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  • My Tokyo Trip Report (including TDL & TDS)!


    Hey all- I went on a 17-day trip to Japan in October (thanks to people for their advice when I asked around here for stuff). Here's the report (I'll start with Disney's stuff, since that's obviously what we're here for ).

    TOKYO DISNEYLAND:

    * I made plans for a 4-day pass, spending 7 more around Tokyo before moving on. Some people doubted the necessity of that, but I like to be THOROUGH, and have time just in case stuff goes wrong.

    Some initial notes:
    - Standard Disney Rules always apply- get their as early as you can (before park opening), and stay until the bitter end, especially if you're a tourist on limited time.

    - The general advice on every single blog I read before my visit was "ignore the no running signs- literally ever Japanese person ignores them and runs as soon as they enter the park". This is no longer true. There are in fact a HUNDRED PEOPLE standing there holding multilingual placards insisting that people NOT run, and they'll harp on anyone who does so. Only a handful of people are seen running as soon as they enter the park these days.

    - I was buying service counter drinks for like two days before I discovered there IS, in fact, a Vending Machine set-up in the back end of the park- where the Queen of Hearts' Restaurant is located. A much more affordable and convenient option.

    - The massive crowds? Believe the hype. There are HUNDREDS of people in line even before the parks open, and the most-popular rides will be slammed immediately. There are apparently thousands and thousands of the dreaded Annual Passholders (Tokyo being part of a 35-million-strong mega-city), and they think nothing of piling into the parks just to ride a couple rides and then move on. Disneyland is INSANELY popular in Japan, to the point where even the Disney Stores sell park tickets at a separate counter.

    - Tokyo Disneyland itself is basically Disneyland, scaled up to Magic Kingdom scale- more attractions than MK, but essentially a Park Clone of DL with slightly different distribution (Adventureland looks way different, as does Westernland. Critter Country also has a different feel), plus two more notable rides and a few dropped ones (no Alice in Wonderland, for example).

    - Parades SUCK. Basically, if there's a parade at 2:00, then the walkways of the entire park will be chock-full of people waiting on their fold-out disney blankets at around 12:45, and after the half-hour parade, there'll be massive throngs of people departing in every direction until 3:00. So two hours-plus of disruptive behavior. And keep in mind there's like two or three parades a day, plus the Main Street Electrical Parade later on. And a Castle Light Show later. So basically, if you see a Parade crowd forming, you get to the side of the park you want to be on in a few hours and stay there .

    - Disney Stores surprisingly kind of suck here. Well, for me anyways. They eschew a lot of the stuff popular in North America, and instead focus on stationery, purses, and little trinkets like earrings & such. Okay, it's probably MORE awesome if you're a girl. Very few dolls and toys, though the Animators' Collection is very common. There's also a ton of focus on the new "Disney UniBearsity" line- essentially a cash-grab of stuffed bears that vaguely-resemble the main Disney characters. But it DOES use Ludwig Von Drake as part of the backstory (he dreams the bears moving around), which is rad.

    - There's far fewer statuettes/figurines available than in the States & Canada- and no unique ones are found in stores- they're only really seen in collectible shops and toy stores, at sometimes random prices. Toys R Us, for example, will sell Anna & Elsa statues, but the REALLY nice ones are only seen in a few collector shops (like in Akihabara). You won't find much of any other characters.

    - The park is INSANELY cheap to visit, by contrast to the States- a FOUR-DAY PASS only cost me about 20800 yen, which is like $240-ish! A day visit is about $75! Despite (or perhaps because of) that, it's hugely financially-successful. It's really tremendously-underpriced for what you get.

    - A few Disney characters are much more popular here than Stateside- The Big Five are everywhere, but so are Chip & Dale, the female cat from The Aristocrats, and even Daisy Duck is huge. It's the whole "kawaii" culture focus thing, I think. You can also find Joe Carioca & Pistole Pete, plus rarities like Jiminy, Pinocchio & Gepetto.

    - LOTS of Head Characters, but very few Face Characters (The Fairy Godmother is actually a Head Character here). The only ones I saw were at DisneySea- Ariel & Cruela DeVil. As far as I can tell, Meet & Greeting a "real" character isn't as much of a thing. Massive line-ups for any of the Big Five, however.

    ---

    * So I arrived about 45 minutes early (the third day of my trip- I wanted to avoid the weekend, and buy tickets ahead of time on Odaiba Island) after travelling about by rail. I was worried about not being able to find it in time, but there's tons of arrows EVERYWHERE in the train system. And eventually I was like "oh where oh where is the main entrance to Disneyland... oh, there's 20,000 Japanese people standing in 14 lines. I'll go ask one of them." Pretty easily-found, really. I picked a Monday to start with, figuring that doing Monday-Thursday would be best for crowd avoidance (the "Crowd Calendar" sites corroborated this). I was gonna head to DisneySea the first day, but the girl at the Disney Store told me they were "Sold Out" for that day (I was like... "That HAPPENS?"). I probably wouldn't want to go on a "Sold Out" day, anyways...

    * So the crowds were MASSIVE immediately, and I foolishly didn't think to grab a map before getting in line. Even worse, I couldn't find an English map amongst the storm of people moving in, and the Japanese map includes little information in the pictures, so it took me about 25 minutes to actually find what I wanted- the Pooh's Hunny Hunt FastPass machine . Thankfully, I got one eventually, but discovered the Monster's Inc. thing is MUCH more popular, and that the 30-minute PHH wait I'd decided to avoid was in fact the BEST TIME I was ever gonna get. Oh well.

    * I'd read a few horror stories about the line-ups (I'd chosen October due to the weather and recommendations on various sites, but found out that it's bad for crowds, as Halloween is apparently a thing in Japan now, and is popular in the parks), and yeah- believe the hype. The 30-minute PHH wait soon spiralled into 90 minutes, and when I got out of the 40-minute Space Mountain queue, I discovered TWO HOUR LINE-UPS all over the parks (at about 9:10 am, mind you)- Space, Splash & Big Thunder Mountains, Monster's Inc., etc. Even Rogger Rabbit, Pirates and Jungle Cruise were into the hours range. See, THIS is why I decided to go for four days- if I'd chosen only one or two days at the parks, I'd have been FURIOUS over the crushing line-ups spoiling things. Instead, I kinda just did some other stuff for a few hours. I braved a 30-minute line-up for Snow White instead .

    * The second day, and both nights, were a lot more tolerable in terms of lines. I'd managed to do the "proper" thing by getting a Monsters Inc FastPass right away, then went for the Hunny Hunt. Once the big Castle Show/Parades at night end, it seems like the APs disappear, so you can get in a lot of "runs" on the big rides right at the end.
    Last edited by Jabroniville; 11-08-2015, 02:23 AM.

  • #2
    The individual attractions:

    (Part I)

    THE WORLD BAZAAR:
    Their version of Main Street. Fun, but one of my favourite bits of the Disney Parks in the States is that old-fashioned Americana of "The America that never quite was, but should have been". Seeing a big, ceiling-covered "Shopping Arcade" was quite a bit different, though some retain that "old timey" flavor (especially the one selling Mickey Waffles). There's a REALLY nice "Animation" store that sells pictures from certain movies, and shows some of the artwork from the creative process of various films (like early versions of The Beast and Ursula). They also sell the American Merch like figurines/statuettes, but at the HUGE mark-up prices that WE usually give Japanese stuff over HERE.

    NEW ORLEANS SQUARE: Kind of built right next to the World Bazaar, blending right in (I couldn't actually find Pirates of the Carribean at first, because it looks just like a regular building). Basically a pair of neat-looking, well-designed streets, selling more upscale goods (like the constantly-present Glass Ornaments stuff, some of which is VERY nice, but absurdly-expensive). Pirates is basically the same as the WDW version- the only key difference being that they keep in the "Un-PC" bit with the pirates chasing women around the city (there's only one vignette of a woman chasing a pirate with a broom). Like all the ones I've seen, it's got a lot of "Where is CAPTAIN JACK SPARROW?"-type stuff. The Disneyland one is apparently the longest, but I can't remember what they included that these other ones miss. Unlike most every other ride, this one is entirely in English (save one talked skeleton head at the beginning).

    Though I waited more than a half-hour on the first night for Pirates, it was basically a walk-on literally every other time. People REALLY didn't care for it. Odd.

    ADVENTURELAND: Basically a couple of buildings set off to one side (one was undergoing a major refurbishment). The Western Railroad (a smaller version of the DL train) was down, which was too bad (I'd foolishly-skipped it at my last DL trip, not realizing there were vignettes set up for it). I skipped the Tiki Room (it's apparently Stitch-focused). The Jungle Cruise appears largely the same, but with much more exciteable (usually female) Skippers. I wonder what the official script is for these... This site mentions a few differences. They also have the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse, in English & Japanese. I like that you can see both this and the Tarzan one in different parks.

    WESTERNLAND: "Frontierland" under a different name. Contains the Mark Twain Riverboat (in English), Tom Sawyer's Island (feels like a MUCH shorter, smaller maze than in the U.S. parks, but you can actually see the flaming cabin here), the Country Bear Theater (in Japanese, with what I presume are Japanese hillbilly accents- Kansai dialect, I bet)- this time doing a "Vacation" special (with a lot of APs, this park shakes things up a lot, like Disneyland does and Disney World doesn't). Big Thunder Mountain is also here, and feels like the weakest version- it's more "rickety" than "fast and dangerous" in feeling, but maybe that's just me. I only rode it the one time (it had awful line-ups at all hours of the day, so I only FastPassed it once).

    CRITTER COUNTRY: The most well-themed CC I've ever seen, with lots of little animal houses set up all over the place. Focused around Spash Mountain, which I'd avoided until the end of the first night, waiting until there was a mere 45-minute wait. But THEN, the girl at the station pointed out (in pretty good English) that as a SINGLE RIDER, I can basically wait much less. I DIDN'T KNOW THAT WAS AN OPTION, HERE!! I'd read that about Indy, but not this one- that basically turned it into a walk-on (I always wonder why anyone would brave hours in line when this was an option- just waiting for the big "posed pic" at the end with all their friends?).

    CINDERELLA CASTLE: A version of the WDW castle, one of the few MK-things totally copied over. Instead of a restaurant up top, there's a walk-through attraction with a lot of vignettes from Cinderella- a few are animated (Jacques & Gus come out of the woodwork at one point as well). I came during a less-busy time- as you need an elevator to go in, it can get to be a VERY long wait. Quite neat, but less artistically-interesting than the Sleeping Beauty walkthrough at DL. There was a Cinderella shoe people could try on (well, it's stuck to the "pillow"), but even the JAPANESE people I saw couldn't slip it on. The Castle also has a "Castle Projection" show, which is alright, but not mind-blowing.

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    • #3
      (Part II)

      FANTASYLAND:
      A bit different, owing to being less-compressed than DL's, but lacking the extra bits from MK's. It's got Peter Pan (it was down this time, which was too bad- it's a great people-eater), Snow White (which ALSO has giant placards warning parents about how terrifying it is- the witch REALLY jumps from behind things unexpectedly, giving a lot of kids jump-scare based pants-wetting), and Pinocchio as the Classic Dark Rides. As the park quickly descended into out-of-control line-ups that first morning, I saw 2-hour line-ups hit Pirates, Pooh, Monsters Inc, all three Mountains... and a five-minute wait for freakin' Pinocchio . Oh, PINOCCHIO... even in the far-off land of Japan, the tales of your suckitude are well-known.

      There's also it's a small world, which is always familiar. No Disney-based characters, though. The Haunted Mansion, decked out for Nightmare Before Christmas (again, catering to APs means they feel the need to shake things up with new, temporary bits), was popular all day, though it usually had quick FastPass return times (probably owing to the long-ish wait even for that). I'd have rather seen the original of course, but what can ya do?

      And of course the Holy Grail of this park- Pooh's Hunny Hunt. Famous for its use of the Trackless Ride format and advances in Dark Ride Technology, it's pretty cool. Pooh & Tigger sound way different in Japanese. Still feels a bit short, but it's fun to be thrown around a room of odd stuff amongst all the other vehicles, intersecting paths with them. They REALLY should have built this in the States instead of one of the generic Pooh Dark Rides they used. When I brought up my FastPass the first day, they said the ride was down and I could use my FP at any point in the day... I wandered by later JUST when it was starting up again, using my FP. It was then that I realized it was probably a Walk-On by that point, so I could have ridden it again. Oh well.

      TOONTOWN: Pushed off in the right-hand corner of the park instead of under a bridge, but looks mostly like Disneyland's. It features the Car Toon Spin (a fun dark ride still), and Meet & Greets that were way too busy for me to even try visiting (I never really feel the need to meet Characters anyhow). An annoying place to be trapped during a parade.

      TOMORROWLAND: Very, very open compared to the other parks, with more separated, under-themed buildings. A ton of space between them, preventing the huge log-jams known at Disneyland. It's got some of the usual stuff. Star Tours is here (I FINALLY got some different bits- my trips usually involved getting the same couple. The Hoth one was new to me, as was the robot trying to stop you instead of Vader), and was quite popular one day, but a majorly-empty walk-on the next couple of times. Very strange. I'd say that Star Wars isn't very big here, but the MASSIVE booths at toy stores would disagree with that.

      I skipped the "Stitch's Great Escape/Alien Encounter" thing (Stitch is VERY POPULAR in Japan, and so the line-ups were enormous), and finally went on the Buzz Lighyear Astro Orbiters things a couple of times. Oddly, it had MASSIVE line-ups all day long, but then emptied out after 7 or so. I got some okay scores, but I find the guns tremendously hard to aim- some of the high scores are so far ahead I can't believe it. Space Mountain is the "money" attraction as always, and feels way different to me- the other parks' versions feel more like "Space Tunnels", while this one actually felt like you were moving around an open star-field- you could SEE other "trains" going at the same time as yours, and it was both slower and less-bumpy than WDW's. Very odd.

      The biggest attraction is Monster's Inc., which is basically a Dark Ride where your flashlight switches some animatronics on if you hit the "M" logo. Fun, but not really TWO & A HALF HOURS fun, so I FastPassed it once on each day (same as Pooh).

      FINAL SUMMATION: Tokyo Disneyland is arguably the strongest of the "Main" Disney Parks in terms of attractions, over DL & MK, though they're all pretty close. It has almost all the attractions of DL (plus a few), but much more space to alleviate the crowds. However, the sheer crowding, even at 8 in the morning, makes it a tougher go at points. Though that might just be the time of year talking, I went around the same time I went to DL one year, and there is absolutely no comparison between the line-ups of the two parks- California feels like an empty shack compared to Tokyo's main Park. MK has a few things unique to itself that are worth seeing (Hall of Presidents, Little Mermaid, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train), with TDL only having a couple unique to itself (Pooh & Monsters Inc). There's of course the language barrier (most Cast Members speak a BIT of English, but not a lot) and the cost of getting to Japan to factor in, but all things being equal, you could put it as #1 of the Disney Parks and not be too far off (WDW is helped out big-time by there being three other parks next door). I think the only thing stunting my praise of it was the fact that I'd already RIDDEN all but two of the attractions in the past couple years, meaning they were "old hat" to me by that point!

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      • #4
        TOKYO DISNEYSEA:

        Some initial notes:
        - Days 2 & 4 were spent here. I was going to go here on the first day, but it was sold out (I wasn't even aware that was a thing). This is, of course, the classic "Best Part EVER" according to Park Snobs the world over, many of whom gush over it as the Holy Grail of Disney. "It's Better in Japan" being a pretty common trope in every nerdy fandom, not just Disney, I'm quite familiar with the attitude, so we'll see if it holds up .
        - Pretty much 100% of the people I know had no idea this park even exists. Heck, most of the people I know don't even know that Tokyo has a DISNEYLAND.
        - This park is rather infamous for being the home of yet another Toy Story Midway Mania- a rail-based game where you move about in chairs while shooting at targets on 3-D screens. It's amusing, but infamously-busy, in both American Disney Resorts, and takes up a spot pretty close to the entrance here. It's also always in the least-popular of the Resort parks- California Adventure, Hollywood Studios, and now DisneySea. And while it's busy in the other parks (easily the longest wait for me in California, and even the FASTPASS took 20 minutes in Florida), it is LEGENDARILY busy here- packing a 2-hour wait on a day when nothing else gets much further than an hour. It's so infamous that every guide will tell you to run straight there at park opening and get a FastPass if you want to ride at ALL, or simply avoid it all day.
        - For those unaware, the basic concept of this park is that the "Lands" are actually "Ports"- the resort itself is supposed to be a set of ISLANDS, as there's a large waterway running through everything in a big circle. The Ports are set up in Epcot-like lands vaguely-resembling famous cities. The central defining feature of the Park (which is usually a Castle or giant building in other parks) is Mount Prometheus, an artificial volcano that shoots fire (because Disney, that's why).
        - Like a lot of "Secondary Parks", DisneySea is set up with a good bit of "Clones"- you can ride Indiana Jones, Midway Mania & the Tower of Terror as central rides. HOWEVER, rather than just rest on this like many other parks do (Hollywood Studios really just has the Rock 'n' Roller Coaster as a unique thing), there remain several UNIQUE rides, making this a more-worthwhile use of your day if you happen to be familiar with other Parks' attractions.
        - Once again, Standard Disney Rules always apply- get their as early as you can (before park opening), and stay until the bitter end, especially if you're a tourist on limited time. However, the line-ups are not that pronounced here- it can be busy, but simply by ignoring Midway Mania, you can basically do walk-ons on other rides for like an hour, and easily get FastPasses for other stuff. Also, going solo helps.
        - One of the days I came, the Park opened at 9 instead of 8- though it cost an hour of Park Time, it's handy for when your hotel van can only get there around 8.

        ---

        * The park is indeed RIDICULOUSLY-pretty- easily the nicest-looking Disney Park I've ever been to, with proper theming throughout. This is why Park Snobs love it, and I totally get the love. Now I can look down at every OTHER DisNerd, as I'VE been to the Holy Grail of Parks now, too .
        * It's not QUITE as busy as Disneyland- you'll get hour-long line-ups for the biggest rides, but only Midway Mania is particularly-insane. Why people line up for hours to ride THAT is beyond me- it's basically a sub-average Arcade Shooter with the gimmick of moving chairs. I mean... it's okay and kinda fun, but it's not even as good as the Buzz Lightyear ride in Disneyland.

        THE PORTS:

        MEDITERRANEAN HARBOR:
        Right at the entrance. I suppose the "Hotel Miracosta" counts as this, too- yep, it's a Hotel IN THE PARK. It looks pretty good (not as fancy as the one across from Tokyo Disneyland, though), and I'd imagine staying there and looking out into the Park every day would be amazing. Most of this for us plebians is just stores, and it's standard-issue Disney stuff- not much really blew my mind, as like I said, the Merch is pretty routine here. There's also a bunch of buildings to the right side (it's not really a Street, like it most parks- more of a "V" of shops) that LOOK like they should be something Park-Related, but you can't go in anywhere, except for some restaurants, since they're... you know... ACTUAL HOTEL STUFF.

        Up a bit, you can find the Fortress Explorations that basically take you through some Renaissance Era inventions such as a sundial, a chamber where you can spin the planets around (some Americans spent several minutes aligning all the planets- which takes some doing- only to freak out when a Japanese girl randomly spun one out of the line ), a giant metronome, a tiny replica of ships, some random inventions (Da Vinci's helicopter thing, etc.), and more. Quite neat, and worth exploring for a bit, though it's a bit maze-like and tricky to recognize when you've actually SEEN everything. It's all in different towers here and there.

        There's also Venetian Gondolas that take some people around the rivers close by. The Harbor itself is the place where "Fantasmic!" is played each night- it's a pretty standard show (well, unless the Japanese translation changes the plot), but everything's done by boats instead of a centralized island thing. There's a big spiralling boat thing that resembles The Genie. Probably the most viewing space you'll get for the show anywhere (especially since it's in 360-degrees, and you can watch it from the back if you want). The Maleficent Dragon seems much bigger than in other places, though you don't get to see all of it. There's also a big "Welcome To The Villains' World" thing for Halloween featuring the big-name characters and their giant dance troupes. It's alright, but MAN- a half-hour for these shows is way too long. I guess if you're gonna hire 50 dancers for a show, you're gonna want to get your money's worth, but still. It's just a half-hour of people dancing while the villains move around in boats, and one sorta turns into Ursula.

        MYSTERIOUS ISLAND: The Port within Mount Prometheus, the aforementioned volcano. It's set up like a Jules Verne thing, and features two of the major rides in the Park right across from each other. 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea is a neat, slow-moving Dark Ride where you appear to be underwater in submersibles, helping out Nemo's crew. You mostly use a hard-to-use flashlight (I keep thinking it's like aircraft controls and pushing it down means going up- five ride-throughs and I was STILL doing this, despite knowing how it REALLY worked) to peer around, and occasionally see some cool animals. You're attacked by a Giant Squid and see some humanoid fish-creatures. Rather neat, and I almost never waited more than five minutes to ride.

        Journey to the Center of the Earth is, in my mind, the top attraction in the Park- it's basically a slower-moving Dark Ride with some great animatronics... until you see a GIGANTIC CENTIPEDE MONSTER, and suddenly you go barreling through like a rollercoaster! The Monster is ENORMOUS, and one of the most-complex, well-animated animatronics I've ever seen. Totally an amazing ride- get there early (skipping Midway Mania is best), get a FastPass later, and maybe even one or two later on if you want- I rode this endlessly.

        MERMAID LAGOON: One of the token "Kiddie Areas" that all Parks need these days. However, none are THIS well-done. King Triton's Castle looks awesome from far away, and the entrance is neat (though they stack so many Hidden Mickeys in there that looking for them stops being fun). There's assorted Kiddie Rides all around (spinning stuff, minor coaster, balloon races, etc.), but for an adult, the "money" stuff is exploring through a neat cavern that includes Ariel's Grotto and one of the few Character-Themed Gift Shops (which sells tons of Ariel-based stuff, including what looks oddly like a "Waifu Pillow"). The Grotto looks just like it does in the movie, complete with Prince Eric's statue and assorted land-dweller stuff.

        There's also a Greeting Grotto, one of the only ways to meet a real Face Character in the Parks (most are Head Characters). Oddly, Ariel seems to be placed by caucasians in all the stuff I've seen. I didn't go in (I feel that it's weird for a single adult male to walk in there and "meet Ariel", plus there's a wait). I also skipped the new show, as I've heard it was kind of a mess, the line-ups were always rather large (30-45 minutes), and I could always just see it on YouTube later anyways .

        So for a place that's mainly there for kids, it's ASTONISHING how well it's designed- the area with all the Rides is colourful and cartoony enough to be worth just sitting there and taking it all in, and the entrance, featuring a huge Triton statue and assorted other stuff, is also very cool. This makes Disney's ToonTown and all the Kiddie areas various Universal Parks include look like crap by comparison. Not bad for a place with no "Adult" Rides.

        ARABIAN COAST: Set up largely like Agrabah, with lots of "Arabic-Domed" buildings, it features the greatest-looking carousel of all time- a massive two-floored Merry-Go-Round thing topped by the largest dome in the port! Just amazing to look at. There's a Kiddie Flying Carpet ride, a restaurant, and a theatre show (I skipped it).

        To me, the REAL money here is Sindbad's Storybook Village- I'd heard a lot of praise for this quiet little Boat Dark Ride, and yes- it's all warranted. Imagine "it's a small world" but with a catchier song and REALLY fun animatronics- these are some of the most-advanced I've ever seen, especially since they look cartoonish and very cute. They got Alan Menken to write the song that plays through the entire thing, and it's very catchy- though eventually you'll get sick of it after multiple ride-throughs. You go through numerous adventures with Sindbad and his cute Tiger Cub sidekick Chandu, as you see a Rukh (what I usually see written as "Roc"), a Giant, some Mermaids, some Arabian villages, and more. This would actually be a fun little movie. I was able to ride this again and again, thanks to a startling lack of line-ups all day long.

        Comment


        • #5
          Thanks for sharing! Can't wait to visit and your tips will surely be helpful!

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Jabroniville View Post
            (Part II)

            FANTASYLAND:
            A bit different, owing to being less-compressed than DL's, but lacking the extra bits from MK's. It's got Peter Pan (it was down this time, which was too bad- it's a great people-eater), Snow White (which ALSO has giant placards warning parents about how terrifying it is- the witch REALLY jumps from behind things unexpectedly, giving a lot of kids jump-scare based pants-wetting), and Pinocchio as the Classic Dark Rides. As the park quickly descended into out-of-control line-ups that first morning, I saw 2-hour line-ups hit Pirates, Pooh, Monsters Inc, all three Mountains... and a five-minute wait for freakin' Pinocchio . Oh, PINOCCHIO... even in the far-off land of Japan, the tales of your suckitude are well-known.

            There's also it's a small world, which is always familiar. No Disney-based characters, though. The Haunted Mansion, decked out for Nightmare Before Christmas (again, catering to APs means they feel the need to shake things up with new, temporary bits), was popular all day, though it usually had quick FastPass return times (probably owing to the long-ish wait even for that). I'd have rather seen the original of course, but what can ya do?

            And of course the Holy Grail of this park- Pooh's Hunny Hunt. Famous for its use of the Trackless Ride format and advances in Dark Ride Technology, it's pretty cool. Pooh & Tigger sound way different in Japanese. Still feels a bit short, but it's fun to be thrown around a room of odd stuff amongst all the other vehicles, intersecting paths with them. They REALLY should have built this in the States instead of one of the generic Pooh Dark Rides they used. When I brought up my FastPass the first day, they said the ride was down and I could use my FP at any point in the day... I wandered by later JUST when it was starting up again, using my FP. It was then that I realized it was probably a Walk-On by that point, so I could have ridden it again. Oh well.

            TOONTOWN: Pushed off in the right-hand corner of the park instead of under a bridge, but looks mostly like Disneyland's. It features the Car Toon Spin (a fun dark ride still), and Meet & Greets that were way too busy for me to even try visiting (I never really feel the need to meet Characters anyhow). An annoying place to be trapped during a parade.

            TOMORROWLAND: Very, very open compared to the other parks, with more separated, under-themed buildings. A ton of space between them, preventing the huge log-jams known at Disneyland. It's got some of the usual stuff. Star Tours is here (I FINALLY got some different bits- my trips usually involved getting the same couple. The Hoth one was new to me, as was the robot trying to stop you instead of Vader), and was quite popular one day, but a majorly-empty walk-on the next couple of times. Very strange. I'd say that Star Wars isn't very big here, but the MASSIVE booths at toy stores would disagree with that.

            I skipped the "Stitch's Great Escape/Alien Encounter" thing (Stitch is VERY POPULAR in Japan, and so the line-ups were enormous), and finally went on the Buzz Lighyear Astro Orbiters things a couple of times. Oddly, it had MASSIVE line-ups all day long, but then emptied out after 7 or so. I got some okay scores, but I find the guns tremendously hard to aim- some of the high scores are so far ahead I can't believe it. Space Mountain is the "money" attraction as always, and feels way different to me- the other parks' versions feel more like "Space Tunnels", while this one actually felt like you were moving around an open star-field- you could SEE other "trains" going at the same time as yours, and it was both slower and less-bumpy than WDW's. Very odd.

            The biggest attraction is Monster's Inc., which is basically a Dark Ride where your flashlight switches some animatronics on if you hit the "M" logo. Fun, but not really TWO & A HALF HOURS fun, so I FastPassed it once on each day (same as Pooh).

            FINAL SUMMATION: Tokyo Disneyland is arguably the strongest of the "Main" Disney Parks in terms of attractions, over DL & MK, though they're all pretty close. It has almost all the attractions of DL (plus a few), but much more space to alleviate the crowds. However, the sheer crowding, even at 8 in the morning, makes it a tougher go at points. Though that might just be the time of year talking, I went around the same time I went to DL one year, and there is absolutely no comparison between the line-ups of the two parks- California feels like an empty shack compared to Tokyo's main Park. MK has a few things unique to itself that are worth seeing (Hall of Presidents, Little Mermaid, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train), with TDL only having a couple unique to itself (Pooh & Monsters Inc). There's of course the language barrier (most Cast Members speak a BIT of English, but not a lot) and the cost of getting to Japan to factor in, but all things being equal, you could put it as #1 of the Disney Parks and not be too far off (WDW is helped out big-time by there being three other parks next door). I think the only thing stunting my praise of it was the fact that I'd already RIDDEN all but two of the attractions in the past couple years, meaning they were "old hat" to me by that point!
            Looks Like Tomorrowland is Still the World of the Move Retro Style.

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            • #7
              Thanks for sharing. I enjoy to read your opinions, and I respect your thought. I know it is a cultural difference so you may not enjoy what Asian and Japanese love. Villains World is a real hit show this Halloween. It is a high budget show with 120 dancers, 5 floats with detail costumes, water, pyros, fires, some acrobats. So in generally it is quite good already for a seasonal show. As you may already know; Tokyo Disney Resort refreshed seasonal entertainments mostly every year. So it is already a big point compared to the U.S parks where they played a Christmas Fantasy parade for almost >20years, etc.

              I hope you have enjoyed Tokyo Disney Resort at ist best!

              Visit my pages (Nikkoap92) for lots of pictures from Tokyo Disney Resort ^_^


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              • #8
                Enjoyed the write-up. I visited back in 2014 and had such a great time, so cool to check it out.

                And it is very cheap - but keep in mind that's because the Japanese Yen is so weak. When I visited the exchange rate was about 100 yen to $1.05; and now it's 100 yen to $0.80, so it's about ~25% cheaper for Americans today than it was 2 years ago.

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                • #9
                  PART II:


                  LOST RIVER DELTA:
                  Hee- I actually missed the side bit ENTIRELY the first day I was here- I usually ran right for the Indiana Jones stuff and skipped the side-road that takes you to one stretch. Not much to miss, though- it's effectively a well-themed bridge with some restaurants (some fake fruit stands and containers and stuff- kind of neat). It's set up like jungle-ridden Mexico on your way to find Mayan stuff. There's a Rollercoaster here that was down when I went, and is where Meet & Greets with Mickey, Minnie & Goofy are, but the big attraction is the Indiana Jones ride. It's basically a Clone of the Disneyland attraction, but features the Temple of the Crystal Skull instead of that room of fire or whatever (it's been 18 years since I rode the California version). It's GREAT fun, though- a Giant Snake, a room of poison darts, etc.

                  The best part is me going solo, so I could always use the Single Rider option. This effectively turns a 1-1.5 hour wait into a Walk-On, as you can take whatever time you want, and they'll just plop you in the middle of a 20-person Jeep that happens to have an extra seat. And in a replica of my most-memorable moment of my original Disney trip all those years ago, the ride broke down and I got to walk off of it... though sadly I'd already passed the giant boulder, so I was right at the end of the thing. It's always fun to see these rides with the lights on, as you get to see what isn't themed (the final room has a few columns, but is basically entirely generic plywood that's been painted black). In DL's version, it once broke down in the middle room, and we got to walk through almost the ENTIRE ATTRACTION, getting close-ups of everything. I was longing for a major ride to do this during my stay, but this was the closest it got.

                  PORT DISCOVERY: Kind of a "filler" Land, to be honest. It's supposed to be a "Marina of the Future", but really looks like a Jules Verne-ized modern marina that's kind of a "Dated Vision of the Future", like Tomorrowland looks these days. The land features Aquatopia, a trackless boat ride, and holds the entrance for a short monorail ride to the other side of the park.

                  The only real major thing here is StormRider, a pretty generic "simulated storm" theatre attraction, where the big thing is you get sprayed with some water, and a big missile shoots in through the roof. It takes a big chunk of time, and there's a big opening spiel in Japanese, so there's not as much for tourists. Despite being a FastPass attraction, it's rather lame and tame, and it's apparently going to be axed in favor of a Finding Nemo attraction. If they ever build another Port besides "Frozenland" (which is going in a forest in the northwest corner), I would bet money this is the first thing that gets torn down to build it.

                  However, I was astonished to see Goofy and MAX as Head Characters. MAX! I'm the biggest fan of A Goofy Movie I know, but I didn't even realize he was known at all in Japan. Very neat (there's a store in Harajuku where I picked up an actual plush Max in a POWERLINE outfit!).

                  AMERICAN WATERFRONT: Funny to see one of these in a Non-American Park- it's themed to a few American cities, but is mainly New York (but with... really, really short buildings). New York Harbor features the Big Band Beat, a musical review of the Jazz Age that I kind of shrugged and just went in casually, but actually REALLY enjoyed (despite an oddly-large focus on the female cat from The Arisocats), and went back to see later in the day. The entire dancing cast is Japanese-looking, but the main stars are all speaking English and are American (I was far enough away that it was hard to tell, but looking online revealed the Casting Calls for "Attractive Singers of Caucasian/Black Origin" for long-term positions).

                  New York features an accurately-grungy looking harbor, as well as a store themed with Scrooge McDuck, the greatest of all Disney characters (sadly, no Merch for him, really). Some girls freaked out because of a cockroach in there, but gave me an odd look when I squashed it and booted him into a corner . The big-name part of the whole deal is the S.S. Columbia, a HUGE passenger ship that's really just the setting for a couple of restaurants- a simple bar one and a fancier one. I actually got into the bigger one, and had a great Lobster Tail thing. Tiny, TINY portions, of course- so I was still hungry! Don't they realize I'm a Westerner- if that tail doesn't look like it came off the monster in "Journey to the Center of the Earth", then I'm not satisfied, dang it!

                  There's also some old-timey vehicles, a New York Deli (I didn't eat there, but a walk-through shows an astonishingly-huge well-detailed bunch of eateries in one location- I actually could have spent time in here just admiring everything, though it was a bit busy to just gawk at the scenery), sometimes you'll see Face Characters (only one I saw was Cruela De Vil, who only spoke English and always grimaced horribly into the cameras of excited Japanese people). It's home to the Toy Story Midway Mania ride, making it VERY crowded in that part- I assume it's the same as the American versions, except this one features a freaky Woody Head that you have to walk through. Looks like a freakin' extra from Attack on Titan, especially since you have to walk through its mouth! There's also the Tower of Terror, a Clone of the DCA version, though themed around a generic Explorer and a Magic Idol instead of The Twilight Zone, since the Japanese are utterly-unfamiliar with that one. The multi-story drop felt shorter than in the other parks, though that's probably just me- they also anchor you in with over-the-shoulder restraints. There's apparently a really-detailed queue, though I got a FastPass and skipped all of that. Maybe that's too bad, but I didn't feel like waiting an hour, and I never really feel the need to drop that far TWICE in a trip.

                  There's also a version of Turtle Talk With Crush in this land (where a CGI Crush from Finding Nemo actually talks to and answers questions from people in the audience). And it's the launching point for a neat little steamboat that takes you around the entire Park, complete with zipping into the volcano- the only view you'll get of Mount Prometheus from the BOTTOM.

                  CAPE COD: The other section of "America" is Cape Cod, set up more like an Eastern U.S. Harbor Fishing Village, complete with a lighthouse (that is really just a replica of a lighthouse) and several themed buildings. There's no real ATTRACTION here, per se- it's just the setpiece for some restaurants and stuff about Duffy the Disney Bear. About Duffy (for those unfamiliar): He failed to make much of a dent in America. But the Japanese basically decided to market ANOTHER kind of plush toy and artificially-create a new member to join "The Big Five". They created a story about Minnie Mouse creating a stuffed bear for Mickey to take on his adventures around the world- something to remember her by. Duffy The Bear ends up getting a personality or whatever, and Mickey dresses him up in various costumes.

                  Now, this is crass commercialism at its very finest- the idea being that you not only sell Duffy plushes, but COSTUMES for the character as well. MULTIPLE ones. To the point where it's this giant thing for Park Guests to dress up their Duffies, get PICTURES taken of him, and do Meet & Greets with a Head Character and all that. It's a big industry in a nation obsessed with collecting things and buying stuff- a real money-maker for Disney. HOWEVER, attempts to replicate this success in America (which is obsessed with collecting as well, but not to the same degree) met with failure, as Americans were like "WTH? A stuffed toy we're supposed to just accept and collect stuff for?" Not as many adults here willing to collect clothing for a bear, either. And so Duffy was a big flop in the States TWICE now, and his merch soon took a back-seat. But he's obviously still going strong in Japan, as he even has a GIRLFRIEND now (of COURSE it has bows on its head, why would you even ASK that?). The religious obsession some Japanese people feel for Duffy (I've read essay-length posts about how much people love Duffy) is downright disconcerting at times. And this is coming from someone who's spent $500 on Frozen merchandise. It's a cultural thing .

                  FINAL SUMMATION: It's considered a bit of a "Crowning Jewel" for a reason- this is easily the best-looking Theme Park in the entire world. EVERYTHING is well-themed and set up perfectly- and best of all, they even left in room to grow! They're actually building a NORDIC expansion off of the Lost River Delta... and by "Nordic" I mean FROZEN, as every building in their plan looked straight out of Arendelle, including the family Castle, and of course Elsa's Ice Palace. It looks utterly amazing just from the hand-drawn stuff, and it'll totally make a return trip worthwhile.

                  The ATTRACTIONS aren't as numerous as in Disneyland, or in a few other parks- for E-Tickets, you've essentially got three clones (and one's Midway Mania, which is mediocre). However, 20K Leagues is a great unique little ride, and Journey is AMAZING. Sindbad is also very cool, and let's face it- Indiana Jones rocks as well. But the Attractions are almost secondary for how the park LOOKS- because everything's so new, there's been no time for things to get dated or "they could really change this around". Only thing I thought was weaker was parts of the Mediterranean Harbor, Port Discovery, and Lost River Delta (which is really just a stretch of semi-themed stuff).

                  If they'd simply translated this to Florida or Cali, you'd instantly have a Top-Tier Disney Park- the only thing keeping it from the "Magic Kingdom"-style parks is the smaller number of attractions. But that can be a bit of a benefit- it makes the crowds a little more manageable, and the Theming is perfect for Park Snobs to enjoy. It rocks over anything in Florida except The Magic Kingdom- it has less to do & see than Epcot, but is in such a greater package (with few of Epcot's weak points) that it doesn't matter- you can easily see everything in this Park in one day, but two is basically required just to enjoy it all.

                  ---

                  BOTH PARKS COMBINED: This is a top-tier Disney Vacation, for sure. I'd say it's better than California (more to do in larger Parks, and no obvious "weak link" like California Adventure), but weaker than Florida. The individual PARKS are better than anything in Florida, but of course there are FOUR Parks there, all featuring different stuff- there's more to keep you occupied. And yeah, there's enough Clones about to make it a little less "special" if you're already used to the E-Ticket attractions: as someone who's gone to Cali & Florida in the past five years, it takes the impact out of some of it. Still worth visiting obviously- but mainly for DisneySea.
                  Last edited by Jabroniville; 11-13-2015, 03:37 AM.

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                  • #10
                    Some observations about the country and its people that I made while I was there:

                    * The trains are not only super-efficient, they're easy to figure out even if you only speak English. Matter of fact, English was so ubiquitous on the Tokyo trains that I wondered if it was actually annoying to the Japanese people. Almost half of EVERYTHING was in English.

                    * The most popular manga by FAR is One Piece, with nearly every kind of collectible or toy shop having something related to it. Dragon Ball Z was close behind (probably thanks in part to the newer movies coming out). The only "Girls Manga" even close was Sailor Moon, which only had a bit of stuff.

                    * The most popular thing PERIOD, however, is easily Frozen. Go pretty much anywhere that sells toys and you'll find a Frozen section that's JUST as big as the section for all of Disney's stuff! Disney itself if of course massively-popular.

                    * There are almost ZERO FAT PEOPLE here. Even within a few hours I was stunned- an entire country of thin people. Even the old people, and the badly-crippled who were in wheelchairs (NEVER motorized vehicles- those would simply be impossible to use here with the population density). Looking at their diet (and their portion sizes- several times I was given meat about the size of one recommended "portion"- the size of a deck of cards), you begin to see why. Also, BY AMAZING COINCIDENCE, these are the longest-lived people on Earth.

                    * The "Collectible" market is enormous, with countless stores advertising to "Otaku" (geeks/nerds). Akihabara of course has dozens of these places, but you can find them all over the place, and most malls have at least one place selling statuettes. Very few actual movable Action Figures, though. The prices are often INSANELY cheap (stuff that's marked up to 60 bucks here barely costs over 20 in Japan). Shonen (boys) manga is the major sensation found at all of these, with dozens of each notable DBZ or One Piece character.

                    * What I found perhaps MORE odd was the stuff that was completely absent- plenty of older manga & anime was still very well-represented in these shops (Lupin III, Saint Seiya, Gundam), but others, even ones that were recently VERY huge, are completely non-existant. If I hadn't known for a fact that these things were very popular, I would never have known that Naruto, Bleach, Fullmetal Alchemist or basically any non-Sailor Moon shoujo (girls) stuff had ever existed. I saw exactly one store selling any Naruto stuff, compared to hundreds selling OP/DBZ stuff.

                    * I read a lot about the whole "Japanese Business Cards" thing, and how you're supposed to take it with two hands. I was surprised to discover the people doing EVERYTHING like that- even giving and receiving money was done two-handed. Something about doing it one-handed seeming too casual or rudely off-hand or something. Naturally, despite reading for MONTHS the proper way to handle cards, the ONE TIME somebody handed me a business card, I absentmindedly grabbed it with one hand and looked at it for all of a second before simply carrying it along with some flyers the guy gave me .

                    * The "helpful clerk" thing is true in large part, though you'll still find a ton of people with that cynical, bored "YUP- workin' retail..." look on their faces.

                    * Japanese money is kind of annoying. Their smallest bill is equivalent to $10, with a GIGANTIC coin for $5. And despite many things being in fractions, there are no 25-cent coins, and few people give out 50-cent ones- you'll simply get a wad of 10-cent coins dumped in your hand. And these coins are LARGER than the omnipresent $1 coins (look just like quarters), meaning that your wallet will be clogged the second you buy something. Also, you'll get a 1-cent coin once in a blue moon. These are entirely-worthless, as almost nothing in the entire country requires something beyond a multiple of ten yen. The only things you'll typically find that require odd-numbered money is in Convenience Stores.

                    * Convenience Stores are omnipresent- there's often one per block, usually 7-Eleven or Lawson. A couple other brands are pretty common, though.

                    * The stereotype of Japan is often based around salarymen, but I saw relatively few. What I DID notice, however, was just how massive the SERVICE INDUSTRY has to be. There's one or two convenience stores on every BLOCK, and hundreds of stores for every mall or department store around- and ALL of those places were well-staffed. Restaurants, too- hundreds and hundreds of them with only eight seats each. Still have people working there. I'm actually interested to find out just how much those people MAKE- they're usually staffed by younger-looking women, but also plenty of 20-something men and older people. Fairly few middle-aged sorts in retail, from the looks of things.

                    * Japan is a very interesting study of contrasts. The culture loves simplicity and minimalism in art and design... yet builds the most-massive, neon-lit skyscrapers in a super-packed mega-city. They worship youth and cuteness... but maintain a very old population. They're famously-reserved, quiet and stoic... but have a vastly-loud youth culture and enjoy Pachinko (the world's noisiest thing, ever).

                    * Never go to the top floor of any store. Ever.

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                    • #11
                      Pictures:

                      The Hotel in front of Disneyland:


                      Cinderella Castle (different colour scheme than Florida's):



                      One of the stores has a life-sized Cinderella figure:



                      An animated model in the Animation building:



                      New Orleans Square (well, two streets):





                      This dough thing was pretty good:

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                      • #12
                        Assorted:









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                        • #13
                          SIngle Rider is good even if you are with someone. They will often have multiple seats on one car or if you ask, simply put you together. They are very accommodating.

                          Although Florida does indeed have four parks, there is also a lot of waste there as well, and some rides that are clearly inferior to counterparts elsewhere. Kali River Rapids, I'm looking at you.

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                          • #14
                            I just wanted to really thank you, Jabroniville, for this very thorough and down-to-earth trip report. We're going to TDS this spring and I was kind of daunted by the whole thing. You really answered a lot of questions and made the planning seem a lot more manageable. Thank you!!

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                            • #15
                              King Triton's Kingdom





                              Arabian Coast:



                              Assorted:


                              OMG- It's MAX!! They have a MAX Head Character!!








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