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Hong Kong Disneyland, Disney's 11th theme park, opens to general public

Disney's newest resort and theme park Hong Kong Disneyland will open to the public today, September 12, 2005.

The opening comes after months of challenges and public relations problems that have troubled the small park.

Protestors have criticized Hong Kong Disneyland for its initial plan to serve shark fin soup, its treatment of stray dogs near the resort, its refusal to use environmentally-friendly fireworks, and its treatment of its cast members.

Recent soft openings for Hong Kong Disneyland have also shown that the park, with its limited space and ride capacity, can quickly become overcrowded with hours-long lines for rides and restaurants.

Hong Kong Disneyland is the Walt Disney Company's fifth Magic Kingdom style park, which was first popularized by Disneyland in Anaheim, California - now celebrating its 50th anniversary.

Hong Kong Disneyland is most modeled after the California original, from its Sleeping Beauty Castle - a replica of Disneyland's - to its Main Street, USA buildings. However, the park only has four themed lands - Main Street, USA, Adventureland, Fantasyland, and Tomorrowland, and only one roller coaster, Space Mountain.

Critics say that the park doesn't have enough attractions, and some who attended the park's soft openings complained that the lines were too long because the park couldn't handle so many people.

Hong Kong Disneyland has refused to accept a recommendation that the park reduce its maximum park capacity, insisting that the park can handle the crowds. Disney plans to add more rides and shows in the park's second phase of construction.

The coming weeks will reveal the progress of Hong Kong Disneyland and whether Disney's new theme park and resort will be a success.

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