A very special yearlong celebration in the happiest place on earth just started, and I was so delighted to be back to experience the magic! This extraordinary anniversary event, “Tokyo Disney Resort’s 35th ‘Happiest Celebration!’” started last weekend and runs through March 25, 2019.

As the title says, this major celebration marks the 35th anniversary of the Grand Opening of Tokyo Disneyland Park. Guests visiting the Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea parks will be able to experience the happiest time ever with the Disney Friends and Cast Members during this milestone year.

The celebration kicked off at Tokyo Disneyland Park with the premiere of “Dreaming Up!,” a brand new daytime parade which takes guests to a world of fantasy and imagination. If you get to go, be sure to find a viewing spot along the parade route to fully enjoy the costumes and dances of Mickey Mouse and his Disney Friends.

In time for the anniversary, Tokyo Disneyland reopened the newly enhanced attraction “it’s a small world” with the addition of almost 40 new figures based on characters from Disney films, and the remixing of the iconic soundtrack with music that evokes memorable scenes from Disney films. A favorite with guests of all ages, this attraction has dolls in national costumes from all over the world, including one wearing a Maria Clara outfit.

As part of a special media group from all over Asia, I was happy to ride this attraction twice at the pre-opening event. We also rode Splash Mountain and got our Disney Photos afterwards. Between rides, we enjoyed Disney treats. Chocolate Crunch continues to be a popular souvenir at Tokyo Disney Resort since it was first launched in 1986 and, for the anniversary period only, Pastry Palace and Ice Cream Cones will be transformed into shops specializing in this confectionery. Both locations now feature decorations, merchandise and menus themed to the concept of the Duck Family Chocolate Competition.

Inside the entrance to Tokyo Disneyland is a photo location featuring the Disney Friends rolling out a red carpet to greet all. During the anniversary year, World Bazaar’s Main Street at Tokyo Disneyland has been transformed into Celebration Street, where each and every guest who enters the Park can begin to get into the celebratory mood. Of course, I was busy inside the shops at Main Street buying all versions of Disney products and goodies.

At Tokyo DisneySea, the celebration begins with a new show, “Happiest Celebration on the Sea,” where the Disney Characters dressed in new costumes welcome guests to celebrate this milestone. Mickey Mouse and other Disney Characters, including Duffy and Friends, greet visitors from on board a special boat on the waters of Mediterranean Harbor.

Tokyo DisneySea visitors are greeted with decorations celebrating the anniversary at the Park’s Main Entrance as well as at the entrance to Passaggio MiraCosta. During the event period, there will be about 250 types of items including those with designs depicting Mickey Mouse and the Disney Characters jumping for joy to celebrate the milestone.

The restaurants at Tokyo Disneyland are now serving popular items, including hot dogs and churros, in special anniversary versions. Guests also enjoy desserts that come with a souvenir item. At Tokyo DisneySea, visitors can feel the festive atmosphere as they enjoy pasta sets, special cocktails, and more.

Premiering in summer, the new nighttime spectacular, “Celebrate! Tokyo Disneyland” will be shown at Cinderella Castle. This performance incorporates state-of-the-art projection technology, projection mapping, music, lasers, water cannons and more for a show on a grander scale than ever before experienced in the Park. Also at Tokyo Disneyland, a new show titled “Let’s Party Gras” will open at Theatre Orleans, while starting July, Tokyo DisneySea will present “Hello, New York!” a new show at Dockside Stage.

Both parks are decked out in an array of colors for the anniversary year, and visitors can discover Happiest Mickey Spots throughout the parks. In addition to special merchandise and special menu items for the anniversary, there will be a shop specializing in the classic Tokyo Disney Resort souvenir, Chocolate Crunch, opening at Tokyo Disneyland for a limited period only.

The Disney hotels feature decorations and special room amenities themed to the yearlong event, and all can enjoy special programs, menus and merchandise during this period. The Disney Resort Line monorail trains are decorated to commemorate the anniversary, adding to the excitement around Tokyo Disney Resort.

Our group stayed at Urayasu Brighton Hotel Tokyo Bay, a partner hotel of Tokyo Disney. This 189-room hotel has several activities lined up for the Disney milestone. A free shuttle bus from the hotel to the Park makes it so convenient for families. For Disney shoppers like me, the hotel has Disney Fantasy Gift Shop for all souvenir items. Check out www.brightonhotels.co.jp for more info.

Tokyo Disneyland Park opened its gates on April 15, 1983 and grew from a single theme park into a resort that now includes Tokyo DisneySea Park, four Disney hotels and more. Tokyo Disney Resort has continued to be a place filled with happy moments where people of all ages can have magical experiences, a place “where dreams come true.” For details, check out www.tokyodisneyresort.jp.

On a related note, after over two months of rehearsals, The Lion King has kicked off at The Theatre at Solaire. The world’s #1 musical starts its first international tour in our country and will soon have additional engagements in Singapore, Korea and Taiwan.

Disney’s “The Lion King” runs until May 6 and is presented by Michael Cassel Group and Concertus Manila, in association with Disney Theatrical Productions. The production’s co-presenting sponsors in Manila are Globe and Visa. Catch it before it heads off to Singapore!

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