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Hong Kong Disneyland Opens

Hong Kong Disneyland officially opened on Sept. 12, 2005. The grand opening ceremony began with a colorful display of spinning parasols which parted to reveal children welcoming the spectators in English, Cantonese and Putonghua. Classical Chinese tradition joined with Disney heritage as the ceremony continued with the 100-voice Hong Kong Children's Choir, Chinese acrobats and dancers and Disney ambassadors representing all of the Disney theme parks worldwide Hong Kong, Tokyo, Paris and the U.S.

Centerpiece of the ceremony was a traditional Lion Dance ritual in which the Lions were "brought to life" when their eyes were dotted with brushes and red ink by Walt Disney Co. ceo Michael Eisner, coo/ceo-elect Robert A. Iger, vp of the People's Republic of China Zeng Qinghong and chief executive of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Donald Tsang.

"Hong Kong Disneyland stands before us as a living symbol of the creativity and imagination that are the heart and soul of Disney," said Eisner. "With a spirit of goodwill and friendship, we invite the people of Hong Kong, China and all of Asia to share in the magic, imagination and soaring spirit of Disney."

"We hope Hong Kong Disneyland will be a beacon," said Iger, "reminding us that no matter the language of borders, humankind can accomplish great things when we work together, especially when we can show the world that imagination is alive, that fantasy can be reality and that magic happens."

In welcoming Disney to Hong Kong, Tsang observed, "The arrival of the world's most widely recognized and best-loved theme park in Hong Kong will allow us to provide visitors from all over the region with a fun-filled and diversified experience We warmly and wholeheartedly welcome the Disney family to Hong Kong."

Two Disney theme park anthems were sung by the Hong Kong Children's Choir: "It's a Small World" in English and "One" in Cantonese, and the final ribbon-cutting was performed by Eisner, Iger, Zeng and Tsang, and observed by Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and singer and Hong Kong Disneyland spokesperson Jacky Cheung.

The Monday Grand Opening of Hong Kong Disneyland Resort was preceded by a weekend preview for business and government leaders and such celebrities as Eason Chan, Emil Chau, Jacky Cheung, Andy Hui, Brad Kane, Coco Lee, Paige O'Hara, Lea Salonga and Joey Yung.

The vacation resort on Hong Kong's Lantau Island is a joint venture of the Walt Disney Co. and the Hong Kong SAR Government. It includes two intricately detailed hotels the Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel and Disney's Hollywood Hotel.

Following the ceremony, Hong Kong Disneyland Resort opened its gates for thousands of waiting guests. The Opening Day entertainment included encounters with such famous Disney characters as Mickey Mouse, Winnie the Pooh and Cinderella, as well as adventures on such classic Disney attractions as Jungle River Cruise, Mad Hatter Tea Cups and Space Mountain. Other highlights in Hong Kong Disneyland include live Broadway-quality entertainment, distinctive Disneyland gifts and souvenirs, and Asian and Western cuisine in a variety of restaurants and cafes.

Work is already underway on Autopia, a new Tomorrowland attraction where guests of all ages can drive electric cars along the highways of tomorrow. The new adventure is scheduled to open in 2006.

Hong Kong Disneyland Resort employs 5,000 cast members. The HKSAR government estimated the first phase of the project will generate a present economic value of HK$148 billion (US$19 billion) in benefits to Hong Kong over a 40-year period.

The project was announced in 1999 and construction began in 2003.

For additional information, call (852) 1830-830 or visit www.hongkongdisneyland.com.

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Rick DeMott
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