Belle, Beast, and Big Hero 6’s biggest hero part of extensive renovations planned for the park and its neighbor Tokyo Disney Sea.
Considering how tremendously popular and successful Tokyo Disneyland and Disney Sea already are, it doesn’t seem like the theme parks really need to do anything other than say “We’re open!” to attract visitors. Still, the managers of the Tokyo Disney Resort, as the parks and their surrounding hospitality infrastructure are collectively known, aren’t ones to rest on their mouse ear-shaped laurels, and so they’ve recently revealed a slew of new attractions that are on their way.
The majority of the new additions are coming to Tokyo Disneyland, with much of the space needed coming from the removal of the Star Jets plus the Grand Circuit Speedway, meaning that while Disneyland remains a great place to park your car, it’s not really a driver’s destination anymore. On the other hand, fans of Beauty and the Beast will be thrilled, as Disney’s 1991 Academy Award for Best Picture nominee is getting its own themed section of the park.
The crown jewel of this new area will be a recreation of the Beast’s castle, which will house a Japan-exclusive attraction in which guests ride through the structure in a recreation of the film’s storyline.
Humbler, yet no less picturesque, homes will be found in Belle’s village, a new shopping and dining area adjacent to the castle.
▼ For the full effect, imagine every one of these parkgoers calling out “Bonjour!” to each other.
While it’s the rides that draw hordes of kids at Disney’s U.S. parks, the big draws at Tokyo Disneyland are the parades and live performances. So also on the soon-to-be-former grounds of the Grand Circuit Speedway, Disney will be building a 1,500-seat theater for indoor stage shows featuring its pantheon of beloved characters.
Finally, on the last parcel of land left over from the removal of the Grand Circuit Speedway, you’ll find a new attraction starring multi-faceted medical examiner/flying combat robot Baymax!
▼ Disney describes the as-yet unnamed Big Hero 6-inspired attraction as a “spinning ride” in which guests are accompanied by their own caretaker robots.
And if you’re worried that Disney is forgetting about its older characters as part of this update, you’ll be happy to know that Minnie is getting a new place to shine over in the Toon Town part of the park, which is building a new photo studio in which guests can dress up in snazzy fashions and snap pictures with Disney’s leading lady-mouse.
Meanwhile, next door at Disney Sea, the park is adding its own version of Soarin’, the flight-themed motion simulator that first appeared as Soarin’ Over California at Disney’s California Adventure park in 2001.
In contrast to the hang glider motif used in Soarin’ Over California and reworked Soarin’ set to open this summer at Disney World, Disney Sea’s version of the ride looks to be modeled on Da Vinci-esque flying machines, in keeping with the Renaissance era aesthetics of its home in the park’s Mediterranean Harbor area. It’s also getting a couple of added scenes that can only be seen Disney Sea.
▼ Disney Sea Soarin’ exterior
The entire expansion is expected to cost roughly 75 billion yen (US$700 million), with Soarin’ scheduled to open in 2019 and the other new attractions in the spring of 2020, just ahead of the Tokyo Olympics.
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