Tokyo Disney Resort has released new concept art and opening info about Fantasy Springs, the colossal port themed to Frozen, Tangled, and Peter Pan under construction at Tokyo DisneySea. This shares a sneak peek at progress, names for the new lands, and updates on the progress to this $2.2 billion expansion.
The overarching inspiration for Fantasy Springs (there’s still time to call it FantaSea Springs, OLC!) is a magical spring leading to a world of Disney fantasy. It’s basically a Fantasyland-style port that brings Frozen, Tangled, and Peter Pan to Tokyo DisneySea, with separate mini-areas for each in a single land that’s tied together via magical springs. Let’s take a new look at each of these ports, which now have names!
Frozen Kingdom – Set after the events of the Disney Animation film Frozen, Frozen Kingdom is full of happiness now that Queen Elsa has embraced her powers to create ice and snow.
The Kingdom of Arendelle has been returned to its former glory and guests can visit while immersing themselves in a festive mood. At the far end of the village are towering snow capped mountains with several cascading waterfalls. In the distance, near the summit of North Mountain, Elsa’s ice palace glistens proudly, covered in snow.
Rapunzel’s Forest – Rapunzel’s Forest brings to life the world of the Walt Disney Animated Film Tangled. In the valley rises the tower where the long haired princess Rapunzel has lived since she was a child.
At night, the entire forest is bathed in warm light emanating from Rapunzel’s tower, lamps lining the paths, a glowing restaurant, boathouse windows, and lanterns hanging from the boats.
Peter Pan’s Never Land – Inside Peter Pan’s Never Land, guests become members of the Lost Kids, a group of fun-loving, adventurous, and energetic children.
In Peter Pan’s Never Land, guests can explore a pirate ship, dine in a secret hideaway, confront pirates with their friends, and enjoy great adventures in Never Land. They can also visit Pixie Hollow, the fairy valley where Tinker Bell lives.
Tokyo DisneySea Fantasy Springs Hotel – The sixth Disney hotel built in Japan, the Tokyo DisneySea Fantasy Springs Hotel will be situated near the magical spring in Fantasy Springs. Paintings depicting Disney Princesses as well as floral motifs can be seen throughout the interior of the hotel, allowing the world of Fantasy Springs to continue from the Park to the hotel.
Tokyo DisneySea Fantasy Springs Hotel is comprised of 419 “deluxe-type” rooms. In addition, there are 56 “luxury-type” rooms, offering guests the finest accommodation experience at Tokyo Disney Resort.
To give guests a sneak peek into the progression of construction on Fantasy Springs, Tokyo Disney Resort released a video. This features the newest drone footage showing the construction process of each of the three areas and Tokyo DisneySea Fantasy Springs Hotel.
This is very similar to the video shown during the D23 Expo early last month, with specific shots of construction actually being identical. That means that, at minimum, this footage is nearly 2 months old at this point (D23 Expo was early September and it’s now late October, and that footage almost certainly was shot at least a few weeks before the Expo to have it ready in time for the event). This is relevant because it brings us to the next point…
Additionally, Oriental Land Company announced that there will be changes regarding the opening date and investment amount for Fantasy Springs, the eighth themed port currently under development as part of the Tokyo DisneySea Park large-scale expansion project.
The scheduled opening date for Fantasy Springs will be changed to Spring 2024, and will occur sometime within the first quarter of fiscal year 2024. This means that Fantasy Springs will open sometime between April 1, 2024 and June 30, 2024.
In addition, OLC announced that the investment amount is projected to increase to about 320 billion yen from 250 billion yen. This is due to a rising cost associated with materials and personnel, requirements for further elaboration in planning, design, and procedures, the declining value of Japanese yen, in addition to the extension of the construction period mentioned.
Ironically, the original dollar-cost of the 250 billion yen Fantasy Springs was just above $2.3 billion. Today’s (higher) cost of the 320 billion yen Fantasy Springs is just shy of $2.2 billion. That should really underscore both the weakness of the yen and strength of the dollar. (Of course, principal construction costs are in yen, so the exchange rate is only relevant in part. The budget has increased significantly, not decreased.)
OLC revealed that the delay and increased budget is due to the extension of the project’s construction period, which was impacted by delay in productions overseas, as well as restrictions placed on logistics and border measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
This probably refers to a few things. First, fabrication of various aspects of the attraction occur off-site, and not necessarily in Japan or California. Imagineering typically partners with third-parties for attraction components, including ride systems. They could be based in Asia, Europe, or North America.
Second, Japan had stringent border measures, including for business people until earlier this year. It’s likely that Imagineers working on the project as well as representatives from the aforementioned third parties based overseas were not able to enter and assist again until this spring.
Finally, the internal infection control measures within Japan. While work only stopped briefly on Fantasy Springs, it likely slowed due to Japan’s approach to COVID-19. Even today, the country still has a more conservative approach to countermeasures than the United States or Europe.
Previously, Fantasy Springs was expected to open between Spring 2023 and Fall 2023. We were highly skeptical of the earlier rumored date range, expecting that OLC would not want to open the land until things had totally normalized in Japan and capacity constraints had been lifted.
It also seemed probable that they’d wait until after the initial rush of Tokyo Disneyland’s 40th Anniversary and pent-up demand had burned off. Oriental Land Company already opened one blockbuster expansion to minimal fanfare during the current phased reopening–it seems unlikely they’d make that (financial) mistake again.
Our view is that these are still likely the biggest considerations in the delay. Construction work appears really far along, with scaffolding already coming down and the flume in the Tangled boat ride already filled. Of course, it’s possible that there are delays inside the attractions–even one troublesome ride system could push back the whole project–so we wouldn’t rule that out.
However, don’t doubt OLC’s desire to hold off this major expansion until things have fully normalized. That still hasn’t happened in Japan and may take a while. Just look at how long pent-up demand and staffing shortages have been factors at Walt Disney World and Disneyland; Tokyo Disney Resort is not immune from those same underlying circumstances.
In What’s New & Next in 2023-2024 for Tokyo Disneyland’s 40th Anniversary (published before the delay), we cover why you should NOT wait for Fantasy Springs to visit Japan, when we do recommend going, and why. We’re putting our money where our mouths are, with a return trip to Tokyo Disney Resort next month. If you have yet to book your 2023 vacation, we would strongly recommend considering Japan. It’ll almost certainly be cheaper than you expect–and quite possibly less expensive than a trip to Walt Disney World. We’ll have more on that soon!
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!