What a difference 24 hours make. Today we woke up to blue skies and lovely warm sunshine. After another passable Hotel breakfast we were soon on our way to Tokyo Seas. We had decided to walk as this park was much closer to the Hotel and we had been told it was quicker than waiting for the shuttle bus.
So with a cheery heart and a click of our heels and quite a lot of excitement we set off for a brand new Disney park that was totally unlike any others we had been to. It was even very pleasant queuing outside the park waiting for the park to open.
It was even more noticeable the number of people dressed up again today. The cutest was a toddler who could just about walk, in a full Donald Duck outfit that was slightly too big for him. More strangely though were the number of people who were either dressed as Duffy the Bear or who were carrying their Duffy Bears round with them. In the UK or even the USA, Duffy the Disney bear ‘barely’ gets a mention or look in. Over here they are obsessed with him. In the park we were to find whole shops dedicated to him, his girlfriend Shelley Mae and a couple of their friends. You could buy bears in every size, different clothes for them to wear, large bags, small bags, rucksacks, you name it all either covered in Duffy fur or emblazoned with his picture somewhere. All the shops were doing a roaring trade to the extent that each person was restricted to buying just 3 Duffy items each visit, although how they enforced that I’m not sure but perhaps as the Japanese as so compliant they just follow the rule. I wanted the really big Duffy costing 21000 Yen. It would have meant Karen giving up her seat on the flight home though as so I wasn’t allowed it.
The gates opened on the stroke of 9am and we joined the crowds entering the park. It was already obvious that it was to be so much busier than the day before. The big new ride in this park was Toy Story Mania which the locals have gone mad about. Our tactic was to avoid it as although we really enjoy it we had done the exact identical one so many times before in Florida. We walked past the queue for the Fastpass machines for this as we entered the park. I reckon people would have beeb queuing for a hour just to get their Fastpass.
This was a great advantage to us as you can only get another Fastpass once the time for your previous Fastpass had been reached t. As it seemed about a third of the crowd would be holding a Fastpass for Toy Story much later in the day meaning we would be able to get a Fastpass for all the other rides as and when we wanted. This proved to be exactly the case. There will be an exam question on this to see if you have been following but you will need to show examples and your workings out.
We got a Fastpass for Tower of Terror and then went off to ride Journey to the Centre of the Earth. This was the ride I was looking forward the most today as it is unique to here and is one of the headliners of the park. The track itself is a bit like Test Track but the ride itself is totally different. The theming is so well done and I would have liked to have done it again but we wanted to try and do everything as we were only here for the one day. The large animatronic monster was really good.
Next on the list was 20000 Leagues under the sea. It was good but not exceptional. Karen did worry that we would be going actually underwater and may get but of course it doesn’t. Then it was our time for Tower of Terror. The same principle as all the others we had done but this time nothing to do with the Twilight Zone Story. We kind of got the gist of the back story but it was all in Japanese so aren’t 100% sure of it. As ever on this ride Karen had the jitters beforehand but was so happy she had done it. To be we seemed to go higher for the lift drops but there were not so many of them.
Using the Fastpass system we then got time slots for the Finding Nemo ride and headed off to ride Indiana Jones - and the Temple of the Crystal Skull. The ride had just a 5 minute wait time. This was quite entertaining especially with Harrison Ford apparently being fluent in Japanese. We were then able to get yet another Fastpass for another ride whilst we were able to walk onto Sinbad’s Travels. This was another surprise as it was quite long and was a mix of a Pirates type ride with Its a Small World. I really enjoyed it as the song was quite infectious.
We then decided to stop to have some drinks. Karen and Neil both saw people drinking beer and fancied a glass each. As soon as I had got them to the table, Karen realised that her handbag was missing. Understandably she really did have a full on panic attack. During the morning I had put her very full handbag into the Rucksack I was carrying to help her out. As she at down she saw the Rucksack was open and the handbag was gone. Neil had been carrying the Rucksack for the last hour and was adamant that he had seen the bag was in the Rucksack whilst we were in the restaurant getting the beers. We are not sure if it had just fallen out or if one of them had taken it out to get something out and not put it back. Neil quickly went round looking for it whilst I tried to calm Karen down and get information about when it was last seen etc. It was difficult to get anything from her as she was not thinking straight, so when Neil returned I went off and had a look round myself before finding someone to ask for help. The person I spoke I was not convinced really understood me, but quickly started speaking into her earpiece. I was then asked to wait whilst she was just going to serve some other people. As I waited out popped another person from a door out the bag carrying Karen’s bag. By the time she had carried it to me, Karen had seen her and sprinted across the restaurant to join me. Karen was so happy, relieved and thanked the young girl profusely many times. The moral of this is that if you lose your bag anywhere do it in Tokyo Disney. As I have mentioned before, there is a culture of honesty and trust with other peoples belongings here. I would like to think the same would have happened anywhere but who knows. We still don’t know or really care how it got lost but just put it behind us to enjoy the rest of the day.
It was then time for the Finding Nemo ride. This was a simulator like Star Tours. Remarkably the fish could speak Japanese. Nevertheless the premise was easy to follow and enjoyable. Karen then had an ice cream whilst Neil & I went and rode what I called the Indiana Jones rollercoaster with him, except here it is called Raging Spirits. It has one loop which I actually enjoyed and bravely kept my eyes reasonably confident that I wouldn’t be the first person to fall out as we went upside down, As Karen also had a Fastpass for this which she didn’t want to use, Neil was able to ride again, quite a bonus as the Standby queue was by now 70 minutes.
We then caught the electric train to another land find somewhere acceptable to us all for lunch. Karen had a Roast Beef sandwich (with apparently too much gunk) whilst Neil & stuck to the healthy option of Fried Chicken with a Ham & Cheese waffle. It was delicious. Revitalised we headed to Aquatopia which was kind of dancing boats on a trackless track in water, very cleverly done. Neil was then keen to explore the lands we hadn’t been to and so we ended up in Arabian Nights. This had a magic shop which amused me greatly but it seemed I hadn’t been a good enough boy to be allowed to buy any tricks. Karen & Neil went on the double carousel. It like a normal carousel but has another full one on the top of itself. I still can’t do things that just go round and round without feeling sick so opted out. Neil then had a Sea Salt Ice Cream. Plain Vanilla or even Strawberry are not an option here.
Then we went to Titon’s Kingdom which is an undercover land for smaller children. Karen & I thought it was quite magical inside although Neil was less than impressed at all the kids rides. As we had by now completed everything we wanted to ride we walked round taking in more of the theming around the parks (the Italian section which was the biggest was so impressive) before having a look in the shops for any unique Tokyo Seas merchandise. We were then getting a bit tired and grouchy and realised it was time for some more food and drink. We ate in an Italian place having a mixture of Pizza and Pasta. Neil then went off to get some pristine maps of the park for himself and Barry whilst Karen and I enjoyed a stroll as the sun set and the lights started to twinkle on. We visited the Toy Story land as it look quite spectacular all lit up at night.
One of the other things this park is known for is its flavoured fresh hot popcorn at different stalls scattered around the park. Some of the flavours were just silly. There was Curry popcorn and also Chinese Chilli. I was keen to try the Garlic Shrimp was did not want to risk buying whole a box in case it was awful. We settled upon Strawberry which Neil kindly bought a couple of boxes of to share. It was flipping delicious. Then we walked to find somewhere to watch the Fantasmic show. We found a wall to sit upon whilst waiting. I was expecting a show like the one in Florida, However, this is so much more and really good. I don’t understand why they just don’t clone it and take it to Florida. In fact the same applies to many of the other rides and attractions. None of them that were the same name or principle as the ones in Florida or California were worse, in fact most were an improvement.
Sadly it was then time to walk back to the Hotel for the last time. As we did we were able to watch the fireworks overhead from the adjacent Disneyland park display. The days here as had all of our time in Japan far surpassed our expectations. This park in particular was excellent and we really enjoyed it. Whether we will ever be back is another thing. To quote Karen on the walk back, "I have had a fantastic time but I’m not sad to be going home as I have probably had enough of Japan for now". I knew what she meant. Living out of small Hotel rooms takes its toll over time. Food for us has been a constant challenge and not even Neil has embraced the Japanese culinary efforts as much as he anticipated. The other thing is that this trip has been full on. We have crammed so much in, there has very little if any down time. We are now ready to go home for a rest although we had a very long travel day ahead with very little sleep in between.