Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Tokyo DisneySea Continues to Amaze!

The Port Discovery area is one that stands out for us because we have a good friend that worked here. Our friend Miley worked at the StormRider attraction. Although we wouldn't be experiencing this attraction until a little later, it was fun to see the building in person.

StormRide is the one with the golden dome.

Our eye was also drawn to the visually interesting Aquatopia attraction. Here the vehicles ride or hover on the water's surface as they spin and travel past waterfalls and rock work. The experience has a whole is pretty basic as attractions come, but it looked fun to us. At first glance they appear to be bumper cars. The vehicles don't make any contact with each other. Riders do get slightly misted with water. It is nothing that dampens your outfit or hair. I am sure it feels nice during the hot months in Japan. Eric and I noticed that on the back of each car, a sort of atomic motor can be seen. That was a cool touch to the theming.

We were a little surprised to notice that the area of Port Discovery is occupied by a large sized restaurant. I'm just speculating that the park designers wanted to have a futuristic land, but the other ideas clearly dominate the park.

Shortly after our ride on Aquatopia, it was time for our Tower of Terror fast pass. Again, we weren't entirely sure which other route would take us back to American Waterfront, so we took the same path. This would be our fourth time taking this path today. So, we still hadn't seen other areas of the park. Little did we know that when we exited Aquatopia, The Lost River Delta was to the left and just around the corner.

We did want to secure lunch reservations at the fine dining restaurant called Magellan's. It was about 9:45 AM so we hoped there would be slots left for lunch. As we passed near "Journey", we weren't entirely sure how to get to the restaurant. Luckily we ran into The Brickers of DisneyTouristBlog.com and The Selgas. They too were coincidentally on holiday from The States. Tom thankfully knew the easiest way to get to Magellan's. Since Eric and I were really getting turned around in this park we may have taken the longer route. The six of us made some loose plans to see the other group during our stay, but as you'll see, we ran into them again a bit later.

After taking Tom's directions, we quickly found the restaurant. The Cast Member was quite helpful with helping us choose a time to eat. She spoke great English. We found that if the Cast Member spoke decent English, they were very much excited to try out their skills.

Prior to our trip, Eric and I learned that in the Japanese culture you follow a paraphrased saying:  When you set out to do something, there is no failure. You do it correct the first time while bringing yourself and family honor. So if you're ever in Japan and encounter someone attempting English with you, they really are putting themselves out there. Our friend Miley, who we mentioned lived here for some time, said that the people will either help you with excitement or dash away from nervousness.

As we continued to the American Waterfront for Tower of Terror, we enjoyed seeing the locals enjoy themselves. The people there really let loose and lose all inhibitions. It is very interesting to see a side of this culture that we rarely hear about. We even saw huge character hats on the most serious looking  of people. It is also a big thing in Japan to match your entire group. A group of friends or family would all have the same hat or wear the same outrageous outfit. Many couples roam the parks in themed clothing as well. I wish I had taken photos of certain people, but they are very sensitive when it comes to random people taking photos of them. I imagine we all are. But, even on social media they blur out the faces of strangers. Maybe you will catch a glimpse in our photo backgrounds as these posts continue?

Strolling up to the Tower of Terror fast pass return queue we spot Tom and Sarah Bricker enter the same queue. Who was right ahead of them? The Selgas. I announced our arrival by telling Sarah, "I swear we aren't stalking you folks." We all had fun conversations about our experience so far. And, we also received some tips on what was to come of our time there. The Brickers were thrilled to learn we had tickets for the Robot Restaurant in Shinjuku, Tokyo and wanted to join us. They had seen the show before and love it. (more on that later)

Judging by the murals around the lobby, it looked like the owner had many travels abroad, to exotic places. But, in the mural depicting his latest acquirement, the locals were happily ridding themselves of the relic. That sounds like a red flag to me! Speaking of signs, take a look at this damaged elevator shaft.

We were ushered into a small, tiled area where a Cast Member tells us about the frightful night a press conference took place at the tower. Thanks to TDRExplorer.com we know that the hotel owner, Harrison Hightower, was full of hubris. Harrison felt the supposed curse surrounding the relic wouldn't affect him.

Our group of guests were led to the area where the press conference took place. It looked like an office full of Victorian decor and antiques. Sitting in the office was the idol from the mysterious tale. It sat glaring at us from a high mantle. The Cast Member cranked up a phonograph so that we could hear the press conference for ourselves. Although it was in Japanese, there was definitely something that went wrong. Our room darkened, filled with stars, and the cursed relic vanished before our eyes. Harrison is then heard as he warns us to get out of the tower because the relic was coming for us next.

That was when we saw a little boy that had enough. There was no way he wanted to continue with the  tour any further. "I E!" he was yelling, which means "No!". Judging by his intensity, I took it as "Hell no!"

We made our way to the second floor of the queue and start to come across the other antiques we saw in the murals.

The attraction itself is loaded similarly to the US versions. I must point out there is an over the shoulder seat belt that is used. Maybe they don't like the air time that we feel here at home? I feel that is one of the best parts of attractions like this, lacking here.

We do see the relic come to life and in the tower's spooky halls. The idol somehow causes our elevator to go wild and then comes the drops that we all know. The sequence is the exact one from California Adventure's Tower of Terror. But, as mentioned, the over the shoulder belts make it feel less intense.

The best part of this experience was the idol vanishing while we were in Harrison's office. Other than that it wasn't a favorite of mine. We only rode the attraction one other time during our visit at the parks. The costumes are excellent and the design itself is very detailed, like the other versions. But, since this is slightly different, it's a little more interesting to see. I wouldn't at all say to miss this incarnation. It is worth seeing that idol vanish.

Once Eric and I parted ways with the other group we wanted to head in a direction we hadn't seen as of yet. A lot of people have raved about the size of the park's ship, S.S. Colombia for good reason. The ship is basically a replica of an actual boat, The Queen Mary. This fact is no secret to theme park fans, but to see it is to be astounded. What adds to the beauty of this is that the Tokyo Bay sits right behind the boat. It really is almost too perfect for words.

Heading away from the New York City area, and onto a new path for Eric and I, we find ourselves in lush surroundings. Gone is the industrial feel of the city and we can see signage for the Cape Cod area. We know from online that this is also the location of the infamous Duffy meet n greet and the Duffy merchandise. We were on the lookout for Gelatoni and Shellie Mae. Shells has been out for a while now, but Gelatoni is new as of this year. Eric wanted one for himself and we were also picking up a Gelatoni for our friend Jeff.

This area really captures that New England feeling. Looking at the photos, I'd really be stating the obvious as to why that is a fact. I love the vintage looking Halloween decorations that are scattered about the area. The decor for the holiday in the NYC area has a very stylized look for their skeleton promotion this year. But as you can see, in this area there is a very traditional feel to the Halloween motif. 

The merchandise store was all that I heard it would be. I'm here to say that even though Duffy has been present in Japan for a while, there was still excitement for the product. Park attendees were buying Duffy plush like it was going out of style! I must admit that the costumes for all three characters are very cute("kawaii" in Japanese). I even fell under the Gelatoni spell as I bought a charm for my backpack.

At the register, the Cast Member tells you the price and then gestures to the display screen. Once I gave her my yen, she then proceeded to count out what I gave her, then showed what I gave her to me. ("Just letting you know this is what you have given me") She set the bills into a clip attached to the register, as she entered the amount given to her. A second Cast Member asks me if I'd like the price peeled off. ("Should I peel this off because you are giving this as a gift?") I said yes because this little guy was going right onto my bag anyway. As the first Cast Member began to count my change back, the second CM bagged the figure, and then added three other bags into the bag. As the change was counted aloud she fanned out the bills. Then she spread the bills out individually in her hand to show the amount again. As all this happened I could hear the bills snapping like a deck of cards. The second Cast Member then taped the bag shut. I was amazed. I grabbed my bag as I bowed my head and let out a "Arigato Gosaimasu!" That's how the transactions would happen for the rest of the trip. 

Here at DisneySea they have a fun addition to the Halloween offerings. It is very small, but they have Cast Members handing out candy. When they are found you are to approach and say the traditional saying, "Trick-o-Treat!" and they give you a special treat. The park had one of a kind wrappers made for the occasion. We will definitely be holding onto these. We had about an hour before lunch, so we continued on the pathway through Port Discovery so that we could see Lost River Delta. 

When we saw this Duffy/Gelatoni picture spot we couldn't resist the urge to snap a photo.

The Lost River Delta area has a South American influence. It is interesting to see what the latin presence is in this park. I would imagine that Mexico or Latin America in general is such a foreign idea to the people in Japan. I read about the food in this area not being good at all, so we didn't even try it. I need something with a little spice and apparently there isn't any in the "Mexican Food" that Japan has to offer.

The land was covered in Dia de Los Muertos decor. On various light posts they had an image of Indiana Jones, the explorer, as a skeleton wearing his signature hat. Eric and I were definitely getting close to the Indiana Jones attraction. Here the ride is based on the Crystal Skull and has the same track layout as Anaheim. When we reached the queue it listed 30 minutes. Having plenty of time to do that and make it to eat, we got into the queue. 

What's most impressive about this queue is the size of the building. We didn't enter a temple that had any forced perspective trickery. There is a full on pyramid here. When we entered the building it became very believable that we were winding our way through this Mayan temple. Although impressive in size, the queue was lacking the interactivity found in California's version. I don't mean to go back and forth between the two, but I think that's a significant difference. 

The feeling that is conveyed as our vehicle moves through the attraction is one of peril. We really get the sense that there is an evil out to get us. The attraction is blanketed in lighting hues of dark blue, silver, and a spooky green. The crystal skull is stationed throughout the building and its power is radiating from within. There is even a vortex of magic that swirls in the temple's center. From this vortex and the skull, electrical currents shoot out to try and destroy the vehicle. At one point the skull has cut off our path and shoots out a smoke ring of destruction at our group. We seem to avoid it, but then find ourselves in trouble as a large rock comes careening at us! The audio of this mighty force pressing toward our vehicle shakes the entire facility and we see smoke billowing from its path. In a forceful manner, we barely miss the rolling ball as we shoot downward from its path! When it's over we really feel like we survived the danger, but also feel inclined to ride again!

It was now time for our lunch at Magellan's and we were very hungry! I wasn't sure what was going to be on the menu. Would it be traditional Japanese food? Would there be any sort of American food available? Join us next time and you will find out.

No comments: