Disney Parks Prep for Fake Deadly Earthquake Following Disaster

in Disney Parks

Tokyo Disneyland its a small world

Credit: Katie Chapman

If you are a Disney fan, you have probably either been to Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea, you have watched countless hours of vlogs from the parks, or you’re dreaming of a visit to what some consider the most amazing Disney Parks in the world.

Tokyo Disney Resort's Cinderella Castle amidst a blue sky during the hot, summer months
Credit: Tokyo Disney Resort

Because Disney does not actually own the resort, and Oriental Land Co. does, some things are quite different, and the detail that has been placed in Tokyo Disneyland Resort is jaw-droppingly stunning. That being said, as we mentioned, because the resort is not owned by Disney (although the theme parks are considered Disney Parks and are licensed by Disney), Tokyo Disney Resort has the ability to change some of its practices on its own accord.

Tokyo Disneyland, is comprised of Adventureland, Fantasyland, Tomorrowland, and Toontown, similar to Disneyland Park in California. Tokyo DisneySea also includes areas like Mermaid Lagoon and Arabian Coast. as well as a shopping area, Ikspiari, and multiple Disney Resorts like Tokyo Disney Celebration Hotel, Tokyo Disneyland Hotel, and Tokyo DisneySea, and Hotel MiraCosta. The resort has also recently welcomes Toy Story Hotel.

Exterior of Tokyo Disneyland Hotel
Credit: Tokyo Disney Resort

It seems that no matter what Disney park we look at around the globe, however, has a natural disaster challenge that must be faced.

In Florida, for example, one thing that is unfortunate about the state is that it is prone to hurricanes. When guests visit Disney World in the summer, especially from July to September, it will likely rain every day, which is not a huge deal as the storms in Florida leave as quickly as they appear. However, if you are in Disney World during a hurricane, the weather may not be what you expected for a theme park day.

NBC2 News weather report on hurricane Idalia, heading towards Florida
Credit: NBC2 News

Cinderella Castle as a whole was also constructed to be able to withstand any hurricane. The Magic Kingdom centerpiece is made up of gypsum, plaster, and fiberglass, and contrary to what some may think, nothing needs to ever be removed from the castle during a hurricane, not even the spires! This is something we have seen proven with hurricane Dorian, hurricane Irma, hurricane Matthew, and many other tropical storms.

Recently, hurricane Idalia was the latest threat, but luckily was not an issue for the theme park. 

In California, the wildfires seemingly pose the biggest threat at times, but most recently, it was a huricane that shut down Disneyland and Disney California Adventure early. 

National Weather Service computer models showing Hurricane Hilary's updated path as it heads towards Disneyland
Credit: National Weather Service

In Japan, we have seen Typhoons close theme parks such as the recent one which shut down Universal Studios Japan. That being said, that theme park is located in Osaka, which is a multi-hour bullet train from Tokyo, and on the other side of the country so its affect on Tokyo Disney Resort was non-existent.

100 years ago, the Great Kanto Earthquake left the city in ruins.

The 7.9-magnitude quake killed 105,000 people with the city, once largely made up of wooden houses, needing to be extensively rebuilt.

A century later, Tokyo now boasts a skyline of glass and steel skyscrapers designed with earthquakes in mind.

Baymax ride at Tokyo Disneyland
Credit: Tokyo Disneyland

According to the Economist, “Every year on September 1st, Japan’s ministers trek by foot to the prime minister’s office to take part in a crisis simulation. Across the country, local officials and schoolchildren drill for disasters.”

The publication continued, “This year’s centenary of the disaster has occasioned much commemoration—and angst. What will happen when the next Big One hits? Seismologists cannot predict earthquakes, but their statistical models, which are based on past patterns, can estimate the likelihood of one. The city government’s experts reckon there is a 70% chance of a magnitude 7 or higher quake hitting the capital within the next 30 years. Far fewer people will probably die than during the disaster in 1923, thanks to better technology and planning: the worst case foresees some 6,000 deaths in the city.”

Tokyo Disneyland its a small world
Credit: Katie Chapman

Because of this, Japan continuously has “dress rehearsals” to play out and prepare for what would happen if an earthquake hit.

Tokyo Disney Resort’s page is also compliant to these standards, and the theme park has also now developed a plan incase an earthqake did hit.

Their site notes, “safety is our top priority throughout all Park operations and in addition to the initiatives detailed in the preceding pages, we take an extensive range of safety measures in security, first-aid and disaster response with the aim of providing our Guests with safe and enjoyable experiences.

Tokyo DisneySea Mysterious Island
Credit: Katie Chapman

It continues, “We have a security system in place outside our Theme Parks, including patrols in the vicinity of our hotels and JR Maihama Station.
We also issue manuals that instruct employees on how to take prompt actions in the event of an earthquake or other emergency. Employees are also provided with rigorous training including emergency drills at each facility.”

Tokyo Disney Resort Hurricanes

The most significant earthquake to hit Tokyo Disney Resort was the 2011 9.1 Tōhoku earthquake. While Tokyo was hit nowhere near as bad as other areas of Japan, both Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea were forced to cease operations mid-day. Its parking areas were flooded by liquefaction, and at least 20,000 of its 69,000 visitors were forced to spend the night inside the Parks due to the closure of Tokyo’s public transportation.

This past May, another earthquake hit.

Guests ride on logs through water on Splash Mountain
Credit: Tokyo Disney

Tokyo Disney is more than prepared for earthquakes. Its Cast Members are routinely trained in disaster response, and the Resort reportedly keeps an emergency food stockpile that can feed 50,000 Guests for up to three days.While the earthquake had a magnitude of 6.2, reports suggest that it only registered at an intensity of three in Tokyo. No tsunami warning was issued.

That being said, Guests at Disneyland Tokyo were left crouching on the pavements of the theme park and cowering in the attraction’s gift shop. This all came less than a month after over 20 people were injured and one killed during an earthquake in central Japan.

What do you think of Tokyo Disney Resort and Japan’s decision to practice protocols for non-existent hurricanes?


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