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Jeffito's Journey 2005

This blog documents my journey when I worked & lived in Hong Kong (4/5/05-12/15/05). I can’t thank my company enough for this international assignment, as it has been an experience of a lifetime! A journey I wanted to share with family, friends, and my fellow cast members. Click on any picture to enlarge. Click on the archives to see past months. Enjoy.

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Location: Orlando, Florida, United States

Just happy to be here.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

The Hong Kong Disneyland Resort Hotels

The Hong Kong Disneyland Resort Hotels By: Walt Disney Imagineering CommunicationsDate: 08/08/2005

Hong Kong is famous for its towering skyline. Its glittering skyscrapers standing shoulder to shoulder along the coastline form an unforgettable image of a modern metropolis, and the cosmopolitan hotels there offer nearly every amenity to worldly travelers. But across the harbor, the two hotels of the Hong Kong Disneyland Resort will offer amenities you can't get from 50 stories up.
"Hong Kong has so many world-class hotels with wonderful service, but most of them are high rise buildings in an urban setting," says Wing Chao, Executive Vice President, Master Planning, Architecture & Design for Walt Disney Imagineering. "So we chose to keep our hotels lower because we wanted a more friendly, less imposing scale that feels more like a resort."
The flagship property of the Resort is The Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel, a grand, 400-room Victorian palace. It's patterned after the Grand Floridian Beach Resort at Walt Disney World and The Disneyland Hotel at Disneyland Resort Paris, but, like its multi-cultural host city, this Disneyland Hotel speaks more than one "language."
The Victorian theme pays homage to the British chapter in Hong Kong's history. The clapboard siding and gingerbread outside suggest a formal atmosphere fit for a queen, but Interiors manager Anita Gonzales chose a lighter color palette for the interiors to say "informally elegant" without losing its British accent. Then, special touches such as hidden Mickeys and Tinker Bells in fabrics and fixtures add a Disney dialect.
To represent the Chinese heritage, feng shui-creating harmony by balancing the five elements: earth, fire, water, metal and wood-is ingeniously incorporated in the Crystal Lotus restaurant, with water and fire represented by brand new innovations developed at WDI R&D including a virtual koi pond-complete with computer-animated fish that scatter when guests walk on the glass screen-and some hot fire effects behind the bar.
The Disneyland Hotel is spectacular," says WDI Resort Projects Director Jim Kwasnowski. "Most buildings here reach for the sky, but this one hugs the ground as if it were carved into the site and it reaches out to embrace you. It's completely enchanting."
The 600-room Disney's Hollywood Hotel is a toast to 1930s Tinseltown, and although it may be rated a "moderate" hotel, it's definitely not modest. Sleek, Art Deco architecture and Streamlined Moderne designs using pinstripes, curves and cool combinations of fiber optics, custom lighting and stainless steel set an ultra-hip scene; and Mickey and Minnie themes on nearly everything from the artwork to the room amenities celebrate the biggest star of the era-animated or otherwise.
"The whole idea of doing Hollywood as a hotel is really an ingratiating concept," says WDI Executive Director, Principal Concept Architect Gary Hasell. "I think this is the most upscale moderate hotel we've ever done."
As impressive as these hotels are inside, the location and area development of the grounds outside will be equally appreciated. Each property sits on approximately 20 acres of prime, waterfront property-a rarity that wasn't lost on the Imagineers.
Both hotels have something that's pretty scarce at other hotels here: green space," says Gary. "There's usually little room for landscaping in Hong Kong. But we've thoroughly landscaped each property to enhance the hotel's story."
The grounds of the Hollywood Hotel are a salute to the Southern California spirit. Scaled-down versions of Los Angeles area landmarks and icons, walkways with famous La-La Land labels like Mulholland Drive and Sunset Boulevard; and a piano-shaped pool with a band shell bar are a few of the fun features that will make this hotel one big photo op for guests.
At the Disneyland Hotel, three courtyards are landscaped with rose gardens, topiaries and all that's English. In the center, a Mickey-shaped hedge maze allows kids of all ages to meander through the mouse head until they find the statue of you-know-who in the middle. The hedge is only a few feet tall, so you won't get lost in the maze, but be careful, with its breathtaking vista across the harbor, you might get lost in the view.
"I can't think of a more dramatic site anywhere," says Bob Holland, WDI Vice President, Resort Development. "We have several good sites for our hotels, but I can't imagine a better view than looking out one side to see downtown Hong Kong, and out the other to see the Park and the fireworks at night."
"Hong Kong has some marvelous hotels, but these two will stand out from the rest," says WDI Executive Director, Hotel Development Jeremy Chaston. "There's nothing like them here. The quality and the finishes are first class-from the dramatic façade of the deluxe hotel to the fun icons of the Hollywood Hotel. I'm sure they'll be very much appreciated and they're bound to bring a smile to people's faces."

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