Tokyo Disneyland & DisneySea Closed Due to Coronavirus
Due to the coronavirus outbreak, Tokyo Disney Resort has been closed by OLC. This includes Tokyo Disneyland, DisneySea, and Ikspiari, and comes as a result of Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe request that large public gatherings scheduled for the next two weeks be avoided during a critical time for stemming the spread of COVID-19 infections.
As of right now, Tokyo Disney Resort will remain closed through March 15, 2020. It is joined by Universal Studios Japan, Studio Ghibli Museum, Sanrio Puroland (the surprisingly awesome Hello Kitty theme park), plus a number of museums and other entertainment options through Japan.
In this post, we’ll share details about the Tokyo Disney Resort closure, what to expect if you’re planning a trip to Japan in the near future, and thoughts on when Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea might actually reopen…
The situation with coronavirus has evolved quickly (or probably more accurately, worsened rapidly), and it’s impossible to predict where things will stand two weeks from now. It’s safe to say that March 15, 2020 is not some magical date at which coronavirus will suddenly be vanquished from the world.
However, Japanese officials have stated that the first weeks of March will be an “extremely critical period” for preventing virus transmission, and radical measures are being taken as a result. This includes the closure of all schools in Japan (impacting 13 million students), encouraging telecommuting (otherwise a rarity in Japan), and the widespread cancellation of public events.
The boosting of containment measures is, obviously, being undertaken to reverse current outbreak trends. The hope is that stringent precautionary measures will prevent COVID-19 from reaching pandemic status. It seems likely that Japan will evaluate these strategies in the coming weeks and determine whether they’re working, and what else needs to be done. At that point, another wave of cancellations and closure extensions could occur.
A lot is at stake in both Japan and Tokyo Disney Resort. In the immediate future, sakura season is on the horizon, and it’s one of the biggest times for travel to Japan. (Forecasts show cherry blossom season starting early–pretty much right after this ‘shutdown’ is currently scheduled to be lifted.)
More significantly, there’s the Olympics this summer. While that might seem far away, a senior member of the International Olympic Committee already stated that a decision about the fate of the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics will likely be made by April or May at the latest. If it proves too dangerous to hold the Olympics in Japan this summer because of the coronavirus outbreak, the IOC will likely cancel the event altogether rather than postpone or move it.
Canceling the Olympics would be even more devastating for Japan than it might seem. Japan is officially spending $12.6 billion to organize the Olympics, although the actual amount the country is spending has been estimated at closer to $26 billion.
The Tokyo 2020 Olympics have been shrouded in controversy for years over the cost of hosting the event–dating to when Tokyo was still a candidate city. Boosting tourism has been core to Prime Minister Abe’s economic revitalization plan, and until now, increased inbound visitation has been one of the biggest success stories of “Abenomics.”
Tokyo’s 2020 Olympics have been viewed as instrumental to these plans. Abe revised Japan’s inbound tourism target to 40 million visitors for 2020, after smashing past previous goals. The idea is that the Olympics would give Japan additional momentum to continue the tourism boom for the next several years to come. (This is typical of the Olympics–think of all the segments NBC runs that are basically long-form ads for the host cities/countries.)
Even before the Olympics, there are concerns among economics that the ramifications from the COVID-19 outbreak will push Japan into a recession. The country’s economy contracted last quarter due to a hike in the consumption tax hike and damage from powerful typhoons that hit Japan during the period. Now, it’s expected that supply-chain issues and decreased tourism will cause the world’s third-largest economy to contract for a second consecutive quarter and enter a recession.
There’s also a lot on the line back at Tokyo Disney Resort. Closing at all is obviously not ideal, but right now during the off-season is a best-case scenario. The same can’t be said if the current closure is extended into mid-April or beyond.
The biggest expansion of Tokyo Disney Resort in two decades debuts on April 15, 2020. (Read our Opening Date & New Details for Tokyo Disneyland’s Colossal 2020 Expansion for info.) That is scheduled to open on Tokyo Disneyland’s 37th Anniversary–but still in the off-season.
Golden Week occurs a couple of weeks after that, and it’s one of the peak travel times in Japan begins. Having Tokyo Disneyland back up and running smoothly by the debut of its blockbuster new Beauty and the Beast land is likely the goal. Having to postpone that opening date or having the parks closed during Golden Week would be rough.
As for predictions about when Tokyo Disney Resort will reopen, we’re going to refrain from making any. Two weeks ago, we didn’t view this as a major concern within Japan. In fact, we updated our Ultimate 2020 Kyoto, Japan Planning Guide and indicated that now might be a great time to visit due to the city being totally devoid of crowds, if you’d personally feel comfortable doing so.
In that, we also shared that we plan to spend more time in Japan later this spring, “unless the situation deteriorates significantly.” Unfortunately, that’s exactly what has happened. After the whole Diamond Princess cruise ship fiasco that Japan (and the United States, to a lesser degree) probably couldn’t have bungled worse if they tried, we don’t have a ton of optimism.
Suffice to say, we don’t put much weight in the March 15, 2020 date. If you have a trip to Japan anytime between now and April, you should (at minimum) be closely monitoring the situation to determine how or whether to proceed as your dates draw nearer. At this point, it seems likely that Oriental Land Company will not reopen Tokyo Disney Resort until the Japanese government signals that it’s safe and acceptable to do so.
Right now, Japan’s priorities are rightfully on public health and the viability of the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics. We’re glad to see OLC respecting this, and hope Tokyo Disney Resort remains closed for however long is necessary to ensure the safety and well-being of Cast Members and guests–as well as to further Japan’s larger national interests.
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? Do you have a trip planned to Tokyo Disney Resort in the next couple of months that you anticipate being impacted? Will the coronavirus cause you to postpone traveling to Japan or elsewhere in Asia? Do you agree or disagree with our advice? 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’m sorry but the Corona Virus is barely worse than the Flu, it’s just media hype and you’re playing right into the fear by posting it. It’s not a deadly disease, like the flu, those with weakened immune systems, elderly or infants, have higher risks of complications. Nearly everyone else who can get sick, the same way people get the Flu, will be just find with at home care. Panic is spreading much more than Coronavirus is and is causing people to lose their shit.
That’s why we are still planning to fly to Paris on Sunday. Hopefully DLP will remain open, as well as other things we want to see there and in Germany.
If TDL is closing, that doesn’t leave me much faith that WDW, DL and DLP can hold out much longer. Japanese are pretty meticulous in hygiene and cleanliness. Much more so that’s the US and if they are having a difficult time containing this virus, I suspect we will have a near impossible time in the US.
The primary reason (IMO) we haven’t seen an outbreak here in the US is because we haven’t been screening for it. Notice how the moment the CDC relaxed their screening guidelines to “at a providers discretion” rather than requiring travel history or contact with someone from Wuhan how much quicker we are finding cases now. I suspect there are many outbreaks brewing right now that are just being considered a false negative flu that will eventually be discovered to be corona. I find it hard to believe It’s not in Florida right now, given how international of a destination Orlando is.
It’s sadly just a matter of time before Orlando is nailed and the parks close. No part of the world will be untouched by this when it is done and if a country doesn’t have a case yet. They likely just aren’t testing.
We had a trip starting Mar 26th ending Apr. 11th that hit Shanghai, Beijing, HK and Tokyo that we cancelled Feb 1, as we just didn’t see this resolving given how big it was back then. Thankfully Disney and the airlines refunded all of our money.
We have a DW trip scheduled for this May that we were looking forward to, as we hadn’t been there in 8 years. At Magic Kingdom, we only ride Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain, and the 7 Dwarfs mine train. As I have mobility issues due to a disabling leg injury we would usually use the WDW Rail road to get from the back of the park to the entrance. A scootter or wheel chair fighting through the mid day crowds to exit is a challenge, that’s why we used the rail road. This makes each day harder. Then recently they announced the Big Thunder Mountain is closing for maintenance in May. So now we are down to TWO rides we enjoy there. We do usually do a visit to Epcot, and ride Soarin’ and Test Track. With the walls walling off the spaceship earth area, going from Soarin to Test Track will now be even longer.
Now factor in COVID 19. I am a retired Police officer and was a career paramedic or 22 years. I taught exposure control (how not to get an infection/how to disinfect and decontaminate) to Police Officers in my county for well over 15 years. While there is no way to predict how this virus may spread, putting crowds in a setting where personal space less than optimum, people from everywhere on the planet grabbing handrails of stairs, walkways, rides, elevator buttons and so on and in between that, touching their own faces, eyes, mouth is what helps spread the flu virus. Then add breathing “communal air” inside a 3 hour flight adds the higher risk of catching whatever virus is going around. adss a heightened health risk to the inconvenience of the ride and park area maintenance closures. We discussed it as a family and have decided to cancel our trip to WDW. The reward is simply not worth the risk, and accessibility challenges to us for our $8,000 vacation.
Our plane fare is non refundable. I’m betting on getting at least a possible refund on that as air travel will be impacted if COVID 19 comes to the US in the coming months.
We will drive to the shore instead.
I have a Priceline Express Deal reservation at the WDW Swan in April. Any thoughts on whether that might be refunded if WDW closed? Sounds like a potentially unprecedented situation.
Did you contact Priceline about this? I’m just curious what the response was. I would hope that they would be accommodating.
The thing I think many commenters haven’t really acknoweldged is how unprecendented this is. I have a disney world trip planned may 2nd-10th and up until tokyo closed I wasn’t really concerned about the US parks. I keep bringing up this concern and while some actually agree the possiblilty of a disney land or world closure should at the least be discussed most people have been saying things like “oh that is unlikely”, well it wasn’t likely in the countries the parks already closed. I also live in chicago and this has been in our area for a while now so I really haven’t been worried about it- if it gets bad enough i figure I will fly with a face mask or something like that. I of course am concerns for the victims of this iliness and of curse my first thought is protecting people but I am really hoping this is on the decline by the time I can go.
My mom has been telling me to cancel my trip for weeks now, but I steadfastly refused. My only way of cancelling is if it shuts down. Well…my trip isn’t until May 16, so I have my fingers crossed!
Thank you for the clear and careful overview here.
I really hope these closures don’t spread to Paris in the next 10 days!
Based on the increasing number of cases on France- I am
Afraid that Disney Paris will close soon
Hopefully after our trip! Actually, I hope fewer people get sick and they don’t feel the need to close it.
It would also be great to get an update on Paris as that would likely be the next to close given the spread of the virus. I plan to go mid April after a medical conference in Paris but even the conference might be cancelled.
with the latest clusters found in paris, your conference will likely be cancelled and disneyland paris will close soon
No Olympics? What a devastating prospect! (My husband is as much of an Olympics geek as I am a Disney geek). I’m so sorry for all the people having to cancel their trips! My family is planning our first trip to Japan for late March 2021, and I’m already nervous that corona virus will interfere. So much remains to be seen, but a few reports I’ve read predict that impacts could extend beyond 2020. My fingers are crossed for all of us!!
My friend and I were supposed to go to Japan March 19 – 25. This was going to be my first trip to Japan and I was looking forward to going to DisneySea for the day. And potentially seeing the cherry blossoms. However, we made the decision yesterday morning to cancel. I had told my friend all along that if Tokyo Disney closed that it meant we should cancel too. Yesterday’s announcement just solidified our decision. Hopefully we can try again at a later date!
My wife and I are going to WDW the first of March, thru the ninth. Not concerned about this trip but our September trip may be in question. Yes, the number of people who use the restrooms and then don’t wash is unbelievable to say the least. We have our sanitizers and plan on being careful. If you or your kids are coughing and sneezing, stay home. None of you will because your vacation is much more important that getting others sick. Really? Don’t be alarmed when you sit near me in the airplane or attraction and I say something to you or your kid about your coughing! Anyway, we plan on having a good time and not panic about things yet.
Really? I had lung cancer and the radiation damaged my lungs and bronchial tubes and left me with a terrible cough. I am not sick but I cough a lot and am not spending what little I have left of life being afraid of people like you! I agree 100% that sick people need to stay home until well but there are people who are like me and don’t deserve your judgement. Besides, everyone is putting themselves in jeopardy just by traveling. My family and I have a trip scheduled to Disney World in May but are looking into postponing until it is safer to travel.
I am with you! I have asthma and cough most of the year. If the above poster wants to avoid any germs, he can stay home!
My dad survived lung cancer. We still take him out to lunch every week despite his cough. Making mean comments to a stranger about their chronic cough will not accomplish anything positive. Life’s too short. Wash your hands, use common sense and carry on with life!
Same here. Asthmatic. Have a chronic cough during certain times of the year. Sucks, but whaddya do.
Go ahead and say something. You’ll get it right back.
So, do you cover your mouth if you cough? I am sorry to hear about your lungs, but if one is coughing often and out into public space without covering their mouths they should have something said to them. My son has asthma so I get it, I also get that he gets sick more easily and it goes straight to his lungs every time. So maybe I am a little sensitive to irresponsible health manners in public spaces. Yeah, cover your mouth.
Wow. Just you go ahead and try to say something to my kids if they cough around you. You will have more than Coronavirus to be worried about!!!! Maybe you need to understand that if you choose to travel to a KID FRIENDLY destination, then you have to accept that kids are not as mature as an adult and cannot always control their bodies. Good grief. Stay home if you are that worried!!!!
Yes, I always cover my mouth when I cough. If I’m Sick I stay home and I Always wash my hands when I use the restrooms. People who don’t wash their hands upset me too. Besides lung damage from radiation I also have asthma which makes my cough almost constant unless I take a narcotic cough meds, but I do not want to become addicted so I use it sparingly. And the person who claims this virus is no worst than the flu, I will pray that you and your family stay safe. It’s very sad that people are spreading this untruth.
Rita, it is just another flu strain. It’s not especially dangerous at all and it’s being oversensationalized all over the place.
I’ll continue to ridicule those who don’t wash their hands after using the bathroom, especially the throne. It’s disgusting. All bathroom doors should open outward by code.
We had a three resort trip booked for April and May. Tokyo, Shanghai and Hong Kong.
We cancelled only last week, we had hoped for the best but last week it became clear it was going to be very complicated to go ahead.
We booked for Disneyland California and a West Coast Cruise to Vancouver.
We got all money back for flights and hotels. Not a penny lost.
Just hoping that we don’t see further complications on our trip.
Just came back from FL-WDW and biggest issue is people spacing, lack of people covering their mouths when coughing & touching everything plus the number of people that do not wash their hands in the restrooms everywhere on property! Soap may clean but the cold water at all sinks(they never get even warm), keeps people from washing or even washing at length. Saw too many discarding all together…yet they then touch door handles, etc. Definitely not enough Purell stands around to catch those people. Good luck all!
We have a trip currently planned for Japan for the first time April 8th and being in Tokyo Disney for Beauty and the Beast opening. Currently monitoring the situation closely and will make a decision based on what happens come mid March. Definitely sucks that is for sure.
We are scheduled to visit Japan in mid April. Will have to see what happens.
I have plans to go WDW at the end of March and am now very anxious about it closing. I desperately need this vacation as it was postponed twice (once in November 2018 and then February 2020 due to family reasons). I already lost the flights and thankfully, Disney has been very understanding.
Hopefully, the spreading of the virus will be contained and it won’t spread so rapidly globally. Hoping for a quick and full recovery for all those affected.
Planning a trip to Disney World April 24 through May 1, any worries about them closing Disney World because of the coronavirus?
In the same boat but we are going to WDW Easter week. If the virus gets a foothold in the states, and in any numbers in Florida, I expect WDW to shut down. WDW receives a ton of international travelers so the parks would be one of the first on the list to see the impact. For now, we just recently bought insurance for our trip. If WDW closes, I would expect that they would refund or credit the cost of your trip, but we may end of cancelling on our own, choosing to not take the risk.
I need and want this trip so bad. Made all of the dining reservations got every fast pass we wanted, villain event and dessert party, i’m going to hold out to the very last minute.
We’ll have a post about coronavirus and Walt Disney World very soon.
I’m already working on it, but want to be very careful about the way I approach the topic, as I don’t want to feed into hysteria, but also present a measured and realistic perspective on what might happen.
Thanks Tom, obsessed with your blog, and I totally respect any and all of your advice.
Eagerly await your thoughts! We have a long weekend trip planned for March 7th @ WDW and are concerned. Actually more concerned with whether its the right thing to do for the family vs. whether the parks are actually officially closed. It’s such an international crowd you have to believe it’s only a matter of time.
Yes, please do comment on coronavirus in relation to trips planned this spring to CA-DL and FL-WDW. We’re planning to visit Disneyland in mid/April and WDW in late June. I always respect your comments and advice on everything DISNEY.
Thank you for addressing this in a thoughtful manner. Two days ago, someone asking about this (on another board) was laughed off and met with sarcasm by many, which really bothered me because I’ve had the same concerns. We have a WDW trip (April 18) and I have been optimistic until the last day or two. Will it reasonably be better in 2 months? Maybe, maybe not. I trust Disney’s judgement, and most cases of illness haven’t been serious, but there are many unknowns right now and that may not be a chance I’m willing to take with my family. We can’t anticipate or prevent everything, but my bottom, if overly dramatic, line keeps coming down to: flying to stay at a crowded theme park during a worldwide pandemic (even though the US has so few known cases right now) is making less sense to me each day. We travel, but not extensively, so maybe we’re more nervous than some who are out there all the time. We all have to weigh how much stress it will cause on the trip (not worried at all? Great!), consider individual health concerns, and keep informed where things stand before we go, as the situation is changing rapidly.
Please let us know about a possible closure for Disneyland as well. I have a trip planned to visit in a week.
We already have our tickets purchased at Disneyworld and rooms booked at Disneysprings area for spring break. If the virus suddenly hits Florida, how likely are we going to get our refund for the tickets and rooms? The tickets are non-refundable right and must be used within the timeframe noted? Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you Tom! Your blog posts are some of my favorite WDW resources and I have always valued your measured and thoughtful advice. Looking forward to your thoughts on who should consider canceling trips and if you think WDW would close like the other parks.
Thanks Tom. We’re planning on flying to Paris next Sunday and doing 3 nights at the hotel at the parks. If there is a closure at DLP, hope it’s after that.
Candidly, isn’t this a little premature? I just don’t see how we can predict anything about WDW given the present information.
Yep. We pretty much got everything we wanted during the busy week we are going due to some serious planning. So much looking forward to it, but with each passing day, I am becoming more anxious that this trip may not happen. As I said before, we may cancel on our own as my wife has a suppressed immune system.
im going right after you, I am concerned Disney world is going to close before our trip. I keep hearing it isn’t likely but tokyo only has 210 cases and is closing so I am not convinced by the “its not likely” and “wdw will never close”. I know Tom is more concerned about the asia parks right now (i get why) but it would be nice to hear his thoughts as a seasoned traveller.
As you referenced, I’d imagine this has a lot (emphasis on lot) to do with the Olympics.
I’d imagine even if the Olympics go off, it’d be hard for COVID-19 not to have some impact at this point. The last several months of a project with the magnitude of the Olympic games must be filled with frenetic activity; this can’t help with pulling everything together at the end.
Here’s hoping this all subsides, people get stay/healthy, and everything works out.