Monday, January 07, 2008

1/9/08 DisneySea 2: Revenge of Mickey

Maybe I'm a slow learner, perhaps just a glutton for punishment, but on the 24th of December I found myself in the Tokyo Disney complex once again. This time I was with Angelica, which was awesome, but since we came straight from the airport to Tokyo and we were returning home at the end of the day, we had a large amount of heavy luggage in tow. Some of the bigger metro stations don't even have an escalator, which led to manual labor to the extent that I had to take a short-breathed break now and then mid-staircase.

With the "sorry, disneyland is full" debacle I experienced with my parents not even two months ago, I made quite sure that I purchased the tickets in advance back at the local travel agency office in Ashikaga maybe a month ahead of time.

Same as last time, I figured that Angelica would better enjoy DisneySea due to the fact that Japan is the only country where it is available. Never mind its December... we're going to the sea, ok!?

Riding the Disney train.

So you might think that on Christmas Eve a place like Disneyland would be deserted.. You would be the wrongest person ever if you did that. It was even more super-dee-duper crowded than last time.

You see in Japan, Christmas and New Years are almost reversed in importance, according to my observations. New Years is the important family-oriented holiday and Christmas is party time. Its a pretty foreign notion, celebrating the birth of a person who founded a religion that no one really cares about here. While writing trivia questions for a class game, I recall writing something like "who's birthday is on christmas?" and my teacher scrapped it as too hard. I guess you don't really need the religious part of Christmas to give presents... if you only learned about Christmas from tv and movies how much of its religious connotations would you even notice?

As a result, going to disneyland on Christmas Eve is not only not strange here, but it seems to be an overwhelmingly popular idea, evident by the masses present. Everyone finished licking their fingers at KFC and head over to Disneyland.

A sign of things to come. This was the line just to check our luggage before we even entered the park.

We were already pretty hungry from our travels, so the first thing we did was scope out a place to eat. We passed a couple of places that looked good but had discouraging lines. I was curious about the restaurant aboard a large, fake(but pretty realistic) cruise liner looking ship called the "S. S. Columbia". The outside of the ship was pretty cool, and the inside was big and nice enough to remind me a bit of the Titanic. The restaurant was set up like you would expect from a cruise liner of the period. First, second, and third class were available, each on their own level. It worked just like it was supposed to, as well. Third class had a long line, so we walked up the luxurious flight of stairs. Second class had a bearably long line, but there was a stair case to one side, narrower and much less grand than the first one, but its low key nature made it even more enticing. I had to see what was up there. We went up and the line was the shortest of the three. We sat on some fancy velvety couches for just a moment before we were called to our table.

The nice thing about Tokyo Disneyland is that it still plays by American rules. Someone came around with a basket full of dinner rolls. There were different shades of bread, some had some sort of crunched grain on top. I realized I that I haven't been offered or even eaten a dinner roll in what seems like quite some time. The nice lady then asked me how many I want. How many? A lot. Let me tell you. How about 5 months worth? I probably ate 6 dinner rolls.

Another nice little detail: I had a Samuel Adams beer with my meal. That was maybe the most delicious beverage I have yet imbibed. Sam Adams is maybe my favorite brand of beer and this particular bottle really struck me. I haven't seen it in Japan even once before this day. It was dark amber, and it smelled hoppy like beer is supposed to. At this moment I decided that I don't really care for Japanese beer all that much. And this leads me to a bit of a rant...

There are a few companies in this country with numerous different labels, but they all taste the same to me. I'm no expert on brewing, but Japanese beer is really bright yellow and thin. I prefer darker beer, and it is just not to be had domestically. Countable on one hand are the imported dark beers that I have found in town, the most available being Guiness. The local Mexican restaurant has Negra Modelo, but both are super expensive. Sigh. I would buy a crate of Sam Adams if given the chance.

Whew, sorry about that. So, back to Disneysea. Good times. The lines were so, so long. The Tower of Terror, the newest ride at the park, had a line of terror to match. Three hours of terrifying standing. So terrible.

I took this shot during some of my ample free time, waiting to ride 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

Its lucky for me that I think the ride's line scenery is really cool, because I had plenty of time to examine it while waiting. I probably could have painted a watercolor or two without being disturbed.

More scenery from 20,000 leagues. It helps to establish a quick story line for the ride, plus it was all in delicious English.

There was some sort of special Christmas show at the Broadway-themed theater. Maybe one of the longest lines yet assembled, it ended here only to begin again on another street in a separate section. Amazing.

Look who's super excited.

Here we are in from of the big volcano, Mt. Prometheus.

At one point we took a break from the big kid rides and indulged. Scuttle's Scooters I believed it was called. Scooting was had by all, hurray!

This was another interesting aspect of sociology at the park. As soon as we walked into the park, we saw small groups of people sitting by the water, clutching blankets and looking despondent. Dubbed by me as "Disneyland's Homeless", these huddled masses grew in size throughout the day. It later became apparent that they were staking their claims to a good view for watching a firework show on the water that was to occur later in the night. Hardcore, but in a scary way.

Well, we managed to have a lot of fun despite the long waits. Check back for more Japan with Angelica. I need to write down all of the stories before I forget the details!

In related news, yesterday at Tokyo Disneyland a large piece of steel detached from a parade float and landed not far from the crowds watching the festivities, causing quite a stir but not injuring anyone. Due to safety checks, parades have been stopped for the first time since the park's opening in 1983. Interesting. Full article here.


  1. Did you like Disney Sea better then Disneyland? I have been to Tokyo Disney once but I wish I went to Disney Sea instead.

  2. That`s a hard one. I definitely think Sea is worth a look, but if I had to choose, I would stick to the original. I like all the classic rides and nostalgic stuff. Was it super crowded when you were there?

  3. Not to bad. It was the middle of the week. Even though Tokyo Disney has a bigger castle and is much newer, I actually like the original in California better.

    I wanted to go to Tokyo Disney to compare to California Disneyland. It was still really fun though.