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Tokyo DisneySea is a water-themed amusement park at the Tokyo Disney Resort in Japan. The park is the most expensive Disney theme park ever built, believed to cost over four billion US Dollars (USD) to construct. Tokyo DisneySea is one of the most successful second-gate parks in the Disney world, and more that 12 million visitors were recorded in 2007.
The idea for Tokyo DisneySea originated with a plan to build a theme park in Long Beach, CA that would be near Disneyland Park in Anaheim and have a nautical theme. This idea was eventually dropped for financial reasons, and the plans for the park, tentatively called DisneySeas, languished for several years. With the success of Tokyo Disneyland, the plan was revived as a second park for that location, and Tokyo DisneySea was opened on 4 September 2001.
The southern edge of Tokyo DisneySea is bordered by the Disney Hotel Mira Costa. Designed as part of the Mediterranean Harbor area of the park, this luxurious hotel features Italian architecture and overlooks the harbor area of Tokyo DisneySea. Rooms begin at around $300 USD per night, and packages combining rooms and park tickets are available.
Like the Disneyland parks, Tokyo DisneySea is divided into several areas called “ports of call," each featuring a different ocean-related theme. Comparable to Disneyland’s Main Street, U.S.A., the entrance area to the park is called Mediterranean Harbor. This area is designed to look like an Italian port and includes traveling gondolas park visitors can ride on.
The Mysterious Island area of the park is within a giant volcano called Mt. Prometheus, and is themed after the adventure stories of Jules Verne. This port is home to two major thrill rides, the submarine 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, and a trip into the heart of the volcano in Journey to the Center of the Earth. Architecture in this area has a Victorian feel, as the work of Jules Verne is set in that period.
Mermaid’s Lagoon, using the popular characters from Disney’s The Little Mermaid, is designed to look like an underwater castle and filled with rides aimed at young children. In the Aladdin themed Arabian Coast port, popular attractions include a double-decker carousel and a 3D show featuring the Genie from Aladdin.
The Lost River Delta features an ancient Central American theme, somewhat similar to Disneyland’s Adventureland. This area includes the popular Indiana Jones ride, recently re-themed for the latest installment of the movies Indiana Jones: The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Port Discovery features a waterfront of the future, and includes several futuristic attractions including StormRider, a simulation ride. The final port of call, American Waterfront, is designed to look like early 20th century New York, and is dominated by an enormous replica of a steam ship, called the S.S. Columbia. This area holds the popular Tower of Terror ride, which has versions existing in several other Disney parks.
Tokyo DisneySea and Tokyo Disneyland are the only two Disney parks that are not owned by The Walt Disney Company. The Disney theme is licensed by The Oriental Land Company, not unlike a franchise chain. Although this leads some critics to grumble that the parks are not authentically Disney, the quality and soaring popularity of both parks seems to argue that they are exactly what Disney would have in mind.