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Wednesday, January 12, 2011
A Tokyo Disneyland Guide To Fun (Circa 1990)
I have never been to Japan. In high school, I had a classmate named James Carroll, and he had lived in Japan. One day, after weeks of hearing me ask questions about Japan and Tokyo Disneyland, James brought his 1990 Tokyo Disneyland Souvenir Guidebook to school. James, being a really nice friend, let me keep the Guidebook. Thank you, James Carroll!
Tokyo Disneyland opened in 1983. It is actually owned and operated by the Oriental Land Company, and Disney is paid royalty fees. Tokyo Disneyland, which is actually located in Urayasu, Chiba, is extremely popular.
Tokyo Disneyland is very similar to Disneyland in California and Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom in Florida. However, quite a few changes were made for the Japanese park. Since this map is from 1990, the park has itself changed quite a bit.
One of the biggest changes is the entrance to the park itself. The Tokyo Disneyland Hotel opened right at the park's entrance in 2008. Similarly, The Disneyland Hotel at Disneyland Paris (opened in 1992) can also be found at the park's front gate.
At Tokyo Disneyland, Main Street U.S.A. is called World Bazaar. It is covered under a canopy of glass, to protect shoppers from frequent rainstorms. Other theme parks, like Universal Studios Japan, have also incorporated canopies to their theme park shopping districts.
Check out all the cool shops at World Bazaar, and the nice Disney character displays. It's fun to see Orville the albatross, and mice Bernard and Bianca from "The Rescuers."
You won't find the Swiss Family Treehouse in Adventureland here. At least, not in 1990. The Treehouse did not open until 1993.
The Western River Railroad is located in Adventureland. It does not circle the park. If it had more than one stop, it would have been subject to strict transportation codes.
In 2008, the Enchanted Tiki Room became "Stitch Presents Aloha e Komo Mai!" with the addition of an Audio-Animatronics figure of Stitch the alien from the movie "Lilo and Stitch" (a similar figure can be found at Walt Disney World's "Stitch's Great Escape" in Tomorrowland).
At Tokyo Disneyland, Frontierland is called "Westernland." Big Thunder Mountain opened in 1987, so the attraction was still fairly new at this time.
In 1992, Splash Mountain was added in the area on the map with the canoe dock, which became a new area called "Critter Country." This new section was an expanded version of the Critter Country found at Disneyland in California. Walt Disney World's Splash Mountain also debuted in 1992, in the Frontierland section of the Magic Kingdom (there's no Critter Country in Florida).
The Haunted Mansion is located in Fantasyland at Tokyo Disneyland. The reason was explained in Jason Surrell's book, "The Haunted Mansion: From the Magic Kingdom to the Movies." There was nowhere else to put it, and in the Japanese culture, "ghost stories are often categorized as fairy tales or fables."
The "Mickey Mouse Revue" was an Audio Animatronics show imported from Walt Disney World in Florida, where it ran from 1971 to 1980. At Tokyo Disneyland, it operated from 1983 to 2009. In 2011, the 3D film, "Mickey's Philharmagic" will open to replace the show (ironically, "Mickey's Philharmagic" first appeared in the former "Mickey Mouse Revue" location at Walt Disney World in Florida in 2003).
In 1996, the "Mickey's Toontown" land opened near Fantasyland, past Alice's Tea Party and the Skyway. Guests could now meet Mickey and Minnie in their houses, plus explore Donald's Boat, Goofy's Bounce House, Chip 'N' Dale's Tree House, Gadget's Go-Coaster, the Jolly Trolley ride through downtown Toontown and Roger Rabbit's Car-Toon Spin dark ride.
The Skyway and the Small World Restaurant were closed in 1998. Alice's Tea Party was moved and a new Queen of Hearts Banquet Hall restaurant opened near The Haunted Mansion at that time.
"Pooh's Hunny Hunt," a major new innovative "trackless" attraction featuring Audio Animatronics figures, music and animation (the ride vehicles go wild in the Heffalumps and Woozles section), opened in 2000 in the area that housed Alice's Tea Party, the Skyway and the Small World Restaurant. "Pooh's Hunny Hunt" is one of a kind and is one of the most popular attractions in Tokyo Disneyland.
Tomorrowland has also seen quite a few changes.
"Meet the World" closed in 2002. A brand new, large-scale, interactive dark ride, "Monsters Inc. Ride & Go Seek" opened in its place in 2009, featuring the characters from the Disney Pixar film.
"Buzz Lightyear's Astro Blasters," the interactive ride featuring the popular Disney Pixar Toy Story character, opened in 2004, in the former "American Journeys in Circlevision 360" location.
"Captain EO" had been replaced by the 3D film, "MicroAdventure!" (also known as "Honey, I Shrunk the Audience") in 1997. However, "Captain EO" returned to its old location in Tokyo Disneyland in 2010. "Captain EO" has returned to its old locations at Disneyland, Walt Disney World, and Disneyland Paris, too.
Tokyo Disneyland operated with different ticketing systems long after the other Disney Parks had abandoned them. I never experienced a Disney Park with individual attraction tickets.
The first official Disney hotel in Japan, Disney's Ambassador Hotel, opened in 2000. In 2001, Tokyo Disneyland got a sister park, Tokyo DisneySea, with the Hotel MiraCosta. Along with a new shopping district, Ikspiari, the destination once known simply as Tokyo Disneyland became The Tokyo Disney Resort. I really hope to visit the Resort someday soon!
For a much more in-depth look at the Tokyo Disney Resort, check out Meet the World, a wonderful website created by my pal, TokyoMagic!