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Tokyo Disney Resort announce 500 billion Yen expansion - my thoughts
DisneyDan  Thursday, October 30, 2014 8:56:31 AM
Hello everyone,

Today Tokyo Disney Resort's operating company, Oriental Land, announced through an official press release that they are investing 500 billion Yen (US$4.5bn approx) in the resort over the next 3 years, which will include a huge expansion to both theme parks, amongst other things. I thought it would be interesting to take a closer look at these plans, and offer some of my own thoughts.

The key elements that are outlined in the plan are the development of a brand new themed port next to the Lost River Delta in Tokyo DisneySea, and the doubling in size of their Fantasyland, plus massive upgrades to the existing areas. In the process of expanding Fantasyland it appears that the Raceway and the StarJets will be removed. I have inserted the images from the release, below.







While I imagine for an extended period of time the parks will be even more chaotic than usual, with less attractions open and vast areas of walkway closed off, ultimately it can only be a good thing. Tokyo Disneyland has long suffered from having the worst designed Fantasyland, still stuck in the pre-mid-1980s format, with the renaissance tents and the 8-arm Dumbo. While I admit WDW's New Fantasyland is an improvement, they did nothing for the existing area which is also still stuck with the medieval tents, let's hope Tokyo does a better job, which is implied with the concept art and "Fantasyland Redevelopment" piece (above). The new concept art shows that the location of Dumbo will move, and if you scrutinize it closely, it will be the newer style as seen at the all the other parks around the world. The concept art also appears to include what looks like Beast's Castle AKA Be Our Guest Restaurant from the "new" Fantasyland at Walt Disney World. All other details are sketchy, besides saying "new restaurants and attractions", and we probably won't know more for some time to come yet, but it is exciting nonetheless, and definitely interesting to speculate what may come.

Before looking at DisneySea, let's take a look at the current Tokyo Disneyland Fantasyland and Tomorrowland in pictures, and I think you'll agree that they really need this new project.

Tokyo Aug 2010 - Wandering through Fantasyland

Dumbo the Flying Elephant

Exploring Fantasyland

Tokyo Aug 2010 - Wandering through Fantasyland

Wandering thru Tomorrowland

Exploring Tomorrowland

View over Tomorrowland from Space Mountain while waiting to ride

Here are some photos of Be Our Guest at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom, and Dumbo at Disneyland Paris, to give some idea of how vastly different things could look (with a strong emphasis on the could!)

WDW Spring 2013 - Wandering through New Fantasyland

DLP April 2012 - Wandering through Fantasyland

Tokyo Disneyland, as you saw above, had a piece of concept art released with the announcement today, but sadly Tokyo DisneySea did not. However, and although this is pure speculation, it would not surprise me one bit if we saw the installation of an Arctic themed port - not too dissimilar to the "polar land" rumored a number of years ago for the other parks. Could they be resurrecting those plans? If they are, could Anna and Elsa finally be getting a permanent Arendelle style retreat in exotic Japan? Afterall, Arendelle is a port in the movie! I guess we'll find out in a couple of years! The vague circular shading over the photo of the new development appears to encompass an area which currently houses the Lost River Delta meet 'n' greet area. Although it may remain, the crude image does seem to imply this space will be swallowed with the new development.

This photo of ours shows the current Indiana Jones attraction, the trees to the left are the start of what would be the new area.

Tokyo Aug 2010 - Exploring Lost River Delta

The press release also talks about "easing of congestion" (improving crowd control and guest flow) across the parks, which again is something that desperately needs to be addressed. We have been going to Tokyo Disney Resort for a number of years now, and it has only gotten worse. Let's take a look at some of our insane crowd photos.

Tokyo Aug 2010 - Huge crowds waiting for Disneyland to open

The crowds waiting to get into Tokyo Disneyland

Tokyo May 2014 - The INSANE crowds waiting for the premiere of Once Upon a Time

So, those are my thoughts. Of course, anything can change at any time, and we won't know exact plans pretty much until they are in full construction, but it's fun to speculate on this exciting news.
It's definitely great news to wake up, and I am very excited for the future of Tokyo Disney Resort, as I am sure countless others are too!

Dan.

Editor's Note: Lots of people on the internet, social media, etc are saying that a Frozen land is coming for sure, but I just want to clarify that the actual press release does not mention this at all. I myself even speculated above that this is likely, but at this point that is all it is - speculation. Dan.

Concept images are copyright the Oriental Land Company, Tokyo Disney Resort and The Walt Disney Company, and were taken from their press release, here.
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