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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Largest Disappointment of Disney’s New $2 Billion Growth


Fantasy Springs is receiving rave opinions, and understandably so. The brand new port-of-call that includes Frozen, Peter Pan, and Tangled is unbelievable, with 4 points of interest starting from nice shock to trendy masterpiece. And at over $2 billion in price, the realm is the most costly enlargement in Disney historical past and a worthy addition to Tokyo DisneySea, already the most effective theme park on the planet.

We’ve been singing the praises of Tokyo DisneySea for over a decade, imploring anybody who will take heed to recapture the Disney magic by visiting Japan. Since we achieve this recurrently, we’ve been accused of being biased in the direction of Tokyo Disney Resort. That isn’t true in any respect. We’re merely “biased” in the direction of excellence. And for some time, TDR was in a league of its personal due to totally different requirements for the whole lot from upkeep to meals high quality to visitor service.

Whereas Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea are nonetheless Disney’s two finest parks on the planet, it’s additionally pretty simple that the parks have suffered some notable losses and cutbacks since 2019. They’re very a lot nonetheless in ‘phased reopening’ mode, and a couple of 12 months or two behind the U.S. parks in that regard. Level being, we each reward and criticize the place acceptable. Now that additionally extends to Fantasy Springs, which is a incredible addition however removed from flawless.

We’ll cowl the highlights and lowlights (there aren’t many!) of Fantasy Springs in a future overview of the port-of-call as an entire. For now, we wish to give attention to the most important disappointment, which for us is definitely the brand new in-park luxurious resort: Tokyo DisneySea Fantasy Springs Lodge.

The sixth Disney lodge inbuilt Japan, the Tokyo DisneySea Fantasy Springs Lodge is located close to the magical spring on the reverse entrance (non-park aspect) of the port-of-call. Work depicting Disney Princesses in addition to floral motifs might be seen all through the inside of the lodge, permitting the world of Fantasy Springs to proceed from the park to the lodge.

Fantasy Springs Lodge is comprised of two buildings: the Fantasy Chateau and the Grand Chateau. The Fantasy Chateau affords “deluxe-type” rooms adorned with motifs of the wildlife of Fantasy Springs, whereas the Grand Chateau affords “luxury-type” rooms which give visitors with the best lodging expertise at Tokyo Disney Resort.

Tokyo DisneySea Fantasy Springs Lodge is comprised of 419 rooms within the deluxe wing. As well as, there are 56 rooms within the luxurious wing, providing visitors the best lodging expertise at Tokyo Disney Resort.

To present you a body of reference so what follows makes some sense, let’s begin with the above map of Fantasy Springs Lodge. Visitor rooms are divided into 4 sides in line with their location: Bay Space Facet, Lodge Entrance Facet, Rose Court docket Facet, and Springs Facet.

For individuals who haven’t visited Tokyo Disney Resort earlier than, the Lodge Entrance Facet faces the monorail station, in addition to the Toy Story Lodge, Hilton, Sheraton, and different third celebration accommodations. The Springs Facet overlooks Tokyo DisneySea and the Bay Space aspect overlooks the parking zone and the bottom of Area Mountain building.

My largest grievance is with the outside of the Fantasy Chateau. It’s thematically underwhelming, an enormous field lodge that makes the outside of Disney’s Riviera Resort look well-themed. Essentially the most apt comparability might be Gran Destino Tower, albeit a distinct form and magnificence. Regardless, it seems to be like an enormous field.

Whereas there may be some ornamentation alongside the roofline and elsewhere, the issue with the Fantasy Chateau is its massive expanses of uninterrupted sameness. Stretches of the constructing all have uniform preparations of home windows and no balconies on one aspect and there are blocky areas which are completely with out home windows.

It seems to be very very similar to a lodge you can discover in Tokyo. You don’t even must look far–simply throughout the way in which at Bayside Station, Lodge Okura is strikingly related–and with a facade that arguably seems to be higher. It’s an analogous story with the Hilton or Sheraton over there, too.

Some defenders of Tokyo Disney Resort would possibly argue that this doesn’t matter, because the Fantasy Chateau aspect is generally seen from Bayside Station, these third celebration accommodations, or the parking zone. And that’s true, for essentially the most half. However you may as well see loads of the constructing from inside Fantasy Springs, and it seems to be blocky and underdone even from there.

Personally, I wouldn’t discover this argument persuasive even when 0% of Fantasy Chateau had been seen from inside Fantasy Springs. From each angle, Tokyo Disneyland Lodge has meticulous consideration to element and exterior ornamentation. I used to be staying at that lodge for the media preview of Fantasy Springs–in a daily room that might be categorized as an equal to these within the Fantasy Chateau.

Whereas looking my window, I used to be struck by simply how far more detailed the Tokyo Disneyland Lodge constructing is as in comparison with the Fantasy Chateau. I additionally stayed on the Ambassador Lodge, and it’s an analogous story there.

Then, in fact, there’s Lodge MiraCosta. Tokyo Disney Resort’s I can’t imagine that is an precise lodge’ that overlooks the entrance entrance of the ‘I can’t imagine that is an precise theme park!’ The distinction between Lodge MiraCosta and Fantasy Chateau is night time and day. I’ve spent a ton of time exploring Lodge MiraCosta, and from each route, it’s painstakingly themed. No element or expense was spared.

Whereas I don’t essentially take situation with the outside of the Grand Chateau, there’s even a transparent high quality distinction between that and any portion of Lodge MiraCosta’s facade. There are areas the place even Grand Chateau seems to be boxy and underdone, and that stands in stark distinction to Lodge MiraCosta.

With that stated, this put up wouldn’t exist if Fantasy Springs Lodge had been all of the Grand Chateau. There’s undoubtedly sufficient there there for it to cross thematic muster. Not each lodge goes to be on the identical degree as MiraCosta. Even my different favorites–Wilderness Lodge, Animal Kingdom Lodge, Grand Californian, Crescent Lake Resorts, and many others–don’t maintain a candle to the outside of that lodge.

I don’t blame Imagineers for the outside of the Fantasy Chateau being bland and boring. Likewise, I don’t suppose they’re at fault for selecting the peak, location, or design of the Island Tower at Disney’s Polynesian Resort. (If you happen to disregard location and evaluate the designs on their deserves…the Island Tower truthfully seems to be higher than Fantasy Chateau.) Identical story with Gran Destino Tower or Disney’s Riviera Resort.

It’s arduous to imagine that Imagineers–the identical ones who created breathtaking points of interest within the new port–had been requested to dream large with Fantasy Springs Lodge and this was all they may muster for the outside design. That rationalization strains credulity, particularly after we’ve seen what this crew was able to with extra complicated work within the port-of-call itself. Does anybody actually imagine the Imagineers had been able to the wow moments within the rides however solely this ho-hum lodge? In fact not.

The problem, simply as with lodge designs at Walt Disney World, is nearly definitely that the companies–Disney and OLC–have realized that visitors will e book up the resorts no matter theme. That it’s the situation that basically issues, which permits the resorts to ‘coast’ or relaxation on the laurels of their environment. (I’d personally argue that’s a slippery slope that may solely go to this point earlier than it eats up an excessive amount of visitor goodwill–however that’s a extra looming drawback on the Poly than it’s at Tokyo DisneySea.)

There are undoubtedly different explanations which are extra charitable. Development prices have gotten astronomical, pushed by larger costs for labor and supplies. Had the present surroundings existed within the late Nineteen Nineties, I doubt OLC may’ve made Lodge MiraCosta as lavish and ornately-detailed as it’s. The price of doing so would’ve crippled the mission. To make sure, larger wages are factor–however they do necessitate compromises.

It’s additionally potential that OLC has realized one thing from the continuing upkeep prices of Lodge MiraCosta and, to a lesser extent, Tokyo Disneyland Lodge. The maintenance to maintain these lodge facades wanting pristine has gotta be astronomical, particularly when you think about the sensible actuality that they’re located alongside Tokyo Bay and there are 4 distinct seasons to which they’re topic. (It’s sunny, wet, and even snowy in Japan!)

On prime of all that, the development of Fantasy Springs occurred through the pandemic. I’ve talked about in different posts that we started watching website prep work in 2019 and didn’t return till Japan reopened in late 2022 to see the land totally vertical. Even at that time over a 12 months in the past, Fantasy Springs Lodge appeared 90% completed on the surface.

Needless to say the Tokyo parks scaled again operations even additional than Walt Disney World and are nonetheless in restoration mode, working in the direction of returning to regular. Regardless of that, it was full steam forward on Fantasy Springs building–fairly the distinction to among the doubtful selections Walt Disney World made.

However, there have been undoubtedly some robust selections that needed to be made with Fantasy Springs. OLC is famously prepared to spend large, however even they weren’t resistant to the financial realities of 2020. Finances cuts with tasks are virtually at all times a factor, and that might’ve been doubly or triply true through the pandemic years.

The truth that the rides emerged seemingly unscathed and stuffed with wow moments is spectacular. If cuts needed to be made, the place to make them is on the outside of the lodge that (principally) will not be seen from the park.

This isn’t to excuse OLC or Tokyo Disney Resort for the outward look of the Fantasy Chateau. On the contrary, this put up is criticism about it not being as much as snuff. Even when there are legitimate causes to justify it, these are primarily immaterial to a vital appraisal of the lodge. It’s the tip product that issues, and this one is underwhelming. That’s very true given each its location and the way it’s being positioned because the top-tier lodge by Tokyo Disney Resort.

I can perceive this having a distinct theme than Lodge MiraCosta that doesn’t lend itself to that diploma of element. And that’s high-quality. However the pendulum swung too far within the different route and, whatever the excuses, Fantasy Springs Lodge seems to be extra on par with the Ambassador than it does the opposite two park-adjacent accommodations.

Notably, the Ambassador will not be seen from contained in the parks. In contrast, Fantasy Springs Lodge is seen from inside the new port-of-call and the sightlines–even of the Grand Chateau–depart one thing to be desired. I’m not a stickler for sightlines, so though that is one thing that bugs me, it’s additionally not the tip of the world or my capacity to understand the realm. I don’t suppose it ruins suspension of disbelief, immersion, and many others. It simply could possibly be higher executed.

On condition that the lodge is seen from each Peter Pan’s By no means Land and Frozen Kingdom, I feel a extra “springs-centric” theme for the lodge ought to’ve been chosen, versus ‘Artwork Nouveau luxurious lodge’ so the lodge is a greater thematic match all through the land.

There’s clearly no single theme that works for each Peter Pan and Frozen, however having or not it’s extra fantastical so the facade is thematically coherent from each areas would’ve been transfer. Because it stands, it’s only a bit jarring to see Fantasy Springs Lodge towering behind the Village of Arendelle facades.

One other little bit of criticism I’ve for Fantasy Chateau is that the central courtyard will not be open to the general public. This space includes a ‘magical spring’ themed to Magnificence and the Beast, and is admittedly fairly beautiful. It’s pitched as being solely for the enjoyment of lodge visitors, which is sweet or a disappointment relying upon whether or not you’re a part of the in-group.

I think that’s solely a part of the story, although. It’s additionally potential that Tokyo Disney Resort didn’t wish to open that courtyard up from the park aspect as a result of it will imply exposing park visitors to the ocean of plain pink dotted with home windows, and so they know that’s less than snuff from inside Fantasy Springs.

That is actually too dangerous–the Magnificence and the Beast springs have a couple of cool results, and having extra sq. footage inside Fantasy Springs would’ve been a win for everybody. It’d be the equal of constructing the Venice space of Tokyo DisneySea reserved solely to visitors staying at Lodge MiraCosta.

I’m holding out hope that every one of this modifications down the street. That Tokyo Disney Resort paints on exterior elaborations or trimming, very similar to Lodge MiraCosta makes use of trompe l’oeil on its facade. Or, they may add some vines to the outside or plant extra flowers and foliage–lots may nonetheless be executed down the street with out basically messing with the construction of the lodge.

The excellent news is that, regardless of us fixating on the negatives, Fantasy Springs Lodge is generally positives! (In terms of Tokyo Disney Resort, the bar for “disappointment” is lots decrease than elsewhere. Honest or unfair, however the whole lot is judged by totally different requirements and something wanting perfection is topic to critique.)

Talking of these magical springs, they’re incredible. That is extra a characteristic of the port itself, so I don’t wish to fixate on them, however I used to be very pleasantly shocked by the magical springs. Stepping into, my expectation was that they’d be window-dressing to supply a framework for Fantasy Springs becoming into Tokyo DisneySea and transitioning from the park to the land to the lodge.

Popping out, my view is that the magical springs are one of many highlights of the whole port. They’re fantastically executed and left me wanting extra, therefore the grievance concerning the Magnificence and the Beast springs being cordoned off for lodge visitors.

By and huge, the inside of Fantasy Springs Lodge is great. It’s a combination of Artwork Nouveau and whimsy and opulence that simply works. It feels directly lighthearted and enjoyable, whereas additionally being fancy and indulgent. It’s incredible as a female counterpart to the extra masculine Lodge MiraCosta, and I think Tokyo Disney Resort’s goal demographic is totally going to eat it up. Actually, visitors will most likely desire it to Lodge MiraCosta even after the brand new lodge scent wears off.

There are little nitpicks that could possibly be manufactured from the inside, but it surely’s principally excellent to nice. I’m additionally certain that the identical could possibly be stated of Tokyo Disneyland Lodge and MiraCosta, regardless of them being prime 5 Disney accommodations in the whole world. Regardless, the inside will not be what this put up is about. It isn’t disappointing. It’s brimming with extravagant design and ornate element that’s kind of on par with the opposite prime two accommodations at TDR.

Lastly, I additionally recognize that the inside design has a sure sense of confidence to it, and doesn’t really feel focus grouped to dying. Considered one of my points with Walt Disney World resorts is that the current generification is seemingly guest-driven, responding to hospitality tendencies as an alternative of delivering one thing distinctive and particular that visitors by no means knew they’d need.

As quickly as you enter the entrance door of Fantasy Springs Lodge and see the large dragon fly within the rotunda, you recognize that is one thing totally different. One thing (principally) particular. Simply don’t take a look at the outside too lengthy or too arduous.

In the end, Fantasy Springs Lodge left one thing to be desired for me. Past the Fantasy Chateau facade, which is simply objectively underwhelming, the lodge doesn’t seem to be my cup of tea as in comparison with its counterparts. And truthfully, that’s completely high-quality. The resort undoubtedly will maintain super enchantment for the goal demographic, and even lengthy after the ‘new lodge scent’ wears off and Fantasy Springs is not the recent ticket that requires next-level strategizing and entry. (So, what, within the 2030s?!)

Tokyo Disney Resort undeniably wanted extra high-end lodge capability, particularly given the occupancy charges of each Lodge MiraCosta and Tokyo Disneyland Lodge. Relying upon once you’re visiting and the way early you e book, reservations might be robust to attain for these present, decades-old accommodations. As somebody who would sooner keep at both of these, I’m pleased to have Fantasy Springs Lodge to (hopefully!) assist relieve the stress and make these simpler to e book.

However, I do want Fantasy Springs Lodge had been extra bold and on par with Lodge MiraCosta and Tokyo Disneyland Lodge. Though the Grand Chateau is technically categorized above each, classifying it as luxurious lodge and pricing it as such doesn’t essentially make it so. At the very least, not thematically. (Which is essentially what this put up is about–and never service or the standard of the expertise, since I haven’t stayed there.)

I’ll at all times surprise ‘what may’ve been’ with Fantasy Springs Lodge, suspecting that the COVID closure and price range constraints or price overruns elsewhere contributed to cutbacks in its design. In a world of finite budgets and a tough surroundings the place one thing most likely needed to be lower, I’d undoubtedly moderately or not it’s on the outside of this lodge (particularly going through the bay) than the substance of the land itself. Nonetheless, if OLC and Tokyo Disney Resort can’t ship an ornately themed luxurious resort in 2024…what hope do we’ve got as Walt Disney World followers of ever getting one thing on par with Wilderness Lodge or the Crescent Lake Resorts?!

Planning a visit to Tokyo Disney Resort? For complete recommendation, the most effective place to start out is our Tokyo Disneyland & DisneySea Journey Planning Information! For extra specifics, our TDR Lodge Rankings & Opinions web page covers lodging. Our Restaurant Opinions element the place to dine & snack. To economize on tickets or decide which sort to purchase, learn our Ideas for Saving Cash put up. Our What to Pack for Disney put up takes a singular take a look at intelligent gadgets to take. Venturing elsewhere in Japan? Seek the advice of our Final Information to Kyoto, Japan and Metropolis Information to Tokyo, Japan.

YOUR THOUGHTS

What do you consider the Tokyo DisneySea Fantasy Springs Lodge? Suppose its exterior facade is disappointing, or is that this being too nitpicky? Are you excited to remain right here, or does it not enchantment to you? Agree or disagree with our evaluation of the resort? Any questions? Listening to your suggestions is each attention-grabbing to us and useful to different readers, so please share your ideas beneath within the feedback!

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