Visitor-soaking Events Return to Japan’s Disneyland, USJ

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Visitors are sprayed with water during a “Baymax”-themed event at Tokyo Disneyland in Urayasu, Chiba Prefecture.

Leisure facilities across the nation are reintroducing heat-defying summer attractions that douse visitors with water following the downgrading of COVID-19 to Category V.

On July 4, Tokyo Disneyland in Urayasu, Chiba Prefecture, rebooted a patron-soaking event that had been suspended since 2019, when the novel coronavirus began to spread. As part of the thrice-daily attraction, guests are sprayed with water as characters from the “Baymax” movie parade along the roadside.

Additionally, the facility’s “Get Wet Max” ride on Splash Mountain, drenches visitors with even more water than usual as cars plunge into the waterfall basin.

Universal Studios Japan in Osaka, meanwhile, has revived a water-themed show featuring such popular Nintendo characters as Mario and Luigi that is scheduled to run through Aug. 24.

For its part, Legoland Japan Resort in Nagoya has added a new element to its pirate-ship ride, in which water cascades from the ceiling.

Swimming pool facilities, too, are introducing new features following years of restricted admissions due to the pandemic. Yomiuriland, which straddles the cities of Inagi in Tokyo and Kawasaki, has introduced a new attraction at its leisure pool, featuring a giant bucket — capable of holding some 2,300 liters of water — that dispenses its aquatic bounty from a height of 13 meters.

At the same time, Hirakata Park in Hirakata, Osaka Prefecture, has revamped the playground equipment in its outdoor swimming pool and added a water-spouting device.

The resurgence of such events has contributed to brisk sales of summer trip-related products in the retail sector. In this connection, discount retailer Don Quijote has set up special sections for such items in some of its outlets.

Sales of swimsuits, water-floats and sunscreen, among other items, are also reportedly surging as temperatures rise.

“Events in which visitors get soaked tend to put people into close-contact situations, which is why they have been slow to make a comeback,” noted Ryo Hirose, a researcher at the NLI Research Institute. “By boosting the number of events that allow people to experience the joys of the season, we can expect to see increased momentum in post-COVID activities and leisure-related consumption,”