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