Update: Disney Sea is here: http://www.micechat.com/forums/showthread.php?t=66310
I decided to post my Tokyo Disneyland park experiences in this forum because 1) people might actually see it here (I want to discuss the park with people whose home park is DL and not just TDR_FAN ) and 2) comparisons to the original park are likely to come up anyway.
This isn't some thread about how much better Tokyo Disneyland is compared to Disneyland. No way. The park has its strengths and weaknesses. I will be brutally honest and nitpick in any way I can.
I visited Tokyo Disneyland for about 4 hours on Wednesday the 23rd (After 6PM pass) and about 6 hours on Sunday the 27th. It wasn't exactly the focus of the trip, but it was interesting nontheless. Here are my reactions, comparisons, and other observations. Please post your own experiences and comparisons. Click on most pictures to make them bigger! If you get a 404 error then there is no bigger version. Sorry!
Climate: If you ever go to TDR anywhere near Summer be prepared to take two or three showers per day. It isn't the heat. It's the humidity. You WILL be sticky and miserable after four hours in the park. We took breaks often. We were really really glad we opted for a hotel on resort property. We would have had a horrible time if we couldn't easily leave the park and get to our room in 15 minutes.
If it isn't hot it's either raining or windy or both. TDR sits right on the ocean and is a horrible location for weather in my opinion. Disneyland wins this one.
Promotional Theme: At Disneyland we have "The Year of a Million Dreams". At Tokyo Disneyland they are doing "Find Stich!" Basically a Stitch statue is hidden in various areas around the park and I guess you have to go and find him.
The Japanese guests go crazy over Stitch. At every location where he's "hidden" people are taking massive amounts of pictures. We were watching the Mickey Mouse Revue, an aging animatronic show featuring singing characters. I noticed most people in the crowd were hunched over looking bored. Once a Stitch statue popped up in one of the scenes everyone sat up and broke out their cell phone cameras and starting snapping pictures (I was amazed that nobody used their flash, the scene was well lit). It's crazy. Why the hell did Disney get rid of Chris Sanders again??
I thought it was a well done promotion and except for putting the Partners statue in Hawaiian garb, the promotion did little to take away from the park. I thought it was way better than Disneyland's current promotion.
The statues don't move though, which felt kind of cheap. Still, expectations always go down when something is only temporary. I would like to see this in DL as long as they stay away from the castle and Partners. Of course, Stitch would have to wear an eye patch and carry a sword.
There were also Hawaiian themed shows and parades but I had no interest in seeing them.
Anybody who has been to DL's Adventureland knows that it can be cramped and become a huge bottleneck during busy days. It's basically one path that contains Jungle Cruise, Indiana Jones, and the Treehouse.
At TDL it was amazing to see an Adventureland where you actually had room to move.
This image illustrates it better than any other, but I really dislike the color-coded ground. Basically Adventureland ground is green, Westernland dark red, etc. I'm really glad Disneyland repaved their pavement a few years ago and it looks so much better than TDL.
It's almost identical to DL's except for a section through a temple that's just okay.
If you know the standard Jungle Cruise jokes then the language barrier won't really be a problem. It looked like they did them all, backside of water, shrunken head ned, etc.
Even if you don't know Japanese the skippers are very animated compared to the droning sarcastic tone of their American counterparts. During the part where the boat turns to narrowly miss a waterfall, our skipper was halfway out the boat and screaming for dear life. It was very exiting to watch. I would have to say it's a tie between the two versions.
Pirates of the Carribean: Damn, got there too late. I wanted to ride a copy of the original!
Damn you Johnny Depp, damn you to hell.
Tiki Room: I don't know if this is temporary or not but they are currently doing something with the Tiki Room called "Get the Fever". As we have learned in the past, Enchanted Tiki Room remakes can be trainwrecks and after seeing these birds rap in Japanese during the pre-show, I thought we were in for one.
It actually ended up being an enjoyable show. It starts off with the standard Tiki Room song and the other songs are replaced with contemporary songs with Japanese lyrics. Otherwise the show follows the same basic path but with new music and lighting effects.
The cast member also got really into it. He was dancing and urging the crowd to clap along with the music. It's not something I'd want to see at DL, but if it's temporary, I give my anal retentive Disney nerd approval.
Adventureland also has the Swiss Family Treehouse and Western River Railroad, both of which I had no interest in. Come on, the train doesn't go around the whole park? No excuse! It was broken down anyway. There's like six guys staring at it here.
Big Thunder Mountain:
By 10AM Sunday the line for Big Thunder was already approaching an hour. When we got Fastpass tickets for it cast members were at the machines taking passports and getting the Fastpass themselves. We also saw this at Space Mountain.
I wish they would do this at Disneyland. Too often people linger around the Fastpass machines making it a pain to get in and out real quick, the way it's supposed to be! A cast member should be there to assist during busy days and direct them out when they are done, not just stand there and occassionally fix a broken machine.
On Sunday by the time we got back to ride it the standby line had reached 90 minutes.
I liked this version a lot better than DL's but my girlfriend disagreed. This version actually has a couple decent drops and a more detailed landscape. One thing I don't like is that you can't see much of the attraction from outside of it. You can see a little bit of it in action from the Mark Twain though.
Rivers of America: I really enjoyed this area of the park and it illustrates the key difference between the two parks. Where Disneyland is more intimate and cozy, with everything tucked into little corners, Tokyo Disneyland affords guests grand panoramic vistas. These shots of Splash Mountain from the Mark Twain and around the river show just what I mean.
There is a lot of activity on the river and hopefully with the opening of Pirate island we'll be seeing some scenes like these again at Disneyland.
We used to have a waterfall on our river
I wouldn't say that TDL's Rivers of America was that much better than Disneyland's, but I couldn't help but think that an extensive RoA refurb with new animatronic animals and Indians and stuff like that should have been budgeted into Pirate Island. There's just way more to look at at TDL. The views of Splash alone are incredible.
Tom Sawyer's Island: With the opening of Pirate Island happening just a couple days before, I was excited to see Tom Sawyer's Island. In a park where there were 120 minute waits for Splash Mountain, the island was a little light on the crowds. I guess poor old Tom can't pack 'em in like pirates can.
It was just nice seeing a TSI without Pirates for a long time.
Ducks nibble on some moss and cast members shoo them away when it's time to dock a raft.
Next up is Critter Country and Fantasyland.
If you have any questions or see something I missed, let me know!