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Tokyo Disney Resort won't raise prices this year

Theme park breaks streak of hikes to try to boost traffic

"Anna and Elsa's Frozen Fantasy" parade at Tokyo Disneyland

TOKYO -- Tokyo Disney Resort will not raise admission for the first time in four years as attendance levels off, while thriving Osaka rival Universal Studios Japan will hike its price yet again.

Adult one-day tickets will remain at 7,400 yen ($63) at the Tokyo theme park this April, the same price as at USJ before a 200-yen increase in February will take the fee there to 7,600 yen. In April 2016, Tokyo Disney raised the price of an adult one-day ticket by 500 yen, marking the third straight year of increases.

Attendance at the Disney resort is plateauing. The park forecasts a marginal increase to 30.4 million guests in fiscal 2016, but from April to September, visitors dropped 0.3% to 14.32 million. Park operator Oriental Land blamed bad weather for the decline, denying that the price hike had any effect, but USJ saw record-high attendance for the same period.

USJ has raised prices for eight years running amid strong attendance, and continues to make big investments in the park. In April, it plans to open a new area dedicated to Minions, the characters from the "Despicable Me" animated movie series, on which it is spending 10 billion yen.

"Tokyo Disney confined itself to small to midsize new attractions in 2016," said Yuji Yamaguchi, a professor at Tokyo's J. F. Oberlin University who follows the industry. "Raising admission now would further upset the balance of price to customer satisfaction."

Consumers are indeed voicing dissatisfaction. An Osaka woman said she would not go to the park if it raised prices further.

The Tokyo theme park plans to spend 250 billion yen on new large-scale attractions through fiscal 2020, as Oriental Land and rivals keep looking for a winning pricing strategy.

(Nikkei)

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