Disneyland and Ocean Park are two major theme parks in Hong Kong. As two must-go amusement parks, price increase were announced by both parks in November and December 2015. While Disneyland increased its price by 8%, Ocean Park had an 11% increase. Different voices were heard from Hong Kong netizens and Mainland netizens on the topic.
A downfall for Hong Kong
When Hong Kong Disneyland first announced its price increase in November 2015 it created a huge buzz across the internet, mostly commenting on related articles. Most Hong Kong netizens see Disneyland as a focus for tourists and is inconsiderate of local communities. As Shanghai Disneyland opening date approaches, both Hong Kong and Mainland netizens believe that there will be a significant downfall for Hong Kong Disneyland and the price increase would be the last opportunity for the park to perform well. As the ticket price reaches HK$539, Tokyo Disneyland, Shanghai Disneyland, and even Ocean Park become the top choices for Hong Kong netizens. It is obvious that price is netizens’ main concern and they would rather spend a little more to travel across the border for Disneyland or go to Ocean Park for free on birthdays.
The Other Side of Hong Kong Disneyland
However, a professor at the Nicholson School of Communication, Jonathan Matusitz, supports Disneyland by pointing out that Hong Kong Disneyland has made its effort to integrate itself into the community. The Hong Kong Disneyland ticket price was initially lowered following the Asian Financial Crisis and SARS epidemic. In another words, the price increase would be baby steps to bring the price point to Disneyland’s average. In the beginning Disneyland realized that the themes were not attracting Mainland visitors because they were not familiar with the habit and culture. As an effort to please Mainland visitors, Chinese culture was added to many aspects of the park. For example, Mickey was dressed in Red Mao suit and buildings were altered to fit the belief of Feng Shui (the ancient Chinese study of arrangements).
Hong Kong or Shanghai?
On February 3, 2016, Shanghai Disneyland announced its ticket prices at RMB370 (about HK$438) on non-peak days and RMB499 (about HK$591) on peak days. In another words, Shanghai is the cheapest Disneyland in the world on non-peak days, yet more expensive than Hong Kong Disneyland on peak days. Hot debate on the Disneyland topic rises once again between Hong Kong netizens and Mainland netizens after the announcement, mostly commenting on related articles. While Mainland netizens laugh and say that “nobody will go to Hong Kong this time”, Hong Kong netizens reply by saying “Thank you shanghai, Hong Kong Disneyland is ours again”. Two different voices were observed among Hong Kong netizens with one preferring Shanghai Disneyland regardless, and another saying it’s time to support Hong Kong Disneyland. Some netizens prefer Shanghai Disneyland because Hong Kong Disneyland is way too small and boring. Interestingly, the decrease of Mainland visitors becomes the priority for those who support Hong Kong Disneyland and the heavy price seems to be forgotten.
As more details on Shanghai Disneyland is yet to come, netizens’ preference between Shanghai and Hong Kong is expected to change with every new announcement. With less than 4 months to go, it will be interesting to see what Shanghai and Hong Kong will do to attract their new target visitors.