Oriental Land Company announced that the permanent replacement for Fantasmic, “Believe! Sea of Dreams,” will debut on November 11, 2022 at Tokyo DisneySea. This post shares details and concept art about the upcoming nighttime spectacular, plus a rundown of other upcoming changes and additions to Japan’s Disney parks.
In “Believe! Sea of Dreams,” Disney and Pixar friends remind dreamers to keep on believing and making their wishes come true. The spectacular show takes place at Mediterranean Harbor at Tokyo DisneySea, where the waters are transformed into the Sea of Dreams—a place filled with “wishing stars” that appear whenever someone makes a heartfelt wish.
The new nighttime spectacular features large boats gliding dynamically over the water’s surface, bright lasers and searchlights illuminating the night sky and, for the first time, images projected on the walls of Tokyo DisneySea Hotel MiraCosta. The performance space is further enhanced by the characters from Disney and Pixar films and the performances of dancers, allowing guests to feel as if they have stepped into the stories of beloved Disney friends.
“Believe! Sea of Dreams” will be performed once nightly in Mediterranean Harbor and is about 30 minutes long. Tokyo DisneySea’s new nighttime spectacular will feature Peter Pan, Wendy, Aladdin, Rapunzel, Miguel, Ariel, Moana, Elsa, and other characters.
Tokyo Disney Resort is investing about 9.5 billion yen into “Believe! Sea of Dreams,” which is roughly $70 million (USD). (It would’ve been around $100 million when the nighttime spectacular was actually developed, which was before the yen plummeted against the dollar.)
As with Fantasmic before it, the expectation is that “Believe! Sea of Dreams” will have 360 degree viewing. What’s less clear is whether it’ll have a clear “front of house” perspective or not. With projections on Hotel MiraCosta, it’s possible the better views will be from Fortress Explorations or the other side of the harbor.
It’s also possible that those projections are meant to improve those views, offsetting set pieces in the water that are best viewed from Mickey Square or Lido Isle. Here’s hoping we’ll be able to watch “Believe! Sea of Dreams” sometime in the not too distant future and report back with the best and worst viewing angles.
Here’s a preview video from Tokyo Disney Resort:
“Believe! Sea of Dreams” was originally announced in Summer 2020 as the brand-new nighttime entertainment spectacular debuting to commemorate the 20th Anniversary of Tokyo DisneySea. Looking back at our commentary from that post and the accompanying comments is a bit sad, as we expressed excitement about being able to return to Japan last year.
Fast-forward to 2022, and the best-case scenario is that Japan reopens in Fall 2022. Even that is very far from a sure thing, with 2023 looking increasingly likely. Unlike the rest of Tokyo DisneySea’s 20th Anniversary offerings, at least we’ll actually get to see “Believe! Sea of Dreams,” so that’s a plus!
“Believe! Sea of Dreams” is just the latest addition in a slew of projects for an ambitious $3 billion expansion of Tokyo Disney Resort that has continued to plow forward in the last two years without delay or budget cuts. Most recently, Toy Story Hotel opened across from the parks earlier this summer.
In Tokyo DisneySea, there’s the blockbuster Fantasy Springs expansion that’ll bring big budget Frozen, Tangled, and Peter Pan attractions to the park. It appears that tremendous progress has been made on this as it prepares to open in the next fiscal year, along with its park-adjacent luxury hotel. (That should mean Fantasy Springs opens sometime in 2023, but it could debut before March 31, 2024 and technically meet its target.)
Over in Tokyo Disneyland, the large scale expansion slated to debut ahead of the Olympics opened after about a ~6 month delay with minimal fanfare in late 2020. Most of this expansion is New Fantasyland, and most of that is a Beauty and the Beast mini-land. It also includes redevelopment and additions to both Tomorrowland and Toontown.
With that said, we don’t want to paint an overly rosy picture of Tokyo Disney Resort, as if it’s full steam ahead and business as normal there. Much like the US parks, Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea have dramatically scaled back entertainment in the last two years. While some parades and spectaculars have returned, they’re scaled back and lacking in performers.
Seasonal events have similarly been lacking, with this upcoming Halloween the first to finally have a parade–but again, it’ll be scaled back without ground-level dancers and performers. Tokyo DisneySea still hasn’t had a proper harbor show, and probably won’t for Christmas given that “Believe! Sea of Dreams” will be the big draw then.
As intimated above with the country’s lack of a proper reopening, Japan has been much slower to return to normal than North America or Europe. Physical distancing markers were just removed, while most other health safety measures remain in place.
Multi-day tickets still aren’t being sold, strict limits are in place for stage show viewing, as are other restrictions. There’s probably a lot I’m missing, given that this is simply what I’ve seen in walk-around videos and on social media.
As much as I love Japan and Tokyo Disney Resort, part of me is a little relieved we aren’t allowed in yet. I think all of these cutbacks might taint my opinion of those parks. (Or at least, this is what I tell myself to feel better about having multiple return trips to Japan cancelled!)
One of the big reasons we love Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea so much is that they have, historically, not had the same budget cut woes and other issues as the US parks. They have largely felt like what I remember of Walt Disney World in the 1990s. Hearing of similar reductions there prompts two responses. One is disappointment, obviously. The other is a bit more understanding as to Walt Disney World’s recent moves; if OLC is doing likewise, things are pretty bad.
Hopefully things will turn the corner soon in Japan. Although the country is in the midst of its seventh wave–its worst yet, with the highest per capita case numbers in the entire world right now–there are signs that its leadership is taking a different approach, looking to move forward rather than tread water and endure more economic pain.
There are also signs that this will be Oriental Land Company’s outlook going forward. In addition to “Believe! Sea of Dreams,” OLC just announced that its getting a revamped version of Mickey’s PhilharMagic with the Coco scene added, plus upgraded projection equipment with enhanced image quality.
On top of that, there’s the aforementioned Halloween season. While still lacking as compared to 2019, it is noteworthy that “Spooky ‘Boo!’ Parade” is returning and “The Villains Rockin’ Halloween Parade” is being added to the mix. Haunted Mansion Holiday Nightmare is also coming back for the first time in 3 years.
Hopefully, Christmas will be a similar story over at Tokyo Disneyland and the park will start to recover attendance with the relaxation of health theater measures. Just like at Walt Disney World and Disneyland, it’s not going to be like flipping a switch and everything going back to normal overnight, but it’s certainly a start. The debut of “Believe! Sea of Dreams” could be just what’s needed to kick the comeback of Tokyo Disney Resort into high gear.
What do you think of this news? Excited for a new nighttime spectacular at Tokyo DisneySea, or do you not care? Think this could be what kickstarts Tokyo Disney Resort’s return to normalcy, or will that take several more years? Do you agree or disagree with our commentary? Any questions? Hearing your feedback–even when you disagree with us–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments.