A recent Hong Kong Standard headline read: ‘Fun parks go for same theme – price hikes.’ The Standard reported that, like another Hong Kong attraction, Ocean Park, Hong Kong Disneyland plans to hike prices – from HK$350 (adult peak, day ticket) up to a figure nudging HK$400, partly because of plans to expand the theme park.
For those who buy into the magic embodied by Tinkerbell and her starry wand, this forecast rise is inconsequential. In the field of classic folktales sprinkled with fairies and talking animals, nobody offers more wow factor than Disney.
Like any good fairytale, however, the story of Hong Kong Disneyland is not without woe. The park, which stands on the island of Lantau at the Pearl River’s mouth, has had its share of teething troubles.
Behind the scenes at Hong Kong Disneyland
1. Hong Kong Disneyland initially overestimated its daily capacity limit. The blip became clear during the charity preview day on 4 September 2005, when 30,000 locals rolled up. Fast food outlet wait times were at least 45 minutes. Wait times at rides soared to two hours.
2. Hong Kong Disneyland opened on September 12, 2005 at 1pm: a time judged supremely lucky by a Chinese consultant.
3. Disney sidestepped cultural backlash by weaving Chinese culture into the resort design. That meant sticking by the rules of feng shui. For example, a bend was woven into a walkway near the Hong Kong Disneyland Resort entrance to stop chi energy wastefully running off into the South China Sea.
4.The park occupies reclaimed land borrowed from the South China Sea in Penny's Bay, Lantau Island.
5. The attraction consists of a clutch of themed areas: Main Street, USA, Fantasyland, Adventureland, and Tomorrowland. Theme park performers speak in Cantonese, English, and Mandarin.
6. On entering a ‘land’, a guest is completely immersed in a themed environment. You cannot see or hear any other realm.
7. As at other Disney theme parks, Hong Kong Disneyland visitors have their fingerprints scanned at the entrance, earning the Magic Kingdom the nickname 'Mauschwitz'.
8. The park is riddled with 'hidden Mickeys' – imitation Mickey Mouse heads slotted into the design of amusements and ‘environmental décor’.
9. The landscaping contains more plants and trees from more places than any other Magic Kingdom theme park. Landscapers capitalized on Hong Kong’s tropical climate, importing foliage from other tropical hotspots to build lush scenery.
10. Set to open in 2012, Grizzly Gulch is a mock deserted mining town lurking amid mountains and woods. In Disney folklore, the town was founded on August 8, 1888 – the luckiest day of the luckiest month of the luckiest year by gold prospectors. Nice ‘imagineering’, Disney!
To get there: Disney Resort has its own MTR line, so guests can take a train from the airport (23mins), Kowloon (30mins), or Hong Kong (33mins), changing trains at Sunny Bay Station. The resort is open from 10am to 9pm, the fireworks over Sleeping Beauty's Castle happening at 9pm.
More info: http://park.hongkongdisneyland.com