Since I happen to be in Tokyo for the next few weeks, I took the opportunity to swing by DisneySea to get a look at Soaring (yes, with a G; took Disney 18 years to figure out where it went, I guess), some other updates with the ongoing construction around the resort, and the rest of DisneySea because it's still an incredible park. Anyway, photos:
Starting this off with some of the ongoing construction that's been a part of the resort for the last few years (and still more to come), Tokyo Disneyland' new entry plaza is coming along. The new entry system is nearly identical to the ticket gates you'd see at any of the train stations throughout Japan.
Backside of the Fantasyland expansions looking nearly complete from the backside.
From Bayside Station, groundwork is moving forward on the DisneySea expansion.
Even with scaffolding all over that view, it's hard to not be happy upon seeing this. Let's get to Soaring before it gets too crazy...
...Which it already is, guess finally adding the G to the name was the trick. Fastpasses were gone within minutes. Managed to snag a return time at around 8PM, so I'll get back to you later (without the 4 hour standby lines).
In the meanwhile, a ride on what's quickly become my all-time favorite theme park attraction is in order.
Early in the day before Fastpass queues fill up, the line moves fairly quickly (even with every interior switchback filled, only took about 30 minutes).
Heading down (up). Didn't manage many more photos with how the "no photos past here" rule was being enforced.
Indeed it is.
Still blows my mind every time.
Raging Spirits at least looking nice...
If you couldn't tell, there's a loop somewhere in there.
As long as it's not as bad as Paris's, I think I'll be good.
Despite the track being almost identical to the god-awful version in Paris, this one is actually pretty enjoyable.
Can't forget about Indiana Jones while I'm over here...
The queue inside the main pyramid is overflowing in amazing detail.
Couldn't even be bothered to clean up after themselves *tsktsk*
Safety directions courtesy of Paco.
If you know anything about the ride, you already know it's way cooler than California's.
Would that temple exterior lie to you about how cool it is inside?
Walking back toward Port Discovery, a few little nods toward StormRider still remain.
Even after being open for a few years, SeaRider's popularity hasn't faded.
With the hot and muggy Tokyo summer, Aquatopia was running the "wet version" with some bonus effects.
Still kind of pointless, yes...but you don't necessarily have to have a point to be fun.
Back across toward American Waterfront, the next destination awaits.
Directly opposite that view, Soaring blends in fantastically with the rest of Mediterranean Harbor.
There's really not an angle in this park that doesn't look amazing.
Ahem, Denver would like to have a word about the use of the term "mile high" in your advertising...
And there it is, Tower of Terror in all its glory (and some more scaffolding, but let's ignore that).
Check in line's looking a bit long, but whatever.
You'll laugh! You'll cry! I don't know what we're yelling about!
Easily my favorite lobby of any of the Towers out there.
Love how each corner has its own style and theme, and completely sets the tone and story before you even get a formal introduction to it.
Hey, the doors are actually slightly open. It's little details like this that make me happy.
...Like the menu next to the elevator. Exotic, yes. Appetizing, you can decide.
As well as this throwback to Raging Spirits in one of the murals.
Once again, the "no photos or phones past this point" rule was being quite heavily enforced, but there's ample enough footage of what's ahead that it should be no secret at this point.
Noted, even if the proprietor disappeared.
But if Tower of Terror taught us anything, Hightower doesn't care, he does what he wants.
Speaking of enforcing rules, you'd think the city would be more keen to crack down on this kind of trespassing...
New since my last visit, the park incorporated IC card (cashless smart cards for the uninitiated) readers at all the registers. It never ceases to amaze me how much the system is getting integrated into almost everything (and makes getting your popcorn fix infinitely easier).
Due to issues with my phone's battery, I had to conserve my battery enough to get the following part, so insert corny transition here:
The time has finally come to get a look at Soaring!
Given the length of the standby queue, I'd say lots of other people are excited as well.
Important to note, the resort overhauled its Fastpass system to fall more in line with how the US resorts have changed it (including smartphone compatibility with the official resort app, which I didn't learn until I arrived). The new system seems to have helped things roll more smoothly than the old school system throughout the resort.
The Fastpass queue funnels you through a condensed version of the Museum of Fantastic Flight, formerly curated by Camellia Falco.
The rotunda showcases several murals with an emphasis of the "fantastic" part of Fantastic Flight.
Beautiful detailing on the rotunda.
Looks better than the Dumbo remake (also, someone please make a period drama about ninjas fighting samurai like that, I officially need that in my life)
Love the Don Quixote mural on the right.
I don't have witty captions on all of these, so just enjoy these murals for what they are.
Let's not forget the "museum" part either.
Still showcasing the humorous side.
The queue splits here into the separate theaters. Spoilers ahead for the preshow...
*SPOILERS* From the previous picture, you're funneled into another gallery with a portrait of Falco, a bust of a falcon, and more museum-style images of flying machines, birds, butterflies, and the ilk. The preshow starts with the shadow of the falcon's bust coming to life and appearing in Falco's portrait Harry Potter style. Falco explains (in Japanese) how studying flight was her life's work (with the other pictures and galleries coming to life in a similar manner), and how with both her studies and the power of imagination, she developed the Dream Flyer to make that vision a reality and take us on a journey around the landmarks of the world. From there, you're sorted into the respective loading bays, each with murals depicting the ride's landmarks. The mural up front depicting the Dream Flyer comes to life to provide the safety briefing. The doors open, and you board the ride. The ride area features the same architecture as the rest of the building, with the dome screen covered in stars.
The main ride film is very similar to the film seen at the other parks, but aside from the expected localization changes to the finale, Paris was cut and swapped with a new Tokyo scene (flying over Tokyo Bay and approaching Tokyo Tower, which doesn't appear as distorted as the Paris scene; it's also a little longer, with the final DisneySea sequence being condensed down compared to the final sequences of the other films). The falcon also makes a few appearances, at the very beginning, and transition to the final DisneySea sequence.
PERSONAL REVIEW: Soaring is to Soarin' what Tower of Terror was to, well, Tower of Terror. Both took existing formulas and completely reimagined them into new stories and new experiences with incredibly impressive result. While I'll be upfront and honest about not really being a fan of the Around the World version of Soarin', the way in which the ride is framed and presented here makes the ride work much better as a complete experience (similar to how Tower of Terror has a tamer drop cycle, but an incredible backstory). While I prefer Soarin' Over California for having the better ride film, this version is definitely an improvement over the stateside versions with the same film.
I really love that even when Tokyo Disney gets a ride from the stateside parks that they amp the experience up with a unique queue, story and ride experience. Soaring looks like it really is the best version of the attraction... As pretty much every experience at Tokyo Disney is when compared to their worldwide counterparts.
Thanks for sharing this great report!
Change the scheme, Alter the mood! Electrify the boys and girls if you would be so kind!
jedimaster1227 wrote:I really love that even when Tokyo Disney gets a ride from the stateside parks that they amp the experience up with a unique queue, story and ride experience. Soaring looks like it really is the best version of the attraction... As pretty much every experience at Tokyo Disney is when compared to their worldwide counterparts.
Thanks for sharing this great report!
The other versions of the ride really bank hard on the ride itself being the selling point (especially in the states), and it was a really refreshing change to see the concept fleshed out into something much more complete and immersive.
CenturyFlyer wrote:Does the final scene and the showing of modern landmarks feel disjointed, since the queue and backstory carry on such a different theme?
It seems disjointed on the surface, but it's explained (in Japanese) that the Dream Flyers are powered by our imaginations, which includes being able to imagine the future of flight. When they called it "Fantastic Flight", they really meant it in the literal fantasy sense.
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