Photo TR: Condor's Audacious Travels

Knoebels + Six Flags America!
Users viewing this topic: No registered users and 1 guest
Discuss theme parks, roller coasters, and mules!
Star Wars is gay.
User avatar
 
Posts: 2658
Joined: 24 Oct 2009
Location: Kanto, Japan
Gender: Male
Age: 27

Re: Photo TR: Condor's Audacious JAPAN! Coasters, Culture, &

Postby MayTheGForceBeWithYou » Wed Dec 18, 2019 11:17 pm

I thought I was going crazy thinking I've had mostly positive experiences at Fuji-Q...but I'm glad it seems like the better days are becoming more commonplace as opposed to some of the horror stories that came out of here in the past.

On the note of horror stories, the village near Eejanaika is called Gegege no Yokai Yokocho (ゲゲゲの妖怪横丁 AKA "Gegege Monster Alley"). Gegege no Kitaro is a famous manga and anime series based on old Japanese kaidan (ghost stories) and yokai (monsters); the poster you found shows a rokurokubi, one of the more prolific yokai in Japanese folklore.
人生は素晴らしき冒険旅行

When I grow up, I want to breed donkeys!
User avatar
 
Posts: 617
Joined: 16 Jan 2010
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Gender: Male
Age: 26

Re: Photo TR: Condor's Audacious JAPAN! Coasters, Culture, &

Postby Taylor Finn » Thu Dec 19, 2019 6:29 am

Really been loving your reports! We had a great, great visit to Fuji Q in 2018 with TPR. Got everything done and actually left the park a bit early (got a late night visit to Tokyo Disney as a result, so I am forever thankful for that). I still love Nagashima as a park more. But Fuji Q has this special place in my heart because I know that they have such an insane top four. Unfortunately, I missed a big coaster at each park (could see myself trying to return to both parks at some point). Fujiyama and Hakujei (under construction). Eejanaika... I only rode it once. And I think I just didn't like how intense it was. But I have a weird desire to ride it again, which can't be said for most coasters I don't like.

I wrote the book about donkeys!
User avatar
 
Posts: 438
Joined: 05 Nov 2012
Location: Huntington Beach
Gender: Male
Age: 32

Re: Photo TR: Condor's Audacious JAPAN! Coasters, Culture, &

Postby Condor » Thu Dec 19, 2019 10:56 pm

Part 7: Tokyo DisneySea

096.jpg

I don’t know about you, but I have the toughest time explaining what DisneySea is to people who have never heard of it. After some bewildered, “there’s a Disney in Tokyo—are the rides there safe?” questions, I then have to explain how despite having “Sea” in its name, it is not a water park, nor is it a Sea World type of park. “In fact, it has no traditional water rides at all,” I might add, confounding them even further. But once I pull it up on Google Maps, it all starts to click and they want to know more.

My biggest regret of the whole trip was missing out on Journey to the Center of the Earth. You’d think ensuring that we got to experience the best ride at the consensus best Disney park would be the first thing I looked into. Well somehow along the way I got so wrapped up in learning the rail networks, choosing hotels, verifying opening hours of smaller parks with awful English websites, and combing through Godzilla films for destroyed buildings to visit, I neglected to check the scheduled attraction closures page on the Tokyo Disney site. I lazily assumed that being there in the middle of the popular Halloween and Christmas seasons meant there was no reason to worry.

But after we had booked flights and hotels, a sinking feeling started to settle in. “Go ahead and check the closed attractions page,” I thought, “confirm what you already know—no, no, wait—hope—is true and that nothing important will be closed.” So hands shaking, stomach feeling like it’s freshman year after a UNLV basketball tailgate party, I opened the page…

I now know exactly how Admiral Nagumo felt at the Battle of Midway after re-arming his planes with bombs instead of torpedoes. Journey to the Center of the Earth was going to be closed for an extended rehab! What have I done? How have I overlooked this? Am I even the enthusiast I always thought myself to be? “Might as well just throw in the towel on the whole trip now,” I bemoaned, alternating laughing and crying. I was so distraught I had to watch a Hakugei POV to calm myself down.

So five minutes later after I carried on with my life, I knew to adjust expectations for two days without DisneySea’s star attraction. But would the park leave the same lasting impression on me it has on others? Let’s find out.

001.jpg
Mural in the Disney Resort Line Monorail station. DisneySea was looking a little sparser back then. No Tower of Terror, Toy Story, Raging Spirits, or Soaring yet. I had always thought ToT was an opening day attraction. The American Waterfront was more than a little short on rides.

002.jpg
The monorail was more useful than I realized. It’s a much, much longer walk from Maihama Station to DisneySea than it is from Disneyland. We attempted to walk from Hotel Miracosta to Ikspiari at one point, then seeing how far it actually was, turned around and went back to the monorail.

003.jpg
I’ve never understood why some people get annoyed seeing Christmas decorations up in early November. I always like it.

004.jpg
Remember how I said the entrance to Disneyland wasn’t very crowded a week earlier? Well that was absolutely not the case today at DisneySea! You’ll never see a more well-mannered mob of people.

006.jpg
I’d like to see an American park with an entrance-spanning hotel like Miracosta. Hopefully the hotel at Epic Universe will have a similar effect even if it’s at the back of the park.

007.jpg
“Here you leave today and enter the world of flavored popcorn, big-time CapEx, and the Oriental Land Company.”

008.jpg
First thing we did was grab fast passes for Toy Story Mania, a ride I don’t even care about, but it felt wrong not to ride. Then we went next door to my most anticipated ride, the park’s unique take on Tower of Terror.

009.jpg
For anyone who doesn’t know, The Twilight Zone never had a big presence in Japan, so Tokyo Disney created their own theme with its own mythology. Harrison Hightower III was a New York hotel magnate famous for venturing around the world acquiring rare artifacts to add to his collection. He disappeared without a trace from his hotel one night, shortly after returning from an African expedition.

010.jpg
That last expedition took Hightower deep into the Congo, where a native tribe gifted him former Atlanta Hawks and Philadelphia 76ers legend, and 4-time defensive player of the year, Shiriki Utundu.

011.jpg
The lobby is a different take on an early 20th century hotel than the Hollywood Tower version. This one feels larger and the walls are adorned with murals of Hightower’s expeditions to exotic lands containing the various ports found in DisneySea.

012.jpg

013.jpg
I think Hotel Hightower would make an excellent film if Disney is thinking of a new ride to adapt. The protagonist could be an aspirational, young woman who has just been hired as an accountant or assistant to the charismatic and well-meaning, yet narcissistic millionaire, Harrison Hightower. She gets in over her head planning his African expedition and is both excited and alarmed to learn she’ll be accompanying him. Once in the Congo, she falls for their tour guide, a young man from a local tribe with dreams of going to New York and become like the famous men he has read about—men like Hightower. Despite the guide’s warning, Hightower accepts a supposedly enchanted wooden idol a local shaman is suspiciously desperate to get rid of… Shiriki Utundu. Things start going awry immediately and half of the expedition barely makes it out of Africa alive. Is the idol the cause…? Back in New York, Hightower holds a grand ceremony to celebrate the opening of his new hotel. Shiriki Utundu is displayed in the lobby, then vanishes. Then Hightower himself disappears and the elevators strand our male and female leads at the top. Can they contain Shiriki Utundu and escape with their lives?

014.jpg
How about a bearded Steve Guttenberg to play Harrison Hightower III?

014a.jpg
If that man isn’t primed for a career renaissance, then I don’t know who is!

015.jpg
Would you see that film? Let me tell you something. I would. I’d go. Disney, take my money please. Now I hate to disappoint you, but I think my proposal’s chances are slim. The Hotel Hightower theme is almost unknown outside of Japan other than to enthusiasts and Disney fanatics.

016.jpg

017.jpg
I’ve seen a few people say that this Tower runs a tamer program than the others. I’m not so sure. It felt about equal to the old program that California’s used to run before the re-theme. The new Guardians of the Galaxy version is more aggressive, as is Orlando’s, but I didn’t find Tokyo’s lacking in thrills. Hotel Hightower is definitely my favorite theme.

Image

019.jpg
As I said with Universal in Osaka, there’s something about Japan that makes live entertainment at parks work for me. I’m not as into the Disney characters and shows as some are and I usually don’t stop to see them in California or Florida, but I saw several while at Tokyo Disney.

020.jpg
Tower of Terror is a great backdrop from so many different angles in the park.

021.jpg
Carlos had been raving about the burger he got in Tomorrowland a week before and I just couldn’t understand it. But then I had what was essentially the same thing here at the Cape Cod Cookoff and I was converted. Best theme park burger I’ve ever had.

022.jpg
Indiana Jones is almost a direct transplant from California. The ride layout and program seem the same, only the theming is different.

023.jpg
Tokyo’s Indy is ‘Temple of the Crystal Skull” while Anaheim’s is ‘Temple of the Forbidden Eye.’ The queue line is completely changed and the some of the big, on-ride set pieces are modified. Tokyo’s also has a softer, blue/green lighting inside as opposed to the red tones used in Anaheim. Overall I felt Tokyo’s was more detailed in general, but the Indy animatronic at the end looked worse somehow.

024.jpg
Without Journey to ride, Indiana Jones and Raging Spirits make a good duo and complement each other nicely as big draws in the Lost River Delta area.

025.jpg
I had no level of expectation for Raging Spirits. Turns out I liked it a lot and we rode it several times on both days.

026.jpg
Disney did everything you can do to “plus” a very cookie-cutter roller coaster and make a true E-ticket attraction out of it.

027.jpg
It has a ton of block sections and the crew pumps out trains like there’s no tomorrow.

Raging Spirits
This is a good coaster for its footprint and role in the park. It would be even better if they eased up on the trim brakes slightly, but of course I’d say that. I think it’s actually a more thrilling ride than Incredicoaster right now. I know compared to the Paris one, this has always been the smoother of the two and I found it very comfortable. There are a few sudden pops of almost-airtime and the loop manages to pull satisfactory g’s despite the handful of trims that come before it. The ride’s compact layout works to the theme’s advantage. The tight mass of supports really does make it feel like you’re whizzing around the remains of an old ruin somewhere. I’m a little surprised we haven’t seen Disney clone this another time. It would be unnecessary now in 2019, but I could have seen a version of this as a quick-fix crowd puller in Hong Kong or one of the Florida parks at some point in the decade prior. 7/10

028.jpg
Arabian Coast makes a seamless theming transition from the Lost River Delta.

029.jpg
Just a thought—wouldn’t it be cool if they added fake snow to the top of Mt. Prometheus in the winter to mirror Mt. Fuji? Then you could see a snow-capped volcano from the Middle East!

030.jpg
Sinbad is a ride that seems to get lots of love on here. I don’t quite get it. The scope and attention to detail in storytelling are great, but it feels like it’s trying to be both Pirates and It’s A Small World at the same time. If they chose just one of those two directions I think the ride would be better for it. I think a full-on Arabian Nights-style version of pirates would have killed.

031.jpg

032.jpg
Some of the spaces in this land are crazy immersive. If I hadn’t been to this park yet, you could have shown me this picture and told me it’s the courtyard of… Al Alam Palace in Oman... and I’d have probably said, “Oh, yeah, cool, yeah I can totally see that.”

033.jpg
I did not have the same issue at DisneySea that I did at Disneyland, where it feels like the entire park is a closely grouped collection of wide-open plazas. DisneySea has meandering paths that are constantly diverging, allowing multiple routes around the park and creating the impression of vastness and greater sprawl. DisneySea is a park you feel you can get lost in if you wanted to, and that’s a quality I like.

034.jpg
The park takes the idea of separate ports/islands that Universal implemented at Islands of Adventure and executes it slightly better.

035.jpg
IOA still feels like a big loop while DisneySea feels more like a collection of self-contained environments.

036.jpg
For some reason I had always thought Flounder was an indoor coaster.

037.jpg
If it was, it would have been pretty cool!

038.jpg
Even as a Pepsi guy, I still like my Coke and I had the hardest time finding it at DisneySea. I practically crawled into Mermaid Lagoon after going through borderline caffeine/sugar withdrawals from being unable to find it anywhere in the Lost River Delta or Arabian Coast. The quick service counter in here thankfully carried it.

039.jpg
We didn’t spend as much time in Mysterious Island as the other areas without its star attraction, but an attraction I did like was 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. It’s not the flashiest ride in the park, but for one you don’t always hear much about I came away impressed with it. It simulates being down in the deep crevices of the ocean pretty well and the design of the submersible ride vehicles was a nice novelty.

040.jpg
Here’s a trick: If you squint real hard, turn the screen brightness real low, and ignore the Jules Verne theming, you can turn Mysterious Island into Six Flags Fiesta Texas.

041.jpg
The restaurant Vulcania—it’s not themed to Vulcans.

042.jpg
Japanese chicken wins again at Vulcania. After being underwhelmed by the dining options at Disneyland I ended up liking *almost* everything I tried at DisneySea.

043.jpg
Journey taunted us with sporadic test runs throughout the day.

044.jpg

045.jpg
The scaffolding there for refurbishment fits in oddly well on Mt. Prometheus. Like a mining colony. Or a slave colony.

046.jpg
Tokyo Disney is known for its varieties of flavored popcorn. The only one I tried was honey flavored and I hate to admit it, but I threw away 3/4 of it. Neither of us cared for it. I meant to give the chocolate popcorn a shot later but never got around to it.

047.jpg
After Robb explained how government regulations required the Disneyland Railroad to operate with one station on a continuous loop, I looked up why this was not the case with the DisneySea Electric Railway. Apparently that particular regulation was dropped in 1987, four years after Tokyo Disneyland and fourteen years ahead of DisneySea. Thus, the Electric Railway is free to run as a transportation system between two stations.

Edit: It's been pointed out to me that this may not be fully accurate. I'll update if I find out otherwise.

048.jpg
The track is not especially long. It goes only from The American Waterfront to Port Discovery, but it offers some great views along the way.

049.jpg
The Japanese guests start lining up for the next showing of Big Band Beat immediately after the preceding one is let inside. That can mean waiting for 90-120 minutes outside the theater. We walked in right behind the crowd just before showtime and still got decent seats. I’ll assume this isn’t possible on busier days.

050.jpg
This part of American Waterfront feels like a larger, New York version of Main Street USA.

051.jpg
I sometimes feel like I’m the only one in the park who isn’t absolutely STOKED for Toy Story Mania.

052.jpg
It’s fun and I enjoy it, I just don’t see it as necessarily any better than Disney’s other dark rides.

053.jpg
This was media day for Tokyo Disney’s Christmas festivities. By early afternoon the park became swamped with camera crews there to film live shows.

054.jpg

I didn’t want to arrive at DisneySea expecting too, too much. I guess I always suspected there might be kind of a Citizen Kane thing going on where every critic says it’s the greatest film of all time because it’s what’s expected of them and they don’t want to call attention to themselves by diverging from the herd. I’m happy to say that’s not the case with DisneySea! This place is the real deal.

While I don’t think it’s my personal favorite park, it’s true that the theming and atmosphere here is another level beyond what can be found at other transcendent theme parks around the world. Maybe I’m enough of a coaster purist that I still need something more than Raging Spirits. Places like Phantasialand and Europa Park are better examples of what my ideal park would be.

Part of me is almost tepid about going on TPR and saying that maybe DisneySea isn’t the best thing since the Meiji Restoration and is instead merely “great.” Who knows, maybe a future ride on Journey to the Center of the Earth will sway me…

055.jpg
“Which classic ocean liner is the SS Columbia based on?” Well, now that you’ve asked, allow me to go into great detail answering your question! The black hull and reddish funnels indicate that it’s a Cunard Line ship (we’ll leave the fact that it also says United States Steamship Co. out of it—that wasn’t a real line), so it can’t be the Titanic, Olympic or anything else from White Star Line. It has three funnels, ruling out Cunard’s famous four-funneled Mauretania and Aquitania. That narrows it down to two candidates: Cunard’s 1913 RMS Berengaria or 1936 RMS Queen Mary.

055a.jpg
Hmmm. Not looking good for the Berengaria. It lacks the white rim along the top of the hull and the forward superstructure above isn’t quite right.

055b.jpg

Aha! Yes, the SS Columbia indeed appears to be most closely inspired by the Queen Mary. A lesser known ship would have been cool, but I guess it makes sense to copy the only classic liner that’s still around.

Thank you for humoring me. I’m an ocean liner enthusiast…

056.jpg

057.jpg
You can almost miss the little Venice area if you’re walking too fast. It’s tucked in a corner around the back of Mediterranean Harbor.

058.jpg
We left the park briefly to explore Hotel Miracosta and Ikspiari.

059.jpg
Like the park, the design of the hotel is stunning.

060.jpg
Lobby of the Miracosta. Love the ambiance of it. I suppose I was expecting something with more public areas and amenities like the Disney resorts in Orlando, but Miracosta felt a little bit lacking in comparison. It’s as nice or nicer from a luxury standpoint than any of them, but something feels wrong when there isn’t even a bar you can sit down and order a drink at. We were told that we could only enter the Bellavista Lounge if we were having dinner. Tables were full, but the bar counter was mostly empty. Maybe this is common in Japan. I just don’t know. We didn’t run into that at the Disneyland Hotel earlier in the trip.

061.jpg
Back on the monorail after our aborted walk to Ikspiari.

063.jpg
And back at the park entrance plaza, with the DisneySea monorail stop behind it.

064.jpg
The entrance looks even better at night, especially with the Christmas decorations.

065.jpg
Miracosta is a very nice hotel. After walking around it I just question its value when the much cheaper Sheraton and Hilton are on the monorail loop and you can get to the park gates from a Tokyo Station area hotel in under an hour.

066.jpg
I sent a few photos like this one to a friend who is not an enthusiast but is a regular at the American Disney parks. He thought it was a genuine seaside village. If you didn’t know better, the only giveaway might be the lighting effect from Mt. Prometheus.

067.jpg
I don’t know what it is about the iPhone 11, but I constantly got these annoying reflections in the lens when taking photos at night.

068.jpg
Possibly the finest architecture seen in a Disney park.

069.jpg
The American Waterfront in particular takes on a whole new atmosphere at night. It’s a place I’d spend time in even without attractions.

070.jpg
It’s much smaller than the ocean liners that inspired it, but it feels like the genuine article.

071.jpg
Once onboard, the staircase leads up to the ship’s two restaurants—the Columbia Dining Room and the Teddy Roosevelt Lounge.

071a.jpg

Inside the Roosevelt. A little context first. I was in San Antonio a few years ago at the Menger Hotel Bar. This was the bar where in 1898 Teddy Roosevelt recruited his Rough Riders to fight in the Spanish-American War. The Menger Bar nowadays has been preserved as a tribute to Teddy and I was there with my dad and a friend and we were all drinking old fashioneds. So I decided I had to go to the DisneySea Roosevelt Lounge and drink an old fashioned there too.

The lounge has an extensive drink menu with dozens of cocktails any American would know. An old fashioned was not among them. I asked the waitress if they could make one and she didn’t know what it was. No problem, I figured, maybe the old fashioned never made its way to Japan. I’ll just order from the menu instead. So I pick something vaguely similar, a Manhattan, then I flip to their list of whiskeys and tell her I’d like my Manhattan with Makers Mark.

The look on her face was pure confusion. She spoke limited English, but she tried her best. “You want Manhattan (mimes holding a cocktail glass in her left hand) annnnd you want… Makers Mark (mimes holding a second glass in her right hand)?”

“No, no, no,” I smile and explain, “I want Makers Mark in my Manhattan.”

Wide eyes and a big gulp of air. “Innnnnn the Manhattan?”

“Yes. Thank you. Arigato Gozaimasu.”

“In the Manhattan?” She mimes dropping the Makers in the glass like a sake bomb.

“No, I’m sorry. The whiskey I want used for the Manhattan is Makers Mark.”

Profusely apologetic, she ducks into the back to ask someone. She feels bad.

A moment later she returns and repeats her first attempt. “You want Manhattan (left hand) and you want Makers Mark (right hand)???”

Now I feel bad. And her English is much, much better than my Japanese. I tell her, “it’s okay, no Makers Mark, only Manhattan.”

I guess call brands aren’t a thing in Japan or at least at this bar. I guess it’s the custom to accept whatever house brand the bar has when ordering a cocktail and asking for a specific brand is only done when drinking it straight. Maybe someone who has been to Japan more than I have can enlighten me.

072.jpg
On the deck over the bow. It’s crazy how similar it is to the Queen Mary.

073.jpg

074.jpg
View from the ship over the Cape Cod and Port Discovery areas. The Sheraton and Hilton are visible above the lighthouse and the Tokyo skyline in the distance to the left.

075.jpg
Arabian Coast at night.

076.jpg
Raging Spirits is a terrific night ride.

077.jpg

078.jpg
Waited until dark to ride Aquatopia. It's a silly, fun ride.

079.jpg

080.jpg
The iPhone 11 makes it look like UFOs are descending over Miracosta.

081.jpg
Watching Fantasmic from Mysterious Island.

082.jpg

083.jpg
Back for a second day. We covered everything so thoroughly the day before we almost didn’t know what to do after a few hours.

085.jpg
More detail on the exterior of Hotel Hightower.

086.jpg
I see you, Fuji-San.

087.jpg
DisneySea still has lots of room to grow after the Fantasy Springs expansion. There’s enough open land for another E-ticket attraction and maybe an entire port next to Lost River Delta.

088.jpg
Views from the bridges give Lost River Delta an almost-Animal Kingdom quality from some angles.

089.jpg

091.jpg
Like Disneyland, sections of DisneySea were covered with scaffolding for refurbishment ahead of what is sure to be a crazy busy 2020 season.

092.jpg

093.jpg

094.jpg
DisneySea may not be my number-one park…

095.jpg
…but it is definitely the most detailed and immersive.

098.jpg

When are the people running the American Waterfront going to get with the times? No protection against scouting or brute force? I almost got persistently stamped four times that afternoon! On second thought, if there’s no one to stop me from giving an unsuspecting tourist the scout act…

099.jpg
Our two days at DisneySea were finally winding down and we had one major attraction left.

100.jpg
It’s a minimum change variant of the existing Soarin’ rides. I do like the more fantastical theme given to the building and queue here.

101.jpg
The interior queue for Soaring. We got Fastpasses for it early that morning and our ride time wasn’t until almost 7pm.


Next up… Shrine-hopping around Kyoto.
Last edited by Condor on Fri Dec 20, 2019 9:37 pm.

Why do I still have a donkey title???
User avatar
 
Posts: 5544
Joined: 23 Dec 2011
Location: Austin, Tx
Gender: Male
Age: 53

Re: Photo TR: Condor's Audacious JAPAN! Coasters, Culture, &

Postby bert425 » Fri Dec 20, 2019 12:21 am

Great pics from DisneySea, and nice to see the pics from inside Tower of Terror and Soaring - during our visit, they were very strict about "no pictures" in the queues for those two attractions in particular so we put cameras away when asked. (tho we did see others taking pics on some of our rides, so I guess it's up to the cast member's discretion).

So although I think I got a pic here or there from inside them, I'm not sure I got as nice ones as you did! So thanks for Sharing those.

Unlike you tho, I fell completely under the spell of Sindbad, and rode it multiple times. My first ride, I was a little: "this is too cutsey for me". . but then i noticed just how incredibly detailed the animatronics are (both in costumes and movement). .and the ride just got better and better each time I rode it.

Journey was down during our visit too, but I took solace in the discovery of 20,000. . which shot right up to the top of my favorite rides in the park. I think I rode it 5 or 6 times during our visit (even on the last day, when was mainly in DisneyLand - I still popped over to DisneySea for a ride on Sindbad & 20,000). Heck, I only rode Raging Spirits once. . so that tells you how much I loved 20,000 Leagues. I think it makes sense that I love it so much since the ride system is so similar to Peter Pan, which is my all time favorite Magic Kingdom ride.

thanks again for the great pics, loved seeing them and brings back some wonderful memories!
Image[url=http://www.clubtpr.com][img]http://www.clubtpr.com/images/memberbanners/19fc64eae2ec826e3a662d1ff9f29ab9.jpg[/img][/url]

Jizzy jizz jizz jizz jizz
User avatar
 
Posts: 5946
Joined: 16 Sep 2006
Location: Chicago based
Gender: Male
Age: 29

Re: Photo TR: Condor's Audacious JAPAN! Coasters, Culture, &

Postby PKI Jizzman » Fri Dec 20, 2019 7:57 am

That last expedition took Hightower deep into the Congo, where a native tribe gifted him former Atlanta Hawks and Philadelphia 76ers legend, and 4-time defensive player of the year, Shiriki Utundu.


:lmao: :lmao: :lmao:

That was fantastic.

Honey was the only flavor I didn't really care for, and honestly, it was probably because it was a pure natural honey flavor and I didn't enjoy the real taste, haha. It was really floral.. smelled amazing, but had a bitter taste.

Excellent read and great photos! Disney Sea loves green lightning and it's such a cool effect! Where can I donate to the Hightower movie gofundme?

Your Roosevelt story was near spot on what happened to me when I asked for extra olives in my martini. I should have known better since it was the end of the trip - you just don't customize things in Japan. Asking for a menu item, but slightly different just doesn't work. And that's okay! Just something to learn/understand along the way.
{1991} Chicago based. Creative ad world guy with @adultswim @cartoonnetwork World traveler, concert attendee, salsa connoisseur, comic reader, and theme park nerd
IG: photoboothez

Online
Why do I still have a donkey title???
User avatar
 
Posts: 7933
Joined: 21 Mar 2008
Location: Massachusetts
Gender: Male
Age: 27

Re: Photo TR: Condor's Audacious JAPAN! Coasters, Culture, &

Postby Canobie Coaster » Fri Dec 20, 2019 8:20 am

Great report!

Journey was down for me as well when I was there last year. But the attention to detail in the park plus the big 3 of Indy, Tower of Terror, and Toy Story was enough to keep me happy.
Top 3 Wood- Lightning Rod, Voyage, Outlaw Run
Top 3 Steel- Steel Vengeance, Untamed, Expedition GeForce
Most Recent Trip Reports- Six Flags Great Adventure & Waldameer

I wrote the book about donkeys!
User avatar
 
Posts: 438
Joined: 05 Nov 2012
Location: Huntington Beach
Gender: Male
Age: 32

Re: Photo TR: Condor's Audacious JAPAN! Coasters, Culture, &

Postby Condor » Fri Dec 20, 2019 9:40 pm

PKI Jizzman wrote:Your Roosevelt story was near spot on what happened to me when I asked for extra olives in my martini. I should have known better since it was the end of the trip - you just don't customize things in Japan. Asking for a menu item, but slightly different just doesn't work. And that's okay! Just something to learn/understand along the way.


That makes a lot of sense. I had learned about the custom when ordering food, but I didn't realize it also applied to cocktails. I guess I had stuck to beer or straight whiskey up until then!

I wrote the book about donkeys!
User avatar
 
Posts: 438
Joined: 05 Nov 2012
Location: Huntington Beach
Gender: Male
Age: 32

Re: Photo TR: Condor's Audacious JAPAN! Coasters, Culture, &

Postby Condor » Sat Dec 21, 2019 5:10 pm

Part 8: Kyoto

001.jpg

No theme parks (or Godzilla) in this installment, so sharpen your attention spans, people. Kyoto is the former capital city of Japan and is near where our trip started in Osaka. It’s one of Japan’s best cities for tourism with many of the country’s best temples and shrines. I only had one day in Kyoto, so I concentrated on the Higashiyama ward on the eastern side of the city.

007.jpg
My hotel, the Kyoto Century, was next to Kyoto Station, easily my favorite train station I saw.

008.jpg
It’s huge, modern, and easier to navigate than the similarly large ones in Tokyo. I’ll explore it later.

009.jpg
My first stop was Fushimi Inari, a quick five-minute ride on the JR Nara line.

011.jpg
At Fushimi Inari, the shrine at the entrance is not the big draw. It’s the winding path up and down the mountain that lays behind it.

012.jpg
Angry Fox welcomes you.

013.jpg
Fushimi Inari is best known for the thousands of red orange torii gates lining the trail. This is one of Japan’s most popular tourist sights and my research suggested getting there before 7:00am to get ahead of the crowds.

014.jpg
The famous “hallway shot” everyone takes where the torii gates are tightly spaced.

015.jpg
From what I understand, most of the gates were donated by individuals and private businesses starting around the year 1600.

016.jpg
I regrettably did not see any monkeys.

017.jpg
Or boars. I only saw…

018.jpg
…feral cats. The trail is infested with them.

019.jpg
There are dozens of smaller shrines along the climb to the top. The full journey up and down the mountain is 2.5 miles long.

020.jpg
Getting there early was good advice. There were a handful of people around, but it would not have been as good for photography had the trail been swamped.

021.jpg
View of Kyoto from slightly over halfway up the mountain. You can even see the skyscrapers of Osaka on the horizon.

022.jpg

023.jpg
There are so many small shrines throughout Fushimi Inari I eventually had to stop exploring them if I was going to complete the trail on schedule.

024.jpg
Around halfway, there’s an option to head left back to the bottom or continue right to the top.

025.jpg
My sister’s fiancée proposed to her here a month before I went. I think he made a good choice.

026.jpg
Fushimi Inari was one of my favorite things I did in Japan. I think you’re missing out if you don’t spend at least a little time seeing sights outside of theme parks when you travel here.

027.jpg
It took me about 90 minutes to reach the summit and slightly under an hour to get back to the base.

028.jpg
There are several more shrines at the summit. I think a lot of people only did the half-loop as the top was almost deserted.

029.jpg

030.jpg
Some of the individual shrines had the same “purifying fountains” I saw at the Meji Jingu shrine in Tokyo.

031.jpg

032.jpg
A wider view of Kyoto as I began the downward portion of the trail loop.

033.jpg

034.jpg
I spontaneously diverged from the main roads back down near the main shrine and found a street fair.

035.jpg
I got the impression these vendors are here for the tourists, but there were lots of Japanese enjoying the food too.

036.jpg
Kyoto street food was incredible. I’m actually a semi-picky eater, but I tried several foods where I didn’t know what it was and I was rewarded each time.

037.jpg

038.jpg
I don’t know what these are called but the cook did say the word, “pancake.” Noodles, egg, vegetables, and some other stuff. All I know is they were very good.

039.jpg
My favorite was the crab stick! An old Japanese lady walking by pulled out her phone to take a picture of me eating one. Then she just stood there in front of me and cropped it.

041.jpg
Back at Kyoto Station. Although I went to Fushimi Inari by train, my plan thereafter meant seeing as much of the Higashiyama area as possible on foot.

042.jpg
Inside Kyoto Station. The interior concourse is a giant atrium from which the train platforms, shops, and restaurants can be accessed.

043.jpg
It’s absolutely enormous. There’s a hotel on one end and a multi-level food court/restaurant area on the other.

044.jpg
Looking across from the opposite side. The grand stairway around the Christmas tree became an amphitheater-type setting in the evening. Suspended from the latticework overhead is the Skyway, a walkway connecting both ends of the concourse from above.

045.jpg
Inside the Skyway.

046.jpg

047.jpg
View of Kyoto Tower from the Skyway.

051.jpg
Lots of Japanese tourists pose as geishas around Kyoto’s temples and shrines. This is the Lotus Bridge leading to Otani Hombyo Temple.

052.jpg
I found Otani Hombyo by accident. I didn’t come across it online when researching the city, something that happened several times.

053.jpg
It wasn’t a major tourist trap like some of the others I saw.

054.jpg
It’s apparently a Buddhist mausoleum, which makes a lot of sense because Kyoto’s largest cemetery is right behind it.

055.jpg
I followed a path through the cemetery to my next stop, Kiyomizudera Temple.

056.jpg
It covers a hillside and goes on and on.

057.jpg

058.jpg
I imagine most of these graves have to be very old. I still saw people placing flowers and potted plants on them.

059.jpg
Sighting the red pagoda means you’ve arrived at Kiyomizudera, one of Japan’s largest temples.

060.jpg

061.jpg
Kiyomizudera is a sprawling complex with many structures.

062.jpg

063.jpg

064.jpg

065.jpg

066.jpg
It was another clear day and you can still see nearly all of Kyoto from the temple steps.

067.jpg

068.jpg

069.jpg

070.jpg
Like much of Tokyo Disney, the main hall of Kiyomuzudera was covered in tarps and scaffolding ahead of the 2020 Olympics.

072.jpg
The bamboo scaffolding should be removed in several months.

074.jpg
Inside the main hall. Some rooms were off limits for photography, others were not. People were lining up to hit the big vase/gong thing.

075.jpg
You must honor that which is sacred. Much like Eejanaika.

076.jpg
The room behind this wall prohibited photos. What’s there was really impressive. It’s a series of gold sculptures of what may have been Buddhist legends or maybe samurai, I’m not sure, but try to picture…

077.jpg
…this gold Buddha, if it looked like it could come to life, step off the pedestal, and kill you and your entire tour group.

078.jpg
Looking down the hillside from the main hall. Multiple staircases and paths lead down to fountains and a restaurant.

079.jpg

080.jpg

081.jpg
Legend says drinking from these fountains will bring good fortune to one area your life. One is for love, one is for a long life, and one is for education.

082.jpg
I don’t know which is which, so I’m unaware of how my life is about to improve. Drinking from all three is supposedly frowned upon.

083.jpg
“With this drink from the sacred fountain, Mizuki Yamamoto shall become mine…”

084.jpg

085.jpg
A series of crowded streets leads from Kiyomizudera to many of the other temples and shrines in Higashiyama. Tons of shops, restaurants, and tea houses.

086.jpg

087.jpg

088.jpg

089.jpg
Eventually you come to the Yasaka Pagoda. There are lots of pagodas around Kyoto, but I believe this one is the largest. It has a five-story design compared to the three-story red pagoda at Kiyomizudera.

091.jpg

092.jpg

096.jpg
I didn’t know what this giant Buddhist statue was when I came across it. The complex surrounding it was closed and walled-off. After looking it up, it’s called Ryozen Kannon and it’s a memorial to the war dead in the Pacific from World War II.

097.jpg
I thought Kodaiji Temple was the most underwhelming of the sites I visited. The buildings are well preserved and the grounds are nice, but the scale and architecture are more modest than others I saw.

098.jpg
Kodaiji is supposed to be a great fall colors viewing spot, but I was still a week or two early to see the leaves at peak change.

102.jpg
Another one for the collection!

103.jpg
The last site I visited was the Yasaka Shrine. This is the street-facing exterior of a larger complex. There was a large wedding taking place inside and I wasn’t sure exactly where I should or shouldn’t go.

104.jpg
A cool-looking Kabuki theater down the road from Yasaka.

105.jpg
After a long day on foot, I took the train back to the Kyoto Station area. I really liked Kyoto but only saw one section of the city. On a future trip I’d like 2-3 days to explore it the way I did Tokyo. There aren’t any theme parks in Kyoto that I know of, but it’s only about 60 minutes by train to Universal Studios or 45 minutes to Hirakata Park.

106.jpg

107.jpg
Back to Kyoto Station. Now I know I said there would be no Godzilla in this part, but I didn’t say anything about Gamera!

Image
In 1999’s Gamera 3, we see Gamera (the turtle monster) and his opponent, Iris, fighting in the streets just south of Kyoto Station. Now this is probably the best choreographed monster battle ever made, so this will be my longest breakdown yet—and the last.

109.jpg
Coming from south of the station, the monsters will first cross the train platforms.

Image
Iris knocks Gamera down across the platforms.

Image
Gamera gets back up, but Iris impales him through his shell and walks him back toward the station concourse.

112.jpg
The human characters are inside near my vantage point here. The monsters will break through this wall.

Image
Gamera turns Iris around and tackles him through the wall into the concourse.

114.jpg
Close to the same camera angle.

Image
Iris then throws Gamera out the other side of the station, through the lattice structure, onto the bus terminals.

116.jpg
I’d be getting crushed by several thousand tons of turtle shell right about now.

Image
In the Gamera universe, monsters sometimes need to form a psychic bond with humans…

Image
…as Iris attempts to do with this girl, Ayana.

119.jpg
Viewed from the opposite end of the station, Ayana is standing right where the green umbrella below the Christmas tree is.

Image
After Iris absorbs Ayana into his body, Gamera gets back up and rips Ayana out.

Image
Then Iris impales Gamera’s right hand, pinning it to the wall.

122.jpg
Gamera is standing just beyond the Christmas tree with his hand impaled on the section of wall to the left of it.

Image
Iris begins siphoning off Gamera’s own energy through the hand.

Image
Gamera blows off his own hand to free himself.

Image
Iris fires Gamera’s energy back at him, but Gamera catches it on the stump of his severed arm and forms a new “flame hand” with it.

Image
Gamera stabs Iris with the flame hand and holds Ayana away with his left to shield her as Iris explodes.

127.jpg
As Iris explodes, the resulting fireball erupts through the north side of the concourse right here.

Image


Next up… Nagashima Spa Land!

BAYSIDE STATION!!!
User avatar
 
Posts: 26082
Joined: 17 Aug 2005
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Gender: Male
Age: 67

Re: Photo TR: Condor's Audacious JAPAN! Coasters, Culture, &

Postby Nrthwnd » Sat Dec 21, 2019 5:31 pm

Very nice editing there! Everything blended pretty good I thought.
I was going to comment on the lady taking your food photo. It happened to me in DisneySea, back in 2011.

I was taking a rest, sitting in the front of one of those "Main Street vehicles." They stay in place, but you can climb on or in them and just relax. This one was opposite Big Band Beat. A minute or so later, this little old woman climbs up next to me. She points to her and me - then to her friend taking the photo. Huh, I thought.

I oblige. Photo is taken. THEN she motions to me to STAY THERE. And so, every one of her FIVE friends got an indi-photo with me, LOL! I had a big smile on my face afterwards, and sort of when 'huh' at the cultural moment shared with them.

Awesome TR you've been posting, here! =)
Talk is Cheap :idea: Action is Pricele$$

Image

Why do I still have a donkey title???
User avatar
 
Posts: 5544
Joined: 23 Dec 2011
Location: Austin, Tx
Gender: Male
Age: 53

Re: Photo TR: Condor's Audacious JAPAN! Coasters, Culture, &

Postby bert425 » Sat Dec 21, 2019 9:51 pm

more incredible pics, and I'm so envious of the shrines you got to in Kyoto.

I absolutely have another reason to get back to Japan!
Image[url=http://www.clubtpr.com][img]http://www.clubtpr.com/images/memberbanners/19fc64eae2ec826e3a662d1ff9f29ab9.jpg[/img][/url]

PreviousNext

Return to Theme Parks, Roller Coasters, & Donkeys!

Who is online

Users viewing this topic: No registered users and 1 guest

These pages are in no way affiliated with nor endorsed by SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, Cedar Fair, Legoland, Merlin Entertainment,
Blackstone, Tussaud's Group, Six Flags, Universal Theme Parks, the Walt Disney Company or any other theme park company.

All onride photos and videos on this website were taken with the permission of the park by a professional ride photographer.
For yours  and others safety, please do not attempt to take photos or videos at parks without proper permission.

Disclaimer!  You need a sense of humor to view our site, 
if you don't have a sense of humor, or are easily offended, please turn back now!
Most of the content on this forum is suitable for all ages. HOWEVER!
There may be some content that would be considered rated "PG-13."
Theme Park Review is NOT recommended for ages under 13 years of age.

cron