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Hong Kong Disney Misses Attendance Target

September 5, 2006 By: Dan Butcher Travel Agent

Hong Kong Disneyland all but acknowledged it will miss attendance targets for its first year of operations, following a slow start and marketing challenges, The Wall Street Journal reports. The first Walt Disney Co. park in China had received "well over five million guests" since last summer, said the park's managing director, Bill Ernest. Avoiding repeated questions from reporters about the company's publicly stated target of 5.6 million visitors by Sept. 12, he said the park will reach that total later this month or in October. The park's first year has been a roller-coaster ride for Disney. It opened amid a swirl of public-relations glitches and faced serious difficulty controlling crowds during the Chinese New Year holiday. Most of the time, though, Disney's problem hasn't been too many visitors, but too few. Park officials have been tight-lipped about performance, irking some legislators in Hong Kong's government who questioned why the city paid $417 million, on top of $1.74 billion in infrastructure costs, for a 57% stake in the operation. Disney paid $314 million for its 43% stake in the venture.

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