Hong Kong's underprivileged are likely to be among the first people to try the rides at Disneyland, ahead of its September opening. The park plans a soft opening in mid-August, and charity groups could be among those invited, company executives said yesterday. The park's managing director for operations, Bill Ernest, said preference would be given to the tourism industry and possibly secondary school students. He did not say whether any proceeds would go to charity or how many groups would be invited, with the final number yet to be decided. 'The park can accommodate 30,000 at one time, but we do not want to over-test it,' he said. Mainlanders were estimated to make up 40 per cent of the 5.6 million visitors expected in its first year, Mr Ernest said. The rest are likely to be Hongkongers and tourists from Southeast Asia. Managing director Don Robinson said the park's two hotels, which would open a day after the grand opening, had already received 10,000 bookings. The Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel and the Hollywood Hotel, with about 1,000 rooms, are already almost full for the Mid-Autumn Festival, Valentine's Day and National Day. Rates start at $1,000 per room. The cheapest and most expensive rooms have been snapped up for weekends in September. Mr Robinson said about 90 per cent of the phone calls for rooms had been from Cantonese speakers, presumably Hong Kong residents. The park would also soon begin to accept bookings for Disney-styled weddings. Mr Ernest said there was still a possibility Tung Chee-hwa would be at the grand opening, even though he may no longer be chief executive by then. But Mr Robinson said it was up to the government to invite Mr Tung, as they were responsible for inviting celebrities and media. He said Chief Secretary Donald Tsang Yam-kuen - widely tipped to succeed Mr Tung - had asked about the progress of the park at a meeting last Saturday. The park will employ 3,000 frontline staff by mid-April, rising to 5,000 at the opening.