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  1. #1

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    TracerX Visits TDR Oct. 11th-Oct. 14th 2006

    EDIT: After pasting these two posts in and reading through I realized that they are REALLY long. This is my first time to do a trip report so I'm not sure if this is ok or is too much detail or what. Let me know if I should change it up and I will do what I can.

    Ok, for starters I know this post is WAAAYYYY overdue. Luckily, I did remember to blog while in Japan so I am pulling most of this report from my blog and will add in anything I can remember along the way. I will be making a separate pics post as well:

    Oct. 11th, my first day at TDL:

    I arrived at Maihama (the JR station at TDR) around 7:45. This was later than I originally planned but I thought, “Hey, what’s the big deal. There shouldn’t be that many people at TDL today anyway.” The only way to respond to this thought is, HAHAHA! I headed from the train station down the ramp and over to the TDL ticket line. The line for people waiting to enter the park was out past the ticket booths, way past them. All the same I headed to the ticket booth, bought my 4-day “passport,” and went to wait in line to enter. I finally made it into the park around 8:30-8:45. My first suggestion to anyone planning a trip to TDR, get there early!!!

    Once inside the park I took a few quick pictures of the entrance then headed for Tomorrowland. On the way I stopped by the Plaza Restaurant (TDL’s version of the Tomorrowland Terrace) and took some pictures for my sister since she used to work at Tomorrowland Terrace in WDW. The workers looked at me like I was a little touched in the head for taking pictures of them but I figured after all the Japanese tourists I had taking random pictures at WDW there was nothing strange at all about it (I'm hoping that this wasn't something really offensive to them...).


    After doing this I went over to Space Mountain with the intention of getting a FastPass. The wait was only 25 minutes so I decided to wait in line instead. Space Mountain was only the first of many things at TDL to make me realize how cruddy some of the things at WDW really are. Don’t get me wrong, WDW is my home park and I will always like it but OLC (the company that actually owns TDL) has gone leaps and bounds above WDW with many of its attractions. The theming to their Space Mountain was amazing! The ride however was more or less the same (roller coaster in the dark with stars all around) though their coaster did have side-by-side seating and the ride didn’t feel like a throwback to 1970. It leaves me somewhat torn because I recognize the superior theming at TDL however, at the same time, I love the retro feel of many parts of WDW. All the same, this definitely made me feel like WDW could at least do a refurb to their Space Mountain.


    Next I went over to AstroBlasters (the TDL version of Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin) and again, this was like the WDW version on steroids. The guns here can actually be picked up (they are tethered to the front of the car) and there are different types of targets that have different point values (circle targets worth x, square targets worth x, diamond targets worth x). Of course, in defense of WDW, their ride debuted in ‘98 while TDL’s didn’t open till ‘05 so this seems to be simply a natural progression for the ride.


    After AstroBlasters, I went to wait in line for “One Man’s Dream II,” a musical which was entirely in Japanese! While the words were lost on me, I was able to get the general gist of the action and most of the songs were Disney classics which I know the words to well enough. It was a great stage show and shows how good the Entertainment division at TDL really is (gosh, I’m getting sick of hearing myself say that TDL is better than WDW!).


    Next, I went to Star Tours and for the first time, I can say that it honestly wasn’t any better than the version at DHS (Disney Hollywood Studios, MGM right now but it is changing in January). My reason for saying that is because I felt like I was back at DHS! The queue is slightly different but still has the transport with laser damage that R2-D2 and C3PO are looking at as well as the little robot who looks like he is from “Short Circuit.” The ride vehicle and videos are also exactly the same but I did enjoy hearing the attraction in Japanese (”Brake-ee, Brake-ee!” “Light-o speed!”). I think that, until all the parks do a refurb of this ride they should replace all of them with the Japanese audio so at least we can get a chuckle out of it (For those of you wondering, yes I do like this ride very much but it is also very overdue for refurb). While the ride was in Japanese the similarities to DHS were so uncanny that I wouldn’t have been surprised to walk into Tatooine Traders (the shop at the exit to the ride in DHS) at the exit.


    After Star Tours I went to go try my luck at the parade lottery. For the special parades they have lotteries to give out special seating. You can see the parade from behind the special seating but obviously it is nicer to get a little closer and sit on a bench. The lottery is free but can only be tried once a day and is simply the best way to give out the seats. I wasn’t lucky enough to win but it didn’t matter since the show that I was going for (second showing of the night) was canceled due to inclement weather anyway (it was just a little sprinkle).


    I then went back to the Plaza Restaurant for lunch and had baked chicken with curry and rice, french fries, and Fanta Melon to drink. While the pricing wasn’t all too bad (910yen), the portion size is quite small compared to the US. I have actually noticed this with most food and drink here. Canned drinks are usually the same size as their US counterparts but bottled drinks are often somewhat smaller and the regular or large size drinks here tend to be closer to our small and medium (heck, the large here usually isn’t up to a medium size). In spite of this I still felt full when I was done and actually felt better than I do at WDW since, when you finish lunch there, you often feel more like heading back to the room and taking a nap rather than going back out into the park. After eating lunch I found out that TDL does have a Tomorrowland Terrace however, their’s is much more like WDW’s Cosmic Ray’s in terms of size and busyness.


    I then headed over to the Starjets (TDL’s version of Astro Orbiter). Once I got on the ride I managed to take one picture but was then told that no pictures were allowed (this involves acting like you have an imaginary camera in your hands, taking a picture, then making an x with your arms. Ok now everyone try it for yourself!). I can’t compare this ride to WDW since the wait always seemed too long for what seemed like nothing more than a copy of Dumbo. Sure enough, that what it was here and the wait (at 35 minutes) was longer than I would have liked (moreso because the line was in the sun though).


    After getting off Starjets I noticed a lot of people were waiting near the exit for the next parade so I decided there was as good of a place as any to wait for the parade. This was very lucky on my part since the TDL parade stops (I’m guessing at various spots but I only know for sure that it stopped where I was) to do a performance right in the middle of the parade. I was where Mickey’s float was which meant lots of good chances to get pictures of Mickey! The parade was amazing and I continue to kick myself for not getting a cd of the parade music (it was the special Halloween parade no less!).



    Once the parade was over I went over to Grand Circuit Raceway so that I could say I did all of the attractions in Tomorrowland. This attraction is almost a carbon copy of the one in WDW though the queue features some better theming and the cars have a system in place to prevent you from bumping the car in front of you by shutting off the engine and hitting the brakes if you get too close to the car in front of you (for the sake of anyone who is Japanese and is reading this, I’ll skip the obligatory Japanese driver crack). After riding the WDW version I can say that I much prefer getting bumped once or twice to the shock of the car slamming on the brakes because you are apparently “too close” (a car length at least) to the car in front of you.


    After Grand Circuit Raceway I checked my map to make sure that I had done everything in Tomorrowland, decided to skip Toontown for now (only thing I want to ride there is “Roger Rabbit’s Toon Car Spin") since most of it is for younger kids, and headed for Fantasyland. It was in Fantasyland that I learned the err of my ways for not getting fastpasses to the most popular attractions earlier in the day. Fantasyland houses one of TDL’s most popular year-round attractions, Pooh’s Hunny Hunt, and the most popular during the Halloween celebration, the Haunted Mansion (yep, it is in Fantasyland here, very weird). Since I didn’t get a fastpass earlier in the day, I ended up waiting in both of these lines which had 100 minute wait times for each. I had read that you should fastpass these two attractions, I knew what the crowds were like, and still I did nothing.


    I went to Pooh’s Hunny Hunt first and, on the way, stopped by the popcorn cart for some Honey Popcorn. TDR (Tokyo Disney Resort, aka both TDL and TDS) is known for having different types of popcorn throughout their parks. From classics like salted and caramel, to way out there like curry. I had been smelling the honey popcorn while in Tomorrowland and knew I had to have some. True to promises from others on the web, this stuff is great. The only downside was that a bucket of popcorn with lanyard (collectible bucket though) was 1100yen. Refills are only 400yen though and I’m looking forward to trying some black pepper popcorn. The honey popcorn was nice to snack on while standing in line but it didn’t make the line any shorter.


    What amazed me most while waiting in line was the patience of everyone who was waiting. While I try to schedule my visits to WDW around the crowds I have worked there during some busy times and, invariably, when the wait times go over 45 minutes all the guests start grumbling about how “I paid blah blah blah dollars to come to Disney and now I’m stuck waiting in lines.” It is possible that I simply didn’t hear the grumbling because I didn’t understand a word anyone was saying but the looks on most of the faces seemed much more upbeat than those of the people who usually wait in line at WDW.


    I did finally get on the ride and I can see why this is one of the more popular attractions. The cars start off in a line which would make you think they were tethered to each other but once you enter the attraction they almost seem free-wheeling. All three cars will head off in different directions to see different things. It is a very different take on the whole “dark ride” genre and I hope we get the ride in Florida soon!


    After Hunny Hunt I headed over to everyone’s favorite Disney attraction… IT’S A SMALL WORLD!!! Yep, I was ready to submit myself to the siren’s song but while I was in line apparently the ride went 101 (broke). I’m assuming this because everyone turned around and headed for the exit. I don’t really know for sure that it broke since, as usual, I couldn’t understand a word the CM’s (cast members) were saying. It could have also been time for the IASW kids to have their lunch break but I somehow doubt it (those kids don’t get food!).


    Since IASW was down I went over to Pinocchio’s Daring Journey which was a more traditional dark ride but still very nice in its execution.


    After Pinocchio I decided it was time to go wait in line for the Haunted Mansion. The queue and the mansion exterior were both decorated for Halloween/Christmas in honor of the “The Nighmare Before Christmas” redo they give to the Haunted Mansion during Halloween. I must admit that I underestimated the overhaul done for this. I was expecting some pictures of Jack pasted here and there but instead found the mansion almost completely redone to revolve around TNBC. AA’s (Audio-Animatronics) of Jack and many other characters had been added to multiple parts of the ride and the attic was completely refurbed. One of my favorite updated scenes involved the casket that is partially nailed shut. While it usually has a hand pushing at the lid and a voice saying, “Let me out!” It now has one of the characters from TNBC sitting on top with a hammer and nails and a tag on the side that says “Do Not Open Before Christmas.” Not one scene was left un-updated. While I would not like to see HM like this year-round, it was a nice treat for Halloween and in spite of the 100 minute wait, I couldn’t help but leave with a smile.


    On the way out of the ride I caught a little of the night parade (the first showing) going by the exit but it was over for the most part so I headed over to Westernland. Once in Westernland I first went over to Big Thunder but the line was 60 minutes for “the wildest ride in the wilderness” and since I had read that it was a duplicate of WDW I decided to leave it for Sunday.


    I instead went over to Country Bear Jamboree. CBJ also has a temporary refurb right now as the “Vacation Jamboree” which is supposed to be all of the bears back from summer vacation. It was interesting to see that the show was much like the one at WDW (except with different outfits and songs, due mostly to the Vacation Jamboree) except this was also in Japanese. The funny part was they would start singing country songs (like “Achy, Breaky Heart”) in Japanese then change into English for part of the song. I have never been a huge fan of the CBJ (outside of Big Al’s “Blood On The Saddle”) but it wasn’t too bad and it was nice to sit and relax for a little while.


    Once I finished with CBJ it was time to get a spot for “Dreamlights,” the nightly parade at TDL. “Dreamlights” is much like the old “Main Street Electrical Parade” (It uses “Baroque Hoedown” for its base music and may even use a few of the same floats) but in a revamped way. It did start drizzling while the parade was going on but the rain wasn’t too bad so I sat and watched anyway. I tried to decide whether I liked “Dreamlights” or “Spectromagic!” better but I think for now I am just going to have to call it a tie.


    Once “Dreamlights” was done I headed to the Hub (the center of the park where all of the lands break off from) to get a good spot in front of the castle for Magic In The Sky, TDR’s nightly fireworks. After seeing Wishes, Hallowishes, and Illuminations more times than I care to count I was expecting nothing less than an amazing show since OLC had managed to match or beat WDW in almost ever regard. Unfortunately, I learned that expectations can be a letdown. Magic In The Sky seemed to be nothing more than some fireworks set to music much like a local Fourth of July celebration except with Disney music. Nothing over the castle (I’m guessing because they use the same fireworks for both TDL and TDS) in the way of pyro and nothing really going on with the castle at all. These fireworks just didn’t have the “Disney-feel” that Wishes has and lacked in the extra effects that shows like Illuminations have. Here’s a hint to OLC, go to WDW and learn how to do a night-time fireworks show!


    After the fireworks were done I went over to POTC (Pirates Of The Carribean). Their version of Pirates, I think, is much closer to DLR (Disneyland Resort in Anaheim) than WDW since it has a big drop at the start and you can see the boats coming by in the queue line. What I did find interesting is that they have a table service restaurant near the entrance (Blue Bayou) so the beginning is reminiscent of Rio Del Tiempo (or whatever it is called now) in Epcot. Once you get past that area though it is much the same as WDW with some of the scenes moved around.


    After POTC, I was ready to head out in the hopes of beating at least some of the crowd (the park closed at 22:00 and it was around 21:00). On the way out I stopped at the waffle restaurant (one of the few counter-service places I saw that was still open) and got a sandwich, potato chips, and a cup of water (~600yen IIRC). The bread was dry, the meat wasn’t all that great, thus far, my worst meal here (and the sandwich was called “The Great American”).


    After that I left for the train and headed back to my hotel. That is everything as I recall it until I recall some more. For those of you who actually read through that whole post, congratulations!
    -TracerX Out
    Last edited by TracerX; 03-17-2008 at 10:43 PM.

  2. #2

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    Re: TracerX Visits TDR Oct. 11th-Oct. 14th 2006

    Well, Oct. 12th turned out to be a bust. I was very sick that day from dehydration (I went to WDW two weeks before and failed to stay properly hydrated there which started it but I didn't figure out what was wrong till I was doubled over in pain in my hotel in Japan) so we'll skip a day of me sleeping (and spending 3750yen to sleep since TDR tickets are for consecutive days) and move directly on to...

    Oct. 13th, my first day at TDL:

    I arrived at TDS around 7:30 with the opening scheduled for 8:00 (yep, I still had not learned to get there early. I'm not an early riser though). As with TDL, there were already lines at the gates but these lines were confined past the ticket gates so it wasn’t at all as bad as TDL. The gates finally opened at ~7:50 and I was in by probably ~8:30. Determined not to repeat my mistake at TDL, I headed straight over to Tower Of Terror to get a FastPass. I didn’t actually know how to get there at this point but that didn’t really matter since all I needed to do was follow the crowd. There was a huge line for fastpasses at TOT but I still managed to get one for 10:30.


    Once I had my fastpass I decided to try to find some breakfast. I checked a few counter-service restaurants but they were all serving regular menu’s so I finally settled on the Cape Cod Cook-Off. Rather than have a boring hamburger or cheeseburger I decided on a fish (I think it was cod?) burger. Yep, a fish burger breakfast. With fries and a soda no less! The fish was actually quite good which I was surprised about since I had expected the typical “super greasy” burger which I would later regret.


    After finishing “breakfast” I walked over to Port Discovery to ride Aquatopia. This was a fun ride that basically drove you around in the water in a seemingly random pattern. It wasn’t by any means super-exciting or anything but it still made a nice little ride.


    Once I had disembarked from Aquatopia I started toward Stormrider. I was almost sidetracked by a chocolate popcorn stand on the way but I decided to save that for after the ride. Stormrider is somewhat like “Star Tours” since it uses various tilting methods to give the sensation of flight to guests seated in an auditorium-like seating arrangement. However, unlike Star Tours, this ride integrates some special effects very well and also has video that has been updated in the past 20 years! (I kid because I love!) The only warning I wish I would have received before getting on the attraction is that you will get wet (not extremely, but a little). Since I didn’t know anything about this I became more concerned about shielding my camera from water than the attraction.


    After Stormrider I stopped by the chocolate popcorn stand I had passed earlier and bought a box (260yen). This popcorn reminded me of the chocolate-flavored breakfast cereal I used to eat as a kid. Definitely good stuff.


    Now with chocolate popcorn in hand I was ready to travel onward to the Lost River Delta. My first attraction in this area was Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Crystal Skull. It was here that I found out TDS was light-years ahead of TDL (in my mind anyway). They have the single-rider line! For those who don’t know, the single-rider line is exactly what it sounds like. A line for people who will be riding by themselves. This works great for the park since they can run more bodies through an attraction per hour and it is great for single riders because they get to skip most of the line. For IJATOTCS (wow, long acronym) the original wait was around 60 minutes while I, thanks to the single-rider line, ended up waiting more like 15 minutes. This attraction was much like what I remember of its counterpart in DLR (Disneyland Resort, Anaheim). It was still a lot of fun though since the jeep is made to bounce around while traveling with Indy through a forbidden temple.


    Since I had experienced such great luck with the single-rider line on IJATOTCS, I headed for Raging Spirits next. This attraction also had a single-rider line and I ended up waiting around 10 minutes instead of the posted 45 minutes. This attraction was basically a themed outdoor roller coaster. I liked the theming but it felt a little light on detail. The coaster itself was also a little too tame for my tastes. OLC chose to advertise this attraction as a thrill ride with its “360 degree loop!” but overall it just felt slow. I still enjoyed the attraction but if I had waited the full wait time I would have been disappointed.


    After riding Raging Spirits, I decided I still had enough time before my fastpass to TOT expired (11:30) to head over to the refreshment station at Mysterious Island to get a Gyoza Sausage Bun. I had heard a lot of things about these on the web and apparently so had a lot of other people. The line at the Refreshment Station was a good 10-15 minutes long and it stayed consistent throughout the day. After buying my Gyoza Sausage Bun I found a place to sit so I could take a picture with it (hey, I felt that if I had to wait that long for it, it deserved a photo before consumption) and then I chowed down. It was definitely good eats but not the “oh my gosh so super spectacular!” food I had expected. I think this had more to do with reading so many other people build it up than anything else.


    After the food break it was time to head back to the American Waterfront to face the Tower Of Terror. This attractions is basically a free-fall type that has added a random drop selection (meaning that each ride will drop you a different distance then maybe pick you back up some, drop you again, who knows!). What makes TOT so much fun (as with any Disney attraction) is the story that goes with it. While the ride mechanism itself doesn’t differ much from the one at DHS, I prefer the queue and overall theme decisions of the attraction at TDS much more. I will admit that much of the story would have been lost on me though (after all, the narration was in Japanese) had I not previously visited the official website which gave the backstory in English.


    Once facing TOT and surviving to tell the tale, I made a beeline for the Broadway Music Theater to catch Big Band Beat. This show features a jazz band and tap dancing along with some great dance routines. This was one of the easier shows for me to get into since the whole thing was in English! With great toe-tapping tunes, amazing choreography, and Disney characters integrated so that they didn’t feel like an afterthought but, at the same time, didn’t feel out of place in the overall jazz mentality, Big Band Beat had me ready to go book some tickets for a Broadway show!


    After the great tunes at Big Band Beat I was ready to catch another TDS show so I went to the Dockside Stage to catch “Over The Waves.” Like One Man’s Dream II at TDL, this show showcases the great abilities of the Entertainment department at TDR. Even though the story was completely in Japanese I was able to get the gist quite easily and the story was very well acted. Following a brother and sister who stow away on a cruise ship, you are introduced to a crazy bunch of passengers (from the movie starlet, to the “Mary Anne”-type next door girl, to the bumbling geek) who you know will turn the whole thing into a sappy happy ending for the stow aways. The show follows the framework laid before it by countless sitcoms and books (plain girl gets makeover and becomes knockout, geeky guy and now-knockout girl end up together, stow aways look like their in trouble when they finally get caught but are then shown mercy, etc…) pretty much to the letter but it does so with comedy that indicates the show isn’t taking itself too seriously. I’ll spoil it for everyone and say that it does end in the sappy happy ending you expect (but c’mon, it’s at Disney, who was honestly expecting it to end any other way) and does leave you feeling a little more cheerful than when you came (or maybe that is just because I’m a Disney sap, who knows).


    Once I was done being all sappy, I realized it was less than an hour till The Legend of Mythica began at the Mediterranean Harbor! I quickly headed over and found a spot that was behind a few people and featured a nice light stand that would get in my way later when it came to taking pictures (so grand!) but at least I did have a spot. Part of me wished that I could skip it so I could go get on a ride since it seemed that everyone was waiting for the show to start but I knew if I moved I would end up about 10 rows back trying to look over everyone’s head.


    The Legend of Mythica apparently had something to do with Mickey and friends opening a gateway to a land of mythology and imagination or something like that (or at least that is pretty much what the announcement before it started said). All I know was that it all took place in the lagoon on boat floats and was really cool! There were jet ski’s going around with kites behind them doing tricks and amazing floats of mythical creatures like dragons and unicorns.


    Once The Legend of Mythica was done I went over to Journey to the Center of the Earth. JCE is a roller coaster type attraction that is loosely based on the novel by Jules Verne of the same name. All I can say is that once again (I feel like a stuck record here) great theming to the queue and great theming to the ride. One of my favorite theme elements in the queue is a drinking fountain partway through. The fountain looks like a lava flow has hardened on it and has completely covered one of the spouts. All that is left is the very top of the spout sticking through the rock! The ride actually reminded me a lot of Expedition Everest at DAK (Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Orlando). I would say that JCE wins out in the queue theming department but the rides are tied for theming on the ride (I really like EE).


    After finishing up at JCE, I went straight to 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea. This ride is also loosely based on the novel by Jules Verne of the same name. The ride itself is a dark ride that uses an inverted track (car hangs from the track) with enclosed cars. You look out of windows that are filled with water (after the car/submarine “dives”) to give the illusion that you yourself are in a submarine under water! At specific points during the ride you are given control of a light that you can move around using a joystick to shine on different parts of the attraction so you can “explore” the world you are going through. This is another great expansion on the dark ride base! Oh yeah, and this ride was the last of the three that had single-rider ability so, once again, almost no line for me!


    After resurfacing from 20,000 Leagues my next stop was Mermaid Lagoon and Triton’s Kingdom. This was more of a “look around and take pictures” stop since most of the rides seemed to be geared towards small children much like Toontown at TDL. Though I didn’t ride any rides in this area, I was impressed with the thought put into making the kingdom from “The Little Mermaid” come to life.
    -TracerX Out

    ---This is where my blog leaves everyone with the promise of part two from the day and I apparently never write it. Luckily I took quite a few pictures so I'll pull from my brain cells and see if we can't get at least some of part two down tomorrow!---

  3. #3

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    Re: TracerX Visits TDR Oct. 11th-Oct. 14th 2006

    I did not think they were long at all and thanks for posting your TP.

  4. #4

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    Re: TracerX Visits TDR Oct. 11th-Oct. 14th 2006

    I agree, not too long at all. I think your report is great. Look forward to part 2.

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    Re: TracerX Visits TDR Oct. 11th-Oct. 14th 2006

    Now.. add some pictures for more fun factor.

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    Re: TracerX Visits TDR Oct. 11th-Oct. 14th 2006

    Quote Originally Posted by TracerX View Post
    I arrived at Maihama (the JR station at TDR) around 7:45. This was later than I originally planned but I thought, “Hey, what’s the big deal. There shouldn’t be that many people at TDL today anyway.” The only way to respond to this thought is, HAHAHA! I headed from the train station down the ramp and over to the TDL ticket line. The line for people waiting to enter the park was out past the ticket booths, way past them. All the same I headed to the ticket booth, bought my 4-day “passport,” and went to wait in line to enter. I finally made it into the park around 8:30-8:45. My first suggestion to anyone planning a trip to TDR, get there early!!!
    This is the first SHOCK most western guests get at TDL. This is not your old granny's DL park. Guests behaviors are different here and youmust go with the flow accordingly... and this is something that Kevin Yee will be covering quite well on his forthcoming guide to TDR. Still getting there one hour before gate opening is THE most important thing you can do when visiting TDL on your first trip.

    The workers looked at me like I was a little touched in the head for taking pictures of them but I figured after all the Japanese tourists I had taking random pictures at WDW there was nothing strange at all about it (I'm hoping that this wasn't something really offensive to them...).
    It's not offensive, but CM may feel a bit scared because they may think those photos may be used to get them in trouble and OLC is very strict when it comes to firing CMs who are slightly non-compliance with their Disney look or behaviors while "on stage".

    Space Mountain was only the first of many things at TDL to make me realize how cruddy some of the things at WDW really are.
    Thank you. WDW is my homepark as well but it's so over rated by Disney and guests who do not know any better.
    OLC (the company that actually owns TDL) has gone leaps and bounds above WDW with many of its attractions.
    I have been saying this same thing since I first visited TDL in 1989.

    Of course, in defense of WDW, their ride debuted in ‘98 while TDL’s didn’t open till ‘05 so this seems to be simply a natural progression for the ride.
    True but it does not excuse WDW for not going back and improving the ride. TDL's version has becomes the norm for this ride and was duplicated exactly at DL, HKDL and DLP, leaving WDW's version behind. Still it's OK fun.


    (gosh, I’m getting sick of hearing myself say that TDL is better than WDW!).
    So do I, and so do the online people who hate me for it.

    While (Star Tours) was in Japanese the similarities to DHS were so uncanny that I wouldn’t have been surprised to walk into Tatooine Traders (the shop at the exit to the ride in DHS) at the exit.
    But note there is NO gift shop at the exit at TDL.. Still, I agree on the ride being the same here as any other park. Have you seen it at WDW and the french language version at DLP? "Arret!! Arret!! Light Speed!!" This is the gripe I have with Disney's motion picture based rides... they just don't offer anything different, no matter where they are built/cloned. MicroAdventure anyone?


    the portion size is quite small compared to the US. I have actually noticed this with most food and drink here. Canned drinks are usually the same size as their US counterparts but bottled drinks are often somewhat smaller and the regular or large size drinks here tend to be closer to our small and medium
    This is the norm in Japan. Not just TDR. They just don't eat like pigs.

    Fantasyland houses one of TDL’s most popular year-round attractions, Pooh’s Hunny Hunt, and the most popular during the Halloween celebration, the Haunted Mansion (yep, it is in Fantasyland here, very weird). Since I didn’t get a fastpass earlier in the day, I ended up waiting in both of these lines which had 100 minute wait times for each. I had read that you should fastpass these two attractions, I knew what the crowds were like, and still I did nothing.
    Your fault my friend. 2nd rule of conduct at TDL, (after arriving at the gate early) is to RUN to Hunny Hunt and get a FP as soon as you enter the park, OR run to stand by on it first thing. Going counter clockwise at this park simply DOES NOT WORK. Keep that in mind the next time.


    What amazed me most while waiting in line was the patience of everyone who was waiting. While I try to schedule my visits to WDW around the crowds I have worked there during some busy times and, invariably, when the wait times go over 45 minutes all the guests start grumbling about how “I paid blah blah blah dollars to come to Disney and now I’m stuck waiting in lines.” It is possible that I simply didn’t hear the grumbling because I didn’t understand a word anyone was saying but the looks on most of the faces seemed much more upbeat than those of the people who usually wait in line at WDW.
    Japanese are the most patient people on Earth, which is a trait I wish American would have. Hence.. FP which is a vyrus affecting the Disney parks. If there had not been a FP service at Hunny Hunt, your wait time would have been about 65 mins tops.


    I hope we get the (Hunny Hunt style) ride in Florida soon!
    Don't count on it. WDW just doesn't care to be innovative anymore... hence the addition of more hotels and DVC resorts on the property.


    After Hunny Hunt I headed over to everyone’s favorite Disney attraction… IT’S A SMALL WORLD!!! Yep, I was ready to submit myself to the siren’s song but while I was in line apparently the ride went 101 (broke). I’m assuming this because everyone turned around and headed for the exit. I don’t really know for sure that it broke since, as usual, I couldn’t understand a word the CM’s (cast members) were saying. It could have also been time for the IASW kids to have their lunch break but I somehow doubt it (those kids don’t get food!)
    I was told once by an insider that OLC shuts down the ride if more than two dolls stop working, or track switching problem occur. Note this ride is totally similar to WDW's but the boarding area is twice as big and there are TWO boarding lanes, which requires the boats to zig-zag into the boarding platform.. If that system breaks, the ride shuts down.


    While I would not like to see HM (nightmare overlay) like this year-round, it was a nice treat for Halloween and in spite of the 100 minute wait, I couldn’t help but leave with a smile.
    This overlay is only done for Halloween and Christmas, then the HM returns to it's usual self for the rest of the year. This is also done at DL in CA, and I wish WDW did it as well... but their refurbishing there at the MK is very nice.

    I first went over to Big Thunder but the line was 60 minutes for “the wildest ride in the wilderness” and since I had read that it was a duplicate of WDW I decided to leave it for Sunday.
    It's similar to WDW but designed after DL's version, with some unique TDL scenes as well. This is a MUST-DO ride, regardless if you have been on it at the other parks.

    I tried to decide whether I liked “Dreamlights” or “Spectromagic!” better but I think for now I am just going to have to call it a tie.
    You like things retro you said before.. so I can see why you like "SpectroTragic" but let's face it.. "Dreamlights" knocks the ball out of the park in many ways.. and simply offers stunning light technology that has not been seen at any of the other DL parks. That alone makes it a triumph for the Disney folks. If only the average WDW would get a load of this parade...


    Unfortunately, I learned that expectations can be a letdown. Magic In The Sky seemed to be nothing more than some fireworks set to music much like a local Fourth of July celebration except with Disney music. Nothing over the castle (I’m guessing because they use the same fireworks for both TDL and TDS) in the way of pyro and nothing really going on with the castle at all.
    I agree with you. TDR's fireworks suck. I have no idea why they would not improve and considering DL and the MK manages to have such fab fireworks.. they could do better at TDL if they wanted to. But like you mentioned.. maybe because they want to maximize viewing for both guests at TDL and TDS and also because sometimes there are planes way to low over TDR landing in nearby Haneda, that may be a factor...

    These fireworks just didn’t have the “Disney-feel” that Wishes has and lacked in the extra effects that shows like Illuminations have. Here’s a hint to OLC, go to WDW and learn how to do a night-time fireworks show!
    Again, I agree. Still I find your "Disney-feel" comment interesting... I mean WDW and DLR had "Fantasy in the Sky(same show TDL presents now) for decades before the current shows and back then, they were all they knew how to do, and that didn't seem to make them feel less Disney.

    Still, you should know.. TDL used to present some very impressive fireworks in the late 80s and early 90s (when we had the basic shows at WDW and DL) that were way better than the ones they do now. It was at TDL that is first saw shells launched from the castle itself, where lasers and search lights were used for pyro shows, where live characters were incorporated into the show, where filmed projections occured on the castle, where motion-controlled strobes added a special feel, and also where real fireball effects were done. TDL did all of that before they were done at WDW and DL. Which all the more bothers me why OLC has gone cheap in the past decade.


    What I did find interesting (about POTC) is that they have a table service restaurant near the entrance (Blue Bayou) so the beginning is reminiscent of Rio Del Tiempo (or whatever it is called now) in Epcot. Once you get past that area though it is much the same as WDW with some of the scenes moved around.
    The Blue Bayou has been at DL in CA since they opened the ride as well, and was replicated at TDL. The ride however is just a little shorter than DL's version. WDW's version is.. the "lite" version, while DLP's version is the very best version overall.
    Last edited by TDLFAN; 03-18-2008 at 02:50 PM.

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    Re: TracerX Visits TDR Oct. 11th-Oct. 14th 2006

    Ok, here is Oct. 13th at TDS Part II:

    Well, now it is obvious to me why I put off part II of my first day at TDS update for so long, I had already covered most of what happened for the day in Part I! When we left off I was finishing up at Mermaid Lagoon so, for me, the next logical step was to head to the Arabian Coast. The Arabian Coast, like all the "ports" at TDS, was themed in every way imaginable. From the major details (the domed mosques) to the minor details (the weathering of the buildings, the intricate design on the lampposts). While all of the Disney parks seem to excel in those major details, the minor ones were what really made the scene come to life and feel "real."

    Anywho, I decided to start off at the Arabian Coast by heading over to "The Magic Lamp Theater." This is a great 3-D show that integrates the genie from Aladdin with a live-action character. This was also the first show at TDR where I attempted to get an English translation device. The CM's were very helpful when it came to finding the device and making sure I understood it but this show was very "big" with body language so it wouldn't have been hard to understand without the device and I found myself more pulled out of the experience by trying to take the time to read what was going on as it was going on.

    After finishing the show at TMLT, I went for a ride on Sinbad's Storybook Village. This ride is classic Disney in its execution and does a great job of telling the story through AA action (which is good since it was in Japanese also). I must admit though that I added a little of my own enjoyment to it by creating my own story of Sinbad which involved him as the antagonist of the story (hey, if you can't understand the words, those AA's can go either way).

    Once I had drifted to the exit queue for Sinbad's Storybook Voyage I took note of the time and decided it was time for me to get a seat for BraviSEAmo! Luckily, I was finally learning how things worked at TDR so I was finding my seat a good 1.5-2 hrs. before the show (and believe me, there weren't that many spots left on the wall around the Mediterranean Harbor when I found my spot). I passed the time listening to the harbor music and people-watching. At one point I did need to go to the restroom and the teens who had the spot next to me were nice enough to hold my spot till I returned (thank God for hand gestures and the patient Japanese people).

    Once BraviSEAmo! began I realized I would need to make a slight edit to my earlier note about OLC needing to learn how to do a nighttime show. Yes, they could definitely use some work over at TDL but TDS has the nighttime show in spades! As always, my complete understanding of what was going on was minimal but how much do you really have to understand when there is a dragon made of flames on the water?!?! Once the show was complete I walked out tired but definitely happy after seeing one of the most unique and, in my humble opinion, one of the best parks that Disney has to offer.

    -TracerX Out

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    Re: TracerX Visits TDR Oct. 11th-Oct. 14th 2006

    Quote Originally Posted by TracerX View Post
    Well, Oct. 12th turned out to be a bust. I was very sick that day from dehydration (I went to WDW two weeks before and failed to stay properly hydrated there which started it but I didn't figure out what was wrong till I was doubled over in pain in my hotel in Japan) so we'll skip a day of me sleeping (and spending 3750yen to sleep since TDR tickets are for consecutive days) and move directly on to...
    One way to combat this issue is to remain hydrated on your long flights over to the pacific region. My advise is too purchase a big bottle of water (after clearing security at the airport) and bringing it onboard, drinking water once an hour. Aircraft preassurization will dry up your body greatly, especially on long flights. If you flew into Tokyo from the USA and immediately went to TDL the next day... being up and about, especiallyin long stand-by lines, will do this to you. Obviously, your body told you it's shutting down for the day. Too bad you paid for a day you didn't spend at the parks. Did you try to adjust it at Guest Relations? You may have been able to add a day at the end of your ticket.. but I think a small penalty fee would have applied.


    Yep, a fish burger breakfast. With fries and a soda no less!
    In Japan, and many parts of Asia, this is the typical breakfast menu.. lots of seafood, rice, noodles, potatoes (remember fries = hashbrown, they are both potatoes) same old same old.. Breakfast is not seen as a cereal type meal, as it is seen more as just another meal to replenish your body's proteins and needed carbos to get started.


    Since I didn’t know anything about this I became more concerned about shielding my camera from water than the attraction.
    I am surprised that the CM never told you to put your camera away in the stowage pocket. They are very strict about this on Aquatopia during boarding... however, unlike at WDW, they will not interrupt the show if they see you using the camera during the show... or at least, I have never seen this happen at TDR, probably because they always make sure guests belongings are stowed away properly..
    They have the single-rider line! (at Indy)
    NOTE! The single ride line is NOT available at Indy on most days.. but ONLY on days when the park opens before 9am, or on national holiday days in Japan... in other words, on day they expect the crowd to be HUGE.

    I headed for Raging Spirits next. This attraction also had a single-rider line and I ended up waiting around 10 minutes instead of the posted 45 minutes.
    NOTE: The single ride line is ALWAYS avail at Raging Spirits due to it's low capacity. This ride is the same Indy coaster from DLP but better themed here at TDS. And yes.. do the single line here, always.

    (TOT) is basically a free-fall type that has added a random drop selection (meaning that each ride will drop you a different distance then maybe pick you back up some, drop you again, who knows!).
    Correction: TDS' Tower does NOT offer a random drop. All guests will get the same show and the same drop sequence, unlike at WDW.
    Trivia: Mr Hightower is played by Joe Rhode, head designer of WDW's DAK park.

    Big Band Beat had me ready to go book some tickets for a Broadway show!
    BBB is one of TDS' highlights as was the original show in that theater, "Encore!", which was a fabulous broadway medley. But BBB is probably the best and most polished live show currently playing at any Disney park on Earth. 2nd runner ups would be TDL's One Man's Dream (I still prefer the original 5th anniversary version over the current one), DLP and HKDL Lion King shows, and HKDL's Golden Mickeys. Only DAK's Nemo show comes close to these gems.


    who you know will turn the whole thing into a sappy happy ending for the stow aways.
    That is because thru the show, the stowaways do so much good for others that in the end, they are rewarded for it. Still, I have to admit this particular show is TDS' dud. The former show on this stage was much better than this messy production. Still I will take it over WDW's disastrous take on TDL's Cinderellabration or even "Scream along with Mickey".

    JCE is a roller coaster type attraction that is loosely based on the novel by Jules Verne of the same name.
    May I correct this please... JTTCOTE is NOT a roller coaster type ride. It's track system is more like Test Track's system, where the vehicles have the ability to slow down, stop and go or speed up. While this ride those have a steep ascend and one drop, it hardly is a coaster. Besides, the speed portions of the ride only last 32.7 seconds out of 6 minutes or so.
    Trivia: Largest AA ever built is found in this ride (and not at Everest like some may think).

    my next stop was Mermaid Lagoon and Triton’s Kingdom. This was more of a “look around and take pictures” stop since most of the rides seemed to be geared towards small children much like Toontown at TDL. Though I didn’t ride any rides in this area, I was impressed with the thought put into making the kingdom from “The Little Mermaid” come to life.
    "Look around and take pics"??? Hardly. This section of TDS features one of the best stage shows in the park. Tell me you didn't skip the Little Mermaid show that plays like a elavorate Cirque du Soleil show, as opposed to DHS' preschooler amateur hour version... Please tell me you didn't. And tell me you also saw the fantastic rainforest themed show "Mystic Rhythms" in Lost River delta...

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    Re: TracerX Visits TDR Oct. 11th-Oct. 14th 2006

    Quote Originally Posted by TDLFAN View Post
    It's not offensive, but CM may feel a bit scared because they may think those photos may be used to get them in trouble and OLC is very strict when it comes to firing CMs who are slightly non-compliance with their Disney look or behaviors while "on stage".
    Well that makes me feel better. I felt like the looks were much more of the "what the heck is this crazy guy taking pictures of us" type anyway.


    Quote Originally Posted by TDLFAN View Post
    Thank you. WDW is my homepark as well but it's so over rated by Disney and guests who do not know any better.
    Yeah, I will always be partial to WDW but that doesn't mean that I don't recognize where it has shortcomings. All the same, I think that many people are still so impressed by WDW simply because it still continues to stand above the level of service presented by many other places in the US. This shouldn't be seen as an excuse for them to rest on their laurels though and, unless they focus CM recruitment on finding people who still want to make the guests experience "magical" rather than just trying to collect a paycheck (I'm not saying that we don't always feel that way sometimes, only that some CM's seem to be stuck firmly in that mode and their on-stage attitude and demeanor reflects it), WDW will quickly find itself on a level playing field with Six Flags (ugh!).

    Quote Originally Posted by TDLFAN View Post
    Again, I agree. Still I find your "Disney-feel" comment interesting... I mean WDW and DLR had "Fantasy in the Sky(same show TDL presents now) for decades before the current shows and back then, they were all they knew how to do, and that didn't seem to make them feel less Disney.

    Still, you should know.. TDL used to present some very impressive fireworks in the late 80s and early 90s (when we had the basic shows at WDW and DL) that were way better than the ones they do now. It was at TDL that is first saw shells launched from the castle itself, where lasers and search lights were used for pyro shows, where live characters were incorporated into the show, where filmed projections occured on the castle, where motion-controlled strobes added a special feel, and also where real fireball effects were done. TDL did all of that before they were done at WDW and DL. Which all the more bothers me why OLC has gone cheap in the past decade.
    I think that my disappointment with the fireworks was primarily due to the fact that I spent most of the day wow'ed by the park that I was expecting something of at least Wishes calibur but more likely something that would leave Wishes feeling like a rinky-dink sideshow. Instead I felt that, compared to the rest of the experience, the fireworks felt sort of "tacked-on." I don't know, maybe I was just in a funk at the time.

    Quote Originally Posted by TDLFAN View Post
    The Blue Bayou has been at DL in CA since they opened the ride as well, and was replicated at TDL. The ride however is just a little shorter than DL's version. WDW's version is.. the "lite" version, while DLP's version is the very best version overall.
    Shows how long it has been since I was in CA. I guess I will have to force myself to make another visit once I have more vacation time in Sept. (darn! I just hate that I will have to go visit Disneyland again! I am so mistreated!)

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    Re: TracerX Visits TDR Oct. 11th-Oct. 14th 2006

    Quote Originally Posted by TracerX View Post
    I went for a ride on Sinbad's Storybook Village. This ride is classic Disney in its execution and does a great job of telling the story through AA action (which is good since it was in Japanese also).
    Sindbad's Ride at TDS is a gem and one of the best boat rides ever built at Disney. Probably the best one built since POTC, IMHO.
    As always, my complete understanding of what was going on (during BraviSEAmo!) was minimal but how much do you really have to understand when there is a dragon made of flames on the water?!?!
    Well.. the storyline of this show puzzles a lot of western visitors, because they fail to know before hand that this is a "love story" between the spirit of water and the spirit of Fire (which is more like a bird than a dragon).
    Foreword:
    Mickey Introduces the show's story.."once upon a time on these water... lived to spirits who then met and..."
    Act 1: Spirit of Water surfaces, all is calm.
    Act 2: Spirit of Fire surfaces, with drama all over.
    Act 3: Spirit of water wonders about the commotion.. comes out and meets the Spirit of Fire for the first time. Spirit of Fire is smitten by the beautiful sight in front of him.. and melts in love, hence the change of fireballs and drama to a more beautiful fireworks effects.
    Finale: both spirits are attracted to one another and when they meet... BOOM! Reason why we have fireworks at the end of the show. It's Disney's way of saying these two dig each other in a sexual way. Hahaha.
    And there you have it.

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    Re: TracerX Visits TDR Oct. 11th-Oct. 14th 2006

    Quote Originally Posted by TDLFAN View Post
    "Look around and take pics"??? Hardly. This section of TDS features one of the best stage shows in the park. Tell me you didn't skip the Little Mermaid show that plays like a elavorate Cirque du Soleil show, as opposed to DHS' preschooler amateur hour version... Please tell me you didn't. And tell me you also saw the fantastic rainforest themed show "Mystic Rhythms" in Lost River delta...
    Nope, I must admit that I was rushing through this area because I wanted to get Arabian Coast in before I did BraviSEAmo! and I was totally unaware of the shows. But, on the plus side, you're just giving me more reason to convince myself into taking a second trip!

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    Re: TracerX Visits TDR Oct. 11th-Oct. 14th 2006

    Quote Originally Posted by TDLFAN View Post
    Well.. the storyline of this show puzzles a lot of western visitors, because they fail to know before hand that this is a "love story" between the spirit of water and the spirit of Fire (which is more like a bird than a dragon).
    Foreword:
    Mickey Introduces the show's story.."once upon a time on these water... lived to spirits who then met and..."
    Act 1: Spirit of Water surfaces, all is calm.
    Act 2: Spirit of Fire surfaces, with drama all over.
    Act 3: Spirit of water wonders about the commotion.. comes out and meets the Spirit of Fire for the first time. Spirit of Fire is smitten by the beautiful sight in front of him.. and melts in love, hence the change of fireballs and drama to a more beautiful fireworks effects.
    Finale: both spirits are attracted to one another and when they meet... BOOM! Reason why we have fireworks at the end of the show. It's Disney's way of saying these two dig each other in a sexual way. Hahaha.
    And there you have it.
    Bird, dragon, tomatoe, tomato. It was covered in flames and very cool! Not that I am trying to sell short the Spirit of Water though. Very good water effects on that side as well. I do appreciate the explanation though since now, thinking back, I can see the story rather than just "ooh, the water thing digs the fire thing. They look cool!"

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    Re: TracerX Visits TDR Oct. 11th-Oct. 14th 2006

    Quote Originally Posted by TracerX View Post
    Bird, dragon, tomatoe, tomato.
    Not to underestimate your great TP, but I prefer to clarify some aspects so that those who are never going to see these things in person and only have online accounts to go by with, can fully appreciate the true details of things. Reason why I also felt a correction was needed when you mentioned that JOTCOTE is a coaster type ride, because for someone who doesn't know.. they will think this is another Space Mountain style track as opposed to what it really is.

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    Re: TracerX Visits TDR Oct. 11th-Oct. 14th 2006

    Quote Originally Posted by TDLFAN View Post
    Not to underestimate your great TP, but I prefer to clarify some aspects so that those who are never going to see these things in person and only have online accounts to go by with, can fully appreciate the true details of things. Reason why I also felt a correction was needed when you mentioned that JOTCOTE is a coaster type ride, because for someone who doesn't know.. they will think this is another Space Mountain style track as opposed to what it really is.
    Not a problem at all and I agree completely. Guess that comment should have had a smiley with it since my intention was not to downplay the correction but rather to point out that the show was so great that I enjoyed it even though I wasn't really clear of the characters at the time.

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    Re: TracerX Visits TDR Oct. 11th-Oct. 14th 2006

    Nice trip report, it's good to hear you had a nice time! Will you post pictures too? The fireworks at TDR are limited because of the restrictions the city puts on them except for New Years when a special exception is made.

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