September 22, 2017
Because of the weather we had to push the two Disney parks to the end of the trip. This was less than optimal because once the weekend hits, these rather busy parks become extremely busy. But other parks and attractions were affected by weather and Friday & Saturday called for rain, which I knew wouldn’t affect Disney nearly as much. On Friday morning, we slept a little later than planned. It was a much needed rest, but eventually we made our way to the Tokyo Disney Resort by around 11am to spend the day at Tokyo DisneySea. It meant taking a train to Hanieda airport where we had lunch, then a bus directly to the Disneyland resort.
I was afraid since we’d let the morning get away from us, and it was a Friday, that wait times would be unbearable at DisneySea but we actually lucked out for the day. We headed from Ispiari, their version of a Disneyfied shopping district, to the ticket booth at DisneySea, then into the entry plaza. Once we passed under Hotel Miracosta, I was just in awe of the entire place. The entrance was nothing like I’d seen at a Disney park, but once inside everything is just so… amazing. A high level of detail goes in to everything. It is absolutely astounding.
Our first destination was Port Discovery as we headed over to our first ride, Aquatopia. This ride uses RFID pucks to guide water based vehicles around in a very shallow pool (6 inches deep or less) spinning, stopping, and swinging around rocks, waterfalls, and whirlpools. I anticipated a multi hour long wait, but it was only 25 minutes, so we got in line. Aquatopia was really a lot of fun!
After our ride, we noticed that the park’s newest attraction, a re-themed Nemo themed simulator, had a fairly long line so we got a fast pass for later. Then we headed into the inner part of Mt. Prometheus, into the Mysterious Island. This faux volcano houses several attractions, restaurants, shops, and serves as the centerpiece of the park (the ‘castle’ if you will). The whole park is amazingly themed and one you enter the crater lake in the middle of the mountain structure where you have plenty of entertainment options. We eventually made it into a cave and got in line for Journey to the Center of the Earth, the park’s signature attraction, in the volcano. It only had an hour or so wait, which wasn’t bad, and the queue was immensely themed.
In the amazing queue you wind around the cave seeing offices and labs from the explorers that went on the adventure. Then you end up at the elevator shafts that are the start of the attraction. The ‘terravator’ is your way down deep into the caves, a ‘half mile down’, where you then queue for your ride vehicles. We had to wait an extra moment since we were the tall Americans in line to sit in the front so that we could fit in the vehicles.
Journey to the Center of the Earth–Once boarded you basically follow the notes left by the explorers in the Jules Verne themed attraction, seeing the giant crystal caves, giant mushroom caverns, waterfalls, odd creatures, and more. There’s an earthquake and a cave-in where you’re diverted and around to the side of the volcano, then back in where eventually a gigantic animatronic subterranean lava monster attacks, before catapulting outside, up, down, and around then inside of the mountain. While not an extreme thrill ride, it is a lot of fun, and of the three rides based on this technology, this is thus far my favorite.
After that we noticed that 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea had a 25 minute wait, so we went to that next. The queue is a spiral down to the water in the crater where you then enter a cavern and the queue for the ride.
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea–This dark ride is basically an inverted monorail that goes thru a lot of ‘underwater’ scenes that make you feel as though you’ve dived underwater with effects in the ‘ships’ windows that bubble up and make it look like you’re diving down in the ocean. You come across some different creatures, including mer-people, and electric squid, and Atlantis (I assume.)… The effects were really good and I love a good dark ride.
We had lunch at Volcania, the restaurant in the volcano. Very good food. Then we walked around the main lagoon, where a Villains Show was about to begin. Isaac went in search of a restroom. There were at least 3-4000 people all sitting so quietly around the lagoon waiting for the show to begin. It was so quiet that it was almost eerie. When the show began, the show barges just happened to emerge from underneath the bridge I was standing on. After a few moments of the show, we decided to press on.
At this point, the mist was turning in to rain. I was under the impression that the main adult coaster at this park was themed to Indiana Jones, so we went in search of that, finding the large Mayan Pyramid in the Lost River Delta section of the park. The wait was over an hour, but once we entered the massive outside queue we noticed a single rider line. This would prove to be another win for us. You get to go thru the entire queue (which, again, was amazingly themed and massive inside and out) as the single rider & fast pass queue are the same until nearly the end where they scan fast pass tickets all while single riders diverge into another line that goes down some stairs and directly into the station. Our wait was less than the time it took to traverse the queue! Then I realized that this was like the Indiana Jones ride at Disneyland, and not a roller coaster (the coaster is in Paris) This was a nice surprise, especially since this one is different.
Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Crystal Skull–The one in California is one of my favorite rides ever, but this one I thought was even better. In SoCal the ride is themed to India, whereas in Tokyo the ride is themed to Mexico. You’re still in a jeep, and the physical ride may not be different (I’m not sure), but the theming was amazing as was the storyline (In Japanese!). I could follow bits and pieces of the story, and that was enough. There are parts of the first hall that are borrowed from the three rooms in the SoCal version. Then you’re faced with the crystal skull. One room has an amazing tornado effect that you go around. There were several times you’re attacked by beams coming out of the eye of the crystal skull and the ride was just really well done. I enjoyed it, and since the wait was so short, we decided to come back later and try again.
When we emerged it was pouring rain outside, and neither of us thought to bring our umbrellas. Once the rain subsided just a bit we looked at the wait time for Raging Spirits, the coaster at this park, saw that it was only a 10 minute wait (if that) and decided to get in line. The queue shows the ride off, and again, the theming is just impeccable.
Raging Spirits–I’d hear some very bad things regarding the comfort level of this ride. I will say that the OTSRs weren’t great, and came down tighter during the ride, but the ride was not rough in any way. It was highly themed, going up a lift, dropping, hitting the loop, then going thru several more drops and turns. This is, if I recall correctly, a modified Pinfari Loop layout (the Paris version copies the layout more-so). I enjoyed it overall. The rain caused the fog pumped out onto the ride to linger, which was great.
The rain had pretty much set in for a while at this point. We headed over to see the Arabian Coast section and went by the Little Mermaid section, though we never made it inside. We did, however, ride the kiddie coaster, Flounder’s Flying Fish Coaster, a Togo in really good condition if nothing to write home about.
So by this point we had most of the major attractions as well as both roller coasters done. The next signature ride that we didn’t have a fast pass for was Tower of Terror so we walked across the park to the American Waterfront next. This Tower is different as it was the first not to be themed to The Twilight Zone. The line was long and felt like it barely moved. It was well over 90 minutes. Most of the queue is outdoors, but once you’re indoors the lobby, though different, was familiar to the other two Towers of Terror I’d ridden in the States.
Tower of Terror–Situated in the American Waterfront section of the park, the Hotel Hightower has its own backstory of an eccentric millionaire and the stuff he found on his adventures. There’s a statue that causes the problems here. At the end of the winding queue you enter a room with your group where a host or hostess makes some announcements about the back story. Once that is over, you enter the pre-show room. Of course, this time there is no Twilight Zone on the television. Instead, you’re played a gramophone recording of Mr. Hightower’s final press conference about Shiriki, the statue that sits on a pedestal in front of you. The stained glass window the transforms, Shiriki comes alive (via projection mapping), then he disappears as the lights come back on. Next, you’re led to the large elevator boarding room, themed to different artifacts Hightower collected, before you finally board the elevator. The bare bones of the ride are the same as the (now rethemed) former California tower, just differently themed. The ride itself is, as all of them have been, really great. Way too much airtime (if that’s even a thing), views of the park, and a highly themed queue. Overall wait time was 90 minutes. I guess it could have been worse.
We walked around for a bit to find an umbrella for Isaac and poncho for me. While in line for Tower of Terror, a very nice lady gave us ‘My First Visit’ stickers, which, when seen by other cast members always got us some extra attention which was nice. I eventually put mine on my poncho. Soon it was time for our fast passes on Nemo & Friends Searider, a newly re-themed simulator ride. The preshow was cute with the shrinking sub display, and the overall simulator was well done. I’m glad we did it, even happier we didn’t wait for it. The story is that you are in a fish themed ‘sub’ that is shrunk down to Nemo size and go on an adventure with Nemo & Friends before blowing back up to real size. The theater moves somewhat, and the ride was quite fun.
Aquatopia had basically no wait so we got in line for the other side, which was a lot of fun yet again. We were both hungry and tired. We looked at options around the American Waterfront area, eventually getting in line for the Sailing Day buffet which ended up being a good 45 minute line. They give you a full 90 minutes to eat, though, ha-ha. We barely took up 30 minutes. I will say that the food was really good and worth the price for an all you can eat at a Disney park.
We rode the Electric Railway back to Port Discover and the walked around the back of the park again and took advantage of Indy’s single rider line yet again while back there. This time, though, we walked through the Lost River Delta section. From Indy we headed over to the Arabian Coast section and rode the carousel’s upper deck. Then we rode the park’s answer to ‘it’s a small world’, Sinbad’s Storybook Voyage, a much superior version of the ride. I loved the song, it was really well done, and the ride itself was very cute.
At that point we were pretty much done and the park was closing soon so we made our way up to the front gate. I took lots of night shots along the way. Tokyo DisneySea and the Tokyo Disney Resort have a real metro monorail (that you have to pay to ride) so we got our tickets (not knowing we could have used our Pasimo cards to get on) and hopped around to the station to get our next train back to Yokohama. DisneySea is everything I’d heard and more. It was really amazing, intricately detailed, and I’d love to spend a full, non-rainy day there some time in the future. I hate that we didn’t get a chance to explore more, especially the Lost River Delta section, the Arabian section, the Toy Story area, and so many other things that looked amazing. The train rides back were long and I was tired, my feet aching. We considered another Onsen, but decided we were too tired.