Sunday, May 13, 2007
Blue Sky Alert-Asia (Tokyo)...
As we talked about last time, the Oriental Land Company is looking to add a third Disney themed gate, or Urban Entertainment Center as some will call it. Only not in Tokyo Bay at the current Tokyo Disney Resort. No sooner had we reported that here than the OLC released a report on the following Tuesday that it will open an indoor Disney Entertainment facility(UEC) in partnership with the Walt Disney Company in a major Japanese city other than Tokyo in or after 2010.
"We would like to allow people far away from Tokyo Disney Resort to enjoy the Disney world," said Oriental Land Executive Vice President Akio Nagaoka. Candidate cities for the first indoor Disney facility in Japan may include Osaka, Nagoya and Fukuoka, the company said. The facility may occupy several floors of a large building in an urban center, offering Disney shows, shops and restaurants for families, the company was quoted as saying.
Although several major cities are said to be under consideration, only two actually remain viable in any real economic sense. If you notice Mr. Nagaoka's statement, the UEC he's talking about could indeed be one of Jay Rasulo's boutique parks. Although I wouldn't consider this a small park from the descriptions I've heard. Disneyland itself is around 99 acres and the current proposal for Japan's third gate is hovering between 50 and 70 acres. This may not be as big as the other's but it's not a tiny park and will be filled with many original rides that will make this park a destination in it's own right.
Although WDI presented several versions of what OLC could use, from a large, normal-style theme park to several boutique examples it was decided on using an enclosed park that wouldn't have to deal with the Japanese weather and land consideration also were weighed with Japans limited available space. If you've seen the Walt Disney Company's annual report then you've seen what a concept like this could look like. Although similar versions are being talked about for DL in Anaheim, OLC officials are insisting on a unique park for the Japanese the same way they did with Tokyo DisneySea. Look for 2011 to be a banner year for the Oriental Land Company and Walt Disney around the world as well.
Work continues on the Tokyo Disneyland Hotel for it's Grand Opening in April 2008. The building is going up rather fast and guests of the resort will be able to have an idea as to what it will resemble by fall. Another hotel on the back burner is quietly being positioned for approval should the resort keep seeing good times and initial occupancy rates of the new Tokyo Disneyland Hotel remain high.
The 25th anniversary will be going on next year and the park will celebrating the quarter century mark with a number of events. The Monster's Inc. ride will not be ready until 2009, but expect plenty of press associated with it. Although several new shows have been proposed OLC declined on using most, instead focusing their efforts on already planned entertainment. The next ride after Monster's Inc. isn't scheduled to be completed in the park until 2011(there's that year again) or 2012 at the earliest.
Attendance is up at Tokyo DisneySea for the first time in three years and it appears the additions of TOT and several other attractions have helped turn the numbers around. Although the park doesn't attract nearly as many as TDL it is generating quite a loyal following. Of the 25 million plus that go through the turnstiles, around 15-16 million usually visit TDL, TDS get's the other 9-10 million. Since OLC is experiencing a very good year, the hopes in Glendale are that they will greenlight several projects that Imagineers want to start more extensive work on. While it's sad that the Snow Queen was canceled due to budget constraints most Disney fans would probably rather have an attraction in Mediterranean Harbor wouldn't they? It appears WDI will be very busy over the next few years with the original TDR and OLC's third gate for Japan.
This bodes well for the American parks in the sense that a lot of design work used in our current and future rides will be subsidized by the OLC. Thus eliminating much of the budget for expensive research... that money can, and will now go towards the actual rides themselves. Tokyo Disney Resort's good fortune will benefit us in the States as well. Life is good when we all win, yes? It's a small world, afterall...