This year marks the 30th anniversary of the creation of Tokyo Disney Resort. The affiliated hotels and theme parks are putting on an almost year-long celebration, complete with a special happiness themed parade and nightly fireworks spectacular, not to mention the reopening of the hit attraction, Star Tours. In light of all the extra excitement, management felt it necessary to add some extra rules and requests on the official Tokyo Disney site. While some of these new items were quite reasonable and occasionally intuitive, one line in particular set off warning bells for those wishing to visit the park.


The additional requests were added to the FAQ section of the Japanese version of Tokyo Disney Resort’s website under the heading “In order to ensure comfort and enjoyment for all our visitors.” Items such as “Please do not run,” “Do not feed the birds,” and “Please do not smoke outside of designated areas,” listed from the top are certainly acceptable and are the kind of rules that one would expect to see posted in this situation. The problem lies with the underlined section asking for “No photographs for commercial or public transmission purposes.” Think about it. That’s some dangerously broad language!

Taking commercial photos of Disney’s parks has always been forbidden, unless the photographer has special permission, in conjunction with credit and royalties given to the company. But, to prevent regular visitors from sharing their pictures on a public forum was previously unheard of! Can you imagine getting your picture taken with Mickey Mouse and not being allowed to show it to anyone? In a day and age where people document their entire lives, from where they go to what they eat, on Internet outlets like Facebook, and Twitter, and personal blogs, it seems entirely unreasonable to ask that visitors not share any pictures taken within the park.

If the highly restrictive and virtually unprecedented nature of this particular request wasn’t strange enough, the timing was also somewhat questionable. Tokyo Disney has just recently released its first official smart phone app, the Happiness Cam. This photo application comes programmed with easy uploading features for social networking systems. It seemed peculiar that they would release their app with features that would prevent it from being fully utilized within their own theme parks.

Luckily, whether the initial request to end picture uploads was intentional or a simple mistake in wording, the Japanese FAQ page was updated again as of 4 P.M. on May 29 and the restriction was removed. The point of uploading to public forums has been clarified to read, “Please do not cause trouble for the other park attendees by photographing them and releasing their image to the public.” The issue has now been narrowed down to a point of personal privacy and enjoyment for the other park patrons, not necessarily a limitation of one’s ability to post pictures of the general scenery, character suits, or themselves within the park. While the language is still a bit vague as far as what would be considered acceptable for online sharing we’ll take an acceptable grey area over a blanket prohibition any day.

Thanks for the quick fix, Disney. You gave us quite a scare.

Top image: RocketNews24
Inset image and reference: Net Lab, Tokyo Disney Resort Q&A (Japanese)
[ Read in Japanese ]