So I went to Japan a couple weeks ago and spent four days at Tokyo Disney Resort. I already have posted some of it at another forums (Check out Tokyo Travels: Chapter 9 if you're interested in spoilers) I'll post a trimmed down and edited (better) version here. Each part will be longer than the original trip report. So here it goes.
In which the Journey Begins
Just a note, most of these pictures are iPhone pictures, but later segments will feature some higher quality pictures taken with my actual Nikon camera.
OK this seems like a good place to start. Sorry the picture is blurry. You can never tell from those tiny iPhone screens how poor the pictures are! Grrrrr.... Well, you get the picture. Our plane departed at around 3:00 in the afternoon and arrived 4:30 in the afternoon the next day. In Japan, of course. The flight was surprisingly easy, 11 hours there and *only* 9 hours on the way back to Los Angeles Airport (LAX). It was well worth the flight. Just over twice the time it takes to get to Disney World, however the parks are about 100 times better than Disney World. More on that later of course.
I don't have any other pictures from the airport, but it was incredibly efficient, quick, and easy. There was no line for customs. Every little booth was staffed, unlike American customs which only has two people working in the booths usually. And to no ones surprise, these pleasant parallels held true in Tokyo Disney as well. Anyways, we took an airport bus that was around 2500 yen apiece to our hotel. It was a tad over an hour long. Scene above is the first fleeting glimpse of Tokyo Disney.
OK, I know two crappy iPhone pictures is no way to start off a trip report on the best theme park resort in the world, but bear with me...
The airport bus dropped us right off in front of our hotel, the Hilton Tokyo Bay. We didn't really feel like spending 6 times more on the Mira Costa. Also the website was entirely in Japanese so impossible for my mom to navigate. Maybe next time. Our room was very spacious, much bigger than any rooms in the three main Disney hotels, and we had a nice bay view.
The vista. I forgot to take pictures of the room. Or maybe I didn't. There may be some pictures later. I'll talk about the room then.
The other hotels were all very large and clean looking. There were actually different hotel rankings classified by Disney. Of course there were the three Disney hotels: The Mira Costa, Disneyland Hotel, and The Ambassador. And then there were the official TDR hotels, which included ours. Then there were the partner hotels, then the good neighbor hotels.
The time change was brutal so I reluctantly woke up at 3:30 the next morning, unable to fall back asleep. I took a morning stroll as even the Japanese didn't get up that early to wait for Disneyland to open!
An artsy version of the same thing, if you're into that sort of stuff. I enjoyed how quiet it was. Oh yeah, and there's the most awesome Disney mountain ever up ahead.
Our hotel kind of reminded me of the Contemporary for some reason. It was about the same height and width, similar style, and they were both on the water and near palm trees and a monorail so I guess there were some pretty uncanny similarities.
Let's jump ahead a few hours...
There it is in the distance... *waiting at the monorail station*
The Monorail here was excellent. For those of you that are unfamiliar, the TDR monorail, or the Disney Resort Line, has four stops: Bayside Station which services the official partner hotels (including the Hilton), DisneySEA station, the Ambassador Station (I forget the official name), and the Disneyland Park station. Or something like that. Also, you have to pay for the monorail for some bizarre train regulation that also explains why the Disneyland Railroad only has one stop and doesn't circumscribe the whole park. It's pretty reasonable though if you get a four day pass, which we did. Also, the monorail at TDR is far more efficient and practical than its U.S. counterparts. Trains arrive as quickly as every 3 minutes. The interiors are much larger with plenty of plush sitting space.
One of the first sites when you get off the monorail. Not shown: 30 person deep lines already formed 2 hours before park opening! ;D
Just a few more pictures of the Mira Costa on the way to wait in line. Look at how empty it is! Well, you'd expect that two hours before the park opens.
I threw in some edited and non edited ones 'cause I wasn't sure which ones I preferred. You can never have to many Mira Costa pictures. Look at that detail! Amazing craftsmanship.
After a brisk walk from the monorail station we took our places in line outside the gates.
I recommend you listen to the beautiful entry area music that played here for the full experience. :cheers:
Did I mention the park didn't open for another TWO HOURS?!
Those are some seriously dedicated DisneySEAers.
Notice how everyone brought these little mats to sit on. And maybe you can see all the little towel hoodies--another Tokyo Disney essential.
It's a ritual.
First Duffy sighting!
My passport to the magic. And would you look at that price! Only 14400 Yen for a 4 day passport, that's about $144 converted. Those same tickets to Disneyland CA would cost me $265.00! What a difference! You're getting a far superior product for about half the price! Go to Tokyo Disney Resort. Now.
Look at that crystal clear image quality! Do you see the matching Minnie and Donald towel-hoodies? And the popcorn buckets? We really stuck in as tourists since we were dressed so unDisney.
Everyone here is dressed doubleplusgoodDisney.
We had lots of time to take close ups of the Mira Costa.
Extreme close ups.
The moment has almost come... All the orderly queues turn to chaos once the clock ticks 9:00. Or 8:30. Or 8:00. Depending when you go.
Oh waddyaknow, the line has started to move. If you haven't realized, the quality of the pictures has diminished. These next dozen pictures were all taken on my phone as I was racing to Mysterious Island.
The race is on! Suddenly all the order we had seen in the lines had vanished. I had to sprint to catch up with everyone! All the cast members were stationed and smiling at guests while moving their hands as if to say "yield." It wasn't exactly a stop signal, more like a caution signal.
The morning frenzy was possibly my favorite part about Tokyo Disney. It was crazy and there was an obvious love of the parks for all those people to get so excited. You can't tell from this particular picture, but people were really sprinting.
Yeah, I turned back for a quick blurry picture. It gives you an idea of the chaos and excitement I guess.
This was the "HOLY **** I'M HERE!!" moment. And everyone's already lines up for the first water parade. It was not the Legend of Mythica, rather some bizarre 30th anniversary festival featuring Minnie and a bunch of fruit. More on that later.
People just kept getting flushed into the park.
Everyone went left for Midway Mania while I went right for Journey to the Center of the Earth.
I suddenly made it to the front of the pack. 80% of the people had turned left though, so the crowds had really thinned out.
A tad blurry but that's because I wasn't stopping to take pictures. You can just make out the enormous river of people flowing into American Waterfront.
I was too scared to stop and actually take pictures in fear that the enormous crowds would catch up to me.
Ahhhh... an oasis in the eye of the storm. Where'd all the crowds go!?
I had the whole land to myself for a while.
I had sprinted off ahead of my brother and mom to get Journey to the Center of the Earth fastpasses, with the plan to meet them outside the entrance. Regardless of how many pictures of DisneySea I had seen and how much research I had done, much to my surprise I wasn't sure where the entrance was exactly. It was a thrilling moment when I had to explore for the entrance, it made the experience somehow feel authentic. This search wasn't something you could get from pictures or video.
Here's the incredible entrance marquee. Steam kept blowing up from below the sign and the surface below the letters kept changing. It seemed alive.
I didn't take many good pictures of the queue on my first go. There was no wait for the ride, so we rushed through it. We didn't get a chance to stop until the Terravators. I'll cover the queue in detail later, but the Terravator section was one of the coolest pre-shows, third only to the Haunted Mansion stretching room and the TDS version of Tower of Terror. There are four elevators altogether, and you're sent inside in rather small groups of 10 or so. So the experience felt very intimate. The whole elevator was supposed to simulate going deep under the surface when you were actually going up. It was all very convincing. Not only did the changing lights and sound effects help simulate the experience, but so did dials and tubes that "measured" our depth and the pressure. They really don't skimp out on details at Tokyo Disney.
The station area was INCREDIBLE. One thing I noticed about the parks in Tokyo were that they used lots of fog effects. For whatever reason, probably cheapness, they don't use many fog effects in the US parks. Fog would explode from pipes and be pumped from chambers. It helped complete the station area, you really felt like you were underground. Also, a huge amount of pumps and gears moved. The whole station had a ton of kinetic energy.
More soon. Thanks for reading.