In the photo above, you can see over $3 billion worth of new Beauty and the Beast, Big Hero 6, Frozen, Tangled, and Peter Pan attractions, plus two hotels under construction at Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea. In an era of unprecedented development around the world, these are among Imagineering’s most ambitious projects. We’ll take a closer look at construction progress on each in this post.
Let’s start with the photo above (click here to view it larger in a new tab), to provide a bit of context for those of you who are unfamiliar with Tokyo Disney Resort. It was taken from our park-view guest room on the top floor of the Hilton Tokyo Bay, which is a monorail loop hotel that’s a short walk from Bayside Station. You can see that station in the right foreground with a monorail pulling into it.
Immediately below Bayside Station is the beginnings of construction on the Toy Story Hotel, which is a new 600-room resort that broke ground two months ago and is slated to open in fiscal year 2021 (meaning sometime between April 1, 2021 and March 31, 2022). This hotel will be nestled between the Hilton Tokyo Bay and Sheraton Grande Tokyo Bay…
If you follow the Toy Story Hotel construction up, directly above the parking garage for the Sheraton, you can see a blue dome on the far right side of the frame. That’s part of Arabian Coast, a port on the far end of Tokyo DisneySea. Between Lost River Delta and that port (directly behind Jasmine’s Flying Carpets) will be the entrance to the new Fantasy Springs port that’s now under construction.
This is significant because pretty much all of the construction in the mid-ground of this photo is Fantasy Springs (plus its in-park luxury hotel). That’s right. All of those cranes, bore pile drills, and other heavy equipment are there for the construction of Fantasy Springs.
Here’s a look at the concept art, which is roughly from a similar aerial perspective as the top photo:
As a reminder, Fantasy Springs is the huge expansion of Tokyo DisneySea that will be “a magical spring leading to a world of Disney fantasy” and will add Frozen, Tangled and Peter Pan mini-lands to the park, plus an adjacent in-park luxury hotel.
The total budget of this project is $2.3 billion, which to our knowledge makes it the most expensive single land in a Disney Park ever developed. To put that into perspective, it’s more than both versions of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge combined. You can read more about Fantasy Springs at Tokyo DisneySea here.
Assuming the model featured in a recent episode of the Imagineering Story is the final design and layout of Fantasy Springs, we know that the new hotel will abut Bayside Station.
The Tangled and Peter Pan areas will roughly be located behind Arabian Coast and Lost River Delta (respectively) in Tokyo DisneySea, and the Frozen area will be behind Toontown and the upcoming Beauty and the Beast area in Tokyo Disneyland.
Looking to the right of Bayside Station (foreground), we have what will more or less be the Tangled and Peter Pan areas.
To the best of our knowledge, the Tangled area will feature a boat ride that boards outside before going into a show building, and one of the Peter Pan attractions will be inside a show building, while the other will be an outdoor flat ride. There will also be counter service restaurants in each area.
What we’re looking at here is the future home of a new hotel (immediately above the monorail) and the future home of Arendelle behind that (between what’s identifiable as Space Mountain and Cinderella Castle behind scrims).
It’s worth reiterating that all of these are best guesses based upon concept art and that single model, which may or may not be the final design. None of this is confirmed.
Based upon information from the Tokyo fan community (I’m not sure whether it’s informed speculation or leaks, but it appears credible), we are under the impression that the Frozen area will be largest of all, with a boat ride plus a table service restaurant.
If the show building sizes floating around are accurate, both the Peter Pan motion base ride and the Frozen boat ride will be massive. The Tangled boat ride size is more modest, but still large. Given the huge size of this plot of land and the lack of retail (only one gift shop in the entire port), those show building sizes are at least credible on their face.
Here’s yet another look before we move on to the Tokyo Disneyland projects that open next year. (Yes, I took a lot of construction photos out our hotel room window…multiple days and different times of day.)
Note the large buildings in the mid-ground between Space Mountain and Cinderella Castle. That’s what we’ll be looking at next.
Here are portions of those same buildings captured from the Tokyo Disney Resort Liner monorail.
On the left is Fantasyland Forest Theatre, a 1500-seat indoor theater with live entertainment featuring Mickey and friends. In the middle is Cinderella Castle. On the right is Beast’s Castle, which serves as the entrance to the Enchanted Tale of Beauty and the Beast attraction.
Another look at Cinderella Castle and Beast’s Castle side-by-side. It’s worth noting that Beast’s Castle is not taller than Cinderella Castle–that’s the perspective here. However, it is very tall.
What we can’t see from this vantage is Belle’s village, which features Maurice’s Cottage, Gaston’s fountain, restaurants and shops. Let’s head inside Tokyo Disneyland for that…
The facades on the left are entirely finished and are sitting behind patented Disney Cloaking Devices, completely concealing them from public view. 😉
Some of this is very similar to Belle’s Village in New Fantasyland in Magic Kingdom.
These buildings will serve as dining, shopping, and FastPass distribution.
(Hopefully there are already plans for repurposing the FastPass distribution spot, since that’s quickly moving to the Tokyo Disney Resort app, which has a high adoption rate–and will pretty much be a necessity for actually scoring Enchanted Tale of Beauty and the Beast FastPasses.)
Here’s another look at Beast’s Castle from within Tokyo Disneyland, behind buildings of the village for proper scale.
We spent a lot of time looking at this, as there was constantly active construction visible through the scrim.
Here’s another view at night. It’s worth noting that what’s visible of the castle is not the entire thing–just the top spire. The rest of the castle is behind scrim.
This should be a pretty convincing use of forced perspective.
This is work on Belle’s Village, which is the backside of the Happy Ride with Baymax. On several evenings, we observed a flurry of construction work. It was somewhat surreal, as they were working at “race against the clock” pace on facades that appear largely finished…for a land that doesn’t open until April 15, 2020.
(I’m not sure why I don’t have photos of the Happy Ride with Baymax. It appears to be almost entirely finished, with show lighting tests happening while we were there.)
Over in Toontown, we have Minnie’s Style Studio.
The scrims around this facade came down while we were at Tokyo Disneyland. It was pretty cool to see this revealed.
I’m sure what’s inside won’t appeal to me, but I love the ‘toonified Art Deco of the exterior.
In general, I’m a huge fan of how this expansion is using land to expand Toontown and Fantasyland and slightly shrinking Tomorrowland. The only losses are Grand Circuit Raceway and Star Jets, and I can’t say the speedway is actually much of a loss. Tomorrowland was large and disjointed, and this should help tighten it up a bit.
On the other hand, Fantasyland has always been undersized and pretty bland thematically. This expansion significantly increases its size while also providing thematic depth and engaging outdoor spaces. Tokyo Disneyland still needs some place-making, but this is a huge step in the right direction. Now here’s hoping the Beauty and the Beast attraction lives up to the hype and its sky-high budget!
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 excited for Fantasy Springs at Tokyo DisneySea? Happy to see several rides and only one gift shop? What about the Beauty and the Beast expansion at Tokyo Disneyland? Do you find this massive construction project interesting, or not? 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!