Hong Kong Disneyland expanding with Grizzly Trail, Mystic Point, and Toy Story Land
It's been no secret that Hong Kong Disneyland is rather a dud, mainly because it was built small and cheap without much to actually do. Remember, it doesn't even have a Frontierland, Haunted Mansion, or Pirates of the Caribbean, all classics of Disney theme parks.
We've discussed this in the past here in the forums:
Moving forward, Disney has admitted that they need to build more stuff, but they've been in discussions with the Hong Kong government regarding who is going to pay for that. (Basically, Disney has a large ownership stake in the park, but Hong Kong put up most of the money).
Apparently, that has been solved with the announcement of a major expansion to HKDL. First, the news story:
Disney to pump $452 mln new funds into HK theme park
Tue Jun 30, 2009 5:53am EDT
By James Pomfret
Disney to invest $452 mln, convert loan to equity
HK govt to convert debt to equity, but inject no new funds
Deal will leave HK as majority stakeholder with 52 pct
Seen as necessary to compete with rival park in Shanghai
HONG KONG, June 30 (Reuters) - Hong Kong said on Tuesday the Walt Disney Co (DIS.N) will invest $452 million to expand its Hong Kong theme park, seen as necessary to bolster the park's long-term prospects against a planned rival park in Shanghai.
Hong Kong Chief Executive Donald Tsang said Hong Kong would not invest more capital in the joint venture but would convert a substantial part of its loan to the project into equity. He added Disney's capital investment would be about HK$3.5 billion.
Disney will also convert the entire balance of its outstanding HK$2.76 billion loan to the theme park to equity.
"In total this means that the Walt Disney Company will invest about HK$6.2 billion new capital in demonstration of the company's confidence in Hong Kong Disneyland," said Rita Lau, Hong Kong's Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development.
After Disney's new investment and the government's debt to equity swap, Hong Kong will see its stake in the underperforming park fall to 52 percent from 57 percent in the theme park's first major expansion since its opening to great fanfare in 2005.
Since then however, the park's performance has been sluggish, with attendance figures falling short of initial targets.
The government's outstanding loan to the theme park is about HK$6.89 billion. After the conversion, this balance will not drop below HK$1 billion, the government said in a statement.
It said the expansion, with a mix of thrill rides, would "broaden the park's appeal" and act as a "catalyst" in improving the park's operating and financial performance.
"If there is no expansion, the attraction of the theme park will fall over time," government economist Helen Chan said at a briefing to announce details of the long-awaited expansion.
The Hong Kong government desperately needs the expansion to boost flagging attendance, with a much larger rival Disneyland expected to be built in Shanghai in 2014 that could draw much visitor traffic from the burgeoning mainland China market.
"We're only increasing it (the size) by some 20 percent but the Shanghai Disneyland is going to be ten times the size of Hong Kong Disneyland, how are we going to compete with them," said lawmaker Emily Lau during a briefing on the plan.
But officials, who must still lobby lawmakers to green-light the deal in a legislative session on July 10, stressed the park's unique attractions would bolster the park's current reported attendance of about 4.5 million annually, to between 5.2-8.4 million visitors by 2015 when the expansion is done.
"We often talk about uniqueness and exclusiveness and therefore it's not just about the size," said Hong Kong official Lau.
"We're not competing on the basis of size, we are competing on the basis of these attractions," Lau added.
The park is currently the smallest 'Magic Kingdom' globally.
The expansion, which will cost HK$3.63 billion, will include 30 new attractions and three new theme areas -- two unique to any Disneyland -- and will see the total area of Hong Kong Disneyland increase by 23 percent over five years.
The total net economic benefit of the expanded theme park over 40 years would range from HK$64.7 billion to HK$117.3 billion, the government said, with the theme park having already added 0.2 percent to the city's annual GDP since opening.
Hong Kong's Financial Secretary John Tsang travelled to Los Angeles in May, where he met senior Disney executives. The trip is seen to have paved the way for the breakthrough after Disney earlier said it would stall any expansion amid the credit crunch.
As part of the deal, Disney promised to boost transparency by disclosing its annual visitor figures and financial performance.
So what is exactly getting built as part of the expansion of Hong Kong Disneyland? Here's Disney's official press release:
With the addition of more than 30 new attractions, play and entertainment experiences, Hong Kong Disneyland’s total number of rides and attractions will increase by almost 50 percent and top one hundred. When completed, the expansion will increase HKDL’s physical footprint by approximately 23 percent; broaden the park’s appeal by adding more experiences for young adults; and place increased focus on universally-understood stories.
Using Guest feedback as a guide, these three new themed areas will create memorable guest experiences, drive strong word of mouth and repeat visitation, and offer many unique only-available-in-Hong-Kong attractions that feature Disney’s immersive storytelling and innovative technology.
Grizzly Trail Grizzly Gulch, Frontier Gold-Mining Town
The path along Grizzly Trail offers high-spirited frontier fun in an abandoned mining town called Grizzly Gulch, set amidst mountains and woods. The town was founded August 8, 1888 – the luckiest day of the luckiest month of the luckiest year – by prospectors looking to discover gold. Bears have now started causing havoc at the Big Grizzly Mountain Mining Company.
Key Technology and Creative Elements:
Guests visiting Grizzly Gulch are part of the action, experiencing hands-on water features, massive geysers and various leaking structures in the abandoned town.
Life-size Audio-Animatronic® bears set the story in motion on Big Grizzly Mountain Coaster, an adventure aboard a runaway mine train through town. Guests careen backward down an incline that propels them through twists and turns, before a launch sequence “blasts” the mine train out of the mountain.
A Wild West stagecoach, an old time Jail House, and the world’s largest nugget of gold provide fun photo opportunities.
Guests can relax with a Wild West refreshment at the old Saloon or shop for mining supplies and souvenirs at the Bear Necessities merchandise stand.
Mystic Point is the site of mysterious forces and supernatural events in the heart of a dense, uncharted rain forest.
In Mystic Manor, home to an eccentric world traveler and adventurer and his collection of exotic international artifacts, strange things are afoot as an enchanted music box releases its magical powers, thanks to a mischievous monkey.
Key Technology and Creative Elements:
Inside Mystic Manor, a trackless ride system enables vehicles to move “freely” about the attraction as the story unfolds. Audio-Animatronic® figures and special visual and audio effects help tell the story of mystical phenomena.
Within Mystic Point lies a beautiful garden full of relics and mythological figures, where guests discover a hidden world of illusions and mysteries that trick the eye.
Guests can dine at the Adventurer’s Club amid a vast collection of unusual artifacts from around the world or purchase exclusive curiosities and collectibles at the Archive Shop.
Toy Story Land Disney·Pixar-themed Play Area for Kids of All Ages
Andy, the young boy from the Disney·Pixar Toy Story films, has left his toys unattended in this immersive and highly themed environment, based on one of Disney·Pixar’s most popular film series. While Andy is away, the toys come to life and play...and Guests are invited to join!
Key Technology and Creative Elements:
Oversized outdoor rides and photo opportunities allow Guests to experience the different perceptions of scale, and shrink to the size of a toy.
One attraction includes a shuttle coaster which propels Guests along a U-shaped style track.
A drop-style parachute attraction lets Guests join a “training mission,” plunging from a 25m tall tower.
Guests will enjoy fun, immersive and interactive environments with life-size toys.
A themed food kiosk provides a barrel of fun snacks and refreshments and Guests can shop for Toy Story inspired collectibles at the merchandise location.
The deal between Disney and Hong Kong is now official regarding the new expansion:
Hong Kong votes for $468 mln Disneyland expansion
HONG KONG, July 10 (Reuters) - Hong Kong lawmakers approved a government plan on Friday to spend HK$3.63 billion ($468 million) expanding the city's Disneyland theme park with Walt Disney (DIS.N), boosting the smallest of Disney's five resorts.
With attendance falling short of targets, the government has been seeking ways to boost the number of visitors in the long term, given the threat from a rival Disney theme park planned for Shanghai.
Hong Kong will convert a significant amount of its HK$6.89 billion outstanding loan to the park into equity, while Walt Disney will invest HK$3.5 billion to help finance the construction cost and also convert its outstanding HK$2.76 billion loan to the theme park into equity. [ID:nHKG53329]
After Disney's new investment and Hong Kong's debt-to-equity swap, Hong Kong's stake in the park will fall to 52 percent from 57 percent.
In a joint statement, Disney and the Hong Kong SAR Government applauded the Legislative Council's vote on the plan to build three new themed areas at the park by 2014.
Financial Secretary John Tsang said the park already "has brought substantial economic benefits to Hong Kong."
With its new features, the park "will rise up to the keen competition in the region on the tourism front, attracting more family visitors from around the world," Tsang said.
Jay Rasulo, chairman of Disney Parks & Resorts, said the company was "eager to begin work" on the expansion.
"This substantial investment represents our continued commitment to and confidence in Hong Kong Disneyland and solidifies our partnership with the Hong Kong government helping assure the resort's long-term success," Rasulo said.
The three new themed "lands" will be called "Grizzly Trail," "Mystic Point" and "Toy Story Land."
Do you speak Chinese? If so, it will make a lot more sense!
Hong Kong Disneyland Resort's expansion project is well underway. The new theme zones Grizzly Gulch and Mystic Point will be completed by phases before 2014 while Toy Story Land is even expected to open in late 2011
Hong Kong may be getting new stuff sooner than we think...
Hong Kong Disney addition ahead of schedule
April 6, 2011, 10:47 p.m. EDT
HONG KONG (MarketWatch) -- Hong Kong Disneyland will complete the first phase of its expansion plan in 2013, one year ahead of schedule, and is considering further enlarging the theme park, the Hong Kong Economic Times reported Thursday, citing unnamed sources.
The first phase will add three attractions to the theme park, including the opening of Toy Story Land in autumn this year, the newspaper reported. Two other attractions will open in 2012 and 2013, both a year ahead of schedule, the paper said.
The early completion of the attractions at the theme park, in which the Hong Kong government owns a 52% stake and Walt Disney Co. (DIS 41.89, +0.13, +0.31%) the remaining 48%, will give Hong Kong Disneyland more time to prepare for competition from Shanghai Disneyland, which could open as early as 2015, the report said.
The newspaper also reported that the theme park has started preliminary discussions with the government on the next round of expansion, which could begin in 2013.