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  • News No More Balloons at The Tokyo Disney Resort!

    A friend of mine in Tokyo just relayed the news to me that the Tokyo Disney Resort ceased all sales of balloons yesterday due, they claimed, to a shortage of helium. They did this in the middle of the Christmas seasonal event. Crazy.

    There will no longer be any balloons sold at the Tokyo Disney Resort.
    Born in a shoebox and making the most of it.

  • #2
    Re: No More Balloons at The Tokyo Disney Resort!

    Can't confirm. My last day was Friday and there were still balloons.

    Hope the stopage is temporary. The new Christmas balloon is very nice.

    Helium is the second most abundant element in the universe. Hard to see how there could be a shortage.

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    • #3
      Re: No More Balloons at The Tokyo Disney Resort!

      Originally posted by Roger55 View Post
      Helium is the second most abundant element in the universe. Hard to see how there could be a shortage.
      It's one of the rarest elements on earth. In the universe it's common because that is what a part of stars the huge things in the sky are made of.

      It's strategically important and produced in a handful of places that have large natural gas deposits. Using it to fill novelty balloons can be considered very wasteful.
      Be Cool Stay in School!
      Next year I'm trying for a summer internship at Stark Industries.

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      • #4
        Re: No More Balloons at The Tokyo Disney Resort!

        Originally posted by swampymarsh View Post
        It's one of the rarest elements on earth. In the universe it's common because that is what a part of stars the huge things in the sky are made of.
        How unfortunate! I thought it could be produced like Hydrogen. I just read it can only be produced using radioactive processes and the most common method of obtaining helium is from the process of harvesting natural gas.

        I can see why using it in balloons can be seen as wasteful. I wonder why there wasn't a more orderly discontinuation of its use? Also wonder if the US parks will follow suit?

        I'm going to miss the balloons and all the joy they brought to people, especially kids.

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        • #5
          Re: No More Balloons at The Tokyo Disney Resort!

          My friend who works for a sector of the government that deals with helium freaks out when he see's balloons at Disney. Most people are unaware of the helium situation. Though isn't it ironic that the 30th Anniversary is focusing on balloons?


          :love:Bringing the Love since January 10, 2011:love:
          We were sent over there with the message that only we would defend Disney quality.. We learnt quickly that the Japanese culture speaks to a level of quality that is hard to comprehend. They were all unbelievably skilled and willing to do the right thing.
          Craig Russell -Walt Disney Imagineering

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          • #6
            Re: No More Balloons at The Tokyo Disney Resort!

            Originally posted by Roger55 View Post
            I can see why using it in balloons can be seen as wasteful. I wonder why there wasn't a more orderly discontinuation of its use? Also wonder if the US parks will follow suit?
            It not impossible but I doubt it would happen in the US. While Japan imports natural gas, the US has a huge supply of it and exports it. Thus with the surplus it's less likely to be limited in the US.
            Be Cool Stay in School!
            Next year I'm trying for a summer internship at Stark Industries.

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            • #7
              Re: No More Balloons at The Tokyo Disney Resort!

              I was at Tokyo Disneyland today and.... no balloons. Wow. :-O

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              • #8
                Re: No More Balloons at The Tokyo Disney Resort!

                That stinks.
                For the love of Disney....:yea:

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                • #9
                  Re: No More Balloons at The Tokyo Disney Resort!

                  Good to see that TDR is concerned about our future. I could see an alternative to Helium balloons in the near future.

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                  • #10
                    Re: No More Balloons at The Tokyo Disney Resort!

                    Originally posted by MactheMan View Post
                    I could see an alternative to Helium balloons in the near future.
                    Do you mean an alternative to balloons, or an alternative to helium balloons? Because if it's the latter, the only other choice would be hydrogen, and that wouldn't end well (although it would make a visit to the smoking areas more exciting...).

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                    • #11
                      Re: No More Balloons at The Tokyo Disney Resort!

                      Wow, that is sad. I have always loved balloons and will certainly miss the beautiful designs at the Tokyo Disney resort. What a shame there isn't a more environmentally friendly (and safe!) alternative readily available. Perhaps there will be a discovery someday!
                      Drop another coin in slot and I will tell you more.

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                      • #12
                        Re: No More Balloons at The Tokyo Disney Resort!

                        My guess is that it is more economics as opposed to wanting to be earth friendly. If there was an earth friendly reason, I would think the transition would have been more orchestrated and pre-announced. The abruptness of the decision to stop sales leads me to believe it was not anticipated or decided upon for anything other than financial reasons.

                        As far as a alternative goes, it is governed by the laws of physics and chemical elements. There aren't any practical/safer "lighter than air" gases to be discovered.

                        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lighter_than_air

                        This is just my guess and speculation, but I'm thinking that they will go to balloons on a stick. Not quite the charm as a floating balloon, but certainly a way to continue to design and sell inflatable merchandise.
                        Last edited by Roger55; 11-23-2012, 07:05 PM.

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                        • #13
                          Re: No More Balloons at The Tokyo Disney Resort!

                          Originally posted by Roger55 View Post
                          My guess is that it is more economics as opposed to wanting to be earth friendly. If there was an earth friendly reason, I would think the transition would have been more orchestrated and pre-announced. The abruptness of the decision to stop sales leads me to believe it was not anticipated or decided upon for anything other than financial reasons.
                          Really? Have you any idea how much they charge for a balloon at Tokyo Disney Resort? If financial reasons were a concern, I'd think raising prices would take care of that, even if for the short term. But who knows? This is just me speculating.

                          On the other hand, I am shocked at this decision since balloons make the parks so much more festive. I saw a photo of the holiday balloon on a japanese blog and it seemed quite elaborate and lovely. That's a pity.

                          Secretly, I wish they did the same in the US parks, as my kids love the balloons and my husband and I end up spending (wasting?) too much money away on those when we have visited.

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                          • #14
                            Re: No More Balloons at The Tokyo Disney Resort!

                            Originally posted by jsilvers View Post
                            Do you mean an alternative to balloons, or an alternative to helium balloons? Because if it's the latter, the only other choice would be hydrogen, and that wouldn't end well (although it would make a visit to the smoking areas more exciting...).
                            There are places where they've gone with that alternative. And it hasn't always ended well.

                            Exploding hydrogen balloons at Armenian political rally injure many | The Raw Story
                            Fight On!:sc: Beat the Red Wolves!

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                            • #15
                              Re: No More Balloons at The Tokyo Disney Resort!

                              Uh ... wasn't the Hindenburg filled with hydrogen?
                              Born in a shoebox and making the most of it.

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                              • #16
                                Re: No More Balloons at The Tokyo Disney Resort!

                                That's the problem with people today. They're not willing to have a few explosions and 3rd degree burns just to have a little fun.

                                Cynicism aside, I loved balloons as a kid and seeing people around DL with the trademark mickey head balloon is a staple. If they can't discover some better lighter-then-air gas to use then just use one of the pre-existing ones and quit sweating the impact.

                                I know that sounds irresponsible and maybe a little cavalier but I'm so tired of society deeming this or that is unsafe to the point that everything fun is outlawed. I get why lawn darts don't exist anymore, but we're talking about a frickin' BALLOON. I don't recall any news articles about "the great helium theme park massacre of '61" or similar. Just how much radiation would we get from hemium versus all the time we spend in the proximity of wireless communication devices, antenna's and repeaters, microwave ovens, and a slew of other lesser thought about ways that we're bombarded with radiation each and ever day?

                                In the end, there might be a certain wisdom in just understanding that there will always be some risk and some trace amount of ( insert harmful substance here ) and the pursuit of avoiding it is ultimately just putting ourselves into some protective bubble and hoping the world doesn't hurt us.

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                                • #17
                                  Re: No More Balloons at The Tokyo Disney Resort!

                                  Helium shortage being felt / Disney Resort, hospital MRIs affected by lack of rare gas

                                  Fukutaro Yama****a and Hironari Akiyama / Yomiuri Shimbun Staff Writers




                                  A shortage of helium caused by increasing demand in emerging countries including China and India is beginning to affect Japan.
                                  Tokyo Disney Resort has suspended sales of Disney-character balloons, and at least one hospital has suspended use of magnetic resonance imaging.
                                  Helium is a rare resource mined as a byproduct in a limited number of natural gas fields in such places as the United States. Often used as a coolant because it has the lowest boiling point of all elements, the gas is used in the production of semiconductors and optical fibers. It is also used in MRIs and for low-temperature experiments.
                                  Oriental Land Co., the operator of Tokyo Disney Resort in Chiba Prefecture, stopped selling its character balloons on Wednesday because it had difficulty procuring the gas. This is the first time it has suspended sales of the balloons, which have been very popular among children since the amusement park opened in 1983. It has not decided when to resume balloon sales, the company said.
                                  In hospitals, liquid helium is used to cool electromagnets inside MRI machines when scanning patients' bodies. A source at the hospital that suspended use of MRIs said finding substitute material may take some time, considering the nature and price of helium.
                                  A gas wholesaler in Saitama Prefecture said its helium stock ran out in mid-November and that there would not be any available for shipment for a while.
                                  ===
                                  All helium imported
                                  Only about five nations have natural gas fields that can also produce helium. World production was about 168 million cubic meters in 2010.
                                  Although Japan's demand is a little less than 10 percent of world demand, it relies totally on imports, 95 percent of which come from the United States. The United States accounts for about 75 percent of world production.
                                  According to Iwatani Corp., a major liquefied petroleum gas company, the annual helium demand in Japan is about 13 million cubic meters. More than 40 percent of that amount is used for industrial applications such as optical fiber production, and less than 30 percent is used for MRIs in hospitals.
                                  Since 2000, demand for helium for both industrial and hospital use mainly in emerging countries such as China and India has rapidly increased. This has resulted in an at least threefold increase in helium prices in the last decade, greatly increasing the cost of semiconductor production, which relies heavily on helium.
                                  ===
                                  Calls for government help
                                  Furthermore, due to an accident at a helium production facility in the United States, the supply-demand balance has been very tight since July, according to an Iwatani division chief. The situation may not improve until next spring at the earliest, observers say.
                                  Meanwhile, the production of shale gas, a low-cost natural gas, is expected to grow in the United States. However, not much helium is expected from the deep underground shale layers from which shale gas is extracted. Therefore, many predict that the situation can only become worse in the medium or long term.
                                  LP gas firms in Japan plan to expand procurement from other nations, such as Qatar, starting next year. Some voices in the industry are calling for the central government to take measures to deal with the shortage.
                                  (Nov. 27, 2012)

                                  Helium shortage being felt / Disney Resort, hospital MRIs affected by lack of rare gas : Business : DAILY YOMIURI ONLINE (The Daily Yomiuri)


                                  :love:Bringing the Love since January 10, 2011:love:
                                  We were sent over there with the message that only we would defend Disney quality.. We learnt quickly that the Japanese culture speaks to a level of quality that is hard to comprehend. They were all unbelievably skilled and willing to do the right thing.
                                  Craig Russell -Walt Disney Imagineering

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Re: No More Balloons at The Tokyo Disney Resort!

                                    Fascinating, Travis, thanks for that. Who would have thought helium was so rare there?
                                    Born in a shoebox and making the most of it.

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                                    • #19
                                      Re: No More Balloons at The Tokyo Disney Resort!

                                      I would be tempted to say this topic is full of hot air, but sounds like a serious situation.

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                                      • #20
                                        Re: No More Balloons at The Tokyo Disney Resort!

                                        Yes my son works at a party store and they have set limits on the sale of their helium filled ballons. I believe 1 Mylar per person and I think it was no more than 12 regular balloons. I never knew it was such a problem but apparently it does exists and has been for sometime. They began limiting their sales over the summer.

                                        A little off topic but I have also heard there is going to be a bacon shortage since most of the feed normally used to feed hogs has been used to produce corn for fuel. So if your a pork lover better start hoarding up.
                                        Feel free to visit my Etsy Shop; https://www.etsy.com/shop/AlienKaboo...=hdr_shop_menu
                                        to see my Disney and StarWars skirts for little girls.

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