Tokyo Disneyland has announced new details for the Beauty and the Beast mini-land and ride, plus Fantasyland, Toontown, and Tomorrowland expansions as part of the Japan park’s largest expansion ever. In this post, we’ll share concept art, offer info & details and provide some commentary.
We’ll start with the Beauty and the Beast mini-land, which is essentially Tokyo’s “New Fantasyland” (but all Beauty and the Beast). This area stretches from Belle’s Village to the secluded forest home to Beast’s Castle. In the village is La Taverne de Gaston restaurant and Village Shoppes line the street.
This trio of shops consists of La Belle Librairie, Little Town Traders and Bonjour Gifts. These stores feature many details from the film, including the rolling ladder to reach books on the high shelves and Belle’s favorite book. They’ll carry hand-made toys, candlesticks, dish-ware, books, dresses, and other clothing.
La Taverne de Gaston is a counter service restaurant–based upon what we could see recently behind the construction planters, this looks like a clone of Gaston’s Tavern in Magic Kingdom. The menu is definitely different, with a bunch of meat-stuffed pastries (best of both worlds!) and a soft drink version of Gaston’s favorite brew.
Next door to La Taverne de Gaston will be LeFou’s, a small snack shop named after Gaston’s sidekick. Served here will be apple-caramel churros, a new flavor for Tokyo Disneyland. Le Petit Popper is also in this area, and is a wagon in village where Belle lives that serves up fresh popcorn.
Leaving the village behind, guests enter the forest and approach Beauty and the Beast Castle (Tokyo Disneyland is referring to this as both Beast’s Castle and Beauty and the Beast Castle, but primarily the latter–we’ll go with that from here on out).
Inside the castle, guests can experience Enchanted Tale of Beauty and the Beast, the expansion’s flagship attraction. This trackless dark ride features magical cups that “dance” in rhythm to the animated film’s music as they take guests through scenes depicting the story of Belle and the Beast.
Deep in Fantasyland lies the immersive Fantasyland Forest Theatre. Nestled in its own fairytale setting, this is the first indoor theater at Tokyo Disneyland. (It’s the indirect replacement for Showcase, which is between Space Mountain and Star Tours: the Adventures Continue.
Both the exterior and interior design of this theater were inspired by the forest, with half-timbers, tree forms, and pillars featuring in the design. The theater is decorated with beautiful tapestries, candle-inspired chandeliers, and murals celebrating the forest and the woodland critters from Disney animation.
Presented in Fantasyland Forest Theatre will be the musical “Mickey’s Magical Music World.” This Tokyo Disneyland original production features Mickey Mouse and friends in a spectacular performance of music and dance that makes full use of the theater’s large-scale stage sets and effects.
The conceit here is that Mickey Mouse and friends discover a music box deep in the forest. They turn the music box’s large golden key and doors suddenly open. That begins (what sounds like) a montage musical featuring a slew of different characters and songs from various movies, as they search for a “lost song.”
We’ll reserve full judgment, but this sounds like it’ll be the spiritual successor to One Man’s Dream II. That makes sense, as One Man’s Dream II is immensely popular years after its debut in large part due to the litany of characters it trots out.
We do not think One Man’s Dream II is very good (at all), but Tokyo Disneyland guests love it. Hopefully, Mickey’s Magical Music World tones down the ‘kitchen sink’ approach, offers a more cohesive show, and higher production value.
Opening in Tomorrowland, the Happy Ride with Baymax is the world’s first rotating ride attraction themed to the Disney film Big Hero 6 (released in Japan as Baymax). Hiro Hamada and his robotic personal healthcare companion Baymax developed this wild, musical ride that is sure to make everyone happy–which is the first step to healthiness.
As Hiro’s favorite up-tempo music plays, guests aboard vehicles pulled by Baymax’s nursebot friends can enjoy being whirled around in unexpected ways. A device on the attraction’s ceiling “scans” the guests with lights to measure their happiness while on the ride. This is a straightforward flat ride, but hopefully it’s a surprisingly delightful one that overachieves (a la Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree).
Opening in Tomorrowland next door to the Happy Ride with Baymax is The Big Pop, a cosmic-themed shop specializing in popcorn. Hanging from the starry ceiling is a huge popcorn chandelier representing the “big bang” that created the universe. Large windows allow guests both inside and outside the shop to view the kitchen where the popcorn is being made and enjoy the aroma.
The Big Pop offers a variety of popcorn buckets that can be filled with a choice of three flavors of popcorn: Cookie & Cream, Caramel & Cheese, and Strawberry Milk. This sounds a bit like Great American Waffle Company (but for popcorn), and if that’s the case, the Big Pop will be a big hit!
For the first time at Tokyo Disneyland, guests will be able to meet Minnie Mouse in her very own greeting facility when Minnie’s Style Studio opens in Toontown. As a world-renowned fashion designer, Minnie Mouse will greet guests while wearing her latest design, which will change each season. Decked out with a big, polka-dot bow, Minnie’s Style Studio is where she designs, creates and photographs her new fashions.
Given the wait times for character meet & greets…plus the rotating seasonal fashions…plus this being new and something of an ‘enhanced’ meet & greet…I doubt we’ll ever do it. Sounds neat for those to whom it’ll appeal, though.
The entire Tokyo Disneyland expansion is slated to open on April 15, 2020. However, if you saw our recent $3 Billion Tokyo Disney Resort Construction Update, you might’ve noticed that some of this looks like it’ll be ready to go much sooner. Belle’s Village, in particular, has the construction walls down and only planters up.
Moreover, 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.
If soft openings don’t occur or don’t happen during your trip to Japan, all hope is not lost. The colossal news here from a planning perspective is buried in a bullet point on the OLC’s release: Enchanted Tale of Beauty and the Beast will offer both FastPass and Single Rider.
The Single Rider line is absolutely huge for this attraction, as the attraction is likely to run out of FastPass within 20 minutes of park opening, and if you don’t have the Tokyo Disney Resort app (currently only available in Japan, and in Japanese) you may not be able to get a FastPass, period.
By contrast, Single Rider is incredibly under-utilized at Tokyo Disney Resort at the few attractions where it’s offered. We always do Single Rider at Splash Mountain and Indiana Jones Adventure, and regularly encounter waits of 5 minutes or less–even when those attractions have triple-digit posted waits.
I’m not sure whether it’s a cultural thing, but it seems that most Japanese guests would strongly prefer to ride together, even if that means waiting. While we don’t expect 5 minute waits for Enchanted Tale of Beauty and the Beast, we don’t expect 5 hour waits via Single Rider, so that’s a huge plus!
Otherwise, most of what was “announced” by Tokyo Disney Resort was previously known, save for some specifics on food and merchandise that are too granular for discussion here. The big news is the description of Mickey’s Magical Music World–almost nothing was previously known about the show that would play in that theatre. Given the size and design of the venue, we were hoping for something more like Big Band Beat. The description makes it sound a lot more like One Man’s Dream II, though. The “magic lives on” indeed, I guess.
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.
What do you think of all these additions to Tokyo Disneyland? Are you excited for Enchanted Tale of Beauty and the Beast, or dreading its wait times and how it will spike crowds? What about the other entertainment, attractions, and shopping/dining? Planning on visiting Tokyo Disney Resort after this opens to see it all? Pleased to see Single Rider at the headliner? 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!