Hi, Everyone! Welcome to the Best Week Ever here at Tokyo Disney Resort?!? That’s right! Last week I had the incredible good fortune to fulfill one of my lifelong dreams by visiting Tokyo. The city was amazing, but, of course, I couldn’t come near a new Disney park without a lengthy visit. I thought rather than skipping my weekly update that you’d like to come with me. I took thousands of photos, and there’s no way I could share them all in a single post. However, this is just to whet your whistle as Guy will be visiting next month. So let’s get started with these amazing parks!
A few days before we left I had this knot in my gut. I’d built these parks up as my ultimate dream for as long as I could remember. How could they possibly meet my impossible expectations? I had no need to worry. The simple answer was that these parks blew away every hope I’d ever had. Even the airport and transportation experience were a pleasure. Once we arrived at the hotel, this bus was my first taste of Disney. How can you not love this??!
After a two minute bus ride we’d arrived at the monorail station and were whisked away to the parks. Theyre is a charge for the monorail in Tokyo, but fees are minimal. I’d happily pay for the monorail here in the U.S.A. if they could be so clean and timely. (Not to mention adorable!) Later in the week a monorail was decorated inside and out for the Halloween season.
I’d heard about the crowds at the Tokyo parks, but I don’t think I really understood until we arrived a few minutes before opening and saw the scene below. These were only a fraction of the lines below us. In Tokyo, guests start arriving long before the park opens. To get a decent spot in line, we had to get there 90 minutes early! Locals are very prepared, bringing snacks, mats to sit on, and things to keep themselves entertained. Ironically, many of those waiting the longest dash in to grab a spot for a parade or show… then they wait some more!
Here is the early morning scene when entering Tokyo DisneySea. Note all the cast members holding signs asking people not to run. If you can believe it, the running is even worse for the first few people entering the park. The day I took this video we’d only arrived about 60 minutes before the park opened, so the worst had already passed. I don’t know that I could rope drop these parks if I were a local. It’s a lot of work to beat the crowd!
But once you’re in, you’ve never seen a more beautiful theme park. I kept turning corners and just stopping when I saw something new. Before I left, someone told me that Tokyo makes our parks look like Six Flags. I dismissed the comment thinking it wasn’t possible. After just a few hours, I knew it was completely true: Tokyo Disney Parks make Orlando look like Chuck E Cheese!
One of the things I enjoyed the most about the parks was everyone’s unwavering love for Duffy. I know it isn’t a popular opinion in the states, but I really like Duffy! Everywhere I turned in Tokyo DisneySea, there was someone carrying Duffy or his friends Shellie May and Gelatoni. (And, yes, I brought the whole family home.) It was too hot to carry around my camera and Duffy this trip, but next time I’m excited to use the shelf below.
You can also meet Duffy and Shellie May in the park. Believe it or not, people wait for over an hour to snap a photo with their beloved bears. Think of that the next time you walk by him in Epcot with no line! Below is a photo of Shellie May I just happened to snap as she walked towards me. A second later she was mobbed by teenage girls! The photo of Duffy below was taken during his stage show. (Yes, you read that right.) I waited 30 minutes to buy the required food to watch Duffy’s show. And that was a short wait!
I also got caught up in the Halloween frenzy for Duffy costumes. I’d vowed not to wait in line to buy overpriced clothes for a doll… but the best laid plans, right? When I saw a line that said 11:00 – 11:45 we decided to invest 45 minutes and see what we could get. After being in line for about 40 minutes, we were almost to the front of the store. Anticipation was mounting as the clerk came to us and… asked for our ticket. It ends up we’d misunderstood the Japanese sign. There was a FASTPASS distribution somewhere in the park, and we’d gotten in line without the magic ticket. The clerk only spoke Japanese but came back with a notebook. Written in English it said all tickets were distributed but that we could get in the standby line, which would start entering the store at 2pm. She then directed me to a HUGE line. Wow, they really love their Duffy over there! Incidentally, we gave up on it, but came across the costumes just hanging up in stores a few days later.
Aside from my Duffy woes, the parks were amazing for Halloween! If you ever thought we decorate and celebrate well in Orlando, then you won’t believe the effort put in at the Toyko parks. Not only are there free seasonal shows added at both parks, there are also detailed decorations and special merchandise exclusive to each park. My skeleton friends below are one of the things I had looked forward to the most. I always thought they looked amazing in photos, but they are even more impressive in person! There were no fewer than 50 of them dressed in different costumes!
Below is one of the decorations added at Tokyo Disneyland. If I understood correctly, these change each year. This year was a carnival theme with Mickey and Minnie riding a carousel and the scene below. The decorations didn’t stop on Main Street: they were spread through most of the park. It was incredible and makes our standard decorations look pretty sad! 🙁
Another tradition that Tokyo Disneyland embraces is Haunted Mansion Holiday. I’m a huge fan of this attraction and wish so much that they’d allow the overlay here at Magic Kingdom. I’ve always heard that they can’t justify closing the ride for 6 weeks a year because people travel from all over the world to come here. It’s a shame because I suspect ours would look very much like this since the rides are nearly identical. I liked the Tokyo version even more than Disneyland’s in California!
Look how bright and crisp everything looks. I know I’m just a huge fan of dark rides in general, but Tokyo does an amazing job. Of course, lines are spectacularly long to go along with that. We ran here first thing in the morning after being in line at the gates for nearly 90 minutes. We were able to grab a FASTPASS and then ride without wait. By the time we exited the line was an hour! All the thrill rides had an even longer wait.
Maybe the longest line in the park was for Pooh’s Hunny Hunt. While this isn’t a thrill ride it might just be the best dark ride of all time. I linked to YouTube so you can watch a video if you haven’t yet. There isn’t anything else like it and, yes, the room really bounces along with Tigger! 🙂 Below was my favorite photo from the entire trip. The ride changes every time depending which car you’re in and where you are seated. It was just dumb luck that I managed to get this shot. I bet I could ride a hundred more times and never get the chance again.
Here are another couple popular rides. If you can believe it, Peter Pan is not the busiest dark ride in the park. A local explained to me that Disney wasn’t as popular back when the older movies were big and that locals are much more bonded to Pixar characters. That makes sense, because Monsters Inc. Ride and Go Seek was wildly popular and always had a massive line. If I can be honest, I really liked the version in California more. That might be because I care more about photos than “playing along” with the game during the ride.
In general, all of their rides seemed brighter, better maintained, and cleaner. Animatronics also moved with such fluidity! It makes me wonder why we can’t get a little more of that in our parks. Jack Sparrow looked so real and was just mere feet from our boat. It felt like you could reach out and touch him!
I also got a kick out of how different Teddy Bearra looked from her blonde furred US counterpart. She’s still my favorite part of the show, though. Does anyone else remember when they used to change out the seasonal shows at the Country Bear Jamboree? In Tokyo they were performing the Summer Vacation Hoedown! I loved seeing it again. As a side note, the Japanese do not know how a “howdy” works. When I loudly said “howdy” back, it was obvious I’d interrupted their spiel. Oops…
The Country Bear Jamboree was just the start of the shows, though. Can you believe they had daytime and nighttime shows going all all over both parks? Sadly, Legends of Mythica had its last performance while I was there. The photo on the left is from one of its last showings. Is it wrong that I’m hoping its retirement could mean it is coming to Epcot? We could really use that kind of awesome in the U.S.A.! Pictured below right is Minnie Oh Minnie. This was so high energy it was tiring just to watch. I’ve linked to YouTube if you haven’t seen it. It’s worth a few minutes to see the kind of entertainment offered in Tokyo, and there was lots more I didn’t have room to include!
We can’t talk about Tokyo Disney without talking about the incredibly unique snacks. We had so many things we enjoyed, but the cutest was alien mochi. I hunted for these and wanted with all my heart to love them, but when I sunk my teeth in… eeewww! It was just squishy, chewy mush – Not my thing at all. However, the popcorn totally lived up to expectations! We tried every flavor and came home with three popcorn buckets. Buckets there come with a long strap that you can hang around your neck like a feed bag. 🙂 Unexpectedly, soy sauce was our favorite flavor!
On a final note, Tokyo Disneyland also has a quietly marked set of doors tucked into Main Street. It would be easy to walk by and not even notice them. But inside is a Club 33, just like at Disneyland! The only difference is that this one seems a little more exclusive. If you go hunting for information, you won’t find nearly as much content as its Anaheim counterpart. I confirmed that even when you search in Japanese, information is scarce.
I had the incredible honor of entering those doors. As someone who has been to both clubs, there is no comparison. The Tokyo experience felt much more restricted and private. There were only two other tables occupied. At the conclusion of our meal, someone explained to us that they respectfully ask that we keep our experience private. The club is special because the members respect its secrecy. They asked that we not share club logos, costumes, or anything easily identifiable. So below is a photo of my main course and some beautiful flowers. Just a peek, to respect that request.
And with that it’s time to say goodbye to Tokyo Disney Resort. Here’s one last look at the Aquasphere as the sun sets on this amazing vacation that I’m lucky enough to be able to share with you.
Have you been to Tokyo Disney Resort? What did you think of the parks? Do you have any questions about my trip? What was your favorite favorite Halloween decoration above? Please let us know in the comments below and as always thank you for reading and commenting! 🙂
Next week we’ll be back at Walt Disney World. I’m wishing all of you the Best Week Ever, until next time!