Today, a devastating Earthquake shook Japan, the worst in living memory. The epicentre of the 8.9 quake hit Sendai, some 250 miles from Tokyo Disneyland did little damage due to the Japanese in the way of building, but it was the following Tsunami that swept the East coast that left the most damage.
Although Tokyo Disneyland is not directly on the coast it is in a vulnerable area. With the strength of the Tsunami reaching up to 500 miles an hour when it hit land it was only a matter of time be fore it reached the resort.
From the image above, you can see the location of the resort (indicated with an A). Both of the parks are located by the waters edge, making it a spot liable to flood if waters rise.
A closer look at the map show just how close it is to the coast.
The resort was busy today and at the time of the earthquake, 2.45pm JST, many people were enjoying attractions in both parks. As the earthquake hit, Cast Members stopped the attractions and cleared guests out of rides, shows and buildings. People congregated on the streets, sitting down for safety.
The following photos are from various sources coming out of Social Media sites.
Although the attractions remained closed after the quake, guests were told that they were unable to leave the resort. Some of the monorail beams were reported to have minor damage and the transportation links to and from the resort were severely affected. The following Tsunami resulted in the risk of the resort flooding but the park themselves seemed to have survived. Twitter reported Tokyo DisneySea was underwater but these were unsubstantiated.
Although the parks seems unaffected by water, there was damage to the roadways and parking lots around the park. Reports described the parking lots as underwater and guests being unable to get to their vehicles. Below are some images from the surrounding area of the resort.
It is now beginning to get light in Tokyo and guests have spent the night in the parks due to travel restrictions. Cast members have been looking after guests providing them with blankets, food and water. Guests have had to spend the night outside due to the risk of property damage and any risk of further, strong aftershocks. Guests are now beginning to leave the resort as Disney are able to run some more limited transport. The flooding around the resort is now reported to be subsiding. A few moments ago, Disney released this statement:
“As many of you know, an 8.9-magnitude earthquake struck near the coast of Japan on Friday and Tokyo Disney Resort was one of the many areas affected. Fortunately our team on the ground has reported only minor injuries and minimal property damage at Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea. The safety of our guests and cast members is always our first concern so both parks will remain closed on Saturday to allow for a thorough inspection of our attractions and facilities. Cast members at the Tokyo Disney Resort are also providing humanitarian aid in the form of blankets, food and water for guests who are still at the resort due to the transportation challenges associated with the earthquake.
Because of the quake’s effect on the waters of the Pacific, the Disney Wonder’s itinerary was altered slightly due to the closure of the Port of Cabo. Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, currently under construction in Ko Olina, Hawai’i, was not impacted.
Our thoughts and sympathy go out to our guests, fellow Disney cast members and all of the people in Japan affected by this terrible disaster. We’ll share any additional information today by posting updates at the top of this page.”
UPDATE The local police have now reported that the Tsunami did not reach Tokyo Disneyland and the water found around the resort was due to the liquidation of the soil created by the tremor. Any standing water came up from the crack in the ground and not from the force of the water reaching this far inland.
UPDATE The Oriental Land Company issued this statement about the resorts operations over the next few days:
“Following the earthquake that occurred today, we [OLC] have decided to suspend operations at Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea on Saturday, March 12 in order to conduct inspections at all facilities. As for operations from March 13 and beyond, that has yet to be determined at this point in time. As of now, we have not confirmed any injuries among our guests or cast members.”