It is my life's goal to experience every Disney themepark in the world. A lofty ambition of which I came one step closer to achieving by visiting DisneySea.
Riding the subway in Tokyo is, at times, quite challenging. There are so many different lines, signs and people that getting lost is inevitable. Our trek to DisneySea was no exception; I'm pretty sure that at one point we momentarily entered North Korea. But alas, through patience - and a keen eye - we received our very own white rabbit to follow in the form of a little girl dressed like Alice in Wonderland.
The monorail, often the first point of entry into Walt's magical world of delight, is one of the most iconic aspects of any Disney themepark. Its uniqueness here was diminished though by their omnipresence as an everyday public transportation method in Tokyo (boy, do I wish I could have this observation in regards to Winnipeg. Our civic government is currently trying to get us excited about rapid BUS lanes. Wheeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!). Also, this is the only Disney themepark I have ever been to where you had to pay to get on the monorail (500 yen). Quite odd and I felt it should have been included with the full ticket price (5800 yen). Whatevs though - getting reacquainted with one's inner-child is priceless.
My first observation upon entering the gate was that this was, by far, the most physically beautiful Disney themepark; the level of detail was absolutely mind-boggling. Built literally ON Tokyo Bay, the main areas revolve around H20-themed ports and include Mediterranean Harbour, American Waterfront, Mermaid Lagoon, the Arabian Coast and Mysterious Island (which is rather ambiguous). While there was lots to look at and appreciate, the most important aspect should be the attractions...and, sadly, DisneySea lacked in this area. A self-confessed thrillseeker, I tend to judge rides based on their ability to cause involuntary bowel movements. It is safe to say that this themepark will not require you to bring a spare change of underwear (unless of course, you visit during the high-season and encounter the infamously long line-ups). Standouts may have been the Tower of Terror (different plot than Orlando), Sinbad's Storybook Voyage (a less annoying "It's a Small World" with lots of camels), and Journey to the Center of the Earth (dinosaurs will never not be awesome). To be honest though, the thing I remember most from my visit was encountering curry-flavored popcorn.
I like to think of myself as a Disneyphile. For instance, not many people know that the animation style of Sleeping Beauty was influenced by medieval tapestries or that the crocodile from Peter Pan once acted as spokescreature for Timex until a drug scandal embarrassingly ended his tenure (and career). However, DisneySea brought surprises. The most popular character wasn't Mickey Mouse or Goofy...it was a teddy bear (name unknown, picture below). I would guesstimate that 97% of the people in the park owned one of these bears. They were EVERYWHERE, flying off the shelves and even taking their own seat on some rides. Another surprise? I saw Donald Duck wearing pants. Mind. Blown. Now if only Lady Gaga would follow suit.
All in all though, DisneySea made for an entertaining day.
Big in Japan - the teddy bear character at DisneySea:
The American Waterfront (thankfully not modeled after the Jersey shore):
Indiana Jones Adventure:
Mickey and the Gang: