If the vintage roots of Space Mountain, high-flying joy of Astro Orbitor, and retro futurism of rides like the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover are among the highlights of your trips to Disney World or Disneyland, Japan may very well be the next place you should visit.
News broke over the weekend on TDRExplorer with details of a brand new park exclusive to Tokyo Disney Resort that may be on its way. According to Japanese newspaper Mainichi Shimbun, plans are being finalized for a space and flight-inspired theme park called Tokyo DisneySky that could possibly open within the next four years.
Tokyo Disney Resort is currently home to two parks: Tokyo Disneyland, which is derived from the design of Disneyland Park in California, and Tokyo DisneySea, a standalone location with attractions, lands, and entertainment that appear nowhere else. Similar to Tokyo DisneySea’s aquatic inspiration, which features lands within a harbor, port, island, and mermaid lagoon, the supposed Tokyo DisneySky would touch on outer space, aerodynamic flight, and futuristic travel — and be the only one of its kind in the world.
Moving walkways would transport guests from place to place — likely as a riff on Disney’s Omnimover-style boarding or the PeopleMover ride system — and while no specific attractions have yet been announced, a jet plane simulator is said to be part of it. With an emphasis on technology, it would also be the first park without paper ticketing of any kind; guests would use a smartphone app to enter.
Tokyo Disney Resort is rumored to be repurposing a parking lot for the project, and with its footprint being significantly smaller than Tokyo’s two others, theme park enthusiasts are speculating one thing will set this expansion apart from all other Disney parks: they’ll build upwards. Multi-story buildings, ride atop rides, vertical attractions — it could all fit perfectly within the horizon-gazing theme. It’s possible, too, that Tokyo DisneySky could serve as an overseas home to an additional location of a Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge themed land, which is set on a remote planetary outpost, or possibly Pandora: The World of Avatar, which opened at Walt Disney World last Spring. Both fit the theme, and it’s not as though it hasn’t been brought up before; Walt Disney Company Chairman and CEO Bob Iger teased the idea of additional Avatar expansions back in September.
Mainichi Shimbun claims an announcement will come this spring followed by the project breaking ground next year, but Oriental Land Company, which owns Tokyo’s two Disney parks — it is the sole resort Disney does not operate itself — has not confirmed the rumors, which began spreading last November, and issued the following statement:
“On Feb. 4, 2018, there were articles on Tokyo Disney Resort expansion, etc. posted by the media, however, none of the contents were announced by our company. Following our release on April 27, 2016 named ‘TDL/TDS Future Development Plans,’ we are considering various development strategies for 2021 and after to further enhance values of TDR as a whole.”
The latest revelations can be somewhat substantiated by Tokyo Disney Resort’s decade-long $4.5-billion investment and confirmed multi-year expansion across both parks. Soarin’, the popular ride at Epcot and Disney California Adventure parks, will soon make its way to Tokyo DisneySea, while a "Beauty and The Beast"-themed land and innovative ride, “Big Hero 6” attraction, and new entertainment and meet-and-greet locations will open at Tokyo Disneyland through 2020. A planned "Frozen"-themed port at Tokyo DisneySea was initially confirmed, but has not appeared in press materials following its announcement.
Whether or not you can make it to Tokyo for the possibly forthcoming park, there’s thankfully something slightly similar arriving at Disney World soon. Epcot is undergoing work to create an outer space-themed restaurant within its Mission:SPACE attraction featuring state-of-the-art technology that’ll make it look like you’re actually gazing out across the cosmos. It may not be a true international vacation, but it will definitely be an intergalactic experience.
Note: This article has been updated with the complete statement from Oriental Land Company.