Hong Kong legislative council approved today the Hong Kong Disneyland expansion plan...but the government insists to build Toy Story land, and claims that the concept art disclosed last month were not the final version.
Right now the president, Mr. Kam, is doing his press conference, and i will let you know about it later as soon as infos will be available.
Edited 5.05 PM Paris Time: According to my D&M Correspondant in Hong Kong "In his press conference, Andrew Kam welcomed the result of the council's approval. The content of the press conference was "really crap", but they hang behind him new concept arts of the three lands.
It seems that Mr. Kam did not really know the timeline of the opening of the new attractions, he just said the design is still in progress. When asked when the first new land will open, Andrew Kam answered it would be 2 and 1/2 year from now, while claimed the construction work will begin later this year.
So strange that they are not going to build TSL as soon as possible to fill the gap without new addition of rides in 3 and 1/2 years."
So, it seems that NEW renderings were shown this morning. I'll try to check this and if i can find images to post them here.
Edited 3.10 PM Paris Time: Reuters press agency confirms that HK lawmakers approved the $468 mln Disneyland expansion. Here is Reuters text:
HONG KONG, July 10 (Reuters) - Hong Kong lawmakers approved a government plan on Friday to spend HK$3.63 billion ($468 million) expanding the city's Disneyland theme park with Walt Disney (DIS.N), boosting the smallest of Disney's five resorts.
With attendance falling short of targets, the government has been seeking ways to boost the number of visitors in the long term, given the threat from a rival Disney theme park planned for Shanghai.
Hong Kong will convert a significant amount of its HK$6.89 billion outstanding loan to the park into equity, while Walt Disney will invest HK$3.5 billion to help finance the construction cost and also convert its outstanding HK$2.76 billion loan to the theme park into equity. [ID:nHKG53329]
After Disney's new investment and Hong Kong's debt-to-equity swap, Hong Kong's stake in the park will fall to 52 percent from 57 percent. (Reporting by Nerilyn Tenorio and Alison Leung; Editing by Dan Lalor) ($1 = HK$7.75) (End of Reuters text)
Edited 4.47 Pm Paris Time: here is the new Hong Kong Disneyland official announcement:
The Hong Kong SAR Government and The Walt Disney Company Applaud The Legislative Council’s Approval of the Hong Kong Disneyland Expansion Plan
The Hong Kong SAR Government and The Walt Disney Company (TWDC) today applaud the Legislative Council’s approval of the financial arrangement relating to the Hong Kong Disneyland (HKDL) expansion plan. Three new themed areas will be added to HKDL, bringing the total number of attractions, entertainment, and interactive experiences at the resort to over 100 by 2014 and further establishing Hong Kong as one of the world’s premier international family tourist destinations.
Financial Secretary, Mr John C Tsang commented that, "HKDL, as an important tourism infrastructure, has brought substantial economic benefits to Hong Kong. With the proposed expansion and realignment of the financial arrangements, we believe that HKDL would rise up to the keen competition in the region on the tourism front, attracting more family visitors from round the world. This will generate streams of benefits to our tourism and related sectors, further reinforcing the tourism industry’s contribution as a major pillar of Hong Kong’s economy."
"We are pleased that the financial agreement relating to the HKDL expansion has been approved and we are eager to begin work on this exciting new chapter for Hong Kong Disneyland," said Jay Rasulo, Chairman of Walt Disney Parks & Resorts. "This substantial investment represents our continued commitment to and confidence in Hong Kong Disneyland and solidifies our partnership with the Hong Kong government helping assure the resort’s long-term success."
He continued, "This expansion will further enhance HKDL’s position as a world-class family tourist destination, provide immediate and long-lasting benefits to Hong Kong and add unique and thrilling new experiences for our Guests."
The new offerings, designed to significantly add to the overall Guest experience at HKDL, are expected to open in phases over a five year period. Work is expected to commence later this year, spurring the local Hong Kong economy by creating more than 3,700 jobs in terms of man-years in Hong Kong from 2009 to 2014, including 850 expected within the first year of construction. After the completion of the expansion, the project will continue to serve as a major economic driver with HKDL adding approximately 600 new positions, and bringing the total number of HKDL Cast Members to more than 5,500.
Two of the three new themed areas, "Grizzly Trail" and "Mystic Point," will be exclusive to HKDL for the first five years after their respective openings. The third, "Toy Story Land," will be exclusive within Asia for the first five years after opening.
Under the approved plan and current business projections, TWDC would contribute approximately HK$6.25 billion in new capital and debt conversion and the Hong Kong Government would convert a like amount in debt principal and interest. The Hong Kong Government would retain the majority ownership of 52 percent in the joint venture and TWDC would own the other 48 percent.
(End of HKDL text)
Also, you may remember that in the "Glacier Bay" case - see previous article - the proposed land was banned by Hong Kong officials because of the similar "Polar Adventure" land currently being built at Ocean Park, Hong Kong other theme park, partly owned by....hong Kong Government.
No Glacier Bay artwork is available, but i found for you some concept-arts of this future Ocean World's Polar Adventure, so at least we can have a look to the rival project. Click on the image below to see it in big size.
Picture: copyright Ocean World
Text: Copyright Reuters.com