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  1. #1

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    "Golden Week" Tests HK Disneyland's Popularity,CRI English, 2006-5-4

    The mainland has been deemed as a natural market for Hong Kong Disneyland.
    Having over 10 million visitors to Hong Kong yearly, the mainland has been deemed as a natural market for the city's Disneyland.

    However, the idea is once again put into test when low attendance was reported in the park during the ongoing Labor Day "golden week" holidays.

    "Gold Week" Sees Flat Reaction
    While Hong Kong expecting to receive about 420,000 visitors from the mainland, Disneyland here also announced the seven-day holidays as its "golden week" for guests.
    Related publicity activities included custom-made shining golden dresses for Mickey and Minnie Mouses, set meal of Chinese dishes and uplifted ticket price for special dates.
    Compared to the aggressive promotion, the theme park's "golden week" kicked off in a quite and orderly way due to low attendance of visitors.
    On Monday, officially the first day of the holidays, neither long lines nor big crowds were formed in the park.
    A handful of working reporters and local cable TV's satellite transition disks became so remarkable against an almost empty Main Street USA in the park.
    At the entrance of several popular games, it took only five to ten minutes waiting for visitors to have a ride, which on some weekends would have people stand in line for at least half an hour.
    Until Wednesday, tickets to the park for the rest of the "gold week" are still available for on-line purchase.
    It's a sharp contrast to what occurred in the Chinese New Year holidays only three months ago, when Disneyland closed its gate to hundreds of visitors after the park reaching its maximum reception capabilities soon after opening.
    The waiting crowd, mostly tourists from mainland with advance-purchased tickets, turned into rally ramming against the gate, climbing over the rail or passing their kids over the fence.
    While local press hinted that memory of the incident caused the low turnout of the "golden week", Disneyland firmly denied the connection.
    The park's executive vice-president Bill Ernest said it's just the beginning of the seven-day vacation and the park was expecting" steady buildup of visitors" over the week.
    At least, Mr. Zhao and his families from Shanghai were not intimidated by what occurred in Disneyland in the Chinese New Year.
    "We know that, but guess many people won't come here for the sake. That's why here we are," he told Xinhua, while taking photos for his daughter in front of a spring with Mickey's stature.

    High Price a Concern
    However, Mickey Mouse's magic isn't strong enough to get every mainland tourist forget the ticket incident or overcome the high price of Disneyland ticket for holidays.
    Out of the gate of Disneyland's rivalry, Hong Kong Ocean Park, a woman named Lai told Xinhua that her family had no plan to visit Disneyland. "We heard it's over packed and expensive," she said with her child around.
    When asked whether her daughter wanted to visit Disneyland and have a close look at the Mickey Mouse, Lai answered for the seven-year-old, "No, we are fine here. Disneyland is no fun." While answering so, the mother clutched the kid's hand and used her body hiding the girl.
    Disneyland charged 350 HK dollars (45 U.S. dollars) for one adult on special dates such as the "golden week" holidays, while one adult ticket of Ocean Park costs only 185 HK dollars (24 U.S. dollars) all the time.
    While Disneyland defending its entrance fee with promise of wonderful experience and quality service, the price factor still weighs heavy in mainland visitor's head, or at least those going to the Ocean Park only.
    A tourist guide named Qian told Xinhua that most of her guests chose Ocean Park rather than Disneyland, for the latter's price ticket was "so high".
    "In our place, people have a tight budget when they traveling around," said Qian from the southwestern Sichuan Province.
    For the guests' opposition, Qian's travel agency has cut Disneyland from its Hong Kong tour itinerary. The guide will lead a tour to the magic kingdom only when a certain number of guests in a group agreed to pay the extra entrance fee.
    A Strange Culture Called Disney
    Though the price factor influenced people's choice between the two theme parks, it's not the only reason that deterred mainland tourists from visiting Disneyland.
    Offering a variety of aquarium exhibition, dolphin show and mechanical games such as roller coaster, Ocean Park is a concept-clear entertainment place to most mainland visitors of anyage group.
    Growing up with most children in the West, Disneyland doesn't always ring a bell to people in the mainland, where cartoon and movies produced by Walter Disney Co. made its debut in the 1980's and mostly in big cities like Beijing and Shanghai.
    Though already walking on the Main Street USA in Disneyland on Monday morning, Miss Gao and her nine friends from the northwestern province of Shangxi were still in a loss of what to see.
    Asked what's their impression of the world-famous park, Gao and her friend said they were just beginning to feel it.
    They actually turned the interview into a consultation. With Miss Gao spreading the map of Disneyland, the group of middle-aged mainland tourists asked Xinhua reporter which were the most popular sites in the park and what those tongue-twisting words such as "Buzz Light year Astro Blasters" and "Space Mountain" stood for.
    Getting the mainland people acquainted with the so-called Disney culture has become the top agenda of the Disneyland "golden week".
    Beginning with the week, the park started giving free leaflets introducing the park's facilities in simplified Chinese and running its two Broadway-style show with simplified Chinese subtitles.
    The new measures were results of two recent whirlwind trips to the mainland by the executive vice-president Bill Ernest. The trip was aimed to found out how the mainland market reacted to the brand after the Chinese New Year incident.
    However, Ernest admitted that it would be a long-term and complicated task to win the recognition of the Disney culture.
    "It is all about awareness-building," he told reporters at an empty Chinese restaurant in the park over lunch time on Monday.
    "We need to tell them the stories....If they don't understand the stories, they don't understand the themes."
    Source : CRI English

  2. #2

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    Re: "Golden Week" Tests HK Disneyland's Popularity,CRI English, 2006-5-4

    I'm going to guess that not as many people showed up as on New Years, but that more people showed than that article from the state-run media would have you believe. "Beijing Bob," anyone?

    Am I the only one who sensed the story turning into an actual commercial for the Ocean resort about two-thirds through? While the natural beauty of the cliffs and water are to be admired, I can't imagine who thinks that the park in this picture (BIG picture!) is a better looking park than DL.

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    Re: "Golden Week" Tests HK Disneyland's Popularity,CRI English, 2006-5-4

    Comparing with the local commercial media in Hong Kong (which say something like “Crowed Ocean Park vs Empty Disneyland”), this article from the “state-owned” media seems much more “natural”.

    Hong Kong people start having a negative attitude to Hong Kong Disneyland.

    The taxpayers spent nearly 3 billions of US dollars (infrastructures plus building costs) on the project but they found the park is just too small and not worth that money.

    In early September one of the foreign Disneyland Management staffs requested a food safety inspector to pull off his uniform or otherwise not allowed to enter the park for food safety inspection (Disney was illegal to do so). Local citizens were very angry this time as they think the Americans were not willing to follow the laws and rules here.

    Then after the Chinese New Year incident people doubts the U.S. management don’t really know how to operate a theme park in Hong Kong. In fact even more people visited Ocean Park during the Chinese New Year but they have no troubles at all.

    During the Easter Holiday the Ocean Park was full (50,000 attendants per day!) but on the other hand Disneyland was just empty! Media said Ocean Park got 4-5 times more visitors than Disneyland.

    Now, this week is the “Golden Week” (one of the three long vacations in Mainland China) and people were expecting mainland tourists will rush to the Disneyland (just like the Chinese New Year). Form the TV news and newspapers I found just small groups of people on the main street. The restaurants were empty (just like what the article above said). The waiting time in hot attractions like Space Mountain and Buzz Light year were just 5 minutes – even shorter than the normal weekdays waiting time. On the other hand Ocean Park got much much more visitors.

    You can do many things in Ocean Park: see the dolphins show, visit the giant pandas, and aquariums, take the cable car, try the roller coaster, go-karts, turbo drops… there are different kinds of experiences. Yes the quality may not as goods as Disney but you have more choices and the admission cost is 40% less (Ocean Park does not have a higher weekend admission price).

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    Re: "Golden Week" Tests HK Disneyland's Popularity,CRI English, 2006-5-4

    Quote Originally Posted by MickeyMania
    I'm going to guess that not as many people showed up as on New Years, but that more people showed than that article from the state-run media would have you believe. "Beijing Bob," anyone?
    Yup, it reads like that. The "native" HK press will not make any of the semantic errors
    in this (When was the last time you heard Walt referred to as "Walter Disney"?). This reads like it was written in chinese than translated.

    Quote Originally Posted by MickeyMania
    Am I the only one who sensed the story turning into an actual commercial for the Ocean resort about two-thirds through? While the natural beauty of the cliffs and water are to be admired, I can't imagine who thinks that the park in this picture (BIG picture!) is a better looking park than DL.
    Yes, I got that, too, but then at the end it comes back to talking about HKDL again.
    Although Ocean Park seems like a interesting place (even after the retheming that
    they're currently talking about), it just won't have the depth of detail that
    HKDL has already.

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    Re: "Golden Week" Tests HK Disneyland's Popularity,CRI English, 2006-5-4

    Quote Originally Posted by pennysbay
    Hong Kong people start having a negative attitude to Hong Kong Disneyland.


    In early September one of the foreign Disneyland Management staffs requested a food safety inspector to pull off his uniform or otherwise not allowed to enter the park for food safety inspection (Disney was illegal to do so). Local citizens were very angry this time as they think the Americans were not willing to follow the laws and rules here.

    Then after the Chinese New Year incident people doubts the U.S. management donít really know how to operate a theme park in Hong Kong.

    During the Easter Holiday the Ocean Park was full (50,000 attendants per day!) but on the other hand Disneyland was just empty! Media said Ocean Park got 4-5 times more visitors than Disneyland.
    Although Hong Kong would seem to be the next natural choice for a Disney park in Asia, people need to understand that China IS NOT Japan!

    Once again, Disney did not do their homework properly and simply thought that the profits would just start flowing in from the millions of impoverished mainland Chineese suckers, many of whom have never seen a Disney film, let alone have the money to travel 1000 miles and pay the overpriced admission to a Disney theme park. These people have no concept of what the Disney ideology is. I suppose they could be taught to understand it over time, but for the time being, they are very culturaly immature when it comes to understanding the West and it's popular icons. Disney, and everyone else in the "First World", need to understand that mainland China is a corrupt communist terror state, and that the only reason the capitalist experiment that is Hong Kong even exists is because of 100 years of British control.

    Let's take a look at some facts here about mainland China. 1) All religious expression is suppressed and is punishable by prison a sentence, or even death. 2) Property can be (and often is) confiscated by the state at any time, without warning. 3) Babies are systematically murdered in front of their parents if they break the "One child per family" law, and especially if it's a girl. 4) The media is state run and suppresses all information that may be harmful or negative with regards to the government. 5) Piracy and copywrite infringement are rampant and have even been practiced by front companies for the Chinese military for years. 6) The Internet, as well as all writen publications, are censored by the government. Iraq under Saddam Hussein wasn't even close to this corrupt and brutal (I'm not saying Saddam was a good guy, but a lot of his track record was hyped up and exaggerated by the U.S. - most people had houses, jobs, and lived normal lives)! And let's not forget Tianemin Square and the recent Falun Gong executions and subsequent illegal organ sales! And you want to put a Disneyland in their backyard?

    Although this is my first post, and I don't want to seem too audacious, still I had to comment on what seems to be yet another mind-on-profits, "head-in-the-clouds", cultural misunderstanding on Disney's part!

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    Re: "Golden Week" Tests HK Disneyland's Popularity,CRI English, 2006-5-4

    You'll need to understand, though, that in theory, China makes great business sense. China is the biggest in the business world, one of the top tourist destinations. Not only that, Americans are blindly obsessed with all things Chinese (Look at Hanzi Smatter).

    However, Hong Kong isn't like the rest of China because of their British rule. They condsider themselves a lot more civilized because of it. But, there's the big problem -- HK is no longer under British rule. They still prefer to keep themselves seperate, but they're not legally seperate.

    I do quite agree with you, though... in order for Disney to truly succeed completely, China needs to change.
    -Tim

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    Re: "Golden Week" Tests HK Disneyland's Popularity,CRI English, 2006-5-4

    Quote Originally Posted by MousekeTears'_i
    , people need to understand that China IS NOT Japan!
    But also Hong Kong isn't exactly the same as China. Brittish rule left a huge mark on it, and it is much more free than China. Even China has trouble saying HKDL is thier own, hence why they keep pushing for Disneyland Shanghai, one that will be Chinese, not own by a Semi-Autonomous Government.

    And I think Disney did a hell of a lot more research for this park then we give them credit for. They've been right most of the time...it's just that the park is too small for those big holidays when the whole country shows up at once.
    And some of this bad press is not Disney's fault, their audiance (main landers) really have no clue or class for a themepark, and your park can only be as good sometimes as the folks you let in (SFMM anyone?).

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    Re: "Golden Week" Tests HK Disneyland's Popularity,CRI English, 2006-5-4

    Exactly. If the central government and the Hong Kong SAR were getting along in perfect harmony, you would not be seeing these Beijing Bob articles about how a glorified boardwalk blows the gates off HKDL.

    Fact is, the mainland actually restricts and filters information coming in about HK, along with their other news and internet filters. People in the mainland are hearing that HKDL is a big failure and getting low numbers, but for some reason the government really wants to build one in Shanghai. Sadly, this kind of double-speak isn't uncommon.
    Last edited by MickeyMania; 05-08-2006 at 01:28 PM.

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    Re: "Golden Week" Tests HK Disneyland's Popularity,CRI English, 2006-5-4

    Quote Originally Posted by tloolgb
    But also Hong Kong isn't exactly the same as China. Brittish rule left a huge mark on it, and it is much more free than China.
    My long-winded post got carried away, and perhaps I seemed to be throwing some of the mainland China negativity onto Hong Kong. I didn't mean to get so down on Honk Kong! Of course I realize that Honk Kong is a much different place than the rest of China. The main point I was trying to make was that Disney misjudged the mainland Chinese market for HKDL.

    Quote Originally Posted by tloolgb
    Even China has trouble saying HKDL is thier own, hence why they keep pushing for Disneyland Shanghai, one that will be Chinese, not own by a Semi-Autonomous Government.
    Now this is a different matter all together! Although it is true that mainland China is a HUGE business market, I'd still like to believe that Disney represents something a little higher than mere "business" interests!

    As was posted earlier, China needs to change, especially if this is to happen....it needs to change A LOT!!!

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    Re: "Golden Week" Tests HK Disneyland's Popularity,CRI English, 2006-5-4

    Quote Originally Posted by MousekeTears'_i
    . . .

    Let's take a look at some facts here about mainland China. 1) All religious expression is suppressed and is punishable by prison a sentence, or even death. 2) Property can be (and often is) confiscated by the state at any time, without warning.
    Ok. I believe and can find evidence of this... BUT
    Quote Originally Posted by MousekeTears'_i
    .
    3) Babies are systematically murdered in front of their parents if they break the "One child per family" law, and especially if it's a girl.
    I haven't heard anything like this. This would be euthanasia if
    this is systematic. (I'm not saying that this doesn't happen; I doubt that
    this is systematic or government sponsored).

    Would you have a pointer(URL) to back this assertion?

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