Beauty and the Beast Land — Fall 2018 Update
Progress continues at a brisk pace on the Beauty and the Beast mini-land, with towers on the new castle starting to rise, the Be Our Guest trackless dark ride building totally enclosed, and the smaller buildings for the Big Hero Six ride, and Minnie’s design studio also starting to take shape. In this Tokyo Disneyland construction report, we’ll share photos of the work, and commentary about what it means if you’re planning a visit.
As we’ve previously noted, the fast pace here is to meet a Spring 2020 opening deadline ahead of Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics. This is the most high-profile Tokyo Disneyland expansion ever; between the popularity of the characters being used for the attractions, the budget of the new area (and presumably, its future marketing efforts), and the natural draw of the Olympics, there should be a huge spike in attendance once this (mostly) Beauty and the Beast Tokyo Disneyland expansion debuts.
This project, along with the ongoing Soaring: Fantastic Flight work–and the huge expansion of FantaSea Springs, consisting of new Frozen, Peter Pan, and Tangled mini-lands (plus a new hotel)–over at Tokyo DisneySea mark the largest 5 year expansion at Tokyo Disney Resort ever, save for when each of the two parks first opened. In this update, we’ll take a quick look at how Beauty and the Beast village construction is progressing, along with the new turnstiles at Tokyo Disneyland.
We’re pretty excited about everything happening at Tokyo DisneySea–we saw artists painting the facade of ‘Soaring: Fantastic Flight’ and a lot of work happening around Bayside Station for the FantaSea Springs expansion–but we’re going to focus solely on the Beauty and the Beast Fantasyland/Toontown/Tomorrowland project here. We’ll be back with another post containing updates from Tokyo DisneySea.
Let’s start by taking a look at the backside of the Beauty and the Beast land, with “aerial” photos shot from our 11th floor balcony at Maihama Bay Club Resort.
The left structure you see, near Space Mountain, is the new theater. Work continues on the exterior here, with significant vertical construction since our last update.
I was actually a bit taken aback to see just how tall this building is. Granted, part of that is the perspective (it’s closer than other structures in these photos), but it’s still pretty all from inside the park.
This shouldn’t really be a surprise, as the Broadway Music Theatre at Tokyo DisneySea is roughly the same height, and the model of this expansion project shows a really tall theater concealed by mountains.
It’ll be interesting to see where this is located in relation to the FantaSea Springs attractions, as it’s going to take some rock-work to conceal from the DisneySea side, too.
To the right, nearer Toontown, is the show-building for the Be Our Guest trackless dark ride. Since our last update, not much has changed on the outside.
This massive building was topped out and fully enclosed over the summer, and presumably internal work on this groundbreaking new attraction has been occurring for a while now.
The one noteworthy, and exciting, development here is that two spires are rising atop the front of this show building to form the unmistakable form of a castle. We’re actually slightly surprised that Beast’s Castle is being erected this early into construction, but perhaps Disney or OLC are considering that free marketing?
Everyone walking through Tomorrowland can see the beginnings of that castle rising above the construction walls, and once it takes a more fully-formed shape, it’s going to start garnering more attention. Seeing Beast’s Castle is a pretty effective way to convince guests to plan return visits!
Not to go on a tangent, but these photos were all taken from our room at Maihama Bay Club Resort, where we stayed twice this trip to Japan (once for the end of Halloween and once for the start of Christmas), paying an average of $134/night. Both times we had standard rooms with a better view of Cinderella Castle than a theme park view room at Disney’s Contemporary Resort in Walt Disney World. (Read our Tokyo Disneyland on a Budget post for money-saving info.)
The FantaSea Springs expansion is going to be built largely in the parking lot between the theme parks and Bayside Station monorail hotels, meaning the theme park views available at these third party hotels will soon be even better. While the hotels lack Disney themes (and a couple are dated), they are all Deluxe caliber, and the Sheraton and Hilton properties have both had recent refurbishments. Just something to consider if you’re pricing out a Tokyo Disney Resort trip.
Within Tokyo Disneyland, walls remain up in Tomorrowland, and on the edges of Toontown and Fantasyland. Even on busy days, this never really caused any congestion. Tokyo Disneyland has super wide (too wide) walkways in this area of the park, so walls eating up some of that space isn’t as big of a deal as it’d be elsewhere.
As for how all of this work will impact your visit to Tokyo Disney Resort: it won’t. At least, once you’re inside the park. Outside the park, between the Tokyo Disneyland monorail station and turnstiles is a different story.
The maze of walls to enter Tokyo Disneyland is minor, so it’s not like the current Bus Stop Half Marathon at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in that regard. However, there are fewer turnstiles operating than normal, so the lines to enter the park are longer than normal.
During our last few trips, we’ve experienced this, and it has meant rope drop waits of around 10-15 minutes to enter the park on weekdays. As repeat visitors with no particular agenda, we’ve started delaying our visits until around 20 minutes after rope drop, at which time the lines pretty much clear out entirely. This strategy is definitely not recommended if it’s your first time visiting Tokyo Disneyland. To the contrary, we’d suggest arriving earlier than normal to beat the crowds.
That’s about it from Tokyo Disneyland. We’re really looking forward to the Beauty and the Beast attraction and the expansion to Fantasyland coming with it, and it’s nice to see visible progress with each visit to Japan. While there’s still no official opening date set for these additions, we’ll be keeping a close eye on this project, as we hope to time a visit to Tokyo Disneyland to coincide with the soft opening of the Beauty and the Beast mini-land in Spring 2020.
If you’re thinking of visiting Japan for the first time and are overwhelmed with planning, definitely check out our Tokyo Disney Resort Planning Guide. It covers much more than the parks, from getting there to WiFi to currency and much, much more. For more photos and an idea of what we did day-by-day during our first visit, read our Tokyo Disney Resort Trip Report.
Are you looking forward to this Beauty and the Beast/New Fantasyland expansion at Tokyo Disneyland? Do you have high expectations for the Be Our Guest trackless dark ride? Looking forward to the new theater, and whatever show it brings with it? Any questions? Hearing your thoughts and feedback is interesting to us, so please share below in the comments!
Can we expect a new construction update on this soon since I presume you’re in Japan for the Soarin’ opening?
Eager for them to announce a firm opening date.
And of course, as I left this comment, there’s a post with a general parks update up! Sorry!
We’re targeting May around Memorial Day, but Beauty and the Beast is very important to us to see, so we’ll be waiting until the opening is fairly certain to book.
It’s interesting to read the difference in your tone when reading construction articles on Tokyo vs WDW. The one thing that stood out to me was your comment about rock work that would need to be placed to cover up certain views of the towering theatre. At best, your confidence in work being done correctly at WDW is cautiously optimistic where it seems like there is no doubt that rides/imagineering done at Tokyo will be done right. Why do you think there is such a difference in the integrity of the work between the two parks?
It’s all about budgets and priorities. OLC (the company that manages Tokyo Disney Resort) spends money on quality. Generally speaking, TDO (who manage WDW) only spends money on things that drive revenue and/or can be advertised.
Concealing the theatre with rockwork doesn’t directly generate revenue, and you can’t put “the theatre is fully concealed by rockwork” in a commercial, so in Orlando they probably wouldn’t bother with the rockwork.
Dinning plan free
This isn’t about THIS post but I wanted to ask to see if anyone has any opinions (ha!)
I want to book NEXT Nov 2019 but I want to make sure the Christmas Party will start Nov 7. and does it generally have a Thurs AND Friday party that first week? I work in retail so going any later than that would make no sense for me. So I was wondering if the party usually starts this week. I know half on NJ is in WDW that week due to teachers being off for their NJ teacher convention.
Great update, Tom. They really seem to be moving on the construction. Beauty and the Beast area was little more than a pit in July of 2017 when we were last there. Can’t wait to experience it. If my excitement level for the overhyped, especially by bloggers such as yourself, Star Wars Lands is at about a 3 on a good day, then my excitement level for this project is about an 11. OLC never lets you down (unless you want a Diet Coke). Hell, they are even plussing Soaring into something better than what it is.
As to the hotel deal, no shock there. Our Hilton club level room was a little less than what you are paying now. And impeccably maintained. Not a 3-star WDW resort in the swamps for $600-1,000 a night (Is this what Disney charges for monorail resorts now? My only stay at one in the past decade was Poly on DVC points, so no idea how absurd prices have become.)
BTW, those PL dumps of rooms continues in the swamps, So for every fool paying $400 a night for the Coronado Springs Hotel and Casino Like Tower, the person next door is paying $100. … Guess it’s all those Guests holding off trips due to Galaxy’s Edge (can you feel the sarcasm reaching through the screen on this?)
Do you have any ideas about when in Spring 2020 the Beauty and the Beast area/ride might open? I’m planning a trip for early April 2020. While I would LOVE to experience it, I wonder if perhaps it is better if it isn’t open when we go – huge crowds on weekdays don’t sound especially pleasant for our one and only visit.
I would also like to know your predictions on how the olympics might affect Disney crowds and Japan crowds in general, for April 2020. I am hoping they won’t be higher. Or perhaps a slight calm before the storm?
Thanks for th buzz from Toyko! Mentally planning a Toyko trip for September 2020 so hopefully all this stuff will be finished and everyone will have gone home from the Olympics.
The design of the hotels around Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea are excellent for room views. I was extremely lucky on my last trip to have a hotel room view (without paying extra for a nice view) of the monorail, the castle, Big Thunder, Mount Prometheus, and Tower of Terror all in one window! (Best photo ever!) I recall having similarly good views of just Disneyland from a regular room at Hilton Tokyo Bay on a previous trip.
Yeah, they did a good job of laying out the hotels–pretty much everything has a theme park or ocean/skyline/Mount Fuji view!