"Golden week" tests HK Disneyland's popularity
GOV.cn Thursday, May 4, 2006

While Disneyland defending its entrance fee with promise of wonderful experience and quality service, the price factor still weighs heavy in mainland visitor's head, or at least those going to the Ocean Park only.

A tourist guide named Qian told Xinhua that most of her guests chose Ocean Park rather than Disneyland, for the latter's price ticket was "so high".

"In our place, people have a tight budget when they traveling around," said Qian from the southwestern Sichuan Province.

For the guests' opposition, Qian's travel agency has cut Disneyland from its Hong Kong tour itinerary. The guide will lead a tour to the magic kingdom only when a certain number of guests in a group agreed to pay the extra entrance fee.

A Strange Culture Called Disney

Though the price factor influenced people's choice between the two theme parks, it's not the only reason that deterred mainland tourists from visiting Disneyland.

Offering a variety of aquarium exhibition, dolphin show and mechanical games such as roller coaster, Ocean Park is a concept-clear entertainment place to most mainland visitors of any age group.

Growing up with most children in the West, Disneyland doesn't always ring a bell to people in the mainland, where cartoon and movies produced by Walter Disney Co. made its debut in the 1980's and mostly in big cities like Beijing and Shanghai.

Though already walking on the Main Street USA in Disneyland on Monday morning, Miss Gao and her nine friends from the northwestern province of Shangxi were still in a loss of what to see.

Asked what's their impression of the world-famous park, Gao and her friend said they were just beginning to feel it.

They actually turned the interview into a consultation. With Miss Gao spreading the map of Disneyland, the group of middle-aged mainland tourists asked Xinhua reporter which were the most popular sites in the park and what those tongue-twisting words such as "Buzz Light year Astro Blasters" and "Space Mountain" stood for.

Getting the mainland people acquainted with the so-called Disney culture has become the top agenda of the Disneyland "goldenweek".

Beginning with the week, the park started giving free leaflets introducing the park's facilities in simplified Chinese and running its two Broadway-style show with simplified Chinese subtitles.

The new measures were results of two recent whirlwind trips to the mainland by the executive vice-president Bill Ernest. The tripwas aimed to found out how the mainland market reacted to the brand after the Chinese New Year incident.

However, Ernest admitted that it would be a long-term and complicated task to win the recognition of the Disney culture.

"It is all about awareness-building," he told reporters at an empty Chinese restaurant in the park over lunch time on Monday.

"We need to tell them the stories....If they don't understand the stories, they don't understand the themes."

Editor: Ling Zhu
Source: Xinhua