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Konnichiwa! A look at Disney in Japan

(DAY 2-WEDNESDAY, 1/30/01)

Since we knew we had to ride the Disney Resort Liner from Hotel MiraCosta to Disneyland, we decided to have our breakfast at Ikspiari, just one stop away. We left the hotel at 8:45 a.m. to grab a bite and line up for the 10 a.m. gate opening. As we left the hotel we saw that hundreds of people were already lined up at the DisneySea gates for their opening at 10!

At Ikspiari, we discovered that the only place open for breakfast there was the "It’s Mono Café", a small café serving breakfast pastries, rolls, and coffee. This helped us better understand why the hotel restaurants are so crowded for breakfast. We felt that they might better serve the resort guests by having more alternatives for more fast-food type of breakfasts at Ikspiari’s food court. Then again, maybe they want to force you to pay the high price of the breakfast buffets at the hotels (about 4000 to 4500 yen per person, which was around $35 to $40 per person when we were there). The other alternative, which I mentioned above, is to purchase breakfast items at the grocery store in the basement of Ikspiari for the following morning.

After our meal, we could have walked the short distance to the Disneyland gates, but we decided to ride the Resort Liner one more stop since it was very cold (remember, this is January, and even though it was sunny, it was windy with a high temperature in the low 40’s without wind-chill).


We arrived about 35 minutes before the gates opened, and saw that the lines were much shorter than those at DisneySea. There were probably around 30 people ahead of us in line at the gate we waited at, and a total of around 20 entry gates.


Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four

Part Five

Part Six


Written by Lisa Edwards, all photos by Tom & Lisa Edwards (scarlett1214@

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10 minutes before the gates open all the characters emerge from World Bazaar (Tokyo Disneyland’s covered version of Main Street) to gather in the empty entry plaza to await the crowd. Just before the gates opened, the most popular characters came out and ran and danced around just inside the gates and then lined up to the right of the entry plaza to await guests who wanted photographs take with them.

Surprisingly, most of those in line with young kids went straight to the characters to patiently line up and wait their turn for pictures – a nice alternative to the crushing mob scenes around the characters at US parks. Just like at DisneySea, the teenagers and younger 20-somethings all sprinted hard after entering the park to quickly get to their favorite rides.


We headed leisurely through World Bazaar (above) and to the left to reach Adventureland. However, none of the attractions opened until 11 a.m. We noticed there were quite a few rehabs going on: Big Thunder Mountain was being extensively worked on (below), and the Crystal Palace Restaurant was also closed with a large wall surrounding it.


We continued walking to the back left corner of the park to reach Critter Country and Splash Mountain (seen off in the distance below).


Although Fastpass was installed at Splash Mountain it was not operational, presumably due to the size of the crowd at Disneyland that day. We got in line about 25 minutes after the park opened and waited only about 5 minutes before we actually boarded our "log."

The ride is significantly longer than the U.S. versions, mainly because the current is slower. Perhaps the speed is something that can be controlled based on the need to cycle more or fewer people through the ride. There are also a few more little hills throughout the ride. Otherwise, the storyline and scenes are basically the same.


After Splash Mountain we decided to head back to the Adventureland area (above). We noticed that there are less distinct barriers between each land—they sort of just flow into each other without definitive gateways between one another. The walkways are much larger/wider than in the U.S., giving the park a very open feeling, but also contributing to less distinction between the lands.

We were also delighted to see that there was a Churro cart in Westernland (Tokyo’s version of Frontierland). The Churros were maple-flavored instead of cinnamon; same Churro base, but dipped in brown sugar instead of cinnamon sugar.


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