Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Japan - Day 3 - Tokyo Disney Sea

Another day of waking up at 5:30am.  Theresa went and grabbed breakfast again from the convenience store in the lobby.  At 8:15am we met up with Jacob and Ruston again and took the monorail over to Disney Sea.  I was really excited to go here!  I've been to a few Disney Parks, but this was like nothing I had ever been to.  Disney Sea was just one stop from the Partner Hotel monorail stop, so by 8:30am we were through security and in line for the park.

Not quite as many people here as Tokyo Disneyland, but still a good size crowd. 

This time we were close enough to see just a few of the opening festivities.  Lots of characters came out in wizard costumes, we later learned this was all part of the "Be Magical" 10 year celebration.  The gates opened and we were off.  Again there was some running, but not as much as Disneyland.

Surprisingly at 9:00am, there were already people sitting down for the water show called "Be Magical!" at 11:30am.  Along the way, we had our very first taste of Black Pepper popcorn.  We were passing right as they were finishing setup and after seeing huge lines the day before at Disneyland, we jumped at the chance to try this new flavor with no wait.  The popcorn was very tasty, but maybe next time we'll wait later than breakfast time.

Our plan was to grab a Journey to the Center of the Earth fastpass and then head over to Indiana Jones.  We grabbed our fastpasses, but saw that 20000 Leagues Under the Sea had no wait.  We were given a little card with the storyline in English, but were whisked right into a waiting ride vehicle.  It was too dark in there to read it, but we got the general idea.  I thought ride itself was alright. Lots of weird creatures we encountered along the way.  My wife however gets motion sick, so she wasn't thrilled with all the moving and spinning in the dark.  Jacob and Ruston didn't have much to say about it either, and it was ultimately the only time we went on this ride during our entire stay.  We also never saw much of a line here, so there was really no reason to go on it so early in the day.

From there, we went to Indiana Jones.  I believe the wait time posted was 40 minutes, but within 30 minutes, we were on the ride.  

The queue here looked incredible.  We've got a great queue at Disneyland Anaheim and this queue was its equal.  You walk up to a huge pyramid surrounded by dense foliage.  Eventually you make your way inside.

You enter a huge room and are greeted by a massive carved statue with skeletons everywhere.  This statue has large snake arms, and out of the left snake there's a small drip of water down into a pool below it filled with skeletons.

You wind your way around the room through make shift supports.  You enter a few more rooms and then you're ready to board.

As many have said before me, the ride track itself is identical to the Anaheim version.  Instead of looking into the eyes of Mara though, we are greeted by a crystal skull. 

Indy is yelling at us again, but all in Japanese. 
And that's all the photos I got from this time on the ride.  More will come later.  The ride itself was cool and it was cool to see the changes they had made with a few of the scenes.  Not really any fire in the bridge room, but a lot of lasers.  The snake looks a lot more scary.  In the place where we'd normally encounter rats jumping into the vehicle, there was a statue.  The vehicle stopped, the statues eyes started to glow then it yelled at us in Japanese and blew a huge smoke ring at us.  We all had a good time. 

Next we grabbed our fastpasses to Raging Spirits.  The roller coaster that is the same as Disneyland Paris' Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril.

We walked over to Discovery Island and ran into the Incredibles.  Mrs. Incredible is striking a pose.
There was also a very short line for Strawberry Popcorn so we had our first taste of that.  It was okay.  The sweet flavors we've tried so far are very subtle.  I think my American palate would have liked more of a candy coating.

Aquatopia only had a 15 minute line, so we jumped on that.  I was a little surprised when I was told "No Photo" when we got on.  I complied, but saw lots of other people taking pictures.  Oh well.  
From there, we hopped on the Electric Railway to take us over to the American Harbor. 

After getting off, there was a strange smell in the air.  We came across another popcorn cart.  Milk Tea, hmm.  Wonder why it was in the American Harbor section?  Of course we grabbed a box.  I know what you're thinking.  It's only 11am and you've already had 3 boxes of popcorn, but really, we've been splitting it 4 ways and they're not that big.  Stop judging me!
Seriously though, Milk Tea was interesting.  It wasn't bad, but it was not going to become my favorite. 

We grabbed fastpasses to the Tower of Terror (I was really looking forward to going on this later), and then headed to the front of the park to get a few photos.

We were in such a rush before, but now the crowd had cleared away and the skies were looking beautiful. 

Each of the lands has their own representative as part of the 10 year celebration.

From there, we started walking back towards Journey to the Center of the Earth.  Just before we walked into the volcano, music started playing and Be Magical! began.  We got a viewpoint on one of the higher walkways.

Unfortunately from this position, it was hard to see what was going on.  We watched a bit of it, but decided we were definitely going to have to see this from a better vantage point.  You can see it's popular though.  Look at all the people in the background.

I'm used to seeing Pooh, Tigger, and even Eeyore every once in a while, but Rabbit was not someone I see that often.

No pictures from Journey to the Center of the Earth right now.  I'll have my review of that along with the pictures in a future post.

Everyone was hungry so we stopped at the Zambini Brothers' Ristorante for some pasta. 

We then walked over to Mermaid Lagoon and into Triton's Kingdom.  The exterior looked cool (it would really shine at night though, you'll have to wait for a later post to see those).  The interior though was even more amazing.  The interior of this show building was HUGE.  We saw the Little Mermaid show.  Very cool execution.  Instead of having a stage like Hollywood Studios at Disney World, the seating surrounded a center stage.  All the action took place in the center and above your heads.  Ariel was on a wire and her and all her other fish friends were "swimming" above us the whole time.  No photos were allowed during the show, unfortunately.  It was all in Japanese, but we did get English translation devices.  Ursula was huge and very cool to see.  Her head must have been 8 feet tall and her tentacles surrounded the entire auditorium.  And as others have said, the ending is a little weird, since Ariel is pining to become human for the entire show, but when Ursula tells her to make her choice, she says, "I don't want to become human, my place is under the sea!" 

The Arabian Coast was next on our list.  The Genie is a great character to represent this area. 

Curry Popcorn.  The smell permeating the area over here is incredible.  Curry just fills the air.  Now curry isn't my favorite thing to eat, but I wanted to give it a go.  In this case, I was pleasantly surprised that the curry flavor wasn't as strong as I expected.  Not too bad at all.

Next we went to the Magic Lamp Theater to see a magic show.  The Genie had unfortunately been trapped by an evil magician.  The Genie uses the magician's apprentice to help him escape by tricking the magician to use all his wishes.  It was a 3D show with some stage effects.  The show had translation devices for us, so we were very thankful for that.  I don't think I mentioned how to get the translation devices.  At the entrance to most attractions, there are cast members telling you what the wait time is.  We just walked up to one of them and asked for an English translation.  They had us wait off to the side, or just inside and then they found us a few minutes later.  Easy peasy.

We then rode Sindbad's Storybook Voyages, which I'll cover more in depth at the end of this article.
Jacob and I then went over to the Raging Spirits coaster to use our fastpasses.  We got a little grief about being late for our fastpass return time.  I had read previous reviews stating that you could use late fastpasses just like the US parks.  It was pretty hit and miss though throughout the whole resort.  Most rides had no issue, but we ran into a few cases where we were told we were too late, but eventually conceded to let us on.  The theming was pretty good, but the coaster was nothing special and over too fast.

Jacob and I headed over to Storm Rider next.  This one was all in Japanese, but it made enough sense.The premise was that we were heading into a storm in a giant helicopter to set off an explosive to dissipate the storm.  We fly around a bit and then head into the storm.  When we launch the rocket, it gets struck by lightning and then comes back at us.  It hits us and inside the theater we get this rocket that shoots through the ceiling and right towards the audience.  We are able to get it out just in time for it to blowup outside the ship, but now the ship is damaged.  It has lots of holes so rain is coming in.  Eventually we make a crash landing on the water and everything is okay.  I was impressed by the size of this huge motion simulator and the capacity of the audience.  

Our fastpasses were ready for the Tower of Terror.  Again, not many pictures from this first time, but a later post will have some photos and even a brief video of the awesome pre-show.  Let me just say, I was really looking forward to this ride and I wasn't disappointed.

After the ride, we wanted to go on the gondolas.  Before that we grabbed a bit gelato though. Some interesting flavors here like Melon, Grape, and Blood Orange.

Unfortunately the gondolas were closed so they could show Be Magical! in the lagoon.  I guess that's what we were going to do next.  We had 45 minutes to wait, but at least we were getting some good seats. 

The show was so much better here!

All the characters come out and it's a real extravaganza.

And even the volcano gets into the action.  Now this was an excellent use of the big lagoon.  I thought the whole show was just fantastic.  The music was catchy, there was crowd participation, and it was very high energy.  Plus you get to see lots of characters, and a few of them are pretty rare.

After the excellent show, the gondolas were operating again.  This guy caught me taking a photo and struck a pose.

Just a little tired after a full day of walking around.

We boarded right around sunset, which made for some really cool photos.

Now we've been to Venice and taken an authentic gondola ride.  This was better.  No trash in the water and our gondolier wasn't smoking.
Here we had a great view, two great rowers, singing, and it was all going on at just about dusk so the skies, water, and lights really looked great.  

Disney Sea definitely has some great photo ops.

By the time we got off the gondola, the line was already closed to new people to get in.  There's definitely a very short window for riding this later in the night.

Once we exited, we were thinking about dinner, but saw that the Big Band Beat was letting people in.  We’d heard that normally this was a lottery and a show you might not normally get a chance to see.  We walked in and went up to the balcony and got amazing seats.  They were just off center, one row back from the rail.  You couldn’t have asked for much better.  They had live band music and all the singing, dancing, and tap dancing were great.  Very high energy and lots of fun.  Mickey was even playing the drums (and really well too).  I wonder if that’s where DL’s current parade got the inspiration from.  Unfortunately, again, photos were forbidden.

Now we were hungry and it was definitely time for dinner, but the views in front of the volcano were beautiful with all the lights.

We all posed for some photos.

Now can we finally get dinner?  Theresa and I stopped by a place that had roasted chicken, but after seeing it was dark meat only, she decided to pass.  I saw they had bread (which the pasta was missing at lunch) so I got a plate of it to eat with the pasta I was getting at the next place.  When we tried to exit, we were stopped and told “No takeout, no takeout”.  Not a problem, I just picked the bread up off the tray, and handed the tray to him and was about to leave again when again he said, “Sorry, no takeout, no takeout”.  That was really odd since I just wanted to take my 2 bread rolls and leave.  We ended up heading back into the restaurant, grabbing a napkin and wrapping them in that and tossing them in a bag and then we left.  Pretty odd.  And of course on the way to the next place we saw a few people with trays full of food from that restaurant just eating off to the side.  We met up with Jacob and Ruston and had pasta, split a pizza, tried some minestrone soup, and shared that evil takeout bread for dinner.  

We finished dinner with only 10 minutes or so to spare before Fantasmic. It really helps being tall here. We stood just off center and had a great view. They did a really good job using the water for Fantasmic with floats and fireworks all around.  The normal water screens we’re used to were replaced mostly with a float in the center that had LEDs all around it that showed video on it in 360. 

Mickey disappeared and Stitch emerged from the giant LED column.

And even Angel got in on the action, driving a speed boat around the lagoon.

The magic mirror was a giant mirror frame that had water streams they projected onto.  The dragon at the end breathed fire and was cool to see.  Overall, a bit different from our Fantasmic, but all in a good way.  Even though we’ve seen the show countless times at Disneyland and Disney World, it was really fun to see like this. 

Luckily Mickey saved the day in the end.

At this point Jake and Theresa had had enough and went back to the hotel.  
Ruston and I decided to stay just a little longer for a few more rides.  We walked from the front to the entrance to the volcano again.  People were still standing around the water and we were curious why.  Turns out fireworks were just a few minutes away.  At that point I remembered reading that they do the same fireworks show for both parks.  That explains why the fireworks are so far off center of the castle at Disneyland.  We decided that instead of fireworks we'd just walk back to the ride that intrigued us the most today.  Sindbad's Storybook Voyages!
Ruston and I walked straight on Sindbad and had an entire boat all to ourselves.  The story, even though it was all in Japanese, made a lot more sense after riding it a 2nd time.  

We finished the ride and then since there was still no line, walked all the way around (they wouldn’t let us just ride again) and walked right back on and rode all by ourselves again.  The story has Sindbad leaving his home with everyone wishing him well and good luck. 

He crashes on rocks but is saved by mermaids. 

He then rescues some giant birds from pirates and in return he gets lots of giant magical feathers. 

He uses one of these magic feathers to unlock a giant that was trapped by more pirates. 

In return he gets lots of gold treasure. This room was a real pleasure.  The animatronic giant looked incredible, and when he's singing along with Sindbad he has an amazing deep bass voice.

He trades some of this treasure for some enchanted musical instruments.  He takes these instruments and trades some with a monkey tribe in return for bananas (the room smells like bananas too).

He sails home, but is picked up by a whale along the way.

He eventually makes it home with lots of riches consisting of giant feathers, gold and jewels, enchanted musical instruments, and bananas.  He’s welcomed home with open arms and much cheering.

I think I found my favorite ride at this park.  Tower of Terror is a close 2nd.  The boat ride was all in Japanese except for a few lyrics.  The song “Follow the compass of your heart” was very catchy.  The animatronics were really well done, there were lots of them and they moved in all directions very fluidly.  I wonder if I'd enjoy it as much if I knew Japanese and could understand what they're saying.  It would definitely take away a little bit of the mystery.

After this, Ruston and I walked through a few gift shops.  We saw the music for Be Magical! in one.  Only 2500 yen for the CD (~$32).  Or why not go deluxe and get the 3 disc version for 5900 yen, yikes.  Then we took a quick walk out to the monorail.  Here I was impressed by how everyone was lined up.  There were straight lines behind each gate opening for the monorail with no one trying to push or crowd to get in.  Impressive.  A quick monorail ride and we were back at the hotel.  It’s been a really convenient hotel to stay at since it’s right off the monorail entrance.  Tomorrow we're headed back to Disneyland.  Forecast calls for rain though, so it’ll be interesting to see how that effects our plans.  Until tomorrow, Be Magical!!!

Click here to go to Day 4 - A Rainy Day at Tokyo Disneyland

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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