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OpEd: Disney’s Next Resort Should be like Tokyo Disney

Recently, we shared the news that wine tycoon Warren Randall wants to create a 7th Disneyland in Southern Australia, and now might be the right time to get the project done the Tokyo Disney way.

In fact, regardless of who wants it and where it will be, if another Disney Theme Park Resort is built in the near future, the responsibility of paying for and maintaining the true “Disney Standard” of quality cannot be trusted with Disney itself. It will need to be placed on a third party as it was for Takahashi-san and the folks who built Disney’s Japanese Resort.

Mickey Tokyo

Credit: Tokyo Disney Resort

A new Disney Theme Park or entirely new Theme Park Resort has been a topic of discussion among Disney Fanatics, with a significant amount of wishes spent on an announcement on the subject being shared during the 2022 D23 Expo.

disney parks panel d23

Personally, I don’t think that a 7th Castle Park is out of the question. But the state of The Walt Disney Company’s leadership leads me to believe that it will not be something they spearhead. While the Chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products, Josh D’Amaro, let Walt Disney Imagineering fill the minds of Disney Fans with wonder over “Blue Sky” projects of Theme Park expansions, CEO Bob Chapek and CFO Christine McCarthy are focused on expanding profits and the digital realm. Most of the talk recently has been on increasing the price of Disney Vacations, siphoning as much ad revenue as possible from Disney+, live sports holdings with ESPN, ESPN+, and ABC, and–most recently–sports betting.

Even though several Parks are celebrating milestone anniversaries and major plans announced before Chapek’s ascension to CEO are still crawling along, it is clear that Theme Parks are once again no longer the primary focus of The Walt Disney Company. But Disney history shows us that new Parks are still possible in these times as long as someone else is willing to pick up the tab!

Tokyo Disney – If You Pay for It, They Will Come

Tokyo Disney

Credit: Disney

Related: You Will Now Need a Visa to Visit This Disney Park

Tokyo Disney Resort is Disney’s oldest overseas Resort and will soon begin its 40th Anniversary Celebration. But The Walt Disney Company has no part in the ownership or operation of the Resort and its Theme Parks Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea.

Under the leadership of its President at the time, Masatomo Takahashi, the Oriental Land Company (OLC) agreed to an insane partnership with The Walt Disney Company and its leader, Chairman and President E. Cardon Walker. Walker and his leadership team were already neck-deep into building the EPCOT expansion at Walt Disney World Resort and had no interest in sinking more money into another Park Project with the Japanese. As the story goes, Walker offered the Japanese an option that was essentially the biggest licensing deal ever that only put money into the Disney coughers.

Tokyo Disneyland

Credit: Oriental Land Company

OLC covered all construction costs, paid Disney for licensing, and sent would-be Cast Members to Disneyland in California to learn how to do things “The Disney Way.”

Tokyo Disneyland opened on April 15, 1983, in Chiba Prefecture, just outside the nation’s capital city. OLC states the total cost was nearly 180 Billion Yen–nearly $800 million USD in 1983, which, factoring in inflation, would be over $2 billion at the time of this article’s publication. Takahashi-san put priority on the Park’s quality and authenticity, famously saying, “Don’t compromise. Create the real thing.”

Space Mountain, Tokyo Disneyland

Credit: Disney

Related: Tokyo Disney Announces MASSIVE Revamp of Space Mountain

Over the past 40 years, Tokyo Disney Resort has expanded to include a second Park, Tokyo DisneySea, five Resort hotels, and the only Disney Resort monorail system outside of Disneyland and Walt Disney World. Armed only with the utilization of Walt Disney Imagineering and The Walt Disney Company’s blessing and licensing, Tokyo Disney Resort is claimed by many Disney Fanatics to be the best of all six Disney Resorts, with Tokyo DisneySea standing as the crown jewel of all the world’s Disney Theme Parks, and only more ambitious, magical plans lie on the horizon.

Australia’s Disneyland Should Follow Tokyo’s Example

Disney Australia

If Mr. Randall is serious about bringing a Disneyland Resort to Southern Australia, then he should follow Takahashi-san’s approach. He should not rely on Disney to take the lead. He and his “consortium” should approach the Mouse House with a backing that is able to cover all costs involved, from construction and contracting Walt Disney Imagineering to the heavily one-sided licensing agreements.

40 years of providing a top-quality experience have shown that the Tokyo Disney experiment can work. And with a Disney leadership team that seems incredibly desperate to utilize whatever it can to increase its cash flow, the opportunity to propose a second agreement has never seemed better. Not only will this be the chance to essentially get paid to build a new Castle Park, but it will also provide Fans who both live in and are ready to visit that corner of the world and become less and less likely to visit the CCP-dominated realms of Shanghai and now Hong Kong another Disney destination. “Bob Paycheck” would be an idiot to say no.

Disney Cruise Line Australia

Credit: Disney (left); Planetware.com (right)

Related: Disney Cruise Line Confirms Australia Cruises

As we get closer to the kick-off of Disney Cruise Line’s expansion to Australia and New Zealand, I really hope that Mr. Randall’s comments were not just for a momentary publicity stunt and that a serious plan for that 7th Disney Park and the first Disney Resort south of the equator can become a reality.

We at Disney Fanatic will be following this and other Disney Parks stories, and we will update our readers as more developments come to light.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s and may not reflect the sentiments of Disney Fanatic as a whole.

About T.K. Bosacki

TK is a writer and editor based in Tampa, FL with a passion for all things Disney, and adventure.