June 13, 2005

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Part of the Hong Kong Disneyland series.

The House the Mouse Built (with more than a little help from Hong Kong's taxpayer) is in all sorts of bother as the grand opening approaches in September.

As mentioned in my analysis of the economics of Hong Kong Disneyland, this site is by far the smallest park in the Disney stable. Yet the ticket prices are practically the same. Disney employees and their families had a trial run visit through the park on the weekend...and what was their impression?

The SCMP reports:

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...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.

Remember, these are the family and friends of Disney employees calling it small. Well at least they've learnt the lessons of Ocean Park and made it more child friendly, avoiding hills? Umm....
Michael Warzocha, the park's graphic designer, said the hilly terrain made the Hong Kong theme park unique.
It's half-built on reclaimed land! Did they create hills for it?

Let's move on to the shark fin soup controversy, seemingly in direct contradiction to Disney's policies. In an inept PR damage-control exercise Disney said they would hand out pamphlets to those who order the soup, telling them why it's wrong to eat it...while patrons eat it. On the same basis Disney could sell cigarettes. Today's Standard reports Disney will source the shark fins from "reliable and responsible suppliers", which green groups say is impossible. Even if it is true, Disney's purchases may simply force those who normally buy from such operators to instead go to more unsavoury sources. Legislator Choy So-yuk also disputed Disney's contention that the serving of the soup is justified because it is a Chinese custom.

posted by Simon on 06.13.05 at 11:59 AM in the Hong Kong Disneyland category.


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