Monday, June 4, 2012

[Disney] Day 18: Tokyo Disneyland!

I headed early to go wait in line for Tokyo Disneyland. I got on the elevator on the ninth floor and it was just me. We stop at the sixth floor and there are like fifty screaming Japanese girls waiting to board. Could this get any more cliche? I really thought they were just going to wait for another elevator because I am apparently a scary American, but about ten of them got on and proceeded to giggle the entire way to the second floor.
What a classy vending machine
The breakfast options in the Sheraton are a bit limited. The buffet costs several organs so I was left with getting croissants from the cafe. They didn't open until 7:30 which would prove troublesome on some days. Here was my go to order, the ham and cheese croissant:
What mysteries do you contain?

Unnecessary emergency food purchase

View from the Sheraton 

Can you tell this is a family hotel? Also: awesome!

Mr. Belvedere has a lounge? Can it solve all my problems like he used to do?

View of the bay - I'd rather have the view of Disney
One look at the sky and I went back to my room for my jacket (see: I'm learning). I left the hotel for good at 7:48, with park opening slated for 9.
Not a promising sky, that

So begrudgingly purchased

Who the hell puts Crush on their tickets?

Surprised this wasn't a Disney Timeshare ad...oh wait, there was one of those in the next car down

All I could think on the monorail ride over is that they really needed more berm around their parks because from the monorail you could see all sorts of operational and backstage stuff that should never be visible to park guests. On the other hand they were playing Disney showtunes, which means instant good news.
The back of Tower of Terror from the monorail. This is more like "Tower of Slightly Scared"

That is beautiful. Disney at its best.

Again, why is their Downtown Disney so much nicer?


Really weird Disneyland entrance!

As far as I can tell, Asia is basically all escalators. Number of escalators in the entire state of Florida? Zero.
When I got to the park there was this weird interaction where I tried to go wait in line for opening and a Cast Member said I needed to be a hotel guest. Huh. Didn't realize they did early magic hours here. Now Danny of a few years ago would have freaked at losing the time in the park, but as it was I was grateful for an excuse to go wait in the warm, dry Disneyland Hotel.
Gorgeous Disneyland Hotel

I <3 Alice - one of the earlier fantasy stories

Easter? What about Passover?

Reminds me so much of the Pink House from Coraline. I'm gonna go listen to the TMBG song from that movie right now.

You don't belong here. I wonder if I could smuggle you through customs?

At around 8:45 I figured I must have misinterpreted something and I figured out that there was a separate line for those who weren't hotel guests. The queue wasn't bad at all for 15 minutes before park opening:
Line isn't too bad this morning

Not a good sign
At the park entrance they were handing out pieces of paper for people to spit their gum into. Very nicely done, Tokyo Disney.

Once in the park I knew there were two special rides that existed only at TDL and that I needed to do early and often: Monsters Inc. and Winnie the Pooh, both of which are much cooler versions that their US counterparts.

In Japan, unlike in any other Disney themepark, people sprint like freaking crazy when the gates open. So I decided to join in and ran my ass over to the Monsters Inc. Fastpass machine, only to find the ride closed for the day. Turned out it would be closed up until the day after my ticket ran out. Well $*&# you too, Tokyo Disneyland.

I rallied by going to Pooh's Hunny Hunt:
Very lush Pooh's theming - lush Pooh, don't go there

So f-ing confused: where was the woozle then?

What. The. Hell?

Oh, of course

Tigger has found Pooh's Thotful Spot, which is only slightly easier to find than the Grafenberg Spot
If there are any kids reading this, and if there are then your parents are horrible people, you probably don't get that last joke. It's okay, go ask your dad. Don't ask your mom because she'll smile wistfully and tell you to ask anyone other than your dad.
Exit to Pooh's Hunny Hunt...must lead to a gift shop?


But wait - there's a non-gift shop exit option! Who saw that coming?
Pooh's Hunny Hunt was one of the coolest rides I've ever been on. There's no evident track and there are three different courses that your car can take. It's what every new Disney dark ride should be based on, rather than the crap Little Mermaid that US Disney parks are feeding us this year. There were few things that pissed me off more than the thought that for years now Disney has been able to build this incredible dark ride that was capable of carrying a park as its major attraction but they have never introduced anything half as nice in the US. I'd best move on before I get so bitter that I just move to Tokyo.
Three universals at every Disney park: Castle, It's a Small World, and Pooh's Corner?

That's how the "tiger" economies of Asia got ahead! Mining babies! I approve, but then I'm not a good person.


Second best ride in the park, and one of the truly unique ones and it's closed and I'll never get to ride it and that makes me sad and want to write run-on sentences

Little extra castle theming

See, it really does add something!

It's just like Fantasia, except instead of waves, he's summoning a giant freaking castle. Respect the Mouse, please.
Next I headed over to Snow White. Guess what? Still scary. In fact, even scarier. The trees come out at you and at least one of them looks just like Cthulu. Plus there's no happy ending on this ride - no Prince, no nothing. It's the most abrupt ending to a ride that I can remember. I kinda like it.
Even in Japanese: freaking terrifying.
After that it was time for Peter Pan which had a five minute wait? Really? That would never happen in the US.

Things you won't see in a US park: a 5 minute wait at Peter Pan an hour after opening. Ever.
The only real difference I could discern was that the boat/ride vehicle swayed horizontally here, which was a nice little touch. Or maybe I'm just a fat American and broke it. Possibility is all I'm saying.
This just looks wrong. The Haunted Mansion doesn't go there, dagnabit
I headed over to my personal favorite, the Haunted Mansion. As would be true of virtually every ride in the park, it was a plussed version of the US ride. First off, everyone stayed perfectly silent during the opening monologue. The only time I can remember that happening in the US was when I was the only one in the stretching room. There were all sorts of little effects and extra animatronics that either don't exist in the US or stopped working and were never repaired.
Nice touch there

Oh wait, there's gargoyles. Now it totally belongs in Fantasyland

This tree looks like it needs a creepy guy in pink to rub its roots

I wonder how many of the parks guests get these jokes. I've never seen this one before.

Greatest vending machine ever? I say yes.

As I walked back to Winnie the Pooh I noticed that some ride was playing the music to Hava Nagila. WTF?

I rode Pooh again because I could and because it's amazing.

I gave Pinocchio a spin (we'll just call this update "The Double Entendre, shall we?) and it seemed to move much faster than the US ride. Not sure that's a good thing.
Snow White's Scary Adventures? Actually scary. Pinocchio's Daring Journey? Not so daring.

I face this decision every day: go to teach or have a stromboli. Four years in a row I've chosen "teach" but one of these days...

This sign hurts my head. Why is the ticket cost in pounds sterling? It's an Italian story set in an Italian village turned into a movie by an American and originally placed in an American themepark, now appearing in Japan. Where the heck do the British come in and why the heck has my life sunk so low that I'm thinking about this?

Well then.
I entered the immaculately themed Queen of Hearts Banquet Hall for a buffeteria-style lunch.

I wanted one so badly just for the name

I did not eat the head. Couldn't do it.

Was hoping this was just water. Instead I got Pocari Sweat Light.
At this point it was raining heavily and I needed somewhere to be dry and enjoy my drink. The outcome was inevitable, even if it made me want to die:
'Nough said
The special snack of Tokyo Disneyland is flavored popcorn. I endeavored to try as many as I could.
Not half bad. A little sweet, hint of curry.

Damn it Stitch, must you ruin everything?
I gave the Jungle Cruise a go. The guide was way more animated than the usual US guides. He was working for every laugh.

Since the entire ride was in Japanese I decided to do my own monologue in my head:
Their wingspans grow from twelve inches to a whopping one foot!

Inspiration Falls. The sound of it's running waters inspires you to go....deeper and deeper into the jungle

This is an African elephant. How can you tell? No, not the ears, because we're in Africa.

For those of you with bad short term memory, this is an African elephant. How can you tell?

Wonder what happened to my pygmy welcoming party?

I hate when my in-laws drop by unannounced. But at least they got my Jeep started. I couldn't get it to turn over.

I like to point out this limestone here because most people take it for granite.

Here on the African veld we have giraffe, gazelle, gnu, and g-zebra

Aww look at those lions watching over that sleeping zebra. Poor thing looks dead tired. Let's let him rest in peace, shall we?

I tried to tell those guys that a charging rhino could run faster than a Jeep over short distances. They didn't believe me. I think they'll get the point. In the end.

On the left is Old Smiley. He's always looking for a handout. To his right is his girlfriend Ginger. She's one tough cookie. Be careful though, Ginger snaps.

Here is Schwitzer Falls, names after famed African explorer Albert...Falls.

A downed airplane? That can mean only one thing. Yup. Hippos.

The eight wonder of the world: the backside of water!

Better be careful in this tunnel, it could be painful. Yup, looks like a root canal.

A long dark tunnel? I wonder where it goes. Oh who are we kidding, it comes out in a gift shop.

It's okay to take photos, they have their trunks on

That's Big Bertha. She's been in that bath for thirty years now. Look at all those wrinkles. You know what that means kids? Take a bath for too long and you'll become an elephant.

Serious comment: That's Trader Sam holding fruit, instead of skulls. What the hell joke am I supposed to make now, Tokyo Disney? All the good Sam jokes play off him being a headhunter. FFS.

Back in New Orleans again

Disappointingly awful


Not Club 33
I gave Pirates a go - another quality attraction.
Sponsored by the beer people. Seems appropriate.

Love this map

Apparently the pirates looted Temple B'nai Shalom

We wants the redhead!

 Main Street is actually fully covered in Tokyo Disneyland, which is a great idea when it's raining:

And gives you an awesome view like this one:

Walt must be thawing in his cryogenic chamber because of all of that crap in front of the castle. Let's ask him:

Walt: "No sir, I don't like it. And why does Mickey look weird?"

I particularly liked Ulysses S Gaunt. Over/under on number of people a year who get that reference at Tokyo Disneyland: 443

The entirety of TKDL's pin collection

Do they have to be my own children or can I just take home other people's lost kids? Do any of them say "Tokyo Disneyland" on them?

Kingdom Hearts!

Kingdom Hearts 2!

Kingdom Hearts 358/2 seriously who the hell named this game?
I bought it. Not proud of that, but I bought it. It had TKDL written on it.

An entire store dedicated to Phillharmagic merch. Something I guarantee you won't see in the states.

In case you are wondering, that is in fact Pooh's giant ass with a face drawn on it courtesy of Rabbit


When you walk in front of this building it makes really loud fireworks noises - sent this 20 year old Japanese guy running for his life. I shouldn't have laughed. I laughed anyway.

People, don't leave your baby with that duck


Some kid in Anaheim told me this was a death cab people, don't get in there. 

One thing I miss about my last job: they got me a banker's lamp. I want one again.

You had me at strawberry
At this point I was cold and wet and really just wanted to be in the hotel room. So I headed back feeling quite satisfied with my day. Hopefully I'd get to see TDL in the sun at some point.
Still doesn't seem right

I had spent an hour walking Ikspiari looking for the location of Pierre Herme's pastry shop - turns out they moved out of Tokyo Disney a few months before. To make it up to myself, I ate this. It was good.


  1. That's not British pounds, that's the symbol for the Italian Lira.

  2. Also, I have this photo from a novelty license plate on a real car in Virginia from last fall. I make no claims that this link will work for you, but I promise, it's there and relevant!

  3. So it is! How in the gods' names do you know that?