TR: (1/6) Tokyo Disneyland 5/3/2002

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Thursday, May 30, 2002 12:46 AM


This would be my first full day in Japan. My wife and I got an early start since we wanted to do a few things before going to the park. We were staying pretty close to the Tokyo Tower and a nice temple. Walking distance, actually. These seemed good places to start with. After finishing up there we had lunch and headed out to Disneyland, getting there about 2:30pm or so.

Any report that tells you that it takes 30 minutes or so to get to Tokyo Disneyland from Tokyo station are a little misleading. It's true that the ride itself is about that long. What they don't tell you is that you'll be walking quite a ways within the station from most of the other lines to get to the Meiyo line which stops at Disneyland. That ends up consuming another nice little chunk of time as it's quite a ways away from most of the other lines.

Also, don't stay near the airport. Major pain getting around from there as Narita airport is too far away from everything in Tokyo.

Quotes from me:

"It's like Disneyland, only smaller!"
"It is a small world after all!"
"We're among the little people"

Disneyland, like Tokyo, tries to cram a lot in. The lands do seem smaller, though. Particularly Fantasyland and Tomorrowland. Still, everything was well taken care of as is expected at Disney parks.

This was only Gina's 2nd visit ever to a Disney park of any kind. Her first trip was with her niece who was 4 years old at the time. Needless to say, she didn't get to ride too much. Myself, I hadn't been to Disneyland in California in a few years for probably no really good reason other than Magic Mountain is closer to home (and cheaper with season passes).

We'd just gotten there in time for one of their parades so Gina had me film the whole thing. It turned out okay though I need to get better at zooming in and out smoothly. We'd only had the camcorder two weeks tops at that point and most of the time it was used as a digital camera.

The parade itself was some 100 years of magic or something like that. All sorts of Disney characters on floats with lots of music.

After that Gina decided it was time to start getting souveniers. She certainly made sure she got enough. This was just shopping stop #1 too. Oh well. Time to ride....

-Space Mountain. What a great way to start the day. We'd gotten fast passes and, after seeing the parade and doing a little shopping, were up for our turn to ride. The line went really fast. The load/unload process was really quick. The Japanese riders were super fast in getting out of the cars as quickly as possible. They made Gina feel slow. She eventually got the hang of things, though. The ride itself was great. No music blasting as you go. Just you and the ride. I was happy. While this is no top-ten coaster it's still loads of fun and I enjoyed every second on it.

-Winnie the Pooh's Honey Hunt. This was the main reason for going to Tokyo Disneyland in the first place. I might well have skipped the park entirely were it not for this. I'd read some interesting things about it and was excited about the possibility of riding. I consider myself very lucky to have ridden this ride. It's really phenomenal. They did a very good job adding new and unusual elements to the dark ride. The cars themselves can move pretty much anywhere though it is computer controlled. No tracks here. 3 cars are sent in at a time. You see a few things and here Pooh talk a bit (in Japanese) then stop at this a few screens where you see beess flying around a bit. You then see Tigger bouncing around and your honey pots bounce with him! What was neat about this was that the three cars turn towards the screens and crunch in together pretty close. It was great seeing the kinds of movements they can do with this ride.

You end up in a Pooh dream sequence (or what seems like one) in a large room with all sorts of odd creatures (Woozles and... Ephalumps? Or something like that) and things like a cannon that goes off as your car scoots in close to it. You wander around this room a bit until you're moved out of there, heading out backwards and wagging the front of the cars back and forth. You finish off with Pooh talking a bit more.

I can't begin to describe the ride properly. I did take some footage of it, however. It's not entirely the best but it's not too bad. It should give you a little glimpse if you can avoid getting motion sick in the process (I fully admit to not being the best camera man. Might have been easier on a coaster where you just point forward and leave it there but there's things going on all over the place).

This tops Spiderman @ IOA as my favorite dark ride. Spidey and Indy are still great rides but there's just something special about Pooh's Huney Hunt that put it over the top.

After Pooh we walked around and took some more pictures. It was pretty dark by then so we just decided to hit some more rides. Big Thunder Mountain had a pretty long wait and I wasn't too worried about being a credit whore so we skipped it and went for....

-Snow White: I honestly can't remember what the one at LA/OC Disneyland is like. This one was nice. Nothing really super special or out-of-the-ordinary. Just really fun. That's really all I was looking for in this ride.

We walked around and tried to hop on some other things. I wanted to get another ride on Huney Hunt, though. On the way back I did notice something, it was what we'd been smelling in Fantasyland most of the day. Honey popcorn! Complete with a souvenier Winnie the Pooh container to hold the popcorn (with a popup lid). It cost around $8 or $9 roughly but what the hell. The lines for it were all rather long, too. The line we saw was really short so we jumped at the chance.

With popcorn in hand (or on neck, actually. You can buy a little neck strap for the popcorn holder as well) we headed back for another go at Pooh's Huney Hunt. It really is a great ride. I was wondering if the one in Florida was similar but haven't found out much info Did I mention that I really like this ride? After another Pooh ride we (okay Gina) did some more shopping. Once we'd finished that (a process that seems to take Gina far longer than it should) we noticed that everyone was leaving. It was 15 minutes to 9pm. Hmmm, wasn't closing time 10pm? Oh well. We did manage to get a ride in on....

-Pirate of the Caribbean: It's like the Disneyland one, only shorter. Actually for the most part it seems the same. Of course, I haven't been on the California one in a few years so I wasn't quite sure what was missing and/or changed. It was nice to ride again, though. Gina had never ridden the one in California so this was her first time.

After that it was closing time. I guess I was wrong on the closing time. Oh well. It was nice to visit a Disney park again. It reminded me that I really should visit Disneyland in CA again soon. It's been too long. Last time I was there, they still had the old Tomorrowland.

I really did like seeing the old-style Tomorrowland in Tokyo, though. It will be strange to see the new one in L.A. (especially since I really haven't looked at many of the pictures intentionally). Toon Town was pretty nice as well. We mainly just walked around there a bit The castle was really nice. I particularly liked the stone-bottom stream. Nice, clear water and ducks swimming along. It's a nice park. Pretty much like a smaller version of Disneyland in many ways. Maybe it's actually larger. Who knows. It certainly feels a bit smaller, though.

Leaving the park, I realized I'd like to visit this park again and enjoy more of the rides. I accomplished my main goal at the park, though so no worries. I do plan to visit this park again, however.


Thursday, May 30, 2002 8:57 PM

I loved TokyoDisneyland too. Isn't that Pooh ride AMAZING!

Did you get to visit any other parks in Japan. They are amazing!

- Peabody

Thursday, May 30, 2002 9:13 PM
Great TR! Did you speak the Language? If not how did you get around? Too bad the Pooh ride coming to DL won't have the trackless system, I never really heard what the trackless system accually was! I guess I was so ignorant and wouldn't believe the pods move freely, I saw a video of the ride and it is real cool!

X-Flight World's Only flying coaster!
Batwing World's only flying coaster!
S:UF World's only flying coaster! Don't you love SF ?

Thursday, May 30, 2002 11:02 PM

I don't speak Japanese. I actually took a semester of Japanese many years ago and probably would have known enough to get by back then but it's mostly gone. I remembered a word here and there but it wasn't enough to really do anything with.

We got around pretty easily in Japan, though. If you wanted a price it was punched up on a calculator. If you wanted something you couldn't get at, you pointed. If you were ordering food you'd best hope that there were either pictures, a display showing some food or a menu with English. The hotels all spoke English, though, so there wasn't ever a problem there.

It wasn't too bad, really. I'd still like to learn Japanese, though, since it would make life easier when playing imported video games and watching non-dubbed anime (or buying from Japanese toy websites ;) ).

Yeah, it is a shame about the Pooh ride coming to SoCal Disneyland. I wish it were the Tokyo version. That ride was awesome.


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