Li Zeng, a fourteen-year-old Chinese tourist, wandered Hong Kong Disneyland yesterday -- and left after two hours.
Mr. Li isn't that familiar with Mickey Mouse and his companions, and he and his father didn't take any rides, buy souvenirs, or eat food. "We don't understand this park," said the teenager, waiting for his tour bus. "We gave up looking at the map." Five months after Walt Disney Co. opened its Hong Kong theme park in a bid to tap the booming Chinese market, the cultural divide that separates Mickey and Mr. Li is still a major challenge. It is one that the company is trying hard to bridge, though with mixed results.
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The company is "still learning" about Chinese culture, said the park's managing director, Bill Ernest, on Saturday during an emotional public apology for last week's ticket fiasco.

Disney designed the park for Chinese tourists, who the company said preferred photo opportunities over roller coasters. Many visitors now criticize the park for being too small.
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Some mainland tourists show up at the park only to walk aimlessly around Main Street U.S.A. and snap a few photos with Marie the Cat -- a minor character from the 1970's film "The Aristocats." Marie is familiar to some from the movie's repeat showings in southern China. She also happens to look like another Asian favorite, Hello Kitty.
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Perhaps most significantly for park attendance, Hong Kong Disneyland is changing the way it works with Chinese travel agents. Most mainland Chinese still take vacations through package tours, and they make up about 50% of the Chinese visitors to the park. The guides who direct these tours frequently select hotels, restaurants, shopping stops and even tour destinations based on where they share in the profits. Because of lucrative deals with tour operators, one Hong Kong transvestite cabaret brags that its five-times-a-day $20 show draws more Chinese tourists on a regular basis than Disneyland.
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Mr. Ernest says he is considering starting a "dining with Disney" program. Special group breakfasts with Disney characters are another option, he says.
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Source: China Daily