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
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!
Aquatopia & StormRider
Photos and text
(Please note that he retains the copyright to all photos and
they may not be used without his permission.)
continuing with part three of our series of Tokyo DisneySea
reviews I would like to take a moment to thank everyone who has written
with kind words and encouragement. I am happy to hear that so many
people are enjoying these reviews. I've tried to be very specific with
the details of each attraction assuming that many people will not get a
chance to visit Tokyo anytime soon (though I would encourage you to do
Yet I am surprised that
people have asked for even more details and more specific descriptions
and photos from the rides. Therefore, in an effort to please, this
review has a series of video screen grabs in addition to the normal
photographs. The screen grabs are of a lower quality but show the ride
in clear chronological order. If you are visiting the resort anytime
soon please skip this review as it will spoil much of your
enjoyment by eliminating all the surprises.
is Tokyo DisneySea's answer to Tomorrowland, or to be even more
specific here, it is the Japanese answer to Discoveryland at Disneyland
Paris. It shares the same general feel as its French counterpart,
however gives up much of the future as seen by past visionaries theme in
lieu of a more straightforward approach. Port Discovery is also the
smallest of the lands (or "Ports of Call" as they like to call
them) at DisneySea. Two attractions call Port Discovery home and it is
fairly locked in with little room for expansion.
Photo by Todd Meigan
The most striking feature of
this area is how half of Port Discovery does not border on a neighboring
attraction or land but rather on the Pacific ocean (above). Tokyo
DisneySea is built on reclaimed land and in essence sits in Tokyo Bay.
This opportunity affords the park to do some truly unique things, this
is the case here in Port Discovery. What looks like a retaining wall and
dam actually hides an access road just outside of the park, beyond which
are uninterrupted views of the ocean. The Imagineers have created a body
of water within the park that runs throughout Port Discovery and lines
up with the Pacific. From the correct angles the park's water looks as
if it flows directly into the ocean. The effect is mesmerizing as it
truly feels as though the ocean enters the park and laps up at the
shores of Port Discovery.
attraction visitors encounter in Aquatopia. Aquatopia features
the same ride system Pooh's Hunny Hunt utilizes across the way in Tokyo
Disneyland. It is a technologically fascinating setup which I could not
possibly begin to understand or explain, but the end results are
amazing. The system uses no tracks, rails or wires of any type to guide
the vehicles. Rather the cars are remotely controlled and move as if by
magic. In the case of Pooh's Hunny Hunt that means the vehicles (themed
to be giant honey pots) glide smoothly and effortlessly through the
attraction. They stop, spin, cross paths with each other and accelerate
and decelerate with such a freedom of movement that it leaves one
breathless. This ride system is a breakthrough which adds tremendously
to the enjoyment of the attraction and is really something special.
Promotional photo © Disney
It was a wonderful idea to
use this same system in DisneySea, however a great attraction needs more
than just a great ride system to really shine (remember Disneyland's
Rocket Rods?). Aquatopia is an outdoor attraction that features scads of
hovercrafts cruising across a large lake, and it looks like a ball...
The boats dodge rocks, drift past whirlpools, narrowly avoid hitting
each other and even pass water falls and geysers. It all looks very
kinetic and random, almost out of control. Sometimes the crafts stop and
spin in place, other times the boats plow full speed ahead. The
passengers are idle, they have no control over the movements at all...
they are simply along for the ride.
Alas, the ride is in many
ways more fun to look at than it is to ride. Unlike the Pooh attraction
Aquatopia is not smooth and graceful. The boats do not really float at
all, the water is in fact only a few inches deep. They drive on hidden
wheels over a rough surface hidden beneath the water. This causes the
boats to rumble and the ride to be surprisingly rough. You feel as if
you are riding over a never ending series of speed bumps. In addition,
any surprises you may of had from narrow misses are diminished as you
have already seen the entire attraction while waiting in line.
However the attraction does
look great. In the end that is the real purpose of Aquatopia; to be set
dressing for the area and perhaps provide an attraction suitable for
children. In this regard it reminds me a great deal of the Orbitron
attraction in Tomorrowland. It looks like a lot more fun than it is, but
man, it really does look cool.
Aquatopia as seen with the water
drained, notice how there is no track system or guides of any
by no means a bad attraction, and it really isn't meant to be a
blockbuster. Still it could be so much more and has the base
elements to be something special. Out of four stars Aquatopia gets two,
and a special pat on the back for doing great job in making the place
look lively, futuristic and fun.
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