Days 17 and 18: Tokyo DisneySea/Disneyland Hello again! It has been... too long. Need to finish this one up. Got loads of other reports in the wing here that I would love to also post.
By now, we are so, so close to the end of the trip which was sad. But! It was also time for Disney, which was what I had absolutely been most looking forward to. The trip included a day at each of the two parks with the option to add two more days in the parks/hotel. I love my Disney, so it was a no brainer for me. I ended up getting quite a few rides. Stay tuned in my next and final report for the grand tally.
I will try to include some of my general thoughts about the park as I go along. There are much better, more comprehensive reports of these parks out there. That wasn't really my goal when visiting, just was there to enjoy myself and eat lots of good food and ride my favorites as many times as I could. Also, I believe I used my work phone for pictures on these days a bit more and those may not have transferred over to the album I am pulling from on Google Photos. Enjoy!
I really, really wanted to love this park. I really did. After seeing all the reports from Robb and Elissa, all the hype, etc. It seemed destiny that I would love this place. The anticipation had been building for well over two weeks of trip for this one park.
...and I did love it. I really did. The trip reports can never capture what this place is actually like to walk around. It was an absolute blast to experience a totally different Disney park for the first time. This park is unlike any other Disney park and I am so glad it ended up in Japan and not in California.
Our day started out pretty early with breakfast at the hotel. Which was my favorite hotel breakfast of the trip! Lots of yummy options and a delicious chocolate bread that I ate every morning. Hopped on the monorail and headed to the front gate about an hour ahead of park open. This is customary advice if you are going. It makes a huge difference. In fact, someone in our group split off to go to the bathroom before we lined up at the front gate and sat at a different entrance to the side and got in 3-5 minutes before us and was honestly hours ahead of us the rest of the day in getting things done.
Now, one more thing to talk about that happened. We were walking along with one box of popcorn shared amongst four or five of us. And then, a couple cast members approach us and explain that we have just won something. Not just any something. A popcorn pass that grants us literally unlimited popcorn for the rest of the day. At any of the MANY popcorn stalls selling any of the MANY different flavors (8 or 9). I can tell you right now my definitive ranking of what I had this day (some of these may have been exclusive to Disneyland but who cares?)
Curry, Milk Chocolate Caramel Black pepper Blueberry Tomato herb Garlic Shrimp
Now, onto some ride reviews:
Toy Story: Yeah, it is great! Moving on. 8/10
Tower of Terror: Tower of Terror is a whole new animal here. It is probably better than Florida. But I dunno. I would say the pre show and story is better but the actual ride is a bit more tame. And the Tower itself is just stunning. And really fits into the area well. LOVE IT. 9.5/10
Indiana Jones: SINGLE RIDER IS MY LIFE. Truly, the single rider lines here are all unmarked and so I rode this 6 times at least in my three days at the park. I never waited more than 5 minutes and the wait was typically always 50-75 minutes. This is a lifesaver. Especially because it frees up a fast pass. You're in the dark the whole time. Why do you need to ride with others. I love how high capacity this thing is, too with the dual loading stations. 9.9999/10
Raging Spirits: This is a perfectly fun, enjoyable ride. Smooth, not too intense, the loop is good and the theming is solid. I totally understand why this ride needs to be here and I am glad they have it! It is difficult to make an outdoor coaster really fit the vibe of this park. And I think it does that. Ride it at night. And do single rider! 8/10.
Nemo & Friends Searider: This was just alright. Worth doing? Sure. Top of my list? Naw. No reason to think this wasn't an improvement over StormRider since it now has an IP associated with it. 6/10
Sinbad's Storybook Voyage: Every Disney park can benefit from a nice boat ride like this. Always a short line which is another great thing. Compass of Your Heart is a jam and I am listening to it as I write this review just to get me in the spirit of this ride again. IT IS SO CATCHY AND UPLIFTING. Sinbad for life. 12/10.
Journey to the Center of the Earth: NA/10. Tears. It was down for rehab. But honestly, it gives me a reason to be SUPER excited about re-visiting. I want to return to Toyko before 2022 when the huge expansion is due to be complete, but I cannot imagine myself returning to Tokyo and not spending time in these parks.
20,000 Leauges Under the Sea: Another ride I did enjoy, but didn't feel the need to re-ride (think I may have done it twice). FP seemed to always be available, but the line never really got above 20-30 minutes. It is done real well, no doubt! 7.5/10.
Aquatopia: Oh, this ride rocks. I got real unlucky the one day when they had the Get Wet mode on and we arrived just as it was transitioning back to normal (getting dark out). Just pointless and fun. In the best way. If this ride was <10 minute wait, I would ride every time I walked by it. Just why not?
Despite what this picture shows... our first stop when the park opened was Toy Story Midway Mania to grab a fastpass. This is so highly sought after, it is crazy. If you have one day in the park, I would highly recommend just skipping this fiasco. It is an identical ride, albeit loads of fun. But, I was here for the thrill. Thousands of people rushed in that direction. If you are an early one, you can easily get your FP, ride Tower standby, get another FP to re-ride it, ride your Toy Story FP and be on your merry way within an hour of park opening. If you are further back, your Toy Story FP won't be until 1:00 or so and Tower Standby will have gotten reasonably long already. If you don't already know, the paper FP system lets you get a new FP two hours after your previous one OR as soon as your current FP's window opens. So, if you get a FP for 9:20 AM-10:20 AM, you can get another at 9:20. A huge advantage.
I believe we got our Toy Story FP and then went up and rode Nemo and waited a good while. From there, we may have rushed back to get a Tower FP and do our Toy Story one. But I honestly don't remember. There is no bad way to attack this park. Just take it all in! This was a delightful Tiramisu cookie sandwich. All four days at the park were blistering hot and without rain (good!) so this was a wonderful treat. The first of many good food experiences here.
Yeah, here's Toy Story's line. This ride feels *slightly* out of place in the American Waterfront part of the park. But they did a really nice job of making it seem more organic, honestly.
For lunch, we went to Vulcania. This was fabulous. We all got meal sets, which included like three different things plus a drink. I got a dim sum platter, a sweet and sour pork, and a cold noodle dish (delicoius and refreshing). Why I got milk on this hot, hot day... I will truly never know.
One of my favorite things about this park was the shear number of boats everywhere! And the fact that you could ride around in them was super nice and relaxing. Something that will rarely have much of a line even on busy days. Makes the park feel more alive.
Got some nice shots along the ride.
I also saw a couple shows today. Big Band Beat is a lottery show but they do have a standby option. Two of us ran up to the rope and asked if we could still make it in (we were one of the last 10 or so) and we still had a few others trudging along a ways back. The cast member was like rooting for them to make it to the entrance in time, like she would've been personally devastated if we hadn't made it. This was a GREAT show. Lots of big band classics (Sing Sing and If it Ain't Got that Swing). And Mickey played drums at one point! Super worth checking out. And a beautiful theater.
The Cape Cod area was well-done. No rides here, but a cute transition area between the American section and Port Discovery.
Everywhere you look, Mount Prometheus is there.
Tower and Titanic.
The little nook in the back of Mediterranean Harbor where the Gondolas load up is super cute. I did end up getting on them my last day and was glad I did. Offers some more nice views and the singing is great, too.
None of these pictures are especially great. I know.
Every so often, Mount Prometheus erupts and yeah. It's greta.
Raging Spirits is way better at night. The sensation of going through the loop after entering a big cloud of fog is super well done and disorienting.
And yeah, here is a shot of Aquatopia at night. I did see Fantasmic both nights I was in this park. But I'll talk about it next time.
So, I am REAL glad I did four days at Disney and that I did an after 6 night a few days prior to this visit. Because it was CROWDED. So crowded. One of the wonderful things about Magic Kingdom, Disneyland CA and this Disneyland (the ones I've been to) is that there are so many viable things to do even when it IS crowded. Many of the rides still don't have horrible waits and if you use your fast passes wisely for the rides that do get crowded, you can accomplish quite a lot.
This is kind of how our day panned out based on what I typed into my notes:
Rope dropped an hour early. Ended up next to Robb and some others and went in with them. We rushed to ride Pooh and waited 10 minutes. While we did that, Robb acquired Monsters Inc. FP for us (THANK YOU). Went to Space Mountain and waited 35 minutes. I also typed in that they separated our group so there was not only Americans in the car (#weightprobs).
From there, I believe we went and rode Haunted Mansion while Robb got Big Thudner FP. We then used our Monsters FP, did Standby for Star Tours (30 minutes), Standby for Roger Rabbit, got a FP for Small World (yeah, this is very popular here), saw Country Bear, and Rode Pirates before leaving for lunch. That is a VERY productive morning.
Then we left the park because it was getting to be a bit much and had lunch at Ikspiari (their version of Downtown Disney). Came back in and explored Tom Sawyer's Island, single ridered Splash Mountain (12 people in front of me in Single Rider with a 100 minute standby wait). Then did Snow White, saw the Electrical Parade, rode Peter Pan, FP Small World, and waited WAY too long for Buzz (an hour plus) before leaving the park for the night. Somewhere after lunch I think I must've rode Big Thunder FP, too.
Really, really great day, despite the crowds.
I was going to review all the rides. But I don't think that is necessary. I'll just make a few pointers about some of them.
Pooh's Hunny Hunt: Luckily, rode this three times and got each of the three possible courses (you leave in groups of three). Truly, a marvel. Just a blast to ride and so much to see and it just doesn't feel like any other ride. It feels like you are a part of something. Is it the best straight up dark ride in Disney? Naw. I still love Mansion and Pirates so, so much. But, this ride is awesome and should 100% replace the other Pooh Rides, immediately. It would be a huge upgrade. 9/10
Big Thunder Mountain: Seems to be a bit slower than it's counterparts. Always a nice ride, just always my least favorite of the three mountains. 8.5/10
Monsters Inc. Ride & Go Seek: This was a blast! Basically, you shine flashlights on props to trigger different monsters to pop out. Yeah, there's a storyline that I don't remember off the top of my head...I wish there was some scoring component to the game since I am a competitive person at heart. But the sets are all physical and quite solid. And the ride vehicles kinda take you around in a similar vein to Midway Mania. 8.5/10
Jungle Cruise: Couldn't understand a thing they were saying for the most part. But was still funny. And the cave has some real nice projection mapping I hope they bring back to the States.
Here we are on a Saturday in Tokyo Disneyland. SUPER crowded by all metrics. But we got a lot done!
Some new construction going on in between Tomorrowland and Toontown. Think Big Hero 6 is going here (and Beauty and the Beast?) or is that a different area? Either way, another reason to get excited about re visiting these parks. One of the things that I noticed was how large the walkways were everywhere. Definitely helped keep traffic moving and helped to allow folks to set up shop before parades.
Like this. At like 9:00 AM for a 2:00 PM parade, I am sure. But parades are super important to them. I'll take it! The park had ropes all set up and would continue to expand the roped off sections as more and more people sat down. Smart.
Dunno what this is of. Parade, ride, show? But one thing I will say I was disappointed in... lines for rides were not built out enough. Every day I was there, many of the rides had temporary ropes set up outside to house more people. The indoor portion of Pirates of the Caribbean only had about 15-20 minutes worth of line. That doesn't seem super smart. Just an observation.
So yeah, we left and had lunch at an Australian based Mexican restaurant in Tokyo. Weird. But our timing turned out to be great. When we arrived, Happy Time (believe it was actually called this) for food was about to end. So we got some food at a discounted price. And then when that ended, Happy Time for drinks started. So we then went up and ordered 290 yen margaritas. We each had 3 or 4 of them and interacted with some Japanese people who were fascinated by our ever-growing tower of margarita cups. This was a much needed reprieve from the park.
At some point in the day, we did the Tiki Room with Stich. He kind of just invades the whole operation. I remember finding it pretty funny. But the coolest part was that the cast members offered us translation devices which was super nice.
Yeah, it is this crowded. Vending machines have lines.
Here comes the ship. I bet it isn't too crowded?
OH MY GOODNESS.
Love these little touches. Like, who is actually looking to see these birds up there?
This electrical parade is on another level. It is a blast. Contemplated not watching it a second night. But reconsidered. It is worth it! The Genie float blew my mind. Just pull up a video of it because nothing I can show you here will capture that. I think I might have more pictures of the parade in my next report.
Such a pretty park.
A nice view on the way out. They were doing some work on the entrance area, so a bit obstructed. I do think there are quite a few more pictures next time around. So stay tuned. Hopefully get the final installment to you much quicker than it was to get you this one. Thanks for reading, as always!
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