Feng Shui In Disneyland

hong_kong_disneyland.jpg

These days, people in many countries are learning to adopt Feng Shui principles for their homes and corporations………..even Disneyland is being “Feng Shui-ed” for properity in Hong Kong. The following is an excerpt from The International Herald Tribune way back in 2005, when the Hong Kong Disneyland was built :-

Disney bows to feng shui

Asian culture gets role at Hong Kong park

In building the new entrance to Hong Kong Disneyland, Walt Disney executives decided to shift the angle of the front gate by 12 degrees.

They did so after consulting a Chinese feng shui master, who said the change would ensure maximum prosperity for the park. Disney also put a bend in the walkway from the train station to the gate, to make sure the flow of positive energy, or chi, does not slip past the entrance and out to the China Sea.

Following the advice of a feng shui master is one of many steps Disney executives have taken at the park to reflect Asian culture – and make sure they do not repeat some mistakes of the past.When Disney opened Disneyland Paris in what had been a sugar beet field near Paris in 1992, the company was roundly criticized for being culturally insensitive to its new European neighbors. In Hong Kong, Disney is including ritual incense burning as each building is finished, and it has picked what it was told is a lucky day, Sept. 12, for the opening.

The financial stakes are high: international growth is a key part of Disney’s expansion efforts. China is expected to become one of the world’s largest tourism destinations in the next 15 years, according to the World Tourism Organization. That bodes well for Disney, as Hong Kong itself is already in the top 15.

“It used to be Disney was exported on its own terms,” said Robert Thompson, a professor of popular culture at Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York. “But in the late 20th and early 21st century, America’s cultural imperialism was tested. Now, instead of being the Ugly Americans, which some foreigners used to find charming, we have to take off our shoes or belch after a meal.”

The dazzling visual effects and nods to cultural differences at Hong Kong Disneyland may seem like just marketing measures. One of the park’s main ballrooms, sure to will be used for Disney’s popular weddings, measures 888 square meters because 8 is a number of fortune, said Wing Chao, master planner for architecture and design for Walt Disney Imagineering.

In Chinese, 4 is bad luck, because it is pronounced like the Chinese word for death, so there are no fourth-floor buttons in the elevators at the Art Deco Hollywood Hotel, or other hotels in the park.

Cash registers are close to corners or along walls, where their placement is believed to increase prosperity. And in the park’s upscale restaurant, Crystal Lotus, Disney has installed a virtual koi pond where virtual fish dart away from guests when they walk on a glass screen.

The pond is one of five feng shui elements in the restaurant, including wood, earth, metal and fire, which glows on a screen behind bottles in the bar.

“We could not have real fire because of the fire code,” Chao said.

After the debacle at Euro Disney and, closer to home, problems with attendance at the California Adventure park in Anaheim, it is easy to understand why Disney would take such pains.

“I don’t know anything about fire and kitchens and where fire belongs and what doesn’t,” said Jay Rasulo, president of Disney’s theme parks and resorts.

Tourists sniffed at California Adventure when it opened in 2001, saying it looked more like a shopping mall than a theme park. In recent years, Disney added, at considerable expense, the Tower of Terror thrill ride and an attraction based on the animated film “A Bug’s Life.”

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