Disneyland regains magical touch as almost 1 million people compete for free tickets in Hong Kong

Theme park’s lucky draw attracted more than 900,000 registrants in a week

PUBLISHED : Monday, 13 November, 2017, 8:18pm
UPDATED : Monday, 13 November, 2017, 8:24pm

A lucky draw at Hong Kong Disneyland has attracted almost 1 million people bidding to win 50,000 free tickets, as the theme park seeks to rediscover its magical touch amid a tourism downturn.

More than 900,000 people registered for the lucky draw, open to all Hong Kong residents, which was launched last Tuesday and will close on Thursday. It works out at about one ticket for every 18 applicants.

The giveaway came as the number of tourists from mainland China visiting the 12-year-old theme park continued to decline, a factor attributed to two consecutive years of loss making.

The government demanded the park hold the lucky draw when it agreed to fund half a HK$10.9 billion (US$1.4 billion) expansion project of Disneyland, approved by lawmakers in May.

“The enthusiastic response proves Disneyland is still attractive to Hong Kong people,” Yiu Si-wing, a lawmaker for the tourism sector, said.

The lucky draw is a win-win for both local residents and Disneyland, Yiu said, as winners of free tickets would buy souvenirs and bring friends and families along, generating more profit for the park.

“Usually one winner of a free ticket will bring at least 1.5 people along with them, so 50,000 free tickets can generate 70,000 additional visitors,” Yiu said.

This is the first time tickets have been given away to the general public, said Susanna Muk, a publicity manager at Hong Kong Disneyland Resort, the operator of the theme park. Previously, the park has donated an average of 100,000 tickets a year to underprivileged groups through local non-profit organisations. The latest draw will not affect the annual charity donation, Muk said.

That as many as 900,000 people entered the lucky draw indicates Disney tickets are too expensive for many, Yiu said. Undiscounted adult tickets cost HK$589 (US$75.9) and HK$419 for children, according to the official website.

Disneyland should give back to society through more free ticket promotions, the lawmaker added.

The six-year expansion plan of the park will add a series of new events next year, including a new show, Moana: A Homecoming Celebration.

The government estimates the expansion plan will boost annual visitors by 52 per cent to 9.3 million by 2025.