The operator of the Tokyo Disney Resort has revealed that it hopes to reopen its theme parks during April, having been forced to shut them due to the impact of a devastating earthquake on north-east Japan.
The Oriental Land Company is yet to confirm a specific date for a return to operations at Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea, although it has told Nikkei that the parks are unlikely to open before April 6. As the Urayasu area in which the resort is located is curently subject to rolling power blackouts, the parks' opening hours may be adjusted or they may only be opened one at a time.
An official for company said of the situation: "It will be difficult (to reopen) because you do not know whether rolling blackouts will be carried out until just before (they happen)." The blackouts are being managed by Tokyo Electric Power Co., the same company that is currently struggling to contain a partial meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
According to the Nikkei report, the outer walls of a "large rollercoaster" were partially damaged by the earthquake on March 11. It is not clear which rollercoaster was affected, although Space Mountain at Tokyo Disneyland is the largest enclosed coaster at the resort. Repairs are set to be completed before the parks reopen.
While Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea were only lightly damaged by the earthquake due to protection from 15-meter deep reinforced foundations, the resort's car park did suffer from liquefaction (an effect which causes ground to behave like quicksand). Local authorities are now said to be considering reinforcing the surrounding area, all of which is built on reclaimed land.
Around 20,000 guests spent the night at Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea on March 11 after the earthquake caused massive disruption to public transport systems. No injuries were reported, with staff providing supplies for those who needed to stay overnight. This included food, water, blankets, heaters and even free merchandise to help entertain and calm frightened children.