December 9, 2014

Taking a Look at Tokyo Disney Seas Frozen Port

In a land, far far away.

What would a Frozen port at Tokyo Disney Sea actually look like? There's been plenty of speculation on websites and from bloggers all over the world. It's all speculation, but there's a tremendous amount of interest for two main reasons: 

1- Most everything that is built at the Tokyo Disney Resort is done first class and more embellished than any counterparts built elsewhere. Imagineers are free to run wild with ideas here, and the resulting theme park additions are generally spectacular.

2- Frozen is a phenomena, a property of almost unstoppable popularity all over the world, but especially in Japan. 

Most theme park fans who follow the news in the Disney kingdom know the Walt Disney Company is selling the Stateside guest short by placing a Frozen attraction over Epcot's Norway boat ride. Particularly in this park, overlays are done on the cheap, designed to quickly draw in the visitor who needs to have their character lust satisfied. But like cheap and easy sex, the end result is hardly ever truly satisfying and burns out quickly. You do get out what you put in!

Just like Imagineer Tony Baxter looking for a way to return the submarines to Disneyland, and having to wait past Atlantis to get to Nemo, the timing just wasn't right for a wintery port of call until the hit movie came along. 

A snowy port that looks a bit like Port Discovery. 

When Tokyo Disney Sea was first imagined, a frozen port of sorts was on the short list of lands, a snowy terrain of ice to be explored. Called Glacier Bay, the port even appeared on an early map. (See the top image. Click on it to view at a very large size.) For various reasons unknown, it never made the final cut, but the same concept was also considered for Hong Kong Disneyland

Nice overhead view.

As we know, nothing it seems ever gets discarded when it comes to how Imagineering works.  This Asian icy wonderland was once planned to be home to a variety of winter activities that could be enjoyed year round: jet skiing, an ice rink, and an indoor thrilling roller coaster.  Let's be honest, here. In this new Disney world where intellectual properties and more importantly, potential for massive merchandizing, drives the company, a port without a connection would rarely be built. Even in Tokyo, they exist but are a rarity.

These three concepts above were created by Favilli Studios, one of the relatively new players in the theme park business...and the main creator of plans for the infamous Dubai Disneyland.  

Saving the Glacier Bay concept and bringing it to fruition is our lovable snowman Olaf and his creator Elsa. Not only will they drive the story focus of the new port, with two strongly marketable characters- one for girls and one for boys- it's a bankable plan for the accounting books. 

For fans of Imagineering's most innovative work, it could also be a win. Rumor has it the new port will have a major E Ticket attraction using an innovative new ride system, plenty of unique shopping, (the suits have learned from the runaway success of both Universal's Harry Potter and their own Cars Land at California Adventure), and a now requisite must-do restaurant experience a la Be Our Guest at Florida's New Fantasyland

In other words, once again, Tokyo is building what should first be found in an American park. When will the Disney suits ever really learn that top quality always brings in record profits?

(Art copyright The Walt Disney Company and Favilli Studios.)

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