Tokyo Disney Resort expects to further increase ticket prices and permanently reduce capacity as ‘experience value increases’

In two separate interviews with Japanese newspapers this week, Oriental Land Company President Kenji Yoshida revealed a closer look at the roadmap for Tokyo Disney Resort’s future in a post-pandemic world.

The first interview, with Nikkei Business Journal, reveals that the Oriental Land Company expects to raise ticket prices even higher than they currently are. Currently, tickets cost between ¥7,900 and ¥9,400 per day depending on expected crowds, which took effect in October 2021. This was the third ticket price hike in 18 months, with tickets having already increased by almost 30% compared to before the pandemic.

According to Nikkei, the low price of ¥7,900 per day will be maintained, with the busiest days expected to increase starting next year with the opening of Fantasy Springs at Tokyo DisneySea, although exact figures have not yet been announced. not been published. Tickets are already relatively expensive compared to average Japanese salaries, but Yoshida thinks there is still room for raises in Japan. He also confirmed the eventual return of seasonal events, saying “We will maintain the high frequency of visits with various events that we will organize throughout the year. And in order not to reduce the number of visitors, we intend to maintain the same minimum price.

Before the pandemic, congestion was reduced by expanding parks and extending operating hours. Even so, long waits at attractions were the norm on weekends and holidays before the coronavirus pandemic. In response, Yoshida said, “In consideration of both our Cast Members and our guests, we believe it is time to move to a more sustainable method of operation. Reducing the number of guests by shortening opening hours and limiting admission led to both increased spending per guest and increased customer satisfaction.

Yoshida said to the Asahi Shimbun “It is therefore important to lower capacity limits to support the long-term growth of our fleets. With shorter wait times, guests can ride more of their favorite attractions, plus more time to dine and shop at the parks. Additionally, we can assign and schedule our Cast Members more efficiently. »

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As for the still-missing annual passport program, Yoshida declined to give an answer other than “we still don’t know whether to bring it back or not.” Tokyo Disney Resort is the only major theme park on Earth without an annual pass system, having canceled it in October 2020. Yoshida hinted to Asahi the idea of ​​a weekday-only annual pass, with the new Reduced capacity which should make it difficult for customers with a Pass, if returning, to enter on weekends and holidays. “The chance of having a passport only on weekdays is certainly not zero. There is still room to consider the way forward regarding the annual passport program.

Earlier this year, the park sold a “multi-visit pass” that allowed patrons to enter a lottery for entry 90 minutes after the park opened two weekdays per month. Guests could choose up to four days per month that they could visit 30 days before, two of which were chosen at random. Park skipping was not available.

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Starting this year, the Oriental Land Company aims for 25 million guests to visit Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea in fiscal 2024, and spend per guest at ¥14,000 ($101.68), or a reduction of around 20% from the peak attendance of 32.5 million in FY2018.

OLC also plans to shift its focus from part-time Cast Members to full-time Cast Members to more easily respond to changes in demand. While virtually all Cast Members on stage since 1983 had been part-timers who could only be part of one department (attractions, merchandise, catering, etc.) without ever having the opportunity to change, the new class of full-time workers officially called Theme Park Operation Employees can work full-time, are paid more, and can choose and change departments according to their preferences.

At its peak, the Oriental Land Company employed around 25,000 Cast Members and employees, but those levels have now fallen to around 18,000. Although there are plans to continue to promote in-house workers from part-time to full-time and to increase headcount, the company does not expect to reach these peak levels again.

In order to achieve what President Yoshida calls “sustainable growth,” investments in park improvements will continue to be vital. Regarding new areas after Fantasy Springs, he said, “We still have unused land and we plan to develop everything.”

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Herman C. Harkins