Hong Kong visitors can now take the ferry to Disneyland
Central to Discovery Bay ferry will stop at magic kingdom four times on weekend mornings and public holidays
Visitors wanting to go to the Disneyland Resort in Hong Kong will now be able to arrive over water as well as over land.
From Sunday onwards, the Central to Discovery Bay ferry will stop at the theme park in the morning on weekends and on public holidays – although Hongkongers seem unlikely to take advantage of the new service.
Two regular visitors said they would stick with the MTR because it would be quicker and more flexible, although they thought the scenic views of Hong Kong harbour would encourage tourists to use the ferry.
The move comes as the government tries to make the most of a sometimes underused route on which ferries can operate at less than a third full, while boosting attendance at a theme park that is losing money.
Hong Kong Disneyland Resort, which welcomed 6.2 million people through its gates in 2017, recorded a financial deficit of HK$345 million (US$44.1 million) last year.
Fares on the Central to Discovery Bay route have already been raised this year, with non-residents charged up to 15 per cent more to make the journey. A single adult fare now costs HK$46.
Amy Yung Wing-sheung, the constituency’s district councillor, said officials hope about 80 park-goers a day will take the ferry.
Discovery Bay Transportation Services Limited, the ferry operator, did not answer questions about what prompted the introduction of the new service.
Until now, visitors had only been able to get to the magic kingdom by rail and road, although the Star Ferry Company runs a round-trip sightseeing service between Tsim Sha Tsui and the resort.
While new services will become another choice for visitors, some local Disney fans said they would be sticking to their usual mode of transport.
Anthony Lau Chun-kit, who went to the theme park about 13 times last year, welcomed the new option, but said he preferred the MTR.
“The key is to get there fast,” he said.
Ferries will depart at 30-minute intervals between 9.30am and 11am, with the journey expected to take about 20 minutes.
However, Lau said tourists would probably be drawn to the service by the scenic views, adding it could be a good option because the ticket would be relatively affordable.
The ferry company charges HK$46 for an adult ticket, while children and seniors aged 65 or above will have to pay HK$23.
In comparison, an adult journey on the MTR from Central to Disneyland costs HK$29, with a child ticket priced at HK$15.50.
Godric Leung Man-yin echoed Lau’s sentiment. The 23-year-old lives on Hong Kong Island, but he said he would rather take the MTR because train services came with a greater degree of flexibility.
“I don’t need to be as on time to catch the train. I can just feel free and chill,” Leung said.
He said it would take him just five minutes to walk to the park from the MTR station, adding that taking the train was a more attractive option as the carriages had cartoon figures in them.
Disney, meanwhile, welcomed the new service.
“Hong Kong Disneyland Resort welcomes and supports the enhancement of the transportation network connecting the resort,” a resort spokeswoman said.
Yung said she had asked officials to monitor any surge in passengers on the route, in case it had a negative impact on Discovery Bay residents.