Photo TR: Adam's Return to Japan & 1st visit to Hong Kong

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Photo TR: Adam's Return to Japan & 1st visit to Hong Kong

Postby jedimaster1227 » Mon Nov 11, 2019 8:07 am

Updates:
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Sega Joypolis and Tokyo city day
Tokyo DisneySea
Tokyo Disneyland
Osaka Castle - Osaka Aquarium, Osaka Castle, Dotonbori & more!

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Original Post:

I've been fortunate enough to have done a lot of traveling in my life, but there has been no place I've loved more than Japan. Having taken my original Japan trip in 2006 and then our honeymoon in Shanghai and Tokyo, I was itching to get back to Japan as soon as I could... And with my wife and I's goal to visit all of the Disney Parks around the world following our wedding, we kept our eye out for fares until the right opportunity came up. We'd visited Disneyland twice following our wedding (once for our mini-moon and once for a 36 hour getaway) and Disneyland Paris the following Summer... Leaving just Hong Kong Disneyland in our sights. But when on that side of the world, you don't skip out on Tokyo Disney or Tokyo in general!

Compared to our honeymoon trip, we made it a point to spend more time on the experiences other than Disney, visiting Kyoto, Osaka (including Universal Studios Japan) and more of Tokyo than we saw during our last trip. Along the way we were able to knock a few of my like-to's off of the list (from having lived vicariously through so many Japan trip reports on these forums that went beyond Disney) and found a few gems on our own.

Our trip began with our first evening and day in Tokyo...
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This was not a short flight... But man, was the end result worth it!
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It has become a tradition of mine to take some Amorette's Patisserie desserts with me when taking longer trips...
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What do you do during a long flight? Watch incredibly obscure movies like Rat Race, obviously.
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A just like that we were back at the Tokyo Disney Resort, hopping on the monorail to Ikspiari.
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Ichizenya at Ikspiarari Kitchen has been my favorite quick service option on property since our honeymoon trip... I try to visit at least once per trip.
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We got in later in the evening, so we had enough time and energy to grab a bite and do a little bit of shopping before our first full day in the city. The Ikspiari Disney Store is always a must for us, considering how different the merchandise here is compared to the Bon Voyage Gifts and in-park options.
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I wasn't leaving Japan without these Oswald ears.
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Back in the land of Melon Bread and I couldn't be happier.
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The French may be known for their pastries, but I'd argue that Japan has perfected patisseries.
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Robb had recommended the Decks going back to his and Elissa's helping us to plan our honeymoon and while we didn't make it that time, this time around we made sure to give it a visit.
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Our main reason for heading out to Odaiba...
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I've always been intrigued by SEGA Joypolis... Going as far back to the mid-90's, Joypolis felt like the precursor and more-advanced implementation of the indoor amusement park model that inspired DisneyQuest. Arcades, virtual reality experiences and even an indoor coaster... Where stateside DisneyQuest concepts didn't even have a physical coaster. I'd always been enamored with how SEGA had managed to fit it all into a compact footprint where it wasn't even tried in the states. Now I'd finally experience it for myself.
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Yes, the urinals at Joypolis are interactive video games.
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I knew the complex had received some pretty significant face lifts over the years, with Gekion Live Coaster (formerly Veil of Darkness) replacing Spin Bullet. We waited an hour to ride the park's one coaster and it was worth it!
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The main stage at Joypolis is composed of a huge projection-mapped surface and a musion-style screen that allows Lopit, SEGA's original pop star character to perform in an insanely colorful, overwhelming show throughout the day.
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Coca-Cola Lime... I love Japan!
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I also love how much the Japanese love crepes.
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Sonic Athletics was super fun... And you work up a sweat powering your character's progress by hitting the treadmill hard. Note: If you plan to visit Joypolis and you want to participate in experiences like this, you need to wear closed-toe shoes or be prepared to wear loaner boots.
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I love how Gekion really frames the atrium of Joypolis.
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This inversion is incredibly smooth and a unique sensation to experience facing sideways as the launched turn sends you spinning.
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With lines being pretty significant during our visit and our day not being reserved solely for Joypolis, we had to pick and choose which experiences we went for... Funny enough, Joypolis seemed to have a simulator experience for practically every mode of transportation. Wild Wing for planes, Wild Jungle Brothers for jeeps, Wild River: The Treasure Hunt for rafting.
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I wished I had time to experience this one...
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But I chose Zombie Zoo, just because I was so intrigued by the concept of an indoor haunt created by the minds at SEGA. The experience is not presented in English and the staff warned me about this, but when I agreed to stay, they gave me an English laminated book with a list of warnings and context of the story. In all honesty, the lack of English didn't take away from the experience. The story is fairly simple... Zombies are not uncommon in the world now, and one facility has domesticated them enough to offer a "Zombie Zoo" for visitors to experience the zombies at a distance. Led by one of the scientists/doctors at the facility and his bumbling assistant, the experience is more comedy-horror than outright horror. There are a few jump scares from room to room and as you get deeper in, the light-hearted tour turns into a more sinister plot to zombify guests, which results in a daring escape plan.

That's it in a nutshell. I'm glad I experienced Zombie Zoo overall.
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Dispatches for the coaster don't happen very often, so getting to watch another train zoom by was fun when I could.
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Halfpipe Tokyo had a longer line than Gekion so I had to skip this one.
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Spicy Taxi... What exactly makes it spicy, I'm not sure.
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For Larry...
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I didn't realize until we were here that Gekion Live Coaster's game experience changes seasonally and during my visit it was themed to Sonic the Hedgehog. The dark ride section of the coaster is neat in that the projector screens follow cars as they move down the track and shift away as you move between rooms. My inner eleven year old was absolutely blown away that I was able to ride a coaster to the tune to "Escape from the City" from Sonic Adventure 2.

The coaster is incredibly compact, but thanks to the dark ride elements it is actually a fairly long experience.
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Michael Jackson apparently visited Joypolis in 1996!
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I came, I saw, I wonder no more.
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One more for Larry...
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I still find it incredibly amusing that Tommy Lee Jones is the face of Boss after all these years.
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The Decks in Odaiba also have an old-school Disney Store!
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Vintage feel!
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Time for a ramen-themed food hall!
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When in Japan, get ramen and gyoza.
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The best ramen I've ever had... Curry ramen. Savory, spicy, flavorful. I was in absolute heaven!
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Pork bean sprouts as a side turned out to be enough to be its own entree.
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Tokyo Ramen Kokugikan "Mai" was an absolute highlight!
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I've now seen four Statue of Liberty replicas around the world.
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We wanted to revisit Harajuku and Takeshita Street since our time there was so short last time...
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We didn't realize we came at a busy time.
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After an amazing kickoff to our trip it was time to head back to our hotel and get an early night's rest before rope-dropping Tokyo DisneySea!
Last edited by jedimaster1227 on Wed Nov 27, 2019 9:41 am.
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Re: Photo TR: Adam's Return to Japan & 1st visit to Hong Kon

Postby bert425 » Mon Nov 11, 2019 10:16 am

Great start, Adam, and how exciting to see a report from several of the places that I'll get to in mine eventually!

(in particular, Joypolis, USJ, & TDL/TDS). . .as not only was it my 1st ever trip to Japan, it was my 1st ever visit to a Universal Park.

gonna be so fun to see how the experiences differ.

I may have missed it, but what is the timeframe that you were at Joypolis?

Wondering as when we went in early Oct (and i'll have that update up at some point in a week or two, since have a few parks before that point), at that time the Spin coaster was themed to a J-pop boy-band. Playing their video and song, thruout the "dark game" part of the ride, and during the finale end spinning around the "tower" section.

the video stage also had turned into a "virtual" concert for the band. I honestly thought they were appearing live (or one of them was) based on the crowd reaction and participation. . but when got a look at the stage - no pics permitted - everyone was just watching a projected performance on the screens.

it was so interesting to see.

we liked Decks too, and tho we didn't eat at the Ramen Alley, everything you posted looks like it tasted amazing.

can't wait to see more
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Re: Photo TR: Adam's Return to Japan & 1st visit to Hong Kon

Postby Canobie Coaster » Mon Nov 11, 2019 12:17 pm

How exactly does a urinal interactive video game work? :lol:

Great report!
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Re: Photo TR: Adam's Return to Japan & 1st visit to Hong Kon

Postby Garet » Mon Nov 11, 2019 6:47 pm

With lines being pretty significant during our visit and our day not being reserved solely for Joypolis, we had to pick and choose which experiences we went for... Funny enough, Joypolis seemed to have a simulator experience for practically every mode of transportation. Wild Wing for planes, Wild Jungle Brothers for jeeps, Wild River: The Treasure Hunt for rafting.


Lotte World has these 3 rides installed as well and I think a park in Dubai has the set, so if it's any consolation you chose something unique to Japan over a ride that's been cloned.

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Re: Photo TR: Adam's Return to Japan & 1st visit to Hong Kon

Postby PKI Jizzman » Fri Nov 15, 2019 8:50 am

The melon flavored drinks, breads, treats were all done so well. They could easily end up being gross but leave it to Japan to perfect the flavor!

Sega looks like a fun unique park, especially the coaster. Great start to the report, Adam! Thanks for taking the time to post everything.
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Re: Photo TR: Adam's Return to Japan & 1st visit to Hong Kon

Postby jedimaster1227 » Fri Nov 15, 2019 8:57 am

bert425 wrote:Great start, Adam, and how exciting to see a report from several of the places that I'll get to in mine eventually!

I may have missed it, but what is the timeframe that you were at Joypolis?


Thanks Bert! We were there in early April of this year!

Canobie Coaster wrote:How exactly does a urinal interactive video game work? :lol:


It is just like most point-and-shoot arcade games. ;)

Garet wrote:Lotte World has these 3 rides installed as well and I think a park in Dubai has the set, so if it's any consolation you chose something unique to Japan over a ride that's been cloned.


That is good to know! I really enjoyed Joypolis overall, but now that I've been and seen what they have I probably wouldn't rush back over more time in the city or at Tokyo Disney, but it was a great side experience for this trip!

PKI Jizzman wrote:The melon flavored drinks, breads, treats were all done so well. They could easily end up being gross but leave it to Japan to perfect the flavor!

Sega looks like a fun unique park, especially the coaster. Great start to the report, Adam! Thanks for taking the time to post everything.


Melon Bread, Melon Fanta and Melon Soda Churros are three of the things I consistently find myself craving here at home.

Glad you all have enjoyed this report so far! Lots more ahead! =)
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Re: Photo TR: Adam's Return to Japan & 1st visit to Hong Kon

Postby Taylor Finn » Fri Nov 15, 2019 10:53 am

Great report! I was pleased to go and do Joypolis, especially because we only spent about two hours there (after 10 PM pass). There were no lines, so we walked on Gekion three or so times, did the halfpipe, and four or so other simulators. They were all quite fun! The area around the park itself also is best seen at night, imo. Rainbow bridge and the views of the city are really quite great there.

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Re: Photo TR: Adam's Return to Japan & 1st visit to Hong DS1

Postby jedimaster1227 » Sun Nov 17, 2019 11:25 am

After our first day in the city, it was time to visit my favorite theme park on the planet, Tokyo DisneySea. This would be my third visit to Tokyo Disney in my life, and still this was my most anticipated portion of the trip. To say this park is amazing would be the greatest understatement a person could make about theme parks. The park was originally built with an unrivaled budget and the additions that have followed since its 2001 debut have followed the same standard, even for attractions that are "copies" of those found in other parks around the world. The atmosphere, the architecture, the theming, music, lands and food make this park the absolute best Disney has ever done.

Since we had spent so much time at the Tokyo Disney Resort during our Honeymoon, we opted for a shortened visit this time around so we could explore more of Japan. That meant one day at DisneySea and one day at Disneyland. Funny enough, despite having half the time we did from before, I found myself less stressed to accomplish everything during this trip, and in the process I was able to enjoy more details in the park than I ever had before.

While last time we visited during the Tanabata Festival (and the time before that I was here for the Tokyo DisneySea 5th Anniversary Celebration), this time our trip was in between events with the Easter 2019 event starting just a few days after our visit. As a result we were able to experience a few of the Easter offerings including some merchandise while still getting a chance to enjoy some of the non-seasonal offerings that would go away for Easter like the new Dreaming Up parade the next day at Disneyland.
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There are few views better than this in my opinion...
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Except for this one.
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Soaring: Fantastic Flight was still under construction during our visit, but it was easy to see that the show building would be well masked with theming. Only Tokyo Disney could make an attraction that already exists around the world totally unique and themed enough to fit into the most well themed park in the world.
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Still one of the absolute best rides on the planet... So naturally we went here first.
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Fun little details in the queue including a model designed by Captain Nemo for air travel...
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Best elevator is best.
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Still the best use of the Test Track ride system to date.
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The Ukiwa Bun is still one of my favorite snacks in the entire resort!
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The Cape Cod section of the park lacks in attractions, but it makes up for it in scenery.
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Seriously breathtaking.
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Perfect.
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I love that the waterline behind the S.S. Columbia is actually in line with the sea beyond the berm of the park. The monorail and road cut behind the barrier you see at the water's edge, but beyond those is an actual body of water.
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Best Tower is best.
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I love the way the marquee works here...
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Such an awesome, subtle effect.
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The American Waterfront is one of the best designed lands to exist in a theme park.
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In advance of Easter 2019, the Usapiyo had begun to roll out throughout the park.
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Placemaking with no purpose other than it being nice and adding to the land. Details that matter.
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I love the vibe that Easter brings to the park!
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The design of the Broadway Music Theatre in the American Waterfront is spectacular.
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Best restroom is best.
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So much cute!
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If one were to consider proposing or getting married at Tokyo DisneySea, I believe this would be the ideal place to do it.
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I finally found the park's dedication plaque!
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I will never get over the fact that this is in a theme park.
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Just unbelievable.
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Absolutely unreal.
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My shock and awe will never wear off.
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Just can't get enough.
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We came back for more several times throughout the day thanks to Tokyo Disney's continued use of the old-school FastPass system.
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There are so many neat areas of Mysterious Island to take in.
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The queue structure for 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea has always blown me away.
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What a sight!
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Mermaid Lagoon is so fully fleshed out, it could be its own Disney Family Entertainment Center built regionally and that would be enough.
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Raging Spirits manages to take a pretty standard coaster and wrap it with some pretty great theming.
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The rock work in frame here is amazing.
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The layers and sightlines help with the forced perspective of the park's central icon and how each of the themed lands is built around it.
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I rode Scuttle's Scooters back in 2006 but haven't had a chance to give it another go.
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A must take picture when at Tokyo DisneySea...
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I'd not taken the time to read the entrance's Royal Proclamation... A nod to Walt Disney's original Disneyland opening speech, "To all who come to this happy place, welcome..."
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For Larry.
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Seriously, if they built this land anywhere else as its own attraction, it would still do incredibly well.
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There's just SO MUCH!
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Spot the Killer from The Little Mermaid TV show makes an appearance in the water play area in Mermaid Lagoon.
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You don't go to Mermaid Lagoon and leave without a Sea Salt Monaka.
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Distinctly Japanese...
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Authentically cute!
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How is this real?
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The cutest of cute merch.
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Re: Photo TR: Adam's Return to Japan & 1st visit to Hong DS2

Postby jedimaster1227 » Sun Nov 17, 2019 11:25 am

(Continued)
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A remaining element from the former StormRider attraction...
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Always loved this detail...
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Oh yeah, we were here for Aquatopia.
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This attraction has no story or purpose to exist other than because it can... And IT IS AWESOME!
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So incredibly fun!
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Port Discovery's dedication plaque...
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Sailor Mickey and I see each other a lot, just not here in Cape Cod.
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The "Hello, New York!" show at the American Waterfront was super high energy!
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The Sail Away Buffet had closed since our last visit and the venue re-opened as the new quick service Dockside Diner.
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Thank you FastPass!
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So much detail!
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A very different entrance experience compared to any of the other Tower of Terror attractions...
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I never noticed this stained glass feature in the entrance lobby, but it is awesome!
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These art pieces hang in the lobby, showing how Harrison Hightower collected artifacts from other lands in Tokyo DisneySea.
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"This as you may recognize is not a maintenance service elevator, not still in operation, not waiting for you..."
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The moment in which Shiriki Utundu was handed off to Harrison Hightower...
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Best preshow ever!
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Shiriki is the best original Disney character created for a park... Except for maybe the Lava Monster.
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One of these trips I'll get around to riding the DisneySea Transit Steamer Line.
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Look at this amazing popcorn bucket we bought!
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I finally got a chance to experience Fortress Explorations!
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So many cool spaces in this attraction!
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The founders of SEA...
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This gravity-based pendulum is mesmerizing...
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So many neat visual experiences here.
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The DisneySea Electric Railway adds great kinetic energy to this side of the park.
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A look towards the land where the newest port at Tokyo DisneySea will be.
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Lost River Delta is amazing.
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Thank you FastPass!
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Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Crystal Skull manages to elevate the already perfect Indiana Jones Adventure attraction from California and make it even better!
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Raging Spirits looks great at night!
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Flying Carpet Curry from the Casbah Food Court in the Arabian Coast is never a bad choice.
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We finally got a chance to stop into the Teddy Roosevelt Lounge during this trip... Which meant I'd be consuming a Melon Soda Float and an authentic Manhattan!
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Keeping up my goofy tradition of silly entrance photos in this plaza.
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I love that Tokyo Disney still offers CDs of their music... I might have bought a lot of it during this trip. I might have.
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Thank you FastPass!
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No Sallah here...
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But Paco is pretty great too!
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20,000 Leagues Under the Sea never photographs well for me, but I managed to snag this fun shot!
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Mochi bites!
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Curry bread is an amazing thing that we have nothing like in the States...
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White chocolate and strawberry popcorn!
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The Pork Roll and the Chicken Roll from the American Waterfront are both great!
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Hi friend!
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You can't visit Tokyo DisneySea and not get a Gyoza Dog.
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Games of chance here are great in that you never lose, even when you do!
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Thanks to the Tanabata Festival, Chandu Buns weren't available during our last trip but we more than made up for it this time around.
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The Arabian Coast is such an underrated gem in the park.
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Casbah Food Court is a great place to get a quick service bite in the park.
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I genuinely, intentionally saved the best part of Tokyo DisneySea for the last part of the report...
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This attraction is so much better than any video or photos will show.
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The level of detail found inside is amazing!
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The music is absolutely infectious...
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The story is absolutely adorable...
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The animatronics are fantastic and huge!
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And then there's Chandu.
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There is no attraction I miss more in Tokyo than Sinbad's Storybook Voyage.
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I found a hidden Jasmin & Aladdin this time around!
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I can see the attraction clear as day with my eyes closed.
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Sadly our visit to Tokyo DisneySea came to a close... Next up was Tokyo Disneyland!
Last edited by jedimaster1227 on Mon Nov 18, 2019 7:52 am.
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Re: Photo TR: Adam's Return to Japan & 1st visit to Hong Kon

Postby ytterbiumanalyst » Sun Nov 17, 2019 1:04 pm

Very awesome. TDS never disappoints.
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