Hong Kong Disneyland is aiming to complete its ambitious expansion plan by 2014, according to reports in China.
The park is aiming to open several major new areas in order to allow it to compete effectively with the recently announced Shanghai Disneyland, which will open in 2014 at the earliest. The Hong Kong government, which owns 57% of the park, hopes to increase annual attendance from 4.5 million to 8.4 million by 2015 following the expansion.
The expansion will increase the size of Hong Kong Disneyland by 20%, and includes three new "lands". These are:
- Grizzly Trail - Similar to the Frontierland areas seen in other Disney parks, this land will be themed around the fictional frontier town of Grizzly Gulch. This will feature a Big Thunder Mountain-style runaway minetrain rollercoaster called Big Grizzly Mountain Coaster. It will include a backwards section along with a launch section midway through the ride, plus a number of animatronic bears along the route.
- Mystic Point - A "haunted" location featuring Mystic Manor, a dark ride that is similar in concept to Disneyland's Haunted Mansion. Located nearby will be The Adventurer's club, a themed restaurant featuring a collection of artifacts from around the world.
- Toy Story Land - an area aimed at younger children containing several flat rides (a similar area is due to open at Walt Disney Studios in Paris). These will include a Slinky Dog-themed flat-ride, a "parachute drop tower" based on the Green Army Men, and a kiddie rollercoaster themed after RC Racer.
Grizzy Trail is expected to open in 2012, with the other two lands following in 2014. Disney is set to invest $452 million into the expansion, while the Hong Kong government will convert part of its initial loan to the park into equity.
Disney insists Shanghai Disneyland will not compete with the Hong Kong resort, which is expected to continue to attract customers from southern China. However, last week's approval of the Shanghai project by the Chinese government was widely seen as bad news for Hong Kong Disneyland. The Shanghai park will be over 3 times the size of the current 296-acre Hong Kong site.
You can keep up to date with the latest confirmed and rumored opening dates for new attractions over at Theme Park Tourist's "New Attraction Watch" section.