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  1. #1

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    News about TOT from CM friend at Tokyo DL

    A very close freind of mine who has worked at Tokyo Disneyland for the last 5 years sent this to me this morning after I asked him about Disney Seas version of the Tower of Terror. It's kind of sad and sounds like Oriental Land Company is no longer running things without a care for Money. He said it has been going this way for a couple of years now and isn't certain if he will be back next year or not.

    DisneySea's Tower is costing a lot of people their jobs. Well not the Tower specifically, but what it represents. As you know TDS was not meant to add any new attractions for 5 years, which is why they spent so much cash on it initially. They wanted to have it pre-expanded so they could just coast by for 5 years with no changes. When after one year the excitement faded (as there weren't enough attractions for some people I guess) they tried to make special shows to fill in the holes, but it didn't help. So the lousy coaster they added last year and Tower were brought in way early, as are changing out most of the stage shows that have failed. Well all that failed revenue and pricey changes finally came at a big cost to that park... as of April there will no longer be any atmosphere at the park. Sounds like not too big of a deal until you realize there were NINETEEN shows, all of which are canceled with no replacement. Lots of Japanese and foreign positions are axed. Then Encore will finally limp to a close, and the replacement show will have about 18 people in it, down from nearly 75, and only 8 of them will be foreigners, down from about 40. Then, Sail Away will close and the new version will have NO foreign positions, down from 20. So let's just say that this housing for foreign performers is soon to be a ghost town. We are assuming that when they install the new Cirque show here, they will just use it to house them. As for Japanese entertainment, about 75 positions are cut there because they will also close Porto Paradiso Water Carnival, and it's replacement will have few Japanese positions, down from a HUGE number of like 100 or so before. Also, TDS' special event stage will have to be mowed down to make way for the Tower's queue. Tower of Terror indeed, haha. Over at TDL most of the shows there had already been cut when TDS opened, but they decided not to go forward with Blazing Rhythms this year (as of now), and they cut the Tokyo Disneyland band from 30 permanent members to 5. Does all of this sound familiar? ;-)
    Peter Pan Forever!!! I Will Never Grow Up.

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  2. #2

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    Re: News about TOT from CM friend at Tokyo DL

    Oh no, oh no!!! Not the pressler era again!!! and at TDR, the least place id expect this to happen!

  3. #3

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    Re: News about TOT from CM friend at Tokyo DL

    Sad, especially considering that the TDS tower seems to be the nicest of them all (at least as far as the façade goes).
    -Tim

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    Re: News about TOT from CM friend at Tokyo DL

    I guess TDS was a bit too much too soon.

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    Re: News about TOT from CM friend at Tokyo DL

    Well, to be honest, 5 years ago when he first arrived, one of his first e-mails back to me asked me to tell evryone who has put Tokyo Disneyland on a pedistal, to take it down.

    The upkeep at TDL is terrible. Tomorrowland is yesterdayland worse than ours. The Park needs painting badly. The Japanese CM's are treated worse than any other group I know of. No Perks at all. In other words, you want to take your friends or family into the Park on your day off, you pay full admission for everyone, including you. You pay for Parking. You get two sick day a year. No such things as vacation or overtime. The people brought in from the U.S. get no discounts on AP's or addmission, but they do get higher pay, free rooms at the TDL Village, overtime and vacations.

    But all said and done, Tokyo DL and Disney Seas are now run worse than Disneyland ever was during it's worse times. And Disney Seas was not the big success we all thought it was. There are very few rides for "families", and not enough rides to begin with. It's a very sad turn of events for a Park/Resort that used to be the highest quality Disney Theme Park in the World. No more I guess. The attendance at Disney Seas has dropped off so it is now lower than DCA. Even though more money was spent on it, it was still spent on appearances rather than substance.
    Peter Pan Forever!!! I Will Never Grow Up.

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  6. #6

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    Re: News about TOT from CM friend at Tokyo DL

    Quote Originally Posted by Lost Boy
    Well, to be honest, 5 years ago when he first arrived, one of his first e-mails back to me asked me to tell evryone who has put Tokyo Disneyland on a pedistal, to take it down.

    The upkeep at TDL is terrible. Tomorrowland is yesterdayland worse than ours. The Park needs painting badly. The Japanese CM's are treated worse than any other group I know of. No Perks at all. In other words, you want to take your friends or family into the Park on your day off, you pay full admission for everyone, including you. You pay for Parking. You get two sick day a year. No such things as vacation or overtime. The people brought in from the U.S. get no discounts on AP's or addmission, but they do get higher pay, free rooms at the TDL Village, overtime and vacations.

    But all said and done, Tokyo DL and Disney Seas are now run worse than Disneyland ever was during it's worse times. And Disney Seas was not the big success we all thought it was. There are very few rides for "families", and not enough rides to begin with. It's a very sad turn of events for a Park/Resort that used to be the highest quality Disney Theme Park in the World. No more I guess. The attendance at Disney Seas has dropped off so it is now lower than DCA. Even though more money was spent on it, it was still spent on appearances rather than substance.
    like I keep saying, TDR ain't all that. But still, the grass is always greener on the other side.

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    Re: News about TOT from CM friend at Tokyo DL

    Wow! I would have NEVER guessed! This is horrid! I would expect this anywhere besides TDR! And it looks like a good place, even tho ive never been! So i guess everyone was wrong when they said that DCA is worse than TDS, i woulda never guessed in a million years!

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    Re: News about TOT from CM friend at Tokyo DL

    I guess some of this was to be expected...it is hard to build out a park for opening and keep people interested year after year. It's starting to sound like they are trying to pay off the TDS debt sooner than originally planned, hence the attractions to add excitement and the cutting of jobs. TDS is an interesting park. Each new park opens to its sucesses and failures going back to EPCOT, almost none perform how they've expected (better or worse) sad that they are cutting streetmosphere though.

  9. #9

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    Re: News about TOT from CM friend at Tokyo DL

    As someone has said before, it's the old Walt and Roy thing. You need a bit of both or you won't succeed.

    This development is rather ironic since Japan is pretty well defined in the world square by doing things better at a fraction of the price. It sounds like they spent themselves into a hole here. It's one they'll get out of in time, it just means they're going to have to sit still for a bit and let things pay for themselves. They can't afford a TOT or a Raging Spirits every single year.

  10. #10

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    Re: News about TOT from CM friend at Tokyo DL

    I didn't even think of that when I heard about so many shows being canceled, sad story. I am however going to turn some of your negatives into postives. TDS's special event stage, Waterfront Park, wouldn't even exist if it weren't for the tower. It was a little stage they put there when construction started and it was meant to be temporary. As of the end of 2005, DisneySea was the 4th most visited theme park in the world, right behind Tokyo Disneyland(3), Disneyland(2), and Walt Disney's Magic Kingdom(1). I don't believe it is lower than DCA but maybe as of right now it is as this is a low season. I think the OLC might have had too great of expectations from the park. It was supposed to pull in the same kind of numbers that TDL did, then the most visited theme park in the world did, but instead cut the number of visitors and split them between the two parks. It has helped the resort overall, but not in the way they wanted. Tokyo Disneyland needs painting badly?? Don't get that one. Bad treatment or not, TDR cast members are the best out there. If you understood Japan's work ethic, you would understand their treatment, working in Japan is no easy thing. Two sick days isn't so bad. Honorable business men will go their whole career without missing a day, no sick days, no vacations, nothing. The parks are run worse? You mean efficiency, cast members, operating attractions, shows, and such smoothly? That's worse than Disneyland was? I don't think so. I hope (although I sadly doubt) that this tower is what they need. I believe that they will still have quality shows with the smaller casts, but I will miss many of them.
    Last edited by DisneySeaFan; 03-26-2006 at 04:57 PM.

  11. #11

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    Re: News about TOT from CM friend at Tokyo DL

    That is the unfortunate truth of the situation. Actually, it started even before TOT was announced. People just haven't taken to TDS like they did to TDL in the past. A lot of money was spent on a beautiful park with good attractions, but the Disney familiarity was not there.

    In Japan, people expect to see Mickey or another well-known character in attractions. They all got their Mickey fix when a new special event would be held. However, there is a special event going on all the time now at both Parks. People will just say, I'll go to the next one. E-Productions, the OLC subsidiary for entertainment, has been blamed for watering down the shows while inflating the budget. They also think they know the Japanese guest better and wanted to run shows with more independence from WDAJ. In fact, WDAJ is doing very little with the upcoming TDS 5th Anniversary shows. They are OLC's gig.

    Another problem drawing folks to TDS, in my opinion, is the spacious Porto Paradiso in Mediterranean Harbor. It is simply too big to hold any regular performances short of a Fantasmic-type show. In most of the daily/nightly and special events show held there, the characters seemed so distant and guests don't feel as intimate as they do, such as the parades at TDL next door.

    There are many other reasons TDS is considered a financial disappointment, and unfortunately, it is the hard-working onstage and backstage CM's that are paying for it. In order to raise attendance numbers, OLC has called for more discount ticket campaigns, held more free present days, and had a lot more exposure on local media outlets.

    As for the foreign CM's getting the boot, like the OP's friend described. It will be pretty bad. Not only are the majority of non-Japanese contract workers not getting renewed, they will be replaced by less-experienced performers mainly from Australia, the US and Europe. All new hirees will be on a lower-scaled contract. Check out the Disney Auditions site for info. All Japanese performers are on yearly or seasonal hourly contracts, and they get paid significantly less that their non-Japanese counterparts even though they usually work more hours and more often. It is a very competitive situation and very unstable, with little to no extra benefits that CM's and performers in the US parks receive.

    This is just the tip of the iceberg folks. OLC does run a tight ship out there, but it is more like tight with money for human resources. Park maintenance has suffered, even when they start cutting down on janitorial staff a few years ago. The department that maintained rides is smaller now even after the "Space Mountain" incident a year and a half ago was deemed as a clerical error, not a maintenance one. "Tomorrowland" will be transformed gradually, but with nothing particularly new, rather existing attractions will be brought in (i.e. Monster's Inc, Philharmagic, etc.) with slight modifications.

    LOL! I just expected to make a few comments. But this has gotten rather long. Let's see what others have to say.

  12. #12

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    Re: News about TOT from CM friend at Tokyo DL

    ^I have heard that ever since OLC put the entertainment productions in the hands of E-productions, things have greatly changed.
    But some of the upcoming entertainment is not all OLC/E-prod. WDAJ (WDI) wouldn't do much with the live entertainment anyways- that all goes to Disney Creative Entertainment. And Disney Creative Ent. is producing TDS's 5th Anniversary show on the lagoon titled Mythica, produced soley by DCE and headed up by show impresario Steve Davison. and the replacement for Encore is being done by DCE, with much of it's production being totally done here in California by Anne hamburger and Alan Menken.

    Also, the cutting of jobs is unfortunate regardless. Streetmosphere ent. was a bit bloated there, but the huge cutbacks will be a great loss.
    As for the number of people in a cast for a show, that always changes based on who is creating that particular new show. Some shows have huge casts, some have small ones. Mythica, while I am not familiar with the makeup of the show, may have less live performers that Porto Paradisio- though I still am not sure. Mythica is Steve's most lavish and expensive production to date. The show may have more of an emphasis of puppetters and things, rather than lots of dancers and performers. again, that is just a guess and I truly don't know.

    Overall, I am not surprised that Tokyo and OLC have these problems and are making these decisions. WHile that resort is quite unique and truly a gem, it definitely has its problems that many out there seem to deny.
    Last edited by tcsnwhite; 03-26-2006 at 07:14 PM.

  13. #13

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    Re: News about TOT from CM friend at Tokyo DL

    Quote Originally Posted by DisneyLurker
    E-Productions, the OLC subsidiary for entertainment, has been blamed for watering down the shows while inflating the budget. They also think they know the Japanese guest better and wanted to run shows with more independence from WDAJ. In fact, WDAJ is doing very little with the upcoming TDS 5th Anniversary shows. They are OLC's gig.
    From what I was told, even though E-productions is in charge of the entertainment at TDR, it still has to be approved by Disney Creative Entertainment, which is in charge of approving all ent. worldwide. It all depends on what the project is, sometimes it is taken all exclusively by E-prod., sometimes it is given completely to DCE (which does have a representative on hand at TDR at all times), and sometimes DCE will take charge and outsource the show concept completely to a third party production company, as was the case with Braviseamo.
    There is a definite difference in flavor in the ent. when created by E-prod., DCE, or a third party. at least in my opinion.
    you do have to know your audience when creating something, but in the end, you never really know if people are going to like it or not.


    Overall, i just hate to see anyone lose their job, especially if they love it.
    Last edited by tcsnwhite; 03-26-2006 at 07:31 PM.

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    Re: News about TOT from CM friend at Tokyo DL

    Quote Originally Posted by DisneySeaFan
    DisneySea was the 4th most visited theme park in the world, right behind Tokyo Disneyland(3), Disneyland(2), and Walt Disney's Magic Kingdom(1).
    *cough* I believe #2 was Walt Disney's Magic Kingdom, but anyway...

    Bad treatment or not, TDR cast members are the best out there. If you understood Japan's work ethic, you would understand their treatment
    That doesn't matter because this is Disney Parks, not Matsushi+a (silly curse filter.) It was not the Cast Members who decided to build DisneySea the way they did, it was the managers and executives behind the projects at OLC. It is their failure and they should be the ones feeling the pressure, not the front-line CMs. If their reaction was typical of "Japan's work ethic," then there would probably be a pair of shoes with a suicide note on the roof of an office building somewhere, not people being let go in droves. By what I've heard of the Japanese economy, the government is so against people being laid off that they've paid companies money to not let go of workers. That effort may have ended, and it was likely a part of why they find themselves in the cycle that they're in, but the point is that the conditions are not very Disney and the company's response is not very traditional Japan.


    I have no idea what this means for the future of the parks, but perhaps if the TDR people proposed asking for support from Bob and John in Burbank they could keep their heads above water. Iger seems to understand the value of the Japanese market (hence Oswald) and would love to have a larger investment the 4th most visited park in the world IMO, and the Lasseter/Baxter combo could probably come up with some incredible ideas for TDR that are a bit more character-driven, like the audience are asking for.

  15. #15

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    Re: News about TOT from CM friend at Tokyo DL

    Quote Originally Posted by MickeyMania
    As someone has said before, it's the old Walt and Roy thing. You need a bit of both or you won't succeed.

    This development is rather ironic since Japan is pretty well defined in the world square by doing things better at a fraction of the price. It sounds like they spent themselves into a hole here. It's one they'll get out of in time, it just means they're going to have to sit still for a bit and let things pay for themselves. They can't afford a TOT or a Raging Spirits every single year.
    I agree with everything you said. A bit of balance, and it seems this hole of thiers is scary, especially since they are not used to it (the company as a whole, when both privately and publicly owned never posted a loss untill TDS opened).
    Its the same kinda thing as when they opened Pooh...it was new and had bugs that had never been worked out, they were unsure of what to do since that was new to them. There seems to be a quiet panic over not paying back as fast as possible (which is understandable I suppose, in moderation).

    Quote Originally Posted by tcsnwhite
    Encore is being done by DCE, with much of it's production being totally done here in California by Anne hamburger and Alan Menken.
    Oh no. Her shows seem to be getting more and more cultured and less and less theme park each time. There is only so much Broadwaying they can do to a show before it becomes too distant from what guests would expect. Granted this is a Broadway Theater show...but they are using it to get more "charecters" in the park...not more of Hamburgers culture. This could be interesting.

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