Oriental Land plans $2.3 billion expansion for Tokyo DisneySea

Bloomberg, Kyodo

The operator of Tokyo DisneySea is investing ¥250 billion ($2.3 billion) in its biggest expansion in almost two decades as Walt Disney Co. continues to upgrade its theme parks in Asia.

Oriental Land Co., which is licensed to operate the Tokyo resort, will expand the DisneySea park to include a hotel and new areas based on movies such as “Frozen” and “Peter Pan,” according to a statement Thursday.

The investment is in addition to a previously announced upgrade to DisneySea and the Disneyland park budgeted at about ¥100 billion. Oriental Land said it extended its license with Disney for an additional 30 years, to 2076.

The new areas are set to open by mid-2022 and will add ¥50 billion in annual revenue, according to Kyoichiro Uenishi, chief operating officer of Oriental Land. Uenishi said it may consider raising ticket prices if there is a chance. He declined to give a specific target on attendance for the new attractions.

Tokyo Disneyland opened in April 1983, becoming the first Disney park built outside the U.S., while the adjoining DisneySea opened 18 years later.

Tokyo DisneySea and adjacent Tokyo Disneyland, both in Urayasu, just east of Tokyo, had attracted a combined 720 million customers as of the end of March.

The theme park operator has been making efforts to increase visitors from abroad and older people, to boost sagging ticket sales amid a falling birthrate and competition from Osaka’s Universal Studios Japan and Disney parks in Shanghai and Hong Kong.

Disney is continuing to expand its parks in Asia. Earlier this year, it opened the first expansion, Toy Story Land, to its two-year-old Shanghai resort, and is in the middle of a $1.4 billion upgrade of its Hong Kong resort, which will include “Frozen” and Marvel-themed lands.