Tokyo Disney Resort on day one after the Earthquake (NOW WITH 5 UPDATES – feat. various videos & info concerning ongoing closure of TDL & TDS)

[this post continues our coverage of yesterday and incorporates the original update 6 of it]

As the first day after the massive earthquake in Japan is already coming to a close the nuclear emergency has taken centerstage after an explosion was reported from Fukushima plant one. But there is also some good news – in this case concerning “rezaikram”, who provided live photos and reports from a night inside the parks.He made it safely out of the resort and back home, as he tweeted around 3 pm local time “thank you for the great hospitality (TDL) and those who are praying for us. left TDL at 6 am and just arrived tokyo” – however, the fact that it took him about 9 hours to get from Tokyo Disneyland to his destination in Tokyo gives an impression of the current state of the usualy very efficient local transportation system of the Tokyo area. UPDATE 5.1:In another tweet he also cleared up one of the misunderstandings about how guests who were stranded inside the two theme parks spend the night. While they were still outside after dusk they were later allowed inside buildings for the night: “after a while they provided us rooms/restaurants to sleep.TDL is doing a really great job in handling the situation“.

In the meantime a video of the initial massive earthquake shaking the ground inside Tokyo Disneyland has been uploaded to YouTube by David Gibbo, who happened to be in the park at the time. As the video shows guests were at the time (2:46 pm) lining the parade route waiting for the day’s parade. The reaction of guests as well as cast members is very calm and efficient – note how the ropes are taken down right after the main tremor has ended as the parade is canceled in such circumstances. There is even a dedicated announcement for an earthquake which shows the high level of preparedness. As you can hear in the video guests are instructed to move away from the buildings and wait in open areas for further instructions – a procedure that was followed as reported earlier.

More videos and reports from the resort and inside both theme parks below the jump!


The calm reaction of the guests and the well oiled machine of the cast members can also be seen in another video uploaded by the Japanese guest “bounonushi” to YouTube. It was filmed at a different spot of the Central Plaza while waiting for the parade when the massive earthquake hit initially:

As a second video of “bounonushi” shows guests were already walking around the area again calmly a little bit later when another (not pre-recorded by live) announcement in Japanese was made.UPDATE 5.2: According to a translation posted on the video’s YouTube page by user “MrLovepicasso” the statement’s: “Dear our guests, theM7.9 earthquake had occured on Sanriku Coast. There’s no possibility of tsunami. We are checking the building. So please follow the anouncement of casts. All the transportation around Tokyo Disney Resort don’t work. We’ll notify you as soon as we got new information“. In the meantime he added a third video to his channel on YouTube also filmed on Central Plaza inside TDL. It shows the nearly eerily calm guests seated on the ground while another lengthy live announcement in Japanese is provided over the loudspeakers.

Also on YouTube the Italian guest x3mendo has posted three short videos: the first one was filmed during the initial hit of the massive earthquake while in the lobby area inside the Tower of Terror and the second one during the second aftershocks in front of the Tower of Terror. The third very short video shows guests still huddled in the American Waterfront area on the open streets at dusk:


Another Japanese guest with the YouTube username “HOTD2010″ was filming “The Legend of Mythica” spectacular when the massive earthquake hit. The video also shows the swift and aclm reactions of guests and cast members alike. Certainly the show was immediately canceled and after starting with the “regular” show cancelation announcement the – in the menatime already well known – “we just experienced an earthquake” announcement played instead. The retractable loudspeaker-poles around the lagoon show the force of the earthquake very well as they are swinging back and forth. One of them at the lower amphitheater next to the shore of the lagoon actually suddenly leans menacingly forward but does not fall:

Japanese user “neko2gou” uploaded two more videos to YouTube that were filmed inside Tokyo DisneySea: the first one shows how the guests calmly react to the earthquake in front of the Indiana Jones Adventure attraction, while the second shows guests on one of the walkways in the Lost River Delta area while the “earthquake”-announcement of the resort is played in the background:

Moving on to the bus drop-off / pick-up area in front of Tokyo Disneyland – here YouTube user “Transfusions” filmed some damage to the ground showing a gap that has opened up in it. Take a close look when the bike crosses over this gap as the element to the right of the gap reacts to that by a swiming motion similar to an ice floe on the sea. This demonstration of the effect of liquefaction that we mentioned in our coverage yesterday. The effect of liquefaction means that due to the pressure and movement excerted by the earthquake ground becomes so grinded down that it actually behaves like a fluid. This is what happened on the main parking lot of the theme parks as well.

Speaking of the effect of liquefaction on the main parking lot of the resort’s two theme parks: on YouTube a video filmed from a helicopter showing aerials of some areas impacted by the earthquake has surfaced. In the first minute the resort’s main parking lot can be seen before the film moves on to different locations outside the resort. This shot shows the huge impact by liquefaction on the parking lot very well and makes it understandable that in first reports a “flooding” of the parking lot had been reported (wrongly). In the lower left corner of thesese scenes Space Mountain can be seen inside Tokyo Disneyland, while above the main parking lot the various non-Disney operated official resort hotels and the resort’s concert hall can be seen with the open sea behind them. Unfortunately the embedding feature for the video has been deactived by the user who uploaded it, so to watch it just follow this link.


It is also worth checking out the report by Jonathan who was at the resort when the earthquake hit and provided a first impression and all new photos to Al Lutz that were just published on MiceAge. The photos taken on day one after the earthquake show the residue, sludge and water still on the main parking lot after it was drenched due to the liquefaction in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake. In addition he has some interesting updates on some addition damages. Amongst others Jonathan reports: “The pedestrian bridges to the train station and Bon Voyage were closed due to the bridge and pavement being separated and lifted by almost a foot“. He also once again praises the resort’s cast members who are still going out of their way as even 24 hours after the initial earth quake guests were still at the resort and only leaving slowly due to the limited public transportation: “Every few feet, there are CM’s waving guests goodbye and thanking them for coming. Even with a massive cleaning effort going on around them, there they were, wishing everyone a safe trip home. When the trains depart the station, there the CM’s were, waving at all the guests as they finally head home“.

In the meantime stev777 who spent the last night inside Tokyo Disneyland as a guests has posted a short report on the MiceAge boards. He also praises the calmness and friendliness of the resort’s cast members who went out of their way to assist the guests. He further states: “I ended up spending the night in Space Mountain in the queue line to get out of the cold […] Free food and drinks all day and night […] Free rain macs were given out when it started raining, but also helped block the cold wind. Face mask not for hygiene but for the cold and heat packs distributed also. An amazing effort to look after us“.

UPDATE 4.2.:

The praise for TDR’s cast members is mirrored in practically all statements found online by those who were in the resort during the earthquake and its aftermath. For example David Landsel, travel editor of The New York Post, tweeted today, hours after he had left the resort and had made it back to his hotel in the city center of Tokyo: “Lasting impression from yesterday: Disney cast members running around apologizing for the earthquake, as it was happening“. Earlier he had praised the cast with this tweet (while still on-site): “Cast all said they’d never experienced anything like it; however, they were exceedingly well trained to handle“. However, the ultimate praise might be another tweet of his in regardiong to the question of anter twitter user whether the resort is “The Happiest Place On Earth”: “Dunno about that, but one of safest places in this part of Japan yesterday afternoon, for sure“.

Damage in the area around Tokyo Disney Resort seems really limited and life is starting to return to normal. Nathan, an entertainment cast member of Tokyo Disney resort from the UK, published on his YouTube account “TheNateShaw” a video showing the city of Shin-Urayasu where is is living on day one after the earthquake that shows the (luckily) limited damage and the Japanese trying to normalize their lifes again.


However, a return to a normal life with a fully operational infrastructure will take a while – even in the Tokyo area which was only lightly hit compared to more northern parts of Japan and those cities that bore the full brunt of the tsunamis. In light of this the resort’s management has decided to keep Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea closed for the time being. A decision about a re-opening is currently expected to be made around March 21st. The according statement was posted on the Japanese language version of the resort’s official homepage (for the Google translated version of it follow this link and then click on “News from Tokyo Disney Resort” in the middle of the page (right below the opening hours display for the two parks; the translated statement will then pop up).

It should be noted though, that this is NOT due to any major damage to the resort. In fact the management once again confirms that there is no major damage to buildings and the park facilities and security checks are already in progress. Instead, the decision was made in light of the general situation in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake and the following tsunamis. In fact it is explicitely stated that the “situation and restoration of transport and surrounding infrastructure” will be taken into consideration for the decision when to resume operations of the two theme parks.


YouTube user “1983waltdisney” uploaded two videos filmed on Saturday, the first day after the earthquake, on one of the walkways lining the roads in the resort respecitvely a small fountain plaza between public roads in the resort (in the distance the shopping center Ikspiari can be spotted in several scenes). They show some more, but still limited damage to the ground and the first work crews already out to repair such damage – even so the areas concerned here are clearly not in a central or especially important position for the resort:


Certainly the prayers and best wishes of all of us here at the Mousekingdom Blog go out to everyone impacted by the earthquake and the tsunami in Japan as well as on the pacific islands that have been hit by the tsunami as well in the meantime. Please post in the comments and / or contact us if you have any further news regarding the developing situation in TDR!

Please read on in the third part of our coverage – featuring more information and videos … including video filmed inside both parks and some attractions when the earthquake hit … plus a video filmed on the resort’s monorail that returned to operation on the past weekend!

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