Home Food & Travel Frozen, Nintendo & Totoro: What the Next Few Years Has in Store for Japanese Theme Parks

Frozen, Nintendo & Totoro: What the Next Few Years Has in Store for Japanese Theme Parks

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Which one are you looking forward to the most?

Japan is about to get even more fun with several new theme parks planned to open over the next four years. Already a playground for kids and kids-at-heart, things are about to get even better with expansions planned for two of the country’s most popular theme parks and an entirely new offering by one of the most famous animations studios in Japan. Keep on reading if you’d like to find out more!

Tokyo Disney

DisneySea is working on its biggest expansion ever

Both Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea will soon be getting bigger, with Disneyland set to get a highly-anticipated new attraction and DisneySea set to get a whole new land featuring four new areas in 2022.

DisneySea has announced that it will undertake its largest ever expansion, with four new areas based on new and old favorites. Tokyo DisneySea currently has seven themed ports-of-call (themed lands): the Lost River Delta, Arabian Coast, Mermaid Lagoon, Mysterious Island, Mediterranean Harbor, American Waterfront, and Port Discovery. The new, eighth port-of-call will be called Magical Springs, and feature four enchanting new areas as well as a deluxe new hotel.

Parents may need to brace themselves for a re-emergence of Frozen mania, as the park plans to bring Elsa and Anna’s village of Arendelle to life. A boat ride to the new land will take visitors to the new land, complete with the chance to dine inside the famous castle and enjoy plenty of Frozen-themed attractions. Yes, we expect that the hit song Let it Go will be a major part of things, so you should definitely prepare yourself for the singalongs!

Some more classic Disney hits will also feature in the expansion. Family favorite Peter Pan will be the basis for not one, but two new attractions. Visitors will be able to take on the swash bucklin’ villain Captain Hook and fly over Neverland in a race to save Wendy’s brother, John. Then there will be the chance to join everyone’s favorite pixie-with-attitude, Tinkerbell, in her home of Pixie Hollow.

The fourth new attraction will entice guests deep into the forest of Tangled with a recreation of Rapunzel’s tower. From there, visitors can ride gondolas on a tour of the “best day ever,” which will finish with an amazing lantern festival. If the excitement makes you hungry, then don’t worry because there will also be a brand new restaurant inspired by the movie’s rough-around-the-edges pub, the Snuggly Duckling.

We’ve also been patiently waiting since 2016 for Disneyland to launch their new Beauty and the Beast-themed attraction, which is scheduled to open in the park’s Fantasyland area in 2020. Following the success of the live action remake starring Emma Watson, aka Hermione Granger, the new ride will see visitors dance through a themed Beauty and the Beast setting.

A Big Hero 6-themed attraction is also set to open by sometime in 2020 in Tokyo Disneyland’s Tomorrowland. This new attraction will, of course, bring to life Beymax and the other popular characters of this incredibly popular film, which started its life as a Marvel comic.

Along with all these expansions and new attractions, a new 475-room hotel is also planned. The new hotel, which will be located in the new Magical Springs area at DesneySea, will also feature two new restaurants and a gift shop.

Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios Japan

It’s not just Disney planning to get even more fun. Universal Studios Japan in Osaka is planning a brand new “Super Nintendo World,” and we’re expecting to see that open its doors in 2020 (see the official trailer above).

There has been little news on exactly what the new Nintendo area will consist of, but it’s expected to feature attractions, rides and shops based on some of Nintendo’s most beloved franchises, including The Legend of Zelda, Donkey Kong, Mario Kart, and, of course, the Super Mario.

Despite the scarcity of information about the park it is known that guests will be able to experience what it’s like to race around with Mario and his friends in a high-tech ride based on the popular Mario Kart series of games.

All signs seem to indicate that construction is going smoothly and Super Nintendo World will open in time for the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics. No doubt this will be an extremely popular destination for tourists visiting Japan during this time.

It has also been revealed that similar Super Nintendo Worlds will be opening in Universal Studios Hollywood and in Orlando in the early 2020s.

Ghibli Park

Layout for Studio Ghibli’s first ever theme park

Finally, an entirely new theme park offering is also on its way, adding one more “must visit” destination for fun loving families and adults. The eternally popular Studio Ghibli announced in 2017 that it would be opening its first ever theme park.

The areas of the Studio Ghibli theme park

Plans of the park, which is set to be located a bit east of the city of Nagoya in Nagakute City, show that it will spread over a massive 200 hectares of land, and feature five different themed areas based on some of Studio Ghibli’s most popular films.

Seishun no Oka Area

The first zone, called the Seishun no Oka Area (Youth Hill Area), will draw inspiration from the films Howl’s Moving Castle (Hauru no Ugoku Shiro) and A Whisper of the Heart (Mimi o Sumaseba). Plans show a massive, steam-punk inspired elevator that will whisk guests off to a viewing platform and down into the park itself. Not far from here there will be a full-sized replica of the Chikyuya antique shop that features in A Whisper of the Heart.

Ghibli Dai Sōko Area

Western and Japanese architecture will influence the second zone, the Ghibli Dai Sōko Area (Ghibli Large Warehouse Area), which will have many fun cafes, shops and restaurants as well as a playing area and video room.

Dondoko Mori Area

The third zone, called the Dondoko Mori Area (Dondoko Forest Area), will allow guests to wander around a full-size replica of Mei and Satsuki’s home from My Neighbor Totoro (Tonari no Totoro).

Mononoke Sato Area

 Guests can then be transported to rural Japan in the fourth mystical zone, Mononoke Sato Area (Mononoke Village Area). Based on the beloved movie Princess Mononoke (Mononoke-Hime), the zone will be inspired by settlements from the film, including Ashitaka’s Emishi tribe and Tatara’s Irontown.

Majo no Tani Area

The final zone is the intriguing Majo no Tani Area (Witches’ Valley Area), which will be styled after northern European buildings. It’s expected that the wasteland from Howl’s Moving Castle will be part of the setting, while the Okino residence from Kiki’s Delivery Service (Majo no Takkyūbin) will also feature in the zone.

The park’s construction is expected to begin in 2020, with the first three worlds opening in 2022, and the final two due for completion in 2023. Fans of the studio’s movies are no doubt eagerly waiting for these dates!

In Closing

As you can see, the next four years are due to be very exciting for Japan, with so many fun-filled new projects on the horizon. With so many new things to see and do, you might just need to add on a couple of days to your stay in Japan!

Featured image: Japankyo
Disney image: Tokyo Disney Resort
Ghibli images: Aichi Prefectural Government

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