Hong Kong Disneyland starting to take shape
Hong Kong Disneyland Thursday celebrated a milestone in its construction by placing the top-most turret upon the tower of Sleeping Beauty Castle in a ceremony, signaling that the first Disneyland in China is on schedule to open by late 2005 or early 2006.
Hundreds of guests including government officials, business and community leaders, and Disney employees gathered at the Hong Kong Disneyland construction site in Penny's Bay on Lantau Island for the first time since the park's ground-breaking in January 2003 to witness the moment.
Hong Kong Disneyland group managing director Don Robinson said the classic Sleeping Beauty Castle will be the centerpiece of Hong Kong Disneyland.
In less than two years of construction, Hong Kong Disneyland is starting to take shape. The external structures of many of the attractions and buildings are becoming visible.
The site has been heavily landscaped, helping to create a Disney-themed environment. According the design, when Hong Kong Disneyland opens, there will be more than 250,000 annual flowering plants and 15,000 canopy trees.
Currently, there are approximately 5,000 workers on site. Sculptors, landscapers, painters and other artisans also are working on site.
The Hong Kong Disneyland project was announced in November 1999 as a venture between The Walt Disney Company and the HKSAR Government. The opening day program for Hong Kong Disneyland will include a Disneyland-style theme park and two hotels.
The Phase I build-out includes a projected 10 million annual visitor Disneyland-style theme park, 2,100 hotel rooms, and an area for retail, dining and entertainment.
The project is estimated to create 18,000 new jobs at opening. It is estimated that the first phase of the project will generate an economic value of US$19 billion in benefits to Hong Kong over a 40-year period.