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Photo TR: Chuck Finally Returns to Japan with TPR


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Table of Contents

Chapter 1--What? They Have Animals Here, too? Tobu Zoo

Chapter 2--Stuff you Can't Do in the U.S.: Universal Japan

Chapter 3--Coasters & Culture: Hirakata & Inari Temple

Chapter 4--The Yokohama Twofer: Cosmoworld and Sea Paradise

Chapter 5--The Same, but Different: Nagashima Spaland

Chapter 6--Coasters and Beer: Hokkaido Greenland and the Sapporo Beer Museum

Chapter 7--Home of the MOST INSANE RIDE IN JAPAN: Rusutsu Resort

Chapter 8--Meanwhile, Back in Tokyo: Joypolis and Tokyo Teleport

Chapter 9--"Am I Taking Crazy Pills?": A Decent Day at Fuji Q

Chapter 10--How to Purge Your Soul of Fuji Q: Tokyo Disneyland

Chapter 11--And, Thus, the Circle is Complete: Back to Tokyo DisneySea


Prelude, or What Happened Before What Was Supposed to Happen Happened: Optional Day at Tokyo DisneySea


Had it really been six years since I last visited Japan with TPR? Six years without yakitori, curry popcorn, Pocari Sweat, and Tokyo Disney? Hard to believe.


Yes, it had been far too long, and since Robb and Elissa make it so easy to visit this fascinating place, why not? This trip was a nice mix of the old and new for me, with plenty of new parks to enjoy (such as Hokkaido Greenland), along with old favorites (Disney and Universal). But even if there had been no new parks and credits on this trip, I would’ve gone. Why? Because it’s TPR in Japan!


Plus, any trip that begins and ends at Tokyo DisneySea is a great trip.


I flew to Narita via San Francisco (just as I did for TPR’s first Japan Trip in 2007) on Sunday, June 23, in time for the optional add-on, which included Tobu Zoo and Universal--plus a day for Tokyo DisneySea (or just knocking around Tokyo). I jumped at this chance because 1) I couldn’t stay for the extra two days at Tokyo Disney at the end of the trip; 2) TDS’s version of Toy Story Midway Mania was going down for rehab, and this would be my chance to check it out; and 3) Hey, it’s freakin’ DisneySea, the best theme park in the world. No other park can touch this one for sheer immersiveness and attention to detail.


So, shall we start at DisneySea, then end there? Makes sense to me.


By the way, it’s Tokyo Disneyland’s 30th anniversary this year. My Mom visited the park back when it first opened in the early 1980s as part of tour she took through Japan. She only had a few hours, but she said she wasn't going to pass up a chance to visit Disneyland in Japan.


Hmm--KT is either 1) getting psyched for DisneySea or 2) practicing her trapeze skills (use 'em or lose 'em).


My accidental discount at DisneySea: The girl in the ticket window asked me my age, which is 53. I ended up with the first “senior” discount I’ve ever received. This is both amusing and embarrassing.


You’ve probably heard of the legendary politeness of the Japanese.


Well, that politeness disappears for a few minutes when a Disney park opens and people rush to the Fast Pass machines. The park stationed cast members at intervals to break up the mob and remind people not to run.


Disney did a great job adding Midway Mania to DisneySea’s American Waterfront section (New York in the 1920s).


The “Toyville Trolley Park” provides the perfect setting for this ride and blends in perfectly with the rest of the American Waterfront.


Do not trust anyone named “Mr. Pricklepants.”


Yes, this is the line for Midway Mania Fast Passes. It has replaced the Tower of Terror “Running of the Bulls.” It moves very quickly.


Yes, this is definitely the first automated shooting gallery in New York City, which is in Japan.


Tokyo Disney’s Fast Pass machines are a bit different from the other parks in that they scan a bar code on your ticket.


As you probably guessed from the mob scene at Midway Mania, we had some time to kill before using our Fast Passes, so we decided to check in to the Hotel Hightower.


A blind date from hell courtesy of Match.com.


This is the best looking of Disney’s Tower of Terror rides.


Even the outdoor section of the queue is full of nifty little details like this. DCA take note!


I’m assuming this is an “official” Hidden Mickey. If not, it’s an amazing simulation (call it “Hidden Mickeymania”).


“Go ahead--don’t sit on my bench. See if I care. And, yes, I always look depressed.”


The story behind this ride is that the NYC Preservation Society is conducting tours exploring the mystery of the infamous Hotel Hightower, or “Tower of Terror.”


Yes, what happened to Harrison Hightower, an arrogant, rich adventurer who has plundered more tombs than Harrison Ford, Brendan Frasier, and Angelina Jolie?


A tip for all arrogant explorer bastards everywhere: If an obscure primitive tribe practically begs you to take an old idol off their hands, think twice about the deal.


Elissa googled this quote and discovered that it’s from The Merry Wives of Windsor and is spoken by Pistol, a thief. Appropriate.


“Bow down to me, scum!”


Hightower's study before . . .


. . . "Heh, heh, heh!" . . .


. . . and after some "unexplained event."


Still more time to kill. What ever shall we do?


Good guess! Here's a seegar!


And you can light that seegar right here.


Many think this is Nemo’s lab, but this is really just his personal bar. He’s working on the perfect Margarita for his Vulcania Restaurant.


I'm pretty sure I visited the same room at Luray Caverns, Va., only without a Lava Monster.


I love the “Terravators,” which make all sorts of racket and smell of ozone.


You can just barely see one of Disney's coolest ride vehicles ever here.


Mama Nautilus and Baby Nautilus.


Drill, baby, drill!


OK, these Tokyo Disneyland 30th-anniversary gimmicks don’t quite work in DisneySea, but they are rather colorful.


I have traveled all the way from Baghdad . . .


. . . on a smelly camel that spits noxious fluids . . .


. . . just to sample your wondrous popcorn!


Oh, so close to winning that Chip (or is it Dale?) plush!


It’s all the monkey’s fault. It’s always the monkey’s fault. More to come from TDS.

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Do you wanna see some more DisneySea? Well . . . OK.


Sindbad’s Storybook Adventures might be Disney’s most underrated ride.


Based on Sindbad’s expression, I think the giant just broke wind--and he’s had refried curry and beans for lunch.


“Something, something, something Japanese . . . COMPASS OF YOUR HEART!”


Not another monkey? Quit stalking us!


Angus McNasty is enraged that one of his fellow cats has been buried in bananas! He will kill this feline for enduring such an indignity, then slay those who did this to him!


Half-naked women welcome Sindbad back from his long journey.


At last, it’s our time to be swallowed by Woody.


Tip: If some carny offers to show you his “carny cannon” . . .


. . . he’s probably talking about something in his pants, not this toy. Be advised.


DisneySea really went overboard with the “Andy’s room” theming.


Yes, the ride really does go under . . .


. . . “Andy’s bed.”


They took the basic concept from from the Florida queue . . .


. . . and expanded on it. Other than that, the ride is exactly the same as in California and Florida (aside from being in Japanese).


Fill in the blanks: “Robb and I won a _____ and a ______.”


It looks a helluva lot better that DCA’s version outside, too.


There’s even a tiny arcade (the “Carnival Corral”) . . .


. . . with a free racing game for kids . . .


. . . and this cool kid-powered display. Well done, DisneySea!


Of course, radiation leaking from the Midway Mania ride can lead to spontaneous mutations. They’re working on this.


Raging Spirits was a new credit for me. It was done for rehab back in 2007.


Raging Spirits used to be a rough, painful ride, like its French cousin (Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril and Concussions). But the Japanese completely rebuilt the ride, and now it’s smooth as glass and enjoyable. Another reason Tokyo DisneySea is the best theme park anywhere.


The Japanese still haven’t grasped the basics of Mexican food yet. Teriyaki pork taco, anyone? But they do make their own tortillas, and those are pretty good.


Find the Hidden Mickey.


It looks like this.


Duffy the Bear is a big deal in Japan. He even has his own photo spots at DisneySea--just place your Duffy on this shelf for a guaranteed great photo (if you're into that sort of thing).


The Toyville Trolley Park looks particularly cool after dark.


And it’s still mobbed! These “old-fashioned” lights are all custom-made LEDs, by the way.


Yes, it was a great day at DisneySea--we will be back!


But, for now, Paco says, “Adios!”

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I loved the new Fast Pass machines! Once I got the hang of it, lol.


Soooo much easier with a bar code than having to actually put the

ticket into the machine. So many breakdowns from that, in past visits.


Great opening shots, Chuck!

Looking forward to more coming up.

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I haven't even gotten to my TDLR photos yet,

and to post then several weeks from now in my TR..



How about EVERY YEAR is Visiting Tokyo Disney Year, Elissa?


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I couldn't believe how smooth Raging Spirits was!


I even talked David into riding with me

(I had single rider-ed earlier "just to check")

and he found it the best coaster of the bunch

he had ridden on the tour!


And we rode it TWICE. First time together,

second time - Single Rider!


That was a nice unexpected surprise to the park.

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Commenting to say I'm following along! I've read other TDS reports before and the place looks amazing. I've been to WDW 3 times and am always amazed at how detailed and special the place is in person. Pictures don't do it justice and I can only imagine that is magnified at DisneySea.


That Toy Story Fast Pass line is something else! Are all the rides in Japanese or is everything dually dubbed in English as well? Your TR mentioned that Toy Story was in Japanese but what about the Highland Tower of Terror? I've not had a lot of experiences traveling abroad so am just curious how that works. Which Disney park has Pooh's Honey Hut?

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Great start to the report. As it's Tokyo Disney, do you really need to go any further?


TDS is such an outstanding park, now my number 1. It's a mix of the quality of themeing, ride selection and operations and because each of those are just superb it all comes together for an awesome park.


Can't wait to see the following days as you write them.

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I've probably seen 100 trip reports and videos of Journey to the Center of The Earth but I still have no idea what the ride does which is why it's so fascinating. Test Track through a mountain with monsters or something? I don't know but I can't wait to get to this place one of these days.


Great report so far Chuck!

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^Journey is the best dark ride Disney has ever developed, and a great use of the "Test Track" ride system--there's even some airtime during the last high-speed section. The detail in the various caverns you travel through is superb.


Plus, it has Lava Monster.



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^ And Chendu! What about Chendu?


(A pretty potent sidekick ~to Sindbad ~ if you ask me, lol.)


Sindbad and Chendu.... behind me, hah hah. (2007 TPR Tour)

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^ Understood. Hee hee hee.


^Aw crap, now I have Compass of your Heart stuck in my head!!!!


Hey, I got it on the park's soundtrack CD - the entire "ride mix" of it all!

Wanna share, Elissa?


Complete with a little pic of the happy Adventurers!

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