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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!

9 comments:

  1. Great info Dan! And thanks for the mention and the link! I just realized I haven't had a Tokyo DL related post since November. It's time!

    While I love the additions that have been made to TDL since 1990, I do wish the Mickey Mouse Revue was still there. Or they could have sent it back to the U.S. and installed it in any one of our parks and I would have still been happy. I'm going to miss this attraction!

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  2. Hey TokyoMagic! I always look forward to your posts about the parks in Japan!

    I never got to see the Mickey Mouse Revue in person, unfortunately.

    It seems like it would be easy to have the animatronic figures performing in a restaurant at one of the parks (like Sonny Eclipse at Walt Disney World's Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe in Tomorrowland). Or they could perform in a store, the way The Disney Store used to have animated fixtures overhead that shoppers could watch. They could easily fit in Epcot's gigantic Mouse Gear store!

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  3. Do all of Disney's international parks print their materials in English? I would have thought each location used their native language.

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  4. Thanks, Dan!

    I like your idea! I wonder if they have thought of that? Tokyo DL has an Alien performing (not Sonny Eclipse) in their Pizza Port in Tomorrowland. They also have an indoor pop-up stage in their Tomorrowland Terrace restaurant that is not used anymore. That would be the perfect place for the A.A.s....at least the ones that were in the "orchestra" part of the show. I heard a rumor that all 3 sets of the Three Caballeros figures were sent to EPCOT to be installed in the Mexico Pavilion, but after they received them they realized it was going to be too expensive so now they just sit in storage somewhere at EPCOT. Do you know if this is true?

    I'm still wondering if the Cinderella figures from the show are going into Tokyo's new Cinderella Castle walk-through attraction? It's so difficult to find out detailed information about future attractions in that park!

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  5. Peyton: I think all the Disney parks offer guidebooks in other languages (they don't want folks to get lost!). The Disney parks outside the United States use a mix of languages for signs and some of the attractions (I know that many Cast Members at Disneyland Paris speak more than one language).

    TokyoMagic!: Thank you!

    I saw a picture of Tokyo's version of Sonny Eclipse years ago (he's a different color, right? And named "Officer Zzyxx"). I'd love to see the Pan Galactic Pizza Port in Walt Disney World's Tomorrowland!

    I think it would be great if the Three Caballeros figures were used in the Mexico Pavilion's boat ride. Somehow I doubt they will ever be included. I was thinking Tokyo's Cinderella Castle attraction would feature a live actress, but installing the Mickey Mouse Revue Cinderella figures there sounds like a good plan to me (they wouldn't have to pay anyone to play Cinderella if there was an animatronic character there)!

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  6. Officer Zzyxx is stationed at the exit of Star Tours and he is the same figure as Sonny Eclipse, but with a different color skin (Link) The figure in the Pan Galactic Pizza Port is another alien figure and I can't remember his name right now.

    I think the new Cinderella attraction will have a Meet and Greet, but the old Mystery Tour attraction was a very long walk-thru. I was hoping that before the Meet and Greet they would have some dioramas featuring figures from the MM Revue, but that's just my wishful thinking....again, I haven't heard anything about it other than it being a Meet and Greet. The MM Revue had a figure of both the Fairy Godmother and the Prince and THREE separate Cinderella figures! Also in the orchestra, there was a Gus and Jaques figure playing instruments. There is so much potential for reuse of all the MM Revue figures!

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  7. Thanks for the link and information about Officer Zzyxx, TokyoMagic!

    Disney News had a big article about the Pan Galactic Pizza Port years ago, and I loved the characters created for the restaurant/show, featuring an Animatronic figure and puppets on TV screens. I think Tony Solaroni is the name of the Animatronic figure. Officer Zzyxx was mentioned in the Disney News Pan Galactic Pizza Port article as a transition from the Star Tours aliens to the more whimsical Pizza Port aliens.

    I that would be a great idea to reuse the MM Revue Cinderella figures. It seems like the Tokyo parks have a better chance of getting them than the others (I'd guess the Oriental Land Company is the actual owner of the Mickey Mouse Revue now).

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  8. Tony Solaroni....that's it! Thanks! You are right about the Oriental Land Company owning the MM Revue figures. The rumor about the Three Caballeros figures that I had heard was that Disney had bought them back for use at EPCOT.

    I'm trying to think of a situation where OLC has reused something from a previous attraction that has closed and I can't think of anything, but I'm still hoping that they realize these figures are too wonderful to just scrap or place in storage. I still like your idea of having them perform in a restaurant. I don't know why I didn't think of that.....after Country Bear Jamboree closed at DL, I was hoping DL would reuse the A.A.s in the same way. After all, that was the original plan for the Tiki Room at DL!

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  9. TokyoMagic!: The way things seem to be these days, it might not be a bad idea to check eBay for Mickey Mouse Revue performers (at least they'd go to a good home).

    I had read somewhere that Disneyland's Country Bear Jamboree figures were considered for Disneyland Paris.

    I wonder if we haven't seen a restaurant with a big animatronics show at Disney due to the risk of people throwing food or drinks at the robots. I remember some unruly kids getting on the stage at a Showbiz Pizza Place restaurant...

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