Overview of Japan posts:
Japan 1: Welcome to Tokyo! (and a killer okonomiyaki)
Japan 2: Yokohama and Omuraisu
Japan 3: What Makes Japan One Of A Kind
Japan 4: Special Japanese Neighborhoods + Those Famous Food Floors
Japan 5: A Gourmet Japanese Lunch + Roppongi Hills
Japan 6: Kyoto (1st installment, 2nd installment)
Japan 7: Disneyland and DisneySea
Japan 8: Tsukiji Fish Market & Tsukiji neighborhood
All the guidebooks say it: “Disney has a special place in the heart of many Japanese so go early, and preferably on a weekday.” We are there on a Thursday at 10am. Barely two hours after opening, there couldn’t have been more people and it couldn’t have been a more sweltering day. I’m stunned (more dismayed actually,) at the mass of humanity that’s crawling around the park today. Shouldn’t these ”˜tweens and teenagers be in school?? Shouldn’t these adults be at work?? I guess no one can resist the pull of the “happiest place on earth.”
The Tokyo Disney Resort, which sits on an expanse of land in Tokyo Bay is the oldest Disney theme park outside the US. As Japan’s “Kingdom of Dream and Magic” since 1983, Tokyo Disney Resort is composed of two adjacent but separate parks: Disneyland and DisneySea, which opened in 2001. The park is easily accessible via trains and an exclusive monorail and bus fleet. Naturally, both types of transportation are adorned with the Mickey head on the windows and hand straps. Really makes me feel like I’m a kid again.
It’s been 25 years since I was last at a Disneyland, and here I am again, this time with my Bin and Boo, both starry-eyed newbies to Disney. We enter Tokyo’s own version of “Main Street” called World Bazaar, a steel and glass covering housing an architectural mix of old world Americana. Plenty of stores here sell Disney merchandise, and in the near distance is Cinderella’s castle.
We’re right in time to watch the Disney parade, and I’m surprised to see the Japanese kids in the audience singing right along to the English lyrics. Boo, who’s appropriated her seat atop her dad’s shoulders, excitedly points out the characters that she recognizes. Seeing her glee, I can’t help but think how magical the world must seem through a child’s eyes. If only we adults could be so lucky.
After a whirl on the carousel, Boo begins to complain about the heat so we buy her a pair of oversized heart-shaped sunglasses. I’m beginning to wish I could buy a pair too. The sun is blazing down and despite slathering myself in sunscreen earlier, I fear I’m getting barbecued.
One of my favorite rides as a kid in the Disneyland in Los Angeles was Alice’s Tea Party, where twirling cups and saucers spin passengers into a tizzy. I’m overjoyed to see that it’s here too in Tokyo, so our family of three eagerly get in line and then board.
It’s as fun and as dizzying as ever. Though my Bin is prone to motion sickness (especially on rides that just go round and round), he enjoys it as much as I do. Boo is giggling and I do my best to capture her mirth with my camera. Disneyland really makes me want to be a kid again.
The lines for the rides are getting longer and longer, the pain of waiting mitigated no less by the merciless heat. Boo gets into a bad mood after having to wait in line with her dad for 30 minutes before being allowed to ride. “Papa, why so tagal?” She whines. We’re lucky to board the “It’s a Small World” ride, a cruise “around the world.” At least inside the “castle,” the water cools us down and we delight at the dancing dolls.
Mealtime at Disney includes plenty of Mickey: the trademark ears are the basis of the pizza we have for lunch, and some muffins, pastries, and cookies that I see. Stopping for ice cream, I’m half expecting the scoops to be Mickey-shaped too. (They’re not, but those perfectly rounded double scoops sure look like Mickey’s ears!)
I’m starting to not feel well most probably because of the people and the heat. We don’t get to go on any more rides because the waiting times for all of them are an hour or more. Perhaps when we go to DisneySea tomorrow, it’ll be a lot better.