Wednesday, September 10th, 2008

On Wednesday morning, I decided to hang back at the hotel for a bit. Kevin was awake and out of the room in time to get to Tokyo Disneyland for opening, while I slept on soundly. I ended up getting out of bed at around 9:30am, which was the first time of the trip that I'd been able to sleep for as long as I wanted. I cracked open my bottle of Snoopy Fresh from the 100yen store in Kyoto, but it tasted really strange, so I barely drank any of it. After I got dressed, I went down to the Starbucks in the lobby for a little tide-me-over for breakfast. I got a chocolate chip scone which was very tasty, but not so big that I wouldn't want to eat lunch when the main restaurant opened.

After breakfast, I wandered around the lobby and took some photos, then went inside the arcade and Disney gift shops. This was a very nice hotel, and one that I was very glad that we spent the money on. I would have been perfectly happy with a less expensive hotel, but it really was just an awesome feeling to wake up in the morning and be able to see into the park. Then to walk out into a beautiful resort and catch a nearby train to the parks…that was great. I hated to see that credit card bill that came with the hotel charge on it, but the memory of paying that bill was long gone by the time we were actually in the hotel.

After wandering around, I went back up to the room and changed into my swimming outfit (not a swimsuit...just a tank top with swim trunks, which meant that both pieces could be worn separately so I could pack less). I threw jeans on, then went down to the pool. When I arrived, I thought I was in the wrong place since there was literally no one around.

I walked outside and found the Aqua Terrace pool quite easily, but there wasn't a single person anywhere to be found! I wondered if the pool was closed, but figured that there would have been a sign or something if it was! I walked all the way around it and took a few photos, then laid my stuff on a chair and got in. This was the first time I'd been swimming in well over a year, and it was a great way to relax and just have a few minutes to myself.

After my swim, I wasn't able to find the locker rooms so I could dry myself off, so I just had to put my jeans back on over my wet swim trunks and go back up to the room. When I got there, I immediately took them off, but the damage was already done and my butt was soaking wet! haha I tried to dry them off as best I could, but it didn't work very well. I jumped in the shower to wash all the chlorine off, then just hung around the room and did some repacking until it was time for lunch. I took the hair dryer to the jeans for a few moments, but it didn't do much good, so I just decided to suck it up and wear them as is. Japanese people are probably too polite to make fun of my wet butt anyway! haha

On the way down to the lobby, I dropped off a pair of jeans that needed to be cleaned. The hotel didn't have any washing machines, and the pants wouldn't have time to dry if I washed them out in the room, so I had to leave them for dry cleaning. Also, I had to pay extra for the same day service because if I didn't, the jeans would arrive after we had already checked out the next day. I really couldn't wear the jeans for another day, so I didn't have much choice but to leave them to be dry cleaned.

The meal vouchers we received when we checked in were good for either breakfast or lunch, so I used mine for lunch that day. It was in the same place as the breakfast restaurant, and had the same two buffet set up as breakfast.

On my first pass around the buffet, I got some curry chicken, some sushi, some marinated tomatoes and some shrimp somethingorother. On the second pass, I got more of the curry, more of the tomatoes, a shrimp and noodle salad, some naan and a shrimp dumpling. They had a huge assortment of desserts, so I got three small pieces of cake as well as a large lime Jell-O glass with cantaloupe in it. Everything was so yummy, and I could have eaten a dozen more of those shrimp dumplings, but didn't want to be a pig!

After breakfast, I went back up to the room to lounge a bit, but then decided to go over to Ikspiari and check it out. Kevin had left a note for me in the room saying to meet him at Splash Mountain at 2:30, and it was barely 1:00 at that point. When I went outside, the Resort Cruiser bus was waiting there, so I jumped on and finally got a chance to ride on, since I just barely missed my chance the night before! haha


Inside the Disney Resort Cruiser bus


Inside the Disney Resort Liner

At Bayside Station, I rode over to Resort Gateway station, and headed off to explore Ikspiari.

I started off, but didn't get very far before I realized that Ikspiari is actually like a real mall, not a Downtown Disney sort of shopping area. I made it as far as the plaza with the big Disney store in it, then decided to head back to the train and go on to the park since we had planned on hanging out at Ikspiari the next day before our flight home.

On the way to the park, I was struck by how empty everything was.

It was around 1:30, and there was NO ONE in the train stations I went through! No one at Resort Gateway station, no one at Tokyo Disneyland station...

...and even the main entry plaza of the park had just a scarce few people. The mentality about these parks is so different from the Florida parks. In Florida, people come and go, taking rest breaks in the middle of the day. But in Tokyo, people arrive at park opening and stay until park closing. The near absence of people at 1:30 in the public areas attests to this!

When I made my way into the park, I still had about 45 minutes before I was supposed to meet Kevin, so the first place I went was to the New Orleans Square looking part of Westernland. I went into the Disney Gallery, which was very nice, but didn't offer much nice artwork for sale.

While I was there, I spotted a Disney encyclopedia type book that was all in Japanese, so I looked up the Body Wars description. I don't know what it said, but it was probably something like "it's like putting forty Weebles in a shoebox and shaking vigorously."


The New Orleans Square-looking part of Adventureland

My next stop was in a glass store, in hopes of finding a nice Christmas ornament for myself. I knew Christmas wasn't a big holiday in Japan, but luckily I was able to find a cute little blown glass Mickey Mouse ornament! I bought it quickly, and the CM packed it up securely for me. Afterwards, I decided to walk through the Swiss Family Treehouse, which predictably looked just like the Magic Kingdom version.


The view from the top of the Swiss Family Treehouse

They also have CMs stationed throughout the treehouse here...why, I don't know, but they do. After walking through the treehouse, I walked back out to the hub and took a few more photos.

I walked up by the Snow White Grotto too, since I had not passed by it yet and wanted to make sure I saw it.

It was nearing 2:30 by this point, so I walked over to Splash Mountain to meet up with Kevin. Their Splash Mountain is in a very out of the way place, as opposed to the US parks where the drop is a main part of the scenery in Frontierland. I remember seeing the drop, but don't remember ever seeing it from far away, or thinking that it added anything to the atmosphere of the area. Strange, but I assume it was because it was added after the park opened, and they had to deal with space constraints. Kevin was there when I arrived, but said that there were no Fastpasses left and that the line was over an hour long. Neither of us wanted to wait that long for it, so we decided to move on and do some other stuff and come back to Splash at the very end of the night.


Three, count 'em, three Country Bear Jamborees and I have refused to watch them all!

Leaving Splash Mountain, we passed by the Country Bear Theater, where I gleefully had Kevin take a photo of me holding up three fingers, as if to say that this was the third Country Bear Jamboree that I had refused to watch. He had watched it that morning, so at least I wasn't depriving him of anything. We decided to ride the Mark Twain next, which was actually a first for me since all three times I had been to Disneyland, I never got around to riding their Mark Twain. It looked fairly similar to its US counterparts, and the scenery on the ride was quite similar as well. My favorite part was where you can see Tom Sawyer's Island, with Peter Pan's Flight beyond that, and the castle beyond that! haha We also got a good look at Tom Sawyer's Island, but we never ended up making our way over there to check it out. Too bad, as it looked really cool, and I like to hang out on the one in Florida.

When we disembarked from the Mark Twain, we walked back over toward the Westernland Shootin' Gallery since I've become a shooting gallery fan as of late. When we arrived, not only did we see queue with people waiting in line, we saw that they staffed two CMs!! At the shooting gallery!! Unbelievable! I have never in my life had to wait in line for a shooting gallery, but I did just that this day. It was $2 for 10 shots, which was awfully steep if you ask me, but we paid it anyway. I missed my first two shots, but made all of the last eight, so no doubt I would have been able to get all ten if I'd wanted to play again. This shooting gallery also gives you little print outs of how well you did...mine was of Goofy congratulating me on hitting eight targets, and his speech bubble contained English and kanji! haha

Afterward, we decided to ride the Western River Railroad again so we could see all the scenery in the daytime.


The Mark Twain and the Beaver Brothers Canoes, seen from the Western River Railroad

We did actually see a lot more this time than we saw when we rode it in the dark, including a lot of Big Thunder Mountain. After we were done, we decided to go ahead back over to DisneySea for a few hours and clean up a few things we had missed there.


The Hotel Miracosta, seen from inside the park

When we arrived back at DisneySea, the first thing Kevin wanted to do was a scavenger hunt type thing through Fortress Explorations. It sounded like fun, but it was already closed by the time we had gotten there the day before. Along the way to Fortress Explorations, I had to pee really, really badly, so we stopped in a restroom then scurried on. When we got to where they let people in for the challenge, the person said that they had closed just a few minutes earlier! The guidemap said it closed at 5:00, but they ended up cutting off the line at 4:30. I felt bad because we would have made it in had I not stopped for the bathroom break, but there was just no way I could have held it through a half hour line, then through the scavenger hunt itself. But I had no way of knowing that they cut off the line early, so there wasn't much we could do.

Aquatopia was another ride we wanted to do so, dejected, we made our way over to Port Discovery. I wanted to try to get some onride video of the ride, so I chose the dry course while Kevin chose the wet course. My line was very short and was on the ride almost as soon as I walked up. I got video through most of the ride, until I got near the station and the CM was yelling and making an X with her arms, undoubtedly saying something like "No videotaping on the ride, arigato gozaimasu!" So I closed up the camera since I didn't want to be the ugly American hehe

When I was done, I spotted Kevin during his ride on the wet course, so I managed to get video of most of his ride. He got wet in a few places but not as bad as either of us were expecting. He said that the only spot where you got really wet was when your vehicle goes straight up to a waterfall, and even then, there are special sprayers to get you wet. I also thought it was funny that during his ride, you can see him waving at other people who were waving at him...Westerners are such an oddity, it would seem. Too funny.


Kevin, only slightly wet after his Autopia ride

Leaving Aquatopia, we walked back by Indiana Jones and Raging Spirits in an attempt to get on the DisneySea Transit Steamer Line at the Lost River Delta dock. When we got there, it was closed, but they had characters in the area that we were able to watch and pose with.

We got our picture taken with Goofy, which was one of only two character photos we took the entire trip. The Tokyo resort just didn't seem to have as many characters milling around as the Florida resort does. We had noticed a guy not too far away who had this huge blonde hairdo and had sort of snickered at him. Then when he went up to get his photo taken with Goofy, Goofy started playing with his hair haha


Us with Max

Since we had missed the boat, so to speak, we decided to get some dinner. Kevin suggested the Cape Cod Cook off so we could also watch the Donald's Boat Builders show. That sounded like a pretty good idea to me, so we walked in that direction, taking photo after photo along the way. When we arrived, we were about 15 minutes early for the show, so I told Kevin that I wanted to run across the way to the black pepper popcorn cart near Tower of Terror so I could pick up a popcorn bucket for a cousin of mine who collects them. He stayed behind, ordered and found a table while I hightailed it over to Tower of Terror. At first, I forgot where the popcorn stand was, but eventually I found it and quickly bought a bucket. Their popcorn is very overpriced when you buy it in the bucket, but I knew my cousin would want it, and I knew that I would like to eat the popcorn inside haha

With the bucket purchased, I quickly went back to Cape Cod Cook off, and arrived just in time to get my food before the show started. I got a fish sandwich and fries, which was pretty good as far as fish sandwiches go. It was also very inexpensive, coming in at only 767yen including drink. We were used to paying at least 1000yen if we were getting a drink, so it was quite a welcome discount.

The show was performed on a stage at the end of the dining room, which was a unique sort of theater that I'd never seen before. The story was that Donald had a boat, but through some mishaps, the boat gets damaged. Then Chip and Dale come behind him and make the repairs without Donald knowing. It was cute, so I was glad that we'd gotten the change to eat there. Plus all the characters speak Japanese, which was so adorable in chipmunk voice!

After the show, it was sunset, so we strolled around the water taking photos.


Tower of Terror


The Columbia ship in the American Waterfront


The view of Mediterranean Harbor


Mount Prometheus at sunset


A bridge with a gondola going under it


The Venetian area of the park

Everything was just absolutely gorgeous with the sun setting over the horizon, so we took our time and enjoyed it all. We tried again to get in a ride on the DisneySea Transit Steamer line out of the American Waterfront dock, but again we were told it was closed. I think the closures may have had something to do with BraviSEAmo, but I'm not sure. Since we couldn't ride the steamer yet again, Kevin suggested a gondola ride, so we walked off in the direction of Mediterranean Harbor. When we got there, we found the gondolas in a little alcove of the park that we hadn't even been in yet. It was amazing...little lights overhead, Venitian music playing and gondolas floating around in the water. Of course, when we arrived, it had just closed, so we just missed it again.

Since it was so nice outside, we decided to just wander around and wait for the Transit Steamer to open back up. By the time we got back around to the dock, it was open again, so we got in line. After a few moments we boarded, and rode over to the Lost River Delta dock. One of the only things left in the park that we hadn't done was the Caravan Carousel in the Arabian Coast, so that was our next stop.

We hoofed it up to the top level, where I grabbed a ride on an elephant, and Kevin rode on a gryphon looking bird. I wanted to ride a camel, but oh well, they were fresh out of camels. I got some funny video during the ride, and we had a great time joking around during the ride.

At that point, Kevin said that he wanted to see BraviSEAmo again, but I said that I'd rather head back over to Tokyo Disneyland for a while so I could ride Peter Pan's Flight before Splash Mountain. So we parted ways with the plan to meet up at Splash Mountain again at 9:00. While I was in Arabian Coast, I couldn't help but catch one last ride on Sinbad's Storybook Voyage since it was so close and I loved it so much.


Sinbad, fighting the rocs

I had a boat all to myself, so in hindsight I wish that I had retaken my onride video of it, but I didn't think to do it at the time. I loved this ride so much...so adorable, and I will miss it so much. At least I got good video of it.

With time ticking, I bid a very sad farewell to this awesome, awesome park. I know I will be back some day, but I don't know when. Once I was out of the park, I took the Resort Liner back to the Tokyo Disneyland station and entered the park with ease. I walked up through the castle and through Fantasyland and got in line for Peter Pan's Flight. There was a line, but it wasn't terrible, and it kept moving the whole time. While I was waiting, there was a group of girls in front of me who each had a little Disney character clip in their hair that makes it look like the character has crash landed on your head. At first I thought they were dumb looking, but the more of them I saw, the cuter I thought they were. So by the time I was actually boarding the ride, I had decided that I just had to have one of the Donalds that looks like he's stuck to your head. As for the ride, it was basically exactly like in the US, with only minor changes here and there.

Afterwards, I went back over to the Pooh's Hunny Hunt area to a little cart that sold the hats, ears and little clip characters for your hair. I got the Donald, which ended up being ten dollars! But it was cute, and I've never seen anything like it in the US parks. Also, since it was at the end of the trip, I was realizing that I still had a decent chunk of money left to spend, so I had to spend it on something! The lady at the register took the Donald off the card, so I immediately put it in my hair and headed off to Splash Mountain.

I arrived before Kevin, so I sat in the same spot where I had found him that morning and waited for him. He arrived just a couple of minutes later, saying that he'd really had to rush to get there on time after BraviSEAmo. The line was posted at 40 minutes, but the stream of people going into the line didn't seem bad at all, so I didn't figure it would be quite that bad. Once we were in line, it ended up being a little over half an hour, which was tolerable since it was so late at night. The ride was sort of like a jumble of parts from Florida and California, with the same music and storyline. When we went through the scene with all the little jugs full of water that are squirting at you, I commented "Aww, no FSU bunny" only to round a corner and have the FSU bunny pop out of the ceiling in an unexpected place haha

I had read in advance that Japanese people don't like to walk around the parks wet, so this Splash Mountain was created with some kind of water diverters to reduce the splash that hits the riders.

Well this must have been complete hooey because I got drenched on the final drop! Of course we had been put in the front row! It was at least as wet of not wetter than the US versions, so we were quite shocked to say the least! After the ride we looked around in the gift shop, but didn't end up buying anything.

We had about 15 minutes before the park closed, so we decided to make a mad dash for Pooh's Hunny Hunt to see if we could ride it one last time before we had to go. When we arrived, there was only about 5 minutes worth of line, so we made it there with plenty of time to spare. I decided to try and videotape the ride, but the video didn't come out all that great since there is so much going on all around you, and the ride is so immersive. I still think this is an absolutely top notch amazing ride, and can't believe that they haven't installed this in every Disneyland park around the world!

When we left the ride, we pondered running back around for another ride, but the line had just closed. With nothing else open, we made our way back out of the park slowly, taking photos of the castle, Tomorrowland and Main Street along the way. We did a little bit of last minute shopping as we left, then bid a sad farewell to the park. I loved absolutely everything about this resort, and was so, so sad that our time there was basically over.

We got back on the Resort Liner, taking a few last minute photos along the way, and got off at Bayside Station again. When we got back to the hotel, I tried to get all my stuff organized for the final packing, making sure that I didn't have anything straggling around in the hotel room. I found the pair of jeans that I'd left for laundry that morning hanging in the closet, and found a whopping $12 charge for cleaning them!! Not much I could do, though, since I needed them to be clean, and didn't have the time to wait for the next day service since I'd forgotten to drop them off sooner.

I also found my Land Dog plush perched on top of the pillows on my bed...so cute hehe After a little more hanging around, we got ready for bed, and sadly went to sleep for the last time of the trip.

Go to Day 15 - Ikspiari, travel home
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