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The Walt Disney Company has had a presence in Japan almost 30 years and the animation products produced by Walt Disney have a huge following in Japan. So to say there is a lot of goodwill between the Disney legacy and the people of Japan is an understatement. It’s terrific to see the Disney company and its employees reach out to make a sizable donation to help the people of Japan in their time of emergency.

According the press release below, The Walt Disney Company and its employees will send as much as $1.5 million to the relief effort. $2.5 in an initial donation to the American Red Cross and up to another $1 million in employee donations and matching funds to the Red Cross and Save the Children. That’s a pretty sizable sum and a great gesture from Disney.

Additionally Disney has reached out to both US and international employees in Tokyo with help and the OLC will provide those international cast who desire it a round-trip ticket home and then back to Tokyo when the park opens again.

The full press release is below the jump:

As I fell asleep last night, word from Japan was that the nuclear power plant had experienced further problems with possibility of a larger leak of radiation. To make it worse, winds were shifting driving any radio active particles in the air back toward land. This morning I awoke to news that radiation levels in Tokyo were 10 times higher than normal, which is still a ‘safe’ level but not good obviously, and the situation at the nuclear plant was now ‘catastrophic’. That’s definitely not good.

The Tokyo Disneyland entertainment cast members I’ve been following online were concerned and with good cause. Some to the point of panic ready to break their contracts and buy a $2500 air ticket on their own.

So I’m happy to hear that Disney and OLC management has stepped up to the plate and offered to send any international cast member back home, if they want, with the promise that their job would be available when the situation returns to normal. OLC is even picking up the cost of air travel. Very nice to see them step up to the plate like that. But so far Disney Cast Members have been nothing but professional and amazing, so it was almost expected that they would do this now.

Tokyo Disneyland is contributing in a different way to relief efforts. Water from pools and ponds around the town has been claimed for use as shower and toilet water (but not for drinking please). That now includes water from Tokyo DisneySea’s Mediterranean bay area (and I assume hotel pools, although this article doesn’t mention that).

Below the jump is a video taken from the monorail that shows the condition of the parks.

A few quick updates from Tokyo Disneyland.

Although entertainment cast members had been called in to rehearse on Monday, the rehearsals were canceled due to rolling blackouts scheduled for mid-day at the resort. Cast Members are dealing with their own blackouts and struggles for food and water, but a group of Disney entertainment cast members who found themselves freed up from the canceled rehearsal, picked up rakes and shovels and went out into the community to help clear away some of the debris and silt from the homes of elderly.

Here’s a pic of the crew from Disney performer @JarrodLentz‘s twitter stream. Lentz said of the adventure, “The human spirit will not be broke” and “Helping people was the best medicine so far.” I continue to be astounded by how professional and caring Tokyo Disneyland cast has been in the face of tragedy.

Although myself and others had speculated that liquefaction damage near the Monorail stations would result in a long delay in the trains returning to service. That has not been the case. Here’s a short video showing damage near one of the monorails and in the second half you can see them testing the monorail. So that’s good news for Tokyo Disneyland and OLC.

The parks themselves continue on a schedule to open after the 21st. Meanwhile they’re assessing damage and making small repairs. Below the jump is a press release put out by the Oriental Land Company after the quake:

Here’s the best video I’ve found so far of what it was like inside Tokyo Disneyland in the hours following the earthquake. As it turns out, fairly orderly and calm. Especially given the circumstances.

The video starts off oddly formatted, but it soon shifts to a more normal perspective.

I’m fairly certain the scene would be very different inside one of the American parks.

Below the jump is an amazing video of what it was like inside the park during the quake: