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Unread 19 Oct 08, 02:28 PM  
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ian180
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Tokyo DisneySea

Still on a high from DisneyLand yesterday, we awoke eager to the start the day. Opening our curtains from our 38th floor window, all we could see across the greyed horizon was rain and clouds! Oh no...we have had 3 weeks of lovely weather, and now this.

Unperturbed, we set off as yesterday, brolly and cagool at the ready and arrived at the Disney station, this time turning right for DisneySea monorail. We purchased our return tickets (and also our return ticket, in advance, for tonights return to Tokyo, saving time on the way home) on the monorail, before climbing the escalators. 3 minutes later one had arrived and a further 7 minutes and 2 stops later we were there! It was raining fairly persistently so we were getting wet as we rushed through the turnstiles. It was warm still, so I only had a T-Shirt, which was rapidly getting damp!

As we entered the park we saw the ominous looking volcano surrounded by a lake, with a very mediterranean feel (like Universal studios we thought in some respects - strange!), with surrounding shops and restaurants made to look like a large sprawling European/Morrocan type village, with the hotel overlooking the park (or part of and in the park) with that village feel too. It looked very inspiring and rain or not, we had to stand still to get a good look abnd take it all in. As you can see from the photos again, with the boats and palaces on the water, it looked and felt very authentic.

First stop had to be TOT! Turning left at the entrance of the lake, we made our short way to TOT. As you can see from the pictures it is not like WDW. Looking larger from the outside, the interior did not have the 'feel' of WDW. The premise is totally different too of the ride and so is the pre-show. Japanese are not aware of Rod Sterling and the Twighlight zone (why should they be?) so here they had the intrepid explorer, Sir Harrison Hightower, who had been travelling in the deepest jungles (my Japnese is not so good, but I git the jist! ) and took home a trophy of the zulu/voodoo doll back to his huge mansion (where we were now). Unbeknown to him (silly man) it was cursed and turned him mad and placed a spell on him and his house that made him disappear down his lift shaft, never to be seen again... (poor man!). It was all a bit strange really as at first a CM talked (totally in Japanese, addressing us as if we were fluent) in the hallway before the ante-chamber, with a stick pointing to a poster of Sir HH, explaining, I guess, all about him. Then the same person took us into a room, did a bit more explaining, then left us, but not before turning on an old grammaphone record player which seemed to play the last recorded conversation of Sir HH, speaking Japanese with an english accent! There were a couple of clever special effects and neat tricks (to coin an Americanism!) before a scream or two, then the stunned Japanese were led through the door on the opposite side of the room.

Here we had the choice (or the choice was made for us) of going upstairs to the loading lifts or downstairs. We were shown downstairs and had a 10 minute wait before being loaded. The lifts were slightly bigger than WDW holding 3 extra I would say. The safety briefing was ridiculous, lasting longer than the ride itself. One by one she checked all our seatbelts twice, telling me to pull my yellow seatbelt strip several times in broken English. I kept telling her I had and she could visibly see I was, but she kept on insisiting on the point and I am not sure why! Eventually we were set free and upwards. Again different to WDW, the ride is in all one shaft, we were not pushed forward on a track (as WDW) for the ride proper to take place, just up one floor to see Sir HH disappear (the 'It's raining, it's pouring' bit in WDW) then up another floor some some more scary stuff, then quickly up again before the fun started. Slightly shorter than WDW it had one less up and down drop in it which was slightly disappoining, as I kept expecting more which never came. The Japanese are a bit more reserved than the US and I think my wife was the loudest!

It was good fun and I enjoyed it, but it lacked the atmospherics of WDW and because it was shorter, I preferred the WDW version, notwithstanding the good SFX. We saw the mandatory photo before dashing out to get a FP for an hours time, giving us time for a coffee and sandwich for breakfast. We came out and to the left was this big steamer ship. Again research (you can't beat good research!) told me that this was a nice place for dinner, so luckily we stumbled on it and we managed to communicate to see if we could book for dinner (that was interesting, with more pointing and drawing than talking going on!) They took a small number of PS in 2 or 3 of the restaurants around the park and this was one of them. Surprisingly it was nearly full up, but we managed to get one of the last PS bookings at 6pm, in time for the BraviSeamo closing show and 7.55pm. More of that later, but we were please we had secured a good dinner slot, more luck than judgement!

We wandered back on ourselves, looking at the map and found a little coffee house that did a sandwich and banana cake which we shared and this was a welcome repsite to the rain. Planning the day from the map we thought we would continue in an anti-clockwise direction, since we had a FP for TOT and see where it would take us.

We had another go on TOT this time being showed upstairs (having to come down the stairs again when the ride had finished, as I said, all in one lift shaft, unlike WDW where the end of the ride is in a different place to the start of it, here you start and end at the same place). After this, the rain had eased and it was around 11am. It was a nice relaxing park, crowds substaintially less than yesterday, not sure if it was because of the rain or as it was a Monday.

We came to Indiana Jones next. I remembered this from California around 6 years ago and I loved it then. Hoping I would love it again I prepared for the 45 minute wait. My wife would not enjoy it, so she went on a similar long wait ride which involved a simulation (like Star Tours etc. which always makes me feel sick) so that worked out well, both doing our own thing. I thought the ride was exciting and thrilling, very bouncy and jerky. From memory preferred DL version though this was a few years back, just remember enjoying it more though. It was adventurous and the effects were good, so much so I used my FP that I got before going on the 1st time,more or less straight away for a second go.

Met my DW at the entrance swapping stories. She was somewhat underwhelmed with her ride, so I was glad I skipped it. By now the rain had stopped for the day which was great. We then came to a rollercoaster ride, in a traditional sence, containing a 360 degree loop! And there was a single rider line, very unusual for here. There was only a 5 minute wait anyhow as I made my way to the front and sat next to this young Japanese girl who was part of a party of 3. It was a short but fun ride with a couple of steep tracks and not so steep drops. 7/10 for thrills, NOT like Everest without the FX, but a simple short and semi-thrilling ride! Good fun.

Going back on ourselves slightly we found the Fobidden Island - ooooooh! This contained 2 rides and a restaurant. Unfortunately 2000 Leagues was under repair so only one 'NEW' (for us) ride was open, Journey to the Centre of the Earth! With a 15 minute wait, we queued before going in a lift like type of transport designed to look like a diving bell, going deeper and deeper underground. Then we had another queue the other side before being seated in a vehicle best described as a boring machine cum car, I guess designed to drill to the centre of the earth. It was a squeeze, but we were seated and set sedately off. Very pleasant we saw strange creatures and plant life, before encountering a scary monster which made our vehicle set off at a fast speed looping higher and higher, and then whoooosh, totalling not suspecting this and very excitingly, we were thrust higher and higher and then we were outside whizzing up and down a roller coaster type track at a fast speed - wow, good surprise at the end! A good fun ride, so we did it again. A treat considering yesterday queueing for 100 odd minutes and here it was 10-15!

Soon it was lunch time, so we found a nearby snack diner for a burger and fries, before picking up on our trail.

We enterd Arabian teritory and found ourselves by a Sinbad ride. It was a cross between Its a Small World and Pirates OTC, but tamer. It was very pleasant with a nice Japanese song sung throughout the ride, a somewhat uplifting tale of love and adventure I would guess!

Then as luck would have it we came upon a queue that was moving into a theatre type building so we hopped on at the end and were handed 3D glasses. The pre-show consisted of a snake coming out a basket hissing funnies judging by the laughter around us (spot the Westerner! ) and then we were ushered in to a Philharmagic like stage. There upon the stage was a comic magician (even we laughed, not really nderstanding the dialogue, but he was funny) with his luckless assistant. It turned out this magician was a bit greedy and evil and it was a bit of a farce like show, then when everyone put on their glasses we followed suit and Genie was there (Robin Williams speaking Japanese!). This was also funny and it was a cross between live and animated 3D interaction fun. The show lasted around 10 minutes and we really enjoyed it, following the story, despite not understanding a word!

Next was Aeriels Grotto land. Not of interest to us, we continued, and before we knew it we was back at Sinbad! Lost, we had to go back on ourself to Indiana Jones, before cutting accross to the other side of the park. He we came across a fun ride whereby on water there were these mini hovercraft type round crafts that seated 2, and were driven automatically and seemingly erratically accross a large pond/lake. I think it was on some sort of track but couldn't really see. The fun bit was that you apparantly had no control over the vehicles, just missed your fellow guests in the water, dodging whirlpools, waterfalls and rocks! Forwards, back round and round we went for around 5 minutes. We did it twice and had a good bit of fun.

It was around 4pm by now and we found ourselves back by the large steam liner/ship where dinner was. Again luckily a stage show had just started, with Lumiere (Beauty and Beast candle) singing and introducing various scenes with all the favourite characters. It was fun to see Donald speaking in Japanese, Daisy singing Spice up Your Life (in English) and Mickie and Minnie singing a love song (tune similar to Santa Baby by Marilyn Monroe) in Japanese. It ended with Goofy singing a Japanese song in martial arts gear shouting "Bonzai, Bonzai" rather loud throughout! Then the finale of the 25 minute show ended with everyone on stage. We enjoyed it.

Next door was TOT so we rushed over before the crowd with a 10 minute wait for our last go on it. With 60 minutes before dinner we thought we would look at the shops. Slightly better than yesterday in Disney World and we got a couple of gifts, but nothing special, despite extensive research by my DW! There were plenty of restauants to please all, most with long queues (Japanese, Italian or Buffet and self service. These ones had the minimal waits).

Dinner time had arrived around dusk, and to se the sun set over the volcano was atmospheric, even if it was partially hidden by the clouds. Dinner was excellent, somewhat fine dining. We climbed to the 3rd floor (quite a way up! ) and were shown our seat, bypassing a 30 long queue downstairs - glad we booked! We had a corner table near a piano, although this was not played. It was brightly decorated and laid out well. The menu was quite good, with French Onion soup for me (lovely) and salmon for my good lady. We both had a lovely steak for mains with sauteed potatoes and fresh veg and we shared a dessert, all accompanied by a good bottle of wine at quite a reasonable price. Our waiter was superb, with plenty of bowing, smiling, and laughing at our exchange of languages (soooo polite, all the Japanese are - lovely nation). We were there for a very pleasant 90 minutes that whizzed by and had a superb time.

With only 30 odd minutes until BraviSeamo, we wanted to get a decent place near the entrance/exit. Since people tend to wait for over 2 hours before a show/parade we didn't hold out much hope, but we did all right and managed to secure a standing position near the front.

Soon the lights had dimmed and then Mickey appeared! On a large float, shooting accross the water shouting 'Konbanwa! Konbanwa! ' (which I knew meant Hello/Good Evening). He soon disappeared and then this brilliantly white float appeared spraying a lovely fountain of water to some beautiful music. Other static fountains around the lake lit up in concert and waved to and fro, high and low (very poetic!). This went on for a few minutes before the water became alive with fire and heat. Then, out of nowhere, we saw this spider like leg appear from the depths of the lake, then another and another and soon before we knew it this spectacular fire breathing dragon climbed and emerged from the water. The volcano erupted in fierce fire as the water dragon roared. WOW! The music continued to add to the spectacle as the dragon fiercly looked down menacing the crowd to whoops of awe and claps of pleasure. Then the water float came out, again all brightly adorned, brillaintly white and glorious, spouting huge jets of water, attempting I guess to douse the dragon, so that fire/ice, bad/good would conquer. The music was the most beautiful I have heard in a Disney Park, it was very atmospheric and uplifting almost angelic and the white/ice/good beat the bad in a wonderfully set piece. ( I liked it so much I have purchased it from a well known internet site, named after a very large river and jungle - it cost a bob or 2, but worth it for the memories!).

Soon, it was all over. Rapturous applause followed as we were both left agog with amazement! Far outshines Fantasmic, and one of my all time fave shows (I do like Illuminations and the music, also very uplifting, but this was different).

In 10 minutes there would have been fireworks, but we had seen enough. We still had to get home, and to be honest we have seen the most amazing fireworks at WDW and Epcot/MGM, that little would eclipse, so we were happy to leave.

We went out past a lovely lit bronze globe of the world, rotating, so we could see where we were in Japan and UK etc. with statues of characters adorned around it. 10 minutes later, after losing our way a bit, we were back at the monorail for the 10 minute trip to the main JR line station to take us back to Tokyo central.

Wow, what a day. In summary, despite the weather, we had a great fully packed day. TOT was good and managed to ride it 3 times. Not as good as WDW and on a different premise with over the top safety, but fun even so. The park had a nice feel to it, almost Universal as I said (perhaps more of the Californian Universal) and was set out well, with some unique and fun rides and shows. With less crowds and queues we packed alot more in, and did everything we wanted to do in the one day we had, fitting almost every ride in, at least once. The day ended with a perfect meal and show, and it is without doubt, we will come back to Tokyo and indeed the 2 parks in a few more years. Disney at its best!
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Ian
Grand Flo.'98,'99,Xmas'00,'02&'04,'06,'07,'09,'12-NewYork-'00,'01,'03,'05,'07,'12,'14--Hawaii/W.Coast 2001; Vegas-'02,'05,'07,'08,'09,11,12,14; Singapore&OZ-'03;Mauritius & Brazil-'04;HK,OZ&NZ-'05. Tobago'06;Canada'06,12; Egypt'07; Dubai'08,10; China/Japan'08; Cape Town'09; Peru/Rio/Argentina Sep'09; Nicaragua, C.Rica, Columbia, Panama '14
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Disney - Shanghai and Tokyo!
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Unread 19 Oct 08, 03:03 PM  
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wickesy
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Great reports. I would love to get out to the Far East Disney parks one day.
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Unread 19 Oct 08, 04:00 PM  
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KayLouise
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It sounds brilliant. We went to Tokyo in April this year (our honeymoon) we had planned on going to disney but never got round to it, i wish we had gone now i've read your report!
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Unread 19 Oct 08, 05:32 PM  
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Strommie
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Wow, this park sounds fantastic! Lovely descriptive report of your day.
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Unread 19 Oct 08, 05:37 PM  
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ian180
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Originally Posted by Strommie View Post
Wow, this park sounds fantastic! Lovely descriptive report of your day.
Thanks - it was a great day with lots to see and take in. It was around 10 days ago now, so I am pleased I can still remember it so well!
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Ian
Grand Flo.'98,'99,Xmas'00,'02&'04,'06,'07,'09,'12-NewYork-'00,'01,'03,'05,'07,'12,'14--Hawaii/W.Coast 2001; Vegas-'02,'05,'07,'08,'09,11,12,14; Singapore&OZ-'03;Mauritius & Brazil-'04;HK,OZ&NZ-'05. Tobago'06;Canada'06,12; Egypt'07; Dubai'08,10; China/Japan'08; Cape Town'09; Peru/Rio/Argentina Sep'09; Nicaragua, C.Rica, Columbia, Panama '14
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Unread 19 Oct 08, 05:57 PM  
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An excellent report ~ I can't wait to visit now at Christmas.
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Unread 20 Oct 08, 06:07 PM  
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ian180
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Originally Posted by Minniespal View Post
An excellent report ~ I can't wait to visit now at Christmas.
Thank you - you are very lucky, staying at DisneySea. The hotel looked fabulous and very authentic as a Mediterranean style mid-town style hotel on the outside, but lavish luxury on the inside - and you get to the park an hour early! Enjoy BraviSeamo too - I would be interested to see what you thought comapared to the Floridian parades/shows - you have to do a TR ! (PS, hope I haven't given too much away/spoilers etc...!)

Have a great time - very envious!
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Ian
Grand Flo.'98,'99,Xmas'00,'02&'04,'06,'07,'09,'12-NewYork-'00,'01,'03,'05,'07,'12,'14--Hawaii/W.Coast 2001; Vegas-'02,'05,'07,'08,'09,11,12,14; Singapore&OZ-'03;Mauritius & Brazil-'04;HK,OZ&NZ-'05. Tobago'06;Canada'06,12; Egypt'07; Dubai'08,10; China/Japan'08; Cape Town'09; Peru/Rio/Argentina Sep'09; Nicaragua, C.Rica, Columbia, Panama '14
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Unread 20 Oct 08, 06:44 PM  
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Thanks for sharing this wonderful experience with us. I love to read things from a different Disney perspective as all we know is Florida!

I notice from your report you mention pictures but I can not see any in the report. I have missed another one by any chance?
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