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    Mini Trip Report (11/13-20)

    Mini Trip Report (11/13-20)

    Background: My husband and I visited TDL for one day back in 1998 and I’ve always wanted to go back, especially after reading so much about TDS. We started checking airfares back in January 2010 to set a date with my goal being a visit to TDL/TDS and Studio Ghibli Museum. Unfortunately I’d picked one of the two weeks that the Studio Ghibli Museum was closed in 2010.

    Thanks to everyone who has posted tips, trip reports, and answers to my questions. These helped us so much in planning and doing our trip. I had brought copies of some of your posts and transcribed many of your tips to bring with me. It was a very impressive compilation – THANK YOU!

    I also applaud all of you energetic TDR visitors. We found that a combination of jet lag and fatigue contributed to us not walking around or seeing as much as I expected to – we did our best though.


    Sunday, 11/14 – Arrival Day
    Arrived at Narita in time to catch the last Airport Limo Bus straight to the Hilton Tokyo Bay (I carried printouts and train maps in case we missed the bus and had to take the train). We had enough time to find that 7-11 ATM to get yen (thanks to TDLFAN for that tip!). We bought our four-day park passes at the Hilton – and found that they now take charge cards (more yen left to spend at the parks!). We bought our monorail passes and made our way to Ikspiari for dinner. We had our first taste of the level of service that we’d get in Tokyo as we were looking at the map for a place to eat. I was showing my husband where the Hawaiian burger joint was and the information host asked me a few questions I didn’t understand. I thought he was leading me to someone who spoke more English, but he actually led us down a level and walked us all the way to the restaurant (and gave us maps in English). We wound up finding our way to the lower level at the Ikspiari Kitchen where we found a delicious bowl of shoyu ramen for 680 yen (we liked it so much that we ate there 3 more times).

    Our room at the Hilton Tokyo Bay:






    Monday, 11/15 - TDL
    The crowds today were predicted to be the worst of the week, but I wanted to visit TDL first. TDL was scheduled to open at 8:30am so we were in line by 7:30am. However, the signs at the park showed it was opening at 8:00am. I’m guessing that there were around 30 people in line ahead of us.

    The line ahead of us:




    I got nervous as I saw the early entry guests start running and then it was almost our turn. My goodness, that was the funniest thing we’d done in a long time. Watching everyone run every which way while the cast members greeted us waving was hilarious. I was laughing out loud as I was running. I almost made the mistake of getting in the Monsters, Inc. FP line, but realized I needed to go past it to get in line. We enjoyed Monsters, Inc. and got a FP for Pooh right after. We did It’s a Small World (Holiday edition) and the Haunted Mansion. We found a great place to sit and watch the White Holiday Parade along the low wall right by a signpost/lamp for Captain Hook’s Galley (which faced the oncoming parade).

    Our parade watching spot (taken at night):




    The parade, cast members, and even the crowd were great. We had lunch at the Queen of Hearts Banquet Hall, which was everything I hoped it would be. The setting was gorgeous and fun – and I was surprised that the rotisserie chicken was so tasty. We decided that soft drinks at 300 yen were sort of pricey, especially as aren’t filled all the way. Water was always available so we wound up drinking more water than soda with most of meals. We toured TDL some more, failed at the Lottery, and then jet lag overcame us. We overslept and then wound up not going back to the park due to the heavy rain and cold weather. Side note: those Tokyo gals are very fashionable – high heels, false eyelashes, and big furry Disney hats! Got to love it.

    Tokyo fashion:






    Tuesday, 11/16 - TDS
    We checked out of the Hilton Tokyo Bay and took the monorail to the Miracosta to drop off our bags. They let us use the Miracosta early entry line and we waited at the Roman Wall near JTTCOE for the park to open. TDS did not seem too crowded as we were able to ride JTTCOE twice, 20,000 Leagues, Indiana Jones, Storm Rider, and the Electric Railway before having lunch at the NY Deli. We decided to watch “The Legend of Mythica” from Fortress Explorations, which seemed like a great place to see the show for our first time since we had a good view of the whole show. We lost the Lottery for “Christmas Wishes” and headed over to ride the Venetian gondola. Checking into the Miracosta was an odd experience as tired guests (us included) hang out in the lobby waiting for their name to be called when their room is ready around 4:30pm. We had a nice dinner at the Ristorante di Canaletto (reserved earlier that day) at 8:30 and then had time after to check out Sinbad’s Stoybook Voyage and the Magic Lamp Theatre. That area felt almost deserted at that hour. Even though they announced that TDS had closed at 10pm, the cast members were still inviting us to ride 20,000 Leagues!

    A few comparisons of the Hilton Tokyo Bay versus the Miracosta:
    • The Miracosta’s location and early entry policy to TDS and TDL are very valuable.
    • After staying at both, I prefer the Hilton mostly because the room rate is much more reasonable. In addition, it is relatively easy to get to the parks on the monorail and our room was bigger (and had a king bed).
    • The Hilton also has a Starbucks, a well-stocked shop, and a pastry shop.
    • Our room at the Miracosta had a great view overlooking the Venetian gondola ride and the room was stocked (and restocked daily) with goodies like terrycloth slippers, cute Mickey toothbrush and vanity kits, etc. However, we did not have a desk and the beds were singles. We were glad we stayed at the Miracosta this one time though.


    Pictures of our room (pictures aren't great, but at least you can see what it looks like)





    The view of "Venice" and the gondolas from our room:








    The view from TDS of our hotel room (we were in the brown brick building on the left with the domed windows):





    Wednesday, 11/17 - TDL
    We did early entry to TDL; however, by this point, we were both sore and tired and weren’t able to run all the way to Pooh’s Hunny Hunt (we tried though). We rode PHH twice doing standby and then got a FP. We thought PHH was the best ride in TDL. The technology trumps all of the other Disney parks. It was a cold day with rain expected. It started raining as we headed to Roger Rabbit Car Toon Spin. It was pretty impressive how quickly the cast members were able to pack up everything that could get wet in a souvenir truck. We lost the Lottery again. Since I wanted to experience the shows we wouldn’t be able to experience elsewhere, we stood in line in the rain for an hour to get seated for the first show. The cast members clearly have seating down to a science as we eventually were allowed to file in to get seated. One Man’s Dream was great – talented performers, lots of pizzazz, and great sets. Even though we were cold and wet, I thought it was worth the wait in the rain. We had lunch at the Queen of Hearts Banquet Hall again and then sat back at our spot near the Captain Hook’s Galley sign for “Jubilation”. Although it didn’t rain during the parade, almost all of the cast members had rain gear over their costumes. Lots of energy and great costumes. I’d gladly take the raingear over a cancelled parade.

    Looking at my pictures, I think it was mostly the face characters who were wearing raingear:













    We checked out Grandma Sara’s Kitchen, which was just adorable and then saw the Christmas version of Country Bear Theater. We didn’t understand the songs in Japanese, but the ones in English were pretty funny. It was also a really nice place to get out of the rain and cold. We rode the Western River Railroad, POTC, and then went back to the hotel for a nap. We came back and got our same seat for the Electrical Parade Dreamlights, but were disappointed when they cancelled the parade due to inclement weather. We wound up back at the Ikspiari Kitchen for ramen to warm ourselves up.







    p.s. I have some pictures, but I can’t figure out how to put them in this report. I read the FAQs for posting, but the bottom of my TDR page says that I don’t have permission to post attachments.

    ** Many thanks to DuffyDaisuki for explaining how to upload photos!!


    Thursday, 11/18 – TDS/TDL
    We did early entry to TDS. It was another cold morning. We decided to try the lottery first – if we didn’t win, we would make seeing a show a high priority even if we had to stand again to wait for it. We joined the early entry crowd at the Lottery and amazingly, we won (Section G) for the 16:50 show. We rode Indiana Jones, the DisneySea Transit Steamer Line, and Indiana Jones again. We liked the TDS version of Indiana Jones very much. The pyramid nearby was very impressive. We went searching for the coconut soft serve ice cream, but couldn’t find it. We shared the coconut custard at Casbah Court. There was a little kiosk in the courtyard, but it featured sea salt ice cream in a souvenir clamshell. Did we miss the storefront?

    We had a pasta and pizza lunch at Zambini Brothers. It was pretty tasty and I was happy that they got the pasta just right, which doesn’t always happen at a counter service restaurant. We ate outside on the upstairs balcony where we were able to see some of the Meet and Smile show. We thought about trying to watch “The Legend of Mythica” from this spot, but weren’t sure if we could be kicked out for staying there too long. I’m sure it can get crowded in that space. Since I was focusing on shows, we wound up sitting for 1-3/4 hours at the Lido Isle waiting for “The Legend of Mythica”. I realize that wasn’t the best use of our time, but we were tired and the helpful cast member told me it was a very good place to sit if I liked Minnie Mouse. It was fun seeing Minnie Mouse and all of the dancers/performers up close, but I liked the view from above at Fortress Explorations a lot too.

    Our view:






    We headed over to see “Christmas Wishes” – great show. At one point, I think I counted 20 dancers on stage plus many of the characters. That’s a heck of a production. I was wondering though why “Christmas Wishes” was done outside given possible rain-outs– seeing ichigopara’s rainy day greeting version, I realized how lucky we were to catch the show without rain.






    We went back to TDL to see if we colud catch the Electric Parade Dreamlights. We wanted to eat dinner at Eastside Cafe, but the line was quite long so we went back to the Queen of Hearts Banquet Hall (we obviously liked the food there). The crowds were starting to form for the parade so we went back to our spot and waited. Dreamlights was wonderful and I’m glad we were able to catch this parade. It beats Spectromagic at WDW easily and the opening reminded me of how I first saw this at DL so many years ago (I was sort of hoping that lion would be there playing the organ though). Although we had a FP for Monsters, Inc., it was closed due to technical problems.

    Dreamlights:










    Cute storefront at the World Bazaar:




    Friday, 11/19 – a non-Disney day
    We checked out of the Miracosta and back into the Tokyo Hilton Bay. I was pretty sure I’d overdone it by this point as I started feeling like I had caught a cold. I was very impressed with the bell staff at the Hilton as I told then I was looking for the four-story toy store with “Toy Park” in its name (thanks to LurkyLoo’s pictures), but didn’t know the full name or neighborhood. The bell staffer had never been there before, but she came back with a printout with the name of the store (Hakuhinkan Toy Park) and its location. Another bellman came over next with a street map and then a train map to show us how to get to the Ginza. We had very limited space in our luggage as we traveled only with a carry-on, but I managed to bring home a Totoro figurine and some small keychains of the “My Friend Totoro” characters (at the airport of the way home, I had enough space and yen to buy a 12” Totoro at the Hakuhinkan shop).


    Saturday, 11/20 – Flew home


    A few final thoughts:
    • We really enjoyed our trip and the chance to compare the Disney parks, especially after reading all of your comments here and your preferences for TDR over the other parks. I can see why most of you favor TDR. TDR really is magical and TDS will always be unique.
    • I felt that the cast members and employees at TDR seem to really enjoy their jobs, which is different from WDW.
    • The shows and parades are top notch. My husband pronounced “The Legend of Mythica” as the best Disney show he’s ever seen (that’s big praise considering he’s not as much of a Disney fan as me).
    • Language was not a problem – if an employee couldn’t answer our question or explain with sign language, they always were able to find someone else who could help us.
    • Japanese culture is different. I was upset because I forgot that I wasn’t supposed to put my foot on a ride vehicle’s bench where people sit. Unfortunately by the time I remembered, my legs were so sore that it was a lot harder to do it right.
    • If I went back to TDR, I think I’d spend my first day doing something non-Disney to ease my way through jet lag and travel fatigue. I would probably stay at the Tokyo Hilton Bay too.
    Last edited by Sanstress; 12-06-2010 at 12:03 AM. Reason: Pictures added

  2. #2

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    Thumbs up Re: Mini Trip Report (11/13-20)

    Quote Originally Posted by Sanstress View Post
    ...Side note: those Tokyo gals are very fashionable – high heels, false eyelashes, and big furry Disney hats! Got to love it...
    Too true!


    Quote Originally Posted by Sanstress View Post
    Tuesday, 11/16 - TDS
    ...We decided to watch “The Legend of Mythica” from Fortress Explorations, which seemed like a great place to see the show for our first time since we had a good view of the whole show...
    I watched it from Fortress Explorations when I went for Halloween and I think it's a fantastic view!

    Quote Originally Posted by Sanstress View Post
    ...8:30 and then had time after to check out Sinbad’s Stoybook Voyage and the Magic Lamp Theatre. That area felt almost deserted at that hour. Even though they announced that TDS had closed at 10pm, the cast members were still inviting us to ride 20,000 Leagues!
    Yeah, it's nice how relaxing the park becomes from dusk...except the line for Tower of Terror!^^ And nice that the CMs always seem to be welcoming us into the park that they actually take pride in. It really does feel, for the most part, like CMs are personally excited to share this special place with Guests.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sanstress View Post
    A few comparisons of the Hilton Tokyo Bay versus the Miracosta:
    • The Miracosta’s location and early entry policy to TDS and TDL are very valuable.
    • After staying at both, I prefer the Hilton mostly because the room rate is much more reasonable. In addition, it is relatively easy to get to the parks on the monorail and our room was bigger (and had a king bed).
    • The Hilton also has a Starbucks, a well-stocked shop, and a pastry shop.
    • Our room at the Miracosta had a great view overlooking the Venetian gondola ride and the room was stocked (and restocked daily) with goodies like terrycloth slippers, cute Mickey toothbrush and vanity kits, etc. However, we did not have a desk and the beds were singles. We were glad we stayed at the Miracosta this one time though.
    Thanks for this comparison. I'm sure that would be helpful for a lot of folks. I've only stayed in Tokyo Disneyland Hotel. Did you think that the views of TDS and the details in your room made the Miracosta worth the price difference? I kinda get the feeling that you wouldn't pay to stay there again, but that you absolutely don't regret staying there at least once. Is that accurate? Would you advise someone like me, who has stayed in a different Tokyo Disney hotel, to still stay in Miracosta at least once - I mean was there anything overwhelmingly standout about the Miracosta experience compared to what you imagine at another Disney property hotel? Sorry, I've actually been debating staying at Miracosta and you seem to have given this point some real thought.^^

    Quote Originally Posted by Sanstress View Post
    Wednesday, 11/17 - TDL
    ...We rode PHH twice doing standby and then got a FP. We thought PHH was the best ride in TDL. The technology trumps all of the other Disney parks...
    WOW! You rode Hunny Hunt THREE TIMES in one day?!? I'd say that makes up for your lottery luck! That's actually an attraction I love more every time I ride it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sanstress View Post
    ...I’d gladly take the raingear over a cancelled parade.
    Absolutely. Do they do the raingear performances in all the parks worldwide? I'm surprised I've never asked this.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sanstress View Post
    We checked out Grandma Sara’s Kitchen, which was just adorable and then saw the Christmas version of Country Bear Theater. We didn’t understand the songs in Japanese, but the ones in English were pretty funny...
    I discovered Grandma Sara's months after I'd already been an AP-holder; it really is incredibly charming. Maybe more than any other place, I actually feel like I'm inside a cartoon there. And I me some Country Bears. Some of the English songs are really rather dark, though.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sanstress View Post
    ...I have some pictures, but I can’t figure out how to put them in this report. I read the FAQs for posting, but the bottom of my TDR page says that I don’t have permission to post attachments.
    Looking forward to your photo update! You should just be able to upload them at another hosting site or in your MiceChat gallery, and then just post a photo link using the "Insert Image" icon above, between the envelope and the film strip.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sanstress View Post
    Thursday, 11/18 – TDS/TDL
    We did early entry to TDS. It was another cold morning. We decided to try the lottery first – if we didn’t win, we would make seeing a show a high priority even if we had to stand again to wait for it. We joined the early entry crowd at the Lottery and amazingly, we won (Section G) for the 16:50 show...
    I was SO happy when I read that last sentence! It actually made me smile from ear to ear! The idea of coming all the way across the planet and losing the lottery every time... I was so nervous! And then I was worried it might get rained out! Thank goodness you got to sit down and really relax to experience at least one of the big shows.

    I just noticed something, though... Didn't you talk about losing the lottery in TDL, too... Oh, wait! I forgot. They do lottery for One Man's Dream now, right? You weren't talking about a Christmas show there?

    By the way, you didn't mention it, so I guess not, but did you see Big Band Beat at TDS?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sanstress View Post
    ...We went searching for the coconut soft serve ice cream, but couldn’t find it. We shared the coconut custard at Casbah Court. There was a little kiosk in the courtyard, but it featured sea salt ice cream in a souvenir clamshell. Did we miss the storefront?
    That might be my fault. I remembered the name of the place as "Jafar's...something." Actually, it's called Sultan's Oasis. It's just across from Sindbad's Storybook Voyage. They don't always have the coconut soft cream, though. They had it at Halloween, cos I ate it, but maybe it's changed out for Christmas season?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sanstress View Post
    We had a pasta and pizza lunch at Zambini Brothers...We thought about trying to watch “The Legend of Mythica” from this spot, but weren’t sure if we could be kicked out for staying there too long. I’m sure it can get crowded in that space.
    I don't know, but I doubt they'd kick you out. Just order a snack and sip a drink or something and I think you'd be all right. It probably does get crowded, though.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sanstress View Post
    ...Since I was focusing on shows, we wound up sitting for 1-3/4 hours at the Lido Isle waiting for “The Legend of Mythica”. I realize that wasn’t the best use of our time, but we were tired and the helpful cast member told me it was a very good place to sit if I liked Minnie Mouse. It was fun seeing Minnie Mouse and all of the dancers/performers up close, but I liked the view from above at Fortress Explorations a lot too.
    I think it was wise to experience both views. Mythica really does feel very different up close versus far away (full view), and both are worth knowing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sanstress View Post
    We headed over to see “Christmas Wishes” – great show. At one point, I think I counted 20 dancers on stage plus many of the characters. That’s a heck of a production. I was wondering though why “Christmas Wishes” was done outside given possible rain-outs– seeing ichigopara’s rainy day greeting version, I realized how lucky we were to catch the show without rain.
    I think the rainy day greeting is also cute, and for an AP-holder, perhaps a rare treat. But for you, thank the Hidden Mickeys it did NOT rain!!!^^

    Quote Originally Posted by Sanstress View Post
    We went back to TDL to see if we colud catch the Electric Parade Dreamlights...(I was sort of hoping that lion would be there playing the organ though).
    Can you post a photo of this with your other photos, please? I have no idea what you're talking about and I'm curious.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sanstress View Post
    Friday, 11/19 – a non-Disney day
    We checked out of the Miracosta and back into the Tokyo Hilton Bay. I was pretty sure I’d overdone it by this point as I started feeling like I had caught a cold. I was very impressed with the bell staff at the Hilton as I told then I was looking for the four-story toy store with “Toy Park” in its name (thanks to LurkyLoo’s pictures), but didn’t know the full name or neighborhood. The bell staffer had never been there before, but she came back with a printout with the name of the store (Hakuhinkan Toy Park) and its location. Another bellman came over next with a street map and then a train map to show us how to get to the Ginza...
    How are you feeling now? I hope you ddn't actually get sick. That staff service is great. I remember when I first saw that shop in Lurkyloo's super report - that was the first toy shop I ever went in when I first visited Tokyo seven or eight years ago! That place is great! And wow...the service at Miracosta... That's just remarkaable. Half a name in English for a place she didn't know and she comes back with all that. It's like they pulled a rabbit out of a hat!

    Quote Originally Posted by Sanstress View Post
    A few final thoughts:
    • We really enjoyed our trip and the chance to compare the Disney parks, especially after reading all of your comments here and your preferences for TDR over the other parks. I can see why most of you favor TDR. TDR really is magical and TDS will always be unique.
    I felt that the cast members and employees at TDR seem to really enjoy their jobs, which is different from WDW.
    • The shows and parades are top notch. My husband pronounced “The Legend of Mythica” as the best Disney show he’s ever seen (that’s big praise considering he’s not as much of a Disney fan as me).
    • Language was not a problem – if an employee couldn’t answer our question or explain with sign language, they always were able to find someone else who could help us.
    Japanese culture is different. I was upset because I forgot that I wasn’t supposed to put my foot on a ride vehicle’s bench where people sit. Unfortunately by the time I remembered, my legs were so sore that it was a lot harder to do it right.
    • If I went back to TDR, I think I’d spend my first day doing something non-Disney to ease my way through jet lag and travel fatigue. I would probably stay at the Tokyo Hilton Bay too.
    TDS really is something special. I it! I've never been to another Disney resort, so I can't compare, but I can tell you that the Japanese CMs really do love their jobs for the most part. I can also tell you that literally every single person I know - male or female, of any age - who has ever worked at TDR - still now, even in their "real," "professional" career, reminisces with deep and sincere love about their time in the parks. MANY of them get married there. One man I know was invited to a wedding at Miracosta this year and has two Disney weddings to go to next year. He is very cool, nothing "otaku" about him in the least. But he and his fiance (who met working at the Resort...didn't see each other for years...and just met again last year), and many of their friends - like so many Japanese people - experience something at the Tokyo Disney Resort that borders on real magic. It is a place where, unlike most of Japan's highly regimented society, you can really just relax and let go, have fun. And you don't even have to be drunk. Disney is more than a corporation or media empire here; it is a gateway to "dreamland." Or maybe it's a cult, but either way, it works.

    They also keep in touch with and plan reunions with CMs who now work in vastly different industries, or in many cases, still at TDR. I think different from the US, too, is that within Japanese society, being a CM is still considered a highly respectable, nearly "magical" kind of job by many. It is very competitive even though the pay is not great and OLC has a reputation for austere management. I think the cultural differences between what "Disney" represents in Japan and what it has (unfortunately) come to mean in America account for a large part of the difference in attitudes of the people working there. In Japan, the parks are the "legacy," and the legacy is still a proud one, uncorrupted by commercial success.

    Nice report, Sanstress! Thank you for sharing it.

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    Re: Mini Trip Report (11/13-20)

    wow - I was already really missing TDL and this report makes it so much worse!

    I traveled to Orlando for work and got to spend my evenings at WDW....I think I drove my poor coworker crazy telling her how much better everything was at TDL last year! WDW just wasn't as magical as I'd remembered it, maybe because TDL has raised my expectations so much!
    The rides, the cast members, even the Christmas Decorations were so much better at TDL!

    I really have to get over there at least one more time before we leave Asia next year!

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    Re: Mini Trip Report (11/13-20)

    Great report, thanks for all the feedback!

    I am not sure where "One Man's Dream" is performed. I saw a show in Tomorrowland at an outdoor theatre that had a series of sets (pirate ship, jungle, hollywood premiere, et al).. Is that the show? Or is is a new show? There was no lottery for the show I saw, but not much of a line either. It was a very good show.

    Where are you from? Have you been to WDW more or DL in California?

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    Re: Mini Trip Report (11/13-20)

    Quote Originally Posted by shelemm View Post
    ...I am not sure where "One Man's Dream" is performed. I saw a show in Tomorrowland at an outdoor theatre that had a series of sets (pirate ship, jungle, hollywood premiere, et al).. Is that the show? Or is is a new show? There was no lottery for the show I saw, but not much of a line either....
    Yep, that's One Man's Dream! If I remember correctly, they only started the lottery last year, and it's also possible that they don't do lottery all the time.

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    Re: Mini Trip Report (11/13-20)

    Very good trip report! Thanks.

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    Re: Mini Trip Report (11/13-20)

    Re: Mini Trip Report (11/13-20)
    Originally Posted by Sanstress
    ...Side note: those Tokyo gals are very fashionable – high heels, false eyelashes, and big furry Disney hats! Got to love it...
    Too true!

    ** I don't know why they weren't freezing. I had on a coat that went down to my knees plus a scarf much of the time. I posted some pictures so everyone can see why Tokyo is so chic.


    Originally Posted by Sanstress
    ...8:30 and then had time after to check out Sinbad’s Stoybook Voyage and the Magic Lamp Theatre. That area felt almost deserted at that hour. Even though they announced that TDS had closed at 10pm, the cast members were still inviting us to ride 20,000 Leagues!

    Yeah, it's nice how relaxing the park becomes from dusk...except the line for Tower of Terror!^^ And nice that the CMs always seem to be welcoming us into the park that they actually take pride in. It really does feel, for the most part, like CMs are personally excited to share this special place with Guests.

    ** I agree - I think that is a big part of what makes TDR so special.


    Originally Posted by Sanstress
    A few comparisons of the Hilton Tokyo Bay versus the Miracosta:
    • The Miracosta’s location and early entry policy to TDS and TDL are very valuable.
    • After staying at both, I prefer the Hilton mostly because the room rate is much more reasonable. In addition, it is relatively easy to get to the parks on the monorail and our room was bigger (and had a king bed).
    • The Hilton also has a Starbucks, a well-stocked shop, and a pastry shop.
    • Our room at the Miracosta had a great view overlooking the Venetian gondola ride and the room was stocked (and restocked daily) with goodies like terrycloth slippers, cute Mickey toothbrush and vanity kits, etc. However, we did not have a desk and the beds were singles. We were glad we stayed at the Miracosta this one time though.

    Thanks for this comparison. I'm sure that would be helpful for a lot of folks. I've only stayed in Tokyo Disneyland Hotel. Did you think that the views of TDS and the details in your room made the Miracosta worth the price difference? I kinda get the feeling that you wouldn't pay to stay there again, but that you absolutely don't regret staying there at least once. Is that accurate?

    Would you advise someone like me, who has stayed in a different Tokyo Disney hotel, to still stay in Miracosta at least once - I mean was there anything overwhelmingly standout about the Miracosta experience compared to what you imagine at another Disney property hotel? Sorry, I've actually been debating staying at Miracosta and you seem to have given this point some real thought.^^

    ** I think a big part of staying at the Miracosta is how much one has in their travel budget. This trip was my 50th birthday present so I was more extravagant than usual. Nothing beats being in that special line in the hotel and then being admitted to the park early down the special staircase (even if this just means you get farther into the park then those who enter at opening). The view from our room was really pretty, but many of you may never spend much time in your room while the parks are open. It was fun looking out the window when the park was closed or when the park was getting ready to open. I can't even imagine what the view from the rooms are that overlook the Mediterranean Harbor.

    I hope this isn't tacky to discuss hotel rates (if it is, I apologize), but it really helps to compare the Miracosta and the Hilton Tokyo Bay. The Hilton rate for 11/14-15 was 20,000 yen/night and 11/19 was 30,000 yen (Friday night). The Miracosta was 52,000 yen/night for a triple room (it wasn't much more than a double and I was thinking the room might be a little bigger). For us, that is very expensive - especially as the dollar is not doing very well against the yen right now. I'm really glad we stayed at the Miracosta, but I think I'd rather stay at the Hilton next time and spend the extra money on souvenirs or going back next time!


    Originally Posted by Sanstress
    Wednesday, 11/17 - TDL
    ...We rode PHH twice doing standby and then got a FP. We thought PHH was the best ride in TDL. The technology trumps all of the other Disney parks...

    WOW! You rode Hunny Hunt THREE TIMES in one day?!? I'd say that makes up for your lottery luck! That's actually an attraction I love more every time I ride it.

    ** We felt very lucky that day! The projected attendance was fairly low this week so it was worth visiting despite the cold and occasional rain shower.


    Originally Posted by Sanstress
    ...I’d gladly take the raingear over a cancelled parade.
    Absolutely. Do they do the raingear performances in all the parks worldwide? I'm surprised I've never asked this.

    ** I wish I knew. I don't think I've ever had a parade cancelled on me before (I've had fireworks cancelled though).


    Originally Posted by Sanstress
    We checked out Grandma Sara’s Kitchen, which was just adorable and then saw the Christmas version of Country Bear Theater. We didn’t understand the songs in Japanese, but the ones in English were pretty funny...
    I discovered Grandma Sara's months after I'd already been an AP-holder; it really is incredibly charming. Maybe more than any other place, I actually feel like I'm inside a cartoon there. And I me some Country Bears. Some of the English songs are really rather dark, though.

    ** I was tempted to knock on some of those doors in the trees that were lit up to see if anyone was home. It was just so cute.


    Originally Posted by Sanstress
    ...I have some pictures, but I can’t figure out how to put them in this report. I read the FAQs for posting, but the bottom of my TDR page says that I don’t have permission to post attachments.

    Looking forward to your photo update! You should just be able to upload them at another hosting site or in your MiceChat gallery, and then just post a photo link using the "Insert Image" icon above, between the envelope and the film strip.


    ** Thank you so much for explaining that. I managed to learn how to use Photobucket tonight and I think the pictures explain much better than I could!


    Originally Posted by Sanstress
    Thursday, 11/18 – TDS/TDL
    We did early entry to TDS. It was another cold morning. We decided to try the lottery first – if we didn’t win, we would make seeing a show a high priority even if we had to stand again to wait for it. We joined the early entry crowd at the Lottery and amazingly, we won (Section G) for the 16:50 show...

    I was SO happy when I read that last sentence! It actually made me smile from ear to ear! The idea of coming all the way across the planet and losing the lottery every time... I was so nervous! And then I was worried it might get rained out! Thank goodness you got to sit down and really relax to experience at least one of the big shows.

    ** You don't know how happy I was!! I kept thinking that it was our last chance and we would lose again. I tried to be discreet, but I did jump up and down a little : )


    I just noticed something, though... Didn't you talk about losing the lottery in TDL, too... Oh, wait! I forgot. They do lottery for One Man's Dream now, right? You weren't talking about a Christmas
    show there?

    ** You're right - TDL has a lottery for One Man's Dream. We were surprised at how long the lottery lines were at both parks. That made us want to win even more.


    By the way, you didn't mention it, so I guess not, but did you see Big Band Beat at TDS?

    ** Unfortunately not. We saw the line, but couldn't tell if we would be able to get into the next show. If I can convince my husband to go back, I'd definitely wait in line next time!


    Originally Posted by Sanstress
    ...We went searching for the coconut soft serve ice cream, but couldn’t find it. We shared the coconut custard at Casbah Court. There was a little kiosk in the courtyard, but it featured sea salt ice cream in a souvenir clamshell. Did we miss the storefront?
    That might be my fault. I remembered the name of the place as "Jafar's...something." Actually, it's called Sultan's Oasis. It's just across from Sindbad's Storybook Voyage. They don't always have the coconut soft cream, though. They had it at Halloween, cos I ate it, but maybe it's changed out for Christmas season?

    ** I'm not sure if I missed it or if it may have been closed. We got there about 11:15am and everyone was going to the Casbah Court.



    Originally Posted by Sanstress
    ...Since I was focusing on shows, we wound up sitting for 1-3/4 hours at the Lido Isle waiting for “The Legend of Mythica”. I realize that wasn’t the best use of our time, but we were tired and the helpful cast member told me it was a very good place to sit if I liked Minnie Mouse. It was fun seeing Minnie Mouse and all of the dancers/performers up close, but I liked the view from above at Fortress Explorations a lot too.
    I think it was wise to experience both views. Mythica really does feel very different up close versus far away (full view), and both are worth knowing.

    ** I'd love to see Mythica many more times. It was amazing.

    Originally Posted by Sanstress
    We headed over to see “Christmas Wishes” – great show. At one point, I think I counted 20 dancers on stage plus many of the characters. That’s a heck of a production. I was wondering though why “Christmas Wishes” was done outside given possible rain-outs– seeing ichigopara’s rainy day greeting version, I realized how lucky we were to catch the show without rain.
    I think the rainy day greeting is also cute, and for an AP-holder, perhaps a rare treat. But for you, thank the Hidden Mickeys it did NOT rain!!!^^

    ** Since you are an AP-holder, do you have any idea what the line for the "Crystal Locket" was for? I thought it might be for AP holders, but I couldn't tell. There were alot of people in the line near Monsters, Inc.


    Originally Posted by Sanstress
    We went back to TDL to see if we colud catch the Electric Parade Dreamlights...(I was sort of hoping that lion would be there playing the organ though).
    Can you post a photo of this with your other photos, please? I have no idea what you're talking about and I'm curious.

    ** I'm sorry - I should've said that I remember a lion playing an organ in the Electrical Light Parade at either Walt Disney World or Disneyland. When I heard those familiar opening notes of the parade theme song, I was hoping I'd see that dancing lion again.


    Originally Posted by Sanstress
    Friday, 11/19 – a non-Disney day
    We checked out of the Miracosta and back into the Tokyo Hilton Bay. I was pretty sure I’d overdone it by this point as I started feeling like I had caught a cold. I was very impressed with the bell staff at the Hilton as I told then I was looking for the four-story toy store with “Toy Park” in its name (thanks to LurkyLoo’s pictures), but didn’t know the full name or neighborhood. The bell staffer had never been there before, but she came back with a printout with the name of the store (Hakuhinkan Toy Park) and its location. Another bellman came over next with a street map and then a train map to show us how to get to the Ginza...
    How are you feeling now? I hope you ddn't actually get sick. That staff service is great. I remember when I first saw that shop in Lurkyloo's super report - that was the first toy shop I ever went in when I first visited Tokyo seven or eight years ago! That place is great! And wow...the service at Miracosta... That's just remarkaable. Half a name in English for a place she didn't know and she comes back with all that. It's like they pulled a rabbit out of a hat!

    ** I caught a head cold, but am back to normal now and wishing I could go back to Tokyo soon. Oops, I should have been clearer. The Hilton staff helped me find the Toy Park (not the Miracosta staff). I was very impressed - I didn't expect them to be able to do that!


    Originally Posted by Sanstress
    A few final thoughts:
    • We really enjoyed our trip and the chance to compare the Disney parks, especially after reading all of your comments here and your preferences for TDR over the other parks. I can see why most of you favor TDR. TDR really is magical and TDS will always be unique.
    • I felt that the cast members and employees at TDR seem to really enjoy their jobs, which is different from WDW.
    • The shows and parades are top notch. My husband pronounced “The Legend of Mythica” as the best Disney show he’s ever seen (that’s big praise considering he’s not as much of a Disney fan as me).
    • Language was not a problem – if an employee couldn’t answer our question or explain with sign language, they always were able to find someone else who could help us.
    • Japanese culture is different. I was upset because I forgot that I wasn’t supposed to put my foot on a ride vehicle’s bench where people sit. Unfortunately by the time I remembered, my legs were so sore that it was a lot harder to do it right.
    • If I went back to TDR, I think I’d spend my first day doing something non-Disney to ease my way through jet lag and travel fatigue. I would probably stay at the Tokyo Hilton Bay too.

    TDS really is something special. I it! I've never been to another Disney resort, so I can't compare, but I can tell you that the Japanese CMs really do love their jobs for the most part. I can also tell you that literally every single person I know - male or female, of any age - who has ever worked at TDR - still now, even in their "real," "professional" career, reminisces with deep and sincere love about their time in the parks. MANY of them get married there. One man I know was invited to a wedding at Miracosta this year and has two Disney weddings to go to next year. He is very cool, nothing "otaku" about him in the least. But he and his fiance (who met working at the Resort...didn't see each other for years...and just met again last year), and many of their friends - like so many Japanese people - experience something at the Tokyo Disney Resort that borders on real magic. It is a place where, unlike most of Japan's highly regimented society, you can really just relax and let go, have fun. And you don't even have to be drunk. Disney is more than a corporation or media empire here; it is a gateway to "dreamland." Or maybe it's a cult, but either way, it works.

    They also keep in touch with and plan reunions with CMs who now work in vastly different industries, or in many cases, still at TDR. I think different from the US, too, is that within Japanese society, being a CM is still considered a highly respectable, nearly "magical" kind of job by many. It is very competitive even though the pay is not great and OLC has a reputation for austere management. I think the cultural differences between what "Disney" represents in Japan and what it has (unfortunately) come to mean in America account for a large part of the difference in attitudes of the people working there. In Japan, the parks are the "legacy," and the legacy is still a proud one, uncorrupted by commercial success.

    ** Wow! That background really helps. I can see why it would be a real honor to work there - and to say you worked there years after you did. The selection criteria must be very tough. TDR just felt alot different from Walt Disney World - so much employee pride in how they treat their guests and share the parks.


    Nice report, Sanstress! Thank you for sharing it.

    ** Thanks for your comments. This is the first time I've attempted a trip report. Everyone on this board has been so helpful. I'd bought Kevin Yee's book as well as that new Traveler's Series Guide to TDR. Both were helpful references, but nothing beats the collective current park/Tokyo knowledge that all of you have been willing to share!! THANKS!

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    Re: Mini Trip Report (11/13-20)

    Quote Originally Posted by rkj1969 View Post
    wow - I was already really missing TDL and this report makes it so much worse!

    I traveled to Orlando for work and got to spend my evenings at WDW....I think I drove my poor coworker crazy telling her how much better everything was at TDL last year! WDW just wasn't as magical as I'd remembered it, maybe because TDL has raised my expectations so much!
    The rides, the cast members, even the Christmas Decorations were so much better at TDL!

    I really have to get over there at least one more time before we leave Asia next year!
    ** Most everyone I work with thought I was crazy for going all the way to Tokyo to visit TDR, but they just don't get it. TDL is better! I hope you can get back to TDR before you finish your work in Asia!

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    Re: Mini Trip Report (11/13-20)

    Quote Originally Posted by shelemm View Post
    Great report, thanks for all the feedback!

    I am not sure where "One Man's Dream" is performed. I saw a show in Tomorrowland at an outdoor theatre that had a series of sets (pirate ship, jungle, hollywood premiere, et al).. Is that the show? Or is is a new show? There was no lottery for the show I saw, but not much of a line either. It was a very good show.

    Where are you from? Have you been to WDW more or DL in California?
    ** DuffyDaisuki is right. The sets for One Man's Dream were really elaborate.

    I live near San Francisco, but have been to WDW more than Disneyland. I like being able to visit four parks in WDW plus Disneyland has similar space limitations as TDR such that I can see the outside world more easily (versus being immersed in WDW). Now that I've been to TDR though, I would really like to go back. I don't look forward to that long flight though...

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    Talking Re: Mini Trip Report (11/13-20)

    Quote Originally Posted by Sanstress View Post
    I think a big part of staying at the Miracosta is how much one has in their travel budget. This trip was my 50th birthday present so I was more extravagant than usual. Nothing beats being in that special line in the hotel and then being admitted to the park early down the special staircase (even if this just means you get farther into the park then those who enter at opening). The view from our room was really pretty, but many of you may never spend much time in your room while the parks are open. It was fun looking out the window when the park was closed or when the park was getting ready to open. I can't even imagine what the view from the rooms are that overlook the Mediterranean Harbor.

    I hope this isn't tacky to discuss hotel rates (if it is, I apologize), but it really helps to compare the Miracosta and the Hilton Tokyo Bay. The Hilton rate for 11/14-15 was 20,000 yen/night and 11/19 was 30,000 yen (Friday night). The Miracosta was 52,000 yen/night for a triple room (it wasn't much more than a double and I was thinking the room might be a little bigger). For us, that is very expensive - especially as the dollar is not doing very well against the yen right now. I'm really glad we stayed at the Miracosta, but I think I'd rather stay at the Hilton next time and spend the extra money on souvenirs or going back next time!
    I didn't find it tacky at all; thank you for answering my question. Oh and Happy Belated Birthday! What a nice gift! Hm... I think I'll hold off on Miracosta. Last year at TDLH was so magically amazing for everything that surrounded it. This year I'll save money for my AP and, y'know, just save money...and, of course, as Janell says, "Duffy needs new clothes!" I still envy that view, though...

    Quote Originally Posted by Sanstress View Post
    I don't think I've ever had a parade cancelled on me before (I've had fireworks cancelled though).
    Maybe the weather at other parks just doesn't really require rain gear often enough to do it; in Tokyo, it's a necessity.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sanstress View Post
    I managed to learn how to use Photobucket tonight and I think the pictures explain much better than I could!
    Thanks for adding these; they really do help alot! You might go back and rotate some of them in your Photobucket album, though. Some are on the side. I think (but I'm not sure) that if you just rotate them on Photobucket, the links should automatically update here (though cache-clearing may be required for us viewers who've recently loaded this page...)

    Quote Originally Posted by Sanstress View Post
    You don't know how happy I was!! I kept thinking that it was our last chance and we would lose again. I tried to be discreet, but I did jump up and down a little : )
    I did, too, when we won for Mysterious Masquerade...unfortunately ours was the only canceled show that day...

    Quote Originally Posted by Sanstress View Post
    Unfortunately not. We saw the line, but couldn't tell if we would be able to get into the next show. If I can convince my husband to go back, I'd definitely wait in line next time!
    I don't love Big Band Beat as much as some people do, but it is a really good show and definitely worth waiting for if you get the chance to come back! If you didn't see Mystic Rhythms, make sure you hit that, too - it's totally awesome!

    Quote Originally Posted by Sanstress View Post
    Since you are an AP-holder, do you have any idea what the line for the "Crystal Locket" was for? I thought it might be for AP holders, but I couldn't tell. There were alot of people in the line near Monsters, Inc.
    Sadly, I'm on AP hiatus until next April, but I can still answer your question.^^ Anybody can buy the Crystal Locket, provided they wait forever! Every season each park usually has some kind of special charm that can be customized in terms of theme and initials or message. It usually takes the form of a keychain, phone strap, pendant (or optionally all of the above). Here's the page on the official site.

    And here's DisneySEA's equivalent (except naturally better because it's DisneySEA style!) offering, the Message Ring.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sanstress View Post
    I'm sorry - I should've said that I remember a lion playing an organ in the Electrical Light Parade at either Walt Disney World or Disneyland. When I heard those familiar opening notes of the parade theme song, I was hoping I'd see that dancing lion again.
    No worries, I understood that. I just wonder who/what this dancing lion is all about...^^

    Quote Originally Posted by Sanstress View Post
    I caught a head cold, but am back to normal now and wishing I could go back to Tokyo soon. Oops, I should have been clearer. The Hilton staff helped me find the Toy Park (not the Miracosta staff).
    I'm glad you're feeling better.^^ Sorry I got confused there; anyway, GREAT help!

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    Re: Mini Trip Report (11/13-20)

    Tokyo is a 14 hour flight from the east coast, where I live. I've done it about 50 times and you get used to it. There are lots of ways to keep busy, and you can always take an Ambien if you want to be certain of sleeping.

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    Re: Mini Trip Report (11/13-20)

    [QUOTE=DuffyDaisuki;1056353770]I didn't find it tacky at all; thank you for answering my question. Oh and Happy Belated Birthday! What a nice gift! Hm... I think I'll hold off on Miracosta. Last year at TDLH was so magically amazing for everything that surrounded it. This year I'll save money for my AP and, y'know, just save money...and, of course, as Janell says, "Duffy needs new clothes!" I still envy that view, though...

    ** Yes, Duffy needs more cute outfits!! Our view was nice, but I wish we could've faced the Mediterranean Harbor. I think I reserved our room when they became available (6 months before?) and those rooms Harbor view were booked (except for the most expensive ones).


    Thanks for adding these; they really do help alot! You might go back and rotate some of them in your Photobucket album, though. Some are on the side. I think (but I'm not sure) that if you just rotate them on Photobucket, the links should automatically update here (though cache-clearing may be required for us viewers who've recently loaded this page...)

    ** Thanks for that tip - I rotated the pictures and they should be okay now. Sorry about that!


    I did, too, when we won for Mysterious Masquerade...unfortunately ours was the only canceled show that day...

    ** Oh dear - that must've been frustrating.


    I don't love Big Band Beat as much as some people do, but it is a really good show and definitely worth waiting for if you get the chance to come back! If you didn't see Mystic Rhythms, make sure you hit that, too - it's totally awesome!

    ** Sounds good - that would explain the big line, even in the bad weather!


    Sadly, I'm on AP hiatus until next April, but I can still answer your question.^^ Anybody can buy the Crystal Locket, provided they wait forever! Every season each park usually has some kind of special charm that can be customized in terms of theme and initials or message. It usually takes the form of a keychain, phone strap, pendant (or optionally all of the above). Here's the page on the official site.

    ** Another special thing that TDR does. Thanks for explaining that. The line was long, but people looked happy to be in it.

    And here's DisneySEA's equivalent (except naturally better because it's DisneySEA style!) offering, the Message Ring.

    ** Those are both really nice!! Thanks for posting the links.

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    Re: Mini Trip Report (11/13-20)

    Quote Originally Posted by Fukai View Post
    Tokyo is a 14 hour flight from the east coast, where I live. I've done it about 50 times and you get used to it. There are lots of ways to keep busy, and you can always take an Ambien if you want to be certain of sleeping.
    I'm so jealous that you've made the trip so many times and found a way to manage it. Are you fortunate enough to travel to Japan for work some of the time?

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    Re: Mini Trip Report (11/13-20)

    Thank you for such a fun trip report! I am getting married in July and we are planning on going to Tokyo for our honeymoon. Since my fiance is not a huge Disney Nerd like me, we will only be spending 2 days at the resort, but your information has helped out! I am so excited! It looks SOOOOO beautiful!

    One question: Why does it seem that the Disney hotels are so dang expensive compared to the regular 200 dollar/2000 yen prices elsewhere? I looked online and they seem just astronomically priced.
    For those of you that are curious about my wedding:
    http://www.rocknrollbride.com/2011/0...heather-tyler/





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    Re: Mini Trip Report (11/13-20)

    Quote Originally Posted by leopardchucks View Post
    Thank you for such a fun trip report! I am getting married in July and we are planning on going to Tokyo for our honeymoon. Since my fiance is not a huge Disney Nerd like me, we will only be spending 2 days at the resort, but your information has helped out! I am so excited! It looks SOOOOO beautiful!

    One question: Why does it seem that the Disney hotels are so dang expensive compared to the regular 200 dollar/2000 yen prices elsewhere? I looked online and they seem just astronomically priced.
    Congratulations on your engagement and upcoming FUN homeymoon!! What a great way to start married life together!!! Others can answer your question better than I can, but the Disney hotels come with alot of amenities, including early entry. The Hilton Tokyo Bay (no early entry, but still a partner hotel) is close enough that getting to the park is easy and it is more reasonably priced. If you can get up early enough to be at the gate at least 45 minutes before opening, I think it would still be a very good option for you if you don't want to spend as much. There are also a number of posts here about offsite hotels that are more reasonably priced. I have the website for projected crowds on my computer at work - if you'd like that to check July projections, let me know. Have fun planning!!

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