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Hong Kong Disneyland plans $1.4 billion expansion

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The Walt Disney Co. announced plans for a $1.4 billion expansion at Hong Kong Disneyland.

The company’s first venture into the Chinese market opened in 2005 and never thrilled locals. The plan signals Disney’s commitment to the theme park’s success by adding more attractions to lure bigger crowds.

“We are more excited than ever about the future of Hong Kong Disneyland,” said Bob Chapek, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. “This proposed expansion brings the best of The Walt Disney Co. to this wonderful tourist destination, giving guests an experience only Disney can deliver and infusing some of Disney’s most beloved characters and stories into this unique destination.”

The new attractions mirror many of the most successful ventures stateside. There will be a larger fantasy castle, the Iron Man Experience ride will open Jan. 11 and the 750-room Disney Explorers Lodge will be the resort’s third hotel when it opens in the first half of next year. A “Frozen” land is slated to open in 2020 and a Marvel expansion will arrive by 2023.

The Walt Disney Co. will foot 47 percent of the bill, or $650 million, and the Hong Kong government will pay 53 percent, or $750 million.

The youngest of seven children, Terry O. Roen followed two older brothers into journalism. Her career started as a reporter for the Orlando Sentinel, where she wrote stories on city and county government, schools, courts and religion. She has also reported for the Associated Press, where she covered the Casey Anthony and Trayvon Martin trials along with the Pulse massacre. Married to her husband, Hal, they have two children and live in Winter Park. A lifelong tourist in her own state, she writes about Central Florida’s growing tourism industry for Florida Politics and Orlando Rising.

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