The Hong Kong Disneyland Resort is chugging away as “the little park that could.” Park management announced its second profitable year a row and celebrated with plans for a third 750-room hotel to accommodate an expected uptick in attendance. Add the new Iron Man Experience attraction, and you have a success story in the making. Alain Littaye of the Disney and more blog brings us the news. ~~Rick

Hong Kong Disneyland Posts Profitable Year, Plans New Hotel and Attraction
by Alain Littaye

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We have exciting new details about the highly anticipated Iron Man Experience that will open in Hong Kong Disneyland’s Tomorrowland in 2016! Some months ago a presentation of the ride was shown to the Hong Kong Legislative Council. You may remember that the Hong Kong government is the biggest shareholder of HKDL – owning 52% of the shares – so this may explain why each project is submitted to the Council. A fan was in the right place at the right time and we have the good fortune to take a look at some screenshots of what was shown on the TV screens.

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It started with a view of the rendering that we know shows the new area…

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The next one was more interesting. We know that Iron Man Experience will be a simulator ride – like Star Tours but with the latest simulator technology – and we wondered how this new attraction might differ from Star Tours Starspeeder. We saw a hint of this on the attraction poster that was released previously, but now we have a picture showing precisely how it will look in this photo of the model that was shown during the meeting.

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Also shown during the legislative council session was a series of storyboard renderings, some more explicit than others…

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and this one showing Iron Man flying over cars…

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and this one which hints at an epic fight with the villains…

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What we don’t know yet is if this Iron Man ride will have more than one movie to be shown randomly in the simulator like the new version of Star Tours. I’m afraid we’ll have to wait until 2016!

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The eight year old Resort also announced its second most profitable year ever. It also revealed plans for its third and largest hotel, slated to open in 2017. The new hotel is positioned as a luxury hotel, and will draw its theme from “exotic locations from around the world.” It will occupy almost 16 acres and will offer 750 rooms with a total of over 600,000 square feet of floor area plus an outdoor exotic adventure area.

The project will cost HK $4.26 billion ($550 million US) and you can see from the renderings here that it looks to me a bit like a mix between Animal Kingdom Lodge and Disney’s Hawaii Aulani hotel. The “exotic locations from around the world” theme has a lot of potential.

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The hotel will be built on the vacant land between the Hong Hong Disneyland Hotel and the Hong Kong Disneyland Hollywood Hotel and will be the largest at the resort. In addition to the 750 rooms, it will feature three restaurants plus what looks like a great outdoor beach/pool area. The new hotel will be situated just outside the park and right behind Mystic Manor. The hotel theme couldn’t be better considering its proximity to Adventureland and Mystic Manor.

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You can see on the map below that they’ll still have room available for a fourth hotel between this new hotel and the current HKDL Hotel.

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The resort plans to open its third and largest hotel by early 2017 to accommodate an influx of visitors from China and South Korea amid intensifying competition from Ocean Park. HKDL has had to contend with government-owned Ocean Park, which drew 7.7 million visitors in the fiscal year ended June 2013. Ocean Park plans to add new attractions by 2017 as well as a 495-room hotel. Kim Min-ho, CEO of Hong Kong Disneyland, said that he expects Lantau Island hotels to have a strong demand with the opening in 2016 of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao bridge.

Hong Kong Disneyland posted its second profitable year, with a profit of HK$242 million in the 12 months ended September 2013 – more than double the HK$109 million profit enjoyed one year previously. Visitors from China jumped 15 percent last year, while those from South Korea surged 27 percent, Hong Kong Disneyland Managing Director Andrew Kam told reporters today. “The hotel expansion will support increasing demand from the booming tourism industry in the region,” Kam said.

Hong Kong Disneyland’s sales rose 15 percent to HK$4.9 billion for the fiscal year, according to the statement. Visitors from China to the former British colony jumped 16.7 percent to 40.8 million last year and accounted for 75 percent of total visitor arrivals, according to the Hong Kong tourism Board.

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What the future hold for this park? The picture above shows the land available for future expansion. The light blue space with black stars on the center right is where Iron Man Experience will be built.

One more thing: the orange land on the center left, near Grizzly Gulch, is where HKDL Imagineers originally envisioned the Pirates of Caribbean land prior to its cancellation.

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Alain is the editor of one of the most amazing Disney books ever published. This book is a must for every serious Disney book collector.

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Artwork and pictures: copyright Disney – HKDL