Disney passes aim to lure visitors

In an attempt to lure more visitors to Hong Kong Disneyland, its management will today push out annual passes for as low as HK$370 for senior citizens and HK$460 for children.

These passes, in three categories and with prices ranging between HK$370 and HK$1,800, will be valid for between 230 days and a full year, except for so-called block-out days.

The management is hoping the passes will attract more visitors after it failed to reach its target of 5.6 million visitors in its first year of operation.

The passes will be divided into three price categories with adults paying HK$650 for weekday visits; HK$1,300 for weekdays and weekends without 25 specific days; and HK$1,800 all year round.

For children's passes, the respective ticket prices are HK$460, HK$930 and HK$1,250, while for senior citizens they are HK$370, HK$740 and HK$1,000.

Disney sold more than 70,000 summer passes over the past three months.

"Our summer passes were very successful and we feel optimistic [about the annual pass.] This is the best time to introduce them" said Josh D'Amaro, Hong Kong Disneyland's head of sales and travel trade marketing.

In addition to Hong Kong residents, the annual passes will be available to tourists from southern China, Macau and Taiwan, according to Disneyland project strategy director Josephine Lam Po-tung.

She said that in a bid to prevent a repeat of the crowd chaos during last year's Lunar New Year holiday, the number of top-priced tickets for adults and children would be limited to just 5,000.

However, Inbound Tour Operators Association chairman Charles Ng Kwong-wai said the annual passes were too expensive.

"The premium tickets should be lowered from HK$1,800 to HK$1,000 while the value ones should be HK$500 instead of HK$650," Ng said.

Hong Kong Association of Travel Agents chairman Michael Wu Sui-ieng also said the value tickets should not cost three times the normal entry fee.

He said the attractiveness of the deal for mainland or nearby tourists, who need to take up to four hours to travel to Hong Kong, is relatively low.

"Instead, they should introduce a family pass to increase the attractiveness of Disneyland," he said.

Two visitors on their second visit to the park, Flora Chow Ming-wai, 23, and Sebastian Leung Tsz-fung, 18, said they might consider buying the deluxe ticket at HK$1,300.

"The premium [HK$1,800] ticket is too expensive and we don't have to come on the specific days like the Lunar New Year, as it is likely we'll be traveling to overseas countries. And the cheapest one [HK$500] doesn't allow us to visit during the weekends," Leung said.

He added that he is likely to visit the theme park again, especially on special occasions such as Halloween.

Anyone purchasing an annual pass over the next three months will be able to enjoy a 35 percent discount for hotel accommodation and a 20 percent discount for hotel dining.

However, Chow, who works in the hotel industry, said the hotel discounts did not seem attractive. "The locations of the two hotels are not convenient from which to visit other places," she said.

A Chongqing tourist, Zhang Min, who is in the finance industry, bought a summer pass in early August.

This was her second visit but she said that, when compared with Tokyo, the Hong Kong attractions and merchandise were not suitable for adults.

Zhang said she might consider buying the cheapest ticket.

Iain McFarlane, general manager of a construction company, who has lived in Malaysia for the past 10 years, said he would not consider buying an annual pass as he does not visit Hong Kong very often. "But the prices for the annual passes are not bad," he said.


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