Tokyo Disneyland nears 30, announces plans to increase attendance

April 13, 2013 at 1:39 PM
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TOKYO, April 13 (UPI) -- Tokyo Disney Resorts is aiming at topping its 2012 record of 27.5 million visitors in its 30th year, which begins next week, operators said.

Oriental Land Co., which operates Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea, said it would invest $1.5 billion in the theme parks between 2011 and 2020, The Japan Times reported Saturday.

The Times said other 30-year-old theme parks in Japan, such as Universal Studios Japan, are struggling to break even, while a 2010 government report indicated Tokyo Disney Resorts was responsible for 45 percent of theme park sales in the year, which totaled an industry-wide $4.6 billion.

The Disney-themed parks in Japan are still viewed as creative, aggressively marketed venues with a reputation for cleanliness, and about 80 percent of its visitors each year are returning patrons, the Times said.

"Oriental Land has everything required to allow the company to successfully run a theme park," said Mia Nagasaka, an industry analyst at Morgan Stanley MUFG Securities.

"A massive amount of investment has contributed to keeping the theme park fresh," said industry analyst, Shun Tanaka at SMBC Friend Research Center.

The theme park attracted more than 10 million visitors in its first year of operation 30 years ago. Since then, the park and the city of Urayasu, western Chiba -- a 15 minute train ride from Tokyo Station -- have learned to get along, with the city operating direct transportation to the park to control traffic and the park operators building their own garbage disposal system so the city is not overwhelmed.

Tanaka said breaking a visitor record will be a challenge because the resort is already "reaching its limit."

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