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HK Disneyland won't cut maximum capacity
Updated: 2005-09-08 13:23

Hong Kong Disneyland said Thursday it won't cut its daily maximum capacity of 30,000 people despite complaints of large crowds and long queues from visitors during rehearsal days.

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]

Many of the 29,000 visitors who visited Hong Kong Disneyland for a charity day last weekend complained of excessively long queues to enter the park as well as to get on rides, and critics have urged Disney to reduce its maximum daily capacity, local newspapers reported.

But a Disney spokeswoman, Esther Wong, said the company is "confident we can manage peak day attendance in the future and have designed our marketing and sales plan to manage attendance at Hong Kong Disneyland throughout the year."

Earlier, Disney said it was considering extending opening hours and adding more shows at the park _ due to open Monday _ as Hong Kong's financial chief expressed concern about the large crowds when the park is operating at its capacity.

The park, a joint venture between the Hong Kong government and The Walt Disney Co., is expected to draw 5.6 million people in its first year of operation, with mainland Chinese tourists accounting for about a third of that number.

But mainland travel agents said ticket sales for Hong Kong Disneyland are poor as the long queues and expensive hotel rates are driving mainland tourists away, the South China Morning Post reported Thursday.

"We only managed to sell roughly 300 tickets during the first week after the park opens," Huang Feiyueh, executive director of Amsito Travel Service, was quoted as saying.

A survey released Wednesday by the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, also showed that about three out of 10 people who had visited Hong Kong Disneyland said they won't go back.

Wong, however, disputed the criticisms and said "we are confident that our park will be very popular."

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