Year Of The Rat finds Mickey Mouse dressed up like Mao

Hong Kong Disneyland is in trouble. Attendance numbers aren’t meeting forecasts, word of mouth has been less than overwhelming, the public isn’t buying what Disney is selling, so something must be done. From now on all cast members will be forced into "re-education camps" starting with the big cheese himself, Mickey Mouse. At least that’s what this photo of Mickey in his Chairman Mao outfit would have you believe.

Well, that’s one possible scenario. Turns out Mickey hasn’t been drawn to the dark side, but rather Disney, in its attempts to win over the Hong Kong locals, has decided if you can’t beat’em, dress like them. Mickey’s Mao outfit is part of an effort by Disney Management to get locals to visit the park during it’s "Year Of The Mouse" promotion. A take-off on 2008 being the Year Of The Rat in the Chinese Calendar.

The Chinese New Year outfits for Mickey and Minnie Mouse were created by designer Vivienne Tam. Tam’s star power is supposed to attract more mainland tourists in addition to Hong Kong locals.

All things considered Disney is probably doing the right thing here by welcoming in more of the local culture. Like Paris Disneyland, concessions have to be made to work within the local customs (such as selling wine inside the Magic Kingdom at Paris). Will this be enough? Perhaps in tandem with plenty of new attractions. Sure. (Read)

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