Culture and Creds Disney is the title I wanted but, alas, no strike through. This is a rough draft that I decided to just post. I haven't read through it so please try your best to ignore the typos. Anyway, I hope you enjoy the report, and there is plenty more to come! I have been in Japan for about a week now, and I am absolutely loving it here. Tokyo is an amazing city, and I’m excited to go to Kyoto soon as well. However, Tokyo Disney is the subject for this trip report. For a multitude of reasons, I ended up going to Tokyo Disney alone at 1 pm on a Monday. This was not planned, but it was nonetheless what happened. I arrived at the Hotel Miracosta and was immediately astounded at its beauty. It’s just gorgeous and a perfect introduction for the park. I checked in, put up my bags, and got my tickets (4 day park hopper). I then went right into Tokyo Disneysea and, just, wow. I had heard a lot about this park, but nothing can really compare to walking in it. Mount Promethues is truly astounding; it seems to tower over every area of the park and is such an intimidating presence. The Mediterranean Harbor is also a fantastic opening land with a very nice Italian feel. It would continue to grow on me throughout the trip as I explored new areas. Still, Mysterious Island was calling to me. I checked my TDR Wait Times app (great app that really helped) and saw that Tower of Terror and Journey to the Center of the Earth were both around 90 to 120 minute waits. I considered just riding, but I thought it would be better to explore a bit and ride them with fast passes tomorrow. I did, however, get a FP for 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea since it had a time slot only an hour away. Entering Mysterious Island was an experience. Two paths: caverns with lights overhead leading towards Journey to the Center of the Earth or into the sunlight with Prometheus surrounding you. The land shows just how enormous the volcano is. The scope is just insane. However, what blew me away about the park the most was the sheer amount of detail in nearly every area. There is something to the way that they even sculpted how the lava became ash and has dried into the water now. Every single crevice seems so authentic; it’s insane. I’ve always loved Disney’s theming and thought it was top notch. However, after Tokyo Disneysea, everything looks lacking in comparison. It truly is that amazing (for me at least). I walked from Mysterious Island into Mermaid Lagoon. This area is also very impressive since it is essentially just a collection of generic children’s flat rides. However, they put their all into the theming yet again and created the best of all the children’s lands in parks (over Bug’s Land, Suess Landing, etc.). I then continued on to Lost River Delta in search of Indiana Jones. DL’s version is one of my favorite rides ever made, and I was very excited to see how it compared. I was first struck by the size of its show building. You can’t see DL’s from the park, so I never realized just how enormous it is. It and Lost River Delta are very, very well themed with some great details everywhere. I’m afraid my Tokyo Disneysea land reviews will be mainly compliments. I have literally no issues with the park; I truly think it is perfect (except it should have a better coaster). I got in the single rider line of Indiana Jones which had a 90 minute wait. I had a solid 5 minute wait. The line itself is, shocker, very well themed. The tone is much more ominous than DL’s Indiana Jones which is very tongue-in-cheek. Here, everything is actually taken quite seriously; jokes are hard to find. While I appreciate this, I do prefer the cheesy queue and preshow of DL’s. Sallah is just too great to not love that preshow in DL. Anyway, I got a front seat (Yay!) and got sent off. Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Crystal Skull: This ride is amazing, needless to say. It is very, very similar to the amazing DL version except with a few new effects and an overall more ominous feel. They fixed my least favorite part of DL’s version (the sudden stop in the dark that has no purpose). There is instead an interesting head that shoots a smoke ring at riders. Other than that, it sticks pretty close to the original’s script, which isn’t bad at all. The more serious tone taken isn’t as charming as the original’s cheesy tone. It is certainly more thrilling overall with more exaggerated movements, and I think it would be my favorite version if not for one glaring problem. After the bridge scene and until the blackout part, there is no music. It is quite jarring since the rest of the ride contains it. I really don’t know why they didn’t include that music since the score had already been composed and would fit just as well. It seems like a minor problem, but it just stuck out to me on every ride. I just love that ride’s music so much that it always bums me out to not hear it. Still, it’s amazing. I can’t say that enough. Both versions are some of the best rides in the world. Just fantastic. 10/10 Well, after Indiana Jones, I still had some time before my FP. I decided to ride one of my most anticipated rides of the trip, Sinbad’s Storybook Voyage. I had no knowledge of what it was about, so I was interested in seeing how they would tell the story. The ride is the main attraction of the Arabian Coast, my third favorite land in the park. The land is just rich with small details and little corners to duck in. It just immerses you so well into the setting they’ve designed. It is just amazing. The ride had a 5 minute wait which was very nice. I got in, and we were sent off. Sinbad’s Storybook Voyage- I love it. I love it so much. First, it has the best cast of animatronics I’ve seen on a ride. They may be doll sized, but their movements are as lifelike as I’ve seen. The song that plays throughout is likely my favorite Disney ride song now. It played in my head on loop for 4 days straight. So catchy. It’s also very long which is overall quite satisfying. Each scene has its own special distinction but flows so well with the ride. I especially love the scene with the monkeys if only for that amazing banana smell. I rode it 11 times over the trip, and I liked it more every single time I rode. I can’t really explain why it is so magical. There’s just something to it. My main suggestion for those who haven’t ridden it (and aren’t planning on going to Disneysea for a while) is to watch a Youtube video of it. That is the best way to really understand how wonderful it is. It is my second favorite ride ever, and I would go as far as to say I prefer it over Lightning Rod (sorry USA Live guys :/). 10/10 I still had about 10 minutes until my FP, and I was quite hungry. I lined up and got a Chandu’s Tail at the nearby Sultan’s Oasis. It was sooo delicious. Even after many different snacks over the trip, this remains my favorite snack in the resort. I would highly, highly recommend. I headed over to Mysterious Island and took it in again. Since I would start to love it a lot more in subsequent days, I can now say this is my favorite land out there. There is just such a sense of mystery and adventure to it. Being surrounded by that volcano is an experience unto itself. It’s something I can’t describe really. You simply have to experience it, especially at night. So, I went on to 20K Leagues and was excited to see just what it was. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea- I really love this ride (SHOCK). The underwater effect here is unbelievable. It really does feel like you are underwater, even more so than the actual underwater ride Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage. The flashlight effect is also a very fun one and adds a level of interactivity to the ride. The animatronics are not near the level of say Sinbad or Journey, but they are still quality and serve the purpose for the ride. It is a very cheesy ride overall with a lot of memorable set pieces and moments. I really don’t want to undersell that. The Atlantis scene in particular sticks out. For what it set out to do, it does it exactly. It is just so nice to see a creative, original ride without any Disney or movie IP attached. Great ride. 9/10 Well, I checked the wait time app, and all the real E-Tickets were still around 90 to 120 minutes. I decided to look at Tokyo Disneyland’s wait times and saw the wonderful sight of a 40 minute wait for Pooh’s Hunny Hunt. Jackpot! I left Mysterious Island and headed for the monorail to Tokyo Disneyland. I was very excited to see the park since it was considered the second best Disney park by many enthusiasts I usually agreed with. The monorail ride was short, and I entered quickly into the World Bazaar. Now, I don’t have many photos of Tokyo Disneyland. I spent most of my photo time in Tokyo Disneysea since it is MUCH more photogenic. This isn’t to say Tokyo Disneyland isn’t; it really is. However, taking photos of Disneysea was a true pleasure while photos of Disneyland felt at times like a necessity. Still, I’ll spread the few I have over the multiple days, and it shouldn’t be a problem since I imagine more people want to see Disneysea anyway . If I don't have a photo for the ride or story in the park though, I'm going to stick in an emoji. It will hopefully make sense! I took a beeline for Pooh since my anticipation was so high. I saw it was a 35 minute wait and got in line. As it was for every line, the predicted wait time was very accurate. It’s kind of insane how accurate these wait times always were. The most off it was was by 5 minutes short. So, I enjoyed watching the pretty book that is the entrance light up as the day turned to night. It was a beautiful sunset entering the park and then turning to dusk in Fantasyland. In fact, the Fantasyland in the park was great. It wasn’t as good as the very charming and intimate DL version, but it reminded me of the old DW version. It had a very pink facade overall and seemed to have a lot of motion with the teacups and dumbo. I feel this is something a lot of the park lacked, motion. Motion brings a lot of energy to a park and can really make it feel more lively. Tokyo Disneysea, Magic Kingdom and Disneyland all excel at this. Tokyo Disneyland’s best areas have this motion. These include Adventureland, Frontierland, and Critter Country, but I’ll get more into each land as we approach them. Anyway, I was approaching the Hunny pots while I was reading the pages that were telling the classic Pooh stories. Finally, I got into a Hunny pot and was sent off. Pooh’s Hunny Hunt- This ride is amazing. In fact, it is likely the best children’s ride in the world, mainly because I’ve never ridden anything that encapsulates childhood wonder so well. The most obvious unique feature here is the trackless vehicles, and they are truly amazing. The way they dance with one another and seem to seamlessly move through each scene with one another. They are the perfect vehicle for this ride. The animatronics are also just fantastic. They are just like one would imagine them, more specifically how Christopher Robin would imagine them. They are like stuffed animals come to life, lifelike enough to be amazing but still like a plush toy. The scene with Tigger bouncing is so adorable it makes my heart swell with joy (he was always a favorite of mine as a child). The Heffalumps scene though may be the single best scene I’ve seen in a ride. The way the entire room of up to 9 vehicles so seamlessly interact with each other and go to the various sight gags. It’s just jaw dropping. I especially love the vehicle that comes out filled with the Heffalumps and Pooh flying with the balloon overhead at the end. Then there is the Hunny scene with Pooh in his room full of honey. The honey scent in there is so wonderful. What makes the ride so wonderful to me is how it seems to just go from place to place with no real rhyme or reason, much like a child’s imagination. There’s something to the way that it is told and represented that just so vividly reminds me of childhood. It may be that I’ve always had an attachment to Winnie the Pooh and his friends, or it may be the presentation. However, this ride brings me back to that great feeling of childlike wonder, of feeling like anything is possible. It’s truly beautiful. 10/10 After I got off the ride, I looked to see if Splash Mountain was open. It was not, so I decided to go ahead next door to Haunted Mansion which had a spooky 13 minute wait. Pretty cute really. The wait to get into the stretching room was nonexistent. I did distinctly miss that oh-so-amazing narration from the American Haunted Mansion rides, but the Japanese narration did give the ride an oddly more ominous feeling since you couldn’t hear the jokes. The bottleneck in the room was truly awful, and I was afraid it was always this way. Luckily, on my many rerides, the room was always empty for people to go ahead to their doom buggies. Haunted Mansion- This ride is pretty much exactly the WDW version just before the improvements in 2009(?). This is mainly a con with a few pros involved. It is certainly worse than the WDW, by quite a bit, but it is also better than the DL version. The first scene with the portrait with eyes that follow the rider is much better than WDW’s version, but the staircase scene with the spiders doesn’t belong in a Disney ride. It is so out of place with how sparsely themed it is; it is literally just plastic spiders. The staircase scene in WDW’s version is my favorite scene in the ride, so that was very missed. The other main difference is the attic scene. I would say it is the only scary scene in the ride. Heads are scaring you as a rhythmic heartbeat plays throughout the room. It is revealed to be a bride. What is her story? Why is she here? I don’t know, and I like that. The attic room here is scary and mysterious. This is far superior to the bride with the axe scene in the states which has always been a bit of a dud. Lastly, the Graveyard scene is much better maintained (like most rides in Tokyo Disney) than the American versions. Overall, it isn’t quite as good as WDW’s (I mainly miss the narration), but it is a great ride. 9.5/10 After I got off the ride, I saw that Monsters Inc. was only a 30 minute wait, so I headed that way. Then I entered the ugliest land I’ve seen in a castle park, their Tomorrowland. Wow, this was bad. It truly was just a few buildings and some bland pavement. While the park is pretty much all bland one color pavement, they also had some great theming to compliment that. This area did not. Perhaps if Space Mountain had been open (down for refurbishment), the land would have seemed more lively, but that ride is indoors anyway. As for now, I’m hoping this Big Hero 6 ride will help things, but that isn’t looking likely. Anyway, I got into line for Monsters Inc, and I was preoccupied with college preparation stuff due that night. The wait went by quickly as a result. The theming in the lobby is very nice, and I was excited to give it a try. Monsters, Inc. Ride and Go Seek: I, yet again, really love this ride. There is a lot of detail to it at every corner. The animatronics in particular are amazing. On one ride, I shined my flashlight at Mike’s eye, and his pupil dilated. Insane details like that are what make me love Disney parks so much. The flashlight gimmick is fun and adds a level of interactivity to the ride, and it makes re-riding much more engaging. Even without the flashlights, the ride would still be amazing thanks to the fantastic sets and animatronics. Overall, it is really just good and simple fun with some very impressive and complicated technology to astound in a few places. 9.5/10 Well, I had been wanting to ride Splash Mountain here since it was my favorite ride back in the US. I was very excited when I saw that it had opened back up. I made my way over to it and asked for the single rider line. The single rider line was great since I was able to skip the often 90+ minute wait. However, they weren’t very good with it since they let a lot of seats go by empty for some reason, and they always asked if the rider would be okay with a single riding with them. I just feel like you should just fill the seat and not have to ask. Either way, I went down into the very large mountain. The other versions just sort of had one hallway into the mountain, but this version has an entire maze to get to the station. This is cool and good for those in long lines to be in the shade, but it always made it a pain to get to the station. Splash Mountain- This is the best version of Splash Mountain definitely. It is the longest, most complex, and has the best animatronics. You also don’t get nearly as wet as the other versions which was nice. Still, I prefer the WDW version since it has the English songs and the southern accents which are the most important things for me in the ride. Still, it is an amazingly themed version that tells the story well. I feel there really isn’t too much to say here since it is great, but it is also so similar to all the other versions. Just imagine Splash Mountain in America but better maintained, with better animatronics, and in Japanese. 10/10 Well, I still had time for a few rides, so I went to the nearby Peter Pan’s Flight for a quick ride with a 10 minute wait. Peter Pan’s Flight- I’ve never been a big fan of Peter Pan’s Flight. All the versions have had obvious lights and other vehicles in view; there was no immersion. They also usually sported either 60 minute (DL) or 120 minute (WDW) waits. You either had to rope drop it or waste a FP+ (in WDW). This is the first version I have really enjoyed. It is the best maintained with each scene being the best done version save for perhaps the pirate ship scene. I especially thought that the star effects were well done and felt much, much more real. Overall, the effects just worked better. It is still a simple ride with relatively simple effects. Still, it is really adorable and well done for what it is. 8/10 Well, I was about to call it a night when I walked by Snow White and saw no line at all. I had heard it was similar to the pre-1994 WDW version which was a version I was very interested in. I went for a ride. Snow White’s Adventures- I really enjoyed this ride despite it being very simple. It is quite scary in places actually since it is essentially just the witch chasing you down. Her laugh echoes throughout the ride while literally everything around you is trying to kill you. It is shocking at times that this not only still exists, but it is aimed at children. It’s the scariest ride I’ve ridden at Disney actually; I felt legitimately uneasy. There isn’t even much to say here really. It is a very simple ride with very simple effects, but it does accomplish its albeit odd goal. 7/10 Well, after I got off the ride, it was 9:55. I needed to do something exactly at 10:00, so I quickly got a hot dog (at the only restaurant). After I did my college prep stuff, I wandered around the World Bazaar. I really enjoy this area since it is actually quite distinct from Main Street USA. It has a different layout and feel to Main Street USA although I do prefer Main Street USA. There is something to that buildup to the castle that is overall superior, but I enjoyed that it was different. The roof was convenient for rain, and I really liked the arrow layout. It made it much easier to get to rides in Adventureland and Tomorrowland. However, that lack of buildup was a detriment in most ways. The castle felt less grandiose than WDW’s as a result despite being nearly the exact same. In fact, unlike both American parks, I didn’t spend nearly any time in World Bazaar or near the castle. I’m not sure if other people feel this way, but I certainly did. Still, it is a really nice area, and I like that it was different. Since the layout of the park is so similar, it was good to help it feel different. Well, that was pretty much my first (half) day at Tokyo Disney resort. I will do a report for the rest of the days, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they continued to get less detailed as they go on. There’s only so much someone can say about a park! Still, I’m excited to talk about my full day at Tokyo Disneysea. See you later!