Tuesday, November 18, 2014

It's Tokyo Disneyland! Run!

Ohayo Gozaimasu!!

Our neighborhood. 

Eric and I woke up at 5:30 AM to get ready, grab a snack, and then catch our flashy pink bus to Disneyland. We had a better routine down for our second full day. The stress level that I felt was pretty much nonexistent. The day before I was a nervous mess. It was close to 6:20 and the bus was to leave at 6:49. We had about a five minute walk to the bus station. There was already a very small queue when arrived to the station. Right from this moment, we could see that everyone was bringing their "A Game" to Disneyland. Other than a few guys holding their popcorn buckets, I didn't see anyone in a costume.

First donut of the trip!

When Eric and I arrived at the bus drop off area at the resort, I felt an odd feeling in my stomach. No, this doesn't change to a story where I catch a stomach flu. This was the moment where my excitement was hitting me hard! I knew that DisneySea would be amazing like nothing else, and it was. But, I was extremely curious to see this version of Disneyland. 

I had seen many photos or vlogs where people are waiting to enter hours before opening. I was very excited to wait in this crowd. We reached the main gate at about 7:10 AM and the park would open at 8:30 AM. There were approximately five groups ahead of us. I still didn't have my jacket on, but those clouds were going from patchy white to a solid gray. Right around 8 AM we began to see Mickey and the gang come out to greet the crowd. Everyone went mad for them! Unfortunately it was around that time a light sprinkle began to fall, so they cut their set short. But, since Eric and I spent at least a week searching for the perfect umbrella, oversized, we were ready. 

We were relieved that when we were minutes away from the turnstiles being opened the rain stopped. Knowing what was coming I made a quick note to run flat footed, to not slip. Yes I said run. Just like the day before we would dash into Disneyland, but this time be a little more aggressive. We wouldn't be heading to some attraction that everyone had "been there done that". Eric and I would be joining the crowd, heading to Monsters Inc. Ride and Go Seek! 

Eric popped through the turnstile first, then myself. Both us received a lovely "Irashai!" (Welcome!) from the Cast! We knew exactly where we were going. It's almost a shame to head in with such madness because their entry is very different than other versions of Disneyland. One must take in the sight quickly! 

You can watch our entry video too :-) http://youtu.be/MR8tzqmPLB4

As if we were on a treasure hunt with golden prizes, we jogged our way through the World Bazzar (their Main St. USA). We made an abrupt right turn at the first opening that led to Tomorrowland. The odd or surprising thing about this nook of "bizarre Main St" is that it's pseudo Art Deco in design. 

Although we thought those design decisions were out of place, we had to refocus back to Monsters Inc and the fast pass machines. The queue for the machines weren't bad at all. I've seen photos of the Toy Story fast pass queue at DisneySea having its own switch back! Crazy! This one was about eight people deep per machine. These fast pass machines are so cute in that they make a little growl or laugh when printing. 

Now that we had those passes, it was time for Chariots of Fire running toward Pooh's Hunny Hunt. Shrines, temples, kimonos......NO!!!! We were in Japan for Pooh's Hunny Hunt! We were gonna get on that attraction!!! <taking a few breaths>

Let's continue on shall we? At this point Eric and I are running like the wind toward the castle. I have to mention that the stretch between Monsters Inc and the castle is quite lengthy. Having a lot of running experience, Eric and I were just fine. There was one thing that slowed us down. It wasn't even the Cast Members with signs stating : Do Not Run. It was this lady giving it all she had as she too ran toward Fantasyland. She was clogging along in her heels and no one was going to stop her! Bless her little excited heart! 

Running LoLita

We rounded our last corner and we could see the mini forest of trees surrounding Pooh's Hunny Hunt. That was the moment where Eric and I locked eyes. We each had that "Oh yea, this is happening!" smile on our face. As we neared the entrance, we could hear the Cast Member announcing how short the queue was. At this time, it was at 15 minutes. 

The path for the queue wound its way through a small forest and an English garden. This experience has been showcased in so many places online, but seeing it is unreal. It was really one of those moments where we weren't sure if we could ride again, so there we were burning it into our minds.

I think the better half of the queue is the outdoor area with the garden. The garden feels a lot like a backyard to a home, like the reality of Christopher Robin. Once you step into the building we briefly see an area where Christopher Robin stores his play things. It's a very cute area and very believable too. The whimsy of this experience is just around the corner. 

Soon after, we transition into a large book and zig zag through the pages of Winnie the Pooh. This area resembles what we have seen in the Florida version of the queue, large pages telling the story of the 100 Acre Woods. Along one of the larger pages, a sort of mural, is the loading area full of honey pots, our ride vehicles. In the world of Pooh, it is spelled "hunny". (Parents : If your child grows up spelling "house" as "howse", you'll know why)

We saw at least 5 Cast Members in the boarding area. They efficiently loaded us into our vehicles and we were on our way. Our "pot" and two others advanced up to an area for lap bar checks, There were another 3 Cast Members here! The Tokyo parks really "cover all their bases". After a few bows from the Cast Members we were whisked away into the attraction.

The other two hunny pots and ourselves witness Christopher Robin give Winnie the Pooh a balloon and Pooh floats away. But, we don't lose sight of the silly old bear because we are all thrust into the forest. A windy day it must be because the breeze blowing throughout is quite strong! And who flies above us? It's Pooh bear, holding onto the balloon he was just given. It was here we begin to witness the technology of this attraction. The other hunny pots in our group break away from us and move about the room on their own. There is not a track.

We all get to see various vignettes of Pooh's friends dealing with this blustery day. Meanwhile, Pooh keeps flying about the trees and interacting with his friends. One of the best parts is when he glides past Eeyore and knocks down his house. "Double meanwhile", I can look around the huge room and see the other vehicles experiencing something different. I wish to see more and i try to look in all directions at once! But as the next set of vehicles join us, our three vehicles come back together and head toward Tigger. In Japanese, Tigger beckons us to join him deeper into the forest.

So much is going on that Eric and I are laughing and pointing. One problem is that it is all happening a little too quickly. The next area has all of our vehicles bouncing along with the more than excited Tigger. The trees bounce and our vehicles bounce! It was hard to tell if the floor was mobbing too. How does this happen. Online this area definitely looks impressive, no dispute there. But, seeing it happen all around you leaves you speechless. For a brief moment Eric and I lock eyes again and we know we can't believe it.

More scenes take our breath away as we even join 6 other vehicles in Pooh's dream of Heffalumps and Woozles. How does someone begin to explain this? It's a sensory overloaded room filled with nonsensical hybrids of bees and elephants. While these characters exist in this dream, we spin about the area while visiting them in their respective vignettes. There is even one hunny pot filled with Heffalumps spinning about the room. What's also great about this scene is you experience different perspectives each time!

After it is all over and we return to the station, we exit while trying to stay present. The whirlwind we just experienced clouded our minds momentarily.

I wonder to myself, "Do I recall how to walk? ....Yes. Yes I do.....Woozles! .....Heffalumps!!! ...Right. left. Right. Left.....BOUNCE LIKE TIGGER!!!!.....Go through the door and out the exit.....hunny.......hunny.........."

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