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  1. #31

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    Re: Tokyo Disneyland/DisneySea week long (dream) trip report

    Quote Originally Posted by fitztwg View Post
    Oh... my... God...

    Spoiler alert - she did! Wait until we get there. Duffy-mania is coming...
    Now I am really getting excited!!!


    Bringing the Love since January 10, 2011
    We were sent over there with the message that only we would defend Disney quality.. We learnt quickly that the Japanese culture speaks to a level of quality that is hard to comprehend. They were all unbelievably skilled and willing to do the right thing.
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  2. #32

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    Re: Tokyo Disneyland/DisneySea week long (dream) trip report

    Quote Originally Posted by fitztwg View Post
    Oh... my... God...

    Spoiler alert - she did! Wait until we get there. Duffy-mania is coming...
    Woo-hoo!!! I was actually nervous about this one. If this little girl didn't love Duffy, it meant I was wrong about everything important in life!

  3. #33

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    Re: Tokyo Disneyland/DisneySea week long (dream) trip report

    This is an excellent Trip Report. Keep it coming!

    Makes me really want to go back to Tokyo and just Japan in general. Really miss living there.
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    Trip Reports2010:12/06/10 to 16/06/10 - Tokyo Disneyland & DisneySea - Trip Report

  4. #34

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    Re: Tokyo Disneyland/DisneySea week long (dream) trip report

    Love the report! Never a dull moment! Very touching to see friends meet up half way across the world, as well as to see you and your niece have a great time!

    I hate to bring any negativity to this thread, but to see how awesome the merchandise and even the food is at TDR makes me wish DLR and WDW would get their act together!

    Great report, and can't wait for more!

  5. #35

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    Re: Tokyo Disneyland/DisneySea week long (dream) trip report

    Sorry for the delay, work has been tough.

    But, onto more magical subjects!

    My niece and I learned a valuable lesson our first full day: we're both bound to wake up REALLY early. Since Navy friend was used to it, we didn't want to wake him up. I woke up at 5 a.m. and my niece close after that.

    I was smart enough to get our clothes and stuff out ahead of time and put in the bathroom area. We decided to take an early morning tour of the hotel!

    I did the same thing on my previous trip and loved it. I remember walking around Akasaka at 5:30 a.m. with no one around and it was the most peaceful thing ever.

    She was surprisingly excited for it being 6 a.m.

    It was nice because we could take our time, with not a lot of people around and check every little detail.

    We walked down almost every hallway at the hotel and found this:



    It was a china cabinet that we must have looked at for a good 10 minutes.







    And saw these wonderful paintings at various points:





    It was freezing cold, but we wanted to see the outside as well.

    Especially the excellent fountain in the front:







    Obviously, so early, it wasn't on. There were people out there cleaning it like crazy.

    Then we went looking for the Alice Garden we read about:



    Still trying to figure out what's so "Alice" about it. Are we missing something here?

    This painting was in the main entrance and we just had to take a picture:



    Thankfully they had a 24-hour market in the hotel so we got some hot coco (all pre-packaged, just add hot water) and some churro looking dessert (in this case breakfast).

    We actually wasted a lot of time so we went back to get Navy friend up and ready to go. We decided to head to Disneyland first and not get there early, but rather exactly when they open the gates early for hotel guests.

    My thinking was there would be no one behind us pushing or running around like crazy. Turned out to be the best idea because we took our time walking in and seeing some things we wouldn't have if we were running:





    Also got another obscure character crossed off our list!



    One of my favorite memories of Disneyland as a child was looking at the beautiful window displays at the Emporium. We were ecstatic to see a few of them here:







    Our what to see first idea was go through Adventureland to the Haunted Mansion and hit that first.

    They stopped us at the Refreshment Corner at the end of the World Bazaar (remember they were only letting people into Mickey's Philharmagic early) so we waited for around 10 minutes.

    And it was the best choice we made in our entire trip to Tokyo. As they let us through we ran right into a giant parade of characters making their way to the front of the Castle.

    Seriously:



    We knocked a few more characters off our list:









    We took some time, but powerwalked to the Haunted Mansion. Too bad it didn't open until 9:30! What? We walked into Fantasyland to waste some time.

    And ran into:



    Pure awesomeness. He must have spent a good 2-3 minutes with her. No one else around, so he could. I thought to myself, this is Disney magic right here. I wish every kid could get that kind of experience.

    We saw Alice's Tea Party was running with no one in line at all. OK!



    I loved the mouse that would pop his head out of the tea kettle:



    My niece wanted us to go super fast and boy, did we.

    Being the old man (heh) I am I could barely handle it.

    After it was over we noticed that there was still no one in line so my niece wanted to go again! So Navy friend was more than happy to go again!



    And right at the exit? More awesome obscure characters!





    The one in pink was very cool. She played around with my niece and then started waving her arms, I was wondering what she was doing until she started pointing at the Dumbo ride. She then took my niece's hand and led us to the line for Dumbo!

    My smile couldn't be surgically removed at this point.

    We also learned a few new rules for the Tokyo parks (at least for some rides). 1 - you can't pick your ride vehicle. This is apparently done to help make things go quicker. Cool, no problem. 2 - No photos on the ride. I guess so you don't drop your camera and they have to stop the ride or something. Boo, but alright.

    It was a little after 9:30 and we noticed that as we took our flight with Dumbo the line for the Haunted Mansion was getting bigger and bigger!

    By the time we got off it was a pretty big line. So we had the bright idea to come back right before closing to ride it! Yeah, awesome idea! And one that would come back to bite us.



    Noticed it was almost time for DisneySea to open, so we chose to start making our way over there.

    But, we ran into the most delicious roadblock: Maple Churros!



    They were at the Pecos Bill Cafe in Westernland, I want to say 250 yen.



    If I could I would have just ate Maple Churros the entire time. It was like eating a maple syrup covered pancake churro! WONDERFUL. Oh, man I'm drooling now just thinking about it.

    Also found the best named/themed food place:



    Quickly made our exit and onto the monorail (the first time!) to DisneySea. The moment and reason for coming here was almost at hand and I was nervous to see my niece's reaction.

    I had dreamt about this for years and it was finally coming true. As Tiana (my niece's favorite) would say "Almost There!"

  6. #36

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    Re: Tokyo Disneyland/DisneySea week long (dream) trip report

    Thanks for the great trip report and the photos! I now look even more forward to my forthcoming trip to Japan. We are going to make our first visit to Tokyo Disney Resort in May. I love the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim and I can't wait to see if the parks in Tokyo are as awesome as in California! Please continue your trip report soon!
    Disneyland Resort Paris: | 1999 | 2001 | 2002 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 (2 visits) | 2008 | 2009 (2 visits) | 2010 | 2012 | 2013 |
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    Disney Cruise Line: | 2012 |

  7. #37

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    Thumbs up Re: Tokyo Disneyland/DisneySea week long (dream) trip report

    Quote Originally Posted by fitztwg View Post
    As Tiana (my niece's favorite) would say "Almost There!"
    That settles it. If P&F was good enough for her, it's good enough for me. Though I'm not sure Tiana has ever even made an appearance in Tokyo.

    Maple churros are THE BEST!! And SO MANY characters!!! This really is the trip of a lifetime, and you haven't even got to the best park!…ahem…part. I meant to say "part," sorry.^^

  8. #38

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    Re: Tokyo Disneyland/DisneySea week long (dream) trip report

    Was looking through my videos and noticed that I forgot to mention that we hit the Tiki Room the first night.

    My niece and I were already big fans of Stitch(y) from the original movie so this was a must see for us. We sat in the corner, near the exit door and let me tell you that is the worst seat in the house! Do not sit there.

    My advice is to sit in the front closest to the door where you enter. Without spoiling it, you get a good view of the finale there.

    I know Disney purists will hate me for saying this, but our California Tiki Room needs a little Stitchy!

    I also decided to start sharing some video.

    So here are a couple to start while I get a handle on how to do it properly.







    And yes DuffyDaisuki, there are some Duffy-related videos to come!

    Thanks everyone for the kind words as well.

  9. #39

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    Re: Tokyo Disneyland/DisneySea week long (dream) trip report

    OK, DisneySea time!

    So, for some reason it was kind of busy that day. Especially for a Wednesday. Saw lots of schoolgirls around. By the way, it was probably around 40 degrees and those girls had to be FREEZING.

    We got to DisneySea right at opening, which was a giant mistake. It took us about 20 minutes to get through security and actually into the park.

    This is a good time to tell everyone who's never been that pictures don't do the park justice. Heck, even YouTube videos don't do it justice.

    I played it smart and showed my niece the website, some photos and a couple of videos. I wanted her to be mostly surprised.

    On the plane she drew this:



    So it was very exciting and nice for her to actually see the real thing!



    She kept talking about how beautiful it was. And there's no arguing against that. In some ways it is very simple, but still awe inspiring.

    The next part was the greatest though. I remember my feelings seeing the park as you walk through the entrance and see Mt. Prometheus. If you don't get at least a little misty eyed looking at that beautiful sight, then maybe you're a robot.



    I think my niece and Navy friend shared a collective "whoa!" and just stood there staring for a few minutes.



    The plan was to head to Mysterious Island and ride 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

    The path up there was very nice to look at as well, especially since my mother loves tulips.







    Just in terms of sheer creativity, Mysterious Island is my favorite place at DisneySea. Everywhere you look is something cool, or an easter egg.







    My niece decided at the last second to skip Journey to the Center of the Earth, so we got in line for 20,000. Not long of a wait, maybe 5 minutes.

    This was one of the rides she knew nothing about, so she was a little scared. I rode it before, but wanted her to be surprised. I still should have told her.



    Once we got going and she figured out there were no drops or anything, she LOVED it.



    It ended up being her favorite ride there and we rode it three more times during our stay.



    Navy friend's Fastpass for Journey wasn't up yet, so we moved ahead with a bit of my plan.

    One reason for coming was so that my niece could see the Little Mermaid area before she wasn't a kid anymore. I figured Navy friend wouldn't really want to see the inside, so we would explore around outside and when his fastpass was up, we'd split.

    Here's a video I shot of my niece's reaction to the outside of the Little Mermaid area:



    We rode Scuttle's Scooters, which we all loved. At first glance it's just a simple spinning ride, but when you get going each seperate car spins on its own as well.



    We even got my niece to put her arms in the air, something she has never done before (with the condition that I hold her hand). The people in line we getting a kick out of her excitement. She was going a little crazy with the "whoohoos!" She was having a blast, so I joined in as well.



    As we were walking out we noticed probably the most obscure character EVER. Most importantly, something we've never seen at our parks before.



    We were all freaking out a little.

    Then we rode Flounders Flying Fish Coaster, probably a ten minute wait. I got her on it by telling her it was basically the Gadget Go-Coaster that we have at home. She had fun, but not enough to put her arms up in the air. I don't blame her much though. Everyone in line was laughing at Navy friend though. Imagine this, 6 ft. 5 tall white guy with a wizard Mickey hat on screaming like crazy on a kid's coaster.

    Also found this funny sign:



    Before anyone says anything, he wasn't trying to be obnoxious. He was just showing my niece that it was fun.

    Still had time on Navy friend's Fastpass, so we crossed over to Lost River Delta to look around. Was extatic to be able to re-do the same exact photo I took years earlier, this time with my niece:



    Then it was time for the other reason we came: Sinbad.



    Remember back in 2008, we rode this ride only because it was very hot outside and the ride was indoors. This was one of the rides where I showed her lots of pictures and videos. And she kept saying how much she wanted to go on it.



    No wait at all (and sad, since it's such a great ride. But, then again it's a good thing because you can ride it over and over and over without waiting too long.)

    I sat with my niece and put my arm around her as we rode through the ride.

    Then it hit me: "Holy crap, we're here."

    Crazy since we had been in Japan for a few days and also been to Disneyland, but it was that exact moment that hit me like a ton of bricks. I think it was the chorus of the song too, which is very catchy and I just love.

    I was somewhere between misty eyed and balling like a baby. Stupid that a ride would do that? It was more than the ride, but a realization of a dream I thought would never come true.

    I held her a little tighter, but she was so enthralled by the ride she didn't even notice my slobbering. Good, I wanted her first experience with this ride to be awesome.

    She loved the giant bird part and was ready to try and spot Chandu in each room. She won every time (wink).

    It was time for Navy friend's fastpass so he took off back to the Mysterious Island. One of my favorite parts of the Arabian Coast during my last visit was the little side streets and tons of small things to see.



    So we took a back way in and ran right into....



    He was all by himself, just playing around so she got to spend a minute with him.

    Right around the corner was Jafar!



    A small crowd around him, but nothing a few minutes of persistant patience won't cure.

    Then, we spotted the legend himself!



    A big crowd around him, but he actually spotted my niece and walked right up to her! This happened a few times and made my niece feel really special. Something that would never happen to us at our Disneyland.

    Also got to re-do another photo I took before:

    1. Three years ago:



    Now:



    Looked around some more:









    We were a little hungry by then, so we saw the most awesome dessert ever...



    Churro Sundae!



    I was worried either of us wouldn't like the coconut ice cream (also because it was freezing still), but it was actually pretty good. FYI, we had two more of those during our trip!

    Then walked back to check out the Carousel.



    For some reason she wanted to ride on the bottom, which was fine because most of the people in line headed for the top.

    That's cool, because we got a Genie all to ourselves.



    We then saw a carnival game you can play to win a giant prize. Luckily I read ahead and knew that if you lost the game they would give you a Tokyo Disneyland pin. Knowing we wouldn't have room to take a giant toy home I failed the game on purpose. Granted I could have made it look like I at least tried, but ah well. Even she commented that it looked like I blew it on purpose. We got a pin with Chandu from Sinbad, since he doesn't exist in America we thought it was the best choice.

    She also thought more people in California would be jealous of it!

    OK, now it was time.

    Mermaid Lagoon, the inside.



    Even as an adult, years ago I was shocked by how great the inside of it was.

    This moment was special so I got it on tape:



    It was another emotional moment, just seeing her face as she got a first look at the inside was worth it. All the money spent was a distant memory as the smile on her face was the only thing I cared about at that moment.

    I really wish every little girl could experience that in person. It's unlike anything you've ever seen before.

    We spent a ton of time in there. Rather than talk about it, here are some photos:

















    One of the things I tried in Mermaid Lagoon my previous visit was Sea Salt Ice Cream. She remembered me telling her about it and had to try some!



    She devoured that thing!

    I got one taste, still as good as I remembered. Navy friend met us in front of there just in time to get to try it and loved it as well.

    She also got her friend a Little Mermaid box with treats in it. She said they were crackers, with flavors like soy sauce, seaweed and sea salt.

    We then walked back through Mysterious Island, making our way to Tower of Terror so Navy Friend could ride it.

    But, we got stopped by... more characters!







    While Navy friend went into the line for Tower of Terror, we had another plan in mind... a furry, cute, cuddly plan...



    I promise to update tomorrow with our Duffy adventure and more.
    Last edited by fitztwg; 03-07-2011 at 08:48 PM. Reason: Adding photos (sorry!)

  10. #40

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    Re: Tokyo Disneyland/DisneySea week long (dream) trip report

    Thank you for getting on with the trip report! I love the photos, it is great that you met so many different and rare characters! I look forward to your Duffy adventure! Is Chandu the little Tiger from the Sindbad ride?
    Disneyland Resort Paris: | 1999 | 2001 | 2002 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 (2 visits) | 2008 | 2009 (2 visits) | 2010 | 2012 | 2013 |
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    Disney Cruise Line: | 2012 |

  11. #41

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    Re: Tokyo Disneyland/DisneySea week long (dream) trip report

    So great that your neice enjoyed herself. Mermaid Lagoon is one of my favorites as well as Mysterious Island. I still have to get around trying the coconut ice cream- It seems to be closed whenever I'm there.

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    Re: Tokyo Disneyland/DisneySea week long (dream) trip report

    My favorites are the Then & Now photos. They literally made me tear up. There are many good uncles in the world, to be sure, but yours is a rare heart and this is a genuinely moving story of what's possible when we dream the right dreams and commit to making them come true. This is so much more than a trip to the world's greatest theme parks. Thank you so much for sharing this. It's powerful to see Disney be this, and people who make it so. The gift you gave — and received — with this trip is beyond words. Yet you somehow manage to tell the story very compellingly. I'm looking forward to tomorrow's update, of course. The wait is almost more than I can bear!^^

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    Re: Tokyo Disneyland/DisneySea week long (dream) trip report

    Quote Originally Posted by Camthalio View Post
    Is Chandu the little Tiger from the Sindbad ride?
    Yes! And he is so cute and amazing. We ended up being a small stuffed keychain version of him. One of our favorite characters in the park.

  14. #44

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    Re: Tokyo Disneyland/DisneySea week long (dream) trip report

    Quote Originally Posted by DuffyDaisuki View Post
    My favorites are the Then & Now photos. They literally made me tear up. There are many good uncles in the world, to be sure, but yours is a rare heart and this is a genuinely moving story of what's possible when we dream the right dreams and commit to making them come true. This is so much more than a trip to the world's greatest theme parks. Thank you so much for sharing this. It's powerful to see Disney be this, and people who make it so. The gift you gave — and received — with this trip is beyond words. Yet you somehow manage to tell the story very compellingly. I'm looking forward to tomorrow's update, of course. The wait is almost more than I can bear!^^

    Thank you so much.

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    Re: Tokyo Disneyland/DisneySea week long (dream) trip report

    OK, it's DUFFY time!

    So while Navy friend was busy with Tower of Terror we decided to "look" at the different Duffy's.

    We started at Scrooge McDucks and it was paaaaacked. You'd think these things were made of gold the way people were grabbing for all the various things. The different outfits seemed to be the most popular.

    I also apologize ahead of time, it was so packed and crazy I was focused on getting in and out without losing track of my niece, so didn't take any pictures :-(

    I knew the "official" Duffy store was in Cape Cod, so we headed over that way in search of different outfits etc (who knew?).

    As we turned the corner we saw that store was beyond packed as well. A long line literally wrapped around outside of the store.

    We promptly turned around and went back to McDucks.

    I then told my niece I would buy her one and she went nuts.

    Yes, she caught the Duffy fever. It's nothing like Bieber fever by the way. Bieber fever has a cure... there's no cure for Duffy fever. Thankfully I got my shots ahead of time!

    We decided together that she should get a Shellie May, since they sell Duffy in our Disneyland. With the condition that we'd get a Duffy "soon."

    So, that was an easy choice. A big Shellie May. Not the giant ones, we saw those and were amazed!

    But, what about the outfits you may ask? Yes, every little girl (and some guys) in that shop were asking the same thing.

    This was really the first time I almost died of sticker shock. I want to say the more elaborate outfits we saw were around 2,500 yen, which comes out to around $30 today. I had shown my niece the crude way of somewhat figuring the price out by moving the decimal point over two times (not exactly correct, I know, but ballpark). She looked at the prices.

    What she did next really melted my heart a bit (or I caught a mild case of Duffy fever, who knows).

    "We don't need to spend that much money," she said.

    Part of me wanted to drop whatever amount right there just for her saying that.

    She found a very basic outfit that included a bow and skirt and was happy with that. If I remember correctly it was 1,200 yen, about $15.

    I think the grand total was around $60.

    We also thought we could get some outfits at our Disneyland and my mom could work her sewing magic to make something up.

    Like a kid on Christmas morning the bear and outfit didn't stay in the bag long. We found a seat right outside and she put everything together.

    Here is a video:



    OK, now none of these are in any order and span the rest of our trip, but I thought it'd be a good place to share them (my personal favorite shot is first):

















    We are not done with Duffy-related stuff for the trip, don't worry. A little tease? We went back and ventured through Cape Cod, or as I like to call it Duffy-ville.

    She can't wait to take Shellie May to Disney and show her off. Especially to the people who don't even know Duffy has a girlfriend.

    And on a happy note? Shellie May was really only alone for like a week. Exactly a week later I went to California Adventure and bought a special Valentine's Day Duffy for my niece.

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