Tokyo Disney Sea
Trip Start Apr 14, 2012
8Trip End Apr 28, 2012
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After our hearty meal to start the day, we hit the monorail to take us to our first park. The monorails here are much better than those in the states. They have big, cushioned benches, Mickey shaped handles, giant Mickey shaped windows, etc.
Unfortunately you have to pay for them because Japanese law states that any mode of transportation with more than one station must charge a fee. This is actually why the Disneyland Railroad (aka Western River Railroad) out here has only one station even though it is in the park.
We arrived early at our first park which was to be Tokyo Disney Sea. This is a very unique park and the only one like it in the world. More on that later. We queued up in front of the gates about 45 minutes early like we do at every other Disney park around the world but immediately noticed something different. Rather than the usual hordes of overweight, sunburned, croc wearing, kid-on-leash toting, screaming at the top of their lungs Americans pushing their way to the front, we found utterly silent single file lines of perfectly respectable, courteous, and polite Japanese folk patiently waiting for the gates to open. No Cast Members ask them to line up that way, they just simply do. It’s in their nature. It’s absolutely an amazing thing to experience for any seasoned park veteran because it shows you what your park experience could be like if only the people around you were polite. All of this considering there were thousands of people outside of the gates on this “slow” day but everything was just so calm and stress free.
The gates opened and, once through, the guests started their mad dashes for their favorite rides. This is actually a necessity in these parks because, during the busier times, most attractions have 3-4 hour waits because of the large number of people. Remember, Tokyo Disneyland is only a 30 minute train ride from the most densely populated city on the planet. We decided we too would move somewhat quickly to ensure we rode the two biggest rides in the park that day. We later found it wasn’t an overly busy day and all waits were always under 1 hour. Our waits were always under 30 minutes because of our use of fast passes.
We quickly stopped at the Aquasphere at the entrance because it is too cool how the Imagineers got the water to cascade down the globe like that.
We headed to their version of the Tower of Terror (Mike’s favorite ride) first. Since they have no frame of reference to The Twilight Zone, this one is themed after an American adventurer named Harrison Hightower who travels the world collecting artifacts and sends them back to his hotel (Hightower Hotel) for display. During one of his expeditions, he collected an ancient, cursed idol called Shakira or something like that. Of course the entire pre-show is in Japanese so we have no freaking idea what was going on but the pre-show had one of the most amazing Disney effects we have ever seen. Anyway, the idol curses the elevator and you all fall to your death. The end. This was our 4th Tower of Terror ride (Orlando, Anaheim, Paris, and now Tokyo) so we’ll start to throw some comparisons in. This one was the best looking on the outside by far. Great artifacts and individual elevator rooms on the inside too. However, Orlando still wins for the extra dimension with the elevator traveling sideways and also the queue.
We then headed to their other big ride which was unique to this park: Journey to the Center of the Earth. This ride was housed inside a massive volcano known as Mt Prometheus which was located on Mysterious Island. Wow, this is definitely the most elaborately themed land in any Disney park. The entire land is themed to sort of a Jules Verne steam punk aesthetic.
They have a Central American jungle themed area with an Indiana Jones ride similar to the one in Anaheim which is an excellent ride. However, this ride is housed in a giant Aztec pyramid out here so this one wins for theming.
There is an American Waterfront area which has smaller areas themed to Cape Cod and New York. There is a giant steamship named SS Columbia which house a restaurant, beautiful lounge, and decks for exploring.
They have a massive Mediterranean Harbor area that houses little Italian villages that perfectly replicate Venice, Naples, and others. The detail here is absolutely amazing. They have a gondola ride that looks very cool but we didn’t ride because we didn’t want to sit across from people and stare at them or, more appropriately, them stare at us since we were the oddballs out.
The entire park circles a lagoon that house a daytime show called Legend of Mythica. Mike isn’t huge on daytime shows but this one was amazing! Massive floats, lots of jetskis trailing quadruple kites, fireworks, explosions, volcanoes erupting, the works! Good show.
There is also an Arabian Coast that houses a very cool ride called Sinbad’s Voyage. It’s a boat ride like Small World with animatronics but they are much more advanced and look really cool. There is a giant 30 foot tall troll in the ride too. Great ride.
In all, this park is the most detailed of all of them. It could use some more rides but it is still only 10 years old. It’s a beautiful park and well worth visiting.
Unfortunately we were completely exhausted and couldn’t witness their version of Fantasmic on the lagoon (I know, sorry Brenda, Patti, and Jen!). I’m sure it is a great show since Mt Prometheus gets involved. Here are a few night shots anyway:
We went back to the room and stopped at the hotel convenience store to pick up dinner. I know what you are thinking but you quickly learn that the convenience stores out here are known for serving excellent food which is very fresh and reasonably priced. Here was Mike’s dinner: