Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Tokyo Disneyland Everything Else (Part 2)

They post about Tokyo Disneyland was becoming too long, especially with pictures, so I am breaking it down into two posts. The first one focuses on the rides, this one on everything else.

There were a few surprises of the day. The first was that, while we know we are in Japan, we expected to see more non-Asian people. After all, when we go to Disneyland we see people of all races. Especially on that first super rainy day, we felt like the only non-Asian people at Disneyland.The rain kept away most characters. It also kept the PhotoPass photographers home. Speaking of PhotoPass photographers, before they take your picture with their camera, they try to sell you on the photograph. If you don't want it, they'll still take a picture with your camera, but if you want it, you are given a ticket and a 2-hour time window in which to pick up the photograph. Almost reminded me of the days before Disneyland switched to the PhotoPass card system and we came home with a slew of tickets. Except in those days, they did not try to sell their pictures and just took them.

The theme park tickets seemed cheaper than the US parks – even factoring in 100 Yen to a US Dollar (now down to 94 Yen to the dollar, not good). I wondered if one of the reasons is because Cast Members have to pay to get into Disney when they are not working. They also do not get passes to allow their friends to come in for free. Fortunately our friend, Masumi, has an annual pass and could join us in the park after her shift.

Oddly the way the passes worked you had to choose one park for days 1 and 2 of the pass, and could park hop on the third and fourth days. There is a fee to ride the monorail between the parks. We opted for the three-day monorail pass at 1100 YEN ($12) after trying to walk there on our first day

Our hotel is directly across the street from one of the four monorail stations. Unlike Florida and California, though, you have to pay to ride this one. Even though the theme parks are within sight (our view from the Hilton Tokyo Bay is almost identical to our view from HoJo Anaheim) it was a half an hour walk the first time we did it (after being in an airplane for more hours than we care to count, it felt good to walk). 

Lunch included a drink if you bought the "set" for an additional 200 YEN (think value meal for $2.25). I had iced oolong tea. I was pleasantly surprised to find iced tea since I could not find it in Canada. I couldn’t even explain the concept to servers, even when I had a friend with me who speaks Canadian French. It just was not happening.

Lunch was at Grandma Sara’s Kitchen. American food with Japanese twists. My BBQ chicken dinner came with ride “from Japan.” Ashley had a tiny sampler platter with a miniscule beef patty, corn, rice balls, French fries and shrimp. She told us later she loves corn chowder, so she’ll have that today for lunch. The corn in the salad was delicious – rivaling the freshness of Jersey corn.

Seems it is not a trip to Disney without a trip to First Aid. This time it was Ashley’s contact lenses. They are new and taking some time to adjust. We successfully described the issue and found a solution. Score one for us! They have three First Aids - -two of which are back stage. We were escorted to the one in Fantasy Land that is backstage. Score one for Tokyo Disney –even with a small park they still have three first aids.

Main Street is covered. It really changes the feel. There were the usual shops, including the art gallery where Ashley took a drawing class. Just off Main Street (on a different covered section) is Club 33. When you leave the covered section, you are not far from the castle. The overall layout is more square than circular, which probably aids in overall traffic flow.

Don had a dream come true – we saw the bicycle piano player – Steve from British Columbia. Steve entertained the crowd in the center of Main Street in Japanese, with a few American phrases tossed in for us Americans. He played a Mary Poppins medly (thought of Ragtime Robert) and then “the boss’s song” in Japanese (“Mickey Mouse”). It sounds like he has worked at Tokyo Disney for years and is a crowd favorite.

We ended the evening in the castle walking through Cinderella’s Fairy Tale Hall. We were thinking it was like the Sleeping Beauty walk-through in California, but we could not be more wrong. There was often a 20 minute wait, which was completely justified. The rooms were filled with art depicting scenes from Disney’s Cinderella. Some were made from cut out paper, others from metal, wood, all sorts of art forms. The highlight was in the last room where they had a couple of magic pictures. I have never seen anything like it. A swirl magically appears if you use your flash, but not if you don't.

When we finally did see the characters, the interaction was amazing. Trust me, we've had some amazing experiences and I can tell you these were supercalifragiliciousexpialidocious! 

Jet lag knocked Ashley out by 4. Don carried her for a bit, we sat for a bit. She woke up around 7:30 to see the Electric Light Parade – people sat to watch it, longer than US, many new floats, different parade – about 25 minutes long. She had enough of a second wind to close the park at 10 PM. A surprise to us all. Fortunately she slept through the second night, after rousing at 3 AM on the first night. Hopefully she can stay awake longer today.

It poured all morning. It was a nice, steady rain. Perfectly fine with a rain jacket. We were the only people we saw without an umbrella or rain poncho! We knew Californians melt in the rain, therefore they stay home when the weather is the least bit off. Well, the Japanese just deal with the weather in their own way. Too bad since once they took off their ponchos we saw some of the most creative and beautiful outfits, including a little girl dressed as Donald Duck.

Our next day took us to DisneySea, where I’ve been told there is often an hour-long ride just to pick up a FP for ToyStory. While that is our favorite ride, we can’t justify that amount of time. We’ve heard this park is completely different.

No comments:

Post a Comment