Hong Kong Disneyland turns one

Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Gooffy and the rest of the gang turned the dreams of Asian children into reality when Disney opened its first theme park in Hong Kong in September last year.

Now celebrating its first anniversary, Hong Kong Disneyland gives local and foreign visitors more reasons to visit the park as it introduces the Summer Pass.

Since one visit is certainly not enough to explore Hong Kong Disneyland, the Summer Pass gives visitors UNLIMITED access to the park until Sept. 28.

Guests can now visit the theme park at their leisure and explore all its three wonderlands — Adventureland, Fantasyland and Tommorowland — with over 20 rides and shows.

Main venue is Main Street, U.S.A., a replica of a small American town in the late 1800s. It features a city hall, opera house, emporium, railroad station and a fire department.

"The Summer Pass promo is one way of thanking our guests for their continued support. The promo was introduced to the public last July, the start of summer in Hong Kong. We’ve been getting good feedback from parents," said Susan Chan, publicity director.

With the Summer Pass, working parents need not worry about looking after their children. They can just leave them at the park while they go to work and pick them up later.

Priced at HK0, the Summer Pass is only a hundred dollars more expensive than the regular adult’s one-entry pass.

The good news is that guests who’ve already purchased the one-entry ticket can still upgrade their tickets and turn it into a Summer Pass at the gate before they leave the park (if they wish to visit Disneyland repeatedly before Sept. 28) by simply adding HK0.

A Summer Pass holder is entitled to unlimited access to Disneyland facilities and other perks.

Last month, Summer Pass holders had a grand time at the Summer Pass Fantasyland Extravaganza as the park extended its operation hours (Tuesday and Friday) from 8:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.

They also got a chance to meet their favorite Disney characters up close. They had a heyday taking pictures of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Beauty and the Beast, Hercules and Toy Story, to name a few.

Upon presentation of the Summer Pass, cardholders can buy the limited edition Summer 2006 commemorative pins at Professor Porter’s Trading Post in Adventureland.

Available in four designs, the three designs which came out in July and August were already sold out.

"The fourth design will be available on Sept. 18. Summer Pass holders who can complete all four commemorative pins will get a complimentary display case for the pin set," announced Susan.

Although this is the smallest of the five Disneylands, more attractions will be added to Hong Kong Disneyland in the near future.

In fact, it just opened three new entertainment facilities in Tomorrowland last July 13, Disneyland invited members of the press to try out the new attractions: UFO Zone, Autopia and Stitch Encounter.

In the UFO Zone, the guests get to play with colorful and oversized UFOs or Undeniably Fun Objects and get each other wet with water guns and squirters. So, remember to bring a raincoat or extra clothes if you want to try the UFO Zone. Or you can buy a new shirt from Disneyland.

Autopia, "the highway of Tommorowland" enables guests to drive into the future with sleek electric cars powered by Honda.

"It’s one of the most popular rides because kids get to drive their parents. And there’s no driver’s license needed! Anyone can drive it, as long as their height is 1.37 meters or over!" Susan said.

For four minutes drivers cruise around manicured byways decked with lush greenery and "bottle trees" (trees shaped like bottles).

Stitch Encounter takes guests to a Space Traffic Control (STC) tour, the center of the galaxy where all space traffic is monitored. The tour goes until the host/tour guide is interrupted by Stitch, the blue, fluffy alien known as "Experiment Number 626" in a borrowed spaceship.

NOTE: Stitch was first introduced to the audience in 2002 in the Disney movie "Lilo & Stitch."

"Stitch Encounter is a 12–minute show that utilizes the latest real-time computer graphics animation technology that allows guests to interact with Stitch in real–time conversation," explained Susan.

"That’s why the show is never the same twice because it is unrehearsed and is based on the guests’ interaction."

During our visit, Stitch identified one of the male guests as a fugitive in their planet. The man couldn’t defend himself since Stitch was quick enough to flash his ID on the screen complete with his picture. Now, that’s what you call high tech!

"The show is really fun…One time I watched the show with my manager Anita Lai and her sister who was celebrating her birthday that day. Stitch learned about her birthday and so, he asked everybody to sing her a birthday song…" related Susan.

Stitch Encounter is offered in English, Cantonese and Putonghua.

Hong Kong Disneyland rewards the top 20 Summer Pass holders who’ve visited the park the most times throughout the promo period (July 1-Sept. 28).

Each winner will be entitled to an over-night stay at the Kingdom Club Suite at the Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel.

This Victorian–style hotel featuring towering turrets, red–shingle roofs and breathtaking gardens lets guests to experience a luxurious life back in the late 1800s, only with 21st century amenities.

What’s more, each winner gets four admission tickets to the park and a complimentary breakfast at the Kingdom Club, a high-tea set at the Grand Salon and Character dinner at the Enchanted Garden restaurant.

Winners will be announced on Oct. 20 on Hong Kong Disneyland’s official website: www.hongkongdisneyland.com



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