August opening for HK Disneyland
As many as 30,000 people will visit Hong Kong Disneyland on its opening day, with as many as one-third coming from the mainland, Commissioner for Tourism Eva Cheng said this at a press conference yesterday.
The highly anticipated theme park will be opened in phases, leading to its grand opening on September 12, she said.
The phased opening will help the theme park, public transport operators and the departments involved in the initial familiarization period coordinate and adjust their services, government officials said at the same press conference.
A 3.5-kilometre train line from an existing MTR station will be opened, again in phases, from August to carry visitors to the park. And the government will start inviting guests to test the park's facilities from August 16.
Chen said: "Hong Kong Disneyland is a milestone in our tourism development. The arrangements for its phased opening and associated facilities at Penny's Bay aim to ensure a smooth and well-coordinated opening."
During the first phase, starting in early August, the Disneyland Resort Line (DRL) between Sunny Bay Station and Disneyland Resort Station and a section of the Park Promenade, linked to the Disneyland Resort Station, will be opened to the public.
Cheng said crowd control measures during this period would be a one-way flow arrangement at Disney Resort Station, managed jointly by police, the park management and MTR.
Contingency measures would be implemented when necessary and that could include suspension of train services to Disney Resort Station. In such an event, messages warning people not to proceed towards Disneyland would be broadcast at Tsing Yi MTR station.
During phase two, August 16 to September 11, Disneyland and its hotels would be open only to invited guests and franchised buses and taxis will start services to and from the park.
Also, officials said the park's employees would escort the visitors to Inspiration Lake Recreation Centre, a major attraction at Penny's Bay. Visitors' entry would be suspended once the facility is packed to its capacity of 5,000 people.
The boat and bicycle rentals would not be opened in the early part of the second phase, for commencement of these services would be determined by the volume and pattern of visitors.
Phase three, starting on September 12, will comprise the grand opening of the park and its hotels to the public.
"For a smooth and orderly opening of the Hong Kong Disneyland on September 12, the government has devised a communication strategy and contingency plan to ensure that both the general public and the visitors are well informed of the operation sequence and the facilities and services opened and provided in each phase," Cheng said.
A communications systems, including a Joint Command Centre to coordinate the park's opening, would be set up to ensure an effective and swift response.
Lantau District Police Commander Keith Lau said the joint command centre would be set up at Penny's Bay Police Post with representatives of Tourism Commission, Transport Department, MTR and Hong Kong Disneyland to monitor activities in the area.
"Police would be the coordinators of the centre, with nine new constable positions created to man the police depot and perform mobile patrol in the area," he said.
Various channels to keep the public updated would be in place - including websites of the Tourism Commission (www.hkdisneyland.gov.hk), Transport Department (www.info.gov.hk/td/) and the Hong Kong Disneyland (www.hongkongdisneyland.com) as well as enquiry hotlines and information booklets.
A communication plan with key messages during each phase will enable people to plan their trip carefully, Cheng said.
"The familiarization period will last more than a month. We strongly encourage members of the public to take time to plan their visit, and make good use of the communication channels to gather important information such as new transport services and opening hours," she said. Built on reclaimed land on Lantau Island, the theme park is a joint venture between the Walt Disney Company and the Hong Kong government. The park's opening is expected to provide a welcome boost to employment and tourism.