Monday, October 3, 2011

Japan - Day 2 - First day at Tokyo Disneyland

Maybe it's the time change, maybe it's the excitement for being at Disneyland the next day, but sleep did not come easy.  After going to sleep at 10:30pm at 1:30am, I was wide awake and ready to go.  Luckily after 30 minutes, I fell back asleep, but then again at 7am, wide awake and ready to go.  Luckily Theresa was awake too, so we went down to the convenience store in the lobby of the Hilton Tokyo Bay and grabbed breakfast.

We then met Jacob and Ruston at 7:45am and headed over to the monorail.
Along the way, we saw the awesome Disney Resort buses.  Even the tail lights had a Mickey design.





We bought our 4 day monorail passes and lined up for the monorail.


There were no huge lines to get on the monorail and at that time in the morning, I think it was running every 4 minutes, so we didn't even have to wait very long.


And again, we loved the Mickey handles on the monorail.


We got to the park just about 30 minutes before it opened.  Since it was just a Monday in October, we weren't expecting much of a crowd...  Our expectations were wrong.


Planning the day


This was the line in front of us.  You can just make out the entry gate between the two ticket booths.  And this wasn't the only entry gate.  If I had to guess, I think there are 7 others just like it, all with similar lines.  No worries though.  We'd been to Disney World's Magic Kingdom on New Year's Eve so we knew what crowded could look like.


Once we finally got through the gates we ran, yes ran, along with everyone else into the park.  No cast members here telling you not to run in the parks.  There were guys running and pushing strollers, girls with 2 Duffy bears in each arm running, and we were right there with them.


After reading other trip reports, we decided our first thing to do would be grab a fast pass for Monsters Inc and then head to Winnie the Pooh.  The fastpass had quite a line, but it was all orderly.  We scanned our ticket and the machine literally laughed at us and gave us our fastpasses.  Monsters was already posting a 50 minute wait, so back to Pooh we went.


Pooh showed a 40 minute wait, so I guess we made the right choice.  The queue is very well themed.  After hearing so many good things about this ride, the excellent queue was getting us excited. Notice how here instead of a rail to keep you out, it's just an overturned ladder blocking your way.



And then it's like you're walking right into the book.  It's not interactive like the queue at WDW, but I think I like it more because it adds more to the feel of the ride.



Believe all the hype.  The ride was fantastic!  As soon as you round the first corner and see the giant book and then the pictures come to life, you know you're in for a treat.  You join Pooh shortly after he's taken the balloon from Christopher Robin.  All the characters and sets were done very well.  Seeing that the vehicles weren't on a track was cool.  The bouncing room with Tigger made us all laugh.  And we were all laughing again when we went to the Heffalumps and Woozles room.  The finale was great as well with Pooh stuck in the Honey Tree and the entire room smelling like honey.  I can only speculate at this point how many times we're going to be going on this ride again.

When you exit through the gift shop, there are so many cute things to buy.  I had to pull Theresa away with promises that we'd be back later.



The park was starting to get crowded.  And what better to do when the park is crowded than go on a ride that has high capacity.  it's a small world was very close to Pooh, so that was next on our list.  The outside was very colorful. 


Besides the loading area, the inside of the ride reminded me a lot of the WDW version.  I was hoping for something unique to this park like the it's a small world at Disneyland Paris.  Oh well, it's still a fun ride wherever you go on it. 



Right across from small world, Pinocchio was only a 25 minute wait, so that was next on our list.


It's not a ride I go on often at Disneyland, but from what I can remember it was similar to the Anaheim version.




We weren't just here for rides though.  We wanted to get a feel for the park and just enjoy the ambiance.  Because we had just ran by the castle earlier in the day, it was time to go see it closer up. We stopped by the front of the castle for a few photos and walked around the hub and admired all the decorations that were put up for Halloween.






It was cool seeing these inverted busts of the Disney characters in the Haunted Mansion style.


Mickey keeps following me....



There was even a cool optical illusion.  You could see this from the front.


And this from the side.


Next on our list was the Haunted Mansion.  While walking there though, we were stopped just across the street from the entrance while the parade passed by.  We were 10 or so people back, but with 3 out of the 4 of us over 6' tall, we still had a pretty good view.  The floats and characters all looked fantastic.  This is definitely a parade we're going to have to sit down for and watch later.





And another thing we learned was that when the entrance to Haunted Mansion is somewhat blocked by the parade, the line starts to get relatively short.  We learned this by mistake, but made use of it a few more times during our trip.


One of the things I don't remember reading anywhere was how the Haunted Mansion is transformed into the Haunted Mansion Holiday Nightmare.  Now I know there are people in both camps on this change, but we fall with the group that absolutely loves seeing it decorated this way.




The queue here was decorated fantastically.  Lots of little nods to the movie, like the Night Shade and Frog's Breath Sally uses to make soup.


Inside, all the stockings are hung by the fireplace.


There are lots of unique things to this version compared to the Anaheim Disneyland version.  First off, the ride is based on the WDW Haunted Mansion, so there are a few more rooms to put things.  There are a few full size Sally animatronics as well as Jack.  Plus Lock Shock and Barrel make a few appearances.  Overall we loved this ride and it became one of our favorites on the trip.




No monster gingerbread house here.






Rustin was pleased with this crypt.


And about this time we started getting hungry. 


After seeing other's photos of the food here, we knew one of the top things we wanted to try.  A Mickey glove chicken sandwich!


Ordering was no problem. They have picture menus everywhere and you can just point to what you want.  They confirm everything with you too, so everything was very easy.
The sandwich looked amazing but it tasted just okay. I was wrongly expecting white meat chicken.  It didn't bother me, but Theresa didn't like it.  Good thing she got the chicken curry, which was actually pretty tasty.  The impulse buy was a Mike Wazowski mochi.  It sure did look a lot bigger on the menu.  Biting into it though, I was glad it wasn't much bigger.  Not a lot of flavor to it, though it looked super cute.


Continuing on our Monster Theme, our fastpasses for Monsters Inc were valid, so we headed over there.  I love how you walk right into the lobby of the Monsters Inc building.  It looks great!  The ride itself was cute, though we didn't so much play with the flashlights, and instead just took in all the detail.  A future report will show more photos from the ride itself.

The gift shop had some cool items, including a photo of the now president James Sullivan and a poster from the hot new musical "Put That Thing Back Where It Came From Or So Help Me."






Pirates is always good for moving lots of people, so we headed over there.  There wasn't anything special about the queue here.
One other thing we saw that we thought was a fluke before on small world, but really noticed here, no one uses the seat as a step to get into the boat.  It made for some awkward entries as people were taking a great big step down to get into the boat and slowed down loading a bit, but wow, we were impressed with the general politeness being shown to everyone here.



There are proper pirates here chasing girls around the town.



And I loved the speed ramp showing the proper place to put your foot and your peg leg.



The Tiki Room with Stitch had a short line.  We were able to walk right in and get great seats.  Unfortunately for us, the whole show was in Japanese and if we had taken a little more time, we would have known to ask for a translation device.  We still got the general gist though. 




It was time for more snacks.  Right outside of the Tiki Room, we treated ourselves to pumpkin soft serve ice cream and a mango boba drink.



We rode a few more rides afterwards, but no photos of those right now.  Space Mountain was fun.  Theresa rode Buzz while the rest of us were on Space Mountain and said that it was the same as Anaheim Disneyland.  Snow White was also fun, with some fun cast members.  As soon as your mine cart exits the final scene, before your cart advances to the unload section, the cast member calls out to the cart "Hi Ho".  We had seen it a few times while we were waiting in line, so we responded with a hearty "HI HO" right back.  The cast member and a bunch of people in line got a kick out of it.

We had seen huge lines for popcorn all day long.  Some of the more popular ones on Main Street, popcorn lines stretched 50 people deep.  We happened to be over by Pooh and the Honey Popcorn just smells fantastic over there.  It really adds to the ambiance of the area.
We picked up some Honey popcorn.  It was great, but personally I would have liked it to be more intense flavor.  The honey was subtle.


We loved the idea of all the different popcorn flavors and if we ran across a short line, we would usually grab one.



The castle was next on our "To Do" list.  It was great when Anaheim Disneyland opened up Sleeping Beauty's castle again and you could walk through it.  We were all looking forward to seeing what Tokyo would do for Cinderella.
The line was about 40 minutes long.  It's a pretty popular walk-through I suppose.


Once you made it inside you rode an elevator up a few floors.  After that, it was all at your own pace.  They tell the beginning of the story of Cinderella through panels on the walls.


After that first room though, you get to see multiple styles of art telling the story.  This first was animated and had all the animals making her dress.




What looked like some sort of carving of the Fairy Godmother visiting.


A construction paper display showing Cinderella's entrance to the ball.




A pieced together metal sculpture of her trying on the glass slipper.


The views looking out of the castle were just beautiful.


And then you round the corner and see a massive chandelier in a big room.


Here we found a throne.


A Glass Slipper, behind glass.


And even a stool where you could simulate trying it on.


After you exit though, that's where you get some really pretty views of Fantasyland.



And if you wait long enough, you can take a photo that makes it look like you've got the castle all to yourself.


We walked back over to Adventureland.  The Mickey shaped churros looked inviting, so we all got one to split.  Now if you get a fresh churro, they're absolutely fantastic.  This one was not so it was just okay.  I liked the Mickey shape though.


The Swiss Family Robinson tree house didn't have a line, so we walked around there.


After that, we hopped on the railroad.





No Grand Canyon diorama, but the dinosaurs looked great.



Dinner was just a quick slice of pizza.  I would say it was on the run, but we did as the locals did and sat down and ate it right there.

We walked over to where the Electric parade would start, but all the seating was taken.  Instead we were corralled at a crossing point and could see a lot of the parade from there.  Midway through though, they released us, and we had to find another spot.


We ended up just hopping in line for the Haunted Mansion since it was outdoors mostly anyway, and we got a view of the parade from there.  Lesson learned for next time.  If you want to see the parade, get there with lots of time and be prepared to wait.


We did see the amazing Genie float though and were all blown away.  The pictures hardly do it justice.  We loved how his costume changed to lots of different characters.


Fireworks were going to be starting soon.  We made our way to the front of the castle.  We'd heard fireworks weren't all that great here, but we wanted to see for ourselves. 


The first surprise was that the fireworks weren't really behind the castle.  Later we'd come to figure out, the fireworks are for both Disneyland and Disney Sea, so they're kind of in the middle somewhere.  And the length of the show.  Only 4 minutes long tops.  I suppose the rumors were all true.


After that, we were tired from a long day.  We walked back to the monorail and headed back to the hotel.  I was really surprised at the speed of everything.  Coming out of Disney World or Disneyland right after fireworks, you'd be waiting 10-15 minutes to get on a monorail/tram and back to your car.
We walked directly on the monorail and were back in our hotel rooms within 10 minutes of leaving the park.

All in all, it was a very satisfying day at the park.  Tokyo Disneyland made a great first impression on us.  The next day though we weren't sure what to expect.  Tokyo Disney Sea is like no other park we've ever been to.  If it was anything like Disneyland though, we knew it was going to be over the top and super fun!

Click here to go to Day 3 - Tokyo Disney Sea
______________________________________________________________

Day 1 - Flight to Japan
Day 2 - First Day at Tokyo Disneyland
Day 3 - Tokyo Disney Sea
Day 4 - A Rainy Day at Tokyo Disneyland
Day 5 - The Last Day at Disneyland
Day 6 - Leaving Disneyland and the first day in Tokyo
Day 7 - Exploring Tokyo 
Day 8 - Off to Hakone
Day 9 - Off to Kyoto
Day 10 - Exploring Kyoto
Day 11 - Even more Kyoto
Day 12 - Leaving Jacob and Ruston and heading back to Tokyo Disney Sea
Day 13 - Hanging out at Tokyo Disneyland 
Day 14 - Last Day in Japan
Day 12 to14 - Ruston and Jacob's last few days in Japan
Day 15 - Leaving Japan

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