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TR- bert has a Spooktacular time with TPR in Japan!

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Great to see all of what you did that day! Super interesting how the look and vibe of the Kabukicho changes from day to night. We went down a lot of the same streets.


The lights and weird shops were fun to look at but honestly at night the whole place was just flooded with teens trying to act cool having smokes and drinks with friends on the street


I would have liked to have seen the statue light up or go up to see it up close. Thanks for the update!

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Great to see all of what you did that day! Super interesting how the look and vibe of the Kabukicho changes from day to night. We went down a lot of the same streets.


The lights and weird shops were fun to look at but honestly at night the whole place was just flooded with teens trying to act cool having smokes and drinks with friends on the street


I would have liked to have seen the statue light up or go up to see it up close. Thanks for the update!


I can imagine it at night/evening, and it would be mostly like you described! LOL


Tho I would think the lights down there would be amazing and sensory overload.


in some of my pics you can see the lights in Big G's mouth, but we didn't get to see him blow smoke or light up either.

Yet another reason to go back !


working on part 2, and hope to have it up tomorrow. - we went back to Shibuya crossing and did some sightseeing and shopping. But we stumbled across a DC Comics pop-up store, and I took a crap ton of pics in there. Won't post all of them, but will post a lot of them since it was fairly unique stuff, and since I didn't want to buy it to drag it home, settled for pics of the neat stuff.


so it will be a quick read if you dont' like Batman.. LOL

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after finishing up our coffees in Shinjuku, we hopped on a train in the General direction of the "Simply Oishii" cooking class we were all going to be taking later - something that Robb & Elissa had set up for the group, and it sounded like a really fun and educational class.


but that wasn't until 6pm, so we still had some time, so Jon and I exited the train a couple of stations from Shinjuku to experience Shibuya crossing area, but in the daytime (and without the rain).



note: there will be a chunk of pics from DC Comics pop up store in this installment, so if you don't like Batman or superhero stuff. . sorry. (at least it will make for a quick to skim update)


wow.. Shibuya crossing looks different in the daytime.


more crowded, but just as interesting/intriguing as it was during our rainy night visit the other week tho.


the main reason I wanted to come back tho was to go into the Shibuya Crossing gift shop, that was located just behind the bus station across from the Starbucks.


it had looked like (thru the windows on the evening visit) that it was an "official" Souvenir shop. But upon entering the now open building, it turned out it was an 8 story mini "shopping mall / flea market" mashup, that had small floors with lots of tiny stores selling everything from souveniers, to clothing, to sneakers, to even an optometrists office in the complex.


As a KISS fan, I thought this was cool. . but it was also Japanese sized, and ~$39. . so no way would my butt fit in it, so just took a pic and moved on into the lobby.


(it turned out the specific shirt I had wanted to buy as a gift was hand printed (which I liked) but over $54 - for a T-shirt !! which I did not like. So my spouse got a cheaper shirt at this store, and a Shibuya Crossing magnet was bought for the fridge.


What's this? a DC Comics pop up store had opened in the building? and was open while we were there?


oh yes, gonna *have* to check this out.


this is Justice League version of Batman


Dark Knight Batman


Batman vs Superman Batman


these are all in the lobby when entering this small building.


This guy had a whole wall dedicated to him (and I saw him a few times thruout the trip in places)


at first I thought it was wearing KISS makeup, but apparently he's a character in the Sanrio universe - associated with "Hello Kitty" ?


named Aggretsuko


here's the write up from the Sanrio site:




is a cute red panda

works as an office associate in an accounting department

has unsympathetic bosses who push her to the limit

takes out her frustration with heavy metal karaoke sessions


Speaking of "Hello Kitty". . this store also has lots of that character for sale here.


this is only 1 of about 20 pics I took of the different racks (to show my Hello Kitty collecting friend)


we browsed our way up each level (with steep escalators between floors, as this is such a narrow building), buying a few things here and there. . and then we were face to face with the DC Pop Up store, celebrating Batman's 70th Anniversary.



VERY cool, but way out of my price-range.


Samurai Batman statue (Sitting on throne)


and a standing version too


Various Pewter offerings



lots of, what I imagine, unique to Japan offerings.


the Wonder Woman leather bag was fantastic. . and I was really really tempted.


but common sense won out: a) it was expensive and I didn't need it, and b) it kinda looked like Capt. Marvel, even tho it has the WW logo right there on it.


So just a picture and moved on.


these coins were really neat. . but since I dont' really collect Batman or Superman, I was happy just looking at them.


(who do I collect? Poison Ivy, Harley/Joker, the Metal Men, Black Manta . . .pretty much anything unique with those DC characters, I'll pick up)


cute 'lil "Wheels of Gotham" Batman collectibles.


LOL. . can you imagine trying to get this onto the plane carry-on? (for that price, no way would I check em) - but the Batarang set was really cool


lots and lots of statues avail. (but these would have caused the same issue the Jack Skellington in the prior update would have caused - the packaging on these (to avoid breakage) is huge. No room at all to fit in my suitcases, so wasn't even tempted.


tho I LOVED this Plastic Man, and probably will end up buying him from my local comic shop.


Life size Bat-Cowl from "Batman and Robin".


no chest piece on display. . guess they figured no one wants a Batsuit with nipples :p


flying Batman Beyond statue.


Batmobile from Batman TV show!


Justice League statues . . with a "Sexy" Catwoman statue in front.


a couple more statues, and some amazing "block figure" JLA characters.


if they weren't blind box, and I could have ensured I'd get Wonder Woman? totally would have bought one - and have since picked up a Wondy from eBay for only ~$15


a few more statues


including Batman: the Animated Series version of Harley Quinn - which I already own.


one last look at some high-end sculptures, mainly based on the Arkham Knight videogame, and then we headed back down to street level to hit a few stores in the Shibuya Crossing area.


while waiting to cross the street, we came across (or rather they came across us), one of those go-kart tours, where you can dress up in character onesies, and ride around sightseeing.


this group contained a Minion, Sully from Monsters inc (I think)


Minnie Mouse, and a rainbow unicorn. . among others


all officially licensed I'm sure :)


we ended up in a gigantic drustore type store, that had 5-6 stories of everything one could possibly want to buy.


including a massive variety of Kit-Kat options (which is I think why Jon wanted to go into this store).


they had out front a giant fishtank, and i had planned to stay outside while he bought stuff (as it was crowded and the aisles were narrow). . but I stepped in to take a pic of this statue, and was hooked.

Could this statue possibly be of Hachikō - the dog mascot of the Shibuya Crossing area? Doesn't look like him, but hard to tell in this pic.


I ended up buying a ton of souvenirs in here, including magnets, T-shirts, and postcards.


they even had a "Pride" section on the 1st floor by the registers.


we ended up spending a bit longer in here than we intended, but we bought a lot of stuff, so it was a good use of time :)


it was starting to get a bit overcast, and maybe drizzled a little bit while we were shopping..so we started to make our way back to the train station, to head to the cooking class.


Tho taking our time to stop and look at interesting things as we passed (and Jon was trying to find an ATM that would work with his card, as he had been trying with no luck at a few places (but it had been working earlier in the trip) and ended up having to call his bank to figure out what was going on).


this guitar store was pretty cool, although they didn't have any prices listed.


(and with Guitars, as with other certain things - if you have to ask the cost? you can't afford it).



almost back at the train station, and you can see the clouds really rolling in.



so crowded when the walk lights all go on!


adorable Shibuya themed bus, with the dog logo of the area.


not sure if this was a public transport bus (regardless of what it says). .I think it might have been a separately charged tour bus for a specific sights tour.


Old train car, turned into the Shibuya Tourist Center, just outside the station.


with some Hello Kitty theming.


I was able to take a stealth pic - between so many walking pedestrians! - of the mural on the side of the Shibuya station that celebrates Hachikō, the dog mascot of the station.


I snapped this as we were headed into the station, to grab a train to our next stop.


it was only about 4:45, but we wanted to make certain we could follow the directions Elissa had given us as to how to get to the space where the class was going to be held, so we build in about an hour of "bert and Jon get lost" time.


the super easy part was grabbing the right train to get to the station we needed (and as luck would have it, one pulled in almost the moment we got to the platform).


as we arrived at the Shimbashi Station for our cooking class we had plenty of time to explore the neighborhood before it was time for our class.


but first, I had to take a bathroom break.


and as the Shimbashi Station is not one of the "bigger" stations in Japan (although it was PLENTY big), some of the restrooms were "old style".


so yes, it took almost 10 days, but I finally found an old-skool Japanese toilet.


so yep, you bet I took a picture of it :)


tho not *while* I was using it. . just after :)



part III - the cooking class and arriving at nirvana (I mean the Tokyo Disney Complex), hoping to have up in the next few days!

Edited by bert425
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Nice TR. As for Aggretsuko, it's a definitely-not-for-kids show, is totally hilarious, and both seasons are on US Netflix (both dubbed and sub-titled). I highly recommend it.

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Great ongoing tour of everything you saw, and bought, Bert! Tokyo and Japan has so much, too much at times, things to see and experience.


But I think you've now proven to Elissa, that a "certain Panda" is not all cuddly and cute....


Evil, evil, evil!


"Yes, I am looking at you, Elissa." TPR 2012 China Tour.

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Yeah, I guess it's kinda like old-school Simpsons in that regard, where the really adult jokes the kids just won't know they're missing something. I don't have any to provide that "kid's perspective" LOL.

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Nice TR. As for Aggretsuko, it's a definitely-not-for-kids show, is totally hilarious, and both seasons are on US Netflix (both dubbed and sub-titled). I highly recommend it.



cool. . I'll have to check it out, as it sounds like something I might really enjoy!

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Free day Nagoya-Tokyo Disney part 3 (and that amazing cooking class, many of those pics are courtesy Robb and/or Miyuki, who took lots of pics of us during the class)


upon exiting the train onto the platform at Shimbashi Station, here was the view.


Every pic I took just blows me away again when I see it. . so much neon and signage - EVERYWHERE.


I absolutely love Japan.


Not sure what, exactly, the attraction was at:


"Top*s Exciting Hall!"


Tho it caught my eye enough to snap a pic if it. . maybe a casino of some sort (more likely a Pachinko parlor)


Exiting from the platform down into the station, this is yet another Japanese Rail station with some stunning stained glass installations in it.


The Peacock motif is seemingly very popular (saw it in a few stations), but this one seems to have steam trains in it too.


and once we got out into the main square at the "front" of the station, I kinda got why. . . on display, a full sized steam engine.


Didn't get close enough to read any plaque that may have been there - and it would have been in Japanese anyways - but I suspect this is a decommissioned classic locomotive that has some history behind it. (based on that sign there with some times, I'd think there's a lecture about the train a few times a day)


lovely display to just stumble across tho, and glad I got to see it.


Jon and I only got slightly lost (turned around the wrong way), but once we oriented ourselves towards the correct intersection, the directions Elissa had provided us to where the "Simply Oishii Japanese Cooking Class" was going to be held, were excellent and we found our way to it very quickly.


once we had found where we needed to be? we had about 40 minutes to roam the area "tourist-ing" and giving Jon a chance to deal with his bank to resolve the issue he was seeing with his ATM card.


this was a parking garage turntable in an alleyway we passed. For those living in metropolitan cities, this might be a familiar site, but having lived in Austin suburbs for decades, it was unique and interesting to me.


the area was a little "sleepy" at this time (around 5:20 pm), but I really liked the laid back vibe in this neighborhood. and lots of narrow streets.


among my favorite things about Japan is how the old architecture co-exists with the modern.


tho this could be a home, I suspect it is a restaurant, but the way it sits side by side with the tall buildings is beautiful.


OMG. . I found a "cat lady" store.


literally everything in this woman's "pop up store" - a bit wider and deeper than a flea market booth we'd see here in the States - was cat themed, or cat lady themed.


it was all kinds of awesome, but no, I didn't by anything.


I'm a dog person.



tho I certainly WAS tempted by the "vomiting kitty" tissue box holder.


LOL.. hairballs?





I wanted to go in, but it was starting to get a little chilly, and it was almost time to meet up for the class.


so I snapped a picture to let some of the others in the group - who are big Sake fans - know that it was right around the corner.


and then we met up in front of the kitchen space for the Cooking class, and headed up.


we were going to learn to make Gyoza & Yakisoba, from a wonderful lady named Miyuki (and her two assistants).


I did take pictures of the recipe handout/booklet (and saved a copy of the booklet, that I've used for the Yakisoba but not for the Gyoza yet). . but not gonna post those pics.


if you wanna learn, take a class. It was so enjoyable and fun, and the food came out fantastic.


but you can follow Simply Oishi cooking class (and Miyuki) on Instagram at: Simply_oishii


after dividing into small groups, and we each had our "prep" plate.


you can see in this pic, we all have our instruction booklets too.


this is the prep plate that will allow us to prepare tonight during our class:


-- Pounded Cucumber Pickles (Tataki Kyuri)

-- Fried Gyoza Dumplings (Yaki Gyoza)


-- Yakisoba (Fried noodles)


here was my cooking group - and we would all participate in most steps, taking turns to all have fun cooking and learning.


but eventually, I got it on, with some help from my teammates!


First challenge was to get the aprons on.


yes, I had the dumb -- and as was pointed out, "one would think bert would be better at figuring out things with straps/bondage". . . LOL


so lovely that someone caught this moment on camera tho!


here we all are, ready to begin, and that's Miss Miyuki on the front left ready to teach us!


with her assistants in the background getting the kitchen ready, here's Miyuki demonstrating the correct way to pound the cucumber for the "Pounded Cucumber Pickles" dish


and once our group had each finished, here is what the dish looks like.


(it would then sit and marinate until it would be eaten with the whole meal)


looks good, doesn't it? (it tasted FANTASTIC!)


then it was time to move on to making the filling for the Gyoza - taking turns cutting/slicing veggies and spices to mix into the meat.


Here's Allison using her strength to break down the fiber in the pork, and get all the goodies mixed in.


and the dumpling wrappers we were going to be using to make the Gyoza . . I took the pic so I could find them in the local Asian market here.


once the Yakisoba was cooked thru, the heat turned down to low, and we all gathered in the kitchen with our plates of uncooked Gyoza, and Miyuki showed us all how to lay the Gyoza in the frying pan, and the technique of covering & flipping the pan to make perfect fried Gyoza.



Each team pretty much picked one person to do the cooking/flipping. . . the rest of us mainly just watched, and got ready to eat :)


Pounded Cucumber Pickles made. . . Miyuki was ready to move on and teach us how to make the Fried Gyoza Dumplings.


and here's Joey pounding his cucumber in the other group at our table.


(as you notice, Miyuki's helpers were circling the room, offering helpful advice and assistance as we worked)


watch out! We've all got knives!


(to chop, cube, and peel the ingredients that make the Gyoza stuffing taste so dang good)


-- insert Psycho music sting here --


Proud parents of a tray of Gyoza!


this may look like a lot, but some other teams absolutely smoked us - I think Robb's team made almost twice as many!


although ours certainly didn't come out too badly, and do look like the ones Miyuki made


Gyoza prepped, those got set aside, and then it was time to make the Yakisoba!


Hot Plates came out for each group, along with Raw Pork/Bacon, and a bunch of noodles, and we proceeded to saute/cook the meat and noodles. Taking turns stirring, to keep things from burning during this process.


based on this pic, the "cookers" on the teams were: Alex, Elissa, Trent, and David.


but here's the TPR group gathered in the kitchen! (minus Robb, who took the picture, thanks Robb!)


we cleared off the hotplates with Yakisoba to the sides of the tables, and then we all sat down to dig in.


as noted. . everything was so, so good. even the pounded cucumber pickles were amazing.


I know I'm a decent cook, but I had no idea I could cook Japanese food like this, that was so easy to make, and would come out so great tasting.


I didn't remember to take a pic *before* I started eating, but I did remember before I made too much of a dent in the plate.


I'm not a big beer drinker, but it was available, and I wanted to at least try Japanese beer. So I gave it a shot during the meal (tho mainly stuck with Ginger Ale).


I would say it tasted like a bit more robust Coors Lite (not as watered down tasting as some American beers).


we visited and chatted, and enjoyed the meal, and the company of the wonderful ladies who taught us during the class (if you ever make it to Tokyo? *highly* recommended, and I'm so thrilled that Robb & Elissa included this cooking class as part of the trip. It absolutely was a highlight, and so very enjoyable.


but eventually, we had to say our goodbyes, and head to the train station, as we were headed to Tokyo Disney complex to check into our final hotel for the trip!


want a closer look?


here ya go.


yum and/or drooooool.


they were SO freaking good.


and when perfectly flipped? here's Miyuki demonstrating what the Gyoza *should* look like when they come out of the pans.


more stained glass in a Station, as we transferred from the line we were on, to the the line that connects to Tokyo Disney.


what was so nuts during the walk to the TDL/TDS station to get on that train, was the *steady* stream of people passing us in the other direction - coming back from Disney - and almost every one of them was wearing Mickey Ears (or Duffy Ears) and was carrying a TDL shopping bag.


seriously, like almost every single person.


and then.


after a fairly short train ride.


we were there.


at the station.


of course I stopped to get this pic.


I mean, I never, ever, thought I would set foot in this bucket list place. (and we had several days there - I had 4 full days, as was using a Tokyo free day to stay at TDL on Wed, and was staying an extra day after).


and no, it STILL wasn't enough :)


we were arriving fairly late in the evening, so the Monorail station wasn't too crowded. *(per the clock in the next pic, it was ~10pm when we arrived)


made it easy to get this pic.


and here it comes.


the TDL monorail, with it's famous Mickey Mouse Windows.


we were getting on the Monoral at the Ikspiari station (the Downtown Disney area, if you will). . so we were going to be riding it to our hotel, the Hilton Tokyo Bay, that was at the Resort Stop on the Monorail.


meaning we were going to be passing DisneyLand, the stop between Ikspiari and our Hotel stop.


i was so giddy. .


Mickey window from inside the monorail


i know he's supposed to be whistling, but I'm a child with a dirty mind. . so Mickey is doing something else here, methinks.


especially since in the next window is drunk Mickey (so his inhibitions have been lowered)




as noted, it was late, so the monorail was pretty empty when we got on. . . and was able to go to the very front.


that's the Tokyo Disneyland Hotel - that's just across the Monorail station from the TDL front gates.


slightly blurry, as we were moving, but theres Space Mountain.


closer pic of the Tokyo Disneyland Hotel.


at the Monorail stop at Tokyo Disneyland. . . thru the station (and thru the monorail windows), here's Tokyo Disneyland's front gates, and covered Main Street.


snapping a few more pics as we pulled out to get to our stop.


(remember, it's my first time seeing it, so took a lot of pics, tho not sharing *all* of them).


the park had just closed, so that's why the blurry folks are all leaving the park, not going in.


a little blurry, but Space Mountain being all red.


after a minute or so more, we pulled into our station, and a short walk later? we were standing in the lobby of Hilton Tokyo Bay - our home for the next few days.


our luggage transfer had arrived, and was waiting for us in the lobby. So Elissa got us all checked in while Robb handed out park tickets, and advised us all what we should expect the next day (I believe the park opened at 9, but it's advised to get there much earlier, so I planned to be out there by 7:30 at the latest queuing up).


the way the park hoppers work in Tokyo Disney complex, is that you have to pick one park only for the 1st day, and then the 2nd day you must go to the OTHER park. if you are staying more than 2 days, then on the 3rd day, you can hop back and forth between the parks.


Wednesday was technically a Tokyo free day for anyone that didn't want to do the Disney parks, but Robb & Elissa asked that everyone at least swing by Disneyland and go in, so that way on Thursday, everyone would be at Tokyo DisneySea.


although there was a TON more stuff that I would have loved to do in Tokyo? Disney was the entire reason I wanted to go on this trip. Bucketlist stuff. . . so I was gonna spend the entire day, Open-Close at Disneyland.


sounded like quite a few others were going to do that as well, and a group of us decided to hang out together in the park, and made plans to meet up in the morning to eat breakfast at the hotel buffet, and head out to the park together.


and with that, we said our goodnights, after a very long day, and everyone headed up to our rooms.


this time I remembered to take a pic of the room on the 1st night, before there were clothes/purchases everywhere!


so if you ever wondered what a room at Hilton Tokyo Bay (in the Tokyo Disney Complex) looks like? here ya go.


at the door, looking down hallway.


Stepping into the main room. . love the lights in the headboards.


this was, I think, the biggest room during the trip.


while perhaps a little dated, it was very comfortable, and made for a really enjoyable stay (I have pics of the view in the morning, I think .. so those will be in the next update).


looking back towards the door, from the settee.


ooo.. some mood lighting options?




even gayer with the bathroom light off. . . LOL


and thus, after a quick call home to tell the spouse about my fantastic day, and how I was actually at Tokyo Disney. . . then a shower. . and I crashed hard, ready to get up early and cross TDL off my bucket list.


hope you enjoyed reading thus far, as there are gonna be a TON of pictures of TDL & TDS over the next couple of weeks.

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Great stuff there Bert, especially that cooking class! What a great "souvenir" of a trip like that. Including the recipes you can do at home, especially those yummy-looking Pounded Pickles there! Great treat I'm sure.


And of course I am soooooo looking forward to your reporting on that "Other Resort" you went to.

Edited by Nrthwnd
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By the way Bert.... I was wondering about the Gyozas. Did anybody ask about making a lot of them,

and then freezing some for future meals? Or is this totally frowned upon, in Japan?


I ask this, because here in Vancouver, we have a number of Asian-based food companies who supply local grocery stores with uncooked, pre-made, frozen ones, under Brand Names I might add. And they're as good, IMhO. But of course I can get them made fresh, too.


I just thought I would ask their/TPR's opinion of possibly doing this, with a fresh LARGE batch of Gyozas.

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That cooking class looks so fun! Your gyoza look very good.


thanks, but those are not just mine. Alex, Zach, and Allison's Gyoza forming skills are on display there too. . and Alex is who cooked most of em (can't recall if Zach took a turn on the pan, but i know I didn't).



By the way Bert.... I was wondering about the Gyozas. Did anybody ask about making a lot of them,

and then freezing some for future meals? Or is this totally frowned upon, in Japan?


I ask this, because here in Vancouver, we have a number of Asian-based food companies who supply local grocery stores with uncooked, pre-made, frozen ones, under Brand Names I might add. And they're as good, IMhO. But of course I can get them made fresh, too.


I just thought I would ask their/TPR's opinion of possibly doing this, with a fresh LARGE batch of Gyozas.


I dunno about frowned upon, but I think I recall Elissa telling us that they make big batches and freeze them.

so best input will be from her if she comments.


but I believe the answer was yes, you can do that.

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The design of the rooms at the Hilton Tokyo Bay surprised us too. Fun and futuristic. We enjoyed our stay there last year!


Thanks for sharing another great update!


thanks, really appreciate it.


there were a few broken things in the room, hence my comment that it's a little dated (loose light, fan didn't work in bathroom). . minor stuff, but I really did enjoy the "mood lighting" in the room.


and that settee was super comfortable, and large enough to dump a lot of stuff purchased on it


And now I'm hungry for Gyoza!!!


Tell me about it!


try posting that update while trying to stick to a diet! But I'm determined to stick to it and get back to weight before our Carowinds trip in June.



^ As far as I'm concerned, that's the very best problem to have.

yeah.. but not if one is trying to avoid even glancing at a Test Seat!


(tho the moment I'm back below 200. . hopefully before the end of March. . I'm treating myself to Sushi buffet that has fantastic Gyoza)

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it's finally time!


I've finally gotten to the point in my Japan trip with TPR, where we got to Tokyo Disney, and I'm ready to spend a full day in the park(s) that have been at the top of my bucket list for many, many years.


I know that one can never have too many photo-trip reports from Tokyo Disney complex, but I won't bore y'all with EVERY picture I took during my 4 days in the parks. . but I will post a lot, so really hope y'all enjoy.


I am gonna try to keep commentary down (good luck, right?). .but gonna try to provide some context for some batches of pics, without doing a full play by play of what I did every moment in the parks.


1st Park? as mentioned in the prior report, Tokyo Disneyland (the next day would be Tokyo DisneySea)


Let's go!


Waking up, and looking out the window. Here's the view i had from my room at the Hilton Tokyo Bay.


there is a lot of construction going on at the Tokyo Disney Compex - including on the Castle.


but in this pic can see Space Mountain on the Left, and the Castle on the right.


I believe I was told the construction right in front of me, is either a parking garage, or a new hotel. . but just beyond that? that's the show building for Beast's Castle (you can see the scaffolding up on the front of it).


the building on the left, also with the scaffolding - is the new Fantastyland Forest Theater - TDL's 1st indoor theater.


zooming in on Castle, and B&B ride show building


zooming in on Space Mountain & new theater


and some pics of the monorail from my hotel room.






after a quick breakfast (which I didn't get any pics of this day. .not sure if I did on other days yet), we headed out to the Monorail station, a good 1 hour before park open, to line up.


From this station pic, you can see our hotel: the Hilton Tokyo Bay.


just a short walk to the monorail.



so cute


me not really believing I'm finally here.


it was early, so the Monorail was pretty deserted - especially since the hotels are the stop just after Disneyland, so those who were going to line up, had already exited before we got on, for an almost complete loop to get back to that park.


tho we were going to pass Tokyo DisneySea stop along the way.


so much adorable detail in the Monorails!



it's not a "long" ride, but it was long enough that Jon and I grabbed a pic on a seat with Micky behind us.


and then we were at the Tokyo Disneyland stop, and this display greeted us!


Spooktacular! (and pretty cute).


love the pumpkin "micky ears" on the ghost.


looking at one of the Brochures I picked up at the station before leaving.


Tokyo Disneyland


Tokyo DisneySea


and coming down the steps from the station, on the side opposite the park is the GORGEOUS Disneyland Hotel.


i didn't realize how stunning this was the night before in the dark.


unfortunately, I never had enough time to wander over into the lobby to look around. . if I ever get back? will take a moment to do that, perhaps after park closes for the night.


another look at this beauty.


even the murals on the monorail station - as you pass under it to get to the park gates - are beautiful.


Fantastyland mural, with Alice, the Haunted Mansion, Carousel & Castle.




and this was about an hour before opening.


if you've ever heard Robb talk about Japanese efficiency tho, you'd not be surprised that this huge crowd in front of us was orderly, and in the park - once gates opened - in under 5 minutes.


a pic behind me, with large amounts of people showing up every moment (and Monorail arrival).


the space behind me would fill up all the way across to the Disneyland Hotel.


lots of folks dressing up during our visit - likely because of Halloween (or maybe folks just like to dress up to come to Disney).


these two ladies were happy to pose for me, tho they did not want their faces in the picture (and even checked to make sure the pic I took did not include their heads. . . I'm guessing they were playing hooky from work or school to come to Disney?).


I never did figure out what the outfits were tho. . Lion King Cheerleaders?


no one really seemed to know.


time passed quickly, people watching and chatting, and then the park opened.


the famous covered Main Street. . with the castle at the end


(and in this pic, you can't really see the construction cranes).



love the cast members out front with the giant Micky Hands waving folks in to the restaurant for morning coffee, treats.


we bypassed Star Tours for the moment, heading towards Space Mountain.


i honestly can't recall if we picked up a fast pass for Space Mountain..but I think we did not, and picked up one for Monsters Inc as we walked by it instead, and did Standby for SM.



holy. . look at this line already.


but based on the following pics, we did Standby line.






looking out at Tomorrowland from the Escalator up to Space Mountain's main queue.


those folks sitting/queued up on the left are for the 1st showing of "One Man's Dream" - which was a popular show that recently ended it's run at the park.


castle, with the crane in view now.



loved the multiple "chicken exits" at Space Mountain. . there were several, all labeled "Escape Pod"


didn't love all the signage for Coke everywhere. . but with some nice framing, you can remove "presented by Coca-Cola" from most of your pics.


yeah. . definitely in the standby line.



it was continuously moving tho.





after our ride on Space Mountain, and a ride on Star Tours (which I ended up riding, I think 4 times over the days), and our Monster's Inc ride, we headed our of Tomorrowland, and towards Fantastyland. . with eyes on Pooh's HunnyHunt and Haunted Mansion.


but to get there from Tomorrowland, you can pass thru the "new" section of Fantasyland, that will be Beauty and the Beast.


these pics are all from October, 2019. The land is supposed to open up in ~2 months . . but this is what it looked like then.


heading into the land, the new Theater.


Beast's Castle (that houses the main ride)


Gaston's Pub





Belle's House?


the new Toontown sign that went up on the other side of this new Beauty & the Beast section


Fast Pass for Pooh in hand, I know we then headed over to Haunted Mansion Holiday (they had the Nightmare Before Christmas overlay on. .I'd never seen any version that way, and was so excited).


passing It's a Small World (for the moment)



the Alice in Wonderland section is wonderfully themed. such a great job . . love it.


and there were Guests who'd come to the park in costume posing for pics.


and they didn't mind if I snapped one of them too.




LOVE this soda machine more than the ones at Fuji-Q that were in the logo there.


at the Haunted Mansion, but stopping for a pic with a cast member before getting in line.


everyone was so nice, although not a lot of English speaking. . I got the feeling that the park caters way more to locals than visitors. . tho all cast members were SUPER nice, and made an effort to communicate.


and everyone was happy to pose for a picture when I asked.


oh, and I love the Pumpkin Elephant lanterns surrounding Dumbo in the background here.


Dumbo in flight. . and the ride all done up for Halloween.


but this is really what I was here for.


the line looked massive, but was really only ~25 minutes until we were entering the Mansion.


the crane was nice enough to move out from blocking the castle shot from behind, so snapped a quick pic.










I LOVED these umbrellas, and if Disney sold them? we'd have one out over our back patio set right now.





Close up of the top of one of the Umbrellas.




I thought I was appropriately dressed for Haunted Mansion! (I actually got several comments (well. . pointing and "thumbs up") on my shirt while we were in line)


I bought it probably 12 years ago at Disneyland in California.









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TDL Day 1 pt II


After our ride, we exited out. . right into the 1st parade of the day, which was passing by right in front: The Halloween themed:


Spooky "Boo" Parade


featuring some wonderful costumes, an addictive soundtrack, and some really cool floats.










note these guys on this float. . all of the heads rotate to different "scary" sides.




Chip and Dale are super popular in Japan, I'd say. .they were in every parade, in both parks. . I don't recall seeing Pluto at all tho. . . maybe he's not in Japan?


we only caught a few floats, as we had missed part of the parade, but I knew I'd have other chances to see it.


so we went into It's a Small World.




and the moving train inside was adorable.


noted! no dancing in the boat.



hm. . .may have gotten my fast passes mixed up, because it looks like we headed back to Tomorrowland for Monster's Inc. (so maybe the one we got was really late in the day, and that's why we were able to grab a Pooh one as we walked by , but did standby for Space Mountain & Haunted Mansion).







the vehicles were really cute (I guess that word would describe a lot of Japan stuff). . but the ride was a little "jerky" in spots, an made for a. . "not super comfortable" ride.


tho it was fun "shooting" things, by using a flashlight instead of a gun.


Store displays as we roamed across the park towards Adventureland.


some great photo ops & props out and about for the season in the Main Street area.


closed off castle, with cranes.


Still, you don't really notice them unless you know they are there.


ok..THIS is what I'm talking about.


Finally noticed this on the guidemap, and we did manage to try most all of them during our visit.


think my favorite in Disneyland was the Soy Sauce and Butter, tho the Honey was very good too.


Strawberry and the Chocolate both tasted like popcorn dusted in Nestle Quick. . in other words, a few bites went a long way. . .


Pirates of the Caribbean at Tokyo Disneyland!



my phone doesn't like taking pics while moving even slightly. . so unfortunately, didn't get a lot of GOOD pics on rides (Haunted Mansion or Monsters Inc), or boat rides (Small World, Pirates). . .but Tokyo Disneyland still has the redhead at auction. . so HAD to share my pic of her, even if blurry.



towards the end of the ride, we got stopped prior to unload right in front of the incredible Jack Sparrow Animatronic. . so got a decent pic of him.


not a fan of him being added thruout the ride, but seriously, this animatronic is impressive as hell


This pic is from the wall in Guest Services.


why were we at Guest Services? We'd been sent there by the Cast Members at Blue Bayou Restaurant.


after we got off of Pirates, we peeked in to see if there was a chance to get "standby seating". . but as noted, not a lot of English Spoken. From what we could decipher among me and the Castmembers, is that one had to book thru the app, no standby option is available.


but they told me go up to front Guest Services for English, so Jon and I headed up that way. . . really just to confirm that no standby reservations could be taken.


when we got here, there is one Castmember who deals with any English questions, so after a short wait she called me up and I queried about Blue Bayou.


she explained to me that you have to have a Japanese App to book the restaurants, and she was really sorry. She asked where I was visiting from, and I told her I was visiting from Texas and it was my first time in Japan. .and I was so excited to be here. She then offered to set up the app for me on my phone, using her local information, so we could try to get a table booked - since it turns out that no, there is no way to do "standby"


I can't really load apps on my phone (long story, don't ask. . LOL), but it turned out that Jon has a Disney account already anyways, and she happily loaded the app onto his phone, and showed us how to use it for reservations.


and before we even had left the Guest Services area? we had managed to snag an afternoon lunch reservation at Blue Bayou.


SUCH wonderful guest service - even more incredible that it was from a park that doesn't seem to really cater much to tourists from other Countries. then again, it's Disney, so I shouldn't be surprised.



oh, she also gave me a sticker when she found out it was my 1st visit :)


Enchanted Tiki Room invaded by Stitch?


sounds interesting, and it was a lot of fun. .I did it at least 3 times during our trip.


the first time, when approached to ask if I wanted a "translator box" to follow along (since the show is all in Japanese), I accepted. .but honestly, didn't really need it to follow along, and the show was great even in Japanese.



continuing out of Adventureland into Frontierland.


More fun decorations up.


another angle of the castle. . also with the cranes mainly out of the way



we rounded the corner and managed to bump right into the start of the other daytime parade:


"Dreaming Up!"


so we stopped and watched most of this one too.





the wings moved on this float, and some of the floats were really impressive.


there's Pluto!







the "teeter totter" thru the clock went up and down, and Alice (in her cup) slid back and forth along it as it did.














pic from across the street from us, by Eric (or maybe Brad)


pic from across the street from us, by Eric (or maybe Brad)


pic from across the street from us, by Eric (or maybe Brad)


as the parade finished, we still had some time before our late lunch reservation, so Jon and I headed over to Country Bear Jamboree.



it's been literally decades since I've seen this show, and while the majority of it was in Japanese? many of the songs, or parts of the songs, were in English.


so it was a wonderful experience, and I saw this twice during our visit too.


this Witch/Bear was turning the popcorn out in front of the trading post.



I believe it was the Curry Flavor. . it was .. OK. not bad, but not the best we had.


oh look. . here's where we went in the Tiki Room.


I must have just snapped a pic of the facade as we walked by earlier.


and here's Stitch-ie !


we had met up with William after Country Bears, and we all three went to ride the Disneyland Train - which unlike the USA parks, it doesn't go around the perimeter of the park. . instead sticking to the Critter Country/Frontierland areas.


once again, castmember happy to pose for a pic with me :)


whee! Me, William, and Jon riding the Tokyo Disneyland Railway (which interestingly enough, the station is on the 2nd floor over the Jungle Cruise station, and right next door to Tiki Room).


so you get a nice view of the Jungle Cruise river, as you pull out of the station.









some of these were rigged to move .. just slightly (like an ear, or slightly move it's head).. I like how they did that, to make you question if MAYBE it's real?


across the Rivers of America, and to Splash Mountain





this was the station for the Canoes to get over to Tom Sawyer Island.


I didn't go, and actually never made it back to even look at the station.. . so if/when I get back? on my list to do


as the train comes back around, there really are some incredible views.. it's easy to forget your in a theme park.


that's part of the Mark Twain riverboat going around the corner up there.



and here's the Mark Twain riverboat at it's dock, returning from it's journey around the river.



the station for loading/unloading of the Riverboat. . .


had never been on it in the USA parks, but spoiler, I did take a ride on it in Japan.. just not on this day.


what's this? we're passing right by Big Thunder Mountain.


this train ride is longer than I had been expecting..and really, VERY nice.






Dinosaur Bones? what's this?


Ha !!! the train has an indoor section, that features Dinosaurs.








even a T-rex vs . . something. . .battle.


so fun.


to be continued in part III

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TDL Day 1 part III


as noted, the train station is above the Jungle Cruise station, so it's possible to get some lovely views from the train.



hadn't noticed this crashed Stitch ship on the way in. . . saw it as we were leaving the train tho.


oooo.. Swiss Family Robinson treehouse in Japan?


yes please.


some nice views from this walkthru.



after exiting the treehouse, a nice view of the Jungle Cruise (on left)/Train station (on right) combined stations.


it was 3pm (based on the clock there). . so time to head back to Blue Bayou for our lunch reservation. so we split off from William and headed over that way.


random ghosts thruout the park.


the Special Menu. . (this is what Jon ended up getting)


here's the regular menu.


for ~$43 it was very decent food. I was not disappointed in my meal at all.


i ended up having:


Seasonal Soup (which was a tomato / vegetable soup)

Lobster Tail w/ Seafood Gumbo

Pecan Pie w/ Vanilla Ice cream for desert.



yay.. success at getting into Blue Bayou!


and tho we weren't seated right on the water? we were only 1 table away, so we very much were pleased with our seating.


see? look how close!




ambiance is very similar to the restaurant at the California park.



my starter veggie soup


rolls! all you care to eat rolls.. and they were so good.


(and stamped with Mickey's head, as was pointed out to us by our Waiter)


he was so sweet, and made such a huge effort to converse with us, although he spoke no English. But he was a wonderful waiter.



Mickey head on a sweet roll.




here is my lobster tail and gumbo


and Jon's main


my pecan pie desert looked exactly like the picture in the menu!


that doesn't happen in the United States much. . LOL


We took our time eating, and by the time we were done, it was starting to turn to evening (all in all from when we "checked in" at the lobby, Blue Bayou took ~ 1 3/4 hours. but it was really good, and I'm so glad we did it.


When we were done i pinged William and we met back up over by Critter Country, to ride Splash Mountain.


it wasn't dark yet, but the lights were starting to come on and the park coming alive.


so pretty



do we look like we're having fun? we were.. really really having fun.



the Castmember who was directing folks at the entrance was a fun lady who spoke very clear English, and was thrilled to be able to use it. . so she got into a conversation with William about Disneyland in CA. . and she suggested we get single rider passes, and go in that line, since the Splash Mountain line was so long.


so we did.


but not before getting this pic with her.


and this one. . we really did enjoy chatting with her for a few minutes.


and when she found out it was my first time at the park, she said "wait a moment" and ran to the little stand at the entrance, and came back with this sticker.


(which amused Elissa, as apparently it's the sticker they give to kids that are finally tall enough to ride. . LOL. . I kept it as a souvenir). :)


since we were in Single Rider, the way it works in Japan, is they don't just put you in the next open log. they ask those riding if they mind you joining them - and some people do say "no"


we didn't have any issues (I guess because we look like cuddly Americans (or Canadian in Jon's case), and we pretty much got seated with groups in back to back logs. . and the same thing happened at TDS on Indiana Jones).


I ended up in a log full of young ladies that were celebrating one's 18th birthday. They didn't speak a lot of English, but enough that we all sang Happy Birthday to her while on the ride, and chanted "Birthday Party Log!!" during the drop.


here's the pic. . . and just to note, Tokyo Disney was encouraging people to take pictures of the on-ride photos, so although I didn't buy this particular one, the picture was taken with encouragement of the Castmembers by the photo stand.


(Birthday Girl is in the front left, looking scared).


yeah. . I found my happy place.


theming out and about in Critter Country




Fantasy Land at night. Dumbo doing it's thing.


Pinocchio's journey. . but the only decent pic I have is of the outside mural from the car.


Mad Hatter's Tea Party is called "Alice's tea party" here, but it's just as fun, and colorfully disorienting as the American versions.


I see you Carousel. . .will get to you in a bit. that's still quite the line, so can wait till later.


we crammed in a cup. . from our cup looking out.


and looking in.



ok. .I lied. . can't wait.




but lots to look at while waiting in line





the design work in Fantasyland really comes alive at night. . so amazing.


speaking of amazing. . I mean, a Disney Castle Carousel is always gonna be a classic.









the Mansion, which looked great during the day, looks even better at night - even tho lit up, it's harder to see Jack's crashed sled on the roof at night.


(its there in this pic, just to the left of the Smokestacks. .but I think it was more visible during the day)





ooo.. the ghost atmos-fears around Frontierland look so good lit up at night!



back at the entrance to Splash Mountain/Critter Country. . . why had we come back here?


Because with the slight slope, it seemed like a great spot to watch:


"Dreamlights: the Tokyo Disneyland Electrical Parade" !


led by the spectacular Blue Fairy.






















the 45 year old "Pete" was a little creepy, LOL.. but the gigantic LED Elliot was spectacuar



as was the Pirates of the Caribbean float








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TDL day 1 part IV


Toy Story!




Aladdin and Jasmine never looked my way :(


tho sadder was that the giant Genie float was broken during our visit, and never made an appearance during the 3 parades I saw.


Oh well, another thing to go back for.


the Tangled float is impressive too















Donald, Daisy, and the pigs? awesome.





Chip and Dale





Lilo and Stitch


and the 3 Caballeros ?


man, deep bench out tonight. . loving it.



the parade was wonderful. . really, really loved it.


and then it was time to head back to bounce some more.


with Pooh's Hunny Hunt


the queue for this ride is incredible, as is the ride itself. . but man, such a great queue.


Happy Castmembers


and I remembered to take pics of the ride vehicles this time. .bouncy bouncy.


what hadn't we done yet. . hmm. . we passed Toontown, but hadn't gone in yet. . . so let's head over to:


Roger Rabbit's Car-toon spin!


which in the evening, after the final parade, was almost a walk on.



More spooky photo ops in ToonTown.


tried it. . wasn't my favorite.


and then it was time for the short-ish, but cute, fireworks display that happens between the two parks (TDL/TDS).


not sure if there would usually have been something going on around the Castle - and it didn't happen because of the construction - or if it's standard that the fireworks happen as a "shared" between the parks.


still, any fireworks are fun to see.


some pumpkin scarecrows out in front of Mickey/Minnie/Goofy's house over in Toon Town.


Possible this is supposed to be Goofy?




HA!. . i actually *forgot* that we rode Gadget's Go Coaster. . until I came across the pics while uploading them.


I guess it didn't leave much of an impression, but it looks like it would be a fun-ish ride.


proof I rode, because I was at the station to take this pic. . LOL


Minnie Pumpkin Scarecrow (so I guess the one earlier WAS Goofy)


Great decorations


the mailbox at Mickey's house


Pumpkin Mickey scarecrow. . .sorcerer version


Minnie's mailbox


thanks to Elissa (for identifying it), I'm including this pic of detail from the Big Thunder Mountain queue.


we must have swung by there on our way back to Fantasyland. I honestly couldn't place what it was, but there is a "B" "T" "M" in this mark here. . so that's got to be what it is.


we were headed here tho. . it was getting close to 9:30 and the park was starting to empty out. So although Peter Pan wasn't a walk on, it was a way shorter line than it had been thruout the day.


as this is among my favorite Disney rides, I was eager to see how the Japanese version was.


ride vehicles are similar (and have terrible capacity..so that's standard)





she was buzzing around the loading station.




this is London, with my fancy iPhone 8, that doesn't photograph movement well. .


but I really liked how some of the pics came out, so sharing anyways.


who knew Peter Pan had Hyperspace??



hey... a decent pic from the moving ride


nice neck there Wendy


we got off Peter Pan about 9:50, so the park is only open for about 10 more minutes.


what should we do? Dumbo? (that's had a long line all day. . but nope it STILL has a line that will make us wait until after park close.. . . so will wait to ride this on Friday).


yep! we'll get in line for Haunted Mansion Holiday!


even after a long day, both the Castmembers and myself, are pretty happy & perky.


it's Disney Magic, I tells ya.













this ride is so, so good. . .



Park is now closed, and they are gently ushering folks out of Fantasyland and towards the front of the park.


awww. . topiary, that i hadn't noticed earlier by the Carousel.


I think favorite pic taken today. . just the way the sky and the castle look. .


stopping on way out to take pics of the displays in the main courtyard in front of the castle.


very fun and spooky!







Micky Jack-o-Lantern. . fantastic.









from the display area, looking towards Main Street and the front entrance


love that you can make out the Walt & Mickey silhouette in the center of the pic


and looking back at the castle.


not fully lit due to construction, but still pretty.


a few other displays - on the other side of the courtyard. . . such great decorations.




and then time to head out.

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last handful - TDL Day 1


sad to go, but it had been a really long day, and I'd be back in a couple of days.


the Monorail station looks so great at night.



yep.. . I was here.


and I look a little run down now. . LOL



not bad. . . we were able to hover in the park a good 40 minutes after official close, to take pics, and browse the shops in the front.


but yeah, was fading pretty fast. . luckily, our Hotel was only 1 stop on the Monorail


random posters in the Monorail while riding back to hotel.



before heading up to the rooms, Jon and I headed over to the convenience store in the lobby to grab a drink and snack. This gallery store next to it was selling some really nice Disney stuff.


but it was never open when I was actually IN the hotel.


which i guess is the universe saying I don't need it.


but it was quite nice.


hope you enjoyed looking at the many pics from my 1st day at the Tokyo Disneyland park.


time to get some sleep, as up early tomorrow again, as it was gonna be my 1st time at Tokyo DisneySea, and I was really excited about it!


so saying goodnights, and up to the room to shower and into bed, to dream of Mickey.

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