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


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.


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


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.


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


and this one showing Iron Man flying over cars…


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


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!


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

PRE-ORDER - Disneyland Paris: From Sketch to Reality (Open Edition)

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Artwork and pictures: copyright Disney – HKDL

  • mtlchuck

    I think it would be insulting for the theme park industry as a whole if Iron Man were to be just a “latest technology” version of Star Tours. The Amazing Adventures of Spiderman opened in 2001, setting a new standard in attractions, and while it is ok that a ride like Transformers opens with the same “concept” of an attraction, it would be embarassing to open a plain simulator (30+ years old concept which now not even malls have!) and call it latest technology by adding an HD film and “cutting-edge 3D” as they did with the Star Tours updates.

  • jcruise86

    Thank you for the interesting update, Rick and Alain!

    Imagineering + politicians = fun!

    Isn’t HK D land still the world’s smallest Disney park with the fewest attractions? Maybe land adjacent to the park should be saved to expand the park. I love the Grand Californian, bit I think if would have been even better if more of that space had been saved for DCA.

    • Mondo Mouse

      Jcruise that makes for some interesting bluesky thinking… if they had all that land to work with who knows what kind of (hopefully) cool stuff they could have added to DCA!

    • ahecht

      I don’t know if it’s the smallest Disney Park, but it’s certainly the smallest magic kingdom. See for a size comparison.

  • animatronic

    Thanks for the update. It’s great to get a glimpse of this park. It’s on my bucket list of going to every Disneyland park (CA,FL,Paris done, asia here we come)… It is interesting to see that the Iron Man Ride will actually take place outside of the walls of the park. I think one of the things I’ve heard about HKDL is that it feels more compact (compared to Disneyland or WDW) in which case going outside the walls would be a great use of space. I wonder if this sim type ride is enough to compete with rides like Harry Potter or Spiderman at Universal… Does Disney need to add a bit more 4 – D elements… I lover Star Tours and Sims rides, but have been told Spiderman is best ride ever, etc…. Just asking..?

  • loaloa55

    Hello, Alain here. I wouldn’t be surprised if they add some 5D elements in the Iron Man simulator ride. At TDS Storm Rider it’s even raining inside the shuttle! But rain might not be a good idea with 3D glasses… so, we’ll see!
    Asf or the “best ride” until recently for me the best ride, technologically speaking, was the Spiderman ride and Indiana Jones Adventure at Disneyland. Both are perfects, everything from the pre-show to the ride itself is 5 stars. It’s a shame they’ve never built IJA at Disneyland Paris, it’s exactly what DLP needs… Now the new Transformers ride and the Harry Potter one are just as good.

    • jcruise86

      Owwww! 5D! I just hope that when they make this attraction they give it 110%!

  • Crazee4mm

    You mean that if a Disney park is profitable it will actually get some new stuff? Here in Anaheim we’ve been waiting for Disneyland to get ANYTHING in the past 15+ years. Now I hear that the 60th. anniversary will be about “nostalgia”? We haven’t had a new ride since Pooh so every day here is about nostalgia. DCA not withstanding, DL really needs something new to keep up with it’s sister parks. It’s been a cash cow for the company and all they’ve done is drain it’s profits and send them elsewhere to boost other sagging areas of the company. keep the money here and reward the loyal locals who have kept this park in the black ever since Paul Pressler left with his tail between his legs. Are we at least going to get a new fireworks show for the 60th.? Or will we get a retooled 50th. anniversary rehash of Remember: Dreams Come True. That should play into the “nostalgia” theme pretty well.

  • Kidgenie

    I feel your need for a new major attraction at DL to, but its not fair say they are abusing the locals. Disney is a business and clearly they had an issue they had to fix, that being DCA. They spent Billions to fix it, and while they did not build new attractions at DL, if you don’t count the subs, they did spend significantly within the berm of the original park. Major Holiday Layovers were created, and these clearly cater to the locals, as to the constant line of new major parades while over the MK in WDW, its finally getting its very first new parade in over a decade. Disneyland has upgraded its fireworks spectacular, and made major investments into the experiences of some of its marque attractions. So while it has not built and e-ticket, I don’t think its even close to fair to say they have ignored Disneyland. There is a reason the locals continue to flock to this park, and it is exactly because the investments they are making continue to keep it interesting and far from stagnant. Same thing is happening at WDW. MK and Epcot get little things, like new Fantasyland, which yes, to me is more cosmetic then anything, and Epcot gets major festivals in the Fall and Spring. Meanwhile DAK gets the big bucks and all rumors are pointing to DHS getting some big love soon too. Parks like DL, MK, and Epcot are mature assets, they have there fan base and their big draws, and don’t need major investments to bring in the crowds, so of course Disney is going to spend more at the parks that are not in the same situation. I can’t blame them. I long for a major new attraction, especially for Disneyland and for Epcot, but I understand why they invest in the parks that need to get more established.

  • jcruise86

    Tomorrowland is embarrassing, but otherwise the Disneyland Resort is in excellent shape. DCA and Disneyland are not like the four WDW hotels where one must often have to spend a half hour or more to get from one to the other. Many guests have parkhoppers and APs, so the outstanding additions to DCA are literally CLOSELY related to what goes on at Disneyland. Apart from Tomorrowland and perhaps a new show to replace the great but aging “Aladdin,” Disneyland is in good shape.

    It’s WDW that needs a couple new World Showcase pavilions and at least a half a billion worth of love at Future World, a billion-dollar Star Wars land at the Studios quickly, Avatar brought in at Universal Orlando and not dwarf coaster construction speed, a lot of Imagineering at the Magic Kingdom, and small, interesting transportation systems between three of the larger moderate resorts and the theme parks that are very close to them. Giving each one of these three hotels a special connection would be a nice upgrade. And, while I’m making demands, bike paths all over WDW withe convenient drop off and pick up locations at the resorts and parks, and rain shelters and interesting bike bridges over the roads.

  • ChrisNJ

    You need to stop with the Hong Kong Disneyland articles. Why? Because you are making me want to go. But seriously… love the updates. Such great detail with the maps – definitely helps someone like me who hasn’t been there yet.

    The main reason for me to go would be Mystic Manor. Now if they build a hotel with a similar world explorer theme, as you’ve reported, I won’t be able to resist at all. Thanks!

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