Well... this is not a trip report per se... at least not an epic one like the ones by Lurkyloo... and no, there are no pictures to go with it (unless you beg. Hard. For them, and I will consider it. But can't promise. Especially since I need to prepare for the Gay day festivities at Walt's Dreaded World in FL next week).
Anyways.. Today sunday, raining buckets, nonstop, over most of Japan. Thanks weather front over the China Seas and Korea. But alas, it helped dissipate what would have been horrific crowds on a Sunday at TDR, especially at TDL. But fear not, dispite the dreadful weather, they still managed to pack a little crowd.
Got there around 4pm..umbrella in hand, and headed to TDL with 2 items on my agenda; 1) to obtain this season present for Funderful Club Members... which I got from a very helpful CM at Guest Relations. And 2) to ride the newly enhanced Monsters Inc ride and Seek attraction.
As you can imagine, World Bazaar was abuzz with heave crowds, mostly guests fleeing away from the constant downpour outside. So I headed to Monsters, hoping for the best. I get there and the signs outside post an 80 minute wait on standby line. I figure.. "it's raining water buckets (not men) outside. Hallelujah!" It was all the incentive I needed to stand in line. 75 minutes later, I was being seated in the ride's vehicle.
So what do I think of the newly refreshed "Monsters" ride? MAJOR improvement over the original concept. While the ride itself has not changed much, the welcomed addition of the lit-up props, which calls the attention of guests to shot at, is a great addition. I even think that several new props were added to the ride itself. The new overall effect is one of pure fun... so YES, I give this new version major thumbs up. It definitely makes the ride "interactive", which is an element that felt missing before, even if it was there.
Having enjoyed "Monsters" a lot, I took a walk around the park.. as the rain kept coming down. I walk past "Hunny Hunt" which only showed a "20 minute Stand by" at 6pm. Now, THAT I had to test for sure!! So I get in the line...and exactly 21 minutes later, I am being seated in the Hunny pot vehicle. Amazing! On a Sunday no less. With rain.
In Tomorrowland, refurbish walls have gone on MicroAdventure (aka HISTA) in preparation for Capt EO's return. Too bad it took Michael's untimely death for disney to pull the long overdue plug on that turkey of a movie at 4 Disney parks worldwide.. Too bad the EO one is not all that great either. But hey.. redeaming quality: Angelica Houston.
After Pooh.. I had some shopping to do. Got the Easter Wonderland Mickey hat and the 27th anniversary Alice/Mad Hatter Mickey teeshirt, and both items will be worn proudly by yours truly during gay day saturday at the MK in June. Look for the weirdo in huge tall tiara-like hat (after all.. what's a queen to wear?)
In Fantasyland, I noticed refurbish walls have gone up around the restroom areas at the Queen of Hearts banquet hall.
Further ahead in Westernland, the newly opened dining area of the Hungry Bear restaurant looks great and cuts thru a portion of the open area just outside Big Thunder Mt, making this area now look a bit more intimate and more cosmetically interesting. I love that a section of the dining area is now a jail cel. I can envision most of the WDW guests from the UK sitting there in jail, guilty of bad fashion sense.
Back at the hub, a coloful easter motif refurbishing wall has gone up at the castle forecourt, as they prepare the stage for the summer events, Cool the heat, and a new Panic/Stitch show, which I am sure some spy from LP.com will post here for you to enjoy reading about.
After taking some pictures of a drenched TDL, I leave my beautiful park and hop on the monorail, heading to TDSea (my other beautiful park). Got lucky and rode on the Purple monorail, which is currently decorated in a Pixie Hollow motif, that somewhat matches the Spring carnival event at TDS. Much to my surprise, the monorail's overlay is also applied *inside* the monorail, from nose to tail, floors and ceilings. It's total Pixie overload but oh so well done and tasteful. WDW may have the Tron Mono.. but we at TDR have the real Disney deal, even if I detest OLC for taking a cue from WDC and using the monorail fleet as advertisement for upcoming dvd/movie releases... But at least, this Pixie overlay is lovely, as opposed to ... aTRONcious.
So.. we arrive at TDS...rain still coming down. I make my way into the park, and take a few pics of the rain as nightfalls over the park. Feeling hungry at this time, I make my way to the Vulcania Restaurant, which was voted here in a poll as one of TDS' best counter service restaurants. Having been there once about 9 yrs ago and not liking the menu much, I wanted to give this place a try, to see if I was missing something others here knew about. I go in.. and stand in line. After 3 minutes of looking at the menu, the fake dishes on display, the fabulous Mysterious Island atmospheres in the restaurant itself, and the heavy smell of fried chinese food in the air, I decided this place is just not for me. The smell of the food alone was making me sick, so I left, and made a trip to the casbah Cafe, and enjoyed the always fabulous Curry Sampler dish, salad and coconut custard. Heaven.
After the lovely dinner.. I continued my counter-clockwise trek thru this outstanding park.
Walls have gone up next to Sindbad's ride, in preparation for the new spinner "Jasmine's Flying Carpets". The lovely palm trees and flora that sat in this spot for nearly 9 years have now been removed and I am sure site preparation is about to begin on the new kiddy ride. It is my wish that it will draw families with children to this not so populated corner of the park, and even give the Sindbad ride a much needed boost in attendance. Honestly? I am shocked that OLC has not comissioned a Chandu walk-around rubberhead to take residence in this corner of Arabian Coast.
Since the rain was relentless all day long, TDS' attendance was a bit off today.. and many rides were virtual walkons.. 20K, TOT, Raging Spirits, all showed 5 mins stand by. Indy had a 20 mins wait. JTTCOTE showed 25 mins. BraviSEAmo! and the "Magic in the Sky" fireworks all went off in the rain with no glitches. Took pics of those as well.
I also noticed something I have not seen before... Anyone who goes to the parks would know about the "Photo Spot" signs directing guests to snap great photos of their vacations... etc. At TDR, Fujifilm sponsors those "Photo Spot" signs. Over by Aquatopia, I spotted a brand new "Video Spot" sign, sponsored by Panasonic. I guess it directs guests to take great video shots of kinetic areas, such as in this case, the Aquatopia vehicles in motion. Cool idea. I wonder if this is also being done at the other parks, or if it is a Tokyo-exclusive initiative?
Finally... a little more shopping. I ventured into Aunt Peg's store (aka Duffy Central). I was pleased that finally, they are selling the small (safety pin) version of Duffy's mate Shelley Mae. Who can resist? So I bought both Duffy and Shelley Mae. Oh.. and for those of you Bear manics, they still have tons of that new sailor style costumes for both Duffy and Shelley, as well as the spring costume as well. They are rather cute, but unless you have the regular size version of the bear plushes, these lovely costumes (which in all honesty are of much better quality and look over most of the WDW cm costumes) will not be of any use to you. Of course, in true japanese fashion, there were dozens of young japanese office ladies going.."k'awaii!! k'awaii!!!" all over the store. Obnocious! What does that mean?? Is that one of the islands in the hawaiian chain??? LOL!!!
Anyways... after some more window shopping, getting the newly released Disney Fan magazine and just soaking up (literally) the atmosphere, it was time to leave. But nevertheless, it was a lovely time, even with the rain, and I am still amazed by the sheer quality TDR is. A great time was had by all.