Daisy Lauren’s Best Week Ever: September 11, 2014

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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! 🙁

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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…

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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!

Daisy Lauren

I'm just about the biggest Touring Plans fan ever and still pinching myself that they let me be part of the team! I love sharing all things Disney with you and always appreciate your ideas and feedback at: daisylauren@touringplans.com or @dizdaisylauren on twitter Above everything else THANK YOU for reading and commenting!

24 thoughts on “Daisy Lauren’s Best Week Ever: September 11, 2014

  • September 11, 2014 at 8:36 am
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    Thanks for the walk-through video. It really gave a good sense of ‘being there’ and made it all very relatable. Hoping to see it in person one day.

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    • September 13, 2014 at 9:51 am
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      Hi Ashley! I’m so glad. 🙂 This was on the top of my bucket list so I can relate to how you feel. I hope you get to see it in person too!

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  • September 11, 2014 at 8:45 am
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    Did you get to see One Man’s Dream II? It was my favorite show, because it made me remember the Disney magic I had forgotten (I go as far to say that it’s the reason I’m here today – well, maybe Philharmagic would’ve done the same 😛 ).

    http://youtu.be/plz2S79kZFY?t=6m50s

    I always watch it when I’m a little down.

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    • September 13, 2014 at 9:53 am
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      Hey Leandro! We didn’t get to see it. 🙁 There was a lottery for it every day and we never won. Even when there were extra seats they wouldn’t let us in without a ticket. They’re all about the rules there! But I get to see awesome videos like yours and there’s always next time! Thanks for sharing!!

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  • September 11, 2014 at 11:34 am
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    Great photos–definitely has me excited to see Tokyo Disney Resort decked out for Halloween. Although I’m really salivating to see more from inside Club 33!

    Sounds like your trip has been amazing–great to hear! 🙂

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    • September 13, 2014 at 9:54 am
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      As if the trip wasn’t enough… I got a “great photos” from TOM freaking BRICKER?! Don’t mind me.. I’m just going to frame that and hang it on the wall. 😉

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  • September 11, 2014 at 3:30 pm
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    Oh boy, now you’ve done it. My wife is going to be shocked that next time she takes a sleeping pill on a cross country flight that she wakes up in Tokyo.

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    • September 13, 2014 at 9:55 am
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      Tee Hee – be sure to give her 2 pills.. it’s a long flight! Totally worth it. Once she sees the parks she won’t even be mad! 😉

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  • September 11, 2014 at 4:47 pm
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    Thank you so much for sharing this! I recently read an article that listed DisneySea as one of the best theme parks in the world. I read more about it and have now decided that it is my ultimate Disney goal. Of course, I hate flying, so I’m going to have to work on this . . .

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    • September 13, 2014 at 10:00 am
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      Hi There! If it helps at all, I think long flights are actually easier. You really get time to settle in and have a meal or two. (Not to mention a couple glasses of wine!) Tokyo is worth the long flight. TDS is an amazing park, totally different from anywhere else I’ve ever been. I hope you’re able to get there someday! 🙂

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  • September 11, 2014 at 10:56 pm
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    “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.”

    The US parks are busy all year. They’re highly profitable, and putting more money into them is unlikely to lead to more profits. Hard ticket events and other upcharges, on the other hand are all the rage these days. (Who’s joining me at La Cava after illuminations?)

    Moreover, the longest lines in WDW are for meet and greets. Even if you’re not cynical, it makes sense to put money into satifying customer demand for those, rather than dark rides.

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      • September 12, 2014 at 12:05 pm
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        I’m not saying TDL is not crowded. The entrance queue photos posted above made that clear.
        I am saying the US Disney Parks management have a narrow focus on return on investment. With the US parks drawing crowds the crowds they do, there’s little additional money to be made by additional upkeep of the rides and animatronics, so those budgets are minimized.
        It’s a question of whether the Imagineers or the the accountants call the shots.

      • September 13, 2014 at 10:03 am
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        I still think Dean Finder is the best screen name ever. 🙂

        It makes you wonder how amazing our parks could be if everything wasn’t about dollars and cents, doesn’t it? Of course, maybe it balances out with unique merchandise. I spent more in Tokyo than I would ever spend at other parks because it’s all the same generic stuff in WDW, DL, DLP, and I assume Hong Kong. Maybe if our parks would put more in they’s get more out across the board?

  • September 12, 2014 at 5:56 pm
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    OMG – WOW!!! Now I need to figure out a budget to visit Tokyo Disney! Thanks for sharing this with us 🙂

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    • September 13, 2014 at 10:04 am
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      Hi Belinda! I’m so happy to be able to share and remember Guy will have even more coming soon! It really wasn’t that much more than visiting Disneyland for us if we’d budgeted to stay on property. Happy planning! 🙂

      Reply
  • September 12, 2014 at 6:23 pm
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    I just spent a day at Tokyo Disney Sea in August. I was in the Tokyo area for 2 weeks for business and when I went to looking to see what I could do on the weekends, and saw that I could get my Disney fix for the year, I was hooked. I completely agree on the crowds. I was there the weekend before the kids went back to school and I was shocked at the lines. I had even had to wait to get a bus to the parks from my hotel about 45 minutes away at 6:45 am. There were about 100 people in line and that was the 3rd bus of the morning. It was an amazing park. Besides the Duffy’s everywhere, lots of people were wearing matching Disney tees. The matching tees crossed kids and adult sizes, so I got a set for my entire family for next summer’s vacation at WDW.

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    • September 13, 2014 at 10:06 am
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      Hi Donna! I totally forgot to mention that – there were so many people dressed in matching outfits. Like, more than I’ve ever seen in the USA. I’m glad I wasn’t crazy about the lines. A Japanese friend told me that the Japanese people spend half their lives in lines. I thought she was joking but after a trip I’m not so sure!! 🙂

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  • September 13, 2014 at 10:42 am
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    Thank you so much for that review. I got to go to Tokyo Disney this summer and I loved it so much! This was a great stroll down memory lane and you hit so many things spot on 🙂 I also found the people to be so polite and considerate that it was actually enjoyable to wait for the parades and shows vs. trying to keep your spot for being taken. Picture people sitting respectfully with strollers folded down. Japan is truly a wonderful place. I was definitely anti Duffy before the trip…but now am a convert – I just love their passion for him! Thanks again!

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    • September 16, 2014 at 5:35 am
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      Hi Ashley! I totally agree with you on the waiting for parades and shows. It’s a totally different experience than here in the states. We’re already planning when we can go back. 🙂

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  • September 15, 2014 at 8:13 pm
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    Thanks for sharing this sneak peek, Daisy Lauren! I really didn’t know much at all about TKL or DisneySea, but your pictures and videos are pretty enticing even though the sheer volume of people in the parks is a little intimidating for me. It seems like it’s worth it to brave the crowds for the unique offerings though. The little Duffy photo points are so cute! When I went on my first adult trip earlier this year, I wasn’t feeling like I connected with any particular character, so I wasn’t really excited to meet them. But I’d never seen Duffy and I had an instant, “He’s my favourite!” moment. It makes me sad that people kind of hate on him in North America, but whatever, I’m all for the short line to pose with him at Epcot! 😀

    I would love it if there was less homogenized merchandise too, because it makes going to more than one store in the parks virtually pointless. I was a little bummed out when everything was the same, everywhere! It definitely wasn’t like that when I was a little girl.

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    • September 16, 2014 at 5:38 am
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      Hi Gillian – I’m so glad you love Duffy! 🙂 This weekend I was going to stop by to get a photo of him but his meet and greet was last to open! It said 11:30am on the sign but there was no Duffy at 11:45am. I don’t think anyone even noticed. It’s sad when you see what a hit he is in Tokyo.

      Something worse about the merchandise – it isn’t just the same between stores. It’s the same between PARKS! It was all the same stuff in Paris. I was so bummed but I came back without spending half my budget. Even the stuff designed for Paris I bought is available in the France Pavilion at Epcot. What a let down!!

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  • September 17, 2014 at 3:00 am
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    Heck yeah, my Disboards name isn’t GillylovesDuffy for nuthin’! 😉 I can’t wait to squish him in a couple of weeks!

    What a bummer about the merchandise not only being the same in the country (let alone the parks in Florida), but overseas too! I miss unique stores, but I think they’ve struck gold with my pocketbook, now that they’re releasing all this fantastic Haunted Mansion stuff. Looking for the silver lining… 🙂

    Reply
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