Taking the Mickey
September 05, 2005
Hong Kong Disneyland sounds as if it will be great. Two articles from Friday's SCMP offer some reasons. First Bernard Chan's account of a visit to the park:
Hong Kong people who are worried that the new Disneyland represents only western culture can relax. After attending a rehearsal day last weekend, I can assure them they will feel very much at home when they visit the new theme park.
First of all, they can expect Causeway Bay-style crowds, as the first phase has capacity for just 29,000 visitors. During the parade down Main Street USA, you simply cannot move.
Also, it seems that visitors are being very "canny", to use the expression that the SCMP employed in their headline on another story, based on the experiences of Disney managers after a series of rehearsals:
- Hongkongers can't get enough of taking photographs. But they don't want to pay for them and will photograph the monitor image of the Space Mountain ride, for example
- Parents will also photograph their children standing next to a balloon seller but won't buy a balloon
- At the Mad Hatter Tea Cups, they will get out just before the ride starts to take photographs, causing the ride to stop automatically
- Groups occupy a table in a restaurant for the whole day as a base camp for their trip
I can hardly wait...
The article just about sums up everything I loathed about HK people's selfish habits. It's unlinkable so I've done a cut and past for you:
Few can match the ingenuity of thrifty Hong Kong people when it comes to finding ways of getting the most bangs for their buck at a Disney theme park, according to experiences drawn by Disney managers after a series of rehearsals.
At any of the popular Mickey Mouse entertainment venues around the world, visitors enjoying the rollercoaster rides can often be seen observing the action afterwards on a monitor and snapping up professional photographs of all the fun.
Not for local fans of Hong Kong Disneyland, however. They have found a way to get the pictures for free: they use their own cameras to photograph the monitor image.
A popular free photo opportunity also exists by the balloon stand. Local fans have no problem sending their loved ones and children to stand by the balloon seller for a quick snapshot but have a big problem when it comes to buying a balloon.
They also have no qualms about capturing important moments on film, even if it means interrupting a ride. At Space Mountain, just before the ride begins, people get out of their barricaded seats to take pictures. The breach automatically halts the ride.
The same happens at the spinning Mad Hatter Tea Cups, where passengers disembark from their individual cups to take snaps, only to set off the safety mechanism. To prevent the situation from escalating, the park will place a stationary cup by the queue in the hope passengers will satisfy their camera cravings before going for a spin.
"Taking photographs is just phenomenal in Hong Kong," said group managing director Don Robinson.
Meal times are largely dictated by the parades, which occur at 1.30pm and 3.30pm. This means the roughly two-hour period in between is crunch time for the theme park's catering staff, who can only churn out 10,000 meals an hour. The park can accommodate a maximum of 30,000 people.
"Everybody eats at the same time and this puts a lot of stress on our operations," Mr Robinson said.
He said one possible solution was to extend the period between the parade times.
The lunch crowd often hangs around in the restaurant after their meal and some customers continue to occupy their tables, which they use as their base camp for the day.
On average, Hong Kong visitors spend 9.3 hours at the park, with many arriving early and leaving late. The average in the US is eight hours.
Mr Robinson is considering extending the park's operating hours and this has already been planned for the busy Mid-Autumn Festival.
He said bookings were coming in and that two firms had inquired about taking over the park for a day of staff activities.
Posted by: zhaunjia | September 05, 2005 at 04:21 PM
The original execution chamber at Stanley Prison has been relocated to the entrance, spruced up and is now on display. It is free for all to see.
Allowing for the minibus fare from Causeway Bay to the prison gates, the execution chamber is superior, educationally-speaking, to anything Disneyland has to offer. For instance it is not based on fantasy.
Another spot on the must-see list is "the Zoo" in Pokfulam on Victoria Road. That was where the Brits kept the animals (communists). The tortue rooms and execution chambers are pleasantly juxtaposed to stunning views of the seaside. This too is all educationally free but only if one unauthorisedly creeps in unnannounced.
A fortune awaits a concessionaire of "Anti-disneyland in HK: torture and capital punishment". Children would be welcome. And there would be little trouble with parking because there is none.
Posted by: gunlaw | September 05, 2005 at 05:17 PM
I don't see the point tof Disney managers complaining about tourists in HK disneyland. Good strategy to piss off your customers. Sure HK ppl are annoying and have different habits but Disney should cater to their clients and make arrangements to fit their customers' need instead of mocking them. They're paying a lot to get into that park.
As to the mentioned problems. The Main Street is crammed? Maybe that lane is too narrow in the first place and they should have longer parade times and route. Ppl occupy tables? Introduce rules and aske them to leave or have a open seating area with benches where they cans spend the day.
The communication between Disney and HK doesn't seem to be great right now. Ppl are mad for Disnyey's recent capacity test and even HK celebs say negative things about Disney. If the HK gov didn't invest do much in that project I wouldn't care if it goes down like Euro Disney. Disney is making a lot of cash out of mainland tourist and HK ppl so they should check their PR before damaging their image.
Posted by: vicky | September 11, 2005 at 05:54 PM