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Hong Kong Disneyland Resort grand opening features tradition, music, and Disney magic

Against the dream-come-true backdrop of Sleeping Beauty Castle and the natural grandeur of the green Lantau Island mountains, Hong Kong Disneyland officially brought the fun and excitement of a Disney theme park to Hong Kong on Monday September 12 with a spectacular grand opening.

The ceremony began with a colorful display of spinning parasols which parted to reveal children welcoming the spectators in English, Cantonese and Putonghua. Classical Chinese tradition joined with Disney heritage as the ceremony continued with the 100-voice Hong Kong Children's Choir, dazzling Chinese acrobats and dancers, and Disney ambassadors representing all of the Disney theme parks worldwide - Hong Kong, Tokyo, Paris and the United States.

Centerpiece of the ceremony was a traditional Lion Dance ritual in which the Lions were "brought to life" when their eyes were dotted with brushes and red ink by Michael D. Eisner, Walt Disney Company Chief Executive Officer; Robert A. Iger, Walt Disney Company President, Chief Operating Officer and CEO-elect; Zeng Qinghong, Vice-President of the People's Republic of China; and Donald Tsang, Chief Executive of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR Government).

"Hong Kong Disneyland stands before us as a living symbol of the creativity and imagination that are the heart and soul of Disney," said Eisner. "With a spirit of goodwill and friendship, we invite the people of Hong Kong, China and all of Asia to share in the magic, imagination and soaring spirit of Disney."

"We hope Hong Kong Disneyland will be a beacon," said Iger, "reminding us that no matter the language of borders, humankind can accomplish great things when we work together, especially when we can show the world that imagination is alive, that fantasy can be reality and that magic happens."

In welcoming Disney to Hong Kong, Tsang observed, "The arrival of the world's most widely recognized and best-loved theme park in Hong Kong will allow us to provide visitors from all over the region with a fun-filled and diversified experience . We warmly and wholeheartedly welcome the Disney family to Hong Kong."

Two Disney theme park anthems were sung by the Hong Kong Children's Choir: "It's a Small World" in English and "One" in Cantonese, and the final ribbon-cutting was performed by Eisner, Iger, Zeng and Tsang, and observed by Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and singer and Hong Kong Disneyland spokesperson Jacky Cheung.

The Monday Grand Opening of Hong Kong Disneyland Resort was preceded by a weekend preview for business and government leaders and such celebrities as Eason Chan, Emil Chau, Jacky Cheung, Andy Hui, Brad Kane, Coco Lee, Paige O'Hara, Lea Salonga and Joey Yung who spent Sunday enjoying the themed lands of Hong Kong Disneyland Park.

The vacation resort on Hong Kong's Lantau Island is a joint venture of The Walt Disney Company and the Hong Kong SAR Government. It includes two intricately detailed hotels - the Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel and Disney's Hollywood Hotel - with breathtaking views of the theme park and the South China Sea, along with a public recreation area with a sparkling lake and arboretum.

Following the ceremony, Hong Kong Disneyland Resort opened its gates for thousands of waiting guests. The Opening Day crowd enjoyed a full day of entertainment including encounters with such famous Disney characters as Mickey Mouse, Winnie the Pooh and Cinderella, as well as adventures on such classic Disney attractions as Jungle River Cruise, Mad Hatter Tea Cups and Space Mountain. Other highlights in Hong Kong Disneyland include live Broadway-quality entertainment, distinctive Disneyland gifts and souvenirs, and flavorful Asian and Western cuisine in a variety of restaurants and cafes.

Walt Disney's philosophy that Disneyland would "never be long as there is imagination left in the world," extends to Hong Kong Disneyland, where work is already underway on Autopia, a new Tomorrowland attraction where guests of all ages can drive electric cars along the highways of tomorrow. The new adventure is scheduled to open in 2006.

Source: Hong Kong Disneyland Press Release

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