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  1. #1

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    Live (or close to it) from Tokyo Disneyland

    June 27, 2009

    This was not my first visit to Tokyo Disneyland – not even close. I’ve been lucky enough to have had business reasons to visit Tokyo in recent years, and usually have found time to visit TDL or TDS, even if only for a few hours. However, this was my first chance to spend a full day at either park in nearly two years.

    Instead of picking up the Keiyo line from Tokyo station, I took the Yurakucho line to Shin-Kiba and connected there. I’vc found that this strategy is usually much more efficient than making the absurd transfer at Tokyo. Well, except for the time that I accidentally boarded a commuter express train at Shin-Kiba, which not only bypassed Maihama but didn’t stop until Soga. (That’s one way to learn some new kanji…)

    Upon arrival, I noticed that the men’s room at Maihama appears to have had renovations. Which is good, since I remember it being repulsive.

    I arrived at the TDL ticket windows shortly before they opened at 7am, and after buying a 2-day passport (TDL for day 1, TDS for day 2), I found a spot in line – under cover, fortunately, since it was already hot.

    The park officially opened at 8am, but the gates were opened at about 7:50am. Despite being near the front of the crowd, and the shortcut to Tomorrowland being open, there was already a mob at the fastpass machines for Monsters, Inc., so I joined the standby line (which was already beyond Star Tours and creeping towards Space Mountain). The line moved reasonably fast (probably because the first fastpass window hadn’t opened). I noticed that the “Monstervision” explaination the ride included some of the same footage used at WDW’s Laugh Floor.

    The ride itself? Cute but not compelling. The use of the “flashlights” to find hidden monsters reminded me of Universal’s Men in Black ride, only with less excitement. I’d ride it again, but not wait 120+ minutes for it. (I noticed that the dial-shaped wait time sign for the standby line STARTED at 120 minutes, and went up from there.)

    I headed towards Pooh’s Hunny Hunt, but decided to bypass it when there was a 20-minute posted wait just to obtain a fastpass, and a 210-minute wait posted for the standby line. (Yes, it’s a summer Saturday, and everyone in Tokyo is at TDL.) I instead headed towards Splash Mountain for a fastpass, and joined the standby line for Big Thunder Mountain. The posted wait time was 80 minutes but the actual wait time was 45 minutes.

    Before my Splash Mountain window opened, I saw the revamped Tiki Room for the first time. Again, cute but not compelling. At least this Stitch doesn’t burp chili dog, and the wait (at around 10am) was minimal.

    This was not my first ride on Tokyo’s version of Splash Mountain, but I did make a conscious effort to notice departures from the WDW version. I certainly don’t remember turkeys appearing in the WDW version. And I take it that the vultures before the big drop are supposed to be Buddhist priests, rather than undertakers.

    Up next were the Western River Railroad and the Country Bears, both of which were new to me. Both were better than I expected – I hadn’t known that the railroad had a primeval diorama, nor that the bears show was the “vacation” version and not the “original” that currently plays in WDW. The railroad had a posted wait of 40 minutes but the actual wait was about 25 minutes; the Country Bears was (were?) a walk-on.

    I had lunch at the Hungry Bear (despite having previously wondered why curry was an appropriate theme for a Westernland restaurant). As for many other restaurants at lunchtime, there was a line just to get inside, but it wasn’t a long wait, and the crowds seem to have overlooked the seating available in the neighboring Mile Long Bar.

    Since I hadn’t ridden It’s A Small World at TDL before, and the posted wait was 20 minutes, I did. And now I can say that I did, and get on with my life.

    I had ridden Star Tours at TDL before, but not for a couple of years. Despite the crowds elsewhere, it was all but deserted – a 10-minute wait. Perhaps it’s showing its age. I, on the other hand, seem to have less issues with motion sickness every time that I ride it, so perhaps I’m aging in reverse.

    Next was a snack at the Pan Galactic Pizza Port. The food was nothing special, but the entertainment puts Sonny Eclipse at WDW to shame. I also took bought some souvenirs, looking to avoid the crowds that tend to hit the shops at the end of the day. It appears that Marie is no longer the character du jour; I found some Fifi toys, but only in one shop in World Bazaar, so perhaps her time has come and gone since my last visit.

    I was able to grab a spot with a decent view of the parade near the Haunted Mansion about 10 minutes before it started – it certainly helps that in Japan, the crowds tend to stay seated when watching, so even if you’re far back there aren’t heads in the way. However, “Jubilation” didn’t do anything for me – the music didn’t inspire, and many of the floats seemed familiar from the former “Dreams on Parade.”

    I gambled that since the parade was in progress, it would be a good time to return to Pooh’s Hunny Hunt. This turned out to be right – the posted wait time was 120 minutes, but the actual wait was 20 minutes. It might actually have been worth 120 minutes, given its free-moving vehicles and acid-trip depiction of Pooh’s heffalump/woozle dreams.

    I had a fastpass for Buzz Lightyear much later in the day, but since my energy was flagging, I decided to try the standby line. Not as successful a strategy as for Pooh, but despite the posted time being 120 minutes, the real wait was 75 minutes. Long, but the ride is certainly superior to the WDW version, since its guns have a full range of motion.

    I also had a fastpass for the Haunted Mansion (and again tried to spot the differences with the WDW version – not counting the recent WDW upgrades) and then rode Pirates of the Carribbean (which I assume is largely a California clone, but I’m not an expert on DL) with a 20-minute wait.

    Having seen Dreamlights before (and having seen and been underwhelmed by the TDR fireworks), I decided to call it a day, after some snacks from Café Orleans and the Gazebo. My timing for train connections was excellent – after entering Maihama station, I was back at my hotel in 30 minutes, despite having to make two connections.

    Some general observations: The Japanese may have a reputation for orderly behavior – and it’s often true (i.e., sitting down for the parade). But it wasn’t in evidence at park opening time, as visitors raced to Monsters, Inc. (and I assume also to Pooh). And kids seem to behave the same anywhere – I bet many of the parents who bought their children toy guns upon leaving Pirates will be sorry on the way home, as all they hear is click … click … click. Some toys are bound to “disappear.”

    I saw a few but not many other non-Japanese visitors. Although one had what appeared to be a double stroller (does TDR even rent them?) with just one child in it, and the child appeared too old to need a stroller at all. My Japanese skills are limited, at best, although I tried to use what I know, to avoid being an “ugly American”. Sometimes it helped and sometimes it didn’t – some cast members appeared to find it easier for me to just gesticulate/point than to try to make requests in Japanese. But that may only mean that I need to need more work on my pronunciation/vocabulary/etc.

    In all, a good day. I was disappointed that Space Mountain and Roger Rabbit were in rehab (and, to a lesser extent, that Pinocchio was in rehab and the Mickey Mouse Revue is gone for good), but I probably wouldn’t have to fit them all in anyway.

  2. #2

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    Re: Live (or close to it) from Tokyo Disneyland

    I just want to say... this was not my first trip report from Tokyo Disney resort I have read in the recent weeks. However, I enjoyed reading it and thank you for posting!

  3. #3

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    Re: Live (or close to it) from Tokyo Disneyland

    June 28, 2009

    Day two of my weekend at TDR started out much like the first, although with a slightly later start, since Tokyo DisneySea opens an hour later. This wasn’t my first visit, but I had never blocked out a full day for TDS before.

    I was pleased to discover that the Disney Resort Line now accepts Suica – although it’s irritating that it is difficult (not impossible, but difficult) to get to TDS from the train station without paying extra for the privilege of riding the monorail.

    The lines at the TDS ticket booths looked longer than those at TDL the previous day. Since I already had a ticket, I found a spot in line a bit more than an hour before opening – again choosing a line under cover, although the gray skies suggested that it wasn’t going to be as hot as the previous day. I noted fewer children/strollers, which is consistent with the park’s more adult theming. No other gaijin in sight (some appeared over the course of the day – perhaps more here than at TDL – but still very few).

    The entry area of TDS doesn’t appears to be as well designed as that at TDL – the lines quickly spilled beyond the bag check. And as at TDL, once the park opened, many guests ran to their first destination. I’m surprised that the Tokyo parks don’t have their cast members lead the crowds to prevent such behavior – as WDW usually does. (Or perhaps the assumption is that no Japanese guest would sue the Oriental Land Company if they fell flat on their face, so what’s the point?)

    I had never seen the Aquasphere “nude” (without character statues) before. This will take some getting used to.

    After obtaining a fastpass for the Tower of Terror, I took advantage of a 5-minute wait for 20,000 Leagues. And got what I have started to refer to as the “gaijin seat" – every time, without fail, I end up on the right side, and have to maneuver my head in odd ways to see out the low-set window. Ow.

    Starting with 20,000 Leagues might have been a strategic error – the standby line at Journey to the Center of the Earth was posted as 40 minutes at 9:30am. And unlike my experience in TDL, the posted figures in TDS appear to be on the mark, or exaggerate by 5 minutes at most.

    I spent a few minutes in line wondering if the boarding area is actually above or below the main queuing area – the elevators suggests that you’re going down, but the unloading area is actually above the main queuing area, so I’m spatially confused. I also wondered why queue hopping seems to be tolerated – in the U.S., I’ve seen families do it, but in TDR, it seems to be common among groups of teenagers. So much again for the stereotype of orderly behavior…

    I’ve ridden Journey before, but this was the first time I was in the front row. The cute-but-surreal landscapes at the start of the ride remind me of Universal’s E.T. ride – except Journey can be enjoyed without heavy-caliber drugs. Of course, in classic theme park fashion, there’s a tunnel collapse and It All Goes Horribly Wrong.

    I headed over to the Little Mermaid show. The fastpass machines weren’t in use, so I joined the line – and the posted 25-minute wait was about right. I had skipped the show before, so I was impressed on a technical basis – it’s a theatre-in-the-round, with many performers on trapezes. Thanks to a hand-held translation device, I also could follow the dialogue – and, understand that in this version of the story, Ariel DECLINES Urusula’s proposal. Presumably because (as Sebastian says), leaving the sea would mean disobeying her father. Ummm… I understand familial loyalty matters a lot in Japan… But what the @#$%!… Anyway, I now look forward to a Japanese adaptation of Cinderella in which she obeys her stepmother and stays home.

    Stormrider also wasn’t offering fastpasses. Did Disney lose a patent suit in the past hour, or something?

    So back to the Tower of Terror for my fastpass window (and a second fastpass). I’m not the biggest fan of drops, but this is a favorite because of the attention to detail. I’m still puzzling over exactly how the idol is made to disappear from Hightower’s office (a hidden compartment in the stand?). And while queuing for the elevators, I noted various in-jokes in the décor – i.e., filing cabinet with drawers labeled “bribes.” So is Disney suggesting that Hightower wasn’t the most upright fellow?

    The same attention to detail can be seen throughout the park – even if some of the jokes are a bit obscure even to an American. Such as “D.B. Cooperage” in Cape Cod. It’s a bit odd to hear Illuminations and other Epcot background music in Port Discovery, even if it fits the theming.

    I arrived back at Stormrider at about 11:40am. The posted wait time was 20 minutes – again, reasonably accurate. It appears that fastpasses aren’t being offered because both theatres are now operating – I think they were in alternate rehab in 2008. This is my personal favorite at not just TDS but all Disney parks. The planned excursion into a hurricane encounters trouble and It All Goes Horribly Wrong.

    Indiana Jones (the ride, not the man) was offering fastpasses, but the ride itself was down. So I instead head over to Mystic Rhythms, which I hadn’t seen before. As for the Little Mermaid show, it was technically impressive – especially since it integrated water with acrobatics and dance, which sounds like a recipe for an accident. But the story? Perhaps the very brief Japanese narration explained it all, but I still left thinking What Was That All About?

    As I left the theatre, I found that a gentle rain had started, which would continue throughout the day (and sometimes become more intense). Time to break out the poncho.

    I just don’t get Raging Spirits. This is a mediocre coaster at best, and the loop is so tame that I would ride with my aging mother. In fact, I think I sat next to someone’s aging mother; despite the posted 50-minute wait, the single rider line was completely deserted. This ride must hold some attraction for groups and/or dating teenagers that I just don’t get.

    Indiana Jones has a 110-minute wait posted. Since TDS appears to tell the truth, I think I’ll wait for my fastpass to mature.

    I’m not much of a fan of jazz, but I took in Big Band Beat since it (1) was inside and dry, and (2) includes Marie, who is especially adorable when she paws/licks Mickey and Minnie at various times (it must be scripted, but it almost looks like an ad lib).

    I had never seen Legend of Mythica before. I didn’t arrive expecting much, but was quite impressed, despite it being announced to be an alternate inclement weather version (which appears to mean that the characters wear clear ponchos over their costumes). Up until now, if I was asked to name which Disney park was my favorite, it would have been a toss-up between Epcot and DisneySea. Now there’s a clear winner.

    Tip: Don’t go souvenir shopping immediately after Mythica. Everyone else does too. And I now am drowning in extra gift bags, “helpfully” provided with every purchase. (Speaking of drowning, I invested in an umbrella.)

    One way to know that I’ve been to Japan too often: I can answer questions that I don’t understand. Apparently, Japanese credit cards allow purchases to be spread into multiple payments. U.S. cards don’t work that way, but the question I often still asked (typically, the cast member will hold up one finger and ask, apparently, if I want the purchase to be posted in a single payment). It’s much easier to agree than to try to explain.

    I wandered around the S.S. Columbia for the first time; it may not be an attraction as such, but again the attention to detail is impressive – it feels real.

    The railway to Port Discovery had a 15-minute wait posted. I wouldn’t normally bother with the train, but I’m wet (from the rain today, instead of sweat). During the ride, I took note of one of the park’s few flaws – the lack of transition between some of the lands. The railway bridge is right next to the Mediterranean Harbor-themed bridge, which is jarring IMHO.

    I normally don’t understand the Japanese fascination with lining up for strange flavors of popcorn or other snacks, but I did take advantage of a short line at the gyoza bun cart.

    Back to Mermaid Lagoon for some shopping. I think I’ve found where all the strollers in TDS have gone. I seriously contemplate buying some dry socks, but there are no adult sizes. I see the chef from the film as a walk-around character - does he even have a name?

    A second ride on Stormrider. Virtually no line. Likewise, no line for Aquatopia. I wouldn’t normally bother – this line looks more fun to ride than it actually is – but maybe I’ll get a vehicle which goes through the tunnel. Nope.

    My second fastpass window at the Tower of Terror was at 5pm. On the way, I see a “streetmosphere” style character – a janitor with sound effects (his rag makes cleaning noises and his trash can generates car engine sounds). If there have been such characters in TDS before, I must have missed them.

    Back in Mediterranean Harbor, I catch the transit steamer to Lost River Delta. Again, I usually wouldn’t bother. And perhaps I shouldn’t have – once in motion, the boat appears to pick up more rain and wind than I would have just walking.

    The posted wait for Raging Spirits is now 5 minutes. Apparently it isn’t such a good date ride when soaking wet?

    Sindbad was a walk-on, but I assume that’s the norm. I used to spend the ride wondering if its depiction of the Middle East was offensive or not. But this time, I spent the ride thinking that Sindbad looks a lot like Michael Jackson does (er… did), only with less plastic.

    I use my Indiana Jones fastpass. My memories of the California version of the ride are vague, so I’m not sure which is better. The standby line is posted as 70 minutes, so clearly the park hasn’t emptied out – guests just have headed inside.

    Back in Mysterious Island, I see the wait time for Journey is 60 minutes, but the wait time for 20,000 Leagues is 15 minutes. After mangling the Japanese language, I communicate my desire for a front row seat, and get it. And yes, the view is much better from there (if still a bit cramped).

    Since I had been subsisting on snacks, I decided that I should sit down for at least a minute for dinner. I tried Vulcania – edible, but nothing I would feel a need to return for. The background music seemed to include cues (but not whole passages) from the Living Seas.

    I had cut through but never really looked at the Fortress before. There’s actually quite a lot in there. But I didn’t have time to browse, since it was almost time for Braviseamo. The rain mostly let up before showtime, but it was announced to be an alternate inclement weather edition (better than canceling it altogether, which happened to me once before). I think that I prefer Illuminations for sheer spectacle – but Braviseamo actually has a comprehensible story. (I know that Illuminations is supposed to have one also, but I don’t think anyone could figure it out just by watching the show.)

    The park was open until 10pm, but in light of my soggy shoes and morning meetings, I bolted for the exit before the fireworks started (although I was able to catch a glimpse of them from outside the Maihama station). Connecting at Shin-Kiba once again seemed to work as well or better than connecting at Tokyo station.

    And back to reality…
    Last edited by jsilvers; 06-29-2009 at 12:29 PM. Reason: Typo correction.

  4. #4

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    Re: Live (or close to it) from Tokyo Disneyland

    Excellent trip report.

    understand that in this version of the story, Ariel DECLINES Urusula’s proposal.
    I noticed that too one my first veiwing. I've asked people whether the changes was made for cultural reasons. I ususally get some sort of hemmming and hawing about how it makes for a simplier storyline...otherwise they would have to bring in the Prince and so forth. After the fiasco with Mulan, I'm not buying their explanation either. But, I've never seen another show or attraction that diverts so much from the original.

    I had never seen the Aquasphere “nude” (without character statues) before.
    I don't really miss the characters, but given the Italian Renaissance surroundings of the Tuscan Courtyard and the harbor beyond, the Aquasphere really stands out as starkly modern.

    I just don’t get Raging Spirits.
    It's cheap and easy to install - it's Disney "go to" solution for problems with the parks. At Disneyland Paris it was installed because the park was a flop and they needed attractions; in Tokyo DisneySea because they needed extra capacity. I'm shocked it hasn't shown up at the Hong Kong Disney Drive-Thru yet for the same reason it showed up in Paris.

    So much again for the stereotype of orderly behavior…
    A universal law of human behavior - "teenager" always trumps "culture".

  5. #5

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    Re: Live (or close to it) from Tokyo Disneyland

    I'm really enjoying all of these trip reports coming in the last few weeks. Everybody has such different opinions and observations.

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    Thumbs up Re: Live (or close to it) from Tokyo Disneyland[/quote][quote=jsilvers;1055409744]

    Quote Originally Posted by jsilvers View Post
    I was pleased to discover that the Disney Resort Line now accepts Suica – although it’s irritating that it is difficult (not impossible, but difficult) from to get to TDS from the train station without paying extra for the privilege of riding the monorail.
    The monorail's not so convenient for TDS, either. I think it takes me longer to go on the monorail than to just walk there, if I walk a little briskly.

    Quote Originally Posted by jsilvers View Post
    (Or perhaps the assumption is that no Japanese guest would sue the Oriental Land Company if they fell flat on their face, so what’s the point?)
    There may be truth in this, actually.

    Quote Originally Posted by jsilvers View Post
    Thanks to a hand-held translation device, I also could follow the dialogue – and, understand that in this version of the story, Ariel DECLINES Urusula’s proposal. Presumably because (as Sebastian says), leaving the sea would mean disobeying her father. Ummm… I understand familial loyalty matters a lot in Japan… But what the @#$%!… Anyway, I now look forward to a Japanese adaptation of Cinderella in which she obeys her stepmother and stays home.
    I never noticed this! I've only seen it once, and I was falling asleep. I'll have to go back; that is so weird!

    Quote Originally Posted by jsilvers View Post
    I just don’t get Raging Spirits. This is a mediocre coaster at best, and the loop is so tame that I would ride with my aging mother. In fact, I think I sat next to someone’s aging mother; despite the posted 50-minute wait, the single rider line was completely deserted. This ride must hold some attraction for groups and/or dating teenagers that I just don’t get.
    Me, three. I can't understand why anyone who's been on it would wait to ride it again. The theming is nice, though.

    Quote Originally Posted by jsilvers View Post
    Up until now, if I was asked to name which Disney park was my favorite, it would have been a toss-up between Epcot and DisneySea. Now there’s a clear winner.
    You didn't say, and I wouldn't like to assume?^^

    Quote Originally Posted by jsilvers View Post
    My second fastpass window at the Tower of Terror was at 5pm. On the way, I see a “streetmosphere” style character – a janitor with sound effects (his rag makes cleaning noises and his trash can generates car engine sounds). If there have been such characters in TDS before, I must have missed them.
    I just saw him for the first time last week, too! His name is Fujiya (like the cake shop^^), and I him! I've seen CMs do charming or interesting things before, but never quite at his level. I hope there's more of this. It's a great opportunity for CMs to be performers, too!



    Quote Originally Posted by jsilvers View Post
    I used to spend the ride wondering if its depiction of the Middle East was offensive or nott.
    I try to ignore these questions on Disney property.^^

    Quote Originally Posted by jsilvers View Post
    I see the wait time for Journey is 60 minutes, but the wait time for 20,000 Leagues is 15 minutes. After mangling the Japanese language, I communicate my desire for a front row seat, and get it. And yes, the view is much better from there (if still a bit cramped).

    ...Connecting at Shin-Kiba once again seemed to work as well or better than connecting at Tokyo station.
    Congrats on escaping your "gaijin seat," and I agree that the Tokyo 3-mile transfer should be avoided whenever possible.

    Nice reports. I like your humor.^^

  7. #7

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    Re: Live (or close to it) from Tokyo Disneyland

    Quote Originally Posted by jsilvers
    Starting with 20,000 Leagues might have been a strategic error – the standby line at Journey to the Center of the Earth was posted as 40 minutes at 9:30am. And unlike my experience in TDL, the posted figures in TDS appear to be on the mark, or exaggerate by 5 minutes at most.
    Hmmm.. I have always found it useful to get a FP for 20K first thing in the morning when the park opens, and then do stand by for JTTCOTE.

    I spent a few minutes in line wondering if the boarding area is actually above or below the main queuing area – the elevators suggests that you’re going down, but the unloading area is actually above the main queuing area, so I’m spatially confused. I also wondered why queue hopping seems to be tolerated – in the U.S., I’ve seen families do it, but in TDR, it seems to be common among groups of teenagers. So much again for the stereotype of orderly behavior…
    This type of "legal" line cutting is very prevalent in the USA as well.. so don't kid yourself on that. However.. at DLP? They CUT in line with no shame. At least at TDR and the US parks.. the excuse is that "someone is waiting in the line already and we are just joining our party.."

    Stormrider also wasn’t offering fastpasses. Did Disney lose a patent suit in the past hour, or something?
    No, I believe this is due to OLC realizing that some attractions do not need this service when the crowds are not there. Personally, they should turn off Fastpass for good.

    I’m still puzzling over exactly how the idol is made to disappear from Hightower’s office (a hidden compartment in the stand?).
    I could explain to you how it works but it would make this post a bit long and personally, I think it's difficult for me to put it into words.. but there is no hidden stand anywhere. There are however, hidden support corners to the stand in which the stand travels on. The movable stand supports are hidden inside the "horned" like legs of the table on which Shiriki stands... that makes it possible for him to drop out of view. Take a careful look the next time you ride.

    So I instead head over to Mystic Rhythms, which I hadn’t seen before. As for the Little Mermaid show, it was technically impressive – especially since it integrated water with acrobatics and dance, which sounds like a recipe for an accident. But the story? Perhaps the very brief Japanese narration explained it all, but I still left thinking What Was That All About?
    This show, like most others at TDS..have a very abstract way of presenting storylines.. (BraviSEAmo anyone?) The Mystic Rhythms is basically a metaphore of how well balanced the ecosystem of the rainforrest works.. with animals and flora co-exisiting.. then how it can be destroyed by man at a moment's notice, hence the flames and some explosive finale moments...

    I just don’t get Raging Spirits. This is a mediocre coaster at best, and the loop is so tame that I would ride with my aging mother. In fact, I think I sat next to someone’s aging mother; despite the posted 50-minute wait, the single rider line was completely deserted. This ride must hold some attraction for groups and/or dating teenagers that I just don’t get.
    Someone already explained this ride is virtually a "disney theme park band aid". When it first opened, this ride was quite rough and many guests raised complaints about it. It has been made tamer here.. and the last time I rode, I too noticed it was much tamer and whole lot less rougher than when originally opened. As for "getting it"? It's there for fun. Nothing else. It's either your cup of tea or not.. but this is the type of odd things that happen when Disney tries to fix things when guests complain about the lack of things to do.. which in regards to TDS.. it's even more of a puzzle.

    I had never seen Legend of Mythica before. I didn’t arrive expecting much, but was quite impressed, despite it being announced to be an alternate inclement weather version (which appears to mean that the characters wear clear ponchos over their costumes).
    That may be a reason, but sometimes.. an inclement weather version could mean that a) some of the pyrotechnics were not used, or b) certain elements of the show didn't get performed, like the aerial kite ballet that takes place half way through the show... etc etc etc.

    Up until now, if I was asked to name which Disney park was my favorite, it would have been a toss-up between Epcot and DisneySea. Now there’s a clear winner.
    Well.. we all know that TDS is the ultimate expression of Disney's engineering and there is no comparison out there, plain and simple. They outdid themselves in the way they designed this park. EPCOT is great for what it is, but architecturally speaking, theme-wise.. it's really nowhere close to TDS' level. I would even have to say that DLP and DAK are the other two Disney parks that attempt to come close to the architectural perfection that is TDS.


    One way to know that I’ve been to Japan too often: I can answer questions that I don’t understand. Apparently, Japanese credit cards allow purchases to be spread into multiple payments. U.S. cards don’t work that way, but the question I often still asked (typically, the cast member will hold up one finger and ask, apparently, if I want the purchase to be posted in a single payment). It’s much easier to agree than to try to explain.
    Even if you ask them to spread the payments into installments.. the system won't allow them to do so. I tried this once for fun, and learned my lesson.

    I wandered around the S.S. Columbia for the first time; it may not be an attraction as such, but again the attention to detail is impressive – it feels real.
    I hope the new "Talk with CrusH" attraction in the SS Columbia won't affect that.
    The railway bridge is right next to the Mediterranean Harbor-themed bridge, which is jarring IMHO.
    I agree as well.

    I normally don’t understand the Japanese fascination with lining up for strange flavors of popcorn or other snacks, but I did take advantage of a short line at the gyoza bun cart.
    This popcorn facination is not exclusive to the japanese. Go to Old Town near WDW and see the lines at their popcorn store, which sells very strange flavors not found at TDR... but trust me, if you try the black pepper, cappucino, caramel or even the chocolate popcorn... you will be hooked. Plus, the seasonal and special event popcorn buckets are huge collectable items.. at least for me. I have over a 100 different ones from TDR and that collection always grows as time goes by.

    I see the chef from the film as a walk-around character - does he even have a name?
    Chef Louis I think? But I am not sure on that.
    A second ride on Stormrider. Virtually no line. Likewise, no line for Aquatopia. I wouldn’t normally bother – this line looks more fun to ride than it actually is – but maybe I’ll get a vehicle which goes through the tunnel. Nope.
    Board from the right hand side of the platform as you enter the attraction to increase your chances of going thru the tunnel or rocks..

    Sindbad was a walk-on, but I assume that’s the norm. I used to spend the ride wondering if its depiction of the Middle East was offensive or not. But this time, I spent the ride thinking that Sindbad looks a lot like Michael Jackson does (er… did), only with less plastic.
    Can that be the reason why the attraction's queue is dead most times?
    (Sorry, could not help the joke in bad taste). We'll miss Jacko forever.

    I use my Indiana Jones fastpass. My memories of the California version of the ride are vague, so I’m not sure which is better. The standby line is posted as 70 minutes, so clearly the park hasn’t emptied out – guests just have headed inside.
    Many still prefer DL's version of Indy because a) the illusion of different vehicle routes in the beginning of the ride, b) there are real flame effects in the main room, and c) the music does not cut off in the middle of the ride as it does at TDS'. However, I do love the nice lighting and cozy feel of the first few moments of the ride, and the smoke ring effect is unique to TDS.

    Since I had been subsisting on snacks, I decided that I should sit down for at least a minute for dinner. I tried Vulcania – edible, but nothing I would feel a need to return for.
    BIG mistake. Next time.. try dinner at Zambini Bros.
    it was announced to be an alternate inclement weather edition (Better than canceling it altogether, which happened to me once before). I think that I prefer Illuminations for sheer spectacle – but Barviseamo actually has a comprehensible story. (I know that Illuminations is supposed to have one also, but I don’t think anyone could figure it out just by watching the show.)
    As for BraviSEAmo!, an inclement weather version means lesser fireworks launched. As for EPCOT's Reflection of Earth.. well, I have to say that I find that storyline more comprehensible.. 1st act.. the creation of the universe.. the fire barge symbolizes the "big bang" theory. That opening sequence leads to the Eath (revolving monitor) traveling thru the universe.. (with floating pyro playing the part of stars in the universe.. Then the visual history of man's accomplishments.. and ending with a celebration of life in the form of fireworks. Then "We go on"... for a sentimental touch to let us know.. we are getting OLD!!!

    The park was open until 10pm, but in light of my soggy shoes and morning meetings, I bolted for the exit before the fireworks started (although I was able to catch a glimpse of them from outside the Maihama station). Connecting at Shin-Kiba once again seemed to work as well or better than connecting at Tokyo station.

    And back to reality…
    Didn't miss much with the fireworks at TDR. Think a poor man's version of Fantasy in the Sky. As for connecting in Shin-Kiba.. I highly recommend this.. and even if youare going to Tokyo's northwest side.. like Shinjuku.. it's easier to connect here to the subway that goes that way. AVOID Tokyo Station at all cost!!!

    GREAT trip report by the way.

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    Re: Live (or close to it) from Tokyo Disneyland

    Thanks for the great report. I loved reading your observations.

    Too funny about the Sindbad/MJ resemblance. Come to think of it, I have to agree.

    Cat

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    Re: Live (or close to it) from Tokyo Disneyland

    Great report. It's clear (if you have someone to translate the Japanese for you) that Harrison Hightower wanted to buy Shiriki Utundu from the African tribe and that they refused to sell it ... so he stole it. And he paid the ultimate price for his crime. Hightower is a rat ******* from the word go, and you can see what a pompous hubris-filled jackass he is in the wonderful portrayal by Imagineer Joe Rhode in all the photos of him.

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    Re: Live (or close to it) from Tokyo Disneyland

    Dude ... Sindbad has a nose! The late and unlamented child molesting Michael Jackson did not have a nose. That was part of his ear stuck to the front of his face.

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    Thumbs up Re: Live (or close to it) from Tokyo Disneyland

    Quote Originally Posted by Fukai View Post
    ...Hightower is a rat ******* from the word go, and you can see what a pompous hubris-filled jackass he is in the wonderful portrayal by Imagineer Joe Rhode in all the photos of him.

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    Re: Live (or close to it) from Tokyo Disneyland

    Oh, yes, that's definitely Chef Louis.

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    Re: Live (or close to it) from Tokyo Disneyland

    Quote Originally Posted by jsilvers View Post
    I headed over to the Little Mermaid show. The fastpass machines weren’t in use, so I joined the line – and the posted 25-minute wait was about right. I had skipped the show before, so I was impressed on a technical basis – it’s a theatre-in-the-round, with many performers on trapezes. Thanks to a hand-held translation device, I also could follow the dialogue – and, understand that in this version of the story, Ariel DECLINES Urusula’s proposal. Presumably because (as Sebastian says), leaving the sea would mean disobeying her father. Ummm… I understand familial loyalty matters a lot in Japan… But what the @#$%!… Anyway, I now look forward to a Japanese adaptation of Cinderella in which she obeys her stepmother and stays home.
    Buhaha.. nice!
    Check out my blog - Coreplex: Rambling from inside the Grid


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    Thumbs up Re: Live (or close to it) from Tokyo Disneyland

    Quote Originally Posted by gurgi View Post
    I'm really enjoying all of these trip reports coming in the last few weeks. Everybody has such different opinions and observations.
    Very true, I agree. Thanks for these Trip Reports guys!

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    Re: Live (or close to it) from Tokyo Disneyland

    Thanks! I enjoyed reading your trip report.
    -Tyler

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