Hong Kong Disneyland to Expand

Hong Kong Disneyland would expand its themed areas by a third of its current size under a plan being negotiated with Walt Disney Co., Disney officials in Hong Kong said.

Disney and the Hong Kong government have previously indicated that they plan to expand the Hong Kong park, which opened in 2005, but the parties have not until now disclosed many details.

Disney said Monday that no deal has been struck, but confirmed that the park’s size would expand by about a third. A spokesman said that some of the park’s new attractions would be unique to Hong Kong Disneyland.

In addition to the expansion in Hong Kong, Disney is also negotiating to build a new theme park in Shanghai. Disney Chief Executive Bob Iger visited both cities earlier this month. Hong Kong’s government confirmed it was discussing the plans with Walt Disney, though it said no agreements on the details of timing or implementation had been reached. “It is too early to say if the government would, or in what form, invest further” in the project, a spokeswoman said.

Hong Kong Disneyland has been plagued by subpar attendance since its opening, with complaints that it didn’t appeal enough to mainland Chinese tourists and that it is too small. In its first year open, Hong Kong Disneyland fell 400,000 people short of its target 5.6 million audience. In its second year, attendances fell to just over 4 million visitors.

Earlier this year, Disney brought in a new manager, Andrew Kam, as part of a shift to a more local approach to courting customers.

Disney officials did not disclose the price tag of the Hong Kong expansion. But Mr. Kam, speaking to reporters in Hong Kong, described it as about half the cost of a new cruise terminal in the city, which would put it at about HK$3.6 billion (US$464 million).

Chinese officials have recently relaxed more restrictions on visitors from mainland China seeking to travel to Hong Kong, something Hong Kong officials have sought as a in an effort to boost the local tourism industry.

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