Those three small parks were insanely fun! I think even Universal can learn from Cosmoworld's very well-done haunted walk-through with crazy animatronics. Blue Fall and Surf Coaster did not disappoint! Ocean Sun Fish is definitely one of the ugliest animals, Veil of Dark is something you've been looking forward to for so long and still got amazed by. Oh and the fish market!
Disneyland Time to take a look at one of the world's best parks, Disneyland Tokyo! I'm not much of "Disney person", but I'm definitely a big fan of their theme parks. Having previously been to the Disney parks in Hong Kong, Anaheim and Orlando, this one was set to be a highlight of my time in Japan.
So Disneyland Tokyo is quite similar to Orlando's Magic Kingdom, with its big wide walkways and sprawling layout. Almost every ride the two parks share in common (Pirates, Jungle Cruise) has been improved in some way, while others (Pooh's Hunny Hunt, Monsters Inc) are different entirely. Having heard about the popularity of this park I was a little nervous about the crowds, but wait times were pretty manageable providing you used fastpass efficiently.
Pooh's Hunny Hunt was my most anticipated "new" ride in this park, and it didn't disappoint. The Japanese version of this makes the equivalents in the US and Hong Kong look pretty poor by comparison. I rode Mystic Manor last year and felt that while it was a good ride, the trackless tech wasn't used to its full potential. That certainly wasn't the case on Hunny Hunt, where the vehicle paths seem genuinely unpredictable. This ride definitely represents DIsney at its best.
Being theme park pros we arrived well ahead of opening, and the locals were savvy enough to do the same. This looks like a long line but everyone got in quickly.
There's no train station at the front of Tokyo Disneyland, instead you enter the Main St "arcade". Also note the complete absence of electric scooters, or strollers carrying eight year olds.
The whole area is covered to account for Tokyo's often wet weather. We were extremely lucky and had almost four days of clear skies this time around.
First stop is fastpass (of course!). Monsters and Pooh run out the quickest, we decided Pooh would probably be worth a standby wait (it was) so went with Monsters instead.
Space Mountain was in rehab mode, fortunately we'd already visited at the start of the trip, before it was closed. This version is quite similar to the Hong Kong/Disneyland Space Mountains.
Star Tours is always fun, especially in Japanese. This one never had much of a wait so we rode it a few times, still never got that Death Star ending though...
Don't think a dessert can qualify as "adorable"? Try these little green men dumplings!
The Monsters Inc dark ride is certainly well ahead of the one in California. The deal is that you shine a flashlight at Monsters and they react, which I thought was a cool way of adding interactivity without bothering with point-scoring.
The queue room is quite impressive, too!
So Fantasyland is almost exactly the same as Florida, except with Disneyland's Snow White and Pinocchio rides thrown in. They might be low-tech, but I always enjoy the classic Disney dark rides.
Inside the castle was an art display, followed by this room which looks like it was designed for a princess meet-and-greet. But today they were just letting you take photos on this chair.
One group member likes Small World so much that we rode four times. It's not any better in Japanese, in case you're wondering.
As I mentioned, Pooh's Hunny Hunt is a great ride. It uses the trackless technology really well, especially in the "dream" room. I am kind of surprised this hasn't made its way to the other Disney parks, as its far better than the dark rides found elsewhere.
The queue is also impressively detailed. They were doing this 15 years before new Fantasyland arrived in Orlando!
More queue. Despite this being one of the most popular rides in the park we managed to ride it a few times in a row with 5 minute waits!
Jungle Cruise had recently received an upgrade, with new special effects added.
The spiel was, not surprisingly, in Japanese. I wonder if the backside of water got a mention?
The queue jokes were still in English though, corny as ever.
Rather than running around the perimeter of the park, the railroad here does a lap of one side, with just a single station. The dinosaurs are still in there, though.
Being neither a Stitch nor Tiki Room fan, I wasn't really that excited for this attraction. But it was actually quite good, and the most I've enjoyed the singing animatronic birds to date.
Haven't had a picture of Jeff with a bear for a while, here's another one.
Speaking of bears, the vacation version of the Country Bear Jamboree was presented here. This wasn't bad, and I would recommend solely for Trixie's Japanese rendition of "Achy Breaky Heart". Hilarious.
For lunch we decided to try the Blue Bayou. This is essentially the same as the on in Anaheim, and on this occasion we scored the coveted "bayou-adjacent" seating.
Selfies ensued. The food here was excellent, and it was fun to watch the ride as we dined. Pirates in Tokyo is most similar to the one at Disneyland, with a slightly shorter "caves" section. Jack Sparrow was absent from this one, which is either a plus or minus, depending on your point of view.
Big Thunder Mountain is just like Orlando's version, and very popular.
A look back over "Westernland", as the Japanese version of Frontierland is known.
Lines were consistently long for this one, fortunately we had fastpass this time. Waiting in line in Japan, people do seem much more patient than in Western countries though - and I don't think we encountered a single instance of anyone cutting or even trying the "catch up" to their group.
We took the raft over to Tom Sawyer's Island. I love these Disney islands - no queues, plenty to do, a nice break from the bustle of the "mainland".
They have a riverboat too. (I could have subbed in this photo from Orlando and nobody would know...)
There was plenty to explore, including the fort. The cave network on the island is extensive, and it took us a while to see everything.
Haunted Mansion was once again excellent.
I think this must be the best looking "mansion" of them all.
Splash Mountain is based on the Magic Kingdom version. It was also very popular, and had the longest wait of all of the attractions we visited. Worth it though, this is a great ride.
The park had just launched some soap dispensers that squirt a Mickey-shaped foam bubble into your hand. There was even a queue to try this out!
We found a viewing spot for the parade. It's common here for the first few rows of people to sit on the ground (most people bring blankets to sit on) so those behind can see. It was great how considerate people were in this park, I didn't experience any of the "must be first" mentality here at all!
The Tokyo Electrical Parade is like the one in Florida, except it's been updated since the eighties.
Pete's Dragon makes an appearance, with smoke!
Genie's float was particularly cool.
The whole thing was like a giant video screen, changing colours to the beat. Awesome!
Like a Middle Eastern airline, Prince Ali (fabulous he!) had a bling-heavy float.
The park had a short fireworks show in the evening, but the main even was the castle projection show, "Once Upon a Time". This is a spectacular display, even better than at the Magic Kingdom.
There is a big "reserved" seating area in front of the castle, you can enter a daily fastpass-style lottery to try and secure a spot. We were unsuccessful on our first try but won tickets on the last day. Apparently this is a big deal, some locals near us were going nuts when they found out they'd scored seats.
The view from the reserved area was excellent, and the show was much better front-on. I really like how they've used lasers here to highlight the projections.
That's it from Tokyo Disneyland. For such an iconic park I didn't end up taking a whole lot of pictures - probably because much of it looked so similar to other Disney parks. That will not be the case for the next (and final) update from DisneySea!
Nrthwnd wrote:But - how much time did you invest for the parade lottery? And did they know you weren't solo, so that if you yourself won seats, ALL of you won seats? Just curious.
It took about two minutes, a bit like getting a fast pass. You scan your group's tickets at a machine and are told immediately if you've been successful or not. So either everyone in the group wins or everyone misses out, they won't split people up.
I'm glad you included pictures of the parade. Having seen Dream Lights and Paint the Night almost back-to-back this year, I've decided that I like Dream Lights waaaaaaaaay better! As impressive as some of the tech on the Paint the Nights floats were, I just thought the whole thing felt like a dis-jointed mess and to me came across like an imitation Disney parade that another park was attempting to produce. Where in comparison, Dream Lights brings in some impressive tech and is a much more cohesive "feels like a Disney parade" experience. And after our trip to Japan, they re-introduced about 6 more new Dream Lights floats replacing the old ones with newer tech, so the parade is now even that much better!
I'm not a parade person at all, but I will always watch Dream Lights at least once during a trip to Tokyo Disney. I feel I could easily skip Paint the Night on my next visits to DL or HKDL.
Last edited by robbalvey on Sun Jan 03, 2016 9:13 am.
robbalvey wrote:And after our trip to Japan, they re-introduced about 6 more new Dream Lights floats replacing the old ones with newer tech, so the parade is now even that much better!
It's great that the park is continuing to improve the parade. I saw the Magic Kingdom's Electrical Parade for the first time in 2014 and while it was good, seemed like a bit of a nostalgia trip for the older folk. In comparison Dream Lights actually felt like it belonged in this century, and some of the floats (particularly Genie) are quite impressive.
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