Pictures: ‘Great’ earthquake strikes Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea stranding thousands of guests

in Disney, Theme Parks, Tokyo Disneyland

Early this morning a “great” earthquake struck Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea theme parks with an 8.9 magnitude, stranding tens of thousands of guests at the resort. From Main Street to Tomorrowland, guests are lining the park streets, waiting further instructions on how and when they can go home.

Details of damage are limited at this point but reports suggest that the Tokyo Disneyland parking structure has been flooded, as have parts of Tokyo DisneySea. There are also reports of cracked streets throughout the parks. According to The Disney Blog, the flooding appears to be as a result of liquefaction rather than rising water levels.

More than 70,000 guests are reported to have no way of leaving, which are closed for the time being. Despite the widespread damage across Japan, no injuries have been reported at Tokyo Disneyland.

Update: According to @boy33, Disney Imagineer Steve Davison in Tokyo says the parks will be closed tomorrow while everything is checked and no damage has happened to the resort’s hotel. Davison continued noting the tsunami that has caused much of the flooding throughout Japan was just 200 miles from Tokyo Disneyland, leaving the parks relatively untouched when compared to the devastation present elsewhere in the country.

One guest at Tokyo Disneyland told an Examiner reporter, “We need the train to get back to the hotel. The train is down.” She went on to elaborate, “We are stuck for a few days” at Tokyo Disneyland. She emphasized that all guests around her are safe with plenty of food and no crisis to be found.

Update: On Twitter, @rezaikram writes that as nightfall approached and temperatures dropped into the 30s, guests were still required to stay in open areas, being given “disposable heaters, plastic bags and rain coats” to stay warm. Guests are not allowed to leave the park for their safety.

Update: Live reports from New York Post Travel Editor David Landsel (@davidlandsel) suggest a bit of levity among the crowd stuck in the park. Landsel was at Tokyo DisneySea when the earthquake hit, recounting, “More than 30,000 people in park at the time. All ended up outside on the ground waiting for shaking to stop.” He reports that shaking continues on and off as the hours go by, often prompting guests to take cover close to the ground. But despite the nearly constant concern, there is merriment to be found in the park. Landsel tweeted, “Our neighbors here in the cafe are group of schoolgirls eager to practice English. Lots of laughs.” To keep everyone’s hunger at bay, Landsel reports Disney has offered them “seaweed rice and chocolates” as well as “tea and cookies.”

Update: Reports now indicate that guests are being allowed to leave the park. It is now the middle of the night and limited transportation is being made available. The monorail system is shut down with some damage reported to its beams. Some buses are apparently running.

Update: With morning arriving at Tokyo Disneyland, cast members are now serving a warm, welcome breakfast to guests. Disney has also released an official statement, noting that their Disney Wonder cruise ship remains at sea today rather than docking at Cabo San Lucas, Mexico as scheduled. Disney’s under-construction Aulani resort in Hawaii was not affected by the earthquake or tsunami it produced.

Update: Video has now shown up on YouTube from the time the earthquake hit Tokyo Disneyland, showing a surprisingly calm crowd experiencing the tremors and hearing the news over theme park loudspeakers.

Below is a sampling of images that have come in from Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea, from guests’ cameras as well as local news reports in Tokyo:

Many ongoing reports from Tokyo Disneyland can be found on Twitter. It should be noted that some images depicting flooding are being incorrectly attributed to being taken at Disney’s parks (particularly one featuring a winding water slide, which is not at a Disney park), so all reports should be properly vetted before being believed. Details are limited at this point as to the status of Tokyo Disneyland’s many popular attractions, but it seems that at least the park guests are safe and calm while disaster recovery unfolds.

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