On the anniversary of its 35th birthday, Disney’s Tokyo theme park has confirmed plans to proceed with its landmark expansion, a move which will see the popular attraction grow in size by roughly 30 per cent.
The biggest expansion in the park’s history, the ¥300bn (US$2.68bn, €2.25bn, £1.98bbn) mega-development includes new attractions based on Beauty and the Beast and Big Hero 6, as well as a Frozen-themed area.
“We would like to create a Tokyo Disney Resort that fulfils new dreams," said Toshio Kagami, Tokyo Disney Resort CEO, speaking at a ceremony celebrating the park’s 35th anniversary.
Details of the plan and when exactly it will happen have not yet been confirmed publically. What is known is that park operator Oriental Land will build a multi-storey carpark capable of holding 4,000 vehicles, while the existing carpark space will be redeveloped for new attractions.
Tokyo Disney Resort has drawn more than 30 million visitors a year for the last five years and the swell in numbers has necessitated the need for the expansion.
Japan’s theme park market has recently shown signs of increasing, as US operators Disney and Universal continue to invest in new attractions.
In recent years, Universal has funded its major Harry Potter expansion, as well as investments into a new area opened last year devoted to Despicable Me’s Minions.
A ¥60bn (US$534m, €451m, £397m) Nintendo and Mario-themed area is also in progress, with the attraction expected to open in 2020 ahead of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Disney is also creating its own competition in Asia. In 2016 it launched Shanghai Disneyland, which drew 11 million visitors in its first year. China is also a hotbed for theme park development, with more than 60 new parks expected to open by 2020, though the government has recently tried to curb this development fearing projects are low quality or financially untenable.