Paddington Town theme park has opened near Tokyo. Fujikyuko Co.’s new themed zone highlights how global interest in the Paddington Bear brand continues to grow in his 60th anniversary year.
The new theme park is based at Sagamiko Resort Pleasure Forest, a resort complex at Lake Sagamihara, near Tokyo. Paddington Town, which stretches over 4,420 square metres, features five attractions, including a mini roller coaster, a maze, and a train ride. Children can ride a baby fire engine and knock over targets using water pistols.
The park, aimed at families with young children, has cost 230 million yen ($2million) and Fujikyuko hopes it will attract a million visitors to the Pleasure Forest resort per year.
Paddington appeals to Japanese parents because his polite and respectful manners are seen to make him a good role model for children.
Worldwide commemorative partnerships
A Bear Called Paddington was first published in the UK in 1958. The Copyrights Group, the licensing arm of media firm Vivendi, which owns the IP, is using the occasion of Paddington’s 60th anniversary to build awareness of the brand globally. “We are well under way to becoming one of the major brands in entertainment engaging fans of all ages thanks to our long term content development and our great partnerships,” said Sophie Kopaczynski, senior vice president of franchise management at Viviendi.
Plans include a range of commemorative partnerships around the world, alongside new content development, fresh merchandising and live experiences. Limited edition and collectable products will be unveiled alongside new and refreshed classic lines. Special events and exhibitions will be rolled out, including the first Paddington ice show in Europa Park in Germany. Europa Park also has a dedicated Paddington Bear area, shop and VR ride.
In February a Japanese exhibition launched, which hosts over 300 pieces of original Paddington artwork. The Eric Carle Museum in Massachusetts also has a special Paddington exhibition running. StudioCanal (owned by Vivendi) is set to launch Paddington’s first Cine-Concert in London this autumn – it will feature the first Paddington film accompanied by a live orchestra.