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Oriental Land mulls new Tokyo Disney Resort 'sky' theme park

This Nov. 9, 2009 file photo, shows Mickey and Minnie Mouse skating together at Tokyo Disneyland, in Urayasu, Chiba Prefecture. (Mainichi)

URAYASU, Chiba -- The operator of Tokyo Disney Resort (TDR) is entertaining the idea of creating a third amusement park centered around a "sky" theme, it has emerged.

    Oriental Land Co., which oversees the famous Disney resort here, is thinking of adding to its existing land- and sea-based theme parks by creating attractions and areas relating to sky and space.

    With potential names such as "DisneySky" already being put forward, Oriental Land is aiming to start construction in fiscal 2019, before opening the park three years later in fiscal 2022.

    Disney amusement parks themed on "land" already exist in countries such as the United States, France and China, aside from Japan. However, Japan is the only country in the world to have a sea-based Disney theme park.

    According to a source close to Oriental Land, the firm "wants to make a 'one of a kind' theme park, similar to Tokyo DisneySea," and is therefore working toward creating the first sky-related Disney resort in the world. The company is considering the introduction of attractions that would provide simulations of flying in a jet plane or through space.

    In addition, Oriental Land is also thinking of making the park "elderly friendly" by installing moving walkways, and designing the park in such a way that it can be enjoyed without having to walk too far.

    With TDR attracting roughly 30 million visitors each year, Oriental Land is faced with the challenge of how to ease crowding. With this in mind, there are plans to replace the current paper admission ticket system with an electronic verification system based on smartphones to improve the flow of people in and out of the park.

    Moreover, Oriental Land is thinking of placing sensors in the park that can analyze the movement of visitors, as well as people's use of attractions, in order to work on crowd dispersal during the busiest times.

    Currently, the company is looking into the proposal in detail, with the aim of making an announcement about the new park in late April or early May. It is also planning to convert the current parking lot into a multi-story one, and build the new theme park on vacant parts of the Urayasu site.

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