Returning to the happy place18 January, 2012 by Chad
Since the rest of our weekdays would probably be taken up, today was to be the last remaining advisable day to visit DisneySea. While technically really in Chiba, the Tokyo Disney Resort was close enough by train (just 15 minutes away) to not nitpick. All the walking in past days gave us trouble when waking up, so we ended up reaching Maihama Station later than planned.
DisneySea was apparently accessible by foot, something that we decided to put to the test today. But while Disneyland was just a short 300 meters away, it took us as long as the train ride to Maihama to walk there. The alternative would had been to catch a ride on the monorail, which costs a hefty 250 yen.
Had forgotten to purchase tickets ahead of time, so we ended up having to join the queue in front of DisneySea together with the rest of the families, couples and students who had skipped school in favor of the amusement park. It was another half an hour before we saw the entrance to DisneySea, which was adorned with various decorations promoting the park’s 10th anniversary. The theme based off Disney’s Fantasia.
Took a brief moment to marvel at the entrance of the park again before hurrying to FastPass our first ride as soon as possible. Between waking up late and the delays, it was already nearing 11 AM by the time we got in.
Around the park, the Disney mascots went about greeting visitors. They were clad in their 10 year anniversary costumes as well. Perhaps it was the awful costumes or that there just weren’t that many people in the park this freezing winter morning but there wasn’t a queue to have your shot taken with them for once.
For some reason the battery hatch on my camera popped out at some point here and the battery came flying out. I wouldn’t had noticed it if not for the lady behind who quickly caught up to us to return it. So we all have this anonymous lady to thank for if not, there wouldn’t be any photos of this day.
Made a pass through the Jules Verne-esque Mysterious Island zone to grab some FastPasses for the Journey to the Center of the Earth ride here before running off to the Lost River Delta to queue up for the Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Crystal Skull one.
Estimated queue time was about 2 hours. At some point, regretted not going for the Single Riders scheme as that would had sped things up. Still, the queues weren’t nearly as long as when I last visited. A Japanese speaking Filipino guy behind us ran off to the toilet, overheard him mention to his partner upon returning that the estimated wait time had been reduced to an hour and half. We were already midway in queue, so thankfully wasn’t long off…at least in Disney queue terms.
Temple of the Crystal Skull was one of the park’s must-sit rides and is notorious for its really long queues. Like other popular rides, the waiting area encompasses the area outside and further coils through corridors and a large themed area below. This intricate set coupled with the long wait adds tremendously to the anticipation for first time riders like Gage and I today. The Filipino guy behind us was kind of panicking when we reached the last quarter of the queue but was relieved when he saw little kids joining in from the FastPass side. Experience told me that wasn’t a good indication.
As it turns out, the Indiana Jones ride was less of a coaster and really more of a thrill ride. And a fun one it was. There were no steep drops but instead the vehicles zoomed through tunnels, making sharp turns and sudden jerks instead. The area inside was pretty large and well made enough that the props did not distract from the fun. A must try ride indeed, though when comparing, Disneyland’s Big Thunder Mountain and Space Mountain win out in pure speed or nausea inducing turns.
The ride dropped us off just beside the Yucatan Base Camp Grill, which was fortunate since it was about time for lunch. Had a couple of their smoked chicken lunches which were affordable and pretty good.
After, it was time to FastPass our next ride and catch the afternoon Legend of Mythica show at the Mediterranean Harbor. Passed by the board at the Lost River Delta that conveniently kept track of all the queue timings around the park. It wasn’t that late yet but most of the thrill rides already had their FastPasses booked out for the rest of the day.
The remaining option we had was between the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea ride and Storm Chasers rides now. Decided to go with the former in hopes of queuing for Storm Chasers’s shorter queue later.
The Legend of Mythica is DisneySea’s regular daytime show that unfolds above the lake at the front of the park. Couldn’t quite understand what the gist of it was. Not because it’s in Japanese but more because of how trippy it was.
A castle-like structure housed a number of dragon merpeople on jet skis that would disengage and zip around the lake as soon as the show started. At a certain point, 5 floats slowly made their way down upstream to the lake too each one a different color and featuring a different deformed creature carrying an egg on its back.
I’d take some time to mention the creepy-cute woman in her possible early 20s beside us who was here alone. She was excitedly filming down the spectacle with her DSLR and occasionally smiling to herself. It was a little sad. But well not as sad as in Singapore where you don’t even have the option of being a Disney Resort otaku.
So the show got even stranger as Mickey Mouse emerged from the center of the castle through a certain phallic device. The castle turned out to be a fountain of sorts shooting streams of water and while the tower shot a few small fireworks into the air.
At this point the grunts attached kites to their jet skis and attempted to glide them around the lake. Thanks to the strong winds this afternoon, all but a couple of them failed. One of the skis broke down halfway leaving him stranded even. Another came to slowly pull him back to shore, while the others recovered the fallen kites.
The show would get stranger when the eggs hatched to reveal singing fairies. After a while, more floats were brought in, this time featuring evolved mechanical versions of the creatures and carrying a bunch of dancers as well as the other popular Disney characters. There was a creepy pegasus-unicorn hybrid, hydra, dragon, phoenix and a satanic look ram beast. The most impressive was definitely the hydra, with its three mechanical heads and the phoenix that shot a brief streak of fire.
There was still quite a bit of time to spare before our FastPasses came up at about 5 PM. Gage had originally wanted to try out the Tower of Terror but after seeing the queue there decided to pass. Instead, we took some time to walk around the park and to visit the Mermaid Lagoon for the Under the Sea musical.
Before long it was starting to get dark and time for us to start using the two FastPasses we had. First off was for the Journey to the Center of the Earth ride. With the knowledge of what to expect this time, the drop didn’t come as such a shock. But it still remains one of the most fun rides in the park. This and the Tower of Terror are the only two rides in the park where you can constantly here screams of glee and/or terror.
There was still more time to kill before the next FastPass came up. Here we passed by the American Waterfront just as the A Table is Waiting live performance was going on. The whole thing was basically a marketing tool for extravagant dining on board the S.S Columbia ship parked here.
The show Beauty and the Beast’s Lumiere accompanied by rather scantily clad performers (something for the whole family indeed) in enjoyable song and dance. Lumiere had a pretty cool costume, the lower half was made out of small thin stretchy bands that allowed him to dance and sing while still recreating the character in a realistic manner. The actors do their job so well that you often forget that there are actual human people inside those costumes.
Found the costumes for the other candlestick performers amusing. They were pretty much people in yellow pajamas with red flame gloves but well it worked.
After the show, it was time to catch the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea ride. It’s mostly a children’s ride, but contains enough atmosphere and special effects to be enjoyed by all ages.
The rest of the evening was spent scouring the shops for Disney merchandise as we waited for the much anticipated evening program. As I had mentioned before, there’s a pretty extensive array of toys, souvenirs, household good and clothing here to Disneyfy any child or adult’s life. Sadly, all of items themed after DisneySea’s zones had been done away with this season to make room for ugly 10 anniversary collectibles.
The only thing that caught my eye was a commemorative 10 anniversary DisneySea book but flipping through, there wasn’t much content inside to warrant a purchase. Instead, I settled on picking up a Duffy The Disney Bear.
Most of the locals were more content with grabbing boxes and boxes of the park’s biscuits and snacks. They are always a popular item at the Tokyo Disney parks for some reason. It could be that the Japanese find it necessary to purchase omiyage whenever they visit or perhaps the Mickey crackers really do taste better than regular ones. All of the snacks this round featured a new year theme.
Leaving the warmth of the shops turned out to be a bad idea, the freezing temperature (would learn later it was 1 Celsius at Chiba that evening) coupled with the coastal winds weren’t welcoming at all. Returning to the shops, I found it suspicious that many people had already begun to leave the park.
Checked with one of the park staff and sure enough, the evening shows had been cancelled due to bad weather. I was looking forward to seeing for the first time the new Fantasmic! show that replaced BraviSEAmo! this year. It was a real shame too, as it tends to be the main highlight of the park. Disappointed, we returned back to our hotel in Tokyo.
Realized later that my camera battery had been dented from the drop earlier and would not pop out on it’s own. After prying it open, I managed to “fix” it by filing down one of the edges.
Dinner was instant pasta, since we were too tired and hungry to care more. These are particularly interesting as they feature an extra hole to drain the water out of after boiling your noodles. It’s as easy as adding the sauce mix after.
Definitely not as good as properly cooked pasta but better than most other cup noodles you can find. The only drawback is that the servings are too small to be substantial despite being priced similarly (about 160 yen) to larger cup noodles available in Japan.
Well that’s it for DisneySea. I must admit, some of the magic seemed to had diminished with repeated visits but overall, it will always be a worthwhile visit. Tomorrow, SUPERGiRLS!Planning your holiday? We recommend visiting Agoda for a full list of hotels with early bird specials.