Asia News: MAMA Moves To Japan; Tokyo Disney Reveals Plans; Fuji Rock Livestream; Arrest In Hong Kong Disney Scam


Disney Reveals Post-Pandemic Plans

Kenji Yoshida, the president of Oriental Land Company, which operates the two Disney theme parks in Tokyo, Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea, gave interviews to Japanese media recently and revealed post-pandemic plans for the resort.

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TRAGIC KINGDOMS: Disney properties in Asia are in the spotlight this week, with ticket prices rising at Tokyo Disneyland, shown here, and the arrest of an alleged Hong Kong Disneyland park ticket scammer. (Photo by Junko Kimura/Getty Images)

In one interview, Yoshida said that Oriental Land plans to raise ticket prices. Currently, day tickets are 7,900 yen ($57) and 9,400 yen ($68). These prices have been in effect since October of last year and were the third price hike in a span of 18 months, meaning that prices are already 30% higher than they were before the pandemic started. Yoshida said that the lower price will be maintained, but starting next year the higher price will be raised “for busier days” after the new Fantasy Springs attraction opens at DisneySea.

Another change, obviously related, will be in limiting attendance numbers. Prior to the pandemic, congestion was eased by expanding the park or extending operating hours, but long lines at certain attractions have persisted. Consequently, Oriental Land has decided it is time to “change to a more sustainable operation method.” During the pandemic, the parks limited the number of guests and shortened hours of operation and the result was “both higher per-guest spending and [higher] guest satisfaction.”

In a different interview, Yoshida said the changes were important in order to “support long-term growth of our parks.” The changes will not only add to customer satisfaction, but will be easier on the work schedules for cast members.

The main question, however, is when Oriental Land will reinstate the Annual Passport program. Yoshida said that a decision hasn’t been made yet on whether it will return. Tokyo Disney Resort is the only Disney complex in the world that does not currently offer an annual pass system after canceling it in October 2020.

Fuji Rock To Be Livestreamed

Fuji Rock Festival, which takes place July 29-31 at the Naeba Ski Resort in Niigata, Japan, announced on July 15 that artist performances from four of the main stages will be livestreamed on the festival’s YouTube channel during the festival.

The announcement is careful to note that “not all artists will be streamed live” and that some concerts will only be shown in part.

The livestreams, however, will be continuous over the three days of the festival, though only those with access to YouTube Premium will be able to watch them without advertising.

The streaming schedule will be announced soon.


Arrest In Disney Ticket Scam

South China Morning Post reports that police arrested a 34-year-old woman for cheating 22 people out of approximately HK$130,000 ($16,560) “under the pretense of offering discounted tickets to Hong Kong Disneyland resort.” The police believe that the number of victims could eventually reach into the hundreds.

The suspect reportedly pretended to be a relative of an unnamed resort executive and then convinced potential patrons to buy discount tickets to “a theme park,” which the Post later learned was Hong Kong Disneyland, located on Lantau Island. A senior inspector told the newspaper that scammers usually “conduct a few successful transactions with victims to win their trust” before increasing the stakes for higher amounts of money for later transactions. The police have told the public to be extra careful when buying tickets online.

The woman in question joined an online forum in May and June offering annual passes and hotel packages for sale at 15% to 20% below normal prices. At first, the transactions were on the up and up, thus establishing trust with her customers. However, in subsequent transactions she demanded customers wire her the payments through a different system before disappearing with the cash. The police learned that the woman was not related to anyone in the resort industry and that she worked alone. Police are asking anyone else who think they may have been a victim of the scam to come forward.