Local residents generally still strongly support Hong Kong Disneyland, but most believe the company could communicate better with the public, a tourism academic said.
And while most Hong Kongers recognize the theme park's contribution to the economy and tourism industry, many are still concerned about the fairness of the deal to attract Disney to Hong Kong, the company's accountability, and the park's impact on the environment, said John Ap, an associate professor at Polytechnic University's School of Tourism and Hotel Management.
A survey conducted by the university last month and released Tuesday found mixed opinions about the park.
Of the 524 respondents, 86 percent expressed "continued and strong support" of Hong Kong Disneyland, with only 5 percent strongly opposed.
This is the highest figure recorded among similar surveys conducted by the university. The same number of people also welcomed the increase in tourists the park has been attracting to Hong Kong.
Nearly two thirds said "the benefits outweigh the costs" - compared with 76 percent who thought so when the last survey was conducted in 2004.
And regarding the administration's HK$13.6 billion deal to provide reclamation and infrastructure to attract Disney to Hong Kong, only 27 percent thought it was fair while 56 percent thought it was not.
Of the theme park's impacts on Hong Kong, respondents were most supportive of benefits such as employment and the economic contribution, but most critical of environmental issues such as noise and air pollution from nightly fireworks displays, and the effect on Chinese pink dolphins. Some 70 percent agreed that "opinions toward Hong Kong Disneyland have become more negative due to problems ... since opening."
Sixty-one percent said media coverage of the park was negative, while 11 percent said it was positive.
However, 46 percent said the coverage was fair while 29 percent believed it was not. But 71 percent claimed media reports had "no influence in shaping their opinions."
The theme park needs to address its governance, respondents said. Only 28 percent agreed that "Hong Kong Disneyland is a socially responsible company" while 47 percent disagreed.
Ninety-three percent agreed that "as a publicly funded project, the management of Hong Kong Disneyland should be accountable to the Hong Kong public," and 95 percent agreed that communication with the public should be improved.
Just under a third of respondents had visited the park, of whom 56 percent were satisfied with the experience while 22 percent were not.
Two thirds believed Disneyland would "complement rather than compete with Ocean Park" and 80 percent said both parks would offer comparable enjoyment.
"The interview opinions are more negative compared with previous survey results," Ap said. "Knowing how the the community perceives the benefits and costs of a major tourism attraction such as Hong Kong Disneyland is essential to the development, viability and sustainability of this joint venture."