A full decade after Walt Disney Co.’s animated musical Frozen became a worldwide box office phenomenon — and the soundtrack to the lives of parents with young children everywhere — the first theme park attraction dedicated to the film is set to open its doors Monday at the Hong Kong Disneyland Resort.
The delayed takeover of the internationally beloved IP is expected to drive more profits for Disney’s lucrative, newly renamed Experiences group, which includes its theme parks, cruise lines and consumer products businesses.
The launch also underscores the role the Asia-Pacific region will play in Disney’s recently announced plans to “turbocharge growth across our parks and experiences business,” as CEO Bob Iger spoke on the company’s fourth-quarter earnings call earlier this month. In September, Disney said it would spend $60 billion over the next 10 years to expand its parks and cruise lines — nearly doubling its investment in the sector over the past decade.
Among Disney’s portfolio of six theme park resorts around the world, Hong Kong Disneyland is perhaps the one most in need of a boost. The park, which is jointly owned by Disney and the Hong Kong government (the government owns a slight majority), has reported losses for the past eight financial years and turned a profit in just three years since its opening in 2005. A number of significant headwinds in the past few years, including Hong Kong’s 2019-2020 pro-democracy protests and sharp declines in mainland Chinese tourism, followed by the city’s prolonged border control policies during the pandemic.
“[World of Frozen] It will completely transform the footprint of this theme park and bring a whole new set of fans and families to the franchise,” Disney Experiences chairman Josh D’Amaro said in an interview Thursday. The Hollywood Reporter.
The chief executive added that he visited the new one Frozen attraction earlier in the day with filmmaker Jennifer Lee, co-creator and director of the film. Frozen movies. “To see him walk into that space and, frankly, be completely overwhelmed and blown away by what he’s seen — that’s a big thing,” he said.
D’Amaro said Disney is positioning itself in Hong Kong as its first global destination Frozen land because he “knew guests in Asia and Hong Kong wanted it” and “we just saw a huge opportunity to do it here”.
Hong Kong’s Frozen World recreates a number of iconic scenes from the films, including North Mountain, Elsa’s Ice Palace, Arendelle Castle, the Friendship Fountain and the Clock Tower where Anna dances with Prince Hans. The area also has three main attractions: Frozen Ever After, a family-friendly boat ride that immerses guests in the music and world of the films; Wandering Oaken’s Sliding Sleighs, a high-speed rollercoaster with views of Arendelle; and Playhouse in the Woods, a high-tech interactive show featuring Anna, Elsa and Olaf.
Business at Hong Kong Disneyland is already picking up ahead of the new attraction’s grand opening next week. In its quarterly earnings report on Nov. 8, the company said revenue rose more than 100 percent to $441 million, driven by higher attendance and higher ticket prices at its international branch of the Experiences division in Shanghai and Hong Kong. Local parks in California and Florida.
“We’ve seen really nice growth here as the borders have opened, flights have continued to arrive and visas have become easier to obtain,” said D’Amato of Hong Kong. “With the addition of this new land, it’s going to open people’s eyes that this is a place for them to come now. That’s why we have great expectations here.”
Disney had already announced several major expansions of its overseas parks and cruise lines before unveiling its $60 billion spending plan for the next decade. Following the Frozen World Opening in Hong Kong, the long-planned a Zootopia-Themed area at Shanghai Disney Resort in December, Frozen Kingdom attraction at Tokyo Disney Resort in Spring 2024 and more Frozen-Arendelle-themed Kingdom at Disneyland Paris in 2024/2025. Disney first launched cruise lines in Australia and New Zealand in October, and thanks to the popularity of the first sailings, the company recently introduced expanded sailings to the two countries for 2024 and 2025. A Disney Cruise Lines seaport is also planned. Singapore in 2025 — a first in Southeast Asia. In its most recent full fiscal year, Disney invested $5 billion in its parks, resorts and cruises.
D’Amato declined to say how much of the upcoming $60 billion in spending was earmarked for domestic and more international projects in Asia.
“All sites are doing pretty well today,” he said, referring to Disney’s parks in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Tokyo. “We’re going to continue to invest there, and I think it can be augmented by other experiences outside of those three theme parks.”
Disney has also set massive domestic expansion goals, but those ambitions may ultimately depend on forces beyond its control. The company wants to redevelop the land next to the original Disneyland in California, but that would require the city of Anaheim to change a policy that limits where such attractions can be built. The city is scheduled to vote on Disney’s proposed rule changes in late 2024. Disney has previously said it will spend $17 billion over the next decade to expand Walt Disney World in Florida, but those goals are uncertain amid the company’s high-profile legal challenges. feud with state governor Ron DeSantis.