Hong Kong Disneyland theme park recently celebrated a major milestone – welcoming its 100 millionth guest! The Chen family, a family of five and huge Disney fans, were surprised during their visit and presented with a certificate and gift hamper to commemorate the occasion. Hong Kong Disneyland first opened its gates on September 12, 2005, making history as the first Disney theme park in China. Built on 310 acres of reclaimed land in Penny’s Bay on Lantau Island, the park brought the magic of Disney to the region.
History of the Park
The opening of Hong Kong Disneyland was the result of a joint venture agreement signed in 1999 between the Government of Hong Kong and The Walt Disney Company to develop Disney’s first theme park in China. Construction began in 2003 on reclaimed land, with the grand opening occurring just two years later. The initial park featured classic Disney attractions like “it’s a small world” and the Jungle Cruise, as well as newer favorites like Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters. The lands were themed to Main Street U.S.A., Fantasyland, Adventureland and Tomorrowland. The park also incorporated Chinese cultural elements and traditions into its design, entertainment offerings, and seasonal celebrations.
Over the years, Hong Kong Disneyland has continued to expand. Major expansions have included Grizzly Gulch, Mystic Point, and Toy Story Land. Most recently in 2023, the World of Frozen opened – the first “Frozen”-themed land at any Disney park, featuring attractions like Frozen Ever After and Wandering Oaken’s Sliding Sleighs. In its 18 years of operation, Hong Kong Disneyland has welcomed over 100 million guests from around the globe. This makes it one of the most popular theme parks in Hong Kong and a top tourist destination. However, its attendance numbers still pale in comparison to larger Disney resorts like Walt Disney World and Disneyland. For example, Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World welcomed over 20 million guests in 2022 alone – five times more than Hong Kong Disneyland’s record attendance of 4 million in that same year. And even fellow Asian parks like Tokyo Disneyland and Shanghai Disneyland see higher volumes annually.
Regardless, crossing the 100 million visitors mark is a testament to Hong Kong Disneyland’s popularity and the special place it holds for both local residents and tourists. With the recently added World of Frozen and more expansions in development, the park is likely to keep growing its attendance in the years ahead. The Chen family’s visit on the milestone day turned into a magical and memorable birthday celebration for the family’s mother. After being surprised in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle, they explored the new World of Frozen attractions before ending their day with a special character dinner at the resort. As Hong Kong Disneyland sets its sights on the future, perhaps it will be welcoming guest number 200 million sooner than expected!