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All's not well at Tokyo Disneyland after quake

47 Comments

Although the visitor parking area at Tokyo Disneyland suffered considerable liquefaction damage due to the March 11 earthquake, the rides and facilities in the park itself appear to have stood up to the temblor without major problems.

J-Cast News (March 24) reports that the huge theme park has in many ways fared better than the surrounding community in Urayasu City, where nearly half the homes in the neighborhood were without running water. Many are also without gas for cooking and heating.

The theme park's owner, Oriental Land Corp, completed a safety inspection on March 18, and determined that the resort was in condition to "permit reopening." Its inability to secure a steady supply of electricity, however, remains a major stumbling block, and is the key reason why a reopening date has yet to be set. (The park's website says the reopening date had not been decided as of noon on Monday, March 28.)

The power needed to operate Disneyland's attractions, lighting and other facilities comes to approximately 570,000 kilowatt hours per day, a figure equivalent to roughly 10 times that utilized by the Tokyo Dome stadium in Tokyo's Bunkyo Ward, or by 50,000 households.

The rolling blackouts scheduled by Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) are likely to continue through summer, and this appears likely to impact future park operations. Unlike 21 of Tokyo's 23 central wards that have so far been exempted from the blackouts, Urayasu City is located in the blackout area designated Group 5.

Another problem for TDL involves park access. The JR Keiyo Line that serves Maihama, the station closest to the park, has reduced the number of trains as a power-saving measure, and the prospect of severe congestion is also likely to impact any plans for reopening the park.

"Since Tokyo Disneyland consumes a large amount of electric power, it may be affected by any power-saving measures," an official at Urayasu City's disaster response center told J-Cast. "Presently illumination has been turned off on the Cinderella Castle -- the park's symbol. Our hands are full dealing with recovery tasks right now, but we will be holding discussions with Disneyland's people to discuss how to get through the Golden Week and the summer holidays."

Meanwhile, the Mainichi Shimbun (March 26) reported that other leisure facilities around the nation have also been hit hard by the disaster. Tokyo's Ueno Zoo has been closed since March 17, mainly due to concerns over the power shortages, and postponed the debut of two pandas recently arrived from China that had been scheduled for March 22. The Nikko Edomura theme park in Tochigi has been closed since March 11. It had planned to reopen one week later, but this has been delayed indefinitely.

Hakkeijima Sea Paradise in Yokohama reopened from March 22, but several attractions remained closed due to possible quake damage. Yomiuri Land in the Tokyo suburb of Inagi City has shut down many of its 30 attractions due to their high power consumption. "During the three-day Vernal Equinox holiday weekend (March 19-21), the gate was about one-fourth of what we usually get," a spokesperson said.

Leisure facilities as far away as Kyushu have also been affected; the Huis Ten Bosch theme park in Sasebo City reported some 11,000 hotel cancellations, mostly from South Korea and other neighboring Asian countries.

A spokesperson for the Fujikyu Highland amusement park in Fujiyoshida City, Yamanashi Prefecture was quoted as saying "Due to gasoline shortages, the general sentiment has been to refrain from going places, and this mood been spreading."

© Japan Today

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47 Comments
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we will see if the rolling black outs will occur at TDL, wonder if they have some pull or some story that will preempt this "need to stimulate domestic travel, need our pararde Prime Minister Kan"

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If there is one company in the world that I will never cry for it is Disney.

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This is a blessing in disguise. A lack of Disneyland can only be a good thing for the adults of Japan.

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Maybe don't cry for Disney, but there are thousands of people employed there who face a very uncertain future.

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"Its inability to secure a steady supply of electricity"

So, what not to ride? Ferriswheel, rollercoaster, roundup?

Add more guys.

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so go to USJ

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I agree with Smorkian. It's fashionable to trash Disney but guess what? Tokyo Disneyland now has 6000 people out of work. Is that a good thing for Tokyo and Japan?

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The salaries from those 6,000 workers go to pay off home mortgages and apartment rents, patronize restaurants, shop in supermarkets, etc. so all of these things will set off economic "aftershocks." We won't know the results for weeks or months, but years. After keeping the business going for 15 years from 1995, my friend's struggling restaurant in Kobe finally went under. He tried to keep it going, but the town's economic base never recovered. Now he's being sued by the people who lent him money to keep it afloat. One thing we can depend on -- the lawyers always get to come feast on the carrion.

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alot more than thousands in Northern Japan and alot worse off than uncertain jobs at Tokyo Disneyland.

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Although the fatalities were far fewer than northern Japan, the sad fact is that coastal areas of Chiba and Ibaraki also suffered considerable damage on March 11.

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Kaptan: Yes, different degrees of suffering, but that said, what point are you making?

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50,000 houses of energy PER DAY. Wow. That is HUGE!

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Glad I went to both places beforehand!

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My point is there is only so much worry to go around. Lets deal with the homeless and the lifeless and hungry and the dying and the radiation first. Lets deal with Disneyland and people who work for them at a more appropriate time. Lets prioritize our focus and be thankful if you have a home and are breathing.

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Also,KingSaint, Tokyo Disneyland and Disney Sea are the 2 only disney parks in the world that are not owned by Disney because of some licence/contract screw up in the past.

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Golgoth13, Disney was given opportunity to invest in TDL before the park opened. However, they originally thought the theme parks wouldn't do well in Japan. So, Oriental Land Company signed all the checks. After some years, Disney wanted a stake in the parks. However, OLC balked at selling.

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tokyo disneyland is wayyyyyyyyyy better than america disneyland

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Except it is way too full

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Lets deal with Disneyland and people who work for them at a more appropriate time.

For people who live and work in the area, this is the appropriate time. We can deal with different problems at the same time. You don't have to care, but as a Chiba resident, this affects me and I care.

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570,000 kilowatts per day

This is absolute nonsense! It's not surprising that the general public are not very familiar with the various units used in measuring radioactivity but confusion over everyday units such as kilowatts is inexcusable.

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Put into effect Rolling Rides... 10:00-11:00 Dumbo ride 11:00-12:00 It's a Small World ride 12:00-13:00 Country Bear Jamboree etc.

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Kaptain, the point of the article is that because of the reactor fiasco up north, employees at places that otherwise weathered the earthquake just fine are not working. They can't "be thankful" they have a home if they're about to lose it because they can't make rent/mortgage payments. I guess them becoming homeless isn't as important to you as the people up north becoming homeless. They won't be breathing for too long if they can't afford to buy food, either. You suggest we should ignore their problems until the people up north are taken care of. By then places farther south will be in dire straits as well.

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I worked at Ikuspiari the shopping mall next to Disney for around 5 years. I found a surprising number of "disney" addicts. They would come to the park almost every day all decked out in their cute disney clothes and trinkets, and go into the park to see mickey and the cast of characters. Not only children and impressionable young high school girls, but people spread across the spectrum of ages. The influence that disney asserts in the life of Japanese is alarming. Japanese at this point in history need less fantasy and more reality.

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@Fadamor- thanks for the melodrama , it made me laugh- especially the "wont be breathing long if they cant afford food" part. You exemplify my point exactly with ridiculous, avoidable dramatic scenarios for theme park workers, alive and well, and capable of finding new employment- whilst very real drama that deserves ALL of our attention lay just up the road. Your focus should be there and there only, not creating catastrophic scenarios in your fantasies for Disneyland. Where I working for Disneyland, the LAST thing I would want is someone focusing on my meager problems while there is still a natural catastrophe in play and people still being found and buried.

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The currently unemployed Disneyland workers are not going to be able to pay off their loans, pay their bills, buy food, etc.

The out of work people up North are not going to be able pay either. But they are being given food for free and I bet that most crediters will be somewhat understanding in the face of devasation.

But those in Chiba are not going to have that consideration. There is no free food for them, however little. They will starve if they have no savings, and lose homes that stood up to the quake just fine. I feel for them. Maybe they didn't lose their homes, but their livelihoods were devastated all the same.

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they have their health, they have unemployment insurance, they STILL HAVE their Families. They have their whole lives ahead of them. Its unbelievable that you would make such a comparison.

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that comparison being :losing your job at Disneyland to having your whole life wiped away by an earthquake and tsunami.

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@kaptankichigai

be thankful if you have a home

Problem is, if you lose your job, you might well lose your home too. Seems to me you're being very unsympathetic to these folk. Sure, people further north have lost everything they had, including their entire families, but people in Haiti lost everything in their quake and now their suffering a cholera epidemic. Would you suggest that we all stop concerning ourselves with Tohoku and worry about Haiti instead? It's all relative, and losing a job is bad enough for some.

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My sympathy remains with the families sleeping on gym floors still wondering where their loved ones are. There are unemployed people all over the world trying to make ends meet. Worrying about foreclosure or how to pay for their kids education or their own retirement. But things get put in perspective when your life gets taken away in the blink of an eye and you will never see your loved ones or your home again. It seems that a bit of unemployment takes a backseat in such times, and I feel you are being disrespectful to the magnitude of loss being suffered still, at this moment, by shifting focus to a conglomerate's employment issues due to rolling blackouts caused by the potential meltdown of a nuclear reactor. Does that clear up my position?

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That fact that Tokyo Disneyland is a "conglomerate" (actually, it's not owned by Disney) is irrelevant to the people who have lost their jobs. The idea that expressing sympathy for them when someone else is suffering more is "disrespectful" is ludicrous, as I think you'd agree if you considered your claim carefully. Again, to cite Haiti, would you suggest that expressing sympathy for the people of Tohoku is "disrespectful" to the Haitians, whose suffering, if these things can be calibrated, is even worse?

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youre comparing Disney Land's potential unemployment problems with natural catastrophic events that cost tens of thousands of lives. Your whole position is ludicrous. Just grasping at straws for something to argue about. My position is clear. You can offer sympathy to whomever you wish. There is no limit on it. Its disrespectful to compare the suffering of the victims of the Tsunami and Earthquake to the potential possibility of temporarily lost jobs at Tokyo Disneyland. If you cant see that point, I offer you my sympathy.

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You have a very simple way of seeing things. So either I agree with you or I'm "grasping at straws for something to argue about". The idea that I have a valid opinion which happens to differ from yours doesn't occur to you.

Fine. Let's leave it right there.

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regardless of who deserve our sympthies more, I dont think this disney situation is altogether bad. I mean ... enough electricity to light 50,000 homes?! At a time when they are cutting electricity?! No way ...

I would say disney should have to be effected by these cuts too. It should at LEAST make them scale down their power use generally. It does seem ghastly unfair that people are struggling without electricity (for things they probably need) while Disneyland are allowed to provide entertainment (which no one really needs at this moment) and use up everyone elses rations in about 8 minutes.

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I would say disney should have to be effected by these cuts too. It should at LEAST make them scale down their power use generally.

I would agree with this. Maybe later opening or earlier closing would be fair.

I think people need escape and entertainment, though - too much bad news destroys the spirit.

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That fact that Tokyo Disneyland is a "conglomerate" (actually, it's not owned by Disney) is irrelevant to the people who have lost their jobs.

Nitpick. Tokyo Disneyland is not a conglomerate. It is a wholly-owned entity of Oriental Land Company. OLC owns, operates, maitains and promotes both theme parks in tha area. They license the theme from Walt Disney Company.

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Hmmm. Shorter lines at FujiKyu? Very tempting. Or are they also running the rides less frequently to save electricity? At any rate, I think I'd be a bit embarrassed to be going out to an amusement park so very soon.

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Kaptain you're projecting too much into other people's comments. You think people are saying things they haven't said, and you don't realize what you yourself have said. When they point out you're wrong, you just put more words into their mouths. Please stop while you're ahead.

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HELP WANTED: People to ride the venues in order to test the safety. If something happened at Disneyland USA, the multi-million dollar suit would take a decade to judicate. Safety first.

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@Fadamor- thanks for the melodrama , it made me laugh- especially the "wont be breathing long if they cant afford food" part. You exemplify my point exactly with ridiculous, avoidable dramatic scenarios for theme park workers, alive and well, and capable of finding new employment- whilst very real drama that deserves ALL of our attention lay just up the road. Your focus should be there and there only, not creating catastrophic scenarios in your fantasies for Disneyland. Where I working for Disneyland, the LAST thing I would want is someone focusing on my meager problems while there is still a natural catastrophe in play and people still being found and buried.

There's a vast difference between "focusing on", which you seem to only be capable of, and "not forgetting", which the rest of us are capable of. Certainly the people directly affected by the tsunami deserve more concern than others in less dire straits, but ignoring the side effects on the rest of the country in order to practice a form of tunnel vision rarely seen in this day and age is a recipe for an even BIGGER collapse. Tokyo Disneyland is only a single symptom of a much larger affliction that is sapping what economic strength Japan has left. At some point the rolling blackouts are going to start causing companies to go into default because they can't produce enough to cover costs. Before that happens, though, the companies will start laying off workers because the plants aren't open enough to warrant all those employees. Call it "drama" or whatever floats your boat, but it is a very REAL possibility considering Japan has no idea how they are going to get their power grid even close to the capacity it had before in the next year's time. The six reactors at Fukushima 1 will likely never produce a watt of electricity again. Depending on the damage it took when cooling failed, the one to the north of Fukushima 1 might also never generate power again.

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@bdiego- The fact that use the words "when they point out you're wrong" completely invalidates whatever jumbled, in-cohesive statement you were trying to make.. Opinions are being expressed. Nobody said anyones opinion was "right" or "wrong". We used the word "ludicrous" but not "wrong". That would be you projecting. Or did you NOT just say that? Every comment I made was in direct reference to what was said in the previous post and my opinion has stayed the same from the first. If you disagree, how about doing so with some fore-thought and reference? Your ambiguous and unsubstantiated critique offers nothing new or interesting to the topic at hand. How about offering YOUR opinion on the article instead of misunderstanding mine?

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@Fadamor, I dont think we should ignore the potentiality of the future problems. Yes, you are correct about what companies will do. In fact, my salary was just cut yesterday by my company with the economic crises due to the earthquake used as the reason. However, I still thank God my family, house and life are all intact. It is hard for me to worry about my own upcoming financial strife while ....well everything I've written above. There is a time and place for dealing with these issues and I feel it is too soon to start diverting our sympathies. Now is the time to be thankful and give what we can to those who lost everything- Not to those who might potentially lose their jobs. This type of focus and worry is whats causing the shelves to clear of water and batteries as people get wrapped up in what might happen next.

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It's not like a theme park is needed anyway. They have to bite the bullet with everyone else.

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The negativity is a plenty gee what do you have against theme parks? Such as Disney, Six Flags.

You think Disney doesn`t do good for the economy? You are very wrong! The one in Florida does Orlando plenty good!

Disney is a good place, a place I would like to take my children someday thank you very much!

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i know its perfectly reasonable to not deny anyone their right to employment, however, recent natural disasters have realigned the economic panorama in Japan, and Tokyo Disney does not fall within that profile.

At least they made a lot of money recently, but now its time for them to take abite out of their "sh!t sandwich" like the rest of us.

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Would be a perfect time for Disney to take the lead on alternative energy for their theme park. Incorporate solar and wind (and maybe wave) energy into their grid at the park. This would encourage many other companies to do the same, namely the Government for things like expressway and street lighting, etc.

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I'm no fan of Disney, but as mentioned by skylark21, they are good for the Japanese economy. Besides the 6000? employees at the 2 parks, they are the reason for other business' in the area that provide employment to several thousand's of people.

I'm happy Kaptan still has his job even with a cut in salary, it must be nice. My company told me and 2000 other colleagues not to come to work, as of Mar.14, until further notice. I hope that they will have the money to pay my salary for March.

As someone mentioned above, people need an escape even if only for a few hours. Whether it's going to Disney a concert or a sporting event. I couldn't agree more.

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It's not like a theme park is needed anyway.

Mocheake - if you say that, you probably don't need it anyway.. May I ask what kind of socializing do you do in your free time?

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