Legacy Content

Tokyo Disneyland's Hotel Mira Costa - Part 3
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by Marc Borrelli
February 27, 2002
Part 3 of Marc Borrelli's his tour of this magnificent hotel.

In part 3 of of the Tokyo DisneySea Hotel MiraCosta, we begin exploring the area where the line blurs between Hotel MiraCosta and DisneySea Park, the multitude of shops and restaurants that inhabit the first level of our hotel.

Previous Sections: Part One, Part Two

I'll point out right off the bat that I'm not a shopper. To me, browsing through racks of merchandise provides nothing more than an acute case of "mall head".

But the shops at Mediterranean Harbor are different.

During construction, some of the people involved in the interior design of these shops had a kind of running joke that I think sums it up well - Periodically, while they were neurotically contemplating the final look of some tiny portion of a shop (They'd still be doing it today if it weren't for that pesky September 4th opening date), someone would chime in with an unexpected - "Ok, now cover it with Mickey plush!"

The joke never wore off, partly because it was true. But, when looking at the artistry and craftsmanship that was going into these spaces, the reality that the merchandise department would come in and fill them with souvenirs was so absurd that it couldn't help but be funny.

But priorities... There's no future for DisneySea if it becomes a money pit. Considering the park's nearly $3 billion price tag and its extraordinary overhead, that's a possibility which was taken VERY seriously by Oriental Land Company (OLC). But they had a plan, a bold one. It's cornerstone is the area we're about to visit. I'll explain.

Many people are aware of the fact that guests in Tokyo (Chiba, really) traditionally spend more per day than guests at Disneyland in California or Walt Disney World. On average, each guest in Tokyo spends over $90 each day. That's approximately two thirds more than guests at the American parks. More than any other factor, that is what justified the massive investment in DisneySea.

The shops in Mediterranean Harbor are the key to taking advantage of that Japanese obligation to buy omiyage (souvenirs for friends, family, coworkers - everyone) and their desire (perhaps now - obsession) for living well.

The financial model for DisneySea anticipated that over 80% of the park's profit was to be generated by the shops and, to a lesser extent, the restaurants, at Mediterranean Harbor. It also contained a strategy to "persuade" guests to spent even more money.

All indications are that the model is a success. OLC is making money hand over fist.  Just prior to the opening of the park some financial publications in Japan had been questioning whether OLC had made a mistake with such a large investment. Now some of those same publications are writing articles speculating about what OLC will do with all of its additional profit.

One of the means in which this financial success was accomplished was through an extension of Walt Disney's concept of Main Street. Every guest entering and exiting DisneySea, including guests like us who are staying at MiraCosta, must pass through the retail funnel of Mediterranean Harbor which resides on the first floor of our hotel...

But no complaints here... It's beautiful!

Let's take a look...