Tokyo Disney Resort
June 1 & 2, 2009
I have decided to change my format of my trip report. No one wants to hear two long days at Tokyo Disneyland in detail—so I am combining the two days as much as possible—with some general observations and reviews for those rides that are unique to Tokyo Disneyland. I am sorry this has taken so long to get posted. The family crisis goes on (very ill family member in ICU)—so thank you for your patience.
Monday—June 1-- We arrived at Tokyo Disneyland around 9:20 am. The crush and frenzy was still in full swing. We decided to ‘go for it’—and just pushed our way through. Re-grouping after the turnstiles, we again noticed the mad crush of people at the characters. It’s disturbing to see—but since it is the norm there—it’s tolerated. The park was extremely crowded all day—until late in the evening when my husband I went back and could stroll around with ease.
Tuesday, June 2nd, the park was much less crowded—and we walked into the park with ease at 9:15 am, and had a much more enjoyable day with fewer crowds.
World Bazaar-(kind of like Main St. USA)
- Monday (6/1/09) was difficult to move down into the World Bazaar. The place was packed-- Fighting our way down the World Bazaar was difficult. It’s a great set up for Japan though—as it rains often there. World Bazaar is basically like our ‘Main St’ section of Disneyland…only at Tokyo Disneyland, the ‘street’ is wider and covered like a glass pavilion. There are no curbs—and no parades that come down this pedestrian only promenade. With the early morning large crowds under the covering—the loud din of voices and yelling is unbelievable. It made finding our way to go more confusing because of the noise. Later in the day and evenings it’s far less crowded, and the bazaar is pleasant for a stroll through the shops.
- The stores are mainly souvenir and omiyage (gifts to take home) shops. They do have some full service restaurants there—but we did not eat in any of those. We loved the balloons and balloon vendor on the main thoroughfare. Their old fashioned costumes, and the colorful balloons were a great addition to this wide ‘street’. The rolling Piano man—was out on the bazaar on both afternoons, and the Japanese gather around him in large crowds to hear him play. We didn’t stop to listen—as we were either coming or going someplace.
- Spying Cinderella’s Castle through the World Bazaar covering—was a real treat. You see it—but it still seems so far away—until you actually can emerge from the covering. The loud din disappears—and there it stands—beautiful—calling you to come and enjoy.
- The first day we visited Tokyo Disneyland was a Monday (6/1/09)—and the park was extremely crowded. With our handy GAC (Guest Assistance Pass) in hand already (you can use the same GAC at both parks)—we went off to look for the newest attraction at Disneyland—the Monsters, Inc. ‘Ride and Go Seek’. It’s not hard to miss—as the majority of the crowd seems to push their way to this location. Hence, we just followed along. We located the appropriate cast member, who radioed to another cast member about the GAC. Here we were escorted through a side door—(we went past both the main queue and fast pass lines, but we could still see the queue area in the main building—and wow, that was really well done. It truly looks as if you are in the Monsters, Inc building—ready to go to work with Mike and Sully! ), where we were brought to the front of the line area, and were boarded in 2 minutes!
- The attraction was cute, and enjoyable.—but you really don’t need the flashlights for the attraction. And, after unloading from the ride, my husband said, “If I had waited in that line for over an hour, I would have been pissed!”—we all concurred…Disney’s CA Adventure Monsters Inc attraction is a better ride. Theming: A+ Attraction: B-
- Star Tours— where there was a 5 minute wait.The Star Tours attraction itself is the same as ours here in California—it’s just done in all Japanese. The queue had some interesting items that were fun, such as two robotic vultures above, watching you as you enter the boarding area. The exit was a long trek, where you end up in front of a Audio Animatronics ‘Alien’—who seems to be commandeering –the Star Tours? We weren’t quite sure what/who he was—but I thought it was cute, and took pictures, whereas my girls said, “That’s weird”. *sigh*
- Space Mountain—was closed for refurbishment
- Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters—5 minute wait. Same basically the exact ride as in Disneyland—California, but still my daughter with Down syndrome’s favorite attraction.
- We did not do anything else in Tomorrowland—other than eat an early lunch at the Tomorrowland Terrace. I am not a fan of the big loop Autopia (they have the same layout in WDW)—the one at Disneyland—is more creative—and interesting. The rockets frighten me, and I’m not one to have to play arcade games. MicroAdventure—well, again, to us it is a repeat attraction. We felt our time would be better spent on the items we really wanted to see. Overall—I found Tomorrowland a little outdated. My girls always enjoy it though, as they didn’t obviously grow up in the 60’s or 70’s—so they think it’s retro cool.
- I don’t like ToonTown—so I avoided the area. Had the Roger Rabbit attraction been open (it was closed for refurbishment)—I would have gone down that way. My daughters went into Toon Town—and mentioned it looked the same as the one in California. I smiled—said, okay—I can pass.
- Cinderella’s Castle and area—So pretty! Although this is a replica of the castle in Florida, I found this one to have more grounds detailing. I loved the ‘sea monster’ on the side of the castle in the gardens—and enjoyed viewing the details of the area, such as the Cinderella garden gate. If they have that at WDW, I don’t remember seeing them. The only thing that distracted from this beautiful castle was the large stage set up in front with the big sign that said “Club Monsters” coming soon.
- Pooh’s Hunny Hunt—with GAC—5 minute wait (my husband and I rode without the GAC—late on Monday evening, waited 15 minutes —even with the sign stating it would be 50 minutes). This attraction did not disappoint us at all! The ride was fun, smelled like honey throughout, and it amazed us. These innovative ‘honey pots’ moved freely without a track and without bumping into each other. The beautiful walk through the gardens, playroom, and the larger than life book pages really built up the excitement to finally ride on highly touted attraction. I only wish the attraction could be longer, as it was so much fun to ride Theming: A+ Attraction: A+
- It’s a Small World-no wait—we walked right onto the attraction
- The Haunted Mansion-10 minute wait with fast passes.
- Peter Pan’s Flight-with GAC—no wait (my husband and I rode without the GAC waited 20 minutes late in the evening). Now—one would assume—that if you are using the similar technology as the Haunted Mansion Doom Buggies to load people into ride vehicles, the line would move faster, than if the ride had to start and stop like in CA Disneyland. Well, not at Tokyo Disneyland. It took longer to get onto the Peter Pan attraction than it did for Pooh. I still can’t figure out why that loaded so slowly. I can only assume it’s because they keep slowing the moving ramp down to a snail pace for almost everyone to load. I really enjoy all the Peter Pan attractions at each park I have visited (as does everyone I meet). There is something about ‘flying’ above London and Never Never Land that is so much fun. This attraction is somewhat different than California’s-and my girls mentioned they liked Tokyo’s better than the California Disneyland’s.
- Snow White’s Adventures-In California—this attraction is called ‘Snow White’s Scary Adventures’—and I wonder why they changed it here…because I felt as if this attraction was far scarier. I loved it. I loved the longer forest scene, and the scary other details. The only difference is here the Dwarf scene is at the end of the attraction vs. at the beginning.
- We did not ride on Alice’s Tea Cups, Dumbo or on the Carousel, and Pinocchio was being refurbished.
- Queen of Hearts Banquet Hall-Themed Restaurant. We ate here on our second day in Disneyland—and had so much fun! What a great themed restaurant. With lamp posts that look like towering flowers, benches that are large daisies—and heart shaped food—you are in Wonderland with Alice! The food was very good here as well--;-). I had the beef, while my children had chicken—and a heart shaped hamburger patty. We arrived at the restaurant near the opening time, so crowds were not a problem. By the time we left, the place was quite busy. Theming: A+ Food: A-
- The Country Bear Jamboree’—waited 7 minutes for the next showing. We all miss this attraction at Disneyland. We loved it in Japanese—with some songs being in English. The best part—the bears looked clean and well maintained, unlike the California version towards the end of the attraction’s days.
- I did some shopping in Westernland (love those Mickey Mouse cowboy boots. Too bad they were 40000+ yen!).
- Westernland Shooting Gallery-My husband and girls enjoyed doing this while I did that shopping. They had a great time—and you actually will get a prize if you get a high enough score! Alas, they came away with some pretty low scores.
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad: Very elaborate with great theming from the outside –but the ride seems just the same as the version we ride all the time in California.
- We did not go onto the Canoes (I refuse to go on that attraction anywhere. I had a bad experience one time—cured me from ever going again. We did not go on the Mark Twain—or over to Tom Sawyer Island (but I am glad they kept it as it was originally intended).
- Pirates of the Caribbean—no wait with GAC (10 minute wait on another occasion without the GAC). Same basic ride as California’s Disneyland—only one drop though. Again this attraction was mix of Japanese and English.
- I found it interesting that while Tokyo Disneyland doesn’t have a New Orleans Square—the whole area around the Pirates attraction was done as if it was a “New Orleans Square”. The area is very pretty with very ornate ironwork and lovely details everywhere.
- Blue Bayou-We dined on the 1st early evening at this iconic restaurant. As we walked back by the New Orleans area, we noticed no lines at all at The Blue Bayou restaurant! No crowds, no lines=why not go in? We were seated immediately, one table over from the water. It was a nice relief to sit down in the cool, calm restaurant—as it was warm, humid—and extremely crowded in the park. We all enjoyed a nice late lunch, with excellent service (my new favorite drink: Hi C Grapefruit! I haven’t found it here in the stores yet—but I am trying!). To find no crowds clamoring to get into the restaurant at the California Blue Bayou—is a rarity, so to see no crowds here—was a treat.
- The Enchanted Tiki Room” which has been updated to be Stitch Presents “Aloha E Komo Mai!”—10 minute wait. The Japanese love “Stitch-e”—and Hawaii, so this is perfect for this park. The show was cute—much better than the version with Iago at WDW. Theming: A+ Attraction: B-
- The building that houses this attraction is beautiful, as is the whole area of Adventureland.
- We did not go onto The Jungle Cruise or The Swiss Family Robinson Tree house (although I am thrilled that they kept this iconic attraction true to the original concept).
- I loved the Adventureland at Tokyo Disneyland. I thought the whole area was amazing. The New Orleans Square area was just so detailed and well thought out. It was beautiful. The tropical areas of the land were lush with trees and foliage and had waterfalls and waterways that added to the overall theme. It was a delight.
Splash Mountain-No wait with GAC. We actually bypassed all lines, and were taken through a back hidden doorway that almost seemed as if it could have been a Cast member staging area. We were immediately loaded onto the attraction once we came out of this side door. Unlike the California version where you seat people directly behind one another in one long row, these seats sit two by two (like WDW’s version). I find it is just a more comfortable ride this way. This Splash Mountain attraction is much longer than the one we are used to in California—and is more lush with trees and greenery. The drop didn’t seem as steep as the California version as well---but the splash at the bottom isn’t as bad either. There are some different small drops inside—and we loved being surprised at each corner, with some new scenes. Bottom line---we loved it! All of us agreed, of all 3 Splash Mountains we have been on, this one is the BEST.
This Critter Country had some fun diversions for the younger set—and we enjoyed the creative detailing the ‘country’ has such as a cute play and climb ‘car’ as well as the well--held up by squirrels. The themed restaurant, “Grandma Sara’s” –was so darned cute. It’s like a hidey-hole mole restaurant tucked right inside the mountain! Had we not already eaten at The Queen of Hearts Banquet Hall—we would have chosen this cute place.
Tokyo Disneyland’s Electrical Parade
- We loved it. I filmed the whole parade—and it was beautiful!. The parade was longer than the versions at Disney’s California Adventure---and it had great new floats, and whimsical features that we just loved. For my girls to actually stop—and watch a show/parade is amazing—yet all 5 of us stood there transfixed. It was great!
- Fireworks—Again, like in Disney Sea—they just aren’t the best fireworks show we’ve seen—but somehow, watching a fireworks show in Disneyland is always magical. I miss the music accompaniment that you get at the US parks though.
We were astounded at how many cast members there actually working in the parks! Everywhere within the park there are an abundance of cast members. At almost every register, at every attraction entrance, at every attraction unloading area…at every turn in the park—a cast member! The Guest Service is actually amazing at this park. If you need help—or have a question, there was always a cast member to ask.
Personal attention and politeness is very important to the Japanese—and this is true at these amazing parks. We discussed how this guest service can be good and bad for guests. It’s great for individual guest service—but it’s terrible at getting guests on and off attractions in a quick manner (or standing in line for popcorn), especially when the parks are very busy. The cast members take so much care and time with one guest—that things quickly back up. We think this may be one reason why the park has so much charm---and so many long lines. But, it’s the Japanese way—and it seems to be working for them—because just look at the crowds in the park!
We loved the monorail system. Even though it costs to ride, it is very efficient, always on time—and saves your feet/legs that much more walking! We loved that it was a working travel system vs. just an attraction.
Cleanest parks we have ever seen. Really. If we think our parks are clean here in the US—you need to go to Japan. Their restrooms are so clean—that you almost think you are in a 5 star hotel (I won’t mention about how dirty Disneyland Paris was the time we visited). I saw one cast member actually get down on the ground and pick up 5 pieces of sticky rice that a little girl dropped-which he couldn’t get swept up!
Okay—I know this was long. I’ll just close and tell you we had a glorious time—and I would love to go back! My girls have mentioned they would pass on going back to Japan—but I'd go back to Tokyo Disney Resort in a heartbeat. It won’t be for a while though, as my husband is eyeing The Great Barrier Reef for diving on our next adventure (I don’t dive---but heck, it’s Australia!)
Thanks everyone--for all your great help tips and advice before we took this amazing holiday. We learned so much about the Tokyo Disney Resort from you MiceChatters before we left--that we were ready to jump right in once we got to the resort! Your knowledge and help is invaluable to anyone travelling to these great parks!
Peggy (and family!)