Friday, March 11, 2011

Earthquake Strands Tourists at Tokyo Disneyland Resort

The Tokyo Disneyland Resort was effected overnight by the 8.9 magnitude earthquake that rocked Japan.  Built on landfill, the ground encountered liquefaction during the intense shaking of the quake. The resort's car park was inundated with waterlogged ground, but it has not been "obliterated" as some internet reports suggest. No injuries or structural damage has been reported according to the local Urawa police station.

69,000 people were visiting the resort when the disaster hit, visitors were evacuated to safe areas. Reports from visitors (http://twitter.com/#!/rezaikram/) suggest that they have to stay in open outdoor areas of the parks, and will be kept there overnight due to lack of transportation systems running outside of the parks.  Visitors have been given "disposable heaters, plastic bags and rain coats to keep us warm" to help keep them warm in weather that has been reported as "Cold and Rain".  

WDW News Today tweeted several pictures from the parks.
MrDAPS also sharing very informative tweets.
MousePlanet.com also covering the breaking news. 

Unconfirmed reports on Twitter from suggest that the parks will be closed today (Saturday) which is not surprising as the city and country attempt to recover from the shock.  Currently people are only moving on foot as all transportation systems of the city have been shut down.

All coastal areas of Hawaii are currently being evacuated due to a tsunami warning.  Hawaii is expected to get hit by the tsunami around 3am local time (that's 8am EST), putting the new Disney Vacation Club property Aulani at some risk.  Aulani is currently under construction on the leeward side of Oahu.  We will bring updates as to how the resort fares through the disaster as soon as we have information.

Update 8:37EST - The Disney Blog is reporting that most damage to the resort property has been done to the parking lot due to liquefaction and is near monorail beams.  The security of the structure will have to be evaluated before the monorail line can be reopened.

Jodi Jill shares and exclusive interview with a guest on site on examiner.com

The US State Department is asking Americans to suspend their travel plans to Japan until at least April 1st, 2011.  Full Travel alert can be found here. Updated information on travel and security in Japan may be obtained from the Department of State by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or, for callers outside the United States and Canada, a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444.

Update 9:41EST - TDL Cast members are reporting continued after shocks lasting  3-30 seconds. As well as continued liquefaction of the ground causing puddles and cracked cement.  Utilities are questionable around the city.

3 foot waves have reported around the Island of Oahu, where Aulani is located.   No significant Hawaiian damage has been reported at this time, but waves could continue for several hours.

Update 11:15EST - TDL Executive Steve Davison reports that Parks are closed tomorrow so crews will be able to search for damage and can check things out.  No damage has been found at the hotel. All entertainment rehearsals have been canceled for a few days.

The Disney Blog has confirmed that guests are now able to leave the Tokyo Parks on a voluntary basis. 

Update 2:53EST  3.12 - Cast Members have confirmed at the Tokyo Disneyland Resort will be closed until at least 3/21 in order to inspect the property and make repairs as needed. 

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