Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Sunny Skies at Tokyo Disneyland!

We were ecstatic to finally have a sunny day to hopefully get some great photos of Disneyland. I practically bounded out of bed, feeling that we had acclimated to the time change, and ready for the day! Even though we had been there two days prior, I knew today would be the day we would see Happiness is Here parade the way it was intended to be performed and Dreamlights too. Of course the excitement for attractions and completing the days “Battle Plan” also were important early morning motivators.

Eric made a gourmet breakfast for the two of us, toast. I don’t know why we hadn’t taken advantage of the food items we had in our kitchenette before now. The owner was nice enough to have water, juices, tea, bread/butter, and a few cereals for us. Feeling a little more at home, we found we had some extra time. Still, we were out the door near 6:40 to hopefully catch the 6:55 bus to the park. Having had the toast, we didn’t see our gal pals at Lawson that morning. I have to say I liked going in there during our morning ritual. Stopping at Lawson caused us to almost feel like we lived there and were a part of the neighborhood. We were really enjoying our Airbnb experience.

I don’t know if it was mentioned in past posts, but Eric and I were amused with the fact that parents drop off young kids for the trains. Our bus station was right outside the train station (those trains didn’t head to the parks). We saw kids around 7 and 10 years old, dressed in their school uniforms (yes like Sailor Moon), being left to take the trains on their own. We were impressed by the independence of the kids and the trusting society. It is a shame that here in The States we usually assume the worst of most people in a city setting. Inn Japan there seemed to be a huge sense of security by all the residents.

Everyone is faceless, except one lady giving us the stink eye!

Arriving at the front of the parks Eric and I were met with the beginnings of a large crowd. Thankfully we strolled up early enough to not be in the back of the crowd. Our place in the queue or crowd was quickly blocked from behind as the wave of guests arrived soon after us. Being slightly farther back from the turnstiles, it was harder for us to see the Disney characters that soon appeared. But, that was okay for us. We had seen Mickey and Donald many times before. The reaction of the crowd around us was so full of excitement, you’d think Michael Jackson himself had been resurrected and was there that day!

We hoped the other guests would head to the newly refurbished Jungle Cruise and not to Monsters Inc. Ride and Go Seek. I am not sure if our prediction was correct because the crowd for Monsters Fast Pass was still a large one. Eric and I were a small piece of the mass of visitors darting into the covered World Bazaar and made a sharp right into Tomorrowland. The locals are not crazy. This is one of the most memorable parts of this trip, the morning dash into the parks. One has to start strong and keep that momentum going throughout the day! These guests know the system and they are masters of it.

Eric waiting to grab our Fast Passes

Just as we had done the other day, we made fast tracks to Fantasyland toward Pooh’s Hunny Hunt. The sunlight was peeking through the trees and caused structures like the castle to glow. This park doesn’t really have the charm and cozy feeling that Disneyland in California conveys, but the grandeur makes up for that. We were definitely reminded how grand it was as we made our long trek to Fantasyland from Tomorrowland.

Riding Pooh’s Hunny Hunt this second time around was still a surreal experience. As we passed through and saw the fascinating scenes, I wondered to myself if this was the last time. Seeing the honey pots independently make their way through the Blustery Day scene was a thrilling sight. There is so much to absorb all at once. Although you are in this vehicle and watching the story unfold, it feels like you missed all of it. I just wanted to stand in that one room for at least five minutes and watch all the gags take place. By seeing Eric’s reactions and expressions, I knew he was thinking similar thoughts. 

When we exited the attraction the both of us  knew we couldn’t leave it at that. We right away had to grab a Fast Pass for the attraction. With our Monsters Inc. passes still not valid until 9:50 AM, we would need to wait before we could get new one. Straight away we jumped into the queue for Pinocchio’s Daring Journey. Eric had mentioned to me that this attraction was made for this park first. Then, when CA’s Fantasyland was renovated in 1983, they put this attraction in there too. I really liked their attraction façade. The interior was the same experience. It seemed there were a few different color choices made on the inside. For one, the greens seemed to be a little more neon in their hues where in CA we have deeper forest greens.

It was still early enough that we felt Splash Mountain would have a decent wait time. Critter Country is very close to Fantasyland, right next door. So, Eric led the way through the morning hustle and bustle to the land of the critters. What is great about going places with Eric is we are okay to split up. We don’t start to freak out if we are 20 to 30 steps ahead of one another. I haven’t tested this out with other people because I don’t want them to feel I think they are too slow. Maybe we will try it out later this spring when we visit Walt Disney World.

  (So dark in there. Taken without flash on the iPhone)

I can’t recall the posted wait time, but we ended up waiting around 35 minutes. In our opinion that is an excellent wait time for Splash Mountain. The queues we have seen for this attraction at the other parks can reach two hours in length. The queue entry for this version takes guests right into what we are used to being the water mill. (In Tokyo, the watermill is found along the façade toward the exit) Unless there was an outdoor area currently unused, this entire queue was indoors. I wish our queue for this in California took the elements into account as well. Most of the queue at the original is outdoors. Something we found great for the Cast Member is the logs are at waist level. The guests step down, into the logs, but the flume is aligned with the waist of the ride operator. There is no need for them to bend down and they can communicate at eye level with us. Guests or people in general don’t like being looked down upon.

The story was told just like Magic Kingdom’s Splash Mountain, but in Tokyo it was nice to see the animatronics all moving and the gags were successful. A rumor I had heard before traveling to Japan was that locals do not like getting wet. I have read people on Twitter say that they have gotten wet on this ride, but that wasn’t true for us. It may have been our luck (we didn’t want to get soaked) like when one rides a raft ride and only 50% of the riders aboard get wet. Maybe the back half of our log was wet and we just didn’t notice. Can anyone confirm this fact about Tokyo’s Splash Mountain keeping riders dry?

The time was pressing forward and we were getting close to our Fast Pass window for Monsters Inc. This also meant that we could grab a pass for Pooh’s Hunny Hunt. We neared the Hunny Hunt distribution about three minutes early and Eric jumped into the queue. That Fast Pass queue moved quicker than it looked because even when he reached the machine, he had to wait another minute before he could get one to print (no, we can’t outwit the computer). Although it was 9:50 AM, our time to ride Pooh would be at 18:00 that evening. With the way we tentatively had laid out the day, riding at 18:00 would give us enough time to get food and choose a parade spot. Did I mention we would see The Electrical Parade: Dreamlights? (wink! wink! Very excited for that)

    I'm still unsure if I loved the Halloween accents.

As we headed back to Monsters Inc. in Tomorrowland we took the scenic route. 

I am pretty much in love with the Tomorrowland main entrance, but I hated that some of it was under wraps.

Something I noticed about our photos of Disneyland is we didn’t take as many castle photos as I would’ve liked. Besides the varied coloring, it is the same structure that stands at WDW. Visiting Florida over the last 12 years we may have taken so many shots of the Magic Kingdom’s castle that we ignored Tokyo’s.

    More free souvenirs!

This would be the first of two Monsters Inc. Ride and Go Seek experiences of the day. We rode again after Dreamlights with our friend Chris. I have mentioned him before as the person that runs , the English guide to the Tokyo Disney Resort. But, we will get to that as the day progresses.

In the upcoming post we get a last minute viewing spot for the Happy Harvest Parade, experience more attractions, adorably cute food offerings, and the Happiness is Here Parade. Check back with us soon for more Tokyo Disneyland fun. I hope after reading over these posts so far, you’re getting the “itch” to gather together a budget and head to Japan! We never thought we would get there and here I am telling you fine folks about it.


Tom Bricker said...

That first portrait-oriented photo of the Castle is nice.

If you truly don't mind being apart from one another, do Splash Mountain single rider next time. No one ever uses that line, so we usually wait ~5 minutes even when the posted wait is 120+. As for the wetness, you are correct. When it was built, there was the assumption that the Japanese didn't like to get wet. That has since been proven false, but it's still the case on Splash Mountain. (During Natsu Matsuri, they literally spray the crowd with hoses!)

Arthur Munoz said...

Hey thanks for checking out the post Tom! Eric took most of the Nikon photos. I'll have to keep the single rider queue in mind next time. Thanks for the "wet/no wet" info as well :-)