Disney’s amusement park in the Far East was the first to be opened outside of the United States. It is located at Chiba, a prosperous city in the Greater Tokyo area. The amusement park opened on the 15th April 1983 and satisfied Disney’s aim to make it a place for adults and children and to both inform and amuse.
The amusement park is owned by the Oriental Land Company and operates under a licence from Disney. The Walt Disney Company develops ideas, draws its income from the licensing agreements and oversees the amusement park.
It consists of Tokyo Disneyland, with seven themed areas, and Tokyo Disney Sea, with seven themed ports. The amusement park also has hotels and a
shopping mall. In 2007, there were 25.8 million visitors and it is obviously offering what its public wants. Staff in the amusement park only speak Japanese and therein lies a problem as more tourists from neighbouring countries come to visit. Those who come from China, Thailand and English speaking countries find their enjoyment compromised by their inability to fully experience what the amusement park has to offer.
Another problem which the amusement park will have to face is that of reconciling the age profile of its visitors with the increasing average age of the Japanese population. Of the 25.8 million visitors mentioned above, 96% were from Japan itself and 84% were under 39 years of age. It is
estimated that by 2055, 40% of Japan’s population will be over 65. That seems a long way ahead, but the two problems combined would indicate that
the amusement park will have to keep in mind that foreign tourists could be the answer to an ageing population in Japan. The amusement park has already had the foresight to introduce attractions, such as horticultural shows, which have an appeal to their older visitors.
Chiba, as a result of the nearby Kuroshio current, is blessed with a milder climate than Tokyo and this will continue to be an advantage for the amusement park. Having recently celebrated its 25th anniversary, there is every likelihood that the amusement park will adapt to changing circumstances and continue to flourish by being what Walt Disney wanted it to be – "a happy place".
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