A year overdue, but with Brisbane in lockdown this weekend it’s time to finish my Japan writeups.
It’s kind of a bucket list thing but not really (if that makes sense) but I spent Christmas day 2019 at Tokyo Disneyland.
(Lots more photos in the above link)
Prepared by our day at Disneysea prior, we again were there bright and early, to not quite the level of crowds.
I employed the strategy of getting Monsters Inc fastpasses whilst sending mum and dad to wait at the entrance to Poohs Hunny Hunt. All worked well except Pooh was broken down, so we just sat down for half an hour or so till they fixed it and ended up opening the day on that at the first riders on.
Trackless Dark rides are perhaps not as unique as they used to be, but it’s still a nice ride with gorgeous sets that look like something out of a picture book. Highlights included a scene with tigger where the cars, and the entire set wall was bounced up and down, as well as a scene where pooh falls asleep into a dream, and appears to float away as a ghost out of his body, what follows is a trippy dream sequence with the car moving erratically, giant elephants, and even a moment where you get blasted in the face with a smoke cannon.
We were at that end of the park, so I grabbed a quick lap on Gadgets Go Coaster, a roller skater they were managing to run two trains on. Nice theming with a lot of stationery, and there are a couple of highly themed kids play areas next to the ride too.
So we wandered back to the front of the park for Monsters Inc Ride and Go Seek. The entrance is impressive, being a re-creation of the famous Monsters Inc foyer. You soon arrive in the “Security Department” themed load area, and board simple ride cars for the trip around the ride. Personally, I thought it was only a bit better than the Monsters Inc Ride at DCA, you ride through various gorgeous monstropolis themed sets, with HEAPS of little monsters everywhere that pop up and respond if you shine a torch at them. So the same basics as a shooting dark ride, but the idea is to just activate stuff and see what easter eggs you can uncover, rather than gunning for a score. It feels very zany, but you move through quite quickly so you can feel a little short changed trying to take it all in. My favourite scene was one where you travel up a Monstropolis street with various things in the doorways and windows, through the Japanese restaurant and back down the street the other way. It has the same finale with Roz making a sarcastic line to each group of riders.
From memory we had picked up faspasses for Star Tours on the way past. Much the same as other versions with a great detailed spaceport themed queue, though the building is more impressive. They were already running new set of footage based around Rise of Skywalker (I haven't seen it, but one scene had your craft sinking into water, and another one had you emerge in the middle of an enormous battle with hundreds of star destroyers, only to be hit by a crashing fighter, causing you to plummet towards the ground, spiralling and locked with the wreckage.
Next we did Tom Sawyer Island, fairly passive with static sets and lots of trails through the woods, in a blooper it turns out I missed half the island. It narrows to a neck around Skull Rock and i thought that was the end of the island, but it actually keeps on going down to a fortress. Ah well, im sure we’ll be back.
For lunch mum wanted to do the Christmas buffet at Crystal Palace. Despite no booking we were able to standby and eat with a 30 min wait, buffer was good with everything from seafood, roasted meats, breads and mickey shaped nuggs.
We had fastpasses for Space Mountain. Dad wasn’t a fan and had to sit down a bit after!
This version feels more “creepy” for lack of a better word, with the space ship in the station having more of an alien look than the “space odyssey” style of the others. Everything had more of a green tinge. The coaster is fun, but no onboard audio, so the California version reigns supreme IMO.
After this we headed over to Haunted mansion and did that on Standby. This was my first experience with the Tim Burton haunted holiday version, which has a fun kooky art style, but I guess I didn’t really get the best comparison with the original given it was in Japanese.
After this we got onto another classic, Pirates of the Caribbean, a perennial favourite, this one had a much more extensive indoor queue. I think the CA version does a better job of hiding the limits of the sets to make it feel like you are in vast, dreamlike spaces. Here in Japan you could see a lot more black walls and so forth, and it felt slightly more dated. Still an amazing ride though.
Swiss Family Treehouse, this one is unadulterated by Tarzan theming like the Disneyland one. It’s a nice attraction purely for the views over the rest of Disneyland, but needs a giant slide from the top of the tree house or something lol.
Nearby was Jungle Cruise, which shares a station building with the railway. It was getting close to sunset by this point (4:30pm at this time of year) so the photos I got weren’t great. One thing I loved was on this one you go into an indoor temple at one point, with projection mapping that brings the statues to life, sort of like a diet version of Indiana jones.
We had fastpasses for Big Thunder Mountain, but mum and dad were’t keen for that one, and were sufficiently worn out enough to tap out and head back to the hotel. Result: I got 3 laps on it!
I was fully expecting a long wait for Splash Mountain, but this one has single rider which I didn’t realise till I got there so I skipped a huge wait. Again, a good fun ride that is awash with colour, and perhaps the easiest to understand if you don’t speak japanese. They must fiddle with the mechanics of it during winter because you don’t get very wet.
Crowds were easing off slightly after dark, so I decided to go all out and try and see as much as I could. In hindsight I probably should have done tiki room, but I couldn’t be arsed watching a show in Japanese at that hour.
Snow White always strikes me as an odd dark ride, you start off with the dwarves, then get lost in a thunderous forest with the witch aciting menacingly, but it kind of just finishes without seeing Snow White get out ok.
Pretty basic compared to other rides, I had forgotten the story for Pinnocchio, with the kids getting turned into Donkeys. I’ts over and done with very quickly.
it’s a small world
A capacity monster and seemed to be very popular. It’s fully indoors too, a relief to get out of the cold. This is probably my favourite version of the ride, very lengthy and they had tastefully included other disney characters where relevant. It also had a more fleshed out Australia and NZ section compared to the others
Pretty average in the shooting dark ride stakes these days I guess. I probably waited way too long (about an hour)
Roger Rabbits Car Toon Spin
This thing is actually fabulous, I hadn’t ridden this ride since my first ever visit to Disneyland in CA back in 2007ish, so many good cartoon tropes, a really well themed queue with heaps of detail. I love the grand finale where Roger plants one of those “instant holes” onto a wall for you to escape through, with clever use of mirrors accomplishing the effect.
Whilst I was in the area I grabbed a cartoon hand bao sandwich with teriyaki chicken.
Goofys Paint n Play House
This had no line as I was leaving the area. It uses guns like on toy story, fixed in position, and utilises projection mapping onto a lounge room scene in Goofys House, so basically you splatter digital paint over the room, applying funny textures and so on.
I returned on my 3rd day at the resort when park hopping became available to try The Western River Railroad and the Mark Twain Riverboat as well as Snow Whites Scary Adventures.
The Western River Railroad only has one stop, however you get some good views of the back of Big Thunder. I was surprised to discover it still has the same dark ride section with dinosaur dioramas as the one at Disneyland.
The routing of the Mark Twain Riverboat means you see the same stuff as you do on the train.
Peter Pans Flight
Popular for a reason, with great use of forced perspective as you fly over minature scenes.
I also did Star tours again to try and get an alternative storyline but aside from a small change in the opening sequence, it was pretty firmly set on Rise of Skywalker.
Overall impressions of the park, yes it’s great but I think Disneysea was much more enjoyable for me. It felt like it lacked the intimacy of the original Disneyland because everything is spaced out much more due to the crowds.
There were extensive renovations going on at the entrance, the castle, and in fantasyland for the Beauty and the Beast ride.
It’s obviously a lot more family focused than Disneyland. It was a lot of fun too getting a lot of enthusiastic shouts of “Merry Christmas” from the staff, offers to take our photo and so on. It was pretty busy, but not unbearable, and well worth it if you want to try a Disneyland Christmas.
A few of my favourite pics:
(I'm only imagining how many eye rolls that this title would have received... 😂)
So I know this is a 'cliche' topic and has been discussed several times, but I just want to know peoples thoughts to the following;
Many say that Australia can't accomodate a Universal Studios park due to the small population that Australia has, yet Singapore has only got a population of 5 million?
As well as that, Universal Studios Singapore only has about 20 attractions - in comparison to Movie World that has 24 - and it's size isn't ALL that big (It literally surrounds a lagoon).
I can understand why a Disney park wouldn't work in Australia, but I feel like a Universal Studios park has potential?
Anyway, I'm a curious person and just want to see/hear what other people think about this.
I tend to lurk on these forums but think it's about time for a post! I'm a mad coaster nut who also happens to be a travel agent that specializes in groups. I'm looking to put together a group tour next year and was wondering if anyone might be interested in this?
Currently I have the tour working in three ways -
Tour A is - 11 Days - Starting Orlando, Finishing Arlington - July 7th - 17th 2019
Tour B is - 12 Day - Starting Arlington, Finishing Cleveland - July 16th - 27th 2019
Tour A+B - 21 Day - Full Tour from Orlando to Cleveland - July 7th - 27th 2019
Theme Parks I'm looking to include are:
Fun Spot Orlando Fun Spot Kissimmee Busch Gardens Tampa Adventure Landing - Jacksonville Beach Wild Adventures Six Flags Over Georgia Carowinds Dollywood Lake Winnie Magic Springs & Crystal Falls Six Flags Over Texas Tour B
Six Flags Over Texas Frontier City Silver Dollar City Worlds of Fun City Museum Six Flags St Louis Holiday World Kentucky Kingdom Kings Island Cedar Point All up, based on these theme parks current offerings the full 21 days would offer the chance to ride up to 138 coasters!
I'm in the midst of working on pricing but in the meantime, would love any feedback on this and check out the level of interest.
The Disney Dish Podcast has done a 2 part podcast delving into the history and story of Disneyland Australia. Would highly recommend a listen, it's a fascinating story!
Link to part 1: https://disneydish.bandcamp.com/track/unbuilt-disney-disneyland-australia-part-1
Link to part 2: https://disneydish.bandcamp.com/track/unbuilt-disney-disneyland-australia-part-2
I've listened to this podcast on and off. They have a really good backlog of episodes to choose from. The podcast mainly covers insider knowledge, history and reviews of the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, and Universal Parks all around the world.