The Dispute in Orlando Makes Tokyo Disney Resort Battle Cute

In a public parking lot of Urayasu, a district of Tokyo Disney Resort, a man started complaining about the city owner to charge parking fees in April this year. A man is myself, a frequent visitor of Urayasu parking for a 15 minute walk to the entrance of the Disney park. Before April, there had been no fees in day time. It was not a parking violation, either.

My complain was offset by a decision to install the fee collection machine with sensor camera. There is no wooden bar to open and close the entrance to the lot. The camera captures the plate number to record digital photo with time stamp. Immediately entering into the parking zone, the photo is digitized to the monitor to initiate the counting of fees.

It is not a big deal. For the first thirty minutes, it charges no fees. After that the machine starts to charge Y100 or 80 cents for every hour for the first three hours. Up to three hours and thirty minutes, a car owner has to pay Y300 or $2.40. The daily maximum usage is roughly $5.00. Still, it is expensive.

The decision came from a city committee to respond to a public complaint that the guests of Tokyo Disney parked their cars for a resort visit for a day. If they start to charge, guests are unlikely to park the car. Instead, the committee expect, they will be parking the official parking lot of Disney for Y2,000 or $16.00. This is absurd. Why do they park their car in the official lot in the first place for a happy memory with family?

On April 30th, The Economist, a British left-of-center weekly magazine, published a story of Desantis v Disney, Frozon. This story is far more unpleasant than in Tokyo. In the spring’s session in Tallahassee, Republican lawmakers passed the bill to restrict conversation about sexuality and gender orientation. In the event of violation, parents can sue school districts.

Disney in Florida operated autonomously since 1967 with presence and power and opposed to the bill for human rights. The firm’s boss, Bob Chapek, publicly disagreed with the bill, which prompted Mr DeSantis, a Florida governor, who signed two bills for provision. Is he going to punish Disney, a largest financial contributor to the state of Florida. No, he is not. The dispute sounds controversial.

Even more controversial is the story in politics. In less than four years, Mr. DeSantis is allegedly running for presidential campaign in 2024. If Donald Trump, an endorser of Mr. Desantis, runs for president, he will not be running for the oval office. The governor’s handling with Disney is rather tricky because financially support from the entertainment brands is vital while residential supports need his re-election this year. He needs voter’s support. What does he do to handle with this issue?

In this month of May, park visitors in Tokyo Disney encountered another blow from the park franchisee, Oriental Land of Disney. The franchisee announced that guest can register access privilege with the smartphones to scan QR codes in front of the most famous attraction, “Beauty and the Beast”, by pay additional Y2,000 ($16) per ride per person on top of $70 daily park entrance fees. Young guest from the Tokyo area are furious about the charge.

The owner explained that this decision came from the fact that the park has been too crowded. Sometimes it was so congested that guest often wait in line for the ride from three to six hours in daylight. Local visitors from outside Tokyo could not get a ride and return home with disappointment. It is still strange decision because locals with tight budget stay home and still pay for the ride with privilege in one-hour slot. Time is saved, the owner added.

In Tokyo, I complained about $5.00 parking fees. Young guests claim that $16 priority pass is wrong. Although the potential number in Florida has not been calculated, I am sure that the stakes are a lot higher than those in Tokyo. In a series of stories in April and May, the dispute in Florida makes the battle in Tokyo look very cute. I hope that both stories end with happy ones.



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Hiroshi Hatano

Hiroshi Hatano

Taught marketing @ universities in Tokyo, ex-I-banker @ UBS & mgmt consultant @ Kurt Salmon (Accenture Strategy now), Utah, Michigan + Georgia Tech educated