Thursday, December 31, 2009

Highlights from Tokyo Disney Resort

Tokyo Disneyland

General Consensus:  It's a nice park and it's very interesting because it's an inexact replica of Disneyland California.  If you're only going to make it to one park in Tokyo, this is not it.  It's ridiculously crowded and it takes so long to do anything that it takes away from the experience; plus, there's very little that's truly new and original to Tokyo Disneyland.

Best 'Moment': We were pulled out of line for Space Mountain so that the cast members could be sure that Ian could use the safety bar (Space Mountain is the park's narrowest ride).  They took us through the exit to the back rooms of the ride and had Ian sit in a dead car.  He fit fine and I couldn't resist putting my hands in the air and saying, "Yattah!" (it's a Japanese expression that is close to "I did it/yay!").  The two cast members did it, too.  They made an experience that could have been terrible and made it fun and relaxed.  It was one of the most bizarre things that has ever happened to us.

Worst 'Moment:' The two and a half hour wait for Space Mountain (that's with the shortcut the cast members gave us toward the end since we were originally pulled out of line).  The last half hour felt like a mental breakdown.  I feel lucky that the California park is so close to home and so much more mellow than this one.

Favorite pictures:

The line to get in 30 minutes after opening.

It's alive and well in Tokyo.  Granted, two thirds of it is in Japanese.

The Holiday Jack's Skellington (Nightmare Before Christmas) Haunted Mansion was really cool.

My Disney ears winter hat.  It's ridiculously warm.  And just ridiculous!

Tokyo DisneySea

General Consensus: This park is supposed to be a trip around the world via ports, harbors and bays.  It's pretty amazing and worth seeing.  It's more for adults and the rides reflect that.  But, be prepared to wait.  It's not as crowded as Disneyland, but it's still pretty packed.  We expected killer wait times for rides, since we had seen them before, but it's amazing how long people will stand in line for food here.

Best 'Moment:' The initial awe upon walking in.  I mean, this park is impressive and you walk right into the Mediterranean area.  We also successfully ordered a sandwich without meat at the New York Deli restaurant in the American section of the park.  There wasn't even any hassle.

Worst 'Moment:' We've got a tie between the wait times and finding out that the seatbelt for the Tokyo Tower of Terror goes over your shoulder.  Talk about safety precautions.  It reduced the antigravity effect by probably 80%.  But, it was still fun.

Favorite Pictures (mostly the park grounds!):

Looking toward the Arabian section. The real sea air really adds to the affect.


Near 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.


Arabian section.

Ariel's Grotto.  It's pretty impressive underground.

What do you think this line is for?  It's not a ride.

Caramel corn!  The little red roof is the cart.  There is also salted, soy sauce and butter chocolate, curry, strawberry, and black pepper.  We tried the caramel, strawberry, soy sauce and butter, and black pepper over our two days.  Black pepper was the best.

Raging Spirits!  It was cool, but the line was long.

Well, I'm completely exhausted.  If you have and Disney questions, let me know.  Also, if you need help planning a trip, we' be more than happy to help.  Good night!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Tomorrow... land

We had a good time at Tokyo Disney today, but we were way off on our capacity expectations.  The park was unbelievably clogged.  Downsides included wait times and very little vegetarian food (though there was enough t get by) and highlights included the Jack Skellington Holiday version of Haunted Mansion and soy sauce and butter popcorn.  Tomorrow we're going to Disney Sea, so I figured I would post all of the photos together and tell you about the parks tomorrow when I can compare and contrast.  It'll be better that way because Tokyo DIsneyland is largely the same as the one in California, just with some slight differences.  Tomorrow will bring more new things, so I"ll combine the posts.

Good night!

Ueno, Tokyo Dome and Electric City

We have and early morning ahead of us and I am very tired, so this post will be mostly pictures and few details (I'm sorry that I'm too tired to write much other than captions, I'll be sure to revisit our stories from today in later posts). We saw a lot today and we experienced a little of the diversity that Tokyo has to offer.  By the way, we went to the post office this morning and had no problem withdrawing funds from that ATM.

The 100 yen (about a dollar) shop near our hostel and Okachimachi Station.  There's some pretty good stuff in there(mostly stuff to meet everyday household needs).  They're much better than American dollar stores.

There's a Hard Rock Cafe in Ueno Station.

We went to this really amazing seven story toy/anime/gaming shop called Yamashiroya near the station.  We got this guys out of a capsule machine.  We had to put him together.

Inside Yamashiroya:

This is a whole section of plushies, figurines and memorabilia for horse racing (and specific horses).  I didn't even know that sport was here.

Replica weapons from anime.

Marvel action figures from 1994.

Ninja Turtle action figures from about the same time.

Lots of Thomas, but not as much as I expected.

Brush up on your skills because we got these for Grant!

Ueno Park area:

20oz can of Dr. Pepper.

Balloon man with a hat we made in front of us.

Building protecting a Buddha statue.  The originals in this area were much bigger than the current one.  The first one was destroyed by earthquake and the second was melted down to make weapons for WWII.

We weren't supposed to take this picture, but we saw the sign too late.

Huge Buddha face from one of he originals.

The lake.  It's dirty and reedy.

But, there are still a lot of birds.

Monuments and shrines around the park:

This five story pagoda is actually in the zoo, but we had a view of it from outside.

Under construction (behind the gate is just a picture on the scaffolding).  We have terrible luck with that.

So many birds.

Perspective on how big the koi are.

Tokyo Dome area:

The area is a lot like Seattle Center.  Lots of shopping and entertainment.

Ultra Man!  Ian says is live action stuff like Power Rangers.

After the dome, we went back to the hostel to charge the camera.  While the camera was charging we ran back to Harajuku to get a sweater/dress that I had wanted.  Then we picked up the camera and went to Electric Town.  We didn't have as much time there before things started to close as we would have liked, but w still had a good time and we might go back.

Outside of the station.

Space invaders!

Anime Ian!

Slot/arcades/anime places were everywhere.  We played a little bit in this one, mostly on the arcade floor, but Ian did lose $5 trying to figure out a slot machine, it's a lot harder in Japanese.

This photo booth area is only for girls, but Ian and I made some purikura (tiny sticker photos for trading with friends) pictures anyway.

We wanted sushi for dinner, so we found a place in Electric Town.  It turns out it's a chain, but the place was packed with comisserating business men.  It was awesome and tasty.  We just ordered a customized collection of rolls we knew we could eat (we found the names on the internet).

The sake was very smooth.  The red base is filled, too, and this is only a small.

In the forefront: inari (fried tofu stuffed with sushi rice), and tomago (cooked egg with sushi rice and a band of nori).  In the background:  vegetable rolls including kappa (cucumber roll).

After dinner we went for a beer at a smoky, little hole in the wall place.  The beer wasn't excellent, but it's better than Korean beer.

Tomorrow we'll set out for Tokyo Disneyland.  It should be a thoughtless, relaxing day.

Happy belated birthday, Bruce!  I'm sorry I didn't get to talk to you today like I thought I would.

Good night!