Friday, October 4, 2019

Adventure 22/50 : Tokyo DisneySea

Another "must-do" for our trip to Japan was to visit the Tokyo Disney Resort, and spend a day in each of the parks: Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea.

These parks are different from their American cousins; you need to buy a ticket for a specific day, for a specific park. Once we picked our dates, we tried to buy tickets online from the states, but we could never get a transaction to go through. This is pretty common, judging from discussion boards -- so we decided to go to the Disney Store in Shibuya on our first evening in Japan to secure our tickets.

We would be straddling Halloween Time ... a time of special shows, parades... and full-blown cosplay for adults FOR NEARLY TWO MONTHS. We had booked a hotel near the parks for one night, and decided to spend our first day -- when it wasn't quite Halloween Time -- in Tokyo DisneySea, and the second day in Tokyo Disneyland.

Typhoon Faxia nearly had other plans -- it hit Tokyo the night before, causing a lot of damage and snarling the trains.

Of course, this is Japan, so the trains were pretty much unsnarled by 10am... But we had planned to get on the train to Disneyland at 6:30, and read the trains wouldn't even begin to start until 8, and even then it would be a bit of a struggle. But we got there -- and got to experience a bit of (delayed) rush hour crush en route.

We arrived at the resort -- a couple of hours after we had planned, but, hey, did I mention that a typhoon is what we call a hurricane??? We took the monorail first, just for the fun of it:

It's a little weird that it's not included / free unless you are staying in a Disney hotel, but we decided to think of it as an extra "ride". The train itself is very cute, with Mickey silhouettes in the door windows:

and diffrent Mickey faces in the other windows. Plus, look at those handles!

We put our extra stuff in a locker outside the main entrance, and then went straight in. Tokyo DisneySea is totally different than every other Disney park, though some of the rides exist in other parks.

The park is undergoing renovations, so there wasn't a great "grand vista" at the gate. We started off in the back lanes of Venice:

but we soon arrived at the Mediterranean Harbor:

The buildings around the harbor are actually a hotel -- so beautiful!

We wandered around and noticed that a lot of things were closed, and despite the really hot weather, there weren't a lot of stands selling water or drinks. And then we realized that the staff probably had just as rough of a time getting to the park as we did! And as the day passed, more and more things opened.

It was definitely an unusual day, however. The park stayed pretty empty. The rides that were open were crowded, and they didn't offer fast passes on most rides, so we didn't really ride that many things. But all we really wanted to do was walk around, look at things, people watch, and take it all in.

We liked the American Waterfront area, with Tower of Terror 

and big ocean liner (smokestacks under renovation...):

The ocean liner houses the Teddy Roosevelt Lounge.

We wanted to get a bite to eat there, but the kitchen wasn't fully open yet. Again, I'm guessing it's because they were still trying to get the staff in!

The lounge looks the part of an old lounge on an ocean liner, and the cases hold TR memorabilia. (Nothing rare, mostly magazine covers and books, but still a nice touch.)

And the bar is held up by bears. Of course.

Port Discovery is future themed; we didn't spend much time there, but we did love riding Aquatopia -- and even enjoyed getting sprayed with water because it was so hot.

We also really just skirted around the Lost River Delta -- only looking at the Indiana Jones ride from the outside. 

The Arabian Coast was where we rode our first ride, Sindbad's Storybook Voyage -- which was a very cute retelling of some of the Sinbad tales, all in the same style as It's a Small World.

And we explored the Mysterious Island, where we rode the little submarines in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Both the queue area and the ride were excellent! (So good I didn't take any photos inside...)

Here's sorta what it looks like, including the submarine, from Tokyo DisneySea's site:

 But our favorite part of the park had to be the Mermaid Lagoon.

We held our breath and went "underwater" into a huge covered area full of rides suitable for little kids -- think Bugs Land in California Adventure.

But the surprise highlight of that land was watching King Triton's Concert at the Mermaid Lagoon Theatre. Some days this is a Fastpass attraction, but we pretty much just walked up and got in the first seating area. We didn't know anything about it, but it combines puppetry, animatronics, video screens ... and Ariel swimming overhead. And it's GREAT. Sure, I know it's a woman in a flying harness and a tail costume, but it was a really effective way to represent singing. 

Photos aren't allowed inside, but these are from the Tokyo DisneySea site:

The park was beautiful and it was fun to feel "lost" in a Disney park. Even rides we didn't want to go on were compelling. Look how gorgeous Toy Story Mania is:

Plus who can resist a great photo op? Not us.

As it got dark, we sampled some essential food. #1 must eat? The little green men mochi:

Flavored popcorn is a big deal at Tokyo Disney Resort, with seasonal flavors and highly collectible "popcorn buckets" available for sale in different areas in the park. We didn't try many flavors, but we couldn't resist "Garlic-Shrimp". (Verdict -- nice, more garlic than shrimp.)

Some of the best part about our visit was the people watching, even though we didn't take all that many pictures of people. These people were only slightly over the top, with their backpacks completely covered with the "plush badges" -- a small stuffed animal on a pin. These were much more popular than the pins we're familiar with from the US parks -- we saw very few of those in the shops, and none on the visitors. But plush badges were everywhere:

As were people in full costumes. Again, we didn't take a lot of photos of people, but inadvertently caught this Jasmine, Aladdin, and Genie group while taking a picture of Mount Prometheus, the volcano that serves as the centerpiece of the park:

Tokyo Disney Resort allows adults to wear full character costumes every day during Halloween Time + one day prior. We were surprised how many princesses we saw in very detailed ... and probably very hot ... costumes. But we loved the more obscure characters, including an excellent group from Hercules. (You'll have to trust me.) The only costumes off-limits to visitors are park employees -- so no dressing as a tour guide, a Jungle Cruise skipper, etc. 

We capped off our visit by gathering around the Mediterranean Lagoon to watch Fantasmic! Performed in the round, there are a lot of similarities to the CA and FL versions, but also some nice differences, like a floating "sorcerer's hat" in LEDs, and these giant balloons that had images projected on them.

Oh, and that lovely, lovely dragon:

I love how the wings are represented by illuminated water.

Of course, the happy ending is celebrated by boats full of characters waving and dancing...

and Mickey gets the final laugh. Or chuckle. You know what I mean.

It had been a long, hot day -- so after Fantasmic we did a little shopping and then walked 25 minutes to our hotel -- the Nice Inn Hotel Tokyo Bay Premiere -- where we had a fantastic stay (here's my review on TripAdvisor)  and almost wished we could stay more than the one night. It gave us the chance to rest up for the next day : our visit to Tokyo Disneyland!


  1. One of my daughter's friends just finished a year as Ariel at Tokyo Disney! The role is so physical that they have 5-6 Ariels that rotate so they have enough rest days! Great pictures!

    1. WOW! We were so impressed by that show, and how effortless the Ariels made it look.