Published: March 21, 2011 at 10:05 PM

Good morning
I have been following your website for almost a decade now, lurking as I do, from Taiwan but never once have I submitted a comment on this site or any other. I could not lurk any longer or pass an oppurtunity like this with out mentioning something about this article. It is one fantastic piece of writing.
Keep up the great work Mr. Niles
Rob Sharpe
Manny Barron

Published: March 21, 2011 at 10:05 PM

Great article, interesting to read up on Tokyo Disney. What I found the most interesting was the astonishing high number of local tourist that visit the parks. 96 percent!! Attendance will most certainly take a severe hit. One day I hope to visit the Tokyo resort but it will be interesting to monitor this park for the next year or so.

Published: March 22, 2011 at 5:29 AM

Isn't there some kind of agreement in the contract that limits how much the Oriental Land Company can advertise outside of Japan?

Published: March 22, 2011 at 8:27 AM

Interesting article. Two thoughts come to mind: I have heard (although have no inside information to say that it's true) that OLC is limited in where they can market their parks, so I'm not sure how easy it would be for them to promote heavily outside Japan.

Second, DisneySea does have Toy Story Midway Mania! and a new in-the-round version of Fantasmic! on the way. Plus an Aladdin spinner, which is off-the-shelf as you can get, but probably welcomed in a park with fewer kid-focused rides than its neighbor. Disneyland just opened Mickey's Philharmagic, and recently opened their Monsters, Inc. ride. While none of these attractions are unique to TDL, they are new to the local population, and are likely to be embraced.

Robert Niles

Published: March 22, 2011 at 10:23 AM

Obviously, conditions change over time. When OLC opened TDL, it was the only Disney theme park outside the United States. Plus, Disneyland in California was drawing visitors from throughout the Pacific Rim.

Today, Disney has two parks open or under construction in China, in addition to the two Tokyo parks and two parks in Paris. Disneyland in California has become more of a regional park, drawing fewer fans from outside Southern California than it did 10-20 years ago. Most importantly, the earthquake and tsunami has changed the dynamics of travel in and to Japan.

This is the sort of situation that causes parties to change deals, modify contracts and adopt new strategies. I'm suggesting that an increase in international marketing could be a huge help not just to Oriental Land and Tokyo Disney, but to all of Japan, if the Disney and OLC want to make that happen.

Published: March 22, 2011 at 10:28 AM

Short of a huge nuclear catastrophe still to come, i dont see any problems for local demand. The major damanage is limited to less populated regions north of Tokio. For foreign visitors the exchange rate, Japans general egalitarian prosperity and land scarcity in Tokio make a trip to the Japanese Disney parks very expensive. Especially for close by foreigners. http://stats.oecd.org/Index.aspx?DataSetCode=CPL
Oriental land should still be able to increase foreign visits a lot due to the low base and the sheer sice of the markets close by. China is already the biggest market for all kinds of luxury products despite widespread povery simply because the country has such a huge population. Ongoing economic growth in China, South Korea and Taiwan will do the job to increase foreign visits.
Joshua Counsil

Published: March 22, 2011 at 4:39 PM

Great article. I've been wanting to visit Tokyo and DisneySea for years, now, so this article sent me on a flight-searching spree. Unfortunately, since I live in eastern Canada, I would have to transfer at least once. Thus, the savings are negated and the flight would cost about $1500.
Robert Niles

Published: March 22, 2011 at 5:55 PM

I'm wondering now what the lead time would be to reopen the resort, once the decision is made. With so many personnel having left the country, I figure it would take at least a week to recall everyone, set up a personnel schedule, do final maintenance checks (things have been shut down for a while now) and restock the resort.

Heck, maybe two weeks, given all that. Anyone else have a guess?

Joshua Counsil

Published: March 22, 2011 at 8:45 PM

I'm going to be at a conference in Honolulu in late June, and even the flights from there to Tokyo are quite expensive ($1200-$1600). Am I looking in the wrong places, Robert?
José María Sandoval

Published: March 22, 2011 at 8:51 PM

Pooh's Hunny Hunt and JTTCOTE. Worth the flight.
Sylvain Comeau

Published: March 23, 2011 at 5:35 AM

That 96 % figure is ridiculous. That's what they call a "resort"? What would happen to Tokyo Disney if the Japanese economy tanked again?

I'm disgusted that Disney put artificial limits on the marketing of TDR outside of Japan. They deliberately handicapped the OLC. That's shameless and cynical market manipulation. We would know little or nothing about TDR if it wasn't for sites like this one, and You Tube.

Clearly, Disney wants North Americans in the east to go to WDW, and those in the west to go to DLR, and that's it. And they don't want to be under pressure to make improvements to the stateside resorts, when more and more people compare them (often unfavorably) to TDR.

Since the plane ticket alone puts Tokyo out of reach for a lot of people, TDR needs affordable on-site hotels and tickets deals and packages similar to the ones that WDW has. Only then can it start to call itself a true resort.

Published: March 23, 2011 at 6:38 PM

Sylvain, while that may be true about the 96% locals...OLC in the past hasn't really needed much tourism from outside Japan because they're still getting very high annual attendance, extremely close to what WDW's top parks Magic Kingdom and Epcot receive.

Yes, it might be time to change some contracts and allow OLC to advertise more outside of Japan if the locals don't come back as often...but I think we might be surprised.