A magnitude 8.9 earthquake struck Japan on March 11, 2011 at 2:46 pm. Although the epicenter was located off of the easter coast of the city of Sendai, the earthquake was very powerful in Tokyo as well. Tokyo Disney Resort, one of the nation’s most popular destinations was not able to avoid the quake as it too felt the violent shake. In fact several videos have popped up on the web of how the earth quake was affected.
Contrary to immediate Twitter buzz, Tokyo Disneyland nor Tokyo DisneySea were not underwater. Although the resort is seperated by a single roadway between the Tokyo DisneySea, and Tokyo Bay the Tsunami did not reach the bay and in no way did the waves crash into the park. However, the park was built on land fill; the earth’s movement caused some water to seep up through the bay and the land into the resort’s parking lot.
Footage form when the Earthquake struck in Tokyo Disneyland:
I must say, fabulous job by Tokyo Disney Resort cast members. They knew exactly what to do by first having all guests kneel down, and immediatley after the quake stopped began removing ropes for evacuation and lining guests up in the parade route. Not to mention an automatic announcement that went as followed:
Ladies and gentlemen, your attention please. We have just experienced an earthquake. Please move away from the buildings to an open area, and wait there until our cast members can instruct you further. Please be assure that the park has been designed with earthquake safety in mind. We will provide you with more detailed information as soon as possible, thank you.
The following announcement made about a minute after was informing guests the magnitude of the earthquake as well as where it was located.
When the earthquake struck at Tokyo DisneySea, the park was in the middle of their massive daytime parade, the Legend of Mythica (earthquake footage at the 0:45 mark):
The aftermath of the earthquake at the resort from inside the parks is still largely unknown. Fortunately, the park has confirmed no major structural damage or injuries from the earthquake. Outside the park, the parking lot was covered in mud seeping up through the ground. Paths infront of the turnstiles suffered from large cracks and gaps. Stair cases have also been destroyed.
This footage is much more dramatic. With the show going on, the park’s sound system speakers were lifted 30 feet in the air. In the video you can see these poles violently swinging back and fourth and at 1:19 mark, a speaker can even been seen hurdling downwards. Again cast members were quick to respond, immediately cancelling the show, and calming guests.
In both parks, guests were corralled into large open areas. With public transportation closed and hotels offering limited space, it’s estimated that 30,000 guests spent the night in the park. Cast members provided stranded guests with thermal blankets, food, and water all for their comfort.
Once again, Tokyo Disney Resort should be applauded for their plan of action in an event like such. It’s absolutely amazing how organized and professional not only employees acted, but guests as well.
On the park’s website, they have confirmed the closure of the two theme parks through the 21st of this month. It is unheard of for a Disney resort to entirely shut down, let alone for 10 days. At the same time, it’s unheard of to have an earthquake of this magnitude any where on the planet, more specifically a Disney park.
Our prayers are with Japan at this difficult time. Check back for more updates.