Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Surviving Tokyo Disneyland in the Rain

Upon exiting the Winnie the Pooh attraction ones nose is bombarded with the sweet smell of honey! I can't say that either myself nor Eric are fans of honey, but after that ride it smells so nice. The parks have various popcorn flavors and it is fitting that the "Honey" cart is near Pooh's Hunny Hunt.

Something else we quickly notice about this Fantasyland is that it resembles the Disney Wold version (prior to the remodel). The Hunny Hunt theme ends as quickly as it begins. As we head to Space Mountain, we notice a few things we didn't see as we ran here. Without any sort of transition Mickey's Toontown exists in an open area, free of borders. Unlike Disneyland, there isn't anything that separates Fantasyland, or its other neighbor Tomorrowland, from its little corner. And, the parade route passes right through it!

As we continue to Space Mountain, I almost feel like I'm back in Florida. I had mentioned that Fantasyland felt VERY Florida-esque, so did this walkway through Tomorrowland. Even the planters are laid out the same. I regret it now, but I should have taken a photo of this to illustrate my point. The Autopia is right across from their version of Tomorrowland Terrace. I was expecting these types of moments, but when they happen, your mind starts to think you're somewhere else. This will sound like an odd thing to notice, but even the restrooms are in the same spot as Florida's version.

When we reached the Space queue, it was posted at 30 minutes. Who doesn't have 30 minutes to wait for Space Mountain? I couldn't tell if the area walkways were busy or if it was calming down from the "morning race". We still had hope that the rain would keep people away. When we saw only one group awaiting the show "One Man's Dream", it appeared that we might get our wish. 

They're the first in line. Good on them!

These folks here are dashing to and fro!

I was more than excited to take the speed ramp up to the Space Mountain concourse. As a kid we had this ramp over at Disneyland in California, but I never rode it at that time. I was too young/scared. 

This version of Space Mountain seemed to lean toward an electronic theme. The colors were various greens and a few deep blues. We didn't have onboard audio as we road, but as we went up the two lifts, sound effects played. And, as we moved through the lifts we saw a type of circuit board grid on the walls (possibly a blacklight effect). It was a fun change from what we are used to seeing. The track is the exact same one we have in Anaheim. That didn't matter to us because we never tire of riding it. It's nice to have these subtle changes. My observation of the main "domed" area was that it was much darker and had no planet projections. Only the small pinhole type lights were shinning through giving the starfield effect. This would be the only time we rode this and it's too bad we didn't ride again. 

We now were getting closer to our Monsters Inc fast pass return time, but not close enough. Eric suggested we take a quick lap to see more of Fantasyland and grab a Haunted Mansion fast pass. When our return window for Monsters arrived, we'd be allowed to get our second fast pass. I was very curious to see Haunted Mansion in its odd location, across from Dumbo. 

You can see the top of Haunted Mansion in the background. 

As mentioned a little bit ago, we saw more evidence that Tokyo's Fantasyland was crammed together. It wasn't ugly, but the attraction placement seems odd. Eric didn't feel this area was very pretty, but we were happy to see the difference. The Oriental Land Company, the business that runs these parks, announced huge changes to this area, so we were lucky to see some would consider "the before". The favorite nook of ours is right behind the castle. They have these cute trees lining the walkway that leads one from the drawbridge toward the carousel. An added touch at this Disneyland we find a Halloween decorated Fantasyland. Eric and I have never seen that area decorated for a holiday. 

The clock was approaching 10 AM. We had so far only seen Tomorrowland, Fantasyland, and the entrance area of the World Bazaar. We still hadn't had that usual "castle moment" everyone sees when they walk into the p[ark from the Main Entrance. Remember, we made that hard right turn for our fast pass pick up. 

We were always told that obtaining the Monsters fast pass was a must do for Tokyo Disneyland. I have to admit that although I enjoy the attraction of the same name here in California, I at first didn't understand the big deal for Tokyo. After seeing the show building in person I was already getting a little excited. The folks that run this place already set the bar high with the exterior design. The impressive interior is no stranger to the internet. The height of this lobby's ceiling was phenomenal. At the reception desk they even had a waste basket with paperwork crumbled. On that paper we could see text pertaining to the business, Monsters Inc. 

The loading area was very bright and the Cast Member's outfits are so cute! It's a basic two toned jumpsuit with a blue beret. Eric and I love the use of the costume accessories because they really add the special touch. We don't have a photo of it, but they are seen on the youtube videos I have posted. I don't  know why I was so embarrassed to ask if Eric or I could take a photo with them. However; we do have a Toontown photo with a Cast Member to share on a later post. 

For this attraction they were very serious about cameras needing to be put away. Once we saw how quickly the vehicles spun us around, the reason is quite clear as to why that rule is enforced. As Eric and I walked over to our assigned row I was finishing up a tweet or text. A Cast Member bounced over and told me right away to put my iPhone away. "No photos!" He was nice about it, but i was surprised that it was almost as though he waited for me to do it. 

The ride itself followed the movie's storyline, as the one in California does, but it really bumped up the standard. We see the one eyed Mike Wazowski just as frantic about having a human child in Monstroplolis and James P. Sullivan trying to stay level headed. Boo has gotten away from her pals, but only because she wants to play "Hide n Seek". When Boo giggles or cries out in excitement all the electrical posts around he practically sizzle with overloaded circuits. I absolutely loved that addition to this attraction! 

Our ride vehicles were equipped with flashlights that would activate different sensors. Those sensors appeared as hardhats, with the Monsters Inc logo. I believe we were to use them to find Boo and other hidden Monsters. We shine the light onto the hardhat, set off flashing sensors and hear bells ring! If we find Boo in a hiding place, the bell rings, she pops out, and lets out a huge laugh which overloads the surrounding circuits. As all this is going on the soundtrack is playing, other various noises from the city are heard, the vehicles whip you to and fro, character dialogue is heard, and guests laughter fills the room...let's say there was a lot going on. This attraction is total sensory overload. 

We of course find Boo and then she has to head back home. Just like in California's version, we are then debriefed by everyone's favorite cranky lady, Roz. She sounds just as annoyed with us in Japanese! So the morning dash to grab this fast pass was definitely worth the effort, especially since the queue was at now nearing 2.5 hours. 

Looking away from the castle toward the main entrance.

It was now around 10:15 AM and our Haunted Mansion Holiday Nightmare fast pass window was rolling around. We really felt like it was later because so much had gone on since we woke up at 5:30 AM. The rain was back again, but what are we gonna do? I would say what made it disappointing was that we weren't able to take as many photos with our new camera. We bought it specifically for this trip, but we didn't want it to get wet. Most of the photos of our morning are from the iPhone 6. 

When it comes to Haunted Mansion exterior, we have a few decent photos on the new camera from our Day 2 at Disneyland. Since we used fast pass the both times we rode, we didn't get any queue photos. From what I could see, because you really do bypass it to the point that you don't see it, the queue appeared interesting. A fun change is that although the structure is the same as Florida's, the building is not left in pristine condition. The windows are broken and shutters are near the point where they would detach completely.

The "maids" that work the attraction really have a persona that can be summed up with the phrase: "Dude, I've seen shit...and I don't wanna see it again." It's almost as if all of them don't want to look up in fear of seeing another ghost, a ghost that scared them a little too much. Their long black hair drapes down and frames their faces and they move about cautiously and quietly. We were all waved toward the circular gallery, but that Cast Member didn't join us. She stood motionless, while keeping her gaze down, and the double doors slid shut. Ok! That was already creepy! I think our advice to other Mansion Cast Members around the world would definitely be "Less IS More"! Rather than trying to BE the show, just be apart of the well thought out show already in place.

The vehicle ride path was laid out just like the one in Florida's Magic Kingdom. It was nice to see that right at the start we were greeted by both Jack Skellington and Sally. Eric and I were huge fans of the stronger presence of these characters. Back home we see Sally once, at the very end. In Tokyo we see her in about three different scenes. That might not sound like a huge difference, but it really adds to the experience. A favorite room of mine is the library where the ghost dog Zero is decorating a Christmas tree. The tree spins and he's applying some shiny garland to it.

Eric was quick to point out that in the graveyard scene, the ghosts are a lot brighter. The ghosts in Japan must have a stronger connection from the supernatural world? I think when it came to that detail, I prefer the ghosts back home. In the American parks, the ghosts in the graveyard appear to be a little more "see through" than those found in Japan.

Again, at the unload area the Cast Members are addressing the guests as minimally as possible. A subtle gesture saying "Please get out" is our cue to hop out and be on our way.

We were very much surprised as Eric and I stepped out of the building the parade was passing right in front of us. The parade step off is adjacent to the attraction's exit. I had heard that a "rainy day" cavalcade would replace the usual parade that takes place. Apparently in Tokyo it meant the parade would go on, but everyone would wear rain gear ponchos. However; the dancers that travel with the floats were cut.

It was our intention to try watching The Happy Harvest parade in two days time, when there would be a sunny day. But, Eric and I couldn't step away from this. The music was catchy and the costumes were all so cute! Winnie the Pooh as a bumble bee was oh so adorable! I think someone as huge as Mickey Mouse was up a little too high. He's the main man and they have him perched up on top of a huge pumpkin. I would prefer him a little lower. But, as I keep saying, the designers of this parade really know how to get everyone's favorite word "Kawaii" (cute) to be said over and over again. 

The cuteness will continue to grow as we progress further into our day. It was now a little after 11 AM and hunger was beckoning us to eat. Right across from where we watched the parade is the Queen of Heart's Banquet Hall. Ever since I was a kid I have been a huge fan of Alice in Wonderland, the film. So, eating at this restaurant was a must do on our list. I know Eric was also wanting to eat there and he was just as hungry as I was. When we continue next time, unless you cheat by googling photos on your own, you'll get to see how fun it was inside!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Our Tokyo Disneyland Video

Here we enter Disneyland for the first time, in Tokyo. Eric and I do what we can to get our first fast pass!! Watch :-)

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.........."

Sunday, November 9, 2014

From Mermaid tails to Storm Tracking at DisneySea

As I had said, the Cast Members at Magellan's were very welcoming. So many bloggers suggested we grab that important reservation, but it didn't seem all that busy. We were given the suggestion by friends that we don't try to sit in the " secret wine cellar". There is a small, hidden dining room that some fans enjoy eating in. The Cast Member or the guest will push a "secret" button on the wall, part the Egg-and-Dart door frame carving. Then like something out of Star Trek, the door slides open.

Well, Eric and I wouldn't be eating there. I'm told that after the excitement of entering the room, it's a too quiet and too secluded experience. But, maybe you will be on a hot date and want the privacy and quite time? Although on a hot date, Eric and I wanted the full experience and would be in a main area. 

In the past I've written about not really being a foodie or food blogger, but since we had a good time here I want to share. Eric was telling me that this location is connected to the "SEA" (Society of Explorers and Adventurers) part of the full name DISNEYSEA. This restaurant is the meeting place for those that travel the world. Magellan himself was a member, as well as the tower's owner Harrison Hightower, and rumored that even Indiana Jones is too. But, that's just a rumor. 

We each ordered our own appetizer, which were nice starters to our meal. It was relaxing to slow down after our busy morning. Eric and I were very keen on finding those moments where we could enjoy some ambience before we get back to our "go go go" mentality. 

The two of us ordered from the lunch set. (They use the word "set" everywhere there...not combo or pri fixe) The server was very big on up selling us the whole Free Refills aspect of their lunch. Eric joked that the Americans must usually be all about getting re-fills on soft drinks. In Japan I'd say re-fills are definitely needed, but rarely offered. The cup sizes are comparable to ordering juice at a restaurant. You're handed what resembles a shot glass sized serving of soda. We have a few fun photos with the shocking sizes of the drinks in Japan. I'm sure this along with the insane amount of walking contributed to me actually losing five pounds during this vacation. How could I have lost when eating something as lovely as this crème brûlée?

I can't rave about how sweet the Cast Members are. They were also excited when it was time to pay and we handed the server our Disney ID. She had a few questions for us regarding Disneyland at home. I feel silly not committing her name to memory. Although a small gesture, she gave us cute stickers with a little message. 

It was now nearly time for our Raging Spirits fast pass. This coaster is similar to the Disneyland Paris Indiana Jones coaster. I'm sure someone out there in the internet universe can confirm if it is the same track. The facade for this is very creative. I'm not sure how they have burning fire with also water cascading over it. Again, I'm sure the explanation is out there, but for this I don't want to know.

The Cast here kept up the momentum of themed service. Throughout their spieling, the attraction Cast Members would sneak in a few Spanish words. It made us giggle because it was just so cute. Here and at other rides, the crew was always proactive in making sure we took off our backpacks prior to entering the vehicle. In Japanese it was explained we would get in the vehicle, store all items securely and the quickly pull down lap bars. The Cast Member would also pantomime this as it was said. One person was stationed for this act alone.

The track zigzags a few times, small drops, and there's a fun 360 degree loop thrown in near the end. I'm not sure if any cool lighting effects are triggered at night, but I think the structure itself was sufficient. Not all the attractions can be a large "E-Ticket" attraction. So, if you read elsewhere that this ride is awful, remember to try it out yourself. Just use the fast pass system. 

Seen above are examples of the grandeur and back alleys of the Arabian Coast area. The large palace type structures are surrounded with music fit for a sultan! Overwhelming orchestrations can be heard throughout the courtyard, like something from Scheherazade . It really does fit in with the impressive structures of the palace. Even the carousel is two stories tall! Neither Eric nor myself had ridden a double decker carousel before. As it turns out, it just feels like a single leveled one because you can't see the other level as you ride. Go figure <shrugs>.

There appears to be a "large" soda here....and a double deckered carousel.

As a contrast, the marketplace and alleys have music found in rural areas of storybook Arabia. In this area merchants sell their wares (popcorn and drinks) and camels take long breaks in the shade. Eric wondered if many people notice these differences in the audio here. The music of this section sounds very rustic and gypsy-like. It is in this poorer area where we find the attraction themed to a humble traveller, Sinbad. 

Eric and I had heard mixed reviews about this attraction. I had seen photos and clips of this little boat adventure that really didn't impress. I was just glad to sit. Still, the Cast Members performed amazingly. A female Cast Member recited the safety spiel with such animation that I would've thought she was an animatronic! 

We were sent on our voyage and the crew of four happily waved good bye. Once that ride began Eric and I were sold! There was something to look at in each corner. This attraction, like the rest, was being sung in Japanese. The song was a melody that would be repeated throughout the voyage, like "it's a small world". In this first show room, it was huge, we were very much taking in the massive scenery. Eric and I quietly discussed to ourselves that it seemed Sinbad was leaving on a journey, but we weren't sure why. The belly dancing figures distracted us because they had more movemeant than I'd seen from an animatronic in a long time. And, we weren't all the certain as to why the elderly wizard guy was angry about it. The song's melody hadn't quite sunk in yet. That may sound like an odd point for me to add here, but I have a reason. 

So as we glided down that waterway, Sinbad's Storybook Voyage was possessing us with its charm! Eric and I quite literally fell in love with everything about this. We got to a scene where Sinbad was out on the ocean, being serenaded by mermaids with green and blue hair, and that's when it happened. By now, Eric and I stopped our whispers. There was a misty rain falling on us (you heard me!) and the music suddenly overtook everything! It's a score written by Alan Manken (Beauty and the Beast, Hunchback, and Little Mermaid) so it wasn't a surprise that we also fell in love with this soundtrack called "Compass of the Heart". There is a core melody used and the lyrics change according to the scene your floating past.

We visit many exotic lands with Sinband, even a very odd island full of percussion enthused monkeys. (Yes they dance and play the drums) We knew the end was near because Sinbad made it back home, which looked like the opening scene. Fireworks welcomed him/us back as he shared his found treasures with the village. Of course a celebration wouldn't be complete without more belly dancing! 

Why do I get the sense that no one reading this believes me? The ride is a winner! Maybe part of it came from my low expectations? Sinbad's little friend Chandu is also the star of this boat ride. He is so cute as he helps Sinbad during his quest. I had to buy the plush they sell in the marketplace! Even a friend from home wanted me to bring one home for her.

A place we had yet to visit was staring at us for almost half a day. It rises high into the air and is a beacon for someone like Eric and myself. At the innocent age of 8 years old, I sat in a theater with my brother and watched Ariel swim under the sea. So, seeing Triton's palace here at DisneySea was something eric and I both looked forward to for a long time. As we ventured away from Arabian Coast, curry popcorn in hand, the graceful spires welcomed us from across the water.

Now this structure has sat here for just over 13 years, but seeing it up close was special to us and any "first timer" to the park. The detail that reveals itself is something that we weren't expecting. But why was it a surprise? We should've know there was something that caused it to sparkle.

For our first trip into Triton's Kingdom we didn't experience any of the attractions available. We were happy to wander through the underwater landscape and get lost in the grottos. The Caribbean waters must have mixed in with this current because it was quite warm in there. There were a few times that we actually felt blasts of warm wind coming at us. The Japanese sure have a different idea of what climate control is. Although warned of this by friends, we kept getting surprised to experience this.

Besides the attractions that seem to mirror A Bug's Land in California, there are paths to explore. We even came upon Ursula's lair. As they should be, children were scattered all over so it made it difficult to photograph. Something that was hard to find was Ariel's Grotto. We had seen photos online of it and we just had to get that "What's the word?...BURN!" photo for ourselves. Or, maybe take our own version of "This is all so sudden" with the Prince Eric statue. Here it all was. Another small part of our childhood come to life.

The time to change the clocks back hour was a few weeks out, but it still got dark there around 5 PM. We knew that once the lights came on and the sun dropped away we would see the park aglow. Another night event at this park would be a performance of Fantasmic. Eric and I had experienced a lot on this day so we were willing to wait at least an hour for the show. 

Since it was now about 6 PM, hunger was creeping on us again. Fantasmic would happen at 8 PM. We strolled back to the Mediterranean area to see what food was found there. By the time we made it back to this area we were more than hungry! I think we had forgotten that we ate about six hours ago, unless you add in the curry popcorn. 

When we came to the restaurant serving fast food pizza we were more than okay with that! Our mozzarella/tomato pizzas were very good and hit the spot! Eric and I were also fine with taking a few moments to recharge and talk about what we had seen. We still couldn't believe that any of this was happening. Here we were. It was an evening in Japan all while our families and friends at home were asleep, close to waking for the day we were ending. It's a very simple explanation, but also mind blowing!

It was exactly 7 PM and there was an area in Mediterranean Harbor that had no one waiting for the show. We weren't about to let front row spots go to waste. Eric also did a little wandering as I held his spot. He even came across the area with the Venetian canals. I had completely forgotten about it and was surprised there was even more to see! Eric was excited to find the Duffy and Gelatoni pumpkins. I can't express enough how cute their decor and merchandise are!

According to announcements, it was windy that night. The Fantasmic pyro was cut to a minimum. Maybe it was because of this that the show seemed to lack a little pixie dust. Eric feels that the show is presented a little more like World of Color than the original Fantasmic. A lot of it was projected onto large LED screens shaped into a cone. It was a great effect to see these screens represent the famous Sorcerer's hat. Eric and I both agree that this should be viewed as a show having a familiar name, but expect something different. I don't say that as a complaint at all because when people oddly ask, "Why would you go to Disneyland in Japan when you go in California?", this is why.


After the show's big finish we rode the DisneySea Electric Railway to Port Discovery. It's an elevated track where you ride a trolley looking train. We knew this would take us to the back of the park where we could ride StormRider. I've read a lot of hate online towards StormRider. This is where our pal Miley worked. I'm here to tell you that if you leave your brain at the door it's a great adventure! The concept is that we will ride into a storm and fire a sort of bomb into the storm's eye to destroy it. Crazy right?

When we enter the elaborate staging area we watch a very animated Cast Member explain to us the whole idea. She takes this extremely seriously. There is a water tank with a large whirlpool in it, representing a tornado I guessed. The rocket is fired at this contraption and voila!...... the whirlpool vanishes. Everyone claps and cheers. The whole thing felt like a Tony Stark presentation from Iron man.

The simulator, or very wide airplane, fit's over 65 people. I used to work at Star Tours and they get 40 guests in there. This was much much bigger than that! The experience while flying is almost hilarious as can be. The crowd reaction is so fun to watch. (SPOILERS) And, there is a moment where the rocket we have launched has accidentally shot into our aircraft. Believe me when I say that it literally protrudes into the vehicle. There is water raining on us and it appears that we are all going to die in the heavens. Well, I'm typing this so obviously we lived through the ordeal. Our plane lands with many thuds outside. But, when we exit we are somewhere completely different. Hmmm? Anyway, it was all great fun and I'm glad we rode this again during our trip. 

Captain Nemo's submarine

It now being between the hours of 9 Pm and 10 PM, we wanted to wander around and shop. We still hadn't seen the Toy Story area. Like the Venice canals, I had also forgotten all about that area. It was a nice leisurely walk back through the park. As we passed through Mysterious Island we couldn't resist 20,000 Leagues, so we rode that again. It was just as fun as the first time.

What we had suspected was true. The park definitely had a different vibe at night. The lighting added just enough mystery and whimsy. And, it was nice to see the Halloween displays stand out for the season. Even the Tower of Terror seem to join in with its year round sinister glow and screams.

It was very close to 10 PM when we ventured into the Toyville area to see Toy Story Midway Mania. It's a shame that a bigger area can't be dedicated to the look of this attraction. I have heard people say it looks just like Paradise Pier in California Adventure, but it really doesn't. Although both areas might convey seaside attractions, this definitely has that East coast feel. I would even say that it felt like what Coney island might be like. 

Rounding out the day we stopped in some shops near the main entry area. It was amazing to watch people "eating up" Duffy like it was never coming back. One could find Duffy products in at least three stores, but here were people snatching him off the shelves. There really is an excitement for many of the products there that I hadn't seen before.

Although our first park day was done, there wasn't a sadness just yet. We knew we still had three more days to go with Disneyland and DisneySea. I was starting to get excited for Hunny Hunt and seeing a new take on Disneyland in general. Stay with us as we start off the next day with yet another morning run at Disneyland!