Woke up at that wonderful time of day known as "too god damn early". We've been close friends these past few weeks, me and too god damn early o'clock. It was so early, in fact, that there was nowhere within walking distance that would serve me food. Emergency breakfast it is. And what else would a nerdy white guy in Tokyo eat for emergency breakfast:
|Breakfast of champions|
The day before had been wet and dreary but today looked promising. It was time for me to lose my Disney innocence and visit what is reputed to be the nicest theme park in the world: Disney TokyoSea.
I got to the gate around 8:20 for a 9 AM park opening and the lines were not too bad. Right before opening, looking backward, this is what I saw:
|This must be how Shaq feels in the US|
I'd like to tell you that Journey was the most amazing ride I've ever been on. I'd like to tell you that it took my breath away. I'd like to tell you that I look forward to the next time I get to ride it. Wait, the last one is true. It turns out that the *$&#ing ride was down for refurbishment the entire time I was going to be at Tokyo Disney. For those keeping track at home, that's now two of the three premier attractions that are unique to Tokyo Disney that I will not get to ride. Sigh. Not a great start to the day.
At least I got this information from a comprehendible source. As I was coming up to the entrance to Journey, there were a couple of American guys who had done all the hard work in talking to the Japanese cast members and who were able to explain that to me.
I rallied nicely and walked next door to 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea...which was still closed for the morning as they got the start-up routine going. GAHMRGLFRGLFIRKDINGBLAST.
Okay. No problem. Lots of rides here, most of which I've not done. Time to try out Stormrider, a Star Tours-like motion simulator that I was convinced was located in the front of the park. Just about the time I got to the front of the park I realized I was completely and utterly wrong and it was in fact located in the back of the park. That's okay, Americans need exercise!
On my way to Stormrider I ran into a brother and sister from Orlando who were also staying at the Sheraton. I'd seen them at TKDL the day before and we'd chatted briefly in the elevator at the hotel. We ended up going on Stormrider together. They were going to be in Tokyo for 10 days and planned on spending the entire time at Tokyo Disney. I got the impression that they were a bit intimidated by the thought of going into Tokyo itself. I totally understand that! I'm the guy who didn't go into Zurich because the ticket machine scared him off. But hopefully I convinced them that it was at least worth paying for a guided coach tour.
So. Stormrider. Cute ride. The subtitles for the preshow, which was incredibly cool and detailed, were in English (um...the preshow was cool and detailed, not the subtitles....though they were also cool and shut up English is hard). The ride itself was all in Japanese but let's be honest: you're flying a plane into the eye of a hurricane and shit goes wrong. You don't really need to know what, you can kinda see it on the big screen in front of you. Nice attraction, even if it took someone explaining the ending to me.
|This is the dawning of the age of overpriced drinks|
|Even in the unfathomable deep where dread Cthulu lies slumbering, they serve Coke. Huh, sounds a lot like Atlanta actually.|
Look at the details. Look at all of the theming that exists solely for the purpose of making it a believable environment. TDS is absolutely incredible at that. There are times and places in the park that frankly seem even more real than the real world.
|I'd like to take one of these for a spin around Sarasota|
|These lamps were really cool. Probably my second-favorite Disney lamp. That's right I have a favorite, what of it?|
Next I went on a quest for sea salt ice cream. A Cast Member sent me into Triton's Kingdom, which is this absolutely giant enclosed space themed to be King Triton from the Little Mermaid's kingdom. It's very much an area for kids, but I still strolled through to check out the theming.
|Sure it's just a giant warehouse full of kids rides, but it's a beautiful giant warehouse|
|I'm surprised &#^$ing Duffy didn't make his way onto this ice cream lid|
The major attraction (for me) is Sinbad's Storybook Voyage. It's a ride on a boat with a song playing throughout. So like It's a Small World, except it doesn't suck. It's probably one of my five favorite rides at a Disney park, which also explains why none of you will ever want to go to a Disney park with me. Most people would pick a thrill ride. This charmed the pants off of me (err, not at all literally because holy crap would that be inappropriate even by my admittedly lax standards). I rode this thing five or six times and I'd go on it again right now if given the chance.
The song, which is thankfully in Japanese, was very catchy. And the animatronics! They are so much more advanced than the crap they keep giving us in the US. The range of motion and the fine motor skills. The singularity is at hand!
|Top 5 favorite Disney ride right here|
|Y'know, in case the animatronics somehow left you confused about the story of Sinbad|
|This is just the queue. I felt like I'd already done the ride by this point|
|I'll admit it: I desperately wanted to run up and punch the crap out of Iago.|
The ride itself is very similar to California except with a slightly different theme. Well, that and the fact that every single effect worked the way it was supposed to, nothing was broken and the ride never stopped. Grr. Screw you Disneyland.
|There's just a fire that burns here all day because it fits. God it's all so perfect|
|The queue for Indy was absolutely fantastic|
Don't get me wrong, I love the castles. They have their own reality - they are a reflection of what we wish castles were; they are the fantastic culmination of what we want castles to be. Mount Prometheus is not and it's wonderful for it:
|Magellan might have been my favorite explorer. There's no reason you need to know this. Keep moving.|
I also ran into the mother and son from Portland again. They were pleasantly surprised at how much they'd been able to accomplish. We walked over to Tower of Terror together, with the thought that I'd walk through the queue with them. I love the theming on ToT and TDS was supposed to have a different story - not Twighlight Zone at all. But I don't actually do the ride because I hate drops and that's basically all it is.
The wait at ToT was 60 minutes. Easily the longest wait in the park. So much for that. We all grabbed fastpasses and I gave them mine so that one of them could ride it twice that night. We said goodbye and I headed to explore Fortress Exploration (seems a bit repetitive, that sentence).
Much like how Sinbad is It's a Small World minus the massive craptitude, Fortress Exploration is what happens when you take Tom Sawyer Island and make it awesome. There are photos later, but it's a free-range exploratory area full of cool stuff to do and see.
|Very similar to the Portofino Bay hotel at Universal in Orlando, except possibly even better detailed|
|Why does their Tower of Terror look so much cooler than ours?|
|This was a very cool room|
|The only problem with Tower of Terror is that it intrudes on so many sightlines|
|Heart shaped bread|
|There, easier to see. No you cannot consume my heart and take my powers.|
|The only hot drink I had in the first month of the trip. Delicious!|
|Those who know me know that I'm on a quest to try every creme brulee on property in Orlando. This was probably the second best I've had behind the maple creme brulee at Le Cellier in EPCOT.|
|There is a dining room behind a bookshelf. How cool is that?|
|Walk on to a fairly popular ride in the middle of the day? Jackpot!|
|Hah - I always knew I was shallow!|
|That's a double-decker carousel. It was gorgeous. I need to stop looking at these photos or I'll be back in Tokyo in the next six months|
|More theming that serves no purpose other than to immerse you in the area. Arabian Coast is easily my favorite area of any Disney park.|
|I'd buy these, but I'd basically be condemning myself to a life of celibacy, wouldn't I?|
|Bout damn time someone recognized it.|
|I want this guy for my front lawn|
|The largest animatronic I've ever seen up-close. He had to be 15 feet tall.|
|This shit's bananas. I believe it's spelled b-a-n-a-n-a-s.|
|We wants the red head! Give us the red head!|
|Why would the Sultan close a building?|
|Ah. Yeah. That'll do it.|
|DVC is everywhere. It's like a really expensive cult.|
|I was virtually certain this said McDicks from far away. Probably a good thing it doesn't.|
|Probably necessary so people could afford all the popcorn|
|I really have no comment to this|
This next photo is the most important of the entire trip:
Kevin and Jay are quite possibly the two biggest Disney parks fans I've ever met. They were probabbly the first two people I've met in my life who not only instantly understood the logic behind a round-the-world Disney trip, but who could subsequently inform me of everything I needed to know about Disneyland Paris and that I should have known about HKDL. We ended up spending the rest of the day together (and most of the day together on Day 21). It is not often that I feel completely inadequate in my Disney knowledge, but it was nice to be able to learn so much. Plus they are both fans of shows (Kevin in particular) and, as you may have gathered by their complete absence from previous parts of the trip report, I usually can't be bothered. But I was enjoying hanging out with them and so I went to the TDR shows and they were fantastic. Starting with Legends of Mythica:
|Ah! Unfamiliar crotch!|
|Those are giant floats on the lagoon in the background|
Our next goal was to catch a show in the Lost Delta but we had some time to get there so we rode Stormrider and then caught the Steamer (that's a boat). There was some question as to where exactly the boat left off, but as we passed through the docks in other lands it became clear that it let off exactly where we picked it up. Still fun!
|It's a steampunk band that plays really good covers of Beatles songs on marching band instruments. This is why this is the greatest theme park in the world.|
|Hmm, Kirin and Tinker Bell on the same bottle. I like it.|
|I assume this is like the Friends of Bill W on cruise ships. Maybe the Korea Holics come here too.|
|Look at me, I'm riding Sebastian Cabot! That came out wrong.|
|S'good advice is all I'm saying.|
|Ah! It's coming right for us!|
|This was created to reinforce the idea that DisneySea is connected with Tokyo Bay. Brilliant.|
|As Jay pointed out, this is a doubly-brilliant reference since it's got C-3PO and it's crashed right outside the Indiana Jones ride (another George Lucas series)|
|I guess I'm taking photos of bathroom signs now?|
|GIANT ROC OH GOD|
|Mmm, Mickey's Maple Custard Balls. Chef would approve.|
|That's a life-size version of Da Vinci's flying machine. You can get in it and make it go. Pretty cool, no?|
|Absolutely any caption I can think to put in here is inappropriate so it's best you just move on|
|Did I mention that Mt. Prometheus also goes off ever 30 minutes or so?|
|DisneySea was absolutely gorgeous at night|
|You can't see it in this photo, but there was steam coming out of the manhole. Why? Why would they have steam coming out of all the manhole covers? Because it's realistic, that's why.|
|The new Toy Story area looks fantastic, even if I'm not thrilled they are adding it to the park|
|That's a giant animatronic dragon and, unlike the ones in WDW and DL, this one always works|
|Church in front of Tower of Terror. Absolutely great at night.|
And with that I went to bed, all future theme parks ruined for me. When can I move to Japan?