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Disneyland’s $60B expansion means parks in Hong Kong and Shanghai are only getting bigger

Now that Chinese tourists are venturing abroad again after the pandemic, the new World of Frozen attraction is meant to be a game changer for a theme park that has run losses for years

Disney
Visitors stands in front of the Castle of Magical Dreams at Hong Kong Disneyland, China October 13, 2023.TYRONE SIU (REUTERS)

Hong Kong Disneyland opened its first Frozen-themed attraction on Monday, with thousands of eager visitors turning up to experience the new rides, some lining up for hours to get an early start. Based on Disney’s wildly popular Frozen animation film, the new section of the park features landscapes and characters from the movie and two new rides, a roller coaster and a boat ride that takes visitors through different scenes featured in the film.

“Over the past decade, the film has grown into one of the most successful franchises in Disney history,” said Josh D’Amaro, chairman of Disney Experiences. “World of Frozen represents Hong Kong Disneyland’s largest and boldest expansion since the park opened in 2005.”

The opening comes after Disney announced in September a $60 billion expansion of its parks and cruises over about a decade. Now that Chinese tourists are venturing abroad again after the pandemic, the new attraction is meant to be a game changer for a theme park that has run losses for years.

Some of the hundreds of Disney fans who lined up hours ahead of time were dressed like characters from Frozen.

Disney enthusiast Bryan Darmanic, who had travelled from California with his wife and daughter, were among the first visitors to the Frozen-themed roller coaster and received limited edition souvenirs to commemorate the experience.

“The World of Frozen is really well-designed and beautiful,” said Darmanic, whose family was making its first visit to the Hong Kong theme park.

Winnie Ip, a tourist from Macao, said she arrived at 9 a.m. in the morning ahead of the opening of the Frozen section. The Frozen attractions were “magnificent,” Ip said. Hong Kong has been beefing up the park to try and draw more visitors. In June 2022, it debuted its Momentous multimedia and fireworks show, which is staged at its castle on most nights.

Elsewhere, Disney plans to launch a Zootopia-themed area at its Shanghai Disneyland in December, a Fantasy Springs port at Tokyo DisneySea next spring and a Frozen-themed Kingdom of Arendelle at Disneyland Paris, slated to open in either 2024 or 2025.

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