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The Cheapest, Emptiest, Happiest Place on Earth

The Cheapest, Emptiest, Happiest Place on Earth
Jeff Edwards

The Hong Kong Disneyland Resort may be the “happiest place on earth,” but the wildly successful theme park isn’t immune to the sharp downturn in tourism in the region caused by months of sometimes violent pro-democracy demonstrations which have resulted in transportation disruptions and safety concerns.

Now might be a great time for bargain hunters to plan a trip to Hong Kong Disneyland. Theme Park Insider reports the tourist attraction is offering a number of unheard-of low promotional rates for admission. As an added benefit, there won’t be much need to purchase an express pass to avoid waiting in traditionally long lines. A recent CNN report paints a picture of a near-ghost town at the normally packed Disney resort.

Images of theme park visitors sitting by themselves in the famous It’s a Small World boats (which normally accommodate dozens of guests) along with pictures of empty cafes and stores make clear that the resort is feeling the effects of a sharp downturn in tourism. Disney executives have confirmed that recent political upheaval in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region has hurt business.

“We have seen an impact from the protests,” Disney CEO Bob Iger told BBC News in August. “There’s definitely been disruption. That has impacted our visitation there.”

Disney isn’t the only tourism-dependent business to be impacted by anti-government protests in the region which have dragged on since March. Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) was ordered closed twice in August. Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific Airways says passenger numbers have plummeted over the busy summer tourist season, forcing the airline to drop flights and consolidate operations.

In fact, the number of visitors to Hong Kong has been on a downward trajectory since shortly after the protests, sometimes leading to violent clashes with police, starting in the spring. The strain on tourism has only gotten worse throughout the summer and there is little sign that tensions between activists and government officials will abate anytime soon.

“The travel trade has reported that the number of forward bookings in August and September dropped significantly,” a Hong Kong Tourism Board spokesperson told the BBC, citing a double-digit percentage drop in visitors.

 

To read more about what it’s like to visit or live in Hong Kong right now, check out this forum thread on the topic.

View Comments (2)

2 Comments

  1. all168

    October 1, 2019 at 10:14 am

    at this time, really not recommend to go, if you are very familiar with this place, in case of emergency, you know where to avoid the trouble spot, the trouble spot could be anywhere, there are lots of real protester, fake protester, real police, fake police around, everyone covered with either musk or helmet, wait for this protest to calm down, i’m sure price will stay low for a while since a lot of businesses are losing a lot of business and they really need tourist to keep them running.

  2. downinit

    October 2, 2019 at 5:44 am

    Having been to just about every Disney park, I absolutely adore HK Disney as one of my favorites precisely because it is so relaxing and laid back. In the four times I have visited, the park has never been packed or miserable, which is precisely what can ruin a trip to Anaheim, Orlando, or Tokyo. They have a few very unique rides that are a must do, and food is the best of all the parks, with a great selection of food from across Southeast Asia.

    It is worth mentioning that HK Disney is more or less in the middle of nowhere and not far from the airport. So one could easily take advantage of the rock bottom airfares to HK and enjoy a trip to the park, without ever setting foot anywhere near Hong Kong, Kowloon, or anywhere else where the protests are happening. It would be fairly easy to combine HK Disney and Macau into a trip, if one is afraid of venturing into the city. The only real concern for HK Disney is if the train gets shut down. Taxis are cheap and abundant, so getting between the airport and the park would not be too much of an issue. The real concern is if the employees cannot get to work or call in sick to protest. That said, they would likely keep the park open, just cut back on the live shows and parades if there was a major issue.

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