Thank you all for your kind comments! I'm excited to have you guys along for the journey.
bert425 wrote:-- Fantastic Start, but can you elaborate on the room you 1st checked into? you said you were surprised but prepared for it. Was it smaller than you were expecting? larger? just curious. I'm assuming from context it was a smallish room, but clean, so you were pleased?
Sure! Yeah, so Elissa kind of let us know ahead of time that would be the case. Really, the Disney property and Universal property hotels we stayed at later were indistinguishable in size to most US chains. The first hotel and especially the one we stayed at later on in Nagoya were a bit more "Japanese." It was probably about what I expected, but having never been in a room this size, it was still a bit of a surprise. With big suitcases for a three week trip, it was a bit challenging to find space for it on the floor.
bert425 wrote:-- also wondering about your comments regarding using the ATMs. Did you not bring along much cash and then convert at the Airport? or did you just find it easier to use the ATMs? Glad it got worked out so you didn't have to keep fighting with the machines.
So, there are multiple ways I could've done it. For one, it would've been smart to get a credit card that didn't have foreign transaction fees (mine was 3%). But the way I looked at it... 3% of $1000 would be $30 extra. I don't think I spend much more than $1000-1500 for the whole trip. But I opted to just withdraw Japanese currency once I arrived. Airport currency exchange desks generally offer poor exchange rates. But the 7 Eleven atms offer the same exchange rate as what you see if you google it. And the fees are very insignificant (somewhere around $1.50/$100). So i just withdrew 20000 yen at a time (around $200) and went from there. I brought a tiny bit of American cash, but really didn't use it. Japan is largely a cash culture, though they are adapting a lot for the Olympics. I could've paid with card more often, but I felt it easier to track how much I spent via cash.
Is breathalyzing common at Japanese theme parks / attractions? As someone that likes a stiff drink that scares me a bit about our trip coming up in September
Just to echo what was said already, I think this was done largely because of the park's location in a major city (Tokyo). If you go to amusement parks in the suburbs or further out from the city centers (ie- most of the trip for us), I don't think it would be nearly as likely. This was one of only two parks I went to that was right in the city (other being Tokyo Dome City).
Thanks for all the great questions and comments, guys.