Hey there! I’m back with the continuation of my Tokyo Visual Diaries, and this time I’m going to tell you all about Tokyo DisneySea. Honestly, I feel like I’m really outgrowing Disney Parks. GASP! I know! What the heck am I saying? I’m not actually sure if I just didn’t find DisneySea quite the same as I envisioned or maybe DisneyLAND is better. Guess I’ll have to find out?
For the record, I love theme parks. I hate falling in line for rides, but I often find that after an exhilirating ride the wait is well worth it. I like the big swooping roller coasters like the ones in Universal Studios, or even in California Adventure. I like the rides that give me an adrenaline rush and make me satisfyingly giddy after I step off. So the questions is: Did I find that here?
Let it be known that I did a scary amount of research before picking which Disney theme park to visit in Japan during this trip, and all signs were pointing to DisneySea. That’s exactly where we went, because apparently this theme park is the only one of its kind in Asia. Frankly I was pretty excited!
I remember all the times I ever visited a Disney theme park, and each time they brought a bursting nostalgia to my chest, transporting me back to my childhood days spent watching every classic Disney princess and character on my TV. DisneySea didn’t do that to me though. It didn’t incite nostalgia as much as made you gawk at the amazing structures and pieces of themed architecture within the park. It’s the Disney park that’s supposedly for the older age group so that might be a reason why, but to me DisneySea felt not quite for adults but not quite for children either. It feels stuck in space somehow.
But if there’s one thing that amazed me about DisneySea, it’s that every themed location in the park transported me to another world entirely.
DisneySea is NOT a water theme park if that’s what you’re thinking. It is inspired by the myths and legends of the sea, thus the name, and is made up of seven themed sections. The crowd wasn’t at all bad the day we went, but my Dad and I didn’t line up for all the rides and pretty much just walked around to explore after riding all the main attractions we wanted. Waiting time in line was fairly quick, even without a fast pass. It’s really nice to be in a theme park of an off-season day. It turned out to be a rather warm spring day though. The sun was blazing bright, which made sense since spring is warmer in Tokyo anyway.
The Mediterranean Harbour is the first thing I saw upon entering the park. It is styled after an Italian port town, with canals reminiscent of Venice. Those buildings in the distance actually make up the Tokyo DisneySea Hotel MiraCosta. Lots of people stay there to get the full Disney experience, and actually guests in the hotel get to go inside the park earlier than everyone else.
The watershows are held here on regular intervals, and you can see the crowd of Japanese visitors just sitting around and waiting on the plaza. If you’ve ever been to a Disneyland, then you’re probably familiar with the daily parades of Disney characters they have there. Here the counterpart of that is the watershow, if I’m not mistaken. (And no we didn’t watch the show…)
The Mysterious Island is at the very center of the park, found within the volcano which spews smoke rather convincingly all day long.
This section is inspired by Jules Verne’s stories, with one ride actually called ‘20,000 Leagues Under the Sea‘. This ride had no lines and it takes you on an “underwater voyage” with alien beings and stuff glowing in the water underneath.
I look so happy in the picture before hopping into the ride not knowing what to expect, but I honestly don’t think that anybody above 8 years old would find this ride enjoyable. You literally just sit in this little slow-moving underwater “tank” and wait until you get to the end of the ride, with all those mechanical alien beings moving beside you as you pass. Plus the narration is in Japanese so unless you understand Nihongo you have to use a bit of imagination to figure out what the story is. But hey, A for effort!
This other ride at the nearby Port Discovery section looks a bit more fun though really it just moves forward and backward at different angles. Wouldn’t it be cool if this were some sort of bumper car ride on water though!
However we walked all the way to Mysterious Island because this is where one of the top 3 rides in Tokyo DisneySea is located: ‘Journey To The Center of the Earth’. Yup, located within the giant volcano! It’s a roller coaster that’s not quite as high as many I’ve ridden, and it starts out very slowly, then a few seconds before the ride ends it speeds up and takes a quick dip and then it’s done.
It was fun but I felt like my enjoyment was stunted because the ride is over just as it gets exciting.
By the way, if you’re one of those fans of the Disney theme park Turkey Legs, then the nearby Nautilus Galley is the place to get it. I should mention this place serves beer too for those who enjoy their turkey with beer. As I’ve mentioned, DisneySea is supposedly the “adult” counterpart of Disneyland and unlike Disneyland where you absolutely cannot find anything remotely like beer on the menu, DisneySea actually does serve it. (By the way, the gyoza was good too and probably pairs well with beer as well.)
If you’re not into turkey, Tokyo DisneySea offers a whole lot of interesting food choices, like an array of flavoured popcorn. You might want to check out this blog for details on other eatables here. Since we didn’t get to buy many snacks, I can’t really say much about them except that dang! I wish I bought some Mickey-shaped churros!
The American Waterfront is designed after the 20th Century New England, New York, and Cape Cod harbour towns. It evokes the feeling of those places and that era effectively, I should say. It’s like getting thrown back in time being here.
The whole area has an unmistakable Western feel, but mostly this location is home to American-style restaurants, and a Broadway-like theater. Oh, and the very famous Toy Story Mania ride is located in this area too. I’ve heard some pretty insane stories about the lines on that ride, but from some people who have tried it, apparently it’s mostly for children because you’re fake-shooting aliens during the ride.
If you’re one of those Disney character mascot signature collectors, this is where we spotted the characters from ‘An American Tail’. They hung out right in front of the ladies selling candy souvenirs and ice pops. (I can’t remember the names of these characters and can’t even remember watching this particular Disney film…)
The American Waterfront is also home to one of the big-three rides, namely ‘Tower of Terror’. Aka the ride I was most excited about. Look at that. Isn’t that building just so imposing and awesome??? The interior was really nice too, by the way! There’s a story that goes with the ride but again it’s in Japanese so I didn’t have a clue. I really have to work on that…
On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being highest, I’d say this was a 7. It’s a ride that goes up and plunges down, but it falls only a short distance after building up so much anticipation. Just as you’re getting all ready to scream for “the big one”, the door opens and the ride is over. My Dad and I were blinking hard when the Disney cast member started ushering us out the exit because we couldn’t quite believe that was it. In Filipino terms, the ride was bitin, just like with the ‘Journey to the Center of the Earth’ ride above. Our young Japanese companions, high school girls I presume, made the experience more fun though because of their excited screeching. These people know how to have fun!
The only place we didn’t visit at length was the Port Discovery. (I can’t remember why we decided to skip this place though.) Anyway, I hope this first part of my Tokyo DisneySea post gave you a good glimpse of things to see and expect in this Disney theme park. The second part will be coming up in a bit! 🙂