Disney expects new attraction to open within three years

PUBLISHED : Monday, 14 December, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 14 December, 2009, 12:00am

Hong Kong Disneyland expects to open its first new themed area under its expansion plan in two to three years, a top park executive says.

Speaking yesterday after the groundbreaking ceremony for the theme park's expansion, managing director Andrew Kam Min-ho said Toy Story Land would be the first among the three new areas to be completed.

Construction starts today.

'We're confident that it would be the first to be opened ... in the coming two to three years,' Kam said.

The park hoped the expansion would be completed as soon as possible, he said.

Apart from Toy Story Land, based on the popular animated blockbuster, the Grizzly Gulch attraction, formerly known as Grizzly Trail, and Mystic Point will be completed before 2014.

For the first five years, the latter two will be exclusive to Hong Kong and Toy Story Land will be exclusive to Asia.

Announced in July, the HK$3.63 billion expansion will see the area of the park increase by about 23 per cent to 27.5 hectares. The number of themed areas will increase to seven with a total of more than 100 attractions.

Joe Lanzisero, creative senior vice-president of Walt Disney Imagineering who oversees the design for the Hong Kong park, said new technologies would be used and Chinese characteristics had been integrated into the new attractions.

Asked if the planned Disney park in Shanghai would contain any of the new themed areas, Bill Ernest, president and managing director of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts in Asia, said the company was still negotiating the deal and it was premature to release details.

Despite worries that the Shanghai park would draw visitors away from the one in Hong Kong, Ernest reiterated that China was big enough to house two Disneyland parks and they could complement one another.

He said 'there's plenty of room' and 'plenty of business' to support them.

Facing increasing competition as more theme parks open in the region next year, he said the company remained optimistic but cautious.

Details about Hong Kong Disneyland's performance this year, such as visitor attendance, will be announced next month, Kam said.

Also at the groundbreaking ceremony, Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah expressed confidence that an expanded Hong Kong Disneyland would help the city continue to be a premier destination for visitors from around the world.

Growth spurt

The expansion of Hong Kong Disneyland will see it grow by about 23 per cent to 27.5 hectares

The cost of the expansion, in HK dollars, will be: $3.63b