Tokyo Disneyland increases attractions and prices

Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea - by far the most successful theme parks in Japan - are bucking local trends by introducing a number of new attractions in the coming months and raising entrance prices.

The effects of the global recession continue to linger in Japan, with households broadly spending less on entertainment - including other theme parks around the nation. But the one area in which Japanese families refuse to economise is at the vast magical kingdom just to the east of central Tokyo.

And it is not just Japanese who are keeping the turnstiles ticking over. Visitor from around the world - but particularly those from nations that do not have their own version of the Magic Kingdom - invariably have Disneyland and DisneySea high up on their lists of "must-see" sights on any visit to Japan.

The operators of the parks have announced that prices at both Disneyland and DisneySea will rise on April 23, coinciding with the reopening of the revamped Cinderella Castle attraction and the opening of the new Jasmine's Flying Carpet attraction. The cost of the two projects is put at Y4 billion (€36.32 million).

In the first change to ticket prices since September 2006, the parks operators are keen to point out, a one-day ticket for adults will be set at Y6,200 (€56.30), an increase of Y400 (€3.63), while the entry price of a youth between the ages of 12 and 17 will rise Y300 (€2.72) to Y5,300 (€48.12). A ticket for a child aged from 4 to 11 will rise Y200 (€1.82) to Y4,100 (€37.23).

Disney controls fully 40 percent of the domestic market for theme parks and is aware that it has to constantly come up with new attractions to keep the repeat customers coming back.

In July, it re-opened "Captain EO," a three-dimensional movie starring Michael Jackson, while in fiscal 2012 it is planning to open a series of attractions based on the hit "Toy Story" series of movies. A remarkable Y11.5 billion (€104.42 million) has been set aside for the new rides.

Oriental Land, the operator of the park, is also collaborating with Walt Disney Co. to provide support in the construction and operation of Shanghai Disneyland, which is scheduled to open in 2014.

Tokyo Disneyland's domestic competitors are adopting a different strategy for their businesses, reducing fees to attract more visitors, even though that approach will hit their revenues.

The Huis Ten Bosch park in Nagasaki Prefecture, in southern Japan, is a recreation of a Dutch town and recently reduced its entry prices from Y3,200 (€29.05) to Y2,500 (€22.70), while Tokyo Dome Attractions has cut Y500 (€4.54) off its one-day tickets for students, bringing them down to Y3,500 (€31.78).

JR

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