HONG KONG DISNEYLAND
Lantau Island, Hong Kong
Walt Disney Theme Parks
---- THE LATEST BUZZ ----
(11/24/16) Ant-Man & Wasp Ride and New Castle ADDITION (MORE...)
(11/23/16) Hong Kong Disneyland Sets Major Expansion Plans Through 2023 (MORE...)
(11/11/16) Hong Kong Disneyland May Considering Replacing Their Castle (MORE...)
(11/7/16) New - Iron Man Experience Opening Date and Preview (MORE...)
General Park News - (11/11/16) I’d file this one under the wild rumor category for now, but according to WDWNT, Hong Kong Disneyland would like to tear down their castle and replace it with something bigger and more impressive. While I can see how HKDL may be having some personal jealousy over the size of their castle (a clone of the Disneyland original) when compared with the utterly massive custom new castle that the new Shanghai park received, there is little reason to move ahead with such a plan.
Sure, management can say, sure… we’ll put this project on the long list of things we would like to do at HKDL, but when the cost to do so gets compared to the budget cost of adding a new attraction instead the new attraction would win out because replacing the castle is going to have little ROI (Return on Investment) value for the park. In other words… a costly new castle isn’t going to bring more guests into the park in the way that a new attraction would, or see more income flowing into the park the way adding a new hotel would do.
Unless they can somehow build a new hotel or attraction INSIDE of a new park castle…
(11/7/16) Disney and More has posted a link to a great video showing off a look at "The Nightmare Experiment", a haunt attraction the park set up for the Halloween season that actually included Disney characters in it for the first time.
(9/12/16) A new travel update from Hong Kong Disneyland posted to LaughingPlace shows off that park's Tomorrowland, along with a couple of construction photos of the new Iron Man attraction, along with an interesting message claiming that during the visit over the summer it was the last day before the park's Autopia closed for a rehab. Jump ahead to now and it seems that the Autopia is now not even listed on the park's website or park map as well. Could Hong Kong Disneyland be planning on retiring their Autopia ride already?
(4/27/16) Screamscape source have confirmed that Hyperspace Mountain will be coming to Hong Kong Disneyland in the near future, along with a local version of the Jedi Training Academy show. I'm not sure if the later will go out into the main park, or if they will temporarily replace the Stitch Encounter show.
Jan 2017 - Iron Man Experience - (11/7/16) Hong Kong Disneyland has announced that the Iron Man Experience attraction will open to the public on January 11th, 2017. Guests will see the latest and greatest innovations from Tony Stark while waiting as they pass through the four Stark Expo halls, see Iron Man suits and technology, an Arc Reactor and more before they climb aboard an Iron Wing flying vehicle for the ride of a lifetime.
While the official opening isn’t until January 11th, Disney is known to quietly ‘soft open’ attractions several weeks ahead of the official opening date. Adding onto this, the official park website mentions that guests staying at either of the Hong Kong Disneyland official hotels from December 23rd on will get a “Priority Admission Pass” to the Iron Man Experience to shorten their wait time… except on Jan. 9th and 10th for some reason. So if I had to guess, it looks like Iron Man Experience will likely soft-open as early as December 23rd.
In the meantime you can see a preview video all about the new attraction below.
A reader has sent in pictures giving us our first preview look at the new Iron Man Experience attraction area as the construction walls have finally come down around the site. Take a look and enjoy!
Our source also tells us that the Autopia attraction sign has been removed now, adding more weight to the rumor of it being closed for good, and they noted that the park has removed the FastPass machines for Buzz Lightyear, leaving only two attractions with FastPass still in the park (Winnie the Pooh and Space Mountain) which does seem to make you question what the future of FastPass will be in the park. (Though it is possible that the Buzz Lightyear FP machines may be in the process of being re-purposed for Iron Man Experience when it opens.)
(6/30/16) A collection of new photos showing off the construction progress on the Iron Man Experience attraction at Hong Kong Disneyland was posted to Twitter.
(5/19/16) According to the Disney Parks Blog Hong Kong Disneyland's Iron Man Experience attraction has begun testing the ride experience with the on-site WDI team as overall construction on the attraction is nearing completion. No word yet on when it might be ready to open.
(10/21/15) A construction update on the Iron Man Experience attraction coming to Hong Kong Disneyland has been posted to ParkJourney this week.
(8/21/15) A few new details about the Iron Man Experience attraction were shown off at the D23 Expo over the weekend, including some early footage from the attraction that shows Iron Man battling the robotic forces of Hydra in the streets and sky of Hong Kong while you ride on-board the Iron Wing flying vehicle. From the look of things, those Hydra robots are after a giant new Arc Reactor that has been mounted to the top of Hong Kong's Stark Tower. You can see some of the early footage below.
(5/12/15) ThemeparX has some great new images from Hong Kong Disneyland this week showing off the progress on the park's Iron Man Experience ride opening in 2016, as well as a look at other refurbishment projects taking place in the park.
(3/18/15) While the railroad at Hong Kong Disneyland did reopen briefly during the busy Chinese New Year holiday, it has since closed down again and apparently will remain closed until July. Meanwhile a good collection of new Iron Man construction site pictures were posted to CoasterForce, in addition to two images a reader sent to me directly which I've added to the photo gallery.
(2/2/15) The latest word from Hong Kong Disneyland guests is that the trains were seen testing on the track again this weekend. Previously the railroad has been closed for most of the last year due to the Iron Man Experience construction taking place in Tomorrowland, but with the trains making test runs again (without passengers) the park may be ready to reopen the Railroad again in the near future. On another note, the park's castle is now undergoing what is expected to be a 5-month long refurbishment as well, hiding the top half of the castle behind themed construction barrier.
One of our reader sent in some great pictures of the Iron Man construction as well as a peek at the castle. You can see more of their pictures posted over at CoasterForce as well.
(12/30/14) Curious to see the construction site for the Iron Man Experience at Hong Kong Disneyland? Well, there isn’t too much you can see from the guest areas, but this video shot earlier this month does show off a number of very tall cranes now in the area with some fun Stark Expo themed construction walls surrounding it all with a re-confirmed 2016 opening date.
(2/20/14) Disney & More has posted a look at some new Iron Man Experience concept artwork and storyboards that were shown to the Hong Kong council a few months ago. Included is a much better look at a detailed model showing off the look of the Iron Man themed simulator ride car.
(1/28/14) Disney & More reports that the Iron Man Experience attraction will begin construction shortly after the Chinese New Year holiday is over. The site has already been cleared, and once work starts the park will be forced to shut down their railroad for the next year or so to allow for this project to get underway. They also report that Hong Kong Disneyland will also add an unknown new, non-ride style attraction in 2015 to Fantasyland. Any ideas?
(10/10/13) After thinking about it for a couple of days I guess I do agree that the enemy bots in the Iron Man Experience artwork do look like the handiwork of Hydra. Besides the basic resemblance to the Octo-Bots as seen in the Avengers animated series, and the facial markings, I noticed one other clue. While you can’t make out the perfect details of it all, if you look at the forehead area on the bots in both images, you will see a large circle emblem, I can only guess would be a version of the Hydra emblem, which was also seen on the Hydra soldiers seen in the Captain America film, where they opted to wear a very dark green and black uniform instead of the brighter green and yellow costumes seen in the comics and animation. In the one art clip the circle is even tinted red just as they are on the Hydra soldier uniforms, so at this point all clues point to Hydra as the villain.
(10/9/13) I’m told that the Iron Man Experience ride will indeed go into the same area previously envisioned for Star Tours, tucked away behind the Buzz Lightyear building across the train tracks, to the right of the Autopia entrance.
As for the enemy… the exact villain isn’t entirely known, but it has been pointed out that the robot bad rides look somewhat similar to Hydra Octo-Bots (as seen on the Avengers animated series), though most Hydra equipment ends up painted green while these are black.
(10/8/13) – Breaking News – Sometimes incredible things happen while you are sleeping… and this morning’s big surprise was the announcement of the next major new attraction coming to Hong Kong Disneyland. As rumored, Disney’s first Marvel character themed attraction will arrive in late 2016… “Iron Man Experience”.
According to the description on the Disney Parks Blog the new attraction will be placed in Tomorrowland and start off with a tour through a piece of the Stark Expo where guests will see displays showing off the progression of Tony Stark’s Iron Man armor suits as well as other Stark inventions. You will then board a ride vehicle and take flight with Iron Man on an adventure against the forces of evil that will actually take place in the streets and skies of Hong Kong itself. Following your ride there will also be an Iron Man meet & greet area to take pictures with Marvel’s famous superhero.
A quick look over the three pieces of concept artwork shown show off a large ride building and your flying ride vehicle which features a not too surprising resemblance to the Star Speeder 2000/3000 from Star Tours. The body has been modified of course slightly with extra curves and bumps and has been given a proper Tony Stark trademark red and gold paint job as well. This seems a clear indication that we will see the same Star Tours 2 style ride system installed here for the Iron Man ride… and now gives us a clear explanation as to why the previous effort to build Star Tours 2 in Hong Kong’s Tomorrowland was quietly squashed. Same ride, same location… new theme.
Now I used to be a big comic book fan in my younger days, but I never really got heavily into Iron Man, so does anyone recognize the black evil robot army Iron Man is fighting in the concept artwork? At this point I would seriously hope that Disney would use a legit and real Iron Man nemesis from the Marvel Universe and not just make something up for the sake of the ride, so if you can ID the villain here, please do let me know.
(4/23/13) In a bit of a Spin Job, the news reports that the Hong Kong city govnerment jumped the gun when they announced that a dedicated Marvel land would be built at the park. Disney Resorts Chariman, Tom Staggs has reported that Disney has yet to confirm anything about it yet and that it was just one possible option for Hong Kong Disneyland.
(2/28/13) It’s official… according to China editon of the Wall Street Journal, the Financial Secretary of Hong Kong told commented that Hong Kong Disneyland will next open a new nighttime parade AND build a new area themed to “Marvel heroes” that will be “the first of its kind in the world.”
Meanwhile our friends at Disney and More have come forward with a few more details and thoughts on the project. It was mentioned that a 7 hectare expansion area was left open for future development which is assumed to be a site behind Tomorrowland, once eyeballed for the Star Tours 2 project before that was put on hold. They speculate that we could see a Marvel Land open by 2017. From what I’ve heard there will be no Marvel rides built at Shanghai Disneyland on opening day, so handing over Marvel to Hong Kong Disneyland is a great move to give that park something unique that the Shanghai park will not have.
2017 - Disney Explorers’ Lodge - (10/6/16) Great new pictures showing off Disney's Explorer's Lodge hotel still under construction at Hong Kong Disneyland can be found here.
(7/11/16) A new aerial drone video over Hong Kong Disneyland posted to Disney & More shows off a great view not only of the park, but of the new Explorers Lodge Hotel currently under construction and set to open next year.
(2/12/16) A new update at Disney & More shows off a look at the new Hong Kong Disneyland Explorers Lodge Hotel, now under construction and set to open in 2017.
(1/6/15) A groundbreaking cerimony took place at Hong Kong Disneyland on Monday for the Resort's new third hotel, to be called Disney Explorers Lodge. Look for this 750-room resort hotel to open in early 2017. In the meantime, you can enjoy looking at some of the concept art for the new property over at Disney & More.
(5/2/14) Disney & More reports that the new resort hotel coming to Hong Kong Disneyland will be named “Disney Explorers’ Lodge”.
(2/20/14) Hong Kong Disneyland has confirmed that they will build a new on-site resort hotel by 2017. This new resort will be the biggest of the three (750 rooms) and positioned as a “luxury hotel” themed to exoctic locations from around the world. Make the jump and check out the concept artwork of the new hotel, which almost seems to have an Adventure’s Club style theme to it. Should be very interesting to see how it turns out.
(11/9/12) According to this news report the rumors about Hong Kong Disneyland’s plans to try and add more hotels are true. In fact, they may be looking a a long term masterplan to add as many as three new hotels to the resort over the next decade. The news comes with new rumors claiming that the park may actually post its first profit this year as well.
While the article does not mention this, I had also heard rumors that a Downtown Disney style area may also be pitched to link up the hotels with the park, as well as any future expansion planned to open in the years to come.
(1/11/12) Good news for Hong Kong Disneyland this week as MSNBC reports that the theme park resort has moved even closer to profitability over the past year. The resort reported a reduced loss of 237 million HK Dollars ($30.5 million US) in 2011, down from 718 million HK Dollars in 2010. Attendance was up 13% as the park welcomed 5.9 million guests, who reported a 6% increase in PerCap spending. Hotel occupancy rates also rose from 82% to 91% in 2011.
(7/26/07) While attendance at Hong Kong Disneyland is below expectations, that hasn’t stopped the Disney Resorts on site from filling up. Based on the occupancy rates at the resorts existing two resorts, HKDL is moving ahead with plans to build a 3rd hotel to fill the growing demand. The new hotel is only in long term development and wont open for several years, but is earmarked for a site between the resorts other two hotels that is currently used for “sporting activities”.
2018 - 2023 - New Expansion Plans - Confirmed - (11/24/16) Real quick... take a look long look at the artwork for the new castle coming to Hong Kong Disneyland in 2019. Go on... look here.... I'll wait. Look at the top... then look at the bottom very carefully and you may see something familiar about the bottom of the structure. Then compare that image this picture showing off what the castle looks like today.
Huge news from Hong Kong Disneyland a few hours ago as the park confirmed several new expansion plans to take place between now and 2023 that includes several new attractions and yes... that rumored new and improved castle. Lets break it down, shall we?
See it yet? If the artwork is correct, and it probably is, it seems this is not an entirely new castle but rather an "add on" to make the existing park castle look much bigger and taller. Not only is this likely to be more budget friendly, but chances are Disney may already have blueprints for this exact project already drawn up and sitting in a drawer. Why? Because several years ago when Disney was trying to come up with ideas to celebrate the original Disneyland's anniversary one of the ideas apparently floated at the time was to do this exact same thing to the original Disneyland castle.
In the end, they opted not to do this after all, especially as the Southern California crowd is very protective of Disneyland and anything that Walt himself had a hand in creating, so Walt's original castle was left alone. But since Hong Kong Disneyland received a copy of this same castle design, it makes sense that the old plans could be put to use after all. Plus it helps that Disney saves all their old and unused ideas for exactly this kind of reason, filing them away to be reviewed another day.
On another note... remember how it appears that the new theme of the Buzz Lightyear shoot-em-up dark ride may be Marvel's Ant-Man when it opens in 2018? Some were wondering why Disney would opt for Ant-Man instead of perhaps trying to make a Guardians of the Galaxy theme instead. Timing would be the answer... as the Marvel movie opening in theaters in July 2018 just happens to be "Ant-Man and the Wasp", the sequel to the first Ant-Man film.
2018 - While the Iron Man Experience opens in Jan. 2017 as the first Marvel themed attraction in a Disney park, it wont be the last. Tomorrowland seems destined to become the Hong Kong home to Marvel, and the park will "reimagine" the existing Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters dark ride into a new Marvel themed dark ride that will allow guests to fight alongside some of their heroes. Based on the artwork shown, we can see guests in a dark ride with guns shooting at robotic insects alongside Ant Man.
Also in 2018 the park will open the Adventureland Show Place, which will feature the "Moana's Village Festival" performance when it opens.
2019 - New Castle - According to the park's press release a new and completely transformed Castle and Hub area will open with built in facilties allowing it to be used for new character shows in the daytime and as part of a new nighttime spectacular show after dark.
2020 - Frozen - A new land themed to the world of Frozen will open with two new attractions. Guests can explore the kingdom of Arendelle, meet the characters, and more. While I'm guessing at least one of the attractions will be a new dark ride, the other appears like it could be a 'dancing' ice sled themed version of the Luigi's Rollickin' Roadsters attraction that opened at California Adventure in 2016.
2023 - The next phase of the Marvel rollout will open, this one will replace the Autopia with a massive new attraction that looks like it could be themed to The Avengers.
???? - Second Theme Park - Long Term Plan - (2/13/15) I'm told that Hong Kong Disneyland is hoping to push ahead with plans to build a second theme park across from the first one. This was always part of the total masterplan for the site itself, but one of our readers just returned from the park this morning where they spotted a group of height check balloons hovering over the site for the future second park early in the morning, across from the main plaza between the park entrance and fountain. Visually, the two-park set-up here would be almost identical to how Disneyland and California Adventure are set up across from each other.
Meanwhile the Disney & More Facebook page mentioned back on Feb. 9th that the Hong Kong Tourism Commission is now asking the Walt Disney Company to begin looking into plans for a second park as well now that the first park seems to be off and running well at last.