Tokyo Disneyland

After an exhausting day at DisneySea yesterday, we still wanted to get up early today to go to Disneyland, which opened at 9 AM. It wasn’t easy, but we made it there just before 10. After yesterday’s 4-hour-line shocker, I was prepared for the worst, so things didn’t seem so bad in comparison, although I believe it was actually busier here than yesterday in DisneySea.

At the entrance to the 20th-century small-town-American ‘World Bazaar’ there were several Disney characters waiting to greet us and the thousand other visitors. It’s impossible to take a picture with one of your Disney friends if you don’t want to wait in line for it, so I just settled for pictures of them with other more patient people. Notably absent, like always was Mickey Mouse, because he is the Master of Disneyland and hides in his ToonTown Mansion for people to meet him after having waited in yet another long line… But luckily, he does leave his house (or maybe it’s just his evil twin) to join in the parade and shows, so we did get to see Mr. Mouse on a few occasions today.

It seems like Disneyland has more rides and other attractions than DisneySea, and doing them all would have been impossible with the considerable lines. Fortunately, we could already cross a few things from our list of rides-to-ride because we’d already done them last year. Like observing Captain Jack Sparrow among other rollicking pirates in the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’, and venturing deep into mysterious danger-filled jungles (which is actually rather boring if you can’t understand the guide’s Japanese) on the “Jungle Cruise’. So the only thing in ‘Adventureland’ that we did today was attend a tropical music show by Stitch and 4 singing parrots in ‘The Enchanted Tiki Room’ (which had been under construction last year). And checking out the Disneyland map as I write this, I realize we’ve missed an opportunity to check out the ‘Swiss Family Treehouse’ built by the shipwrecked Robinson family… And I’ve always been fascinated by treehouses, oh well.

In the old American frontier of wild, wild ‘Westernland’, we managed to get a fastpass for ‘Big Thunder Mountain’ which suddenly closed halfway through our day at Disneyland last year. This time around we actually got to ride the runaway mine train on a very wild journey up and down and around the mountain. And we finally got to try some smoked turkey legs, which we wanted last year, but the lines had been impossible back then. Not that they were short today, but at least kind of doable, but I won’t stand in line for a Disney turkey leg again, because it wasn’t that good.

In ‘Critter Country’ people are invited to take a peek into the fun-filled world of some lovable, little Disney critters, but I don’t think we saw any critters, although we did encounter a bear here and there. We got another fastpass for Splash Mountain, like last year when the pass told us to come back at 9:15 PM on a cold day, which we didn’t do. But this time we were invited back in the middle of a sunny afternoon, so I didn’t mind riding a log of timber down a flume with the wettest drop ever. They actually spray you with a load of water just before the big splash to make sure you don’t leave the mountain without needing a towel. Good thing it was very sunny.

‘Fantasyland’ houses a lot of attractions, including the most popular of the park: ‘Pooh’s Hunny Hunt’, one of only two rides in the world (the other one being DisneySea’s Aquatopia) that is unique every time you ride it because of the trackless local positioning system. Having learned about it after our first visit to Disneyland, and not having tried it then, I was eager to try it today and it was the first thing we did today. Well, that is after waiting in line for more than an hour, but it was okay because the line was entertaining. They printed Pooh’s story on giant pages and positioned them in order along the queue, and fortunately it was all in English.

During the ride itself you sit in huge honey pots with wheels that are completely hidden, making it seem like the pots are gliding across the floors. The pots appear to move through the attraction independently, wildly stopping, starting, reversing direction, and even spinning, providing the rider whimsical and dreamlike visuals. At some times our honey pot appeared to dance to the beat with the other pots in the room, while following around Winnie the Pooh in search of his favorite food: honey.

Last year, we endured a two hour line to ride through an not-so eerie Gothic mansion (a.k.a. ‘Haunted Mansion’) with 999 ghostly inhabitants, and it wasn’t that impressive (but nothing is after such a long wait, I guess) so we passed on it today. Other rides we skipped because we already did last year were the happy cruise in ‘It’s A Small World’ and the spinning teacups of ‘Alice’s Tea Party’. Things we did try in the land that promised to make our dreams come true: flying on a pirate ship from London to Neverland in ‘Peter Pan’s Flight’; listening to an orchestra of Disney characters play famous Disney tunes in ‘The Mickey Mouse Revue’; trying to stay awake on ‘Pinocchio’s Daring Journey’; flying high and admiring the electrical parade from above on ‘Dumbo The Flying Elephant’.

Last year we really enjoyed looking around ‘Toontown’, but today we hardly had time to check out Mickey’s hometown. We kind of rushed there in the last 30 minutes the park was open to take a cartoon cab for a wild spin through the back alleys of ‘Toontown’ in ‘Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin’. We didn’t meet Mickey, we didn’t climb up ‘Chip ‘n Dale’s Treehouse’ (another one I missed today) and we didn’t try out the periscope on ‘Donald’s Boat’, maybe next time in another Disneyland.

In futuristic ‘Tomorrowland’ we experienced the high-point of the day on ‘Space Mountain’. They call it an exciting rocket journey through space, but I would describe as a turbo roller-coaster, that wildly shoots you through a very dark dome with some lights pretending to be stars. It’s scary because you can’t see the tracks and therefore have no idea which way you’re going so you can’t adjust your body to decrease the impact on your body. It was definitely scream-worthy and I loved it, as did Yasu only it had a really detrimental effect on his weak back. We didn’t have a chance to try ‘Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters’ and ‘Monster, Inc. Ride and Go Seek’ (the latter because it hasn’t officially opened yet). But we were shrunk (like in the movie ‘Honey, I shrunk the kids’) in a 3D show called ‘MicroAdventure’, and Yasu drove a race car up, down and around a network of challenging curves in the ‘Grand Circuit Raceway’.

Tokyo Disney Resort celebrates its 25th anniversary this year and it has been celebrating this for a year, right now they’re in the finale of celebrations. They celebrate with special shows, like a special show named ‘Dreams Within’ on the Castle Forecourt Stage, and a fireworks show which unbelievingly was cancelled both yesterday at DisneySea and today at Disneyland… And besides the regular Electrical Parade at night, there was also a daytime parade today. Yasu loves shows and parades and so we tried to see as many of them as possible.

The big ‘Dreams Within’ show required admission tickets which guests could win through some kind of lottery somewhere in ‘Tomorrowland’. We decided not to try because the show was in Japanese, so I wouldn’t be able to get it anyway. But when we were in line to buy some popcorn and I observed the lottery machines in the building across the street, I suddenly got this overwhelming feeling that we would win a few of the last tickets just 30 minutes before closing of the lottery. And weirdly enough I was right. Even though, we could see the machines disappoint everybody that went before and after us, we were congratulated and the machine printed us two center-stage tickets on row 12 (of at least 100), so we felt very lucky.

The 20-minute-show was really impressive, they sang the songs in English, and all the Disney characters appeared on stage. And most importantly Yasu was very happy!

All in all, our visit to Tokyo’s Disney Resort this time was very successful, we rode almost all the rides and saw most of the shows and parades and really enjoyed all of it. Except maybe for the huge crowds and seemingly endless lines… I think when I think back to Japan in 20 years, the long lines for everything even in daily life will come to mind first.
Tokyo Disneyland
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