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Youth getting excited about HK Disneyland
By Wang Zhuoqiong (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-09-03 07:21

High earners and young people from the Chinese mainland are the most enthusiastic groups for visiting Hong Kong Disneyland, after it fully opens on September 12, according to a recent survey.

Hong Kong Disneyland commenced a month of "Rehearsal Days" on August 16, 2005, leading up to the theme park's grand opening on September 12. Rehearsal Days are a Disney tradition at its parks and resorts around the world and present an opportunity for Cast Members (Disney parlance for employees) to hone their roles to create the most magical guest experiences when the Vacation Kingdom officially opens. Specially invited guests enjoy the park during Rehearsal Days. [Reuters]

"We've found residents in the key cities on the Chinese mainland to be enthusiastic about travelling to Hong Kong for Disneyland," says Glen Murphy, managing director of ACNielsen China, which released the survey results on Thursday.

"The park will give an additional touch of glamour to the territory, which is better known as a 'shopping Mecca,'" Murphy said.

ACNielsen surveyed 1,500 residents in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou on their awareness of the opening of Hong Kong Disneyland and their intention to visit the theme park.

About three quarters of those surveyed had heard of its opening and about a third said they were considering a visit.

If and when they do, they should all have as much fun as Zhu Shuzhen, who visited the park last week.

Zhu, a 24-year-old interpreter from Guangzhou who earns about 4,000 yuan (US$493) each month, said the trip was full of excitement and surprise.

"All my childhood dreams came true at the park," she said. "I was screaming and playing like a 5-year-old kid.

"The park is a vivid reflection of Western culture, with every attraction involving a fairy tale and every souvenir embodying a cartoon character."

Like Zhu, residents in Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong Province, show the most enthusiasm about visiting Disneyland.

Up to nine in 10 Guangzhou people surveyed said they had heard about the opening of the park, and more than 55 per cent expressed an interest in visiting it.

By comparison, 74 per cent of Shanghainese said they were aware of the opening, and 22 expressed an interest in visiting.

In Beijing, 67 per cent said they were aware of the opening, and 20 per cent were thinking about a trip.

Another finding was that high-income respondents said they would probably pay a visit soon.

Nine out of 10 with monthly household incomes of over 5,000 yuan (US$616) said they had heard of the opening. More than 40 per cent plan to go, and 17 per cent will visit in September and October.

Also, not surprisingly, the survey said respondents aged from 15 to 34 have a stronger intention of visiting. But for young people with lower incomes, it may take more time and effort to realize their dream.

Li Zhifei, 24, a Guangzhou clerk with a monthly salary of around 2,000 yuan (US$246), said she is saving up.

"The room rates are the biggest concern since I have to stay overnight," Li said.

According to the park's website, the price of a night at the Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel ranges from HK$1,000 (US$128) to HK$1,600 (US$205).

What's more, potential crowding immediately after the launch and during the National Day holiday in October is a worry for mainlanders.

Zhu, who missed the fireworks display last time, said she will definitely return to the park but not at the peak time.

"To go to the park during a holiday is not a wise decision. There will be crowds everywhere," she said.

"I will faint if I have to wait in queues for three hours in the scorching sun."

(China Daily 09/03/2005 page1)

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