Hong Kong Disneyland will have some of the most spectacular scenery settings among all Disney theme parks in the world, said Don Robinson, group managing director of Hong Kong Disneyland, in Hong Kong Thursday.
Introducing the landscape design for the resort for the first time, Paul Comstock, director of Landscape Design of Walt Disney Imagineering, said that the first and foremost objective of the landscape design for the resort was to support the strong traditions of Disney storytelling.
"The landscaping is driven by the stories told at Hong Kong Disneyland. It serves to support and exemplify the story lines inside the theme park including a jungle, a castle, fantasy themes and a journey through space," said Comstock.
Comstock, a 14-year veteran of landscape design at Disney, said he has borrowed ancient Chinese view principles with thousands years of history in his design. The principles include view framing, view hiding and water reflection. And those designs make the Hong Kong Disneyland different from the Disney theme parks in other places of the world.
"A vast amount of Southern China native species are used including hundreds of the Chinese Banyan. As seedlings and larger trees mature, our guests will be able to see the Chinese Banyan and other Chinese native species from anywhere inside the Hong Kong Disneyland resort," he said.
With the vast array of species being planted, Hong Kong Disneyland's "storytelling themed landscape" will feature one of the largest collections of native plant species found anywhere in Hong Kong, he said.
Once the guest enters the theme park and resort, the plants, trees and flowers are pivotal in conjuring up a sense of being in unique environments. Specific plant materials are cast to "play roles" as characters in the story creating realistic and magical settings, said Comstock.
At Main Street U.S.A., which evokes a by-gone era at the turn of the 19th century, the plants are utilized to create a playfullycolorful and nostalgic landscape. Adventureland brings guests to the exotic reaches of the world where a tropical jungle dominates the theme.
In fantasyland, soft, fine textured plants with small leaves and ordered and intricately manicured hedges are used. The character meet-and-greet area, which is unique to Hong Kong Disneyland, will feature Disney topiaries in the shape of the much-beloved characters such as hippos from Fantasia, Dumbo, and Mickeymouse.
Reporting the latest construction progress of Hong Kong Disneyland, John Verity, managing director of Walt Disney Imagineering Hong Kong, said that the construction has been progressing nicely, and the construction activities will peak around the second half of 2004 when up to 4,000 workers will work on site.
Hong Kong Disneyland is targeted to open in 2005 or 2006, said Verity.
The Hong Kong Disneyland project was announced in Nov. 1999 as a venture between the Walt Disney Company and the Hong Kong government.
Its construction began in January 2003. The phase one build-out includes a projected 10 million annual visitor Disneyland-style theme park, 2,100 hotel rooms, and an area for retail, dining and entertainment.
The project is estimated to create 18,000 new jobs at opening, and the figure will grow to 36,000 once the first park reaches build-out. The Hong Kong government estimated that the first phaseof the project will generate an economic value of US$19 billion in benefits to Hong Kong over a 40-year period.
(China Daily September 19, 2003)