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Thread: Tokyo Travels

  1. #1

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    Thumbs up Tokyo Travels

    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.


    Chapter 1:
    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.



    Close...



    Closer!



    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.
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    Last edited by MactheMan; 08-12-2013 at 06:40 PM.

  2. #2

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    Re: Tokyo Travels

    These are really great photos. Looking forward to seeing the rest.
    Here you leave today and enter the world of yesterday, tomorrow, and fantasy.

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    Re: Tokyo Travels

    This is the best trip report I've read in a long time, and your photos are both well-paced and beautiful. I'm excited to read more!

    Just one note, though. I'm pretty sure that bear is not actually Duffy, but the "Classical Cute Bear" by Amuse Japan. It's an obvious knock-off that can be found at game centers. Surprisingly, I think it's cute enough to exist alongside Duffy, especially since it doesn't actually purport to be Duffy like some of the other game center imitations.
    Last edited by DuffyDaisuki; 08-13-2013 at 01:48 PM.

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    Re: Tokyo Travels

    Can't wait to see more! I can never get enough of looking at photos of these amazing parks.

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    Re: Tokyo Travels

    Great TR. looking forward to more.

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    Re: Tokyo Travels

    I love your report. Thank you so much for sharing! There is so little information about TDL - my heart just swells reading about your experience!!
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    Re: Tokyo Travels

    Great report mate brings back all those exciting feelings first time you visit Tokyo Disney.

    Cant wait for part two

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    Re: Tokyo Travels

    I love looking at TRs from the Tokyo parks - such a great way to reminisce on my unforgettable visit and relive all the amazing magic that they're lucky to have in these Japanese parks. Not to mention how extraordinary of a country it is to visit even outside the Disney resort. Can't wait to go back some day. So glad to have gotten to visit at all.

    Thanks!
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    Re: Tokyo Travels

    Thanks for the reponses!

    That's really funny about the knock-off Duffy. Did not notice that!


    Chapter 2:
    In which we Explore & Adventure


    So this chapter will focus on the first two rides we did at DisneySea: Journey to the Center of the Earth and 20,000 Leagues under the Sea.



    The best place to begin when describing Journey to the Center of the Earth is how AWESOME it is. Definitely my second favorite ride in the whole resort. I'll let you guess what my first is. The ride vehicles are incredibly cool. If you haven't seen them, they're themed to drills created by Captain Nemo, and it has a 2 by 3 seating arrangement. The seats themselves are very comfortable. Very victorian and steam age-y.


    The ride was way more thrilling than I expected. I'd say it's the most thrilling Disney ride out there. After a close encounter with the Lava Monster, you get shot through the narrow tunnels and out of the mountain. The ride uses a great deal of particle effects, as we'd call them in the RCT3 world. A fire ball bursts in the rockwork during your encounter with the Lava Monster. Which is a pretty incredible A-A by the way. Definitely the biggest and most impressive A-A that still works (I'm looking at you, Yeti!).


    Anyways, as you shoot up the tunnel for the fast portion, you really get an out of control feeling. Unlike Radiator Springs Racers or Test Track, you're indoors for the launch portion. The close walls amplify the sense of speed and create an out of control feeling. You're curving all the way and feel like you can crash. Finally, when you reach the top and pop out of the volcano you experience the greatest air time I've experienced, period. It's crazy and lasts for what felt like 10 seconds. It was probably more like 3 which is still a ton. You really sustain it for the longest time. I remember reading about an Imagineer recalling a conversation he had with an engineer when designing Journey. It went something like this:


    Engineer: So, how much airtime should the ride have?


    Imagineer: Oh, I don't know. Maybe 12 seconds.


    Then, according to the story, the engineer took the Imagineer on one of those planes that simulate weightlessness to show him just how long 12 seconds of airtime was.


    I guess they trimmed the airtime down a little bit, but it's still insane!



    So after we rode Journey we headed to 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea... The entrance was much easier to find than Journey; you just head for the spiral path!



    You can see the ride vehicles from Journey plunging down the side of Prometheus, experiencing the incredible airtime!



    The view from the lower docks where you board 20K.



    A quick shot of the overflow queue. We actually never waited in this line, but the theming looked pretty nice.


    We had the car to ourselves which was neat. I don't have a picture of them, but they're quite elaborate. It sits 6 people per car and the whole submarine is suspended and indoors. But much more spacious than the subs at Disneyland. Overall, the ride was much better than our lame subs, no boring TV-in-a-tin-can like ours. The under water effect was very convincing. I never realized that you could operate a flashlight. I'm don't have much else to say other than the ride was incredibly immersive. There was a ton to see. I only wish I knew Japanese so I could understand what the voices narrating the ride were saying!



    You get a pretty incredible view when you exit...



    I liked all the theming in Nautalis gifts, the only gift shop in Mysterious Island.



    There was no line for Journey so we road it one more time before getting Tower of Terror fastpasses...



    Everyone said that you could just walk around the park without riding any of the rides and still get your money's worth... they were right. I wish there was a smiley to encompass the beauty of this park, but I'll just have to go with one that shows my sadness that I'm not there anymore. :'(
    You can already see the crowds waiting for the first parade on Lido Island (the viewing area island in the center left of the picture). The first water pageant started just an hour after park opening!



    We cut through Fortress Exploration, but we forgot pay our respects to the members of S.E.A. Hopefully their feelings aren't hurt... **foreshadowing**



    That is quality rockwork. Each square foot was created with care, you can tell. None of that bland Grizzly Peak rockwork!



    There's the fog effects that go off when the Journey cars travel down the mountain. Why don't any of the U.S. parks use those effects? It really makes the volcano so much more convincing... and alive.



    As I've said, every square inch of the mountain had something going on. Just marvel at that rockwork for a second. It actually looks like rock. Not plastic or cement. I think it is rock actually. (Is it, FI?)



    This is the part where they randomly decided to recreate my favorite bridge in Florence, Italy. Open up a picture of that winery restaurant in DCA in another tab and compare.



    Get out of the way! You're blocking the famous Highstone Tower Hotel!



    Oh there you are, beautiful.



    We headed into American Waterfront for Tower of Terror Fastpasses.



    We couldn't get Fastpasses for Tower of Terror yet so we explored American Waterfront and a bit of the S.S. Columbia... (note the steam continuously flowing from the Columbia's funnels).



    Sailing Day Buffet. I never had a chance to take a peak at the inside, but I loved the name.


    Approaching the Comubia...



    Zooming in. Who randomly decides to build a nearly full size ship just as a backdrop for a park? The Oriental Land Compony, that's who!



    Exploring the decks.



    They put a couple restaurants in here as well... I think the rest of the ship is probably used for storage or even offices. There's a lot of room left over aside form the two restaurants and Turtle Talk with Crush.



    Around 9:45 we could get Tower of Terror Fastpasses. I'm not going to gush over the facade just yet!



    I loved the Fastpass machines. One funny thing: the Fastpass area was playing very familiar music! My brother and I looked at each other for a moment when we first heard it and realized it was from the Vertigo soundtrack! Here was the piece that was looped!
    Vertigo OST - Carlotta's Portrait - YouTube



    Some more Fastpass details setting the story for the ride. It was very well executed. The story was done more authentically than I imagined.



    We headed back to to Journey to the Center of the Earth to use our Fastpasses. I enjoyed this detail along the way. It seemed like some sort of foreshadowing at a possible dinosaur ride in American Waterfront or something... Well really it was probably just another elaborate detail that added the extra depth to the park. All the American Waterfront docks were superbly detailed.



    It's really a dense park. There's so much going on everywhere.



    A random look back at where the two lands meet.



    Cape Cod... a quiet New England village consumed by Duffy...



    This sub land was perfect. More money was spent on this sub land with no rides than any land in DCA probably. Look at all the boats and that beautiful rockwork. So much to enjoy just by walking around.



    I think my mom got Iced Tea at this restaurant. I enjoyed this mural.



    And we got a taste for Duffy-mania!



    The next land on our journey to Mysterious Island was Port Discovery...


    More soon... Thanks for reading!

  10. #10

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    Re: Tokyo Travels

    Wonderful TR. Thank you for sharing your adventure with the rest of us!!! Can't wait for the next part!
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    Re: Tokyo Travels

    Excellent trip and awesome pics so far. Look forward to seeing the rest.
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    Re: Tokyo Travels

    Thank you for your responses!

    Chapter 3:
    In which we discover the secret of HARRISON HIGHTOWER!!


    Everywhere I went I just had to take pictures. It was all so beautiful.



    Port Discovery was very kinetic. I liked this land a lot, and although it only had two rides, they were both interesting.



    Back to Mysterious Island...



    ...for another whirl on Journey! Every time we'd get off the ride my mom, who doesn't do anything crazier than Space Mountain, would start asking "why do I keep going on this?" She can handle Radiator Springs Racers and Test Track, but for some reason got really freaked out by Journey. It felt more out of control because you shot through the narrow caverns.



    We zagged back to Port Discovery from this path through the mountain. Before going to DisneySea, I had studied the ariel views of the park intensely and was always fascinated with how multileveled the park was and how paths would cross over backstage areas. The area right between the close up rocks and the mountain in the background, for example, is actually a sunken backstage path. You would have never realized how closely intertwined you were with backstage areas from within.






    Both these shots were from the upper level of Port Discovery. The park had lots of slopes. Good thing there were none of those scooters from Wall-E and Disney World here!



    Walking to Lost River Delta felt like entering a whole new park. The whole land was very natur-y compared to the rest of the park where buildings and architecture tended to rule. It was like all the good parts of Animal Kingdom wrapped into one land, landscape wise! It really acted as a nice backdrop to the rest of the park with all the greenery. It was kinda like TDS's own berm.



    The temple facade for Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (that's a real mouthful!) was just a tad more impressive than Disneyland's little templette shoved into a corner. ;D


    You enter the ride to the right of the temple and the queue first does some switchbacks outside before entering a straight corridor that cuts through the temple. The passageway spits guests out into a very short little jungle area before directing them back into the temple.



    After re-entering the temple, you go into this very impressive room. This is just part of it, brightened with the magic of photo editing, but it's the same part usually shown in pictures.



    The whole room was SO detailed. The walls weren't just generic temple walls like our Indy. The walls had cracked fresco with incredibly detailed paintings on them. It felt very hand done, not mass produced like the walls in our Indy feel.



    After climbing to the second story of the sacrifice room (that's what I call that big room and the beginning), the queue cuts long ways across the facade through some more temple rooms. None of the rooms were similar to the Cali Indy. Instead of the bat cave and falling ceiling room there was a room with some mirrors and room with a bunch of cool light of skull things like in this picture...



    The projector room was MUCH smaller than the California version. You were barely in there for a minute. Of course, Sala has been replaced by Paco in keeping with the South America layover. And there was no "Eye on the Globe" show, Paco just specialized in safety information.


    Now for the ride... Right off the bat, the first difference in the ride is that there is no Chamber of Destiny. Instead, you are in a very detailed room with lots of forced perspective corridors and your car just heads off into the next hall. I preferred this as I always thought the Chamber of Destiny was a bit plain and the effect never really worked. From there on, the ride is mostly the same just with a different color scheme, more interesting special effects, and effects that actually worked. Finally, the ride makes use of all that blank space in the original version and includes a cool smoke ring effect. Oh, and there are no places in this ride where you could swear you made a wrong turn to Mr. Toad's Wild Ride because of all the painted walls! Nope, everything here is richly detailed. And, of course, the boulder scene actually worked. Yay!


    Overall I prefer this version to the Disneyland version. It wasn't so awkwardly stylized; it was a much more solid experience through and through.


    Next, it was time to head over to American Waterfront to use our Tower of Terror Fastpasses.



    Lost River Delta, although it contained two major rides, probably felt the most empty out of all the lands. It wasn't a bad thing, it was kind of like the Rivers of America of DisneySea. The whole area had landscape that gave Animal Kingdom a good run for it's money. It was very different from the more urban other "Port of Calls."



    Don't underestimate the size of DisneySea--it's huge! You wouldn't even believe you were in an amusement park form this picture. Anyways, we decided to take the river streamers to American Waterfront. The park had lots of interesting transportation. The fact that the DisneySea electric railway can shuttle guests between lands has always made me suspicious of that excuse about why the Disneyland Railroad doesn't do a complete loop or why the monorail charges money... but I digress!



    The multi-leveled area opposite of Indy was the more urban part of Lost River Delta. This area exhibited how well space was managed in designing this park. The Transit Steamers queue along with a Donald Duck meet and greet were all located on the lower level docks underneath the main pathway.



    You descend down a long ramp into the lower decks to reach the Transit Steamers.



    For whatever reason, the Transit Steamers didn't do a loop around the parks waterways through Mysterious Island. Instead it just shuttled between the Lost River Delta stop and American Waterfront. You did a turn around here to change directions.



    Indiana Jones from a different perspective...



    The transit steamers were very swank. This shot just gives you a slight idea of the interior. They were a relaxing and classy way to travel. One that would probably be gone by now if we were at one of the stateside parks. :cough: Animal Kingdom :cough: Keelboats :cough:



    Above and beyond theming. A++, DisneySEA!!



    Passing Cape Cod. Once again, look at all that extravagant set design with the 20 boats or so! Those rich details really were the final touches lacking in every other theme park.



    Imagineers: So, for the original park in Long Beach we had planned on incorporating the Queen Marry. But since we won't have it in Tokyo, we'll just not include it.
    Oriental Land Company: Nah, just build a new ship.
    That's how I imagined the conversation going. ;D



    Pulling into American Waterfront



    We have arrived at our destination.



    From the exit path. Look at that nice blue sky! And to think this was supposed to be the rainy season! How often do you see TDR pictures with blue sky! And please not the lack of people! We got SO lucky with out timing!



    Cape Cod from above.



    Ah! So we were taking the blue path! What a helpful sign.



    Couldn't resist taking another picture of Cape Cod. It's just so picturesque. The turned over boat in the foreground is the perfect touch. Makes it feel lived in.



    I never had any difficulty getting a ride vehicle in my shots. That's because everything run to optimal capacity! They were running probably about 8 boats, even though there were just 2 stations. Also, they had all 3 cars out on the electric rail.



    Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh..... perfect.



    Now let's direct our attentions to Mr. Hightower's haunted hotel. (Man, these enormous paths handle crowds beautifully!)


    [im]http://i.imgur.com/iaEi6CL.jpg[/img]
    It's a symphony of different architectural styles.



    Tower of Terror at TDS is basically the California version, but with a much tamer drop sequence and a tower facade that doesn't look like it was stripped away of all its ornamentation by the accountants!



    First the queue winds through the lobby which is full of beautiful murals depicting Harrison Hightower's travels. It's actually a lobby, Not a musty old living room which the other TOT's resemble. The lobby is probably 3 times bigger than the other versions.



    Exquisite theming is found a plenty.



    You are then directed into either Harrison's library or trophy room. Like Mr. Toad's Wild Ride in Disney World, each track... err.. preshow is different. Seriously though! There was no repetition of theming! If there were two separate paths you can be assured each was done differently. Each holding area before the elevator had a different theme! For example, there was a medieval room, an Egyptian room, etc. It all depended on which elevator you were going too!



    The preshow was so much cooler than ours! You weren't just watching a lame TV. It felt so authentic. Like you were actually on a historical tour (which was the idea). First, a cast member got up before the preshow and did a brief speech recounting the story of Harrison Hightower and the Shiriki-Utundu, using an old fashion microphone to speak. Then, you were led into either the library or trophy room and she'd start spinning the old fashion record player which would activate the show. Having the castmember spin the record player was my favorite touch. Then of course the preshow would happen. I don't want to spoil it, but it's amazingly cool! Better than the ride almost! You can't say that about many lines!



    The last portion of the queue was amazing. You can see how the holding rooms were sectioned off by gates. Look right by the "Tour B" sign.



    Overall, the ride was awesome. The ride itself wasn't as great as the Disney World version (how could it be, the DHS ride system is incredible!), but overall I'd have to say that the whole experience was better than any other version.



    We explored American Waterfront a little more before heading to Mediterranean Harbor for lunch.



    This area was just awesomingly detailed. Nothing in the states rivals this theming. Not even New Orleans Square. BVS doesn't even come close.



    The window dressing... the signage... the molding. All of it is perfect.



    This olive oil advertisement on the side of one of the American Waterfront buildings signaled the transition to Mediterranean Harbor. Nice.



    We had lunch at Ritorante di Canaletto. It had a great view of Venice!



    It was the best food I've ever had at a theme park. People who say they have EPCOT because of the food have never visited DisneySea. All the food was amazing and they had representations of cuisines found throughout the world: Italian, Mexican, American, Chinese, Japanese, Curry. All of it was there and more. I wish I took pictures of the inside but it was beautiful. And of course the service was amazing. Everyone there was just so friendly and helpful. Our water glasses were never empty. They made sure we stayed hydrated because the heat was pretty intense!



    I loved the Venice area so so much. Look at this picture--do you any features which give away the fact we are not in fact in Venice? Absolutely nothing breaks theme.



    We never did go on the gondolas. They'd always close down whenever we'd rush to the entrance in preparation for the water parades or Fantasmic. There's always next time! Once again, try to find anything that breaks theme! You can't! It's stunning.



    This really makes Epcot's Italy pavilion look like a strip mall. The aging and architecture are just so well realized.



    Moving along. I tried to be artsy while my mom and brother got some gelato.



    One more glance at Venice...



    Heading back to American Waterfront...



    This fountain was right in front of McDuck's Department Store. You know you're in East Egg when you see this money fountain.



    The glorious interior.



    A sickening amount of set dressing. The Buena Vista Street set details are so modest in comparison!



    Up to the elevated rail to Port Discovery!



    And a chance to capture the masterpiece that is the Highstone Tower Hotel from another detail! It's a masterpiece.



    Not a thing betrays the fact that this is a theme park.



    So much detail my eyes are going to explode.



    One more shot before the Electric Railway departs. It didn't take long with three train operation!



    The station as we depart. The next train arrived in just a few moments.



    Goodbye Tower of Terror!



    <Random bridge photo>



    Hello Prometheus!



    I still see you, oh, glorious Tower of Terror!



    I had to take a picture of this mural. It describes Port Discovery (strangely) perfectly!



    The staircase brought you down under the tracks. I loved the little tidal area underneath it to which the restaurant looked out.



    Port Discovery scenery. It was so kinetic. I especially loved the gift shop with the giant mobile made of kayak paddles above it!



    We did Stormrider next which everyone claimed was lame. I disagree! Although it was one of the weaker rides in the park, though not nearly as bad as Raging Spirits, it was still much better than your average simulator. The whole story was a bunch of nonsense, but there were crazy in-house special effects. The story had something to do with you going into the eye of a hurricane, and at the very end suddenly this huge device crashes into your cabin--literally! It really freaked me out. It was quite a surprise! Also, you experienced an unpleasant amount of wetness unfortunately whenever it was supposed to be raining. This happened on all the rides.



    A closer up picture of the facade...



    From the exit path gave you this awesome view.


    More soon & thanks for reading!

  13. #13

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    Re: Tokyo Travels

    Isnt' it amazing our different Duffy and the outfits are there? So much better quality than ours. I want to see what you thought of my favorite ride, Pooh's Hunny hunt and all the flavored popcorn. Wish we had that here. Been there 2 times and hope to go again...soon!

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    Re: Tokyo Travels

    I'm not familiar with the stateside Duffy's, but he was definitely a bigger deal in Japan!

    Chapter 4:
    In which we FOLLOW THE COMPASS OF OUR HEARTS!



    After Stormrider, it was time to use our Fastpasses for Journey (again). We just kept getting Fastpass after Fastpass, most of which for Journey to the Center of the Earth. We must have gone on the ride a dozen times. Crowds were surprisingly not an issue, especially the first two days. Even when it got a bit more busy, if we were strategic with our Fastpasses, we were still able to get a lot done.


    We were at Tokyo Disney parks from July 18-21.



    This picture was taken in that little inlet before the tunnel to Mysterious Island from Port Discovery. I loved how insanely detailed even the lamps were. ;D



    One of the many highly themed tunnels funneling into Mysterious Island. Each one was done slightly different. They didn't just copy and paste the same designs over again if you know what I mean...



    And back to Mysterious Island. It was definitely the hub of the park. It was especially convenient because we traveled through it often and could keep riding/getting Fastpasses for Journey.



    It was impossible to get through this area without getting pretty wet! Check out those sexy lamps. I think we went on Journey for our third time after this picture was taken. It didn't disappoint, obviously!



    I was a bit disappointed there wasn't something actually in the Nautalis, but I guess there wasn't much room. I wish they put that elaborate Nautalis restaurant designed for Disneyland's Discovery Bay here! Would have been perfect.



    They liked there plasma here. I loved the design of this. I wish they sold little snow globes that looked like this. And inside it would be a little model of DisneySea. And when you shook it, Prometheus would explode and lava would go everywhere. That would be an excellent gift worth of a park of this caliber.



    I'd like to know what drugs the people who think that Carsland has the greatest rockwork ever are on! When you walked through this passageway to Mermaid Lagoon in the other way it was the most incredible site ever.



    We emerged in the hidden corner of the park which (somehow it always got away from me since it's not as prominent as any of the other lands) which included Mermaid Lagoon and Arabian Coast.



    The castle of DisneySea. It makes me think of cinnamon rolls. Or a penis if you're a conspiracy theorist!



    We hit up the incredibly themed Scuttle's Scooters since it had no wait. Oh, and it appeared to have a bigger budget than the Little Mermaid ride at DCA. And the line was longer. I swear, the line could have held an hour wait without breaking a sweat! They were prepared.



    What a lovely queue.



    Now you'd think this ride would be pretty boring but that's just nonsense! About halfway through the ride, your car spins around to face backwards. I never realized that happened. Of course, the ride was even more fun thanks to the enthusiastic Japanese guests and cast members. They were all smiling and waving and it made the ride have a very fun atmosphere.



    The centerpiece was splendidly detailed.



    We then entered Triton's Kingdom through the magnificent King Triton's Castle. All he got at DCA was a generic carousel.



    Before descending to the ride area, you had a nice overlook of the ride area from a balcony. You then went down a long ramp to the left before spilling out into the main section. I'll cover the flat rides and the rest of this area in more detailed later...



    For now, we just had to catch the showing of the Little Mermaid show!
    There was no photography in the theatre, but I really enjoyed the show, and apparently so did everyone else! The story was a severely abridged version of the story that included all the key songs and didn't leave you questioning reality at the end. The Little Mermaid ride should take note. The puppets in the show were especially good. The Ursela puppet was the standout! It was really spectacular.



    Hey, I recognize these guys.... One man's gift shop decor is another man's ride decoration!



    There was a really cool play area that was difficult to get many pictures of. It was quite fun to explore.



    Emerging from Triton's Kingdom from the back exit...



    One more.... beautiful, isn't it? There's so many layers to it.



    It was time for the first roller coaster of the trip: Flounder's Flying Fish Coaster (I think). There was about a 10 minute wait. Very reasonable. I swear, this ride had better theming than anything at DCA when it opened. I think the ride has as much rock work as any E-Ticket, yet this was a kiddie coaster.



    They were prepared for a 90 minute wait! This was about a fifth of the entire queue space.



    Thanks to two train operation the line moved pretty quick.



    Weeeee....



    I enjoyed it! The theming helped elevate this simple kiddie coaster to an experience. The queue line alone was pretty fun, it went through some little grottos with nice waterfalls.



    It was then off to our next land...


    It's time now to return to our tour as we cross over to Arabian Coast. In a few moments we will journey onto one of the most fantastic rides ever created: Sinbad's Storybook Voyage. To prepare you for the awesomeness that is Sinbad, I suggest you start listening to the greatest ride soundtrack ever created (probably): COMPASS OF YOUR HEART. Listen to it. On full volume. It's spectacular.


    Disney SEA Sinbad&#39;s Storybook Voyage- complete ride music - YouTube



    Immediately after crossing the bridge from Mermaid Lagoon the pungent smell of Curry welcomes you to Arabian Coast. This archway leeds to a small room with a fountain. You then proceeded down two stairs or a ramp to the main sunken courtyard.



    The first area of Arabian Coast is this palace type square. It's very spacious and has amazing details. Seriously, it's so ornate! Look at all the patterns on the planters and on the buildings! All of Arabian Coast has a very epic feel to it. It's like the awesome, but tiny, Morocco pavilion at EPCOT done on full scale.



    A closer up view of the central fountain and some of the jaw dropping detail. I never expected it, but Arabian Coast may just be my favorite land. Although it could be the Compass of your Heart music I'm listening to brainwashing me!



    The first attraction we his was The Magic Lamp Theater. Which, now that I think of it, is a rather odd name for an attraction. There was hardly a wait, we only had to wait for the doors to open. Additionally, somehow a cast member figured out we weren't Japanese and brought us a translating device. It was pretty helpful and I was able to understand most of the story. Although at some points I just focused on the show and not reading the translations so some parts are a bit fuzzy.



    We didn't actually wait in any line, just in this holding area courtyard before the doors opened.



    Another picture of nothing in particular. The show wasn't themed to Aladdin, by the way, it only focused on the Genie and two new characters. It was very refreshing to have a show that didn't just rehash old characters and old plots


    This was not just a 3D show, although you got 3D glasses. First, you went into the preshow room, were a fluid snake A-A introduces the story of a young apprentice to a great but cruel (I think) wizard who happens across the magic lamp. The magician employs the Genie to help with his magic show (illusions), but is soon overshadowed by the Genie. After the preshow, you go into the main room were basically the magician tries to prove he is the greatest sorcerer in the world or something. Then somehow the Genie saves the apprentice and goes into a version of "Friend like Me" with new lyrics. Oh, and you got wet somehow. The main show incorporated live action and 3D rather nicely. The Genie was really the only 3D element so it was really more than just a simple 3D show.



    Just next door was Caravan Carousel (which takes the cake for best carousel name ever!). There was only a five minute wait, so we had to hit it up. I hope you've figured out that the infamous Tokyo Disney lines did NOT make an appearance today!



    I don't want to shlock this thread up with a picture of DCA, but feel free to compare this with King Triton's Carousel .



    The line, or lack thereof. But they were prepared for a long wait! Whenever I look at these pictures again, I always notice more and more details. Like those ultra cool lamps, and the cloths hanging from the ceiling.



    DinseySea deserves the superlatives it gets, including BEST CAROUSEL EVER. Seriously, what's not to love? Genies, griffins, and camels instead of hourses? Check! Double Decker? Check! Amazing name? Check! Super detailed ride structure? CHECK!



    It was tricky because of the lighting, but I managed to get some pictures from above of the nameless courtyard. Can I recommend it be called Sultan's Courtyard? It'd make describing things much easier. It looks like it could go on forever. Such amazing sight lines.



    That arch marks the entrance to the Magic Lamp Theatre. A bit of a line has formed since we were last there. It must be a ten minute wait now! Add another 30 minutes and then it'll start looking more like the DisneySea lines I've read about.



    Sorry about the ultra harsh lighting from the harsh arabian sun, I did my best to edit it. That domed building is the little foyer I talked about earlier with the staircase leading down to the newly dubbed Sultan's Courtyard.


    Disney SEA Sinbad&#39;s Storybook Voyage- complete ride music - YouTube
    Life is an adventure
    Even though we have no map
    Let's go seek out treasures
    Believe in the COMPASS OF YOUR HEART!


    Of course, the next ride in our coverage of Arabian Coast is Sinbad's Storybook Voyage, perhaps the coolest Disney ride created in the last two decades for a couple reasons:


    1. It's not based on existing Disney IP.
    2. It doesn't rely on thrills. It uses the old fashioned boat in trough used in It's A Small World.
    3. It has the most kick *** original score ever!


    These are some of the reasons why I feel this ride can stand right up there with Pooh's Hunny Hunt and Journey to the Center of the Earth as one of the best rides at Tokyo Disney.



    For some bizarre reason, the Japanese locals don't agree with me. The ride never had more than a ten minute wait, although throughout the our first day it never passed five. This is probably due to reasons 1 and 2 I listed above.


    Usually I don't take pictures on rides, but I had too for Sinbad. Plus it wasn't to difficult to get a decent picture because of its slow moving nature and relatively agreeable lighting conditions. I still urge you to check out an onride video to get a better idea. There are some pretty good ones.



    The ride follows Sinbad's adventures. I'll explain it more in detail lately. I didn't really get it the first time. The whole ride was very styalized to feel like an Arabic storybook, if there even is such a thing. But it still felt grounded to reality unlike it's a small world. Even the description that it's a combination of Pirates of the Caribbean and it's a small world isn't exactly accurate. It's very unique.



    In which Sinbad uses a magic feather to free a friendly Ogre...



    ...Who then proceeds to harmonize with Sinbad. Is that a lyre?



    This was a huge animatronic. It was one of the most impressive in the ride. The whole ride was an A-A extravaganza. There was a never ending flow of eye candy.



    Sinbad's ship collected more and more treasures in every scene. Yay! Interaction!



    Next scene! I promise I'll explain it all when we get to day four. :o



    I see you SHANDU! The entire Monkey Island scene smelled like bananas.



    My brother just told me this vignette was not part of the original ride, it was added during the great refurbishment known also for bringing us the Compass of your Heart song and shaving Sinbad.



    The whale scene was the most impressive part of the ride. The whale was enormous. It was very dark, so you're just going to have to go Japan to get the full experience.



    The final scene in the ride had the villagers celebrating Sinbad's arrival. I really liked this little part of it, especially the fireworks in the sky. Also, you can see all of Sinbad's treasures. Plus there's a ridiculous amount of animatronics. This part too was difficult to photograph. Go to Japan!



    The exit from Sinbad took you to this balcony, and then down one of two staircases back to ground level. You got a pretty awesome view...



    Detail.



    The final ride in our sweep was the controversial Jasmine's Flying Carpets. Once again, wait time: 5 minutes.



    Somehow the line for this simple spinner moved twice as fast as I expected. Loading was incredibly organized and they had tons of cast members to speed up the loading process. It didn't hurt that the ride naturally had killer capacity, holding four people per carpet.



    The ride provided some awesome views of this corner of the park. Plus, the tilting mechanism actually worked!



    Stunning.



    Finally, a harp played, and all the cars rose to the top in unison, signaling the end of our flight. It somehow felt all very dignified with the Princess Jasmine theming.



    A last view of Arabian Coast. Don't worry, I'll cover the alleys in great detail later on. By the way, I'm pretty sure DisneySea has over 200 boats altogether. They spared no expense! In Sinbad alone there were at least 25, not counting the ride vehicles.


    Thanks for reading.

  15. #15

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    Re: Tokyo Travels

    Can't wait for the next batch! Thanks!
    Here you leave today and enter the world of yesterday, tomorrow, and fantasy.

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