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Unread 2 Jun 19, 02:21 PM  
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AntonyJ
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Tokyo May 2019 - Travel & Tokyo Disneyland

Tokyo May 2019 - Travel Day and Tokyo Disneyland

Just to set the scene for people who may not have followed my prep postings.

Myself and my partner live near Glasgow but are flying out of Heathrow.
I managed to get First and Business Class seats on All Nippon Airways (ANA) for 240,000 Virgin air miles, and about 720 in taxes and fees. If bought at full price, they would have been about 15,000 for my Business seat, and 24,000 for my partners seat in First. Tried to get 2 seats in First right unto the day before travel, but did not happen - but quite happy with what we ended up with, as the poshest flights we have had in the past, have been a couple of Premium Economy on Virgin, and one Upper Class trip too.

My partner does not like coasters / heights, not a Disney fan but enjoyed the general rides and the scale / organisation of it all. We agreed to do a part day in Disneyland as it has a lot in common with the Florida park, and I really wanted to get a flavour of it, but go on 2 rides they did not have in the US. A full day for DisneySea had been agreed, and the rest of the trip was about Tokyo.

The ANA flight out of Heathrow leaves at 19:00 to head to Haneda, so we could a Virgin Train from Glasgow about 9:00 (I forget the exact time) and arrived in London early afternoon. As partner works for Virgin Trains we travelled in first all the way down.

Once at Euston, we got an Uber to Paddington for the Heathrow Express which due to partner working for a train company, got those tickets at huge discount.

Arrived at Terminal 2 pretty easily (but bit of a yomp with cases from Express station there to the Terminal itself) and went to the bag drop. Went to First desk and they took cases and asked which Lounge we wanted to go to - having a choice of about 4. We decided on the Singapore one as it was a first class only lounge and the lady asked if we wanted the buggy there. We laughed and said no thanks, thinking we would look a bit plonkerish and followed her instructions on how to get there - go through Security, take lift down a level and follow signs for T2B and once we arrived there, the SilverKris Lounge.

So off we went, through Priority Security lane, saw the lift and down we went, then walked towards the signs for T2B, which then took us dow the longest down escalator I think I have ever seen. Then down a long tunnel that we then found out, took us right under the runway to the terminal building on the other side. After about 15 mins walking I was wondering if should turn back and ask for the piggin buggy, but we made it, then came up into the building and found the lounge pretty easily.

Got to the desk just inside, and they confirmed we should be there and into the lounge we went. Very nice!








There was another guy on his own having a sit down meal, and a couple who were in also, that was it. We chose seats overlooking the runway - I say runway, it was a large building site, but could see few planes either side still. Lovely lounge, nice food and very nice service. My better half had some white wine with the food we have, as a teetotal I had diet coke, but we enjoyed very much the chilled atmosphere, considered having a shower there, but in the end just chilled for a couple of hours.

Our gate went up and had a nice surprise, it was in the same T2B terminal as we were, and a few mins later we made our way out to find it as the closest gate to the lounge.



Flight was called, of course First Class went in first, through their own gangway into the plane, and I followed soon after and found my way to the Business seat I had.



Sat in my seat and one of the air crew came to introduce themselves, but this was the start of me having to constantly ask them to speak up on the flight. A combination of me having issues hearing over background noise (plane air con being the culprit here) and them speaking quite softly, made for not the best combo . However, she was very helpful and kind, explained how things in my pod worked etc.

Then my partner appeared through the curtain to see how I was, say their seat was amazing and they were the only person in First! A hope that I might get sat in there still, started to grow in my heart. They told me there was a basic messaging service via the in-flight entertainment and off they went back to slum it on their own.

I then buckled up and soon after we took off - then I noticed the icon for new message on my screen, to read a message from better half to say that a minute before the doors were closed, a group of Japanese people came on and took all the empty First seats. So close.

Not having flown this posh before I as not quite sure how things worked.

So I had ordered a Western meal not soon after booking the flight, am a very boring person when it comes to food, not good at trying new things, having a morbid fear of throwing up also means I like to make sure food is, ahem, cooked well so any bugs are nuked! Sushi I would never try and is is raw fish, and thus (in my silly mind) riddled with DEATH causing bugs!

So the cabin crew came over to confirm I still wanted Western food, which I did, but I had not seen that the choice was just for main course.












The Amuse appetiser appeared, having smoked salmon in it (again, another not really cooked death causer) amongst the tiny things on my plate. Feeling a bit alone, and not wanting to make a fool of myself, I bravely tried a teeny nibble of each of the 3 items. YUM! They were delicious and I ate all of them!

The Starter then appeared, 4 slices of seared tuna, with some anchovy flavoured sauce, and a chicken and duck terrine. Nothing on that plate was my thing but I thought I could at least have a bit of the seared part of the tuna, as, you know, that is nearly cooked, right?

With slightly dull metal cutlery it was a challenge to cut a tiny bit off, but I did so and popped it in my mouth, preparing to meet My Maker again.

Oh, that is not what I expected, it is not fishy but more a taste of the sea.

Hmm, perhaps a bit of the raw tuna now, so again with cut tiny piece off and popped that in.

Yummy! It just melted in my mouth and was so nice!
Short version, ate everything on the plate and it was bloody marvellous.

Now the fillet of beef was my main and that was only OK, a bit chewy in parts.

The dessert was a very nice chocolate orange cake slice.

I sat back thinking how good I had been eating it all, and the air crew came and cleared it all away.

My partner came back again, their food had been just as yummy and wanted to know how much I had managed to eat. To this day, they do not believe I ate any of what I did lol.

At this post they turned down the lights and people started to pull blinds down to get some sleep, I had a look out of my window and saw this sight of the sun setting - and we had this view for hours, it was like we were chasing the setting sun.



With the help of cabin crew I changed my seat to the bed, but in short I did not have much sleep, the movement of the plane, the seat being just a bit too slim for me to get on my side snd lay comfy, meant I dozed on and off for about 5 or so hours. It must have been enough as had no issues sleeping for rest of holiday, but we did cheat a bit and take some melatonin every night before sleeping.

Spent the last couple of hours before landing doing the 2 forms (Customs and Immigration), skipping the breakfast choice and looked at stuff on my ipad. Just before landing the lead cabin crew person came to me, asked if I wanted to disembark with my partner on landing, through the First class door - I said go on then

Landing was super smooth, and soon we had stopped and I met my partner outside the door and we walked through the airport to Customs. The airport (Haneda) was quite nice, but looked quite 80s in style and while not hot in temp, was a bit warmer than I thought it would be on this nice warm sunny day. Those 2 things were an ongoing thing I noticed about Tokyo, at least the parts we went to, that the place looked very much in the 80s, and the air con was rarely fierce and was mostly used to take the edge of the heat, rather than like in Florida where it can freeze an elephant in 2 minutes - yes am talking about you Rainforest cafe at Animal Kingdom!

Got to Immigration line and it was quite short, lots of small, home printed signs telling non-Japanese people to get to this side etc - and after a brief queue of no more than 5 mins, we were through and waiting at the carousel for the bags to come off - as I had checked in with partner my bags were also tagged to come of first - nice

There was a lady stood at the foot of the upconveyer belt, standing quite to attention and wondered what she was there for, then the bags started to come out and found out. Her job was to move the bags so that the handles on them faced out, for easy removal from the conveyer belt!

Ours were off in 2 mins, walked through Immigration and stopped for 10 seconds while they lookout at the form, and then walked out into the arrivals hall and for 1 second, 100 people stare at you to see if you are the person they are waiting for.

We talked behind them all and about 50 wars on the right was the 2 orange ticket machines for the limo coach to Hilton Tokyo Bay. I had watched a zillion YouTube videos and was ready to rock.

Pushed the ENGLISH button at top right.
Picked Disneyland Tokyo area and up popped a long list of hotels.
No Hilton Tokyo Bay - mild panic.

Reset machine and picked English, picked Disneyland Tokyo area again, scanned long list of hotels - no not there.

I turned to my partner and said it our hotel was not there (they had left me to it as I had done all the planing / research) - so they came over and we tried again, together.

Of course, when the hotels list appears, they saw the obvious MORE button, that only had one hotel listed, the Hilton Tokyo Bay - I did feel a bit of an @rse for not seeing it.

One was leaving in 10 mins, so picked that, selected 2 adults and paid with my Suica card I had put on the iPhone months ago - feeling slightly chuffed with myself, despite not find the hotel!

Walked another 50 yards to escalator down to buses, ticket said stand 5, and found it easily, the guy there too our tickets, placed our cases in a neat line next to the kerb and we waited. My partner dashed off for a quick smoke and I took it all in. There was another family of 4 and a lady on her own, and that is the way it stayed. Coach arrived, we all got on, wow it was stuffy on there, but when they started engine some nice air con came on and I was fine. We stopped once at another part of the airport and left the airport on an elevated bit of road, and joined the traffic. Looking around like an excited kid as we drove, again thought how it all looked a bit 80s in the area, and how small but box shaped, many of the cars were.

Just as I saw the Disney park style in the buildings we pulled off the main road and into a more commercial district and then after 5 mins stopped at some lights, indicating we were going left and saw the wonderful gold Tokyo Disney Resort sign / display. We pulled into Disneyland Hotel area and the family got off, I think we then stopped at Disney Ambassador hotel but no one got on or of, then it pulled into Hilton and we two, and the lady got off. The driver pulled our bags out and we walked into the hotel reception area.

Wow - what a big Hilton, stayed in a few in UK in London but this was huge!



Spotless and looking very much of its time, the 80s, we walked around the long lobby area and saw the ticket office, deli, Disney store, combin store and next to that the smoking room - themed with Coke Cola !



Hilton Honours members had own check in desk and the guy welcomed me, spoke excellent English and checked us it. We had booked a Celebrio room, park view as we wanted the king sized bed, and as I had Honours Gold status they told us that the room upgrade we meant to have due to my Gold status (and them having availability) we could have a Happy Magic Room (VERY family with young kids suitable) or have Lounge access for nibbles and drinks, but keep room we had. We chose lounge access!

The wifi device I had ordered and had delivered to hotel was handed over and off we went to the room, noticing again that the hotel and corridors were quite warm.

Found the room and it was nice and big, again looking quite 80s but was spotless and clean.
We had a super loo - ohhhhhh










By this time it was about 4 or 4:30pm and planned to go to Disneyland via an after 6pm ticket that night if we felt unto it, and we agreed we did, plus the park was open until 10pm. A quick shower and change, then down to have a good look around the hotel, bought our tickets at the kiosk in the hotel and walked out of the hotel, through car park etc to the main road, where Bayside station for the monorail was.



Zebra crossing - but what are the rules?
Do they stop if they see us, there is no button to push, so we let 2 cars go past us and thought , they must stop if you are walking across it, so that is what we did. We could hear Disney music playing as we walked into the station area, the magic had started..

They a Disney bus pulled in to drop folks off at the station and realised they were people we had walked past as we left the hotel - all of 2 or 3 mins ago!

The bus was sooo cute and took a few pics.





Up the escalator and into the station, there were ticket machines to buy monorail ones at, but they took Suica so we used that and waited for the monorail to arrive, which it did a couple of mins later.

As it approached I could see them theming, it looked amazing.
We got on and WOW - the theming was amazing, unlike the Florida one the coaches connect - so you could walk thought to other carriages and all in all , thought it blew the Florida one out of the water. We got a seat as it was quiet and then my face was glued to the window as we went through the resort area to get to Disneyland. Noticed on more than one occasion I could see the back behind the scenes of more than a few things - nothing too exciting like characters minus their heads etc - but not something I remember seeing much of in Florida. Wonderful music playing as we traveled, I as getting quite excited.





Anyway, we got to our stop, doors opened and onto the platform, then followed the crowd down to the entrance and there I was - alas the front ha lots o building work going on so some temporary walls in the way. Scanned out tickets, sped through the quick bag check and in we were.

The decorations for Easter are all over the place, there are not too many people with us so entered the roof covered main street - oh look, they are all here lol.











Amazing it has a roof, looked into the shops as we walked through, they were rammed and it looked like EVERYONE had 3 big bags of merch they had bought. Then we noticed that all the Japanese people were wearing a lot of merch, had bags of merch in hand - at we felt a bit naked! By the end of the 2 days we did in Disney, we agreed this place must be a license to print money with the amount of merch folks have and buy!

Straight off we went and got in the queue or MONSTERS INC - the fast passes machines were closed - a 40 min queue time was posted but we think it was near 55 mins we were in the queue. Wonder theming in the building queue area and the ride itself was . fine. Suffered as it had NO scoring system at all so I found it personally a bit of a not too special ride.





We came out and fancied something to eat so went to the pastry shop nearby, picked up our tray and individuals tongs are picked a few pastry / cake items to snack on as that was all we fancied. Melon bread, choc muffin and a pastry with custard in - all nice and washed down with a bottle of water, thought the melon bread was heading towards being a touch dry, and the melon taste was quite subtle.







By this time Spectromagic was due to start, so we went to find a place to stand and watch it. I have lower back issues that mean if I got on the floor to sit and watch it, then it would take 2 bigs lads and a wheelbarrow to get me back up.

We found and area with about 6 rows of people sitting in front of us and stood there at the back.

A cast member indicated we had to sit, but we indicated we wanted to stand and she lead us back, about 15 feet so we were WAYYYYYYYYY behind the people sitting. I was convinced that folks would stand in front of us, especially kids as the park was full of school kids in uniform. Anyway our the next 10 mins or so, folks did appear before us but the lady indicated they must sit (most did straight away without prompting) and by the time the parade started - everyone was sat in front of us, were were at the front of the standing part and all had a clear view.



The parade itself was stunning, more floats, better floats than I remember from the Florida one as it went on and on for what seemed like ages. The Cheshire Cat, Genie and Peter Pan ship floats were my fav.






It ended and we followed the back of the parade, to cut through the castle to get to next ride, Pooh Honey Hunt.

Fast passes were closed down, got in another queue marked 40 minute wait and that was nearer 55 mins too. The queue theming was so good and the ride was stunning, just wow.

Off that ride and went to Alice themed Queens Banquet Hall for some food, but found out it closed at 8:30 that day and we got there 8:35 - doh!

We wandered through the park a bit and agreed were feeling the long day, had done the 2 main things I wanted to do, so wandered out of the park, via a few shops etc and caught monorail back to hotel, if memory serves we got a sandwich from the combini at the Hilton. We had thought to see the fireworks, but there were none on that night, so back we went and straight to bed. No problems falling straight to sleep at the end of a long long day.

Edited at 02:25 PM.
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Unread 2 Jun 19, 05:52 PM  
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sotagals
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All very interesting... Thanks for posting.
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Unread 2 Jun 19, 08:21 PM  
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Pumpkin Pie
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Spectromagic looks fantastic. I remember taking my children to see the Florida version many years ago.

We noticed the Easter theme at DisneySea which felt odd as it seems ages since it was Easter.

How do you remember so much detail? Do you write things down each evening or take notes as you go along?
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Unread 2 Jun 19, 08:54 PM  
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AntonyJ
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To be honest, looking at my pictures triggered a memory associated, one thing lead to another...

Sort of surprised how much I typed!

Pity cannot post video here, apart from linking to YouTube, as got a few nice short vids of the parade.

Edited at 08:55 PM.
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Unread 5 Jun 19, 10:28 PM  
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martha
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Sounds fab - were staying at the Hilton too - cant wait 😊
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Unread 25 Jun 19, 10:36 AM  
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LKirkw00d
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Thanks for posting. I had always wanted to go to Disney Tokyo.
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Unread 25 Jun 19, 07:23 PM  
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AntonyJ
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Disney there was next level - see you are somewhere in Scotland - if you ever fancy a good Disney chat over a coffee, ping me - love to blather about it and my better half is not a fan
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Unread 25 Jun 19, 07:29 PM  
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I love that you have to sit! I wish Florida would take note
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