By Drew Taylor | The Playlist April 12, 2012 at 1:37PM
In America we have recently been bombarded by commercials for the stateside Disney parks (Florida’s Walt Disney World is where the ads were shot, probably because so much of Disneyland’s second gate, California Adventure, was under construction at the time) that feature a horrendous OneRepublic song and herky-jerky visuals that are sun-drenched and oozing of gooey sentimentality. Over in Japan, though, they’re treated to a gorgeously animated, absolutely heart-tugging spot that will literally make you want to stop what you’re doing, convert all your money over to yen, and get the fuck over there (via Twitch).
The ad, animated in a lush anime-style, features a young girl. We watch her as she first goes to the park as a small child, then as an older adult (love the shot where she walks by It’s A Small World), then as she reaches maturity, has a wedding, and brings children of her own to the park. The last shot is her in old age, watching one of the spectacular nighttime parades. Oh, and the whole thing is set to an adorably folky cover of “A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes” from “Cinderella.” Not bad for a thirty-second spot, no?
The Tokyo Disney Resort opened in 1983 (the first Disney park built outside of the U.S. – there are now parks in Paris, Hong Kong, and very soon in Shanghai and South America) and is comprised of two parks (Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea) and one shopping and dining complex (Ikspiari) and is, in brief, some next level shit. Since the Tokyo Disney Resort is owned and operated by a different company (the Oriental Land Company), the parks are rarely plagued by the second-guessing and stinginess that derail many of the more ambitious projects in America, instead allowing Walt Disney Imagineering (which still designs and builds everything in the parks) absolute go-for-broke freedom. In particular, the Tokyo DisneySea park (which was a concept originally dreamed up for Disneyland’s second gate, alongside WestCOT, that was set aside for the more anonymous California Adventure conceit), is largely thought to be the most well-designed and technologically advanced theme park in the world.
It’s actually sort of weird that none of the rides or attractions at the Japanese parks have migrated over here (things like Pooh’s Honey Hunt, a Winnie the Pooh-themed ride that uses a “trackless” bouncing ride system or the great “Monsters, Inc.” Ride and Go Seek attraction that takes you inside the scare factory), although last year the parks did get Duffy, a stuffed teddy bear that wears a sailor suit… So there’s that.
Let’s just say that if you already had an extreme hankering to go to the Tokyo parks, this animated ad, which as far as heart-tugging narrative economy goes, is up there with the wordless sequence from “Up,” except with much more Splash Mountain, isn’t exactly going to dampen that enthusiasm.