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Konnichiwa! A look at Disney in Japan
Special: A look inside the Tokyo DisneySea attractions!

Special: A look inside the Tokyo DisneySea attractions!

ONE | TWO


MousePlanet is blessed with some wonderful readers, many of whom write in, offer suggestions, give tour reports, and generally help out so we can assemble our content for you every weekday. Sometimes we get something really special from those nice folks - and we want to share it with you. A few weeks ago a kind reader, Ted, sent me the following note:

Al, In surfing the web I have found several good photo essays of Tokyo DisneySea including the one you have run on MousePlanet. However, I have seen very little information on, or reviews of the actual attractions. There has been a little information here and there, but nothing that really examines each ride or show in depth. If other fans are anything like me, there is some pent up demand for this type of thing.

As part of a longer trip through Japan my wife and I will be spending 5 days at the Tokyo Disney Resort , staying at the Hotel Mira Costa. Would you and your readers be interested in ride reviews and a peek inside the attractions of Tokyo DisneySea?

Were we interested? Of course we were, and thanks to Ted, we now have a new series of photos and reviews to share with you from this terrific new park - showcasing the attractions themselves. As this series will run as Ted's time permits, keep checking back for his latest installments. I'm sure you'll agree with me that's he's done an absolutely spectacular job, and the staff here at MousePlanet thanks him for allowing us to present his tour to you here.

And before I forget, YES THERE ARE SCADS OF SPOILERS HERE. In fact just close this browser window right now if you don't want to know anything about this ride. I assure you Ted gives it all away here, so don't say we didn't warn you!


Part One: Journey to the Center of the Earth

Photos and text by Ted
(Please note that he retains the copyright to all photos and they may not be used without his
permission.)

Tokyo DisneySea attractions

Walt Disney had a name for the visual icons in his park. The buildings and show elements that defined an area and beckoned visitors to explore the various "lands" of Disneyland were called "wienies."

Wienies play a very important role in a theme park. By giving visitors a clear destination on the horizon it keeps them moving around the entire park. A well designed park has wienies placed strategically throughout it so that just after a visitor arrives at one, they suddenly spot the next. Disneyland is full of wienies. The rocky peaks of Big Thunder, the snow capped pinnacle of the Matterhorn, or the fairy tale spires of Sleepy Beauty's Castle are all wienies.

Tokyo DisneySea attractions

At the center of Tokyo DisneySea sits a massive, steam-belching, fire-breathing volcano by the name of Mt. Prometheus and it's the most impressive wienie you have ever seen. It looms over visitors as they approach it, an omnipresent reminder of just how incredible a Disney theme park can be. This man-made volcano is proof that given the chance (and allowed the proper vision and budget) the Imagineers are capable of some amazing things that can make the mind bend.

Within the bowels of Mt. Prometheus is the star attraction of the new DisneySea park, Journey to the Center of the Earth. In a park full of E-ticket rides and large scale shows Journey stands as THE attraction which best defines the scale and scope of Tokyo DisneySea. There has been a great deal of confusion over what exactly this attraction is. Is it a roller coaster? Is it a simulator? Does it use some sort of Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Forbidden Eye type of enhanced motion vehicle technology?

Journey to the Center of the Earth

In fact Journey utilizes the same technology Disney first employed on the much delayed Test Track attraction at Walt Disney World's Epcot. This same system was later used (heavily modified) for the doomed and now defunct Rocket Rods attraction in Disneyland. The difference is that here in Tokyo the Journey ride was designed and built around this transport system. It was not retrofitted into an existing building or shoe-horned onto old tracks designed for much slower moving vehicles. With Journey to the Center of the Earth we finally get to see what this system can do when engineered and built properly from the ground up, and the results are nothing short of spectacular.

Loosely based on the Jules Verne novel of the same name, Journey to the Center of the Earth takes passengers on a thrilling ride into the Earth's core. Along the way visitors admire crystal caverns, giant mushroom forests, a myriad of bizarre creatures and finally encounter a giant subterranean creature who is not very happy to have you treading through his home. It's an attraction that really shows off what Disney does best. From it's elaborately themed queue to the meticulously detailed ride vehicles and on to the exciting finale, this ride screams quality and care from the very start to the very end.

Journey to the Center of the Earth

Visitors enter the queue from caverns within the volcano. Past what is the best attraction sign I have ever seen (an animated sign that spells the attractions name out of moving, smoking lava - below) lies a brilliant, immersive and intriguing queue system. While in line guests are guided past smoking fissures of lava, intricate reproductions of Victorian scientific labs and eventually to a bank of elevators designed to bring visitors even deeper in to the planets center.

Journey to the Center of the Earth


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