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  1. #1

    • Joe Flowers
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    Joe's Tokyo Disney trip report - October 1st to 16th, 2011 - Lots of pictures

    Jacob, Ruston, Theresa and I (Joe) all started planning this trip way back in November of 2010. We were still in the early stages of planning when in March the terrible earthquake and tsunami hit Japan. After that, we were constantly watching the reports coming from Japan to see how recovery efforts were going, what the status of the reactor was, and any other news. After the earthquake there were still big aftershocks occurring frequently.

    In July though, we all decided that we were still going to go. We made final hotel plans, got our JR Rail passes, and got everything ready for our trip.

    Our itinerary
    10/1 and 10/2 - crossing the date line, Arrive in Japan
    10/3 - Disneyland
    10/4 - Disney Sea
    10/5 - Disneyland/Disney Sea
    10/6 - Disneyland/Disney Sea
    10/7 - Train to Tokyo and explore
    10/8 - Exploring Tokyo
    10/9 - Train to Hakone and exploring Hakone (Mt. Fuji)
    10/10 - Train to Kyoto and exploring Kyoto
    10/11 - Exploring Kyoto
    10/12 - Exploring Kyoto
    10/13 - Train to Tokyo and Disney Sea
    10/14 - Disneyland
    10/15 - Disneyland/Disney Sea
    10/16 - Flight Home

    That's right 7 days at the Disney Resort! This trip is going to be awesome.

    On October 1st, Jacob, Theresa and I all met Ruston at the airport. The day had finally arrived and we were ready to fly to Japan.


    The flight was a quick 12 hours over to Japan. Ugh. We hit a few good bumps along the way, but Theresa was able to sleep through most of them.


    Not much to see during the whole flight. Just the ocean all the way to the horizon. And the flight was to the west so we were chasing the sun. Luckily there were TV screens at every seat so the whole trip was spent watching movies and TV shows.


    Once we made it to Narita airport, we had to go through immigration. We all had our pictures taken and fingerprints scanned. Luckily we had all packed carry-on, that's right carry-on for a 2 week Japan trip, so we didn't have to wait for luggage to come off. Once we got through customs, our first stop was the ATM. Japan uses cash almost exclusively instead of credit cards, and foreign ATMs are only at available in certain places (not Tokyo Disneyland surprisingly).


    Tickets for the Airport Limousine were next on our list. We booked the last trip of the day to go to the Tokyo Disneyland Resort. Then we headed down the escalators and grabbed our JR Rail Passes (you only get certificates that you redeem once you get there) and even made reservations for our train ride from Tokyo to Hakone a week later.


    We even stopped by a convenience store and bought some snacks for the trip. Then it was finally time to go upstairs and wait for our limousine to take us to Tokyo Disneyland.


    That's right! Tokyo Disneyland.




    The limousine was actually a bus (we knew that before hand). After a quick 60 minute drive through Tokyo traffic, we were finally at the Disneyland Resort. Our stop at the Hilton Tokyo Bay hotel was one of the last stops, but that just meant we got to see what all the other hotels looked like. We drove by the Disneyland Hotel, Disney Ambassador Hotel, and a couple others before finally arriving at the Hilton.




    Leaving Narita Airport


    Checking into the Hilton Tokyo Bay was a breeze. Everyone spoke English and we had no problems getting our room. The lobby, elevators and the whole hotel in general looked super clean. Our room was on the fifth floor. The room was very large too compared to what we had heard. Unfortunately the beds they couldn't accommodate our request for a King Sized bed. The beds were also pretty firm, unfortunately. Everything was nice and clean though.




    Down in the lobby we bought our tickets for the next 4 days at the Disneyland resort. You have to decide ahead of time which parks you want to visit. The first 2 days, you can only visit one park. After that, you're allowed to park hop. A 4 day ticket was only 16000 Yen, which is about $205. Not bad when you consider Disneyland in Anaheim has a 3 day park hopper for $199 right now.

    It was still technically early in the night, though we'd been up for a long time, so we decided to head over to Ikspiari, the Tokyo version of Downtown Disney. The monorail line is very convenient to the hotel, so we decided to ride that over to Ikspiari. The monorail here though differs from the US parks, since you have to pay for to ride. Getting a ticket was simple though. The ticket machines had an English button, and as long as you had cash, it was easy to figure out. I think a one way ticket was around 250 Yen ($3.20), and a day pass was around 625 Yen ($8.00). Additional days could be bought at a lower cost.


    The monorail was cool. It had Mickey shaped windows and Mickey handles to hold on to. The other thing we noticed was different, was that you could walk from the front car all the way to the back. No partitions like the monorails in the US. There were also something like 12 cars, so it held a lot of people. You were also free to sit at the very front of the monorail, though there always seemed to be people waiting to sit there.


    Ikspiari had a lot of different restaurants and shopping and we found the Disney store shortly after arriving.




    Lots of items we found here were "cute". We found lots of things we'd love to bring home. But as mentioned before, we were only doing carry-on, so we had no plans to buy anything big. This was just a scouting trip anyway. We wanted to see what all the resort had to offer before we bought anything.


    There were also lots of Halloween goodies. Stuffed animals, cups, bowls, snacks, etc.




    In this picture you can even make out a stuffed Ludwig Von Drake. Now there's a character you don't see every day.


    Walking around looking for a place to eat dinner.


    After walking around a bit, we eventually decided on a restaurant. First meal in Japan. Hamburgers. Mmm.


    After dinner, we grabbed some groceries from a local store and got back on the monorail to the hotel. It was only 10pm, but it was 6am Los Angeles time. We'd been awake for nearly 24 hours. A quick shower and it was time for bed.

    Tomorrow, Tokyo Disneyland!!!!

    If you've stuck with me this far, congrats! I'll be adding new posts as I get through my photos.

  2. #2

    • Waiting for my E-Ticket
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    Re: Joe's Tokyo Disney trip report - October 1st to 16th, 2011 - Lots of pictures

    Awesome! Can't wait to see more!

  3. #3

    • Timelord
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    Re: Joe's Tokyo Disney trip report - October 1st to 16th, 2011 - Lots of pictures

    Just had one of those burgers the other day, they were mighty tasty! (And expensive, lol)

    In regards to the Ludwig Von Drake plushies, here is a photo I took of them earlier this week. (Click for bigger photo)


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  4. #4

    • Sawasdee! สวัสดี! :)
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    Re: Joe's Tokyo Disney trip report - October 1st to 16th, 2011 - Lots of pictures

    Great pictures! IKSPIARI looks really nice.
    Sorry for grammar mistakes! I'm not really good in English!

  5. #5

    • Resident of the Caldera
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    Re: Joe's Tokyo Disney trip report - October 1st to 16th, 2011 - Lots of pictures

    Ikspiari is the best version of Downtown Disney at any resort. I don't know why people beat up on it. Many great shops and restaurants.

  6. #6

    • Sawasdee! สวัสดี! :)
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    Re: Joe's Tokyo Disney trip report - October 1st to 16th, 2011 - Lots of pictures

    Quote Originally Posted by Fukai View Post
    Ikspiari is the best version of Downtown Disney at any resort. I don't know why people beat up on it. Many great shops and restaurants.
    That's right! I love IKSPIARI because of many delicious restuarants. LOved the Rainforest Cafe, I remmember that I ate The Vegetable burger there 4 years ago. QUESTION: Which Disney Store is biggest and best in Tokyo, except IKSPIARI's one. Thanks! Goin' Japan on December 22.
    Last edited by switttdrfan; 11-05-2011 at 12:21 AM.
    Sorry for grammar mistakes! I'm not really good in English!

  7. #7

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    Re: Joe's Tokyo Disney trip report - October 1st to 16th, 2011 - Lots of pictures

    Excellent report so far! I can't wait till you get to Kyoto!
    Drop another coin in slot and I will tell you more.

  8. #8

    • hatbox ghost believer
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    Thumbs up Re: Joe's Tokyo Disney trip report - October 1st to 16th, 2011 - Lots of pictures

    Wow! What a wonderful experience. Thank you soooo much for sharing your adventure with the rest of us. I very much hope to go to Tokyo Disney Resort (and especially DisneySea) sometime soon myself!!!
    Last edited by nojarama; 11-12-2011 at 09:08 AM.
    Jon A. Leslie
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  9. #9

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    Re: Joe's Tokyo Disney trip report - October 1st to 16th, 2011 - Lots of pictures

    Cool TR. Can't wait for more.

    Hoping to visit Tokyo next summer, but most likely summer of 2013.
    My Brand New Youtube channel -"SoCal ATTRACTIONS 360"
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  10. #10

    • Adventures with Duffy
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    Re: Joe's Tokyo Disney trip report - October 1st to 16th, 2011 - Lots of pictures

    Great TR. Thanks for sharing. Im enjoying reading and seeing the photos.

    D
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    Check out the MICECHAT Duffy Forum
    Bringing the Love since January 10, 2011

  11. #11

    • Joe Flowers
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    Re: Joe's Tokyo Disney trip report - October 1st to 16th, 2011 - Lots of pictures

    Quote Originally Posted by Esmeralda View Post
    Excellent report so far! I can't wait till you get to Kyoto!
    I've got a little ways to go before I get there. Kyoto was fantastic though.

    Quote Originally Posted by Janell View Post
    Great TR. Thanks for sharing. Im enjoying reading and seeing the photos.
    Glad you like seeing the photos. Get ready for a bunch more...

    I saw this post made it to the Micechat Roundup. I felt bad that I hadn't even said anything about Disneyland yet, so I hurried up and grabbed all the photos and wrote up our first day.

    Here goes....

    ---------- Post added 11-10-2011 at 02:59 PM ----------

    Maybe it's the time change, maybe it's the excitement for being at Disneyland the next day, but sleep did not come easy. After going to sleep at 10:30pm at 1:30am, I was wide awake and ready to go. Luckily after 30 minutes, I fell back asleep, but then again at 7am, wide awake and ready to go. Luckily Theresa was awake too, so we went down to the convenience store in the lobby of the Hilton Tokyo Bay and grabbed breakfast.

    We then met Jacob and Ruston at 7:45am and headed over to the monorail.
    Along the way, we saw the awesome Disney Resort buses. Even the tail lights had a Mickey design.






    We bought our 4 day monorail passes and lined up for the monorail.




    There were no huge lines to get on the monorail and at that time in the morning, I think it was running every 4 minutes, so we didn't even have to wait very long.




    And again, we loved the Mickey handles on the monorail.




    We got to the park just about 30 minutes before it opened. Since it was just a Monday in October, we weren't expecting much of a crowd... Our expectations were wrong.




    Planning the day




    This was the line in front of us. You can just make out the entry gate between the two ticket booths. And this wasn't the only entry gate. If I had to guess, I think there are 7 others just like it, all with similar lines. No worries though. We'd been to Disney World's Magic Kingdom on New Year's Eve so we knew what crowded could look like.




    Once we finally got through the gates we ran, yes ran, along with everyone else into the park. No cast members here telling you not to run in the parks. There were guys running and pushing strollers, girls with 2 Duffy bears in each arm running, and we were right there with them.




    After reading other trip reports, we decided our first thing to do would be grab a fast pass for Monsters Inc and then head to Winnie the Pooh. The fastpass had quite a line, but it was all orderly. We scanned our ticket and the machine literally laughed at us and gave us our fastpasses. Monsters was already posting a 50 minute wait, so back to Pooh we went.




    Pooh showed a 40 minute wait, so I guess we made the right choice. The queue is very well themed. After hearing so many good things about this ride, the excellent queue was getting us excited. Notice how here instead of a rail to keep you out, it's just an overturned ladder blocking your way.






    And then it's like you're walking right into the book. It's not interactive like the queue at WDW, but I think I like it more because it adds more to the feel of the ride.






    Believe all the hype. The ride was fantastic! As soon as you round the first corner and see the giant book and then the pictures come to life, you know you're in for a treat. You join Pooh shortly after he's taken the balloon from Christopher Robin. All the characters and sets were done very well. Seeing that the vehicles weren't on a track was cool. The bouncing room with Tigger made us all laugh. And we were all laughing again when we went to the Heffalumps and Woozles room. The finale was great as well with Pooh stuck in the Honey Tree and the entire room smelling like honey. I can only speculate at this point how many times we're going to be going on this ride again.

    When you exit through the gift shop, there are so many cute things to buy. I had to pull Theresa away with promises that we'd be back later.






    The park was starting to get crowded. And what better to do when the park is crowded than go on a ride that has high capacity. it's a small world was very close to Pooh, so that was next on our list. The outside was very colorful.




    Besides the loading area, the inside of the ride reminded me a lot of the WDW version. I was hoping for something unique to this park like the it's a small world at Disneyland Paris. Oh well, it's still a fun ride wherever you go on it.




    Right across from small world, Pinocchio was only a 25 minute wait, so that was next on our list.




    It's not a ride I go on often at Disneyland, but from what I can remember it was similar to the Anaheim version.








    We weren't just here for rides though. We wanted to get a feel for the park and just enjoy the ambiance. Because we had just ran by the castle earlier in the day, it was time to go see it closer up. We stopped by the front of the castle for a few photos and walked around the hub and admired all the decorations that were put up for Halloween.












    It was cool seeing these inverted busts of the Disney characters in the Haunted Mansion style.




    Mickey keeps following me....






    There was even a cool optical illusion. You could see this from the front.




    And this from the side.




    Next on our list was the Haunted Mansion. While walking there though, we were stopped just across the street from the entrance while the parade passed by. We were 10 or so people back, but with 3 out of the 4 of us over 6' tall, we still had a pretty good view. The floats and characters all looked fantastic. This is definitely a parade we're going to have to sit down for and watch later.










    And another thing we learned was that when the entrance to Haunted Mansion is somewhat blocked by the parade, the line starts to get relatively short. We learned this by mistake, but made use of it a few more times during our trip.




    One of the things I don't remember reading anywhere was how the Haunted Mansion is transformed into the Haunted Mansion Holiday Nightmare. Now I know there are people in both camps on this change, but we fall with the group that absolutely loves seeing it decorated this way.








    The queue here was decorated fantastically. Lots of little nods to the movie, like the Night Shade and Frog's Breath Sally uses to make soup.




    Inside, all the stockings are hung by the fireplace.




    There are lots of unique things to this version compared to the Anaheim Disneyland version. First off, the ride is based on the WDW Haunted Mansion, so there are a few more rooms to put things. There are a few full size Sally animatronics as well as Jack. Plus Lock Shock and Barrel make a few appearances. Overall we loved this ride and it became one of our favorites on the trip.








    No monster gingerbread house here.












    Rustin was pleased with this crypt.




    And about this time we started getting hungry.




    After seeing other's photos of the food here, we knew one of the top things we wanted to try. A Mickey glove chicken sandwich!




    Ordering was no problem. They have picture menus everywhere and you can just point to what you want. They confirm everything with you too, so everything was very easy.
    The sandwich looked amazing but it tasted just okay. I was wrongly expecting white meat chicken. It didn't bother me, but Theresa didn't like it. Good thing she got the chicken curry, which was actually pretty tasty. The impulse buy was a Mike Wazowski mochi. It sure did look a lot bigger on the menu. Biting into it though, I was glad it wasn't much bigger. Not a lot of flavor to it, though it looked super cute.




    Continuing on our Monster Theme, our fastpasses for Monsters Inc were valid, so we headed over there. I love how you walk right into the lobby of the Monsters Inc building. It looks great! The ride itself was cute, though we didn't so much play with the flashlights, and instead just took in all the detail. A future report will show more photos from the ride itself.

    The gift shop had some cool items, including a photo of the now president James Sullivan and a poster from the hot new musical "Put That Thing Back Where It Came From Or So Help Me."












    Pirates is always good for moving lots of people, so we headed over there. There wasn't anything special about the queue here.
    One other thing we saw that we thought was a fluke before on small world, but really noticed here, no one uses the seat as a step to get into the boat. It made for some awkward entries as people were taking a great big step down to get into the boat and slowed down loading a bit, but wow, we were impressed with the general politeness being shown to everyone here.






    There are proper pirates here chasing girls around the town.






    And I loved the speed ramp showing the proper place to put your foot and your peg leg.






    The Tiki Room with Stitch had a short line. We were able to walk right in and get great seats. Unfortunately for us, the whole show was in Japanese and if we had taken a little more time, we would have known to ask for a translation device. We still got the general gist though.








    It was time for more snacks. Right outside of the Tiki Room, we treated ourselves to pumpkin soft serve ice cream and a mango boba drink.






    We rode a few more rides afterwards, but no photos of those right now. Space Mountain was fun. Theresa rode Buzz while the rest of us were on Space Mountain and said that it was the same as Anaheim Disneyland. Snow White was also fun, with some fun cast members. As soon as your mine cart exits the final scene, before your cart advances to the unload section, the cast member calls out to the cart "Hi Ho". We had seen it a few times while we were waiting in line, so we responded with a hearty "HI HO" right back. The cast member and a bunch of people in line got a kick out of it.

    We had seen huge lines for popcorn all day long. Some of the more popular ones on Main Street, popcorn lines stretched 50 people deep. We happened to be over by Pooh and the Honey Popcorn just smells fantastic over there. It really adds to the ambiance of the area.
    We picked up some Honey popcorn. It was great, but personally I would have liked it to be more intense flavor. The honey was subtle.




    We loved the idea of all the different popcorn flavors and if we ran across a short line, we would usually grab one.






    The castle was next on our "To Do" list. It was great when Anaheim Disneyland opened up Sleeping Beauty's castle again and you could walk through it. We were all looking forward to seeing what Tokyo would do for Cinderella.



    The line was about 40 minutes long. It's a pretty popular walk-through I suppose.




    Once you made it inside you rode an elevator up a few floors. After that, it was all at your own pace. They tell the beginning of the story of Cinderella through panels on the walls.






    After that first room though, you get to see multiple styles of art telling the story. This first was animated and had all the animals making her dress.








    What looked like some sort of carving of the Fairy Godmother visiting.




    A construction paper display showing Cinderella's entrance to the ball.








    A pieced together metal sculpture of her trying on the glass slipper.




    The views looking out of the castle were just beautiful.




    And then you round the corner and see a massive chandelier in a big room.




    Here we found a throne.




    A Glass Slipper, behind glass.




    And even a stool where you could simulate trying it on.




    After you exit though, that's where you get some really pretty views of Fantasyland.






    And if you wait long enough, you can take a photo that makes it look like you've got the castle all to yourself.




    We walked back over to Adventureland. The Mickey shaped churros looked inviting, so we all got one to split. Now if you get a fresh churro, they're absolutely fantastic. This one was not, so it was just okay. I liked the Mickey shape though.




    The Swiss Family Robinson tree house didn't have a line, so we walked around there.




    After that, we hopped on the railroad.










    No Grand Canyon diorama, but the dinosaurs looked great.






    Dinner was just a quick slice of pizza. I would say it was on the run, but we did as the locals did and sat down and ate it right there.

    We walked over to where the Electric parade would start, but all the seating was taken. Instead we were corralled at a crossing point and could see a lot of the parade from there. Midway through though, they released us, and we had to find another spot.




    We ended up just hopping in line for the Haunted Mansion since it was outdoors mostly anyway, and we got a view of the parade from there. Lesson learned for next time. If you want to see the parade, get there with lots of time and be prepared to wait.




    We did see the amazing Genie float though and were all blown away. The pictures hardly do it justice. We loved how his costume changed to lots of different characters.




    Fireworks were going to be starting soon. We made our way to the front of the castle. We'd heard fireworks weren't all that great here, but we wanted to see for ourselves.




    The first surprise was that the fireworks weren't really behind the castle. Later we'd come to figure out, the fireworks are for both Disneyland and Disney Sea, so they're kind of in the middle somewhere. And the length of the show. Only 4 minutes long tops. I suppose the rumors were all true.




    After that, we were tired from a long day. We walked back to the monorail and headed back to the hotel. I was really surprised at the speed of everything. Coming out of Disney World or Disneyland right after fireworks, you'd be waiting 10-15 minutes to get on a monorail/tram and back to your car.
    We walked directly on the monorail and were back in our hotel rooms within 10 minutes of leaving the park.

    All in all, it was a very satisfying day at the park. Tokyo Disneyland made a great first impression on us. The next day though we weren't sure what to expect. Tokyo Disney Sea is like no other park we've ever been to. If it was anything like Disneyland though, we knew it was going to be over the top and super fun!


  12. #12

    • Waiting for my E-Ticket
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    Re: Joe's Tokyo Disney trip report - October 1st to 16th, 2011 - Lots of pictures

    Loving it! Can't wait to see more!

  13. #13

    • Sawasdee! สวัสดี! :)
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    Re: Joe's Tokyo Disney trip report - October 1st to 16th, 2011 - Lots of pictures

    The views of Fantasyland are amazing! Can't wait for more beautiful pictures!
    Sorry for grammar mistakes! I'm not really good in English!

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    Re: Joe's Tokyo Disney trip report - October 1st to 16th, 2011 - Lots of pictures

    Wow. Amazing pictures! can't wait to see Disney Sea.
    My Brand New Youtube channel -"SoCal ATTRACTIONS 360"
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    Re: Joe's Tokyo Disney trip report - October 1st to 16th, 2011 - Lots of pictures

    More please more!
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