Disneyland after dark
Hong Kong theme park creates an unprecedented experience with a massive food spread and DJ party, writes Keith Chan.
The International Trademark Association's (INTA) 136th annual meeting grand finale took place at Hong Kong Disneyland Resort in May with 4,000 guests.
The event featured a launch ceremony at Grizzly Gulch, a standing dinner buffet spread across the park's three latest themed areas - Toy Story Land, Grizzly Gulch and Mystic Point - a dessert buffet in Fantasyland, and the first-ever DJ party in front of the Sleeping Beauty Castle. There was continuous entertainment throughout.
Challenges and measures
Challenges arose from the scale of the event and the sharp increase in guest numbers - from 3,000 to more than 4,000 on the day of the event, which made it unfeasible to host dinner at one location. Other challenges included getting guests in and out of the park smoothly and ensuring an extensive variety of cuisines to accommodate eating habits and preferences.
As the first business event that would be hosted across four themed lands and with a party in front of the castle, the grand finale was a new experience for the park.
To accommodate guest numbers, the park opted to spread dinner and dessert across four themed lands and to make it a standing affair. The culinary team created an impressive spread catering to different tastes and dietary requirements.
Entertainment was woven into crowd control. Cast members were stationed at the entrances and exits of each themed area to keep guests flowing from one place to the next. Announcements were also made to encourage guests to move along, while eight Disney Friends helped draw the crowd towards the castle area for the dance party.
For these arrangements to work seamlessly, the park had to ensure everyone was kept informed. Bi-weekly internal meetings were held, and a master event file was created. The team did a mock-up of the event setting two months beforehand and included all partners in a final run-through a week before.
The finale/networking event delighted and thrilled INTA's guests, who enjoyed having the park to themselves. "Everybody is very happy about it. We chose Hong Kong Disneyland because we thought our members would really enjoy it," says Etienne Sanz de Acedo, CEO of INTA.
"It's an opportunity to meet friends and to have fun together. Hong Kong is a great venue, and Hong Kong Disneyland is a magical place."