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Hong Kong Disneyland Breaks Ground!

The groundbreaking for Hong Kong Disneyland, the first Disney theme park in China was held on January 13, 2003. Hong Kong Disneyland is being built in partnership with The Walt Disney Company and the Hong Kong government, is scheduled to open in 2005/06. Against a backdrop of Lantau Island's mountains, the waters of Penny's Bay and a facade of the soon-to-be-built Sleeping Beauty Castle, the honorable Tung Chee Hwa, chief executive, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China, Michael D. Eisner, chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company, and Robert A. Iger, president of The Walt Disney Company, addressed an audience of more than 400 guests. Hong Kong Disneyland will sit on a 310-acre site on North Lantau Island and will include a Disney theme park, two hotels, and retail, dining and entertainment venues. Over the past 18 months, the Hong Kong Government has been completing land reclamation and building the preliminary infrastructure and road work that will support the entire Hong Kong Disneyland resort. Walt Disney Imagineers have been working on the theme park for the past two years with preliminary designs taking place at Imagineering's headquarters in California. In addition to preparing for the initial phases of theme park construction, Hong Kong Disneyland's operation team is actively hiring locally for key management positions over the next six months to build the organization that will run the theme park resort. Additional hiring of cast members, Disney's term for employees, will take place throughout the next few years, with the vast majority of hiring up to 5,000 cast members taking place by the end of 2004. The project is estimated to create 18,000 new jobs at opening, growing to 36,000 once the first park reaches build-out.