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Thursday, July 07, 2005

Disney officials consult feng shui experts

Disney officials consulted Chinese feng shui experts before building Hong Kong Disneyland, making changes such as tilting the site of the park several degrees and setting up “no fire zones” in kitchens, a company spokeswoman said today.

Feng shui is the Chinese belief that harmonious energy and therefore better fortune can be achieved by the correct positioning of furniture and other objects.

Other feng shui influences include the park’s orientation to face water with mountains behind, Hong Kong Disneyland spokeswoman Esther Wong said.

The park’s groundbreaking date and opening date of September 12 were picked after conferring with feng shui specialists, she said.

Feng shui experts also designated “no fire zones” in the kitchens, to try to keep the five elements of metal, water, wood, fire and earth in balance.

Wong said US-based Walt Disney Co. decided to observe feng shui because it wanted to respect local custom.

“It’s cultural considerations,” Wong said. “All the food and language in the park must follow the habits and tastes of our consumers and future guests.”

Hong Kongers tend to be westernised, but Hong Kong Disneyland is expected to draw droves of guests from neighbouring mainland China.

However, Disney’s cultural sensitivity drew a backlash recently. The park had planned to serve shark’s fin soup, a Chinese delicacy, but dropped the dish after protests from environmentalists who expressed fears about the extinction of sharks.

Hong Kong Disneyland – built on reclaimed land in the outlying Lantau island - is a joint venture between The Walt Disney Co. and the Hong Kong government, but local taxpayers are footing most of the construction bill.

Critics have questioned whether the government got a good deal. Officials have said the park will boost employment and tourism.

I guess even the most magical place on earth has a place for feng shui =)

Sam, Feng Shui Tips


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