Tokyo Disney to Acquire Additional Land for Possible Expansion

With the intent of its use to be determined at a later date, the Oriental Land Company (OLC)  announced its plans to acquire approximately 5.8 acres of neighboring land from the Dai-ichi Life Insurance Company at an approximate cost of $89 million US. The land is the former site of the Tokyo Bay NK Hall and contains ‘ancillary facilities’ according to the notice. Dai-ichi Life Insurance Company is a major shareholder of OLC and corporate sponsor of the Tokyo Disney Resort.

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PHOTOS: ‘Happiness Is Here’ Parade from Tokyo Disneyland

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This Monday, April 15, the Tokyo Disney Resort will officially kick off its year-long celebration of its 30th anniversary. One of the exciting new elements joining the line-up is a brand new parade titled ‘Happiness is Here,’ with massive and dynamic floats designed by Kevin Kidney and Jody Daily. Although the parade doesn’t officially start until Monday, Tokyo Disneyland has been offering a soft opening to guests, inviting them to preview things to come.

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Disney D23 Announces First International Expo in Japan, October 12 – 14

The Walt Disney Company Japan announced today that it will stage the first-ever D23 Expo Japan, a special event for Disney fans created by D23: The Official Disney Fan Club. D23 Expo Japan, the first Expo to be held outside the U.S., will feature an array of engaging presentations, hosted by senior Disney creative executives, showcasing what’s on the horizon from across The Walt Disney Company, including theme parks, movies, television, music, and interactive gaming. Fans will enjoy unique experiences; have the opportunity to purchase one-of-a-kind merchandise and collectibles; meet many of their favorite Disney characters; and delight in countless other surprises. D23 Expo Japan will take place October 12–14, 2013, at the Tokyo Disney Resort® in the Maihama area. Expo ticketing and program information will be announced in March.

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The Walt Disney Company Commits $2.5M+ to Japan Relief Efforts

The Walt Disney Company announced today that it will donate $2.5 million to the American Red Cross to support humanitarian aid efforts related to the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. In addition, the Company will match Disney cast member and employee donations to the Red Cross Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami Fund and Save the Children, dollar for dollar, up to $1 million total.

“Our hearts go out to the people of Japan,” said Robert A. Iger, president and CEO, The Walt Disney Company. “We send our continued thoughts of support and encouragement as this great nation begins the long road to recovery.”

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ABC News Announces Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Extended Coverage Plans

ABC News will provide viewers comprehensive coverage of the earthquake in Japan, the fifth largest earthquake in recorded history, and the aftermath of the tsunami that wiped out entire communities in Japan and reached the shores of the Hawaiian Islands.

“This Week” anchor Christiane Amanpour, “World News” weekend anchor David Muir and ABC’s Clarissa Ward are en route to Japan to report on the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami. “Nightline” co-anchor Bill Weir is currently reporting from Santa Monica, California, and Akiko Fujita, ABC News’ Tokyo-based digital journalist, has been reporting from Japan.

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Disney Vacation Club to Open International Sales Center at Tokyo Disney Resort

Artist Rendering of DVC Sales Center at the Tokyo Disney Resort © DisneyThis summer, Disney Vacation Club is scheduled to open the doors of its first ever international sales preview center at Tokyo Disney Resort. The 15,000-square-foot interactive center will give guests a peek at Disney Vacation Club resort hotels as well as other vacation offerings Disney offers. Guests can see for themselves a two-bedroom model of the vacation home accommodations that DVC members and families can expect to find on the island of O’ahu at Aulani, Disney Vacation Club Villas, Ko Olina, Hawai’i. And kids won’t be bored because Disney designed a supervised play area and interactive family discovery zone within the space. Check out this first artist rendering.

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Disney to Assume Control of All Disney Store Locations in Japan

It was announced yesterday by The Walt Disney Company Japan that Disney Japan will acquire Retail Networks Co., the company that owns and operates the country’s Disney Store retail locations, from parent company Oriental Land. Talks of the acquisition began last year and the transition is expected to be finalized as of April 1, 2010, the eighth anniversary of RNC. RNC owns and operates 54 Disney Store locations throughout the country, although it’s expected to close six of them by March.

Financial details for the transaction have not yet been announced. Oriental Land is the parent company for the Disney Parks in Japan.

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First Look: Inside the New ‘Timeless Beauty’ Exhibit at Epcot’s Japan Pavilion

A few months ago, the Tin Toy Exhibition at Epcot’s Japan pavilion gallery closed after several years without much notice to make way for a new exhibition. Expected to have opened in mid-October, reported delays in having the pieces shipped to Walt Disney World from Japan kept the gallery closed until very recently.

The Bijutsu-kan gallery now hosts a touring exhibition titled Timeless Beauty: World Heritage Sites of Japan. Featuring photographs by Kazuyoshi Miyoshi, the images pay homage to places designated as World Heritage Sites, locations around the world adopted by a 1971 United Nations international treaty to identify places that ‘belong to all people’ around the globe.

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WDW Refurb Updates: Early Openings, Water Park Closures, Resort Pools, Golf Courses and More

I’ve got a HUGE refurb update here, so bear with me.

At the Magic Kingdom, Crystal Palace will be closed from January 3 through February 13.

At Epcot, Living with the Land is now scheduled to re-open on October 4, which is several weeks earlier than the original date of November 1. Also, the new exhibit in the Japan pavilion (which was the tin toy museum) is now slated to open on October 16.

At Disney’s Animal Kingdom, the Boneyard is now scheduled to be closed October 5 through October 18

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