in Adventureland. "The jungle scenario is based on Tarzan, and it's not that popular in Hong Kong," she says. She found little to get excited about on the river cruise. "There was just a bunch of people on a raft and water was sprayed at you from different directions."

Kwok, a veteran of Disney's American facilities, was also annoyed at the lack of outdoor food carts, given that so many of the restaurants were so busy. "Hong Kong people like dining inside an air-conditioned space, but there are limited eateries," she says.

Kelvin Sham says there was little dining space available on the day of his visit - all eight eateries, offering 2,900 seats, were full. As a result, his family ended up lunching in Tsing Yi's Maritime Square.

Fans such as Wong say they aren't getting enough value for their money at Hong Kong Disneyland. "I might consider it if it's $220" a ticket, she says. "The $295 ticket is way too expensive for such a small place."

Still, it's early days, and such grumbles may fade as Hong Kong Disneyland gradually expands its attractions.

Michelle Sham can testify to that. "I stood in line for two hours [in Los Angeles] just to go on a three-minute ride," she says.

Inside the Magic Kingdoms

What you get at Disney theme parks around the world

Hong Kong Disneyland

Opens: September 12, 2005

Adult/child tickets: $295/$210

Area: 126 hectares (eventually expanding to 180 hectares)

Facilities: 21 rides in four themed areas

Highlights: Parades and musicals such as Festival of the Lion King performed in English and Cantonese; 3D-movie Mickey's PhilharMagic; Fantasy Gardens featuring Chinese pavilions; Tarzan's Treehouse. Tomorrowland is a Spaceport filled with robots, rocket ships and floating planets.

Disneyland Paris

Opened: 1992

Adult/child tickets: $395/$320

Area: 1,950 hectares

Facilities: 60 rides in five themed areas

Highlights: Rockin' Roller-Coaster featuring the music of Aerosmith; stunt-car show Moteurs! Action; a new section, Disney Village, offers free entrance to street performances and discotheques.

Walt Disney World Resort (Orlando, Florida)

Opened: 1971

Adult/child tickets: $225/$175

Area: over 12,000 hectares

Facilities: More than 130 rides set in four themed areas, with two water parks, six golf courses and more than 20 resort hotels.

Highlights: Disney's Animal Kingdom; musical performances include Cinderellabration; an upgraded Space Mountain ride; lively holiday parade Mickey's Jingle Jungle Expeditions; Disney-MGM Studios show Hollywood classic movies and popular TV entertainment.

Disneyland Park (Anaheim, California)

Opened: 1955

Adult/child ticket: $590/$510

Area: 206 hectares

Facilities: More than 100 rides in seven themed areas

Highlights: Frontierland pays homage to the American West; New Orleans Square features jazz music and Creole culture; the 66-hectare California Adventure opened in 2001 next to the original park, offering faster, scarier rides and shows for more mature visitors.

Tokyo Disneyland Park (with the recently completed Tokyo Disney Sea Park)

Opened: 1983

Adult/child tickets: $340/$260

Area: 151 hectares

Facilities: 80 rides in seven themed areas

Highlights: Rock Around the Mouse musical in 1950s style; Raging Spirits roller coaster with a 360-degree loop; Journey to the Centre of the Earth, Splash Mountain. Also includes three unique areas, World Bazaar, Westernland and Critter Country.

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22. Re: HK Disneyland Article

Hi 2599, thank you for sharing always with us the Disneyland news. Perhaps you can start under a new topic each time a new article comes on...gets too long now...Hee Hee. Also the park ticket cost for other Disneylands other than Hong Kong's are in HKD or USD ?

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23. Re: HK Disneyland Article

I believe the prices quoted are in HK $ since all articles are from scmp.com. The price for Anaheim Disneyland seems very high though. I can purchase tickets thru my company for less than $50US.