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Disneyland talk is of magic not profits for now

Beatrice Siu

Monday, January 21, 2013

For the first time in seven years, Hong Kong Disneyland can stop focusing on profits and move towards its aim of becoming the best theme park in Asia.

According to media reports, Disneyland may earn its first profit since it opened in 2005.

Vice president of operations Noble Coker said the park's financial report will be released soon but he did not elaborate. However he said he is happy with the performance and pledged there will be no compromise on quality as more attractions come on line.

Coker has spent more than 15 years with Walt Disney Co.

In 2002, he joined Hong Kong Disneyland saying he was the "second best man" for the position.

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When asked about the turnaround in profits, Coker replied cautiously: "Once it improves, Hong Kong people will have confidence [in us] ... Now we can move the focus away from profits and look to the future."

Decisions taken in 2007 and 2008 to expand the theme park, despite the losses, are now paying off.

Another new attraction - The Mystic Point - will open in the summer.

Looking at the innovations over the past seven years, Coker said one of the main achievements is the online ticketing system.

"I called my friends in the United States and asked them to buy tickets online," he said.

Everything went through smoothly until a friend called to say he was unable to buy a ticket with his MasterCard. "That got us working overtime. It took five to six hours to get everything fixed before we went online."

The second most fulfilling experience is the first evening of the park's opening.

On the negative side is the overcrowding during the new year holiday of 2006.

Coker said he saw the frustration on the faces of children who were locked out and he helped them enter the park.

Negative comments made about the park are "painful" and "hard" but he has vowed to himself that "I won't leave here until everything is fixed and the park is running smoothly."


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