Tokyo Disney Resort Announces Major Expansion, Including New 'Frozen'-Themed Attraction

October 29, 2014, 9:05 PM · This post has been updated throughout.

Tokyo Disney Resort today announced a US$4.5 billion expansion program for the resort, which will see the construction of a new "port" in Tokyo DisneySea and a doubling of the size of Tokyo Disneyland's Fantasyland.

Concept art for new Fantasyland in Tokyo
Concept art for Tokyo's New Fantasyland. Photo courtesy Oriental Land Co. Click for higher resolution.

Nikkei Asian Review is reporting that Oriental Land Co., the company that owns and operates the Tokyo Disney Resort, will include a major Frozen-themed attraction for 2017 as the centerpiece of the project.

Where will the new Frozen attraction be? According to Nikkei, that's undecided, and Oriental Land's press release is not saying, either. The Frozen attraction could take the place of the It's a Small World ride in Tokyo Disneyland, which the Nikkei report says is slated to be moved as part of the New Fantasyland plan. Or, Oriental Land could choose to build Frozen as the new port in Tokyo DisneySea.

Tokyo DisneySea map

We suggested DisneySea as an ideal location for a Frozen-themed attraction last February. The port of Arendelle fits perfectly within the harbor theme of DisneySea, and we noted that underutilized Cape Cod area of the American Waterfront land offers some sight lines that could lend themselves to an Arendelle setting. However, the expansion plan calls for a new port on the empty site to the left of Lost River Delta. (You can get an overview of the park from our Tokyo DisneySea trip report.) Presumably, that could become Arendelle, should Oriental Land decide on devoting an entire land to Frozen.

Which would make sense, as the animated hit already has become one of the top-grossing films in Japanese history. Regardless of where Anna and Elsa end up, this expansion plan, which averages US$500 million in capital investment a year over the next nine years, should promise to further improve a resort that is already home to the world's best theme park, according to Theme Park Insider readers.

Replies (26)

October 29, 2014 at 11:35 PM · Watch and learn WDW.
October 30, 2014 at 2:27 AM · Your idea to place Arendelle in the New England port of Tokyo Disney Sea thematically makes a lot of sense, though there is really little footprint for doing an attraction. Replacing "it's a small world" seems almost like heresy. And who knows which way they will move. But it's funny that this August when I was staying at the Hilton across from Tokyo Disneyland, I happened to look out one morning to find the large balloons used by Disney to gauge height. There were four of them, and surprisingly, they were behind "it's a small world". I thought that was a strange place to find them. Unbelievably, I didn't think to take a photo at the time, and when I did think to do so later, they had been taken down. So that article may have some basis for thinking that the attraction will go there, which offers enough foot print to frankly do a couple of attractions. And the new Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom offers a couple of possibilities.

J. Jeff Kober

October 30, 2014 at 3:26 AM · If only the Oriental Land Co. would take over WDW, then I would have a reason to visit WDW again. Now my hart sinks to just step a foot in my once favorite park Epcot, from graveyard entrance, passing those old and tired pavilions to go to Arendelle that has nothing to do with Norway as it's a Dutch fairytale in a fantasy location to ride a tiny ride with water as it's transportation system that is not frozen at all. I just can't do that to myself anymore, it makes me sad.
October 30, 2014 at 6:14 AM · There's no room for expansion in Cape Cod, plus that's the home port of Duffy and friend$, so there is no way Oriental Land will do that.

If it goes into TDS, it's going back by Indy at the expansion pad there. I think best case scenario is for something design-wise like Mermaid Lagoon, except with a mega E-ticket inside the ice castle.

October 30, 2014 at 7:31 AM · Frozen = big $
October 30, 2014 at 8:23 AM · More information from OLC...
October 30, 2014 at 8:30 AM · Thank goodness the Imagineers have one resort where they can truly showcase their talents.

The embarrassment of riches at the Tokyo Disney Resort makes the Disney Corporation look cheap. If somebody else is paying for the improvements, Disney can work wonders. If Disney is paying for the improvements, then "just enough and no more" seems to be the approach. Another chapter in a miserly saga.

October 30, 2014 at 9:03 AM · Wow. $4.5 Billion. I hope someone from Disney Corp is reading that.

I'm wondering if I should schedule a trip now to Tokyo before all the construction starts or wait until 2017. According to the article, it is concept only at this point. Anyone know if construction will be started before April 2015?

October 30, 2014 at 9:04 AM · Wasn't there a rumor awhile back of DAK getting the Jungles of Pandora and Tokyo DisneySea getting the oceans (presumably from Avatar 2) ?
October 30, 2014 at 9:30 AM · I would imagine they would decide to put Frozen in the New Fantasyland. I personally think it would be better there than DisneySea. It looks like from the concept art they're also knocking down their Toontown there, which means California will be the last remaining Toontown! It looks like maybe they will also be moving Dumbo to that area, but there doesn't seem to be a Storybook Circus. My biggest question is that I don't see a Little Mermaid or Mine Train there, so what else would they have instead of just Be Our Guest and Beauty and the Beast? Frozen would seem to be the most definite answer.
October 30, 2014 at 9:31 AM · I need an excuse to visit Japan. This is it.
October 30, 2014 at 9:34 AM · Oh but it looks like maybe Cinderella's Chateau, which was originally slated for Florida's New Fantasyland looks like it will be replacing part of Toontown next to Tomorrowland. Since Tokyo's Haunted Mansion is also in Fantasyland, I also wonder if their Haunted Mansion will be getting a similar makeover to Florida's considering the similarities between the two. Is it finally time for Tokyo to add the staircase room and the makeover for the attic?
October 30, 2014 at 11:15 AM · While I personally don't mind a new Frozen attraction, how are they going to relocate and rebuild It's a Small World for future expansion? I know Disney will never close IASW permanently, but I could suspect that they could expand into Toontown and have Frozen replace Roger Rabbit or (which seems likely) have it replace the Raceway and relocate the Starjets (which already look dated).
October 30, 2014 at 11:16 AM · looks like that this might be the first Disneyland to take out autotopia.... This might be amazing news. Autotopia is such a stale ride. Even Six Flags and Busch Parks knew to take out those rides by now. creates a lot of room.
October 30, 2014 at 11:18 AM · Star Jets might be moved and Some of tomorrowland is being knocked back a little. WOW this is nuts.
October 30, 2014 at 11:19 AM · The spirit of Walt Disney is alive and well... in Tokyo! Too bad an American family has to spend $10,000 in airfare to visit the best Disney parks in the world.
October 30, 2014 at 1:35 PM · Wow! Looks like a major revamp! Curious to see where Small World would move to. But it's definitely not in the concept image. Instead it's whatever is pink. Is that a Pixie Hallow? Looks like Mine Train could be to the left of that new castle? TDR is amazing but I'm glad Disneyland there is getting some upgrades. While well maintained some of it is very dated and bare aesthetically. As for DisneySea…there is not a ton of space in that location. Their is enough space for a ride but hard to imagine a whole "land" there. There is an access road right behind that location. And there is definitely no room in Cape Cod for an attraction. But exciting news…and maybe WDW can piggy back off of their imagineering!
October 30, 2014 at 2:53 PM · I'm confused. Is IASW not a popular ride in Tokyo? It's location between Queen of Hearts Banquet Hall and Pooh's Hunny Hunt is not standing in the way of expansion into Toontown and part of Tomorrowland. They are purposely removing IASW. Why? Is it not to Japanese tastes like the 1000s of flavors of popcorn and Kit Kat bars?
October 30, 2014 at 7:32 PM · Looks like I'm going to Tokyo in 2017! Can't wait to see what they come up with for the Frozen attraction!
October 30, 2014 at 7:49 PM · I always love the background in the renderings. Lush green forest and the never-ending blue sky with billowy white clouds.
October 30, 2014 at 10:00 PM · I believe that they are moving IaSW, not removing it. They would need to move it to open access to the additional space for the expanded land.

in envisioning a new fantasyland at TDL, let's also not forget that TDL's Haunted Mansion is in its Fantasyland, too. And that TDL's Mansion is the Orlando version, but with the Disneyland Holiday overlay from Oct-Dec. There's Pooh's Hunny Hunt there, too. Just an embarrassment of riches for Disney theme park fans.

October 31, 2014 at 9:07 AM · Since New Fantasyland is basically a response to the Wizarding Worlds in both Florida and Japan, it makes me wonder if maybe California is planning a smaller scale version of it itself. Considering Fantasyland's lack of dining in California, I certainly think they could definitely use a Be Our Guest restaurant to maybe replace the Motorboat Cruise/ Fantasia Gardens area.

Oh and it sounds like they aren't replacing Toontown in Tokyo. I understand the wanting to match the theme of Alice in Wonderland, but to me, it seems silly to move It's a Small World. Instead, it sounds like the Star Jets and Grand Prix Raceway in Tomorrowland will be razed for more of Fantasyland, and I suppose it's a small world and Be Our Guest will be replacing that. So I guess that means a new Alice in Wonderland dark ride will be on the site where Small World currently is. And for Frozen, that could easily be the new "8th Port" in Tokyo DisneySea, but I certainly think it would fit pretty well in Fantasyland too. Could AVATAR also be a possibility for the 8th Port in Tokyo Disney, as it will be next to both Port Discovery and Lost River Delta, making it the perfect transition between the two?

October 31, 2014 at 11:02 AM · Was Frozen such a huge hit in Japan? It's a little odd that they are making that movie the linchpin for their expansion plans. Influence from the Disney head office?
October 31, 2014 at 11:33 AM · Since both Disney World and Disneyland Tokyo are getting new "Frozen" attractions, how come Disneyland, Califorina is not getting a new Frozen attraction? Robert Niles, do you think Disneyland will add a "Frozen Land," possibly in Fantasyland?

Robert Niles, if not Frozen, what do you think Disneyland will do in the near future? Are they shifting more towards Star Wars and Marvel, as opposed to Frozen?

November 1, 2014 at 10:19 AM · @ Sylvain,

Frozen broke box office records in Japan, staying at #1 for 16 weeks and becoming the third highest grossing movie of all time.

November 1, 2014 at 12:40 PM · I've read elsewhere that IASW has some structural problems which necessitates a full restoration, so they'll move and rebuild the attraction freeing up the space where needed. Kills two birds with one stone kind of thing.

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