Japan - It's Something! Julie and Kevin go to Japan, Fall 2008

Tuesday, September 9th, 2008

After heading back to the resort, I had a great night of sleep, and woke up excited to get an early start on Tokyo DisneySea. When I took my shower, I noticed an unexpected feature in the bathroom. The entire mirror was fogged up except for one square in the middle of the mirror where they had put some anti fog stuff. So I was able to comb out my hair and whatnot without having to wipe off the mirror. Never seen that in a hotel before!

The view out of our Hilton Tokyo Bay room...the first view I have ever had of a castle!!

We even had a front row view of the Disney Resort Liner!

When we were both done getting ready for the day, we went down to "The Square" to find the breakfast buffet that was included in our room rate. There are two restaurants right next to each other, and they apparently both serve the same breakfast since we were told that the two buffet lines both had the same foods on them. I had a big mix of all kinds of stuff for breakfast, including cold fish, rice, peaches, eggs, french fries, pancakes, tomatoes, watermelon and noodles. It was good, though it was definitely not a combination you'd find on most breakfast buffets in the US!

The Hilton Tokyo Bay, our hotel for the Disney leg of the trip

After breakfast, we walked over to Bayside Station and caught the Resort Liner over to Tokyo DisneySea Station. The park looked different during the day, but just as beautiful as at night!

When you first go in, there is a large globe with water pouring over it, which is surrounded on all sides with the Hotel Miracosta.

After that, you go through a tunnel that frames Mount Prometheus in an archway, which is just a stunning view. Emerging from the tunnel, you are in the Mediterranean Harbor area of the park. There aren't many attractions in this area, and certainly no E-tickets, so most people were moving quickly past this area to get to the bigger rides.

Mount Prometheus...wow. Just...wow.

Kevin with Mount Prometheus

Me with Mount Prometheus

We moved at a good pace, though we did stop quite a few times to take photos. I quickly learned that no matter where you point your camera in this park, you are taking a photo of something beautiful. Every square inch of this park is immaculate and gorgeous. Our first stop of the day was inside Fortress Explorations to make a lunch reservation for Magellan's. A Disney friend had recommended Magellan's as a nice place for lunch, so since we didn't have any other full service meals planned at Disney, we decided to take his advice. There were only a few other people in the area, so we were in and out quickly with our choice of lunch seating times.

From there, we went around the corner and picked up a Fastpass for Journey to the Center of the Earth. There wasn't much line, so we decided to go ahead and wait in the standby line and catch our first ride of the day on it. It was then that we had a revelation about the way we were being treated by all the employees we were encountering. As we got to the front of the line, we saw that we were going to be put into the back row of one of the vehicles. But instead of loading us into the back, the CM motioned for us to step aside, and they loaded the group behind us in the back. Then when the next vehicle arrived, we were seated in the front seat. It had never occurred to us before, but we were actually being given better seats on rides, and the only reason we could come up with was because we were westerners! As we started to think back, this had been happening for the entire trip! We had great seats on rides like Steel Dragon 2000, Pyrenees, and Bandit, which means that we'd been given special treatment through a lot of the trip and hadn't even realized it! Wow!

Mermaid Lagoon

The next stop for us was Flounder's Flying Fish coaster, which was the last credit of the trip for us. There was almost no line, so we were in and out very quickly. As we were leaving, we ran into the family from Canada again! It turned out that they had gotten significantly delayed the day before and had not even arrived at Tokyo Disneyland until later in the afternoon. We chatted for a while, met the lady's sister and her husband, and tried to talk the son into riding Indiana Jones and Journey to the Center of the Earth. After a while, we all split, wishing them well, and assuming that was the last we would see of them.

The Indiana Jones Adventure wasn't very far away, so we stopped by to pick up Fastpasses since we were able to get another one by then. We made a slow pass by Raging Spirits so we could get some daytime pictures, eventhough it was closed.

Continuing on, we passed Sinbad's Storybook Voyage, and since we both really liked this ride, we jumped in line. There was no line, so we were on almost as soon as we walked in the door. I decided to videotape the whole thing since I thought it was just so adorable, and the song was so cute and catchy. The ride was just as good if not better than the first time I rode it, and again I was amazed by the incredible attention to detail in the ride.

Shall we diet? Obviously not since you're in line for a smoked chicken leg!

Leaving Sinbad, we crossed back over the river and headed for Journey to the Center of the Earth since our Fastpass was good already. We walked right in, stopping only once we reached the switchbacks at the loading area. Once again we were given the front row, which was great since we had a great view every time. This ride is so much fun, and is also very impressive in the way that it uses darkness and lighting effects.

Isn't it though?

After the ride, I grabbed a Coke, Kevin grabbed a frozen orange bar and we headed off into Port Discovery. Like my apple bar, his orange bar started melting everywhere, so we sat for a minute under the Electric Railway overpass and finished up our snacks. I also got a kick out of watching the water under the overpass since there was a small wave making machine. It would get still, then quickly make a wave just like from a wave pool only in miniature. Funny what you notice when you slow down and actually look at things.

It was time to use our Indiana Jones Adventure Fastpass, so after picking up a Storm Rider Fastpass, we headed back over to Indy.

Much like in Disneyland, a large portion of the queue was outside, and the inside queue had little gags and videos playing to occupy you during your wait. We skipped almost all of the line thanks to the Fastpass, so we really only saw a tiny bit of it. The ride was very similar to Disneyland's, but all the effects seemed to be working, so the ride felt a lot better and more impressive. I've never been impressed with Indy in Disneyland, but I thought Indy in DisneySea was quite impressive, and a lot of fun!

After Indiana Jones, we went back into the Arabian Coast area so we could see the show in the Magic Lamp Theater.

Me riding a camel in the Arabian Coast

The Court of the Lions type founatin with the Genie heads on the lions

We took some photos before we went inside, primarily of the Court of the Lions type fountain that's in the courtyard, which features the Genie on each one of the lions. It was cute, though I do like the original better hehe Inside, we sat through the preshow, then found a CM and asked about the translation devices that they have. The CM quickly gave each one of us on, then we found seats inside the main theater. The show was part live action and part 3D movie, with the live actors interacting seamlessly with the 3D action on the screen. It was cute, and I don't think I would have ever been able to follow the story without the translation devices. Only later did we figure out that the translation devices worked inside the preshow too. Oh well...we know for next time.

It was fast approaching time for lunch, so we left and went back over to Magellan's.

Along the way, we spotted a boat full of Disney characters who were spraying the crowds with water hoses! People would just crowd themselves near the waterway and the boat would move all around and get everybody wet.

Kevin, slightly damp from the water spraying boat

Such a simple idea, but people seemed to really be having a great time with it! I could see it working very well in Disney World in the heat of the summer!

When we arrived at Magellan's, there was no wait to check in. In fact, there were very few people in the restaurant at all. We were seated on the main level, next to an enormous globe in the center of the room.

It was absolutely gorgeous inside, and had a very classy and elegant feel. When we sat down, we were handed an English language menu, and we both decided to get the lunch set. I ordered a shrimp and avocado salad, salmon with dill and caper sauce and a piece of cream cake. Kevin ordered a glass of wine, but I just had water since it was so hot outside. Every time that something was brought to the table, it was brought in a sophisticated way, and the service was over the top excellent. I mean...they even had a special little tool to scrape the crumbs off the table! hahaha We also noticed that the only people in the restaurant were a little older. The vast majority of the people in the parks seemed young, so we deducted that most of the young people wouldn't want to spend money on a nice meal. This meant that the lines for things like gyoza sausage buns were enormous, but places like Magellan's remained calm and relaxing.

At the end of lunch I wasn't feeling so well, so we sat for a little while. After a few minutes I thought I was ok, so we went ahead and left, and made our way out to the main plaza where Journey to the Center of the Earth was. When I got there, I wasn't feeling good again, so I told Kevin to go ahead and ride without me, and that I was going to sit in the shade and rest a while longer. I grabbed a seat in the tunnel leading to Journey, and started to people watch almost as soon as I sat down. Almost immediately upon arrival in the resort, I noticed the lack of kids, but really started to notice it while I was sitting there resting. I sat for maybe 15 minutes, and I bet no more than 10 kids walked by me in that time. Everyone in the park seemed to be there in groups of either one girl and one guy, two girls or a group of girls. There were very, very few families with kids that came by me. I guess I shouldn't have been so surprised since it was during the day on a weekday and most young people would have still been in school, but you never, ever see the lack of kids like that in the Florida parks, no matter what time of day or year it is.

After about 15 minutes, I was feeling better, so I walked over to Aquatopia, which is where we had agreed to meet since we had valid Storm Rider Fastpasses. I was early for our meeting time, so I decided to wander up into the American Waterfront and take some photos there.

I wonder how many Japanese people get this very American reference?

This area was beautiful, and very well themed in every aspect. There were numerous boats bobbing around in the water and sitting on the shores, and there were themed signs and posters everywhere. After taking my time and getting as many photos as I wanted, I ran into Kevin heading out of American Waterfront. Since we didn't have to hurry to be anywhere at that point, we both wandered around some more, taking more photos and marveling at how awesome everything looked.

After a while, we decided to go ahead back to Storm Rider and use our Fastpasses for a ride. When we arrived, we were late for our Fastpass window. Kevin was let in just fine, but when the lady looked at mine, she said something in Japanese then pointed at the return time, as if to say that we need to be on time next time. Oops! hehe It's never been an issue in the American parks, and to that point had not been an issue in the Japanese parks either. But we did kind of decide to try to be a little bit more punctual about our Fastpasses from then on!

Storm Rider

Storm Rider was a pretty decent ride for a simulator. When you enter, there is a lady doing a live preshow, which is mainly in Japanese but does have a little English, mainly in subtitles. Inside the main ride, it looks just like Body Wars or Star Tours, only super sized. I don't remember much about the ride, except that you are trying to go inside a tornado or hurricane (I forget which one) and detonate some kind of thing that will disperse the storm. Most of the mission goes just fine until, predictably, something goes horribly wrong. The whole cabin filled with smoke, and the cabin appeared to self destruct but, predictably, you make it out just in time. The consequence of all this is that, since you are supposed to be in the middle of a storm, you get very wet!

We were, like, "RL Stein Haunted Lighthouse" wet! It was a pretty good ride though, despite the moisture.

When we were done with Storm Rider, We decided to ride the DisneySea Electric Railway up to the American Waterfront so we could be closer to Mediterranean Harbor. Again, we had to ride backwards, which didn't give nearly as good a view as forward, but oh well. When we arrived, we took the opportunity to go through a few gift shops. Generally the merchandise wasn't very good, but I did find a very cute silver key chain with a Mickey head with an @ inside it. It reminded me of the RADP symbol, so I got it. I also got a set of Mickey and Minnie key chains that have magnets in them, so when you put their noses together like they're kissing, they close their eyes. So cute! I also got a great kick out of the fact that DisneySea has a stuffed bear mascot who's name is Duffy *snicker*

Kevin gets snuggly with Duffy

When we were done shopping, Kevin wanted to find a spot to watch the Legend of Mythica, which was a daytime show of some type that was held on the water in the lagoon. We stopped in Mediterranean Harbor near what was obviously an interaction area, and we had a nice view of everything in the lagoon. I was dying of thirst, so I headed off to find water while Kevin held our spots. I ended up walking all the way up to Zambini Brothers restaurant before I found a drink cart, but once I found it, I grabbed two bottles of water and quickly made my way back to Kevin before the show started.

This show was really not my thing, though I guess it was ok if you're into that. There were maybe 6 or so floats out in the water, each one with some kind of mythical character on it, with a Disney character on top. They kinda just floated around, did some little interactions with each other, played some music and stuff. Then some people got off of one of the floats and started dancing around out in the plaza we were near. Some played drums, some swung big puppets over their heads, and they all did their little dance routines. It wasn't horrible, but is not something I would ever feel the need to watch again. It was about on par with Fantastic World at Universal Studios.

When the show was over, we were still holding valid Journey to the Center of the Earth Fastpasses, so we walked back over in that direction along with seemingly everyone else who had been watching the show! When we arrived, we flashed out Fastpasses, and were escorted pretty much right up to the Terravators that take you to the loading area. Again, we got a front row ride. After leaving the ride, Kevin discovered that he had left his hat inside the little pouch in the ride vehicle. So he ran to the nearest CM and tried to explain what happened. Obviously the guy spoke enough English to understand what had happened, and he disappeared back inside the ride through a back door.

A few minutes later, he emerged with hat and reunited Kevin with his nearly brand new hat. This was the third (and final, thankfully) time that Kevin attributed to his "The lost item will be found" fortune from Sensoji Temple.

With his hat securely back in his possession, we decided to walk through Fortress Explorations. I had heard from a few people online that this was a very fun activity, and boy were they right! This was the sleeper hit of the resort!

Kevin inside an optical illusion painting inside Fortress Explorations

There were rooms with all sorts of fun stuff to play with inside, including some boats that you can race around a pond...

...a camera obscura where you can spy on people outside...

...a flying machine that you can sit in and pedal...

...and a giant model of the solar system that you can crank and watch as the planets revolve around the sun. It was so much fun, and educational at the same time! As we moved around inside the fortress, there were awesome views of the park from all around.

A compass with Mount Prometheus

Mediterranean Harbor

Kevin with Mediterranean Harbor and Tower of Terror behind him

We got some great shots of Mount Prometheus, as well as some of Mediterranean Harbor. It was just absolutely gorgeous up there, and the fact that we were there at sunset just heightened the beauty.

When we were done, we climbed back down from the fortress and walked back through American Waterfront to the Mediterranean Harbor. We stopped to do a little bit more shopping along the way, but didn't find much else that we wanted. It was dinner time, so I suggested taking a look at the Zambini Brothers menu since it had looked fairly good when I was in that area earlier in the day. When we arrived, we agreed that it sounded pretty good.

We both got the special of the day, which was seafood pasta, cold potato soup and a piece of cake. It was good, though not spectacular. The cold soup left a bit to be desired, but I thought the pasta and cake were great.

When we were done eating, we waited inside until it was time for BraviSEAmo to start. We wanted to be in roughly the same area where we had been for Legend of Mythica, so when we were done with dinner, we found a spot that was right up next to the railing around the lagoon. We had about half an hour to wait, so I sat down on the ground while Kevin stayed standing up. He ended up being quite goofy and entertaining, so the half hour went by very quickly.

BraviSEAmo ended up being a very nice show, though I feel like I might have missed out on a little bit by not speaking Japanese. There was a woman made of water, who had water pouring out of a torso, which made her arms, legs and hair, who was the "good" in the story. There was also a man made of fire, who had long arms that sprayed fire out in little bursts, which was the "bad" in the story. Ultimately, good conquered bad and the water and fire fell in love. I know there was a little more to the story than that, but I wasn't able to catch it. The way that they did the water and fire was really beautiful and moving, and the music was appropriate as well. I'm very glad we took the time to stop and watch it, and would definitely recommend that people take the time out to watch this show.

Immediately after the show, we decided to make a run for the only part of the park that we hadn't hit all day, Mermaid Lagoon. This is such a fun, festive and cute area! All along the entryway there are little cut throughs so you can see what's going on in the pavilion below you, and there are little alcoves that look like nooks in the coral.

Our first stop in Mermaid Lagoon was Under the Sea, which neither of us knew much about except that it was a live action show about the Little Mermaid. When we went in, we asked for the translation devices, and were given them well before we made our way into the main theater. We arrived during a show, so we had quite a while to wait before the next show started, but we didn't care, and took the opportunity to browse some of our photos from the trip.

When it was time for the show to start, we went inside and sat on the far side of the round theater. During the show, Ariel is suspended from a trapeze sort of rig, and she can flip around on it, and swim all around the theater. There are also large puppets that come out of the sides of the theater to interact with her. The entire thing was in Japanese, but the translation device worked really well so we could keep up with what was going on. The strangest thing, though, was the ending of the show. In the movie, Ariel decides to live on land with Prince Eric. But in this show, Ariel is all "You're right! Under the sea is where I belong!" and chooses to stay a mermaid. Um...what?? What a random and inconsistent end to the show! And I thought the Florida version skipped around in the story! But overall the show was good and well worth seeing, even if I have no clue why they end it the way they do!

After the show, we decided to catch a ride on the Whirlpool, which was a little teacup kind of ride. We didn't have to wait at all, so we got separate cups. It was a fun little ride. Afterwards, we walked over toward Jumpin' Jellyfish and decided to see if they would let us ride since there was no one else in line. And when we got up there, the girl just welcomed us straight on in, as though it was no big deal at all! At DCA, you practically get escorted out of the park for asking!

So we were both excited to be riding the Jellyfish for the first time, so we took a lot of photos during the ride! haha

We took our time in leaving, taking as many photos as we wanted on the way. When we got outside, we decided to go over and see if we could get on Scuttle's Scooters. Again there was no line, so we practically walked right on.

This was a fun ride, and is essentially a themed Flying Dutchman. When the ride was over, Kevin said that he had a Fastpass for Tower of Terror that he had picked up earlier, so he wanted to make sure to get to use it that night. We hightailed it back over to the DisneySea Electric Railway one more time, and we finally got to ride on the front of the train over to American Waterfront.

Once in American Waterfront, Kevin raced over to Tower of Terror. I tried to ask if I would be able to go inside with him and see the queue, but the girl said I would need a Fastpass. I'm not sure if she didn't understand what I was asking, or if they just don't get many requests to look at the queue without riding, so I went over and sat down to wait for him. After a moment, I decided to walk over toward the Columbia and get a couple of photos. They ended up turning out wonderfully, and soon I was back at Tower of Terror waiting for Kevin.

When Kevin made his way out, he was laughing. He said that during his ride, there had been two teenage girls saying "Mickey! Mickey" repeatedly at him, and holding their fists up to the sides of their heads. He didn't understand what they meant, but when he went to look at the onride photo, he saw that most other people in the vehicle were were making Mickey ears on their heads, but he wasn't. So the whole way out, he was talking about these two girls and how he wished he'd understood what they were wanting him to do. I said that I would have known what the fists on the side of the head meant, and just at that time the two girls passed us. They were still giggling at him and saying "Mickey! Mickey!" It was too funny. So I said "I understand Mickey!" and put my fists on my head. This made them laugh even harder, so we all stood around and had a good laugh about it.

Mickey! Mickey!

We ended up walking out with them, then said goodbye when they stopped to take photos in front of the globe in the entry plaza. We made it as far as the Resort Liner station before we ran into them again, so we chatted a little more with them while we made our way back to Bayside station. They didn't speak much English, but we managed to get across that we go to Disney World frequently, and that we had both been to Disneyland. I said that they should both go to the US to visit Mickey there, and they agreed! One of the girls was even carrying a Duffy bear *snicker* and said that she had three of them in different sizes.

When we got to Resort Gateway station, we bid them farewell since they said that they were taking the train back to their homes. Kevin and I rode on to Bayside station and disembarked there. I had been craving Coke horribly all day, and was desperately wanting one. So I ran around the corner to the vending machine there, while Kevin headed in the opposite direction to get on a Resort Cruiser bus. He was joking that there was no way that I would make it back in time to catch the bus, but I just really wanted a Coke so I took my chances. Don't you know that as soon as I rounded the corner and ran up to the bus, the driver closed the doors! And of course what did I see inside but Kevin smiling ear to ear and waving goodbye frantically! hahaha All I could do was laugh at myself, so I hung my head and waved goodbye back at him, and started the walk back to the hotel. The hotel was only across the street so it was no big deal at all to walk.

Once back at the hotel, Kevin made fun of my Coke craving, saying that I could have ridden back had I not been craving the Coke. But y'know, I consider myself smart because the previous night I'd bought a Coke in the hotel and paid more than $2 for it, and they were only $1.25 at Bayside station! I have concluded that when I am burning more calories than I'm taking in, I start to crave Coke, hence why I crave it in amusement parks and stuff. I wish I could stave it off...it would be a great way to burn a few extra calories...but I just love Coke too much hahaha So I changed into my jammies, turned on the TV and drank my fought-for Coke before drifting off to sleep.

Go to Day 14 - Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea
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