Hong Kong Disneyland Resort Executive Vice President and Managing Director Samuel Lau (second left) and Hong Kong Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Gregory So (third right) pose with Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse characters during a presentation Disneyland’s resort expansion plan in Hong Kong. Image Credit: Reuters

Los Angeles: Walt Disney Co. is embarking on a $1.4 billion expansion of its Hong Kong Disneyland resort that will include the first “Frozen” and Marvel-themed lands in its parks.

The six-year construction project, which will begin in 2018, will include two attractions based on the animated film “Frozen” and a related dining area, new rides tied to Marvel’s superheroes as well as entertainment additions to the existing Sleeping Beauty Castle.

The expansion adds to planned growth at Disney’s parks division, its second-largest business after TV networks. The company opened its $5.5 billion Shanghai resort in June and announced on Saturday a summer 2017 opening date for its “Avatar” themed land in Orlando, Florida. Parks division revenue climbed 5 per cent to almost $17 billion last year, while profit rose 9 per cent to $3.3 billion.

“We are more excited than ever about the future of Hong Kong Disneyland,” Bob Chapek, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, said in a statement.

Hong Kong Disneyland is the smallest of the company’s six resorts worldwide. The property was criticised after its 2005 opening as lacking the breadth of attractions at other Disney parks. Hong Kong has seen a series of expansions since that include an Iron Man Experience ride opening in January and a third hotel, the Explorers Lodge, in the first half of next year.

Attendance dipped in 2015 due to political unrest in Hong Kong and the park slipped back into a money-losing position after three years of profitability. The park is 47 per cent-owned by Disney with the rest held by the Hong Kong government. Financing for the capital investment will be proportional to the ownership, Disney said, and is still subject to approval by the company’s board of directors and Hong Kong legislators.

“Frozen,” released in 2013, is the highest-grossing animated film of all time with worldwide box office sales of almost $1.3 billion, according to the research site Box Office Mojo.