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  1. #1

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    Today at Tokyo DisneySEA

    My first day of a five at the resort.

    Staying the Hilton, nice as ever, with a beautiful ocean view. While it was raining last night as I took the Airport Limousine Bus from Narita to the Hilton, it is a beautiful sunny 75 degrees today. With all the air conditioning at a minimum in the shops in the parks, it's pretty hot when shopping.

    While DisneySEA was originally supposed to open at 9am (and Tokyo Disneyland at 8:30 am, which told me they were expecting large crowds), DisneySEA also opened at 8:30 am--I was online at the park gate at 7:30 am and not too far from the front.

    When the gates go up, Toy Story Mania sucks the entire crowd toward the left--you can walk leisurely to any other ride and walk right on. TSM had a 210 minute wait time within an hour of park opening and all FastPasses were gone. I took advantage of everybody running to the left and went to the right, to Journey to the Center of the Earth, which was down, but they were allowing us to get FastPasses. Got one, then hit 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. I was the ONLY person on the ride. Very strange.

    Then, after checking that Journey was still down, walked over to Tower of Terror and got a second FastPass after lingering for a few minutes in the Toy Story Mania area, which is stunning. Watched the Mr. Potato Head show (very clever to make this separate from the queue for the attraction), but since it was all in Japanese it made little sense to me. The audience seemed to love it, but I'll take Don Rickles in English. Went to the shop where they make the custom Japanese Halloween charms and placed a rather large order.

    Got my TOT FastPass and took the DisneySEA Electric Railway to Port Discovery and waited an oddly long 25 minutes for Aquatopia. Rode on the right side. Usually ride on the left side, so it made for a nice change.

    Walked back to Mysterious Island, where Journey was still down. Hit the Nautilus Galley for an early lunch of heavenly gyoza. Came out of the Nautilus Galley and Journey was now running, so did that. WHAT a great ride! (Was at Universal Islands of Adventure in Orlando about two weeks ago and did both the Harry Potter Forbidden Journey ride and Spiderman. Harry Potter left me cold. Spiderman still rocks. But neither compare to Journey to the Center of the Earth.)

    Went to Arabian Coast and hit the shops, then walked through and went on Sindbad. I love this attraction--what a piece of workmanship on the part of WDI, yet it had only a 5 minute wait.

    Came out and waited 15 minutes in line for Jasmine's Flying Carpets. Walked over to the Magic Lamp Theater and got a FastPass for that. Walked back through Arabian Coast and then to Lost River Delta and got a FastPass for Indy, then did Indy with Single Rider. I should note that Indy is now the only ride in DisneySEA with Single Rider--they no longer offer it at the Tower of Terror.

    You may be wondering how I was able to acquire so many FastPasses in only three hours. The reason is that the return times were very close to when I obtained each pass, and so was able to obtain yet another pass in only 30 to 40 minutes. Haven't encountered exactly this circumstance before, but I attribute it to Toy Story Mania sucking up a huge amount of the people in the park for the first two hours.

    By 1 pm my tootsies were crying, so back to the Hilton to put the old feet up for a few hours and type this. Despite what I was expecting, DisneySEA was not very crowded today. Taking the Resort Line (monorail) back to the Hilton, I took at look at Tokyo Disneyland's parking lots and could clearly see that it wasn't a very busy day because all the rear parking lots were empty (as opposed to last night when I arrived--Sunday--when they were packed).

    So, that's the first half of my day. The Halloween merchandise I've seen so far isn't nearly as interesting as it has been in the past--but I haven't been to Bon Voyage or Tokyo Disneyland yet, and that comes tomorrow.
    Born in a shoebox and making the most of it.

  2. #2

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    Re: Today at Tokyo DisneySEA

    Great report! I totally agree, Sinbad is a masterpiece that is so unappreciated.


    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.
    Craig Russell -Walt Disney Imagineering

  3. #3

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    Thumbs up Re: Today at Tokyo DisneySEA

    Nice report, Fukai. Especially for someone who's actually been to the park, it really recreated the feeling of wandering through the twists and turns of DisneySEA. And Sindbad can never be praised enough. I was there a couple weeks ago and actually skipped riding it because the line was 30 minutes long! I was so excited! I'm guessing the actual wait time may have even been half that, but both lines were full all the way to the exit, so maybe not! In its way, I honestly love Sindbad even more than Journey. What's more, I have almost no love for Small World. I love the design, but the actual experience of the attraction itself tends to leave me cold. Sindbad really is a different, more narrative experience.

    Also, I gotta agree that Halloween this year is sadly underwhelming, especially in the shadow of Mysterious Masquerade. There really is no comparison. The skeletons have potential, but they'd really need to connect with the crowd more. If guests could buy skeleton fan caps, masks, and long-fingered gloves to play along with them more, and if more were going on both around the lagoon and on the water, the concept could work. As it stands, though, aside from offering cute new characters, it's a bit of a bore. And the merchandise doesn't really help; there aren't even straps of the skeletons or an "I danced with the skeletons and all I got was this" T-shirt!

    And to the poster below, Halloween is usually extremely crowded, especially Friday through Sunday. Today is Monday and this year is atypically unexciting. If you come in October, be sure to come on weekdays and still be prepared for possible crowds. Like I said, a couple weeks ago, I couldn't ride Sindbad. And someone posted recently about both parks being at capacity. I've been there on a day like that; it definitely happens.
    Last edited by DuffyDaisuki; 10-15-2012 at 09:33 AM.

  4. #4

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    Re: Today at Tokyo DisneySEA

    Nice report! Hope you're having a good time and can't wait to see how it is in Tokyo Disneyland! Glad to hear that it isn't too crowded as I am going in Oct next year.

  5. #5

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    Re: Today at Tokyo DisneySEA

    Very cool. I'm betting that TSM is still going to be super popular when DH & I go in December. Like with everything, we shall take it in stride.

    Thanks for the report. I'll keep an eye out for your Disneyland report.
    ~Tamika

  6. #6

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    Re: Today at Tokyo DisneySEA

    Great report; looking forward to more updates! Filling in the void until I anxiously await returning to Japan.

    last time i buy crystal ball from pic n save!

  7. #7

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    Re: Today at Tokyo DisneySEA

    Sounds like you had a fun filled 1/2 day. That would be cool and odd to be the only person on 20,000 Leagues!

  8. #8

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    Re: Today at Tokyo DisneySEA

    Thanks for reporting on your day at Tokyo DisneySea

    For me who hasn't been since last November it's very interesting to read about how Toy Story Mania has completely changed the crowd flows at the Park. And if your not particularly bothered by TSM you can skip it and check out the other attractions with no wait early in the morning. I'm not surprised to read about low crowds because this years Halloween Event really does look weak in comparison to previous efforts.

  9. #9

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    Re: Today at Tokyo DisneySEA

    Sorry I never wrote any more about my trip. Today is my last day and am going home tomorrow.

    Overall, the resort is in great shape. Everything is sparkling and functioning at peak operation. But they have definitely cut back on the Halloween decorations in various parts of the park, some of which are barely decorated. The shopping bags this year don't even have the current Halloween art from this year: they're using the Mickey and Minnie lollipops which is several years old. And the bags aren't dated, either, so they can use them for any year.

    Also, quite a lot of the Halloween merchandise was already sold out when I got here, which was a real bummer for me (and for DD, too, I'm afraid). I still found plenty to buy, but the more unusual items were long gone.

    I spent a pleasant day in the company of Ichigopara, who--as they used to say in the 1960s--did me a "solid," an enormous favor that will be difficult to repay. And she saved me a great spot from which we could watch the Halloween parade.

    All of that aside, the week has gone by quickly and Tokyo Disneyland is definitely lagging behind DisneySEA in attendance (or, more likely, TDL can absorb a lot more people). Either way, I have been able to arrive at the gate in the morning at opening time (not before) and still get a FastPass to Monster's Inc first thing, then head to Pooh's Hunny Hunt and ride it, then ride the Haunted Mansion, do Single Rider for Splash Mountain, then hit all the other stuff with no problem.

    The only time TDL was packed was this afternoon and evening. I did a lot in three and a half hours in the morning before heading into Tokyo for lunch with friends, and when I went back to the park at around 5, it was jammed. Still, did Pirates, Jungle Cruise, Mark Twain at night, watched Electrical Parade Dreamlights (actually managed to find a seat on a bench right after walking out of the Country Bear Vacation Jamboree 15 minutes before parade starting time!).

    The sun has been very hot--I got quite a burn on Tuesday. Wednesday and Thursday were rainy (I heard a typhoon was in the area), and when I woke up today the sun was out and I could clearly see snow-capped Mount Fuji from my room at the Hilton.

    Despite the niggling cutbacks, it's still the best Disney Resort in the world (and I've hit Orlando, Anaheim, and Tokyo this year, and Hong Kong late last year).

    It think they might be saving their pennies for the 30th anniversary starting in April. We'll see!
    Born in a shoebox and making the most of it.

  10. #10

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    Re: Today at Tokyo DisneySEA

    that is a little frightening that they are using non dated bags. Is that the case at TDS as well?


    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.
    Craig Russell -Walt Disney Imagineering

  11. #11

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    Re: Today at Tokyo DisneySEA

    Not sure, but I think so. I noticed the bags seemed both simple and familiar this year, but hadn't noticed the detail until I read these posts. They aren't dated. The bags are always the same at both parks — one side is TDS and the other is TDL. They look very, very similar, though. It is odd they're not dated; I can't imagine they'll actually recycle the design…
    Last edited by DuffyDaisuki; 10-20-2012 at 05:46 AM.

  12. #12

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    Re: Today at Tokyo DisneySEA

    Fukai, thank you very much for your posts! I will be traveling to Japan on Nov. 1, although not going to the parks until Nov. 7--first day of the Christmas season. I'm a relative newbie to TDR so your on-the-ground reporting is very helpful! I especially like the insight (from both you and Malin) about TSM affecting crowd patterns and which attractions may have shorter waits in the morning. Since I've been on TSM quite a bit at DCA, I think I'll skip it (other than for exterior photo ops) in the morning and head for the other popular attractions first thing.

    Thanks again for taking the time to post here about your trip!

  13. #13

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    Re: Today at Tokyo DisneySEA

    Quote Originally Posted by Armadillo4 View Post
    I will be traveling to Japan on Nov. 1, although not going to the parks until Nov. 7--first day of the Christmas season.
    Be prepared for larger than normal weekday crowds 11/7-11/9 since there will be many Guests there checking out the holiday offerings.

    While both parks will have larger than normal crowds, I'm guessing that TDS will attract more of the APers since the holiday offerings this year are brand new.

    I'll be there starting the 8th.

  14. #14

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    Re: Today at Tokyo DisneySEA

    I'm really looking forward to this year as well-I'll be there from 11/5 thru 11/14 & can't wait. I just got back from Disneyland & caught all the new DCA.

  15. #15

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    Re: Today at Tokyo DisneySEA

    The merchandise bags are identical at Disneyland and DisneySEA. Neither carries the current character art for this year's event. They're definitely not dated, and definitely using old artwork--this is the type of budget-cutting I expect and see from the Walt Disney Company at the parks in the US, but am extremely disappointed to see the Oriental Land Company engaging in.

    Of the many things I noticed cutbacks in Halloween decor, one of the most striking was that the Disneyland Band were not wearing their Halloween costumes.

    Fantasyland was almost entirely devoid of any Halloween decorations except for Dumbo and the Haunted Mansion. There were a pair of Chip and Dale pumpkin heads on a small patch of grass--but that was it. I felt this was going to start happening several years ago when they stopped decorating the Mark Twain with the black and orange bunting at Halloween.

    Re Roger55's comments: DisneySEA seems to be attracting more people, period. You notice it quite easily when riding the Resort Liner (monorail). When you reach the DisneySEA stop, virtually every person exits. Not so at the Disneyland stop (there are variables to take into account, such as the fact that people can walk from the JR Maihama station to Tokyo Disneyland). Still, it was pretty strange when everybody suddenly gets off the monorail and you're the only one left in the car!

    Armadillo4: From what my friends tell me, the Toy Story Mania ride is identical to those here in the US, so I wasn't going to kill myself, or lose anywhere from 2 to 4 hours of the day, to ride it. But, I have been told, there is a moment or two during the day when the standby line will drop to 60 minutes (even though the sign will read 120), but I'll let someone here have the fun of deducing exactly when that is. However, because I have two herniated discs in my lower back, even waiting on line for 60 minutes is not an option. The great thing about being a savvy park-goer is that it's extremely rare to ever wait more than 30 minutes on line. Usually the only time I make the sacrifice is to ride Peter Pan. But you should definitely visit the Toyville Trolley Park area--it's beautiful.

    Good park-going habits are simple: get on line at the gate 45 minutes before park opening (particularly, if as Roger55 notes, even the weekdays will be busy during your trip). You might want to make it 60 minutes on a busy day as they sometimes let people in 30 minutes early without announcing it.

    Make sure that you know where you are going when you enter the park, and make sure the first thing you do is get a FastPass for (at Disneyland) either Monster's Inc or Pooh's Hunny Hunt depending upon your preference. I suggest Monster's inc because there's a better chance Pooh will still have a short wait by the time you get there after getting the Monster's Inc FastPass. (And all of this will change when Star Tours opens in April, which will--like Toy Story Mania--drastically alter the crowd patterns early in the morning. Since this ride, too, is likely to be an exact dupe of the two versions in the US, it will make it that much easier to ride Monster's Inc. and Pooh!)

    For DisneySEA, get your FastPass for either Tower of Terror or Journey to the Center of the Earth immediately. I suggest Tower of Terror, then hightail it over to Journey and ride it. Then ride 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

    Always get another FastPass the minute your FastPass window opens. Never use a FastPass early in the day when the standby lines are short. Save them all for later in the day when the lines are long. All my FastPasses were used long after the one-hour return window had expired and it was never questioned once. The only thing the castmembers look at is the DATE. This will probably change eventually (it already has at WDW because of their stupid plan-every-second-of-your-vacation-6-months-in-advance baloney), but for now you can use your FastPasses at anytime later that day in both Disneyland in Anaheim and TDL in Tokyo. (Not sure about Paris!)

    Also remember that there are Single Rider lines at both Splash Mountain and Indiana Jones, so don't waste a FastPass on those. (You won't see signs for these lines: just walk up to the FastPass return entrance and say "Single Rider" and in you go.) I can state with certainty that during my visit, even on the busiest day, there were no other Single Rider lines at any other attractions (there used to be at the Tower of Terror and 20,000 Leagues during busy days, but they no longer seem to use them).

    If you are staying at one of the Disney or Official hotels, then I strongly suggest taking a two or three hour break in your room from 2 to 5 pm. The parks are busiest then, and if you've been up since 6:30 am, you'll need to give yourself some time to relax before hitting the parks again in the late afternoon.

    Good luck, and dress warmly, though the weather has been odd in Tokyo. This was by far the warmest October I've seen. Best to bring layers so you can peel if necessary.
    Last edited by Fukai; 10-21-2012 at 11:48 AM.
    Born in a shoebox and making the most of it.

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