Magical Mystic Point

Magical Mystic Point

Disneyland awaits with an eye-popping brand-new attraction

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Mystic Manor, in Hong Kong Disneyland, is packed with stunning visuals.
Mystic Manor, in Hong Kong Disneyland, is packed with stunning visuals.
Photo: AP
A man's voice cries out: "Don't touch the music box, Albert! Don't ...!"

Before he can finish his sentence, wind starts to swirl and your trackless carriage begins to jerk about in what seems to be a home library.

It's the library of Lord Henry Mystic, an adventurer who collects rare treasures and stores them at home. His magical music box is said to have the power to bring things to life. Albert the monkey - Lord Henry's adorable furry travel companion - just cannot keep his hands off it.

Suddenly, the room plunges into darkness and glittering dust shoots off the golden music box.

As the lights come back on, you find yourself being sucked into a magical dimension as Lord Henry's treasures - his suits of armour, wall-hung murals and exotic totem poles - duly come to life. Chaos reigns.

Welcome to the Mystic Manor, the main attraction of Hong Kong Disneyland's new Mystic Point section, which officially opened to the public on May 17.

Packed with hi-tech features, Lord Henry's manor is beautiful both outside and inside.

"We wanted to create something for Hong Kong, but we also want it to have some kind of DNA tied back to Disney," says Joe Lanzisero, senior vice-president of Walt Disney Imagineering.

Mystic Manor, he explains, is Disney's version of a haunted house, powered by advanced technology, and animated by a back story that draws inspiration from the Chinese myth Journey to the West.

Inside the manor, each of the four mystic magneto-electric carriages takes visitors on a different route as they embark on a five-minute exploration of the magical realm. Each of the state-of-the-art Victorian mansion's four parts is home to mementoes of different ancient civilisations.

In the Mediterranean room, you will be greeted by a snake-haired gorgon, while in the Chinese Salon, you will encounter a finely crafted Monkey King statue.

The manor is packed with 40 amazing visual effects, made possible by 36 projectors. Four of them are 4K HD cinema projectors, which pack far more megapixels than those in a cinema.

"I was being told that there are more pixels being projected in there than there is in all three of the Lord of the Rings films," Lanzisero jokes, about the Chinese Salon where the four super-projectors are installed.

But more than technological wizardry, it's an engaging storyline that makes a visit truly memorable.

Not surprisingly, Albert ignores Henry's warning and does open the magical music box that the two of them brought back from their visit to a remote Balinese tribe.

By doing so, Albert releases the magical dust that has been locked in the music box. To the sounds of stirring melodies, inanimate objects begin to come to life. The mansion becomes a whirlwind of motion.

"We often use a story as a subtext," Lanzisero explains. "But on this occasion, we use the story in a literal way, and visitors can follow the tale as it unfolds."

The "music dust" is another technological breakthrough. Wisps of hovering dust, glowing blue and green, will deceive many naked eyes. Of course, it is not real dust, but animation created by computer-controlled lasers.

It was a tricky task for the imagineering team to conjure up such a visual effect when they designed the project, says Lanzisero. "We have been working on this technology, and fortunately, it has matured just in time [for the opening]," he says.

Apart from the Mystic Manor, Mystic Point also boasts the Gardens of Wonders, where visitors can find brain-teasing sculptures and mosaics that make for fine visual illusions. Shutterbugs will relish the sights.

Disneyland has other great projects in the works but Lanzisero remains tight-lipped about them. He does promise local fans one thing.

"We will continue to surprise and entertain our guests here in Hong Kong like they can't imagine," he stresses.

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