Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea have been closed as experts attempt to assess the damage at the two parks from Friday's devastating 8.9-magnitude earthquake that rocked Japan, according to a statement issued from Oriental Land Co., which runs the Tokyo Disney Resort.
It is unclear when the resort will open, the company said in a statement issued Friday, adding, “As of now, we have not confirmed any injuries among our guests or cast members."
When the quake struck, thousands of people took refuge inside the two Tokyo parks. Park employees evacuated visitors to safe areas and provided blankets, shelter, food and beverages in the aftermath of the disaster, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.
"We were evacuated from buildings and attractions quickly, but we were stuck in the park," wrote a person who identified himself as Jonathan in a firsthand account from Tokyo DisneySea that was posted on the Disney watchdog site MiceAge. "Since all trains and roads are closed, thousands are stranded. We were given shelter in the many restaurants and buffeterias in the Parks to escape the freezing cold."
He lauded the staff, noting that despite working long hours and concerns about their own families, "they were there for us ... passing out plenty of drinks, plastic bags (as ponchos), blankets and towels, and hand and foot warmers."
New York Post travel writer David Landsel tweeted from inside Tokyo Disney Resort, describing how the entry plaza at DisneySea “turned into a tent city” as stranded people waited to board trains. As the visitors tried to make themselves comfortable overnight in the park, Landsel made light of the situation, tweeting “anyone who ever wanted to run around a Disney park all night, uninhibited, has their chance now.”
Photos posted online by Landsel and others depicted scores of adults and children seated on the ground, “waiting for the shaking to stop.” Other pictures appeared to show cracks and minor damage, including standing water in the resort’s parking area. The main impact of the earthquake and tsunami was about 200 miles north of the resort, based on one online news account.
-- Dawn C. Chmielewski