Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Honk Kong Disney Villain...
When it comes to Hong Kong, it's sometimes hard to tell the bad guys from the bad guys...
So who is the real Disney Villain in this story? Everyone seems to be placing all the blame on the Mouse for the decision to build the children's land, Toy Story Land. Many feel this is yet another representation of the Eisner/Pressler era and the company hasn't learned from it's mistakes.
Or has it?
To be fair, Disney has done many things right and many things wrong. Several have to do with the deal it made with Hong Kong. But believe or not, there are times when the Walt Disney Company gets blamed for something and it's not its fault. There are times when other parties are to blame. And while no party has clean hands in this case, the Mouse's hands don't have near as much dirt on them as the governing body in Hong Kong.
Let me unpack that statement for you.
For the past couple of years, the Mouse has been willing to fully pay for the expansion. To fund it entirely as it's doing since this agreement was announced. One of the main problems was for Disney to do that, the HK Legislative Council would have to give up their percentage, or the majority hold they have over the resort. This was a major sticking point during these negotiations.
The three lands that you've seen were still there, at least two. Mystic Point and Grizzly Peak, but there was no TSL. The mysterious Glacier Bay area was within this area. As others have noted, the Hong Kong government didn't like this as it was too close to the expansion of Ocean Park. The Toy Story expansion came late within the game, but if you don't like it, trust me, it's far better than some of the other ideas they had regarding themed areas. Their concept of putting attractions in had nothing to do with detailed theming and would have made the Pixar themed land look much more extravagant than it is compared to what they were willing to build. In this case the Disney company was adamant about not letting that kind of low quality seep into the companies newest park. It was a case of each party locking horns over the disappointment of very high expectations. It would have been interesting to see the addition of the expanded Pirates extension of Adventureland, but culturally the Hong Kong officials have a bias against that attraction. Oh well, I guess we'll have to wait for another "Magic Kingdom" style park to get a look at what could have been in Hong Kong.
But remember that the Hong Kong Disneyland park/resort is bent on expansion and that should include the addition of a retail/entertainment complex within the 2014/2015 time period as well. The budget for this won't be included in the park expansion, just as the hotel and Downtown Disney expansion of the Disneyland Resort are separate from the Extreme Makeover budget of DCA. These parts of the resort are also desperately needed as they keep guest from leaving the parks and hotels and spending their money elsewhere in Hong Kong. It's in the works, trust me. Should the economy not sink lower and make this implode there should be some interesting announcements in the next year.
As more details come out, I have a feeling the artwork and detail will come to win over most critics, but understand that this expansion leaves plenty of room for growth and added detail. The park will be much grander and a fuller, richer experience for the growing number of guest that walk through the turnstiles the middle of next decade. It should finally look the way it was supposed to when it opened. Far bigger, more rides.
Hopefully by then, the villains of this story will be gone or at the least have many of their arguments vanquished...