A Visit to Tokyo Disneyland 1987

March 25, 2023

Just like Walt Disney World and Hong Kong Disneyland Resort, the Tokyo Disneyland Resort was built on reclaimed sea floor.  The Oriental Land Company secured rights to an area on Tokyo Bay and proceeded to build on the land for the future theme park and resort although when I first visited there was just one theme park, a car park, and a few hotels.

My visit came about suddenly when as a young Imagineer I was dispatched to work on the proposed and at that time – far in the future second theme park.  My journey began at the Los Angeles airport boarding a direct flight to Tokyo, and after 13 hours I arrived and greeted by a local who suggested we go into the city for pork chops.  By then I was too tired to question much of anything or anyone, so into the city I went. The chops were tasty.  After the meal since I was lodging at the Hilton Hotel near the park, I boarded the train heading back to the park station. When I exited the train I discovered that taxi service had ended and so I walked through the Tokyo Disneyland parking lot late at nite to the Hilton.

The view from my hotel window was out toward the bay and in the far distance were the city towers of Tokyo itself.  The ocean view was uninspired so I turned to the work for which I traveled to accomplish.

The Hilton is multi sided and through one of the side windows I could see this view of the park and the car park. Portions of the car park over decades would become the second theme park, hotels, and the monorail system.

Since it was daytime I could and did hail a taxi, and after a short drive I exited at the front gate of Tokyo Disneyland where the construction in this image was ongoing.  The building was for an expansion of services near the front gate, which would be an ongoing effort for several decades to come.

Back in 1987 there were undeveloped areas within the park, such as this wild planted area in Tomorrowland.  Trees and bushes had grown and were on the verge of covering the view of Space Mountain.  Today this area is the location of Mickey’s Toontown and the New Fantasyland area of the park.

Toward the end of my first day, I circled around to see Star Tours which was then nearly complete.  This version of the attraction featured a new scene, a restaurant, shop, and services.  There was more to my visit. This is a just capsule of my first 24 hours at TDL.

One thought on “A Visit to Tokyo Disneyland 1987”

  1. Interesting article Jim. Thanks for sharing. Its really interesting to see how Tokyo Disney Resort has changed. I can’t wait to see more from your first visit


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