Hong Kong Disneyland will be the first Disney theme park to assemble superheroes from the Marvel Comics universe, announced the Hong Kong government on Feb. 27.
As part of its ongoing expansion plans, Hong Kong Disneyland (HKDL) will add an area dedicated to the Marvel superheroes.
“In the coming few years, Hong Kong Disneyland will launch a new night-time parade and put in place a themed area featuring ‘Marvel heroes,’ the first of its kind in the world,” noted Hong Kong Financial Secretary John Tsang in the 2013-14 budget. “These new projects will be funded by the Disneyland’s operating surplus.”
Detailed information on the Marvel area or its projected opening date has not been released.
HKDL is the smallest of the Disney theme parks, and is jointly owned by the Hong Kong (52%) and The Walt Disney Company (48%).
HKDL has struggled to increase attendance among tourists from mainland China. The reasons, according to The Wall Street Journal, are twofold: its key demographic isn’t interested enough in Disney characters to travel to HKDL, and the resort competes with Ocean Park, a Sea-World style attraction also located in Hong Kong.
Adding an area focused on Marvel heroes would hopefully attract older and more affluent guests to HKDL.
Ever since The Walt Disney Company acquired Marvel Comics in 2009, fans have speculated where and where the characters would show up in the Disney theme park.
Disney itself has acknowledged plans to introduce Marvel characters in the theme parks approximately one year ago at its annual meeting of shareholders. Bob Iger, chairman and chief executive officer of The Walt Disney Company, told attendees that preliminary work had been done:
“We’re working on some concepts,” Iger said. “It’s our hope that in a few places around the world, Marvel characters will appear either in attractions or lands or in some form to provide entertainment, like our Disney characters do.”
Fan speculation that HKDL would be the first Disney theme park to get Marvel superheroes intensified following the resort’s announcement last week, with HKDL posting its first annual profit once the resort opened in 2005.
The company attributed the HK$109 million net profit to “timely expansion, strong sales and marketing strategies, and effective cost management.”
Those expansions include Toy Story Land opened in November 2011 and Grizzly Gulch opened in July 2012. Mystic Point, a land unique to HKDL, is scheduled to open in mid-2013 and approximately one year ahead of schedule. A third resort hotel is also being planned.
In talking about the resort’s profits, HKDL managing director Andrew Kam suggested additional expansion was under consideration.
“HKDL is committed to the continuous improvement of the guest experience and resort expansion. We remain focused on being the premier vacation, entertainment and convention resort destination in the region, and we believe the continued expansion of the HKDL Resort will further strengthen the competiveness of Hong Kong’s tourism industry, benefitting the community as a whole.”
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