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Queen of Hearts Dining Hall at Tokyo Disneyland
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by Lee MacDonald and Lindsay Cave
July 14, 2003
Lee and Lindsay report on the Queen of Hearts Dining Hall at Tokyo Disneyland.

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A Restaurant Fit for a Queen?

Oddly, character-driven restaurant concepts have been few and far between. Usually, Walt Disney Imagineering (“WDI?) creates new identities and environments for the themed restaurants. The recent examples are numerous with three new parks in the past two years, but few of the new creations have used Disney characters to enhance the facility. However, the Queen of Hearts Dining Hall is somewhat unique in all aspects.

Tokyo Disneyland is in the envious category of having the highest guest spend for any Walt Disney park and the highest annual attendance figures for any theme park globally. Japanese guests buy gifts for friends and family in the park’s plethora of stores. In addition, they eat & snack throughout the day on a whole host of goods. This is why TDL boasts such an extensive array of restaurants for all requirements from the myriad of flavoured popcorn carts to the upscale offerings of the Blue Bayou, Hokusai and Sweetheart Café. The majority of the table service facilities are either in or near World Bazaar, and this led to massive overcrowding at mealtimes in that area. This was altered somewhat with the introduction of the cavernous Grandma Sara’s Kitchen in the back of the park in a series of rabbit warrens beneath Critter Country.

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However, Fantasyland lacked any substantial offering, bar a handful of snack shacks. However, Fantasyland offered little room for expansion, being land-locked by several other lands. Some shifting would be required in order to accommodate a facility of the size required. Therefore, WDI set about shifting some attractions in order to create a new Fantasyland restaurant.

The Teacups were shifted south from their original location in order to free up space for the Pooh’s Hunny Hunt attraction, the first trackless dark ride to utilise the Global Positioning System to control the ride vehicles. The Small World Restaurant was waning in popularity and would no longer be an appropriate fit for the regeneration of this section of Fantasyland. The removal of this eatery opened up a substantial gap between it’s a small world and the Haunted Mansion. In addition, the Oriental Land Company (“OLC?, the parent company of the Tokyo Disney Resort) consented to the removal of the Alpine Haus snack bar and the rarely used overflow queue for it’s a small world, (a decision the OLC may live to regret if the new Holiday makeover debuting this year is as popular as those at Disneyland and Disneyland Resort Paris!) Lead show producer Jon Georges said that WDI “hit upon the idea of combining the teacups and the new restaurant in an Alice in Wonderland themed area next to it’s a small world.?

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