Hong Kong Disneyland launches Iron Man attraction in world first
Five-minute thrill ride meant to boost tourism takes visitors on virtual city tour
The city’s Marvel fans are welcoming the arrival of superhero Tony Stark as an Iron Man-themed area at Hong Kong Disneyland opened to the public on Wednesday.
Disney’s first-ever Marvel-themed attraction presents the superhero as battling “dark forces” across Victoria Harbour and the city’s iconic streets in a five-minute thrill ride.
Visitors can board a specially designed, gravity-defying vehicle and fly alongside Iron Man for a panoramic view of the city.
Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying told the guests at the attraction’s opening ceremony on Tuesday evening: “Like you, I am a big Iron Man fan. I particularly envy his armoured suit.”
Leung said the new ride signified the importance his administration had attached to tourism.
Ho Wing-yan, a die-hard fan of Iron Man since the franchise’s first film in 2008, was thrilled about the new attraction.
“Finally, there is a place for me to be close to him,” the 24-year-old Hongkonger said.
She even bought an annual pass at the Lantau amusement park just so she could see her hero from time to time.
“I’ve tried it six times already,” she said of the ride, adding she did not expect it to include so many Hong Kong elements such as Tsing Ma Bridge.
Proposed in 2013 in the hopes that the franchise’s box office success on the mainland could help draw visitors, the Lantau Island park has seen its number of mainland visitors dwindle.
Its profits fell into the red in 2015, losing HK$148 million, with visitor numbers falling 9.3 per cent to 6.8 million.
For the new attraction, more than 70 local designers and engineers participated, including Eva Lui Yuet-yung, a manager in Disneyland’s architectural design management department.
Lui said it was difficult to ensure the project conformed to the city’s strict construction regulations.
“We always faced challenges in bringing out the original Iron Man story while meeting the Fire Services Ordinance requirements,” she said.
To demonstrate Stark’s hi-tech design, materials rarely used in Hong Kong were applied to the building and required precise calculations, she added.
Special stormwater drains were also installed on the rooftop to meet requirements.
Disneyland is now seeking approval from the city’s Legislative Council for a HK$5.8 billion cash injection to be used for its six-year HK$10.9 billion expansion project, which is to feature zones based on the blockbuster Frozen, other Marvel superhero films, and the transformation of Sleeping Beauty.