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Disney increases investment in HK$10.9bn Hong Kong expansion following taxpayer complaints

Disney has addressed disgruntled taxpayers’ unhappiness over “unequal financing” in Hong Kong by injecting a further HK$350m (US$45m, €42.4m, £36.2m) into the company’s six-year, HK$10.9bn (US$1.4bn, €1.3bn, £1.1bn) facelift of its park, with the operator also promising to waive part of its management fees for the next two years.

The struggling Disneyland Hong Kong is being upgraded with Frozen and Marvel zones in an attempt to make the theme park profitable again, but with more than half the bill going to taxpayers, officials planned to veto the development unless the government could negotiate a better deal with Disney.

Addressing the issue, Disney has agreed to fund the development on a 50:50 basis with the previously agreed deal matching the shareholding structure of which the government owns 53.47 per cent of the park. In addition to the cash injection, the management fees, which range between 0 and 8 per cent of earnings will be waived for both 2018 and 2019, says Disney.

Despite the operator having already added more than US$600m (€565m, £484.5m) in new rides and attractions over the past few years, Hong Kong Disneyland failed to break even in 2016, with the park recording losses of US$22m (€20.7m, £17.6m) and a decline in visitor numbers from 6.8 million to 6.1 million. Of the 11 years the park has operated, it has recorded losses in eight of those years.

As part of the development plan, a new Marvel-themed ride will debut in 2018, as will a new complex based on Disney’s latest release Moana. The castle - currently Disney’s smallest at 77-feet-tall (23.4 metres) will be “supersized” to compete with Disney’s existing properties.

The entire themed Frozen area – to debut in 2020 – is a first for Disney parks, with the brand’s largest presence currently at its Epcot park in Orlando following its debut in June. A recreation of Arendelle, the new area at the park will feature a lake, ice mountain, two rides, shops and restaurants.

Subject to approval, construction on the six-year expansion will begin in 2018, with work scheduled to be completed by 2023.

Disneyland Hong Kong  Disney  Hong Kong  visitor attractions  theme park  Marvel  Frozen  Moana  
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Disney has addressed disgruntled taxpayers’ unhappiness over “unequal financing” in Hong Kong by injecting a further HK$350m (US$45m, €42.4m, £36.2m) into the company’s six-year, HK$10.9bn (US$1.4bn, €1.3bn, £1.1bn) facelift of its park, with the operator also promising to waive part of its management fees for the next two years. The struggling Disneyland Hong Kong is being upgraded with Frozen and Marvel zones in an attempt to make the theme park
TAW,VAT
Subject to approval, construction on the six-year expansion will begin in 2018, with work scheduled to be completed by 2023 / Shutterstock.com
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