New “Believe! Sea of Dreams” Nighttime Spectacular
“Believe! Sea of Dreams” is the brand-new nighttime entertainment spectacular debuting in 2021 to commemorate the 20th Anniversary of Tokyo DisneySea. In this post, we’ll share details of the announcement, plus what this and other recent news from OLC could mean for Walt Disney World and Disneyland.
Not many details accompanied the official announcement. Essentially, just that the new entertainment spectacular will be presented nightly on the waters of Mediterranean Harbor in Tokyo DisneySea and sponsored by NTT Docomo. Per Tokyo Disney Resort, “this grand, breath-taking performance will remind guests of the importance of having a dream and always believing in it.”
Additionally, “Believe! Sea of Dreams” will be 20 minutes in duration, which is roughly the runtime of its predecessors, Fantasmic and BraviSEAmo. The show will debut in fiscal year 2021, which runs from April 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022. If past precedent from Tokyo DisneySea’s 15th Anniversary “Year of Wishes” event is any indication, this will debut on April 15, 2021. That’s the anniversary of Tokyo Disneyland, and is when celebrations typically start.
The vast majority of you reading this are Walt Disney World or Disneyland fans, who have zero interest whatsoever in Tokyo Disney Resort. However, there are a couple of reasons why you should care. The first is the potential implications or “preview” of what’s to come for the US parks.
Throughout the closure and reopening, we suggested that what happened at the Asia parks was likely a sneak peek at what was on the horizon for Walt Disney World. As it turned out, this was almost entirely accurate–the policies implemented in Hong Kong Disneyland, for example, are basically identical to those at Walt Disney World.
Now, we expect what’s happening at Tokyo Disney Resort with special events and new attractions to be a preview of what’s to come for Walt Disney World…
To explain what we mean, here’s a little relevant background. On April 15 of this year, Tokyo Disneyland was slated to debut its large-scale expansion, which includes the Beauty and the Beast mini-land and blockbuster new attraction. (Read our Opening Date & New Details for Tokyo Disneyland’s Colossal 2020 Expansion for info.)
Then the closure happened and this date was pushed off. However, unlike in the US parks, construction at Tokyo Disney Resort continued during the closure. This new Beauty and the Beast area appears to be totally finished and just sitting there, waiting to open. Despite this, Tokyo Disney Resort has indefinitely postponed the debut of this expansion.
Earlier this month, Tokyo Disney Resort also cancelled all seasonal events for the remainder of this year and through early 2021. That means Disney Easter, Cookie Ann’s Greeting Drive, Duffy’s Sunny Fun, Pirates Summer, Halloween, Christmas, and New Year’s have been cancelled. One event, Happy Fair with Baymax, has been postponed.
This includes the new Duffy & Friends event at Tokyo DisneySea and Beauty and the Beast program scheduled for Tokyo Disneyland, which would’ve been held in early 2021. Now there’s nothing on the calendar through March 2021.
Suffice to say, OLC is basically writing off the rest of this calendar and fiscal year and looking towards next year. This is despite the health situation in Japan fairly well under control (comparatively speaking) and demand for park tickets and reservations being very strong (again, comparatively speaking).
If anything, it would make more sense for Tokyo Disney Resort to attempt resuming normalcy sooner than Walt Disney World and Disneyland, all things considered…
However, from a business perspective that is not the case. With capacity significantly limited and physical distancing measures in place at Tokyo Disney Resort, it’s not viable or practical to offer entertainment or debut new attractions.
While Walt Disney World has its own operational wrinkles and guest demographics, the same is largely true for the Florida parks.
For Walt Disney World, the operative questions are whether new offerings right now will entice tourists to book trips, whether it’s even feasible to run seasonal entertainment in light of physical distancing guidelines, and if it’s practical to debut anything new given the costs versus immediate returns.
There are a couple of upcoming Walt Disney World projects–that would’ve been open by now under normal conditions–where this is especially relevant.
The first is Epcot’s highly-anticipated new outer space themed restaurant. In our Space 220 Opening & Info post, we speculate is unlikely to debut before November 2020.
However, does it make sense to open Space 220 Restaurant this year with significantly reduced capacity? Would it even be profitable right now? That doesn’t even take into account hiring and start-up costs, plus the lack of–or potentially even undesirable–PR and fanfare that would normally accompany such an opening.
Next is Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure. We covered the latest construction on that attraction and the Streets of Paris expansion earlier this week.
The calculus for that is fairly similar. Is a 2020 opening date going to prompt enough visitors to book trips to offset the operational costs of the new attraction? Would debuting what’s undoubtedly going to be a popular ride in a time of physical distancing more hassle than it’s worth? Or, does it make more sense to push this into 2021?
Ultimately, the more we think about each of those questions, the more we’re inclined to believe Walt Disney World will cancel more events and delay major openings. Not only does this comport with the precedent set by other Disney parks around the world, but it also follows Disney’s film slate.
While that’s certainly not directly analogous, the idea and underlying questions are the same. Given that film production has shut down, there’s going to be a content lull at some point, so delaying there makes sense. Same goes for Walt Disney World, especially considering that the major additions previously scheduled to debut in 2021–Tron Lightcycle Run and Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind–are probably now looking at 2022 openings due to the pauses on their construction. Time will tell, but we’re starting to think the announcements for Tokyo Disney Resort are a harbinger of what’s to come, and Walt Disney World will similarly view the rest of this year as a lost cause and start looking towards Spring 2021.
Planning a trip to Tokyo Disney Resort? For comprehensive advice, the best place to start is our Tokyo Disneyland & DisneySea Trip Planning Guide! For more specifics, our TDR Hotel Rankings & Reviews page covers accommodations. Our Restaurant Reviews detail where to dine & snack. To save money on tickets or determine which type to buy, read our Tips for Saving Money post. Our What to Pack for Disney post takes a unique look at clever items to take. Venturing elsewhere in Japan? Consult our Ultimate Guide to Kyoto, Japan and City Guide to Tokyo, Japan.
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 a preview of what’s to come for Walt Disney World, or think the US parks will still proceed with 2020 events and debuts? 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.
I was hoping to see the Beauty and the Beast addition in TDL. Still have a trip to Japan planned for next year. Would be a bummer if it didn’t open by then.
Given the US parks Financial Year starts in October it makes sense that anything would be at least delayed until then to match the financial reporting but delaying until October 2021 is a long time for them to hold depreciating assets on their books without arguing they were able to drive more revenue. A vaccine in early next year would seem likely to allow at least the Epcot attractions in the first half of next year to get going… maybe…
This news makes me concerned over the prospects of New Year’s at Disney World. Granted, it seems Tokyo’s celebration is far grander and stretches several days, but as NYE Epcot veterans, we jumped at the chance to be able to experience it at 20% capacity and already booked. I wasn’t expecting all the typical bells and whistles of a normal year, but now I’m wondering if they’ll even stay open until midnight.
Keep up the Tokyo Disney coverage. Love it! My Sep 2020 trip was cancelled so I’m planning on going sometime in 2021!
An Aussie here who currently has flights to the USA, Disneyworld resort package and Disneyland tickets booked for December 2020. Unfortunately I don’t think any overseas travel in 2020 will be possible (at least not for Australians). As you pointed out, Japan has relative low numbers of COVID-19, and with DisneySea’s 20th anniversary coming up, maybe a trip to Japan in 2021 is what we should be aiming for……..time to check out your other reports on Japan!
Montanabel, you won’t regret that decision! I’m considering the same (I’m from Canada). Wanted to celebrate MK’s 50th at WDW but I’m thinking of transferring our plans to DisneySea’s 20th instead. Will see how things play out. See you there 😉
This new show at TDS is VERY exciting. Time to start feeding the Japan Fund jar because I would love to visit during Tokyo DisneySea’s 20th anniversary next year! Here’s hoping we can travel in 2021…
Thank you for the japan coverage always appreciated. We were supposed to go for the first time next month after following your blog for years and now we are going “sometime” in 2021. Huge question for you Tom, Hong Kong Disney was intended to be a small portion of that trip as well, with the recent changes there, is it even save for Americans to go to Hong Kong (assuming covid is contained, this is more about the politics). Would you go? Hesitate? Immediate no?
My response at this point is simply ‘hesitate.’ I fear that with the way things are headed between the United States and China, plus China’s unwillingness to back down in Hong Kong, that Hong Kong won’t be a place I’ll want to visit anytime soon. Hopefully that doesn’t end up being the case, but I’m less and less optimistic.
Anytime TDL/TDS announces a new attraction or entertainment, I am very confident it will be well done and will be jealous the domestic parks do not have it.