Theme Park of the Week: Tokyo Disneyland

February 27, 2022, 3:54 PM · Congratulations to our Theme Park of the Week, Tokyo Disneyland, which is celebrating the recent arrival of the Tokyo Disney Resort's 800 millionth guest.

Tokyo Disneyland opened April 15, 1983 and drew nearly 18 million visitors in 2019, making it the third most-visited theme park in the world, behind its two U.S.-based "Magic Kingdom" siblings, at Walt Disney World and Disneyland. Tokyo Disneyland was The Walt Disney Company's first theme park outside the United States, opening less than a year after Epcot debuted in Florida.

A unique business deal led to the creation of Tokyo Disneyland. The Oriental Land Co. agreed to build and operate Tokyo Disneyland under license from Disney, an arrangement that continues to this day. As a result, Tokyo Disneyland and its sister park Tokyo DisneySea are the only two "Disney" theme parks in which Disney owns no ownership stake. Disney is a part owner of its Shanghai Disneyland and Hong Kong Disneyland parks and now owns the Disneyland Paris Resort outright, in addition to its Walt Disney World and Disneyland theme parks in the U.S.

The licensing money from Oriental Land helped Disney bring Epcot to the finish line, while keeping what became Walt Disney Imagineering extra busy with designing and overseeing the construction of two theme parks at once. Tokyo Disneyland combined the best of Disneyland and Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom into one park that became an instant hit in Japan.

800 million guests at Tokyo Disney
Photo courtesy Tokyo Disney

"Today, on February 26, 2022, I am grateful and happy to have welcomed our 800 millionth guest," Oriental Land Co. President and COO Kenji Yoshida said in a press release yesterday. "I want to express my gratitude to the countless guests who have visited Tokyo Disney Resort, to the Walt Disney Company who is our important partner, to all those who have continuously supported Oriental Land Co., Ltd., and to the cast members who strive every day to bring happiness to our guests."

Even after nearly 39 years, Tokyo Disneyland continues to innovate, with its recent expansion led by the Enchanted Tales of Beauty and the Beast trackless dark ride, which Theme Park Insider readers have voted the best in the park. Disney's original dancing dark ride, Pooh's Hunny Hunt, comes in second, with an all-star line-up of Disney theme park classics following. For the results of our annual reader survey on Tokyo Disneyland attractions, please visit our Guide to Tokyo Disneyland.

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Replies (6)

February 28, 2022 at 3:29 PM

Hi sarcasm here:

They should have grabbed a random person and did something really Disney special like gave them a sticker on their shirt.. hahaha

Or a front of the line pass... for 1 Hour....

February 28, 2022 at 9:48 PM

The exposure on the photo was too long, so you couldn't see today's several thousand new guests sprinting past Mickey and Minnie on their way to Mansion. No one wanted to stop for a sticker. LOL.

March 1, 2022 at 1:30 PM

Would anyone say that this non owned Disney park is better compared to the other Disney land /world type parks in terms of attraction development and overall offerings or is it sort of the same but maybe weaker (excluding any consideration for Disney Sea)?

March 1, 2022 at 3:24 PM

If I had to pick one Magic Kingdom park in the world to visit, it would be Tokyo. Now, when Runway Railway opens at Disneyland, that and Galaxy’s Edge move it to the top. But the service, food quality and show quality in Tokyo beat all other Disney resorts.

March 1, 2022 at 11:44 PM

I will agree with Robert. I spent two days at this park in 2016 and just because another company owns it (The OLC) doesn't mean it feels different from the other Disney parks. As a matter of fact it feels more "Disney" with great service and attractions that are on par of other "Disneylands" around the world. Monsters Inc Ride and Go Seek is an awesome exclusive ride there. This park is a winner... to the surprise of no one.

March 2, 2022 at 7:21 AM

Thanks - seems like a great park plus Disney Sea makes it a great visitation opportunity

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