Janice Jones -- December 2001 -- Tokyo Disneyland (Offsite)
Janice Jones wrote:
How we changed a trip from 5 days at Disneyland Anaheim to 4 days at Tokyo Disneyland.
First let me tell you that this holiday was arranged in a matter or 4 hours after the first Anthrax scare was televised in Australia. We had planned and payed for a 3 week trip over our Summer school holidays and were going to drive around South West USA ending up in Disneyland for our final 5 days of holiday.
Work and current world circumstances changed our plans.
We used refunded frequent flyer miles to arrange Business Class seats to Tokyo from Brisbane Qld Australia (9 hour flight) and our refunds from the cancelled trip payed for our Hotel Accommodation and Disneyland and Disney Sea passes. Our passes were for 4 days and because of the Holiday season we were told we had to go to Disney sea the first day, Disneyland the second day and could park hop between the 2 the final 2 days.
We flew out of Brisbane on 28 Dec and the Temp was 39 C with 99% humidity. We arrived in Tokyo same day and the Temp was 12 C the warmest is was to be the whole time we were there
From Shiba Park Hotel it was 5 minutes walk to the nearest train station - 5 minutes by train to Tokyo Station then a 20min walk to change lines and 15min train trip to Tokyo Disney Station then 5 - 10 minute walk to main gate. (We did this for 4 days and were experts and getting on off and buying return tickets at the end)
This time passed quickly and was no different than staying at more inaccessible WDW resort and using the transport system (as we did in 2000 when we were there) We never waited more than 5 minutes for trains to any destination and the novelty of being the only Australians on the trains must have thrilled the locals. One major highlight of our train trips was to see Mt Fuji in the distance 3 days out of 4 we went to the Parks. ( the weather was crisply clear those days)
31 Dec - Disney Sea.
After the brilliant preview on MousePlanet I knew what to expect but my family didn't and let me tell you that the pictures did not do the reality justice.
The Themeing was amazing.
We left our hotel at 8.am and arrived at Disneyland 8.55 am to get to Disney Sea you take the resort monorail (cost 1000 yen day for a day ticket).
The weather was fine and clear. The Temp was 4C and brisk. As the park is new the crowds were enormous and we were the only Anglo Saxons to be seen. We entered under the Mirra Costa hotel and saw a human tide of people heading up the hill to Mysterious Island where 2000 Leagues under the sea and Journey to the Centre of the earth are. We lined up with everyone and noticed that the waiting time for the ride 2000 leagues was 180 minutes at 9 a.m. (3 hours no way) so got out of the line and walked straight on to Journey to the centre of the earth. They are in the same area - both E rides but people must confuse them so one line is great and the other isn't.
Journey is a great ride and feels just like the movie travelling down the centre of the earth and just like the movie there is a sting in the end that surprised and delighted us all.
After our adventure it was time to refuel and explore some more so we headed off to Arabian nights. We went through the Market place to a sit down cafeteria in the Casbah Food Court.
We arrive at 11 am and decided to eat before all the crowds descended.
We had peanut chicken rice and lavish bread platters each and glasses of orange drink Total cost 3200 yen for 4.
The Themeing was brilliant with glistening domes and ceramic tiling you were transported to a whole new world.
From here we went on the Sinbad seven seas ride (Arabian water ride similar to pirates all in Japanese). We could understand the story line by the scenes and enjoyed the ride)
From here we went to the Lost Delta and Col Rebecca and Andrew stood in line for Indiana Jones ride and I went and found a sunny spot and snoozed for an hour. As we were too far away to go home and have a break this was a pattern we seemed to stick to on our trip. It was funny to see Japanese people just sit down anywhere and close their eyes and rest safe in their surroundings so when in Rome......
After conquering the Lost delta we went and had hot cocoa and banana calzones a weird combination but it hit the spot. Did I mention that it was cold - we never have temps like this at home - our winters are mild in the 20's C and the average min is 6-10C at night hardly any frosts - no snow at all.
It was great walking around and enjoying the brisk temps.
We then went to Mermaid Lagoon and into King Trident's grotto an amazing undersea play area for kids of all ages. The lighting - ray spot lights and jellyfish cast on the floor made it feel as if you were swimming under the sea. There were rides like Fantasy land - spinning shells in the whirlpool and flying Blowfish Balloon race and jumping jellyfish- we spent at least an hour in the grotto.
As we left the grotto we came into Old world Venice and the parade Porto Paradiso water carnival with the song "Listen to the Sea" performed on the central Lagoon. We didn't have a good spot to see this and decided that we would see this another day.
It was now 4 p.m. and the temp was dropping for us tropical birds so we needed some fuel to burn to keep us warm. We headed for the New York Deli on the American water front and had turkey sandwiches with dill pickles and sweet potato fries. (surprise of the day fries were white potato fried then covered in sugar and cinnamon hence name sweet potato fries - yuk)
As it was New Years eve the park was closing early and we did not want to get caught in the crush leaving so we left at 4.30 p.m and outside to our amazement were hundreds of people sleeping on the floor in sleeping bags (thermal I hope) waiting for the all night party that was going to start at 8p.m.
Good luck to them it was too cold for me to do. From the monorail we also saw huge crowds sleeping in the Disneyland car park as well.
(When we arrived at the park the next day there were hundreds of people in sleeping bags sleeping in the park after New Years Eve)
1 - Jan - Happy New Year from Tokyo Disneyland.
We arrived at the park at 9.00 am after out usual trip on JR (Japan Rail)
It was a bit misty and very cool and lots of people recovering from the night before. We had tried to get a ticket for the New Years Eve party while we were in Australia - you had to send a post card to Disneyland with your request for tickets and then went into a ballot draw - well we didn't get the tickets and because we weren't staying close they would have been a waste of money.
The park had been open all night so a lot of rides at this time of the morning where walk ons. Col Rebecca and Andrew went straight to Space Mountain while I had a hot cocoa in the space port. The Themeing is very sparse out side but I was told inside the ride is quicker than the ones in US. After this ride we walked on Star Wars and from there went to Honey I shrunk the audience. It is here that I have to mention the extraordinary lengths that the CMs went to accommodate us Aussies. The Film is is Japanese and of course we don't understand the language but in the last row are headsets in English. We were in line and not expecting any special treatment when we entered the theatre the CMs then moved people from these seats so that we could enjoy the audio - we would have been quite happy to listen in Japanese as we have seen the movie at Disneyland and WDW but no we were given VIP treatment - very nice.
After Honey I shrunk the audience we went to Western land and had a snack at Pecos Bills Café - turkey wraps, churros and hot cocoa. I people watched while the Col and the kids went on Big thunder Mt - they had fast passes for an hour earlier but we had got side tracked snacking - so Rebecca who is blonde charmed her way past the CMS and off they rode. Are you seeing a pattern here. I did all the mountains when we went to Disneyland in 98 and vowed been there done that not doing them again, so I was quite happy to sit them out and let the kids do their thing with Dad.
The family was taking a long time coming off the railway and unbeknown to me someone had given them fast passes for Splash Mt so they went on this as well.
When they came off the ride Andrew gleefully tells me that there are 3 drops not one and I hate drops so I am glad they didn't even try to get me on it.
The Tiki Room was next on our list and as we sat in the pre show area Andrew comments that his seat is heated and we all go and sit with him as it was still cold. We were sitting near the Volcano god and this special effect felt really good.
I had forgotten to make any reservations for lunch so we stood in line for the Polynesian Terrace Restaurant. The line moved very slowly because inside people who had been in the park all night were taking advantage of the tables and being indoors and were sleeping at the tables.
The meal by the way was a buffet with a south seas flavour very nice.
After our meal we went out to see people lined up for the 100 Years of Walt Parade that was in an hour's time. As in a previous trip report posted about Tokyo Disneyland the Japanese bring plastic mats and rugs and stake out their position all very neatly and civilized - every one gets to see the parade.
We didn't - we went to It's a small world and walked onto the ride.
The time was 3 p.m and we were starting to flag so we made our way out of the park to catch the train back to our hotel and have dinner for New Years day.
Day 3 - 2nd January Park hopping
Today we started off in Disney Sea and were determined to go on 2000 leagues under the sea. Were the crowds any less - no. We stood in line for 3 hours for this attraction. You are saying by now - your nuts - no we just weren't going to be in the neighbourhood for very long and everyone wanted to go on the ride. So up and down, round and round the line snaked and at one stage Col and I were separated from Rebecca and Andrew and this is another part of the Disney magic that touched our lives this day. We were at the preloading area ( with another 1/2 hour to go and 2 CM's came running up to us and we saying Son daughter Hi, Hi and pulled us out of line and marched up past hundreds of people to our kids. It wasn't difficult to tell that they belonged to us but we didn't expect the treatment and felt really bad for the people we had cue jumped over. Thank you Disney for your great CM's.
The ride was spectacular - worth a 3 hour wait - yes. Will I tell you about it - no - you will just have to go.
It was now lunch time and we headed for a sit down restaurant to rest out aching tired legs and feet.
We went to the Horizon Bay Restaurant and ordered an appetizer, main course, bread dessert and 2 drinks each. This was not a lot of food as we had learned from past experience that servings were small and besides we needed to sit down and rest our aching legs. The cost of the meal was 8400.00 yen.
After we had refueled and refreshed we headed out to see the show on the main lagoon and here is where we had sleet and 30 sec of snow a great source of delight for us.
The show was great and we got some great pictures of the fireworks around the lagoon during the day.
After the show we then decided to head to Disneyland and see the Electric Light Parade - we had never seen this at either Disney's' in the US.
Did I mention that a cold front had just come in and the wind was coming from Siberia? We are glad that the main street in Tokyo is covered in and gave some respite from the wind and sleet falling. We wanted to get in from the cold so we walked onto Pirates and this ride is longer and darker and more menacing than I remember at any of the Parks. By the time the ride was finished it had stopped sleeting outside and the CMs were sweeping away all the water and it was time to get something to eat and drink. We stopped in New Orleans and had hot cocoa and honey roasted pecans and walnuts and a cinnamon bun.
By this time the storm front had passed and we went and staked out our position for the Electric Light Parade. I sat and waited while Col and the kids went on a few rides. It was really cold now and I had an overcoat jumper thermals gloves hat and new scarf (because mine was donated to Col who never feels the cold. Ha !) and still I could not keep warm. The Stores that night did a roaring trade in selling blankets and Knee warmers hats and beanies.
Col came back with Rebecca and Andrew and had brought single slices of Pizza and hot chocolate that we all nearly inhaled.
The street sellers were selling all those wonderful light up thingies and yes we bought our share.
Over the P.A the announcers were setting the scene for the excitement of the Parade. Ladies and Gentlemen Boy and Girls in 10 minutes Tokyo Disneyland Proudly Presents for Your Enjoyment the Electric Light Parade. It was great.
We had bought a CD of Disney music at home sometime and on it was the Parade music- We now play this often at home to remind us of that wonderful Parade. The floats that we saw were amazing and the costumes wonderful - I now know why everyone says this is a parade not to miss.
After the parade it was time to go home and by this time the frost in the air lent a mystical air to everything. We didn't stay for the fireworks and never did get to see them this trip but I don't think that we missed out on too much.
On the train home our seats were heated and it was good to thaw out from the bottom up so to speak.
Day 4 - 3rd Jan Disneyland
Today the crowds were a lot lighter because it was near the end of New Years Holidays and everyone was returning to go home. We first made a priority seating at the Victorian Tea Room for lunch and then started to explore,
Today must have been our day for unexpected parades.
We encountered the Welcome New Years Parade first - with Mickey and Minney dressed in traditional Japanese costume there was also Donald and Goofy in Japanese costumes and a brass band. There were also traditional Japanese good luck symbols in this parade.
As we walked down the World market place we walked into the Magic shop and were treated to our own magic show by a very good C.M who intrigued us and mystified us but also showed us how to do the tricks. We were so sold on his performance that we departed with a bag full of magic tricks for us to master.
As today was our last day we decided to take it easy and just soak up the atmosphere. We walked onto the Casey Jones railway and did the circuit and then went onto the Jungle Cruise. We then went on It's a small world and then it was time for lunch.
Lunch was set in an elegant tea room and was a set menu of:
Cost was 2100 yen per person.
After lunch I went and people watched while Colin Rebecca and Andrew did Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain and the Haunted Mansion.
I was happy to sit and soak up the atmosphere and also wait for the 100 years of Walt Disney tribute parade.
The parade was great with floats from different eras of Disney - early animation - characters from the great Walt Disney Classics - to the new superstars. A great tribute to one mans dream.
After the parade was finished Col dared me to one thing that I have never done and that is ride on the tea cups with him. I hate being spun around so I said yes on the condition that he didn't spin too much. Big Mistake. Of course he spun and spun and spun that ride till I had to close my eyes or fall of the planet. - well it cost him big time. A new dumbo toy (I had one as little girl) and a new Mickey to add to my collection of Mickeys from the other Disneys.
It 4p.m. by now and time for us to leave for our hotel as we made our way out of the Park for the last time we shopped for last minute gifts and souvenirs.
We also called into the big gift shop called Bon Voyage at the Entrance to the parks - you can have your gifts sent to anywhere in the world from here.
You can buy gift boxed anything - chocolate, biscuits, crackers, candy - you name it they have it.
One thing we were not able to buy though was a Disney tee shirt or sweater anywhere that would fit us.
Thanks for reading my trip report.