In Tokyo Disneyland’s Adventureland, you can board the Western River Railroad for a pleasant train ride around Adventureland, Westernland, and Critter Country, with a short trip back to the time of the dinosaurs. For this post, I’ve translated the narration that plays during the ride. It’s not a beautiful translation, but hopefully it gets the meaning across! Please let me know if you have any questions or corrections.
In Japan, the second Monday in January is Seijin no Hi (Coming of Age Day), which is a holiday. This year, Seijin no Hi fell on January 14th – as did seven centimetres of snow! Ever since seeing the gorgeous TDR in the Snow page of Chris’s Tokyo Disney Resort Fan Site like seven years ago, I’ve had a huge and ridiculous desire to be at Tokyo Disneyland during a snowfall. I am stoked to announce that I was there this past Monday, and thus my wish was granted. :D
When I arrived at the park around ten o’clock it was pretty cold and raining heavily, but that was easy to ignore because oh my goodness there was nobody there! I know weekdays in January are relatively slow, but since Monday was a holiday I had come expecting crowds. To my surprise, I was able to ride Splash Mountain twice in a row with only a five minute wait. But as soon as I realized it was snowing, all I wanted to do was get outside and take some pictures!!
This weekend I’m off to Tokyo Disney to check out this year’s Halloween celebrations, and since I suspect I won’t want to talk about anything else until about January, I’d better finish my report on the Easter parade. I really don’t have an excuse for why it’s taken so long, considering I don’t have much more to say about it than …
OH MY GOSH YOU GUYS CLOPIN AND ESMERALDA ARE IN THIS PARADE
THIS IS OFFICIALLY THE BEST EASTER PARADE EVER
I’M SO EXCITED MY PICTURES ARE COMING OUT CROOKED
In Japan, there is a week in September that I have sometimes heard referred to as Silver Week, because it contains two holidays and is thus almost as awesome as late-April-early-May’s Golden Week. This year, Silver Week’s second holiday lands on a Saturday and is thus a bit of a disappointment, but last year Silver Week featured two three-day weekends. The first was September 17th through September 19th, and I used it to visit Tokyo Disney. This was my first time travelling to the resort from another city within Japan, and it was my first time travelling within Japan on a holiday. The most important piece of advice I can offer to anyone with plans to do the same is to buy your shinkansen (bullet train) tickets ahead of time! I didn’t, and ended up spending three hours sitting on the floor in the space between cars while the man next to me read porn. A good story, perhaps, but not one I intend to repeat.
I don’t care about the trains, you may be saying – how were the parks? Well, they were busy. You could definitely tell that it was one of the last long weekends before winter. But what I found worse than that was the heat. Maybe I’m just showing how Canadian I am, but I find summer in Japan to be almost unbearable. Visiting Tokyo isn’t so bad because there are plenty of air-conditioned buildings, but at Tokyo Disney you’re outside a lot of the time and for me this weekend was intense. If the only time you can make it to the resort is a Silver Week weekend, you should definitely still go, but you should go prepared to slather yourself in sunscreen, battle crowds, and be covered in neverending sweat the entire time.
Below the cut, ten pictures to show you the crowd level at the Tokyo Disney Resort during Silver Week 2011!
On June 30th, the Easter season came to an end at Tokyo Disneyland (and spring came to an official end at Tokyo DisneySea). I guess it depends on your point of view whether that makes this entry timely or not!
After the pure rawesomeness that was the 2011 Halloween parade, I was really disappointed in the 2011 Christmas parade. The Halloween parade was exciting and creative, a Tokyo Disney spin on a day that isn’t native to Japan. But the Christmas parade just seemed … bland. Like it was a perfectly acceptable collection of Christmas images, but there wasn’t any spirit in it. Between those two extremes I had no idea what to expect from the Easter parade, but I am happy to report that I loved it! Super cute and fun, with a bright colour palette and an energetic song that got stuck in my head for hours every time I heard it. I’m pretty indifferent to the Rock, Paper, Scissors-esque game that they included in the show stop, but I think I’m just not a fan of Tokyo Disney including audience participation in every holiday parade, especially when so far I have yet to see anything as perfect as the Halloween dance. Uh, so I guess all I’m trying to say is that my love for the Halloween parade borders on ridiculous. But never mind that now! It’s Easter!!
I first watched this parade when I stole a day at Disney in mid-April. To be more specific, these pictures are from April 16, the day after Tokyo Disneyland’s 29th birthday. <3
A security guard at the Tokyo Disneyland entrance spotted me leaving one of the nearby locker areas and greeted me with a loud and very enthusiastic, “See you! Good-bye!!” Always happy to hear Japanese people making use of the English they’ve learned, I replied with “See you!” … even though I had just arrived.
A series where I can talk about the little experiences that are most likely only of interest to me. :)
This past weekend I happened to be on the second level of the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad queue at Tokyo Disneyland when the fireworks started. Having been immersed in imagery of the Old West for at least the past twenty minutes, my first thought when the bursts of light and sound began out was that a shootout had broken out at the saloon. This impression was only helped by the way everyone around me rushed towards the windows in an attempt to see what was happening.
Look what I found in my genkan yesterday!
The latest issue of Disney Fan!
As it says on the fancy pink and white plastic it comes in, Disney Fan is a monthly magazine about Disney animation, theme parks, and goods. As far as I can tell it’s only sold in Japan. I think I first learned of this magazine when I was visiting Japan in 2009; after that I did manage to find a few back issues in the Book Off in Vancouver, but now that I’m living in Japan for a while it’s pretty sweet to have a subscription – 130-or-so pages of Disney goodness delivered to my house every month!
This issue’s cover story is about the events that will be held at the Tokyo Disney Resort this spring. While there is way too much in the magazine to share every part of it with you, below the cut you’ll find a little bit about the pages that I found the most interesting when I flipped through it last night.
I would like to begin by clarifying a few misconceptions you might have about this theme park based solely on its name:
1) Tokyo Disneyland is not actually located in Tokyo. The entire Tokyo Disney Resort is actually located in the city of Urayasu, which is in Chiba Prefecture. Maihama Station, the JR East (East Japan Railway) station that serves the resort, is about a fifteen-minute train ride from Tokyo Station and only one stop outside of Edogawa (the easternmost of Tokyo’s special wards), but still. Not Tokyo. :)
One awesome fact that I just learned – Urayasu’s city sister is Orlando, Florida! That is seriously too perfect.
2) Tokyo Disneyland is not actually owned by Disney. It was begun and is still owned by the Oriental Land Company, although Disney does receive a certain amount of royalties. I hope to be able to tell you more about this relationship in the future, when perhaps I may be so lucky as to actually retain some of the relevant economic information …
3) Tokyo Disneyland is not actually based on Disneyland. According to what I have read, it is based on Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. Having never been to the Magic Kingdom (one day!!!) I’m not sure how much I can expand on this, except to note that Tokyo Disneyland has Cinderella Castle (like the Magic Kingdom, and unlike Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty Castle), and it recently added a statue of Roy Disney and Minnie Mouse (like the Magic Kingdom, but absent at Disneyland). Some areas of the park seem to blend together features that are different in Disneyland and the Magic Kingdom – for example, Tokyo Disneyland’s It’s a Small World (sorry, I can’t convince myself to do the lowercase title thing) has the clock display outside like at Disneyland, but most of the queue and all of the ride is inside like in the Magic Kingdom. And of course there are original touches. I really enjoy seeing all of the different elements blend together to make Tokyo Disneyland what it is.
Now for the introduction proper. Tokyo Disneyland opened on April 15, 1983, the fourth Disney park (Epcot had only opened six months before) and the first to open outside of the U.S. At 115 acres (according to the infallible Wikipedia), it is the second largest of the castle parks, and consistently ranks as the third-most visited theme park in the world (the first two being the American castle parks). The lands within Tokyo Disneyland are:
World Bazaar: Many of you will probably know this land better by the name of Main Street, U.S.A. It’s where you’ll find the park’s Disney Gallery.
Adventureland: Much larger than Disneyland’s, although I don’t know how it compares to the Magic Kingdom’s. Tokyo Disneyland doesn’t have an area officially known as New Orleans Square, but the area of Adventureland where you’ll find Pirates of the Caribbean bears a very strong resemblance to Disneyland’s!
Westernland: Many of you will probably know this land better by the name of Frontierland.
Critter Country: Featuring two attractions: Splash Mountain and the Beaver Brothers Explorer Canoes. Pooh’s Hunny Hunt, like the Magic Kingdom’s, can be found in Fantasyland, where it is one of the park’s most popular rides.
Fantasyland: Where you’ll find Tokyo Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion. I’m not sure I’ll ever get completely used to seeing the Haunted Mansion sitting directly across from Dumbo the Flying Elephant, it’s just an odd combination.
Toontown: The entrance to Toontown is pretty much in Tomorrowland, another juxtaposition that seems odd to me. Instead of being at the back of the park as it is in Disneyland, Tokyo’s Toontown is kind of along the right side.
Tomorrowland: The elevated Rocket Jets at Disneyland are no more, but in Tokyo you can still ride a StarJet high above Tomorrowland.
I wanted to end this entry with a paragraph of ~my impressions~ of Tokyo Disneyland, but at the moment I can’t think of anything to say that’s deeper than “I love it!” Over the course of this blog, I hope to share with you all the reasons why. :)
Photos taken by me, September 2011.
My dad came to visit me for a week at the beginning of November, and of course we made sure his trip included a weekend at the parks. This post isn’t going to end with the total cost of said weekend; whoever could get their wallet out the fastest was the one who paid, so I don’t have all of the receipts. But I thought I would post about the receipts that I have anyway, just in case someone out there is interested. And I promise this will be the last cost post for a while. :)
(Before we begin, I feel the need to mention that in my last post I failed to mention the ¥600 I had to spend to get to and from my nearest shinkansen station, as well as the ¥700 I spent in the biggest locker I could find in Maihama Station. I know this is not terribly important but man it has been bugging me.)
(Aaaand I’ve just now realized that I did not actually have to pay the ¥210 I said I paid to get from Tokyo Station to Kasai Rinkai Kouen Station; my shinkansen ticket covered that. Clearly my entire last post was a lie. On that note …)