FOR THE FIRST TIME IN NOVEMBER……HONG KONG DISNEY WORLD OF FROZEN, BUT MORE EXPENSIVE

On September 8, 2023, Hong Kong Disneyland officially announced that the world’s first “Frozen” themed ‘World of Frozen’ will open to the public starting on November 20 this year.

The plaque has already been put up at the entrance to ‘World of Frozen’. Photo credit: Yian Chen

A Brand New Frozen World

The new World of Frozen is based on the Walt Disney Animation Studios’ films “Frozen” and “Frozen II,” which grossed $1.28 billion and $1.45 billion, respectively, at the worldwide box office. As of September 2023, “Frozen II” is the highest-grossing animated film of all time, with “Frozen” coming in third.

For many, the opening of World of Frozen has been highly anticipated. Selina Shen, an avid “Frozen” fan said: “It [World of Frozen] has been under construction for so many years. Initially Disney scheduled to open it in 2020, so I’ve been waiting for forever and I’m dying to go for a visit.”

According to Hong Kong Disneyland, World of Frozen brings to life a number of iconic “Frozen” movie scenes, including but not limiting to the North Mountain, with its peak as the highest point in Arendelle; the Ice Palace where Elsa unleashes her icy powers freely for the first time; and Arendelle Castle, home of the royal family.

The tip of the North Mountain can already be seen from certain angles in the park. Photo credit: Yian Chen

Disney Imagineers, in collaboration with Disney Animation Studios, spent more than three years conceptualising and designing in order to bring the films to life. It has also been promised by Amanda Chiu, a senior producer at Walt Disney Imagineering Asia, that the ride “Frozen Ever After” in World of Frozen will feature Walt Disney Imagineering’s state-of-the-art Audio-Animatronics® figures.

According to Hong Kong Disneyland, there will be two new rides in the area, one of which will be a redesigned version of the “Frozen Ever After” attraction at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando. It would take the form of an indoor scenic boat ride, where iconic scenes and characters from the movie will be enacted by Audio-Animatronics® figures. The second is “Wandering Oaken’s Sliding Sleighs”, a family-friendly roller coaster that will take riders on a picturesque journey around the North Mountains. There will also be a walk-through attraction, “Playhouse in the Woods”, where character encounters will be available.

“Wandering Oaken’s Sliding Sleighs” is a new family-friendly roller coaster ride added to the World of Frozen. Photo credit: Hong Kong Disneyland
Video credit: Hong Kong Disneyland

Increased ticket prices

However, amongst all the excitement, some questioning voices have arisen. On September 19, Hong Kong Disneyland announced a new 1-Day ticket option coming into effect starting from September 20, 2023, adding a new ticket tier to its multi-tiered 1-Day park admission ticket.

The new ticket tier 4, which is being introduced for the most popular days and seasons, will be set at HK$879 for General Admission (ages 12-64) and HK$659 for Children (ages 3-11) while the most expensive peak day ticket before the introduction was HK$799 for General Admission and HK$599 for Children.

Additionally, Hong Kong Disneyland is also bumping up the price for its Magic Access annual pass, increasing the price by HK$90 to HK$400, depending on the different types of annual pass.

Many have expressed their displeasure with the steep ticket prices.

Mariah Lam, a mother of a six year old and who holds Disney Magic Access annual pass said: “It’s a small park with limited rides, and the quality of the parades and performances have been going downhill for quite a while, yet they still raise the prices. My pass expires in early November, before the opening of the new World of Frozen, but I don’t plan on continuing it.  I was looking forward to the new World of Frozen, but now, not even Elsa herself can change my mind.”

“It doesn’t feel nice when they force people to pay a higher price simply because they’re opening up a new area. It feels quite commercialised and not at all dreamlike,” added Lam.

A spokesperson for Hong Kong Disneyland Resort commented on the new prices: “The resort is committed to continually launching new and amazing offerings and elevating the guest experience at HKDL, as our tickets continue to reflect great value.”

In 2022, the park lost HK$2.1 billion, which was already a 12 per cent lower deficit than 2021. For the past eight years, the park has continuously remained operating in deficit. Under these circumstances, the opening of World of Frozen could very well be an important drawcard for Hong Kong Disneyland.

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