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Photo Heavy TDR Trip Report With DLR/WDW/DLRP Commentary


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  • HydroGuy
    Re: Photo Heavy TDR Trip Report With DLR/WDW/DLRP Commentary



    We had a bus to the airport at 1:15PM on Wednesday and so only had 3 1/2 hours available this morning as the parks opened at 9AM. At one point we considered spending Wednesday at TDL because of the long lines from Tuesday, but we got in several rides late Tuesday night and decided to spend the last half day at TDS.

    It was raining as we left our hotel and was raining when we got in line at TDS. We got a spot in line outside the turnstiles that was covered. So we were able to put our rain ponchos away. As we got into the park at 9AM the rain was very light and we did not need ponchos anymore.

    Lines were much shorter today. The ToT lines which were two hours on Monday were today at 40 minutes.

    o We did ToT to see if we could figure out the Shikiri Utundu illusion but could not

    o We rode Journey to the Center of the Earth and 20,000 Leagues through standby again which meant three total rides on each one

    o We rode Indy twice more for a total of five rides

    o We rode Sinbad for the second time (first time was on Monday)

    o Before leaving we had a big lunch at Sail Day Buffet at the American Waterfront

    See next post for Overall Observations

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  • HydroGuy
    Re: Photo Heavy TDR Trip Report With DLR/WDW/DLRP Commentary

    Day 2 – Tokyo Disneyland

    This was on Tuesday after the holiday weekend which ended Monday and we expected to have much shorter lines. But the lines were insane.

    We arrived at the gates about 45 minutes before the 8:30AM opening and were about 30 people back in line. TDL is right across a plaza from the Tokyo Disneyland Hotel.

    Tokyo Disneyland Hotel with monorail in foreground

    As mentioned earlier, it is commonly accepted that everyone runs into TDL and TDS in the morning. This video was taken while we were still outside the turnstiles about one minute after park opening and shows the mad rush into TDL. Everyone runs – small children, older men and women, and girls in heels.

    Visitors Running into Tokyo Disneyland
    [ame=""]YouTube - Running Into TDL.MOV[/ame]

    The weather was sunny in the morning with partial clouds throughout the day. The morning was about 50 degrees and the high got up to about 60. It rained lightly in the evening.

    TDL does not follow the dual tunnel entrance model like DL and MK. Instead visitors are funneled into World Bazaar which is a covered version of Main Street.

    Entrance to Tokyo Disneyland

    Without giving you a rundown of the whole day, let me describe some highlights:

    o The newest ride at TDL is Monsters Inc opened in April. I have never seen anything like the lines at MI. I have been to AK shortly after EE opened and experienced the lines for standby and FP there. I was at DHS on the day TSM (Toy Story Mania) opened and experienced FP and standby there. I was at DL about two weeks after Finding Nemo Sub Voyage opened. The closest thing I have seen to MI at TDL was FNSV at DL in June 2007. Sheer insanity.

    We got in line for FP just a couple minutes after the park opened. The picture I took of the FP line does not give the whole story but it is shown below. Ten minutes after park opening we got our FP with a window of 11:40AM-12:40PM. By this time the standby line was 120 minutes long. By 10:30AM the FPs were gone for the day.

    FP line at Monsters Inc ride at Tokyo Disneyland five minutes after park opening.

    FP Return window and standby line about seven minutes after park opening

    We rode MI at about 1:30 and the standby line was listed as 3 hours long. The ride was a huge let down. It is at best a D-ticket ride but closer to a C-ticket. It was not like the MI ride at DCA. At TDL it is a dark ride (literally – each rider is given a flashlight). It is really not any better than MI at DCA and not worth a wait of more than 20 minutes.

    Video of MI FP machine with its laugh meter where one can hear the audio
    [ame=""]YouTube - MI FP.MOV[/ame]

    o For me Space Mtn at TDL was literally like going back in time - specifically to Space Mtn at DL prior to 2003. The TDL Space Mtn is a virtual carbon copy of DL’s original Space Mtn. It really made the updated DL ride look even better. IMHO the Space Mtns rank as follows – 1. DL (easily the best), 2. TDL, 3. MK, 4. DLP

    o We got our second FP set of the day for Pooh’s Hunny Hunt and used them in the evening. This ride has all the appearances of the Pooh rides at DL and MK, but that is an illusion. This ride is a real treat. It has a unique ride system without tracks that is hard to describe. It is very immersive and fun. We wished we had a chance to ride it again but standby lines were 70 minutes in the evening.

    o I am not a big fan of spinning rides but have always tolerated the Tea Cups at DL and MK pretty well. About 10 seconds into this ride I immediately noticed something was different. DS13 and I both agreed that the Cups spun more quickly at TDL. Whether that is in fact true, I started to feel sick right away. So we took it easy on the spinning and I was glad to get off.

    o TDL does a holiday makeover to HM like DL. The ride itself is obviously closer to HM at MK than DL. I do not care for HMH at DL and did not care for this one that much either. But it was fun to see the TDL version of HM.

    Haunted Mansion Holiday at Tokyo Disneyland

    o POTC at TDL is very good. It is much closer to DL’s POTC than either DLP or MK. POTC at TDL has had a makeover like DL’s and hence Jack Sparrow is a prominent figure. The Davey Jones projection is also there. IMHO the POTCs rank as follows – 1. DL, 2. tie between TDL and DLP (they are different from each other but good in their own way), 4. MK

    Video of beginning of POTC ride at Tokyo DisneySea has audio of talking skeleton in Japanese
    [ame=""]YouTube - POTC Entrance.MOV[/ame]

    o Tiki Room and Country Bear Jamboree in Japanese were both a hoot. The Tiki Room features Stitch and is quite different than the American version and all in Japanese. I liked it – at least what I could understand. The Country Bear Jamboree Christmas version was a mixture of singing bears in Japanese and English.

    o BTMRR was down for refurb that day. So we missed BTMRR.

    o We got a good spot in the hub to watch the Dream Lights parade. While DS13 held our spot I grabbed a couple burgers and some fries at Tomorrowland Terrace and we ate in our parade spot in the hub. This parade is like the EP at DLR and Spectromagic at MK. But better. It has updated floats and characters, and is presented in a mixture of Japanese and English.

    o Small World is similar to the MK/DL/DLP versions and presented in a mixture of English and Japanese, plus the other world languages you would expect.

    o Splash Mtn had two hour lines mid-day and so we grabbed some FPs with a window of 9PM. Splash has a different feel than MK or DL and the Japanese language does detract here from the story set in the American South. The ceilings are lower and it feels more crowded. The drop at the end seemed much shorter than the DL or MK drops. The FPs were helpful but not overly so as the 2+ hour lines earlier in the day were down to 20 minutes by 9PM when we used our FPs.

    o Some things are universal and long lines for Peter Pan is one of them. We rode it near closing with a 15 minute line. But mid-day lines were over 60 minutes. I can no longer remember the differences in PP between DL, MK, DLP and now TDL. They all seem very similar to me.

    o We tried to get tickets through the lottery system for the One Man’s Dream show at TDL but were denied.

    In the afternoon we shopped on World Bazaar and watched Christmas Music by street performers.

    World Bazaar at Tokyo Disneyland

    The TDL castle is more Gothic than the fairy tale castles at DL, MK and DLP. DLP’s castle is still my favorite.

    Castle at Tokyo Disneyland

    Sea Monster topiary in hub at Tokyo Disneyland

    View from castle towards entrance at World Bazaar across hub

    The Japanese are serious about their popcorn. Flavored popcorn stands are found everywhere, as are very long lines at the popcorn stands. The Japanese bring their souvenir Disney popcorn buckets with them. It was not unusual to see 50 people lined up at the popcorn stands and sometimes as many as 100. Can you imagine waiting for popcorn or ice cream at DLR or WDW in a line of 50-100 people? The Japanese do it all day and everywhere at the parks.

    This popcorn line (not at a cart here) still sports a line that starts at the left and circles around the railing and back beyond the trees! About 50-60 people!

    By mid-afternoon we were discouraged by the long lines at TDL and decided to go back to the hotel and nap then return to use our FPs and see the evening parade. We came back into TDL at about 6:30PM.

    See next post for Day 3
    Last edited by HydroGuy; 12-11-2009, 06:17 AM.

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  • HydroGuy
    Re: Photo Heavy TDR Trip Report With DLR/WDW/DLRP Commentary



    It turns out Monday was a holiday in Japan and was expected to draw huge crowds. From advice I received on online forums, TDS seems to handle large crowds better than TDL and since we expected Monday to be the most crowded of our three days we decided to TDS on Monday and TDL Tuesday when the crowds were expected to be less.

    We were advised to arrive 45 minutes early to TDS, and since I was not sure how long the bus to the monorail station and monorail ride would take, we left early and ended up arriving 65 minutes before TDS opening time of 8:30AM.

    The weather was cloudy in the morning with the sun breaking through at about 10AM. The morning was about 50 degrees and the high got up to about 60.

    Most of the rides at Tokyo DisneySea are not found at other Disney parks. The only ones I can think of are Tower of Terror, Indiana Jones and Turtle Talk with Crush.

    Entrance Plaza of Tokyo DisneySea

    Visitors Enter Under MiraCosta hotel to Tokyo DisneySea

    Without giving you a rundown of the whole day, let me describe some highlights:

    Both of the above were on Mysterious Island which has an inside that reminded of the Waterworld movie.

    Inside Mysterious Island at Tokyo DisneySea

    o After 20,000 Leagues we grabbed a FP at 9:10AM for Tower of Terror but there were so many people that the return window was 3:50PM already. We moved on.

    o Storm Rider is worth at least one ride and is a motion simulator closer to Soarin Over California than Star Tours but kind of in between. It simulates a flight into a hurricane. I cannot ride ST as it makes me ill, but Storm Rider gave me no problems.

    o We used the Single Rider line to ride Indiana Jones. By 10AM the standby line was already 2 hours long. Indy at TDS is very close to the Indy ride at DL, but is based on the Crystal Skull movie. Hence it takes place in Latin America. It has a few different effects including our favorite when the angry god blows a smoke hole at you. It is also amusing hearing the Japanese CMs trying to play along with the Latin American theme by speaking Spanish greetings to you. We later rode Indy twice more also through single rider.

    The Japanese tolerate way longer lines than Americans. It was not uncommon to see 2 and even 3 hour lines at TDR. The Japanese are very respectful of line waiting and we never saw anyone taking cuts. Lines were orderly and patient.

    Temple at Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull Ride at Tokyo DisneySea (DS13 and Me)

    o The Arabian Coast area was probably my favorite place in all of TDS. The architectural detail was awesome.

    Arabian Coast at Tokyo DisneySea is Very Detailed

    Video of Arabian Coast at Tokyo DisneySea
    [ame=""]YouTube - Arabian Coast.MOV[/ame]

    o The Tower of Terror ride is quite different from DLR and WDW. It is based on the Shiriki Utundu idol and adventurer Lord Hightower. The pre-show has an illusion of the idol that we still have not figured out. We rode ToT once on Day 1 and again on Day 3. We used FP for this ride as it appears to be the most popular at all of TDS. Nowhere will you see the Twilight Zone here.

    Tower of Terror at Tokyo DisneySea

    o DS13 wanted to skip the Mermaid Lagoon Theater as it sounded so boring. But Kevin Yee said it was not to be missed and so we went. It was really good. It is somewhat like Voyage of the Little Mermaid at DHS but has aerial acrobatics and is much better than VLM.

    Raging Spirits Rollercoaster at Tokyo DisneySea

    o The Fortress on Mysterious Island is sort of like a detailed Swiss Family Treehouse and it is fun to explore all the corners. You can find a moving solar system mockup and a two or three story pendulum. It also offers great views of the Mediterranean Harbor and we watched Mythica and Harborside Christmas shows from the heights of the Fortress.

    o The Mythica show in the Mediterranean Harbor Lagoon was spectacular.

    Video of Cannon Fire on Tokyo DisneySea Fortress Fired by DS13
    [ame=""]YouTube - Cannon Fire On Med Harbor.MOV[/ame]

    Cannons on Tokyo DisneySea Fortress Fired by DS13

    Fortress at Tokyo DisneySea

    A Mythica Water Float at Tokyo DisneySea as Seen from the Fortress

    Volcano and Fortress at Tokyo DisneySea

    We came across Mermaid Lagoon while searching for the Mermaid Lagoon Theater. At first I was impressed with the color but misunderstood the underground location. On my second visit there I grasped that Mermaid Lagoon themes being underwater. The colors are amazing and I could not get any good pictures because of the underground lighting. But a video I took gives and idea of what it is like:

    Mermaid Lagoon at Tokyo DisneySea
    [ame=""]YouTube - Mermaid Lagoon.MOV[/ame]

    Mermaid Lagoon Entrance at Tokyo DisneySea

    Like all Disney parks TDS has street entertainment. We came across this show about weathermen in Port Discovery. I made a video to remember the enthusiasm of the CMs, audience response and Japanese language.

    Street Comedy Weathermen at Tokyo DisneySea
    [ame=""]YouTube - Weather Men Comedy.MOV[/ame]

    We ate a big breakfast at the hotel and snacked throughout the day and then ate an early dinner at a table service place called Ristorante di Canaletto. We had to wait about 45 minutes for a table. The food was decent but not great. The Italian restaurant was right on the canal in Mediterranean Harbor and the Venetian Gondolas came by frequently. We had a waterside table and the CMs on the gondolas encouraged the riders to shout hello to us while we ate. The first few times it was fun but after the tenth time it got a bit annoying.

    Language was not a huge issue and CMs tried to help, but overall the English language is not well supported at TDR. The CMs know enough in context of their ride or restaurant to help you. But we rarely ran into a fluent English speaker. Fortunately all the parks and rides had signage that was in English as well as Japanese.

    Hidden Mickey on path between Mysterious Island and Mediterranean Harbor at Tokyo DisneySea

    We stayed at TDS until after the 8:30 Christmas Fantasy fireworks and then headed back to the hotel at about 9PM.

    For some of the more popular shows TDR uses a lottery system. You insert your park tickets sometime before the show and choose the show you would like to see. Then you are randomly offered or denied tickets. We tried to get tickets for the Christmas Big Band Beat but were not one of the lucky ones.

    The crowds at TDS were not very bothersome. The longest wait we had all day was 25 minutes for Aquatopia in the evening. We used about five FP sets and utilized single rider lines for Indy and Raging Spirits. There were many 90+ minute lines and some over two hours (Tower of Terror).

    See next post for Day 2
    Last edited by HydroGuy; 12-11-2009, 06:14 AM.

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  • Photo Heavy TDR Trip Report With DLR/WDW/DLRP Commentary



    TDL and TDS are amazing parks. The detailed theming and immersion is overwhelming - especially TDS.

    From our experience the TDR parks are for the Japanese. They are as accommodating as possible to the rare westerners like us, but the attendance is predominantly Japanese. On our first day at TDS we saw two other Westerners all day.

    It was apparent to me that the Japanese take their Disney very seriously. They arrive at the gates very early (lines form an hour before park opening), they are FASTPASS experts, they know where they want to go, they are willing to wait in insanely long lines for rides and (more on this later) for flavored popcorn, and they eat up all the Disney theming and characters.

    Planning Resources for TDR

    Tokyo Disney Made Easy, Kevin Yee, Book - Barnes & Noble

    Overview of TDR

    The two parks at TDR receive huge attendance. In 2008 TDL was the third most attended theme park in the world, close behind DL and MK. TDS was in fifth place just behind DL Paris and thus the most attended second gate in the world and ahead of sixth place Epcot. From this report the top eight are all Disney:

    1. MK 17.1 million
    2. DL 14.7
    3. TDL 14.3
    4. DLP 12.7
    5. TDS 12.5
    6. Epcot 10.9
    7. DHS 9.6
    8. AK 9.5
    13. DCA 5.6

    I am not a DCA basher but I am a DCA realist, and thus I have to throw in that while I was at TDR it occurred to me more than once that TDS as a second gate compared to DCA is laughable. DCA looks like a cheap, pathetic park next to TDS. I have been to DLR many times, WDW twice and DLR Paris once. When DLR starts looking ahead to adding a third gate they should look to TDS. Building a TDS in Anaheim would be huge.

    TDR sells entrance tickets of one to four days. If you buy 2+ day tickets you must declare at time of purchase which park you will visit on day 1, and then day 2 must be the opposite park. On days 3 and 4 you can park hop and do not need to pre-declare parks. The tickets must be used on consecutive days. There is no taking off days in between.

    There is no official Disney transportation from the two local airports Narita and Haneda. There is bus and train service to TDR. We flew into Narita and, because our flight was delayed into Tokyo, missed the last bus to TDR. So we had to shell out $200 to take a taxi to TDR because I did not want to risk the Tokyo train system with all of our luggage. We got back to the airport on a bus for about $25 each.

    Kevin Yee goes into all the details of hotels, tickets and transportation.

    See next post for Day 1

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