Tokyo Disneyland, or TDL to many Japanese, is celebrating its 30th year anniversary today with a commemorative ceremony featuring performances from Disney’s many signature characters including Mickey and Minnie Mouse and Donald Duck. The entire year, until March 20, 2014 will also be declared “The Happiness Year” with the revival of the daily daytime parade of characters plus extravagant floats that will go around the park.
Oriental Land Co., which operates Tokyo Disneyland, said that they are investing $1.5 billion to TDL and its neighbor, Tokyo Disney Sea, between 2011 and 2020 to bring in more people to the park, which already had a record-topping 27.5 million visitors last year alone. While other older theme parks are struggling to just break even, TDL brought in 45% of theme park sales in 2010 according to a government report. TDL is seen as the most creative and most aggressively marketed among all the Disneylands in the world, with some even saying it is better than the original one in Anaheim, California. The fact that 80% of its visitors each year have been there before and returned to enjoy the park again is a testament to TDL’s drawing power. It is also famous for maintaining a reputation for cleanliness, something that is very uncommon for amusement parks, for obvious reasons.
A little known fact is that Tokyo Disneyland is independent from the global Disneyland franchise and is run by an Oriental Land team that was trained by “imagineers” from the original Disneyland on how to come up with “Disney Magic”. But since then, it has been all Japan, and maybe that’s why it stands out from the other Disneylands. And customers are also willing to spend almost a fortune when in that “magical place”. A TDL customer spends an average of $12,700 per visit, excluding souvenirs and take-homes. The more than 500 million visitors, Japanese and foreigners, that have trooped to TDL for the past 30 years have (mostly) gone home happy and satisfied customers, with most coming back for more.