LP Lotion: Hong Kong Disneyland - Main Street
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Welcome to Hong Kong Disneyland
It is likely that as you read this article and view the photographs that the fifth Magic Kingdom is welcoming its first official guests at the very first Rehearsal Day ahead of the Grand Opening on 12 September 2005.
Last week Lindsay and I were privileged to be guests of Hong Kong Disneyland as we prepared Issue 4 of Tales from the Laughing Place magazine that will be dedicated to this first beachhead in China. In subsequent articles we shall explore the three other lands of the first park at the resort and the two hotels.
Main Street USA
If you have ever visited Disneyland in southern California the entrance to Hong Kong Disneyland will be eerily familiar. The train station is identical bar the elevator installed at the Town Square entrance to the attraction. Town Square is complete with the facades that were seen by guests in July 1955 at Walt's original Magic Kingdom. Imagineers revisited the original blueprints and illustrations for Main Street USA and used these as the basis for their newest park. Even a nod to the Bekin's Storage Company can be found between the Firehouse and Emporium. The space by the parade step-off is also empty as it was originally in Anaheim.
Hong Kong Disneyland has designed a whole series of new attraction posters for the park (including brand spanking new ones for attractions already in existence). Unfortunately these were not in place last week at the ticket booths and under the train tracks. This was to prevent theft. LaughingPlace.com will feature them later in this series about Hong Kong Disneyland.
Two twin sets of stained glass windows face Town Square. CEO Michael D. Eisner shares space with CEO-elect Robert A. Iger above the Emporium whilst Walt Disney Parks & Resorts President James (Jay) A. Rasulo and WDI Executive Vice-President Wing Chao are honoured above the Camera Center. The only other windows in place last week was one above the Bank dedicated to the cast of the Hong Kong Disneyland Resort and a beautiful nod to the Disney Brothers above the Firehouse (where Walt's apartment is at the original park).
The Opera House was originally to be a third party retailer but from Opening Day it will feature an exhibition about the creation of Disneyland to introduce Hong Kong Disneyland guests to the history behind the original park. The building immediately between the Opera House and the Bank of Anaheim is called John Hench Building and is just one of numerous tributes to imagineers past, present and future that are scattered throughout the park.
The Main Street Cinema has been turned into a jewellery shop run by Chow Sang Sang one of the most famous jewellers in the region who produce some beautiful gold Disney necklaces, bracelets, rings and ornaments. The fifty year relationship with Arribas Bros. continues with this fifth resort in the form of the Crystal Arts and Silhouette Shops on Main Street.
Much of the photography is self-explanatory. A few points to note are the wrought-iron cover on the left side of Main Street USA (a late addition due to the weather) and the attraction's animated windows in Emporium (apologies for the glare but it was an exceptionally bright day in the park when the photos were taken!) At the head of Main Street guests will encounter the signature restaurant for the park namely Plaza Inn presented by Maxim's and Main Street Corner Cafe. Plaza Inn is based on the Californian original but the interiors are anything but the Victorian decadence visible from the hub. Here a middle-class family travelled to China and was so amazed by the place that they decided to recreate the atmosphere, decor and cuisine of the country back on Main Street USA. The interiors are sumptuous with Mushu motifs and beautiful illuminated paper balloon fishes in the centrepiece.
Next time we will journey to Tim Delaney's newest vision of the future Tomorrowland.