Disneyland Tokyo After the Earthquake; Disneyland Shanghai; Quirky Florida Beach Town
by, 04-22-2011 at 09:09 PM
Many in the Disney fan community have been watching for news from Tokyo Disneyland Resort since the initial reports of earthquake damage and the subsequent closure of the resort. I'm pleased to present an incredible post-earthquake photo essay from the Tokyo Disneyland Resort. Roger55 recently visited the resort and writes an interesting account of his trip. His photos of the new Easter celebration show the resilience of the Japanese people in the aftermath of this massive natural disaster.
SummerInFL took a trip to the quintessential Florida beach village of Madeira Beach and shares her quirky photos of this quirky town.
Finally, MiceChat partner Alain Littaye plays a modern day Sherlock Holmes as he investigates and extrapolates the tiniest of details from the official Disney artwork from Shanghai Disneyland. See if you agree with Alain's conclusions.
Roger55 shares this incredibly detailed report on post-earthquake Tokyo Disneyland Resort including coverage of their Easter celebration
Japan Earthquake Aftermath and Tokyo Disneyland Easter Wonderland 2011
I'd like to start out my report by first offering my deepest sympathy to all who have been effected by the Great Tohoku Earthquake, subsequent tsunami, and the resulting disaster at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power facility. My hope is that the suffering and grief will subside as soon as possible, and that the country of Japan can find themselves well on the road to recovery and return to normalcy as soon as possible. The people of the world are behind you all. Ganbare Nippon!
Back when I made my plans to visit Japan in April, my intentions were to check out Tokyo Disneyland's Easter Wonderland and the debut of Fantasmic! and the 10th anniversary over at Tokyo DisneySEA. The events of 3/11/2011 abruptly changed those plans.
Instead of coming to enjoy all the spleandor magic of what Tokyo Disney Resort has to offer, I found myself coming into a country that was in much suffering, grief and hardship. Besides the thousands that lost their lives, the rest of the central and northern regions of Japan are dealing with the aftermath of the earthquake. The hundreds of thousands of people who lost loved ones, their homes and their communities are without a permanent place to live and are living day to day in make shift evacuation centers. Supplies of food, water and other necessities are finally making their way to those in need. The infrastructure of the country which was badly damaged is slowly being pieced back together. There is still much work to be done. And of course the aftershocks continue to rattle the country daily.
Despite all this, I have found a country with an incredible positive spirit. Messages of hope echo from celebrities and athletes on numerous television spots. The message they have is for Japan to stay strong, persevere, pull together and mover forward.
All day long there are television reports on incredible people doing incredible things in support of all those adversely affected by the earthquake. Acts of amazing generosity, volunteerism, heroism and displays of deep compassion are taking place in unfathomable numbers.
While the rest of the world has moved on to the latest issues of the day, the Japanese are and will continue to deal daily with the great national tragedy. I have come to witness with my own eyes, and experience for myself the great strength of the Japanese people. Even those in the hardest hit area are displaying the most amazing attitude. And for the rest of the country, most everyone is chipping in to help by conserving precious electricity to make up for the loss of the Fukushima nuclear electric facility.
Trains and subways are operating on reduced schedules. Exterior and interior lighting have been reduced in stores, businesses and public locations. Air conditioners are being switched off as are many of the escalators in buildings and rail stations. However, no one is complaining about the inconveniences. Everyone seems to be taking things in stride in for the good of the country.
Although many questioned my decision to come to Japan with the fear of radiation, and earthquakes still looming, and with Tokyo Disneyland not having yet to annouce the re-opening of the parks at the time my departure, I am glad I did not cancel. Getting to see and experience things first hand has been both inspiring and humbling. The courage and positive spirit of the survivors, and the compassion and generosity of all those providing comfort and aid has been nothing short of amazing.
Now, on to the photo report...
This week I will share some photos of the aftermath of the earthquake at the Tokyo Disney Resort and also some of the decorations of Tokyo Disneyland Easter Wonderland. Next week I'll share some more photos of Easter Wonderland including the parade and some of the special merchandise. I'll also share photos of my visit to the newly opened Cinderella Castle walkthrough.
Tokyo Disneyland Resort Earthquake Aftermath, Damage and Repair Work
This first set of photos shows some of the damaged areas of Tokyo Disney Resort. While the parks for the most part were able to avoid serious damage, certain areas outside the park gates suffered significant damage, mostly from liquefaction.
When I first arrived at Maihama Station, I encountered escalators normally full of people visiting the parks that are shut off to conserve electricity.
Signs have their lights turned off and other lighting within the station is reduced significantly.
Along the walkway towards Tokyo Disneyland's front gates, there are Guest Relations cast members greeting people while standing next to sinage explaining the current operating status of the parks.
At the bus loading and unloading zone, one can see freshly paved asphalt where damage have been repaired.
The street between Tokyo Disneyland front gates and Maihama station and Ikspiari shopping center also show areas both repaired and still in need of repair.
The Maihama station bus stop area was one of the most heavily damaged areas. Some areas have been patched over, but much more work is still necessary to get things back to normal. When looking at these next pictures, realize that this was once all level ground prior to the earthquake and liquefaction.
The parking areas also suffered from liquefaction damage. These areas are currently under repair.
From the Disney Resort Line monorail, you can see the newly raised sea wall made to keep swells from Tokyo Bay from flooding into the resort. The second photo shows where the work on the wall ends and the old wall still exists. The work on the wall started prior to the earthquake and tsunami on 3/11.
Amazingly, inside Tokyo Disneyland, the only significant damage was to the rock facade of Big Thunder Mountain Rail Road. Repairs are ongoing as evidenced by the scaffolding and tarps.
Tokyo Disneyland Easter Wonderland 2011
On April 12th, one month after the earthquake and tsunami, the Oriental Land Company (OLC), owners and operators of the Tokyo Disney Resort, announced the re-opening of Tokyo Disneyland on April 15th. The park would re-opened with limited operating hours of 8:00 AM - 6:00 PM. Most entertainment would not immediately be starting up. It was also announced that 300 yen (approximately $3.60) of every park admission purchaced would be donated to the Japan Red Cross to suppor the earthquake and tsunami relief efforts.
With all the recent events in Japan, and the extended closure of both parks, it came as no surprise that when Tokyo Disneyland eventually did re-open one month after the tragic events of 3/11, the park atmosphere was somewhat subdued as crowd levels were very low.
However, all those in attendance, along with the Cast Members, seemed very pleased that the park did re-open.
(Update: It has since been announced by OLC that Tokyo Disneyland will start extended operations until 10:00 PM with the resumption of more of the previously cancelled entertainment. It has also been announced that Tokyo DisneySEA will re-open on April 28th with normal operating hours. The much anticipated debut of Fantasmic! will also take place on the 28th. The begining of the 10th anniversary of TDS will be delayed until further notice.)
Just inside the Main Gate the Mickey floral display is decorated with character easter eggs that last year were spread throughout the park.
The entrance to the World Bazaar is spruced up as usual to reflect the current special event.
Many of the store windows inside the World Bazaar are decorated for Easter and are showing off some of the special Easter Wonderland merchandise.
Easter Wonderland banners adorn the light posts in the central hub area.
The hub display this year is very elaborate and detailed. Only in Tokyo Disneyland will you find such an extrordinary display.
Okay, that's about it for this week. I'll be back in the USA next week, so as long as I'm not too jet lagged, I'll have the rest of my report.
Hope you all enjoyed the Easter Wonderland update so far, and were able to get some appreciation of the tragic aftermath of the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster.
If you enjoyed my report, please consider making a donation to the Red Cross Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami fund if you haven't already done so. Any help will be greatly appreciated.
SummerInFL takes us to the beach: Madeira Beach, Florida
While Florida is known for its theme parks, it's also famous for its eclectic beach towns that bring even the most hardened northerner to Margaritaville, John's Pass in Madeira Beach, FL is no exception.
Located about 40 minutes west of Tampa, FL, while it brings in the tourists, it definitely has a more relaxed atmosphere.
Located on the Gulf of Mexico, this quaint, turn of the century fishing village has a boardwalk and over one hundred merchants inhabiting the walkable shopping area with cool Gulf breezes to guide you.
No concrete jungle here, what you see in the photo below is the parking garage!
My family and I decided to eat at Bubba Gump, with a view of the Gulf and cool breezes to keep us company, we just couldn't pass up the opportunity. Oh and the food, did I mention it was amazing?
Even the kids get in on the fun.
What I originally figured would take us 2-3 hours to cover, ended up taking 5 hours! This location is definitely bigger than I had anticipated but we had a wonderful time and picked up a lot of great items.
Part of the boardwalk.
They also offer many boat trips for various things, deep sea fishing or dolphin watching to name a few.
You can also see the rare and wonderful "World's Largest Hot Wing" at Hooter's.
At some point we ended up under the boardwalk at a dead end. It's sure fun to explore however.
Mmm a tea shop, just up my alley.
There's something for everyone!
Even a shop where they hand roll the cigars!
She sold sea shells by the sea shore.
There are even stores upstairs!!!
Isn't that nice, they themed the levels of the parking garage with beach themes, Turtle, Dolphin, Sunset, Hooters, its all there!
Overall, if you love the beach, shopping, ice cream and have lots of time, then you should definitely stop by John's Pass, I promise you'll find something to please everyone.
What's in store for the next international Disney park? Alain Littaye tries to solve the mystery.
[Editor's note: The images that follow are jumbo size. The reason for such large images will soon become apparent.]
We have a real life mystery from exotic Shanghai, China. So let's grab our sleuth glasses and take a closer look at the concept art for a brand new Disneyland with our Disney and More pal, Alain Littaye.
You may have heard that Disney is in the planning stages for a brand new park in Shanghai, China. A rough image of the park is available. Let's examine it a bit closer and see what secrets we can discover. All the images below are Copyright Disney. Image manipulation by Alain Littaye.
When Disney released the first Shanghaî Disneyland artwork on April 8th, I had some mixed feelings. I was happy to see - at last - some SDL artwork. But, on the other hand, I was a bit frustrated by the low resolution which made it difficult to make out any details. Luckily, Disney released a high-res file of these renderings! We can now piece together a view of the SDL project.
As you will see when you will enlarge the picture, these renderings are very probably digital paintings. Even more, nothing - except perhaps the castle - seems to have a definitive design.
So, let's begin at the beginning. As we know, there is no Main street U.S.A in this park, but there are some buildings which might serve that purpose.
Before we enter the park, there is an interesting area located just on the left of the entrance which may be a kind of equivalent of Downtown Disney where SDL guests will find merchandise shops and restaurants.
Here is a map that i've put together showing where everything will be located, including SDL hotels.
We will come back to the castle with others renderings in just a few moments, but apparently the "Fantasyland" part of the park will be, as usual, located behind the castle although there will be some classic Fantasyland rides around it. If we enlarge the image you'll see on the right of the castle something which definitely looks like a labyrinth. (Disneyland Paris has such an attraction themed to Alice)
Let's move on to the left. Where other Disneyland style parks have their Tomorrowland, SDL guests will have Adventureland! We can clearly see on this part of the rendering a Pirates fortress, a galleon in the lagoon close to it and a Mayan pyramid on the very right. All this seems to confirm that Pirates of Caribbean and Indiana Jones Adventure will be part of Shanghaî Disneyland on opening day. We are still trying to figure out what the big black mountain in the foreground is.
Now, let's visit the west part of the park where we generally find Frontierland or Adventureland. Instead, SDL guests will find Tomorrowland. A closer look reveals a big dome building on the left which is likely Space Mountain. Here, too, the design is obviously not the final design. On the picture above you'll note that a kind of Astro Jets / Orbitron ride might be at the entrance of the land. However i will not be surprised if this land receives modifications in years to come. Let's just consider this a "First Look".
Let's have a closer look at Shanghai Disneyland's lake and pier. We can see clearly see some big boats and some smaller boats moving on the lake like they do on Walt Disney World's Seven Seas Lagoon.
At the far right of the lake is another pier and, behind, it might be the location of a hotel. I know it doesn't look really like a hotel in this drawing but the final design is either being concealed or is not finalized.
Let's go back to the center of the park and look at the castle with a new high-res image. Here is the castle and what looks like multi-colored water falls in the front might mean that there will be a big moat at the foot of SDL castle.
In front of the castle the next image shows not only small Chinese pavilions but also a path with cherry trees in blossom and, if you look closely, an area with Disney characters topiaries!
Here is a closer view of the Fantasyland Carousel. You'll note also on the picture others round buildings (possibly more carousels) in the background....
..and the Dumbo ride is located in this 46,000 square meter of green space at the center of the park - also designed to be a cultural hub and a reminder of "the themes of sustainability and nature that will be integrated throughout the park" as Iger said.
A close-up on the castle...
...and an even closer view on the castle's entrance.
We'll that's what we saw, what did you spot in these images?
All Artwork: copyright Disney
Alain is also holding a special private sale of rare Disney collectibles items. Dont miss it!: Disney and More Private Vault Sale
Visit these MiceChat columns each week:
Every Friday: In the Parks
And that brings us to the end of another week. Our photographers have just enough time to reload their cameras before we see you all again next weekend. Thank you to all of our wonderful readers, and as always, a huge thank you to our amazing team of global photographers, spies, and gossips:
Denise nbodyhome Preskitt (mousesteps.com)
Ian Parkinson and Richard Williams
Jack Hollywood 1939 Wixom
Ken Eslick (DisneylandPostcards.net)
Your Editor - Rixter
Our thanks to our special contributor this week, Alain Littaye.
Where have YOU been recently? We invite you to share your photos of theme parks or any other destination that may be of interest to our readers. Please feel free to contact me via MiceChat Private Message (screen name Rixter)
or send me an email: [email protected].
It is readers like you who make MiceChat such a special place.
Don't miss a single one of MiceChat's Featured Blogs (including the Weekend Update). Add our feed to your favorite feed software or site:
Follow us on Twitter