Fantasy Springs will open on June 6, 2024. This shares details about the debut of Disney’s blockbuster new land themed to Frozen, Tangled and Peter Pan; how both the new port of call and its attractions will be accessed for free via Standby Pass and for a fee via Premier Access; and our commentary about all of that plus the potential for soft openings and previews.
Fantasy Springs is the eighth themed port at Tokyo DisneySea, and Oriental Land Company (OLC), its owner and operator, has shared new details about the land and how it’ll operate. At the entrance to Fantasy Springs, nestled between Lost River Delta and Arabian Coast, guests will first be welcomed to this world of fantasy by an entry archway adorned with magical springs representing Disney characters such as Anna, Elsa, Rapunzel and Peter Pan.
At Frozen Kingdom, with its beautiful views of the kingdom of Arendelle, guests can experience the Anna and Elsa’s Frozen Journey attraction and enjoy a heartwarming tale of two sisters that discover only true love can thaw a frozen heart, together with some of the well-known songs from the Disney Animation film Frozen. In Rapunzel’s Forest stands a tower where the long-haired princess, Rapunzel, has lived since she was a child. Here, guests can experience the Rapunzel’s Lantern Festival attraction and take a romantic boat ride to the annual Lantern Festival.
Peter Pan’s Never Land offers spectacular scenery, which includes Captain Hook’s pirate ship and the iconic Skull Rock that guests may recall from the Disney Animation film Peter Pan. At the Peter Pan’s Never Land Adventure attraction, guests join Peter Pan and his friends as they encounter Captain Hook and fly over Never Land. The Fairy Tinker Bell’s Busy Buggies attraction in Pixie Hollow, the fairy valley where Tinker Bell lives, welcomes guests at fairy size to enjoy the changing seasons. Guests can also enjoy new restaurants, a merchandise shop and more, each with their own unique charms that bring to life the worlds from the films.
Guests can enjoy a stay at Tokyo DisneySea Fantasy Springs Hotel, which will be the sixth Disney hotel in Japan. This is Tokyo Disney Resort’s second park-integrated hotel, with rooms overlooking Fantasy Springs. The hotel consists of two buildings: the Deluxe Fantasy Chateau and the Luxury Grand Chateau. With the addition of this new top-tier Luxury option to the current lineup of Value, Moderate, and Deluxe hotels, guests can experience an even more personalized resort stay immersed in a Disney dream.
To enter Fantasy Springs and enjoy the new locations and attractions, a Standby Pass (available free of charge) or Disney Premier Access (available for a fee) for eligible attractions in Fantasy Springs will be required, in addition to a valid Park ticket for Tokyo DisneySea.
These will be available after entering Tokyo DisneySea, meaning there’s going to be a huge crowd at rope drop that stops in their tracks in Aquasphere Plaza to book the free Standby Pass or buy Premier Access for the land and its access.
Expect other guests to run (err…walk briskly) the mile-long marathon from the front of the park to Fantasy Springs. OLC notes that “depending on the crowd, you may be able to enter without using the standby or Disney Premier Access.” This could mean that Standby Pass for entering the land won’t be turned on until Fantasy Springs hits capacity.
That’s more or less how Super Nintendo World works at Universal Studios Japan. During our visit there last year, the park quietly opened early and we raced to Super Nintendo World and entered immediately. Then wedid the free timed-entry once that system opened, and we also had Express Pass for the Mario Kart attraction, which gave us a third entrance to the land.
We used all three strategically, so we wouldn’t be stuck spending the entire day in Super Nintendo World. We mention this because we’re hoping that access to Fantasy Springs works similarly. (One key difference is that we bought Express Pass a month in advance, whereas Disney Premier Access will be a same-day purchase.)
Obviously, it’s too early to talk strategy with any amount of credibility, but our preliminary recommendation would be budgeting Disney Premier Access for every attraction you want to do and planning to buy that ASAP upon entering the park–oh, and arriving an hour before official opening. In this case, Standby Pass is basically a synonym for virtual queue.
Standby Pass is available on the Tokyo Disney Resort App, and guests can obtain a Standby Pass free of charge after entering the Park. Guests will be able to experience any of the four attractions at Fantasy Springs with a Standby Pass. Once guests obtain a Standby Pass, they will be able to enter Fantasy Springs to explore the new area and experience the selected attraction at a designated time.
Disney Premier Access is available for a fee, and guests can purchase Disney Premier Access using the Tokyo Disney Resort App after entering the Park. Guests will be able to experience three attractions at Fantasy Springs with Disney Premier Access. With Disney Premier Access for an attraction at Fantasy Springs, guests will be able to enter Fantasy Springs at a specified time to explore the new area and experience the selected attraction with a reduced wait time, offering convenience and added flexibility for those who wish to maximize their visit to this new area.
With a Standby Pass or Disney Premier Access for an attraction in Fantasy Springs, guests will be able to enter Fantasy Springs at a specified time to enjoy both the new area and the attraction.
Here’s a new video showing the construction progress over the last several years:
Since opening in 2001, Tokyo DisneySea has been transformed after undergoing the largest development in its history, spanning an area of approximately 140,000 m2. Taking just over five years from the start of construction in May 2019, there has been a total investment of approximately 320 billion yen in this project. (That’s over $2 billion U.S., and would’ve been even more before the dollar gained strength relative to the yen!)
The addition of the new themed port, Fantasy Springs, to the world’s only Disney Park themed to the sea promises to deliver even more moments filled with adventure and imagination to guests in Japan and from around the world. Guests can delight in the beginning of a new story at Tokyo DisneySea.
Not to get too sentimental or anything, but we still vividly recall visiting Tokyo Disney Resort about one month after construction had started in Summer 2019. Calling that “construction” would probably be a charitable term, as it was really more like parking lot clearing. It was cool to finally see happening, especially after the pause on the prior port of call development (Frozen/Scandinavia) behind Lost River Delta.
Our next visit was that Christmas (when the above photo was taken from our room at Hilton Tokyo Bay), and it was even more exciting. Things were really taking shape and it was starting to feel real. Every day while walking in front of the site access point, Sarah would say ‘ohayou gozaimasu‘ to the construction worker on guard, who would enthusiastically (shockingly so!) say the same in response to her.
It also helped that the Fantasyland expansion was wrapping up at Tokyo Disneyland, and we could see Beast’s Castle and other finished details. We couldn’t wait to return for the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics and experience everything that would be new then, and again only another couple years later.
None of that happened for obvious reasons. After being on pins and needles waiting for Japan’s reopening, we didn’t return until late last year when Fantasy Springs was really far along and the luxury hotel was in nearly finished form. It was a bittersweet homecoming, and we planned two more trips this year…that also did not/will not happen (but this time for a good reason).
In any case, we’ve been once again sitting on pins and needles waiting for OLC to release the Fantasy Springs opening date, with the expectation that it’d probably be between late April and mid-May 2024. That’s both what we anticipated based on past precedent, and what all of our friends in Japan suggested was the most likely outcome. (Although there’s a bit of a language barrier there, so the reasons for those predictions aren’t always clear!)
It’s unclear why OLC is waiting until June 6, 2024 to open Fantasy Springs. It could be as simple as work not yet being finished on the attractions themselves or more testing & adjusting being necessary, despite the exteriors looking nearly-finished for a while now. Several of these are complex attractions, and Imagineering has a history of delays and reliability woes with its recent envelope-pushing tech. This is both the most obvious and likely explanation.
Other possibilities exist too, though. One is that June is the most strategically opportune time to open Fantasy Springs. Those who follow the U.S. parks have likely seen repeated references to how Disneyland is experiencing delayed pent-up demand as compared to Walt Disney World because California reopened later than Florida.
Well, Japan reopened even later than both! (We’re not talking about the border reopening in this case; the resumption of international travel has little bearing on TDR as the overwhelming majority of guests are domestic.) As such, it’s possible that OLC is waiting for as much pent-up demand to exhaust itself as possible before debuting the next big draw. No need to incentivize visits when people are already traveling to make up for lost time.
Another possibility is staffing shortages. Due to Japan’s aging population and reliance on immigration for labor, the border closure hit the country’s workforce hard. While visiting Japan, you’re likely to see advertisements to work at Tokyo Disney Resort inside trains and stations, on television, etc. So it could be a matter of OLC projecting that they won’t have enough Cast Members to fully staff Fantasy Springs and everything else that’ll be needed until June.
Of course, all of this is speculation and none of it may matter to you. It’s important to us, though, as the underlying rationale(s) has a bearing on whether and when soft openings of Fantasy Springs occur, and for how long. If OLC is delaying the opening for strategic purposes, a lengthy period of previews is possible. If it’s because that’s the earliest possible date after construction is finished and training is complete, it’s a different story.
Tokyo Disney Resort has a history of prolonged soft openings with major new additions. It happened with Toy Story Mania, Star Tours, Nemo & Friends SeaRider–but not with Soaring: Fantastic Flight. Whether the last one is an anomaly or the new norm remains to be seen, but with so much here, a longer ‘dress rehearsal’ seems likely and pragmatic, especially if some elements are ready to roll months in advance.
For the last large-scale expansion at Tokyo Disneyland that was originally slated to open on April 15, 2020, I seem to recall OLC announcing a lottery and previews for on-site hotel guests would start in March. (Of course, I can’t find contemporaneous sources to corroborate this memory, so perhaps I hallucinated it.) That didn’t happen, and the land didn’t debut until September of that year. It did have soft openings then, but that’s not really relevant or precedential, as Tokyo Disneyland was operating under such capacity constraints that pretty much every day was like trial operations.
Ultimately, Fantasy Springs is the biggest-budget addition to an existing Disney theme park ever. Between its operational complexity and OLC’s level of polish, we’d fully expect it to have previews or soft openings of some sort beginning in May 2024. How early or late in the month is anyone’s guess, and really depends on why Fantasy Springs is opening in June 2024 in the first place.
One final wildcard is Fantasy Springs using Standby Pass and Premier Access for literally everything, including the land itself. It was an inevitability that timed entry or a virtual queue of some sort would be necessary for this land given the precedent set by Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and Super Nintendo World, but this also adds the wrinkle of OLC being able to control crowd flow and pulse people through the land. That might lessen the need for soft openings, as regular ops won’t necessarily be a trial by fire situation. Regardless of all this, we’re incredibly excited and cannot wait to visit Fantasy Springs for the first time in 2024!
Thoughts on Fantasy Springs officially opening on June 6, 2024? Later than you expected? Anticipating there being a lengthy period of previews or soft openings in May 2024? What do you think of the Peter Pan’s Never Land, Rapunzel’s Forest, and Frozen Kingdom? Excited for this blockbuster addition to Tokyo DisneySea, or do you not care? Wish the domestic parks would build lands and attractions like this? Do you agree or disagree with our assessment? 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!