Tokyo Disney Resort has produced The Best Parades/Shows of all the ones I have seen at all Disney MKs, IMhO. That said, I will always have a special place in my heart for the original DL Fantasmic!, seen back in 1996.
It is amazing how TDL and TDS always look so crowded, and still they get the crowds moving with no incidents, etc.
Thanks for these pics, Aaron. One always needs a reminder of how AWESOME Tokyo Disneyland Resort is.
Last edited by Nrthwnd on Sat Jan 09, 2016 1:36 pm.
Heading to Tokyo this weekend for the first time and have two quick questions about Tokyo Dome/La Qua and Tobu Zoo. I'd love to hit both of these, but after researching I have some questions.
1. Is it true that Tobu Zoo is closed on Mondays? I want to ride my first Mega-Lite, but according to their website, park is closed on Monday. Didn't know if anyone knew anything different. 2. Tokyo Dome/La Qua: Does Thunder Dolphin run in the rain? Is the operation truly so horrible that it dispatches every 15 minutes? I'm considering getting a day pass only so I can ride it 5+ times on my birthday! However, if the operations are so bad and rain may shut it down, maybe I'd be better of with just a one time ride pass. 3. Is there anything else in downtown Tokyo area I'd be missing for a quick fun coaster experience? Not looking to do any of the big parks this trip.
Any help/further information about both parks greatly appreciated!
coasterfreak11 wrote:Heading to Tokyo this weekend for the first time and have two quick questions about Tokyo Dome/La Qua and Tobu Zoo. I'd love to hit both of these, but after researching I have some questions.
1. Is it true that Tobu Zoo is closed on Mondays? I want to ride my first Mega-Lite, but according to their website, park is closed on Monday. Didn't know if anyone knew anything different.
And Tuesdays since you will be going in February. Kawasemi isn't on their rehab list though so apart from that it should be open.
3. Is there anything else in downtown Tokyo area I'd be missing for a quick fun coaster experience? Not looking to do any of the big parks this trip.
Not sure about downtown but on the way back from Tobu Zoo, I remember that Hanyashiki with Japan's oldest roller-coaster wasn't too far away from the subway line I took to Tobu. There's also one of the big touristy temples and Sky Garden around that area.
Not sure about Thunder Dolphin, I didn't get a chance to ride it on my last visit, and I missed out on Joyopolis when the convenience store machine suddenly let me get a Ghibli museum ticket on my last day.
coasterfreak11 wrote:I thought Tobu Zoo was closed on Mondays though? Can anyone confirm?
Mondays and Tuesdays in winter months, December-February. The dates are also marked on the Japanese home page and for this February every Monday and Tuesday are closed days. I went on a Saturday in February, when a lot of the other parks were too busy due to the weekend, and it was dead. Kawasemi was not only walk-on but they were weighing down cars with water cans and only opening the front and back car.
coasterfreak11 wrote:2. Tokyo Dome/La Qua: Does Thunder Dolphin run in the rain? Is the operation truly so horrible that it dispatches every 15 minutes? I'm considering getting a day pass only so I can ride it 5+ times on my birthday! However, if the operations are so bad and rain may shut it down, maybe I'd be better of with just a one time ride pass.
There wasn't much of a crowd when we visited, so they were waiting to fill the train between dispatches. But like a lot of Japanese parks the ride ops at La Qua are very safety conscious and do not rush the loading process, so operations are typically slower than you might see in the US or Europe.
A day pass might still be worth it - there's a great Spiderman-style dark ride (Tokyo Panic Cruise), and the flume ride (closed when I was there) looked good.
Tokyo Disneysea Moving on to the highlight of this trip, and arguably Disney's best park anywhere, we finished our time in a Japan at Tokyo Disneysea. I knew this place would be great, but was still overwhelmed at the level of detail that runs throughout the entire park. Think Cars Land or Diagon Alley-style immersion, and apply that to an entire park - it's very clear that no expense has been spared to make DIsneysea stunning.
The attractions are generally excellent. Journey to the Center of the Earth is definitely one of Disney's best dark rides, and Indiana Jones is just as good in Tokyo as it is in Anaheim, maybe even a little better. Even the second-tier rides are very, very good - we made multiple repeat visits to Sindbad, 20,000 Leagues and Aquatopia.
As with Tokyo Disneyland, the attractions that have been brought over from other parks are all "plussed" in some manner, Tower of Terror and Turtle Talk in particular have some great improvements on their American counterparts. And if that wasn't enough, Disneysea has some excellent live entertainment as well, from a brilliant Little Mermaid live show to what is easily the most spectacular version of Fantasmic!
Waiting to get in, notice the blue sky. We were lucky with the weather at Disney, I think it only rained on one day while we were there, and June is typically the wet season.
JP_TDS_01.jpg (365.16 KiB) Viewed 5627 times
Entry plaza with spinning globe might be reminiscent of Universal, but nothing else in this park is. You enter the park under Hotel Miracosta - if you didn't stay there overnight, of course.
JP_TDS_02.jpg (361.99 KiB) Viewed 5627 times
Rooms at the hotel start at around $500 a night, and that's if you don't want to stay on the Mediterranean Harbor side.
JP_TDS_03.jpg (400.57 KiB) Viewed 5627 times
I was super excited when I realised we'd be visiting on my birthday, so I dutifully went to guest services for a sticker. This made for a very fun day - when they noticed the sticker, cast members would applaud and exclaim "Happy Birthday!" I loved it, even if my group got a bit sick of the theatrics after a few hours.
JP_TDS_04.jpg (359.66 KiB) Viewed 5627 times
Mediterranean Harbor and the hotel are themed to an Italian port city, complete with gondoliers. The gondola rides would stop whenever there was a show on the harbor, which because it's Japan was like every 30 minutes. So I guess I'm saving this for a future trip.
JP_TDS_05.jpg (395.38 KiB) Viewed 5627 times
Yeah, they built this from scratch!
JP_TDS_06.jpg (282.05 KiB) Viewed 5627 times
And this too. The scaffolding gets in the way a little, but Mount Prometheus cuts an imposing presence.
JP_TDS_07.jpg (277.22 KiB) Viewed 5627 times
Heading from Mediterranean Harbor to Mysterious Island, this bridge is better themed than most parks!
JP_TDS_08.jpg (319.33 KiB) Viewed 5627 times
There are two rides and multiple restaurants inside this mountain. And it occasionally erupts. The amazing thing is, you can't even see any seams, let alone a show building.
JP_TDS_09.jpg (430.52 KiB) Viewed 5627 times
So this is inside Mount Prometheus, everything has very Jules Verne-steampunk aesthetic.
JP_TDS_10.jpg (317.36 KiB) Viewed 5627 times
The Nautilus sits in the lake, waiting for its next adventure.
JP_TDS_11.jpg (393.19 KiB) Viewed 5627 times
I love how they left the tunneling machine here, as though it was used to build the ride.
JP_TDS_12.jpg (366.46 KiB) Viewed 5627 times
I only ever saw these signs in English, maybe the Japanese think Westerners need help figuring out where to take a photo?
JP_TDS_13.jpg (116.18 KiB) Viewed 5627 times
Hearing that Journey gets some long lines, we grabbed a fastpass and then went straight into the standby queue. As it turns out, most locals go to Toy Story first thing, so the wait was all of five minutes.
JP_TDS_14.jpg (348.22 KiB) Viewed 5627 times
After taking an elevator to the centre of the earth, we were ready to board. Journey is probably the most immersive ride anywhere in the world. At no point is there any feeling that you are in a show building, it really is as though Disney built a ride because they found an amazing lava monster below their park.
JP_TDS_15.jpg (284.75 KiB) Viewed 5627 times
Granted the immersion dropped a little when we were evac'd out of the queue (like Test Track, it's not the most reliable ride) but I'd suggest that this ride alone is worth visiting Disneysea for.
JP_TDS_16.jpg (293.79 KiB) Viewed 5627 times
The "other" ride inside Mount Prometheus is 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea. Due to some refurbishments on the queue it was a little hidden away, but I'm glad we didn't miss this one. You ride in a submersible (pictured) and take a journey through caverns deep in the ocean. The sensation of "going underwater" is very well done, and if this was in one of the US parks I think it would be many people's "Top 10 Disney Rides" lists.
JP_TDS_17.jpg (390.32 KiB) Viewed 5627 times
A little further away from the mountain, this is where the Arabian Coast meets the Lost River Delta.
JP_TDS_18.jpg (328.43 KiB) Viewed 5627 times
And here we have the best-looking terrible ride ever built. Raging Spirits' immaculate presentation sadly doesn't make up for its failure as a rollercoaster.
JP_TDS_19.jpg (454.97 KiB) Viewed 5627 times
The queue was estimated at a lengthy 90 minutes, and with fastpass unavailable we decided to go single rider. The cast member really tried to discourage us from doing this, claiming that the wait would be even longer, but we were all on in five minutes.
JP_TDS_20.jpg (325.67 KiB) Viewed 5627 times
Again, much better to look at than ride. The layout isn't too dissimilar from a Pinfari looper, and the restraints are only slightly more comfortable.
JP_TDS_21.jpg (423.2 KiB) Viewed 5627 times
At least it has an inversion.
JP_TDS_22.jpg (469.3 KiB) Viewed 5627 times
The effects are great though, plenty of fire throughout and this cloud of mist would always appear right before a car came through.
JP_TDS_23.jpg (273.94 KiB) Viewed 5627 times
Jeff looks pretty happy that the beating has come to an end.
JP_TDS_24.jpg (455.13 KiB) Viewed 5627 times
The Arabian Coast "port" is loosely themed to Aladdin, and once again was incredible to experience.
JP_TDS_25.jpg (339.22 KiB) Viewed 5627 times
The Magic Lamp theater housed a slightly strange show about a magician who found the titular lamp. It wasn't bad but just didn't make a whole lot of sense, even with the English subtitle device they gave us. The building is quite spectacular though.
JP_TDS_26.jpg (363.73 KiB) Viewed 5627 times
Moving on to the less regal parts of Agrabah/Arabian Coast, still intricately detailed. It does remind me a bit of Epcot's Morocco pavillion.
JP_TDS_27.jpg (344.67 KiB) Viewed 5627 times
You'd think this building housed some sort of ride, or at least a meet-and-greet. Nope, they went all out for a shop.
JP_TDS_28.jpg (385.17 KiB) Viewed 5627 times
Even the toilets get the "whatever it costs" treatment.
JP_TDS_29.jpg (429.98 KiB) Viewed 5627 times
$22 million of Flying Carpet ride. This was good fun - the riders in the front control the height, and passengers in the back get to tilt the vehicle.
JP_TDS_30.jpg (451.07 KiB) Viewed 5627 times
Sindbad's Storybook Voyage was the surprise packet of the trip. I went in expecting a Little Mermaid-style dark ride, but instead it's a full Small World-meets-Pirates musical boat trip, complete with catchy song.
JP_TDS_31.jpg (333.43 KiB) Viewed 5627 times
The premise is that you follow Sindbad on his adventures around the world.
JP_TDS_32.jpg (214.3 KiB) Viewed 5627 times
The animatronics in this ride are amazing - each one has as much movement as the characters in Pirates of the Caribbean, and there are a few hundred of them!
JP_TDS_33.jpg (265.95 KiB) Viewed 5627 times
One group member in particular liked Sindbad quite a bit, so we returned to "follow the compass of our heart" a few times. I wasn't complaining, it's far preferable to Small World.
JP_TDS_34.jpg (244.14 KiB) Viewed 5627 times
JP_TDS_35.jpg (271.22 KiB) Viewed 5627 times
The opposite side of Mediterranean Harbor has something of a Game of Thrones-King's Landing vibe. Lots of turrets and ramparts.
JP_TDS_36.jpg (324.43 KiB) Viewed 5627 times
This is kind of Disneysea's equivalent of Tom Sawyer Island, a playground of sorts to explore and discover.
JP_TDS_37.jpg (273.43 KiB) Viewed 5627 times
The fortress contains a number of science-based diversions, including this clock that uses a pendulum to knock over pegs.
JP_TDS_38.jpg (242.2 KiB) Viewed 5627 times
Or this painting, all skewed...
JP_TDS_39.jpg (283.96 KiB) Viewed 5627 times
...until you look through the viewfinder.
JP_TDS_40.jpg (329.08 KiB) Viewed 5627 times
The cannons were fun.
JP_TDS_41.jpg (279.28 KiB) Viewed 5627 times
Sadly my efforts to sink carve out additional Fantasmic seating were unsuccessful.
JP_TDS_42.jpg (355.85 KiB) Viewed 5627 times
There was a minor attraction here too, the Leonardo Challenge. A cast member gave you a sheet of paper and a starting point, and you had to figure out puzzles based on things around the fort. As it was entirely in Japanese this proved surprisingly challenging, so I was pretty proud that we managed to finish.
JP_TDS_43.jpg (321.59 KiB) Viewed 5627 times
For my lunch we went to Magellan's, like everything else at Disneysea this was an excellent choice.
JP_TDS_44.jpg (358.29 KiB) Viewed 5627 times
Magellan's has an "explorer's club" theme, with artefacts and paintings from around the world.
JP_TDS_45.jpg (340.46 KiB) Viewed 5627 times
Considering it's a Disney restaurant it wasn't too expensive either, and the food was great.
JP_TDS_46.jpg (402.72 KiB) Viewed 5627 times
Happy diners. I think this one is up there with Mythos in the "best theme park restaurant" category.
JP_TDS_47.jpg (308.09 KiB) Viewed 5627 times
I got a special dessert, along with the standard applause and congratulations.
JP_TDS_48.jpg (193.18 KiB) Viewed 5627 times
Heading around to Port Discovery, we found the hotly anticipated Aquatopia.
JP_TDS_49.jpg (333.9 KiB) Viewed 5627 times
Both trackless and pointless, Aquatopia is nonetheless much more fun than you'd expect.
JP_TDS_50.jpg (306.48 KiB) Viewed 5627 times
Just in case we thought the park had run out of spectacular, here is the American Waterfront.
JP_TDS_51.jpg (277.49 KiB) Viewed 5627 times
If you're making a list of "top Disney bathrooms" (and you really shouldn't), this would be #1.
JP_TDS_52.jpg (393.91 KiB) Viewed 5627 times
Like all of the ports at Disneysea, American Waterfront is ridiculously detailed.
JP_TDS_53.jpg (292.13 KiB) Viewed 5627 times
Gotta love those moving pictures.
JP_TDS_54.jpg (387.67 KiB) Viewed 5627 times
Maybe this is the ticket to my big break?
JP_TDS_55.jpg (287.04 KiB) Viewed 5627 times
Not that I have any need for this...
JP_TDS_56.jpg (345.96 KiB) Viewed 5627 times
Big Band Beat is a live jazz show housed in the Broadway Theatre.
JP_TDS_57.jpg (322.48 KiB) Viewed 5627 times
This one is incredibly popular, and has a definite cult following. Also, it was entirely in English, so we understood what was going on!
JP_TDS_58.jpg (317.29 KiB) Viewed 5627 times
From the moment that curtain went up the crowd were very enthusiastic. I'd love to find out how an American jazz show garnered such a strong following at a Japanese theme park.
JP_TDS_59.jpg (327.55 KiB) Viewed 5627 times
Toy Story Mania is just as popular in Tokyo as its counterparts around the world, possibly more so.
JP_TDS_60.jpg (368.89 KiB) Viewed 5627 times
I get why people like this ride but do not really understand why it's so ridiculously popular. The fastpasses for this get snapped up very quickly, so the best way to ride seemed to be to go right at park opening and get in the standby queue - we only waited about 15 minutes compared to 90 later in the day.
JP_TDS_61.jpg (366.74 KiB) Viewed 5627 times
The Hightower Hotel houses Tokyo's version of the Tower of Terror.
JP_TDS_62.jpg (379.04 KiB) Viewed 5627 times
The drop sequence on this is a little shorter than similar rides elsewhere, but it has a very cool preshow and queue.
JP_TDS_63.jpg (378.66 KiB) Viewed 5627 times
Aforementioned queue. After seeing the preshow once I had to immediately head back to figure out how the effects worked. Shiriki!!!
JP_TDS_64.jpg (263.69 KiB) Viewed 5627 times
Mermaid Lagoon is a mostly indoor port, unsurprisingly themed to The Little Mermaid.
JP_TDS_65.jpg (285.78 KiB) Viewed 5627 times
Flounder's Flying Fish coaster is the best credit in the park.
JP_TDS_66.jpg (417.56 KiB) Viewed 5627 times
Every second car is having a good time!
JP_TDS_67.jpg (371.91 KiB) Viewed 5627 times
Apparently smoking is bad for fish too.
JP_TDS_68.jpg (323.37 KiB) Viewed 5627 times
The outside of Mermaid Lagoon looks great...
JP_TDS_69.jpg (345.72 KiB) Viewed 5627 times
...and the "under the sea" effect indoors is quite something. All the rides here are aimed at younger kids, kind of like A Bug's Land, but not terrible.
JP_TDS_70.jpg (386.03 KiB) Viewed 5627 times
JP_TDS_71.jpg (232.74 KiB) Viewed 5627 times
Inside this theater is King Triton's Concert. This is a new addition to the park, having replaced the previous show. I was expecting something along the lines of Voyage of the Little Mermaid at Hollywood Studios, and could not have been more wrong. King Triton's Concert is a full-on musical spectacular, with some amazing wire and stunt work, and visual effects. It was quite popular, and deservedly so.
JP_TDS_72.jpg (383.83 KiB) Viewed 5627 times
Once night fell, the park took on a whole new look.
JP_TDS_73.jpg (194.95 KiB) Viewed 5627 times
Aquatopia had been fun during the day, but took on a whole new silliness at night. There were no lines, and I think we ended up riding it for half an hour to try and hit all of the different pathways.
JP_TDS_74.jpg (300.18 KiB) Viewed 5627 times
Spin, look at rocks, spin, look at fountain, go backward, spin, spin again, go forward... Aquatopia!
JP_TDS_75.jpg (299.33 KiB) Viewed 5627 times
If the update of Luigi's Flying Tires resembles anything close to Aquatopia I'm sure it will be very popular.
JP_TDS_76.jpg (287.41 KiB) Viewed 5627 times
Indiana Jones Adventure was also better at night. I like the one in Anaheim a lot, but Disneysea has completely outdone them on the theming.
JP_TDS_77.jpg (345.54 KiB) Viewed 5627 times
No lengthy tunnels under the railway here, you really are in an ancient temple!
JP_TDS_78.jpg (362.17 KiB) Viewed 5627 times
And Paco is even more entertaining than Sallah. So the ride itself is quite similar to California, a few differences here and there but I'd have a hard time picking which one is "better". On the night we went though, the ride ops were basically having a party - I've never seen people enjoying their job so much! This ride is right at the back of the park so there wasn't much of a queue in the evening, and on our third re-ride they decided to serenade me with a rendition of Happy Birthday - awesome!
JP_TDS_79.jpg (198.83 KiB) Viewed 5627 times
I've always been a big fan of Fantasmic at Disneyland, and at Disneysea it gets a much bigger arena. The story is similar but the show has been significantly upgraded, and it's quite easy to find a good spot to watch.
JP_TDS_80.jpg (204.2 KiB) Viewed 5627 times
Maleficent still gets her comeuppance in the end.
JP_TDS_81.jpg (206.47 KiB) Viewed 5627 times
Characters waving scarfs from the Mark Twain are charming and all, but this hat makes for a much more impressive finale.
JP_TDS_82.jpg (209.77 KiB) Viewed 5627 times
The park looks equally stunning after dark.
JP_TDS_83.jpg (306.4 KiB) Viewed 5627 times
There is a bar on the SS Columbia, forgot to check it out this trip. Next time!
JP_TDS_84.jpg (194.42 KiB) Viewed 5627 times
In case you haven't noticed, it's super easy to take great photos of Disneysea.
JP_TDS_85.jpg (305.51 KiB) Viewed 5627 times
Let's not forget the popcorn. There are about a dozen flavours of popcorn available from carts around both parks. They ranged from plain old salt to chocolate or honey. My picks were black pepper, and this jalapeno and cheese offering.
JP_TDS_86.jpg (241.75 KiB) Viewed 5627 times
Toyville's lighting package reminds me a lot of Luna Park Sydney at night. Straight out of the thirties.
JP_TDS_87.jpg (295.91 KiB) Viewed 5627 times
That's it from Disneysea, and indeed from Japan. If you've read this far, thanks very much. I hope you've enjoyed my trip report and are already researching how to visit!