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Tokyo Disney operator poised for record profit on anniversary rush

35-year-old theme park draws bigger crowds as consumers seek experiences

Many Disney fans visited Tokyo Disney Resort to see a special parade celebrating the park's 35th anniversary. (Photo by Toshihiro Sato)

TOKYO -- The company that runs Tokyo Disneyland is expected to report a record operating profit for the fiscal year ended March 31 as events celebrating the theme park's 35th anniversary lifted attendance.

Oriental Land's group operating profit likely rose more than 10% on the year to over 125 billion yen ($1.12 billion), beating its forecast by more than 10 billion yen. This would mark the first record result in five years.

Sales likely grew about 10% to over 525 billion yen, crossing the 500 billion yen mark for the first time. Results are due out Thursday.

Profit is expected to drop this fiscal year as the company invests in new attractions and hires more staff.

Tokyo Disney Resort received a record 32.55 million visitors in the year to March -- up 8%.

As consumers in Japan focus more on experiences than goods, fans from across the nation headed to Tokyo Disney Resort, which also includes Tokyo DisneySea and hotels, to see special parades for the anniversary.

Traffic was especially strong during the peak season in the October-December quarter, which includes Christmas. Favorable weather and last-minute visitors going for special anniversary events also lifted traffic nearly 10% on the year in the usually slow January-March period.

But despite a new attraction this fiscal year -- the "Soaring: Fantastic Flight" theater -- attendance looks likely to fall short of year-earlier levels in the absence of one-time anniversary events. The resort as a whole is expected to take in 30 million to 31 million visitors for the 12 months through March 2020.

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