Tokyo Disney – A Few More Things
Two new attractions have opened at Tokyo Disneyland since my detailed description of this park a few years ago. Let’s start with the lesser of the two. The Enchanted Tiki Room: Stitch Presents “Aloha E Komo Mai!” has replaced The Enchanted Tiki Room: “Get the Fever.” The entire show is presented in Japanese. I saw it twice and was able to glean the basics, but until I did some research, some of the subtleties were lost on me. Here’s a simple description of how the show plays out.
The presentation begins with a cast member introducing the four Birds of Paradise; Manu, Hanoli, Waha Nui, and Mahina. Their first number is "Hawaiian Roller Coaster Ride” but as the song is about to conclude, the lights temporarily go out. When they come back on we discover that the windows have been painted with messages and pictures in a childlike scrawl.
It is first thought that the drawings were done by Big Kahuna, the leader of the Enchanted Tiki Room. It’s decided that it’s best not to anger this all powerful god and the birds break into "Aloha E Komo Mai" from “Lilo and Stitch: The Series.”
Next the birds begin “The Hawaiian War Chat” but this song is soon interrupted by the appearance of Stitch’s arm popping up from each of the four hanging flower baskets located around the room. In each case, he’s holding a different horn or noise-maker to disrupt the proceedings.
When things calm down, the “girls” on the Bird-Mobile descend from the ceiling, all sporting Stitch ears. They explain that some blue creature put the ears on them. Moments later, Stitch covers them in blue paint (lighting effect) and the girls leave, exclaiming that they will not return until this blue creature leaves.
Shortly thereafter, Stitch appears in the middle of the room, at first pretending to be the Big Kahuna. But he soon reveals his true identity and admits he only staged his antics so he could be in the show. The Birds of Paradise reluctantly let him perform, but only if he promises no more disruptions. Stitch and the cast then perform a reprise of "Aloha, E Komo Mai” and the show comes to an end soon after.
So what did I think of this show?
First, I have to admit, I’m not a big Stitch fan so I’m probably not the best person to review this attraction. Also, I’m still resentful that the Imagineers made over Alien Encounter. I hate that they took a truly edgy attraction and “dumbed it down” with the addition of Stitch.
That being said, I think Stitch is a better match for the Tiki Room than he is for Alien Encounter. His cartoonish characteristics work in this already somewhat silly attraction. I have to admit, I did enjoy this show. And I suspect that if I spoke Japanese I would be able to get more out of this attraction than I did.
Is this a great attraction? Nope. But I never expected “great” when I entered the building. But it’s a decent show and it held my attention. And it’s a much better attraction than the obnoxious “Under New Management” at the Magic Kingdom. If the parks still used ticket books, I’d give the Japanese version of the Tki Room a “C” coupon. And if we still used ticket books, you’d have to make “Under New Management” free to get me on it.
The really big addition to Tokyo Disneyland is “Monsters Inc. Ride and Go Seek.” Each morning, thousands of guests RUN to the FastPass machines for a chance to experience this ride. Temporary queues are erected to handle the crowds. Think of the FastPass lines for Toy Story Mania at Disney's Hollywood Studios and quadruple it. Within two hours of opening, all of the FastPasses are gone. Within 15 minutes, the attraction has an hour line and by noon, a two hour line.
The attraction is housed in a structure that resembles the power utility building in Monstropolis (as depicted in the movie). The queue is located under the large dome and the actual attraction is in the taller building.
The attraction’s story takes place long after the events of the movie. The factory's old slogan "We Scare Because We Care" has been changed to "It's Laughter We're After."
The story of Ride and Go Seek goes something like this. Boo has wandered off in the power factory and Randall is after her so he can capture her screams. Mike and Sulley need to find her before Randall. To even the playing field, Mike throws the master power switch and turns out all the lights to Monstropolis. It’s now our job to help locate Boo by using the provided flashlight (attached to the ride vehicle via a wire).
As you travel from room to room, you shine your flashlight on various targets scattered around the factory. When you do, it causes a number of different characters and objects to come to life. Monsters will appear from within a number of containers and peer out of windows. Objects dance, twist and twirl. In addition, we see Mike, Sulley, and Randall feverishly looking for Boo. Eventually, Boo is found and Randall is knocked into a garbage compacter and squished into a cube. In the final scene we find an interactive Roz who is able to make real-time comments to the passing riders. This same effect can be seen on “Mike and Sulley to the Rescue” at Disney’s California Adventure. As you might guess, this attraction deposits its riders into the Monsters Inc. Company Store.
I rode this attraction three times and I can’t begin to remember everything I saw. There are dozens upon dozens of sights and experiences. It’s a lot of fun and suitable for the entire family. There is nothing really scary about this attraction as most of the monsters are cartoonish and nothing really startles you.
Is this ride worth a two hour wait? Nope. But that’s why they have FastPass.
Once again, if the Disney parks still had ticket books, I’d give this attraction a strong “D” coupon.
Outside of the ride is Mike Wazowski’s new car, perfect for a photo op.
Shopping at the Tokyo parks is always an adventure. A Japanese custom is to bring friends and family some sort of remembrance when returning home. Among the most popular gifts are tins filled with cookies, crackers, and/or candy. Shops carrying this merchandise can be found everywhere. This next picture shows one such store in what would be our Emporium on Main Street. However, there are no cash registers in this shop. Instead, next to this shop is another room filled with nothing but queue for guests waiting to pay. Cast members are on hand to keep everything flowing smoothly. I snapped these pictures early in the day before the crowds materialized.
On the other side of the queue-room are banks of cash registers to handle the onslaught of shoppers. It is not uncommon to see high school students with armfuls of these tins.
Over at Tokyo DisneySea, “Turtle Talk With Crush” has been added to the S.S Columbia. As the story goes, a large viewing window has been constructed below water level at the rear of the ship, allowing guests to peer into the ocean.
During the preshow, one of the Columbia’s shipmates explains a new invention, the hydrophone, which will allow guests to actually speak with the sea creatures. Besides setting the mood for the upcoming show, this preshow helps pass the wait as the line is often an hour long.
The basic show is almost identical to its Epcot cousin, albeit presented in a larger theater. However, the show is entirely in Japanese so unless you understand the language, the subtleties of the performance will be lost. I think Turtle Talk is a great attraction. But if you’re visiting Tokyo DisneySea with limited time, I would definitely skip this show due to the language barrier.
One of the advantages of writing for Allears is that I get to correspond with people all over the world who love Disney. Over the last two years I have become friends with one of my Japanese readers, Katsumi. He lives in Tokyo and visits the Tokyo Disney Resort almost every weekend with his friend Daisuke. On my most recent trip, I arranged to meet with them and spend the day at Tokyo DisneySea. Since my Japanese is limited to a few words and phrases, it’s wonderful that Katsumi speaks English fluently. The next two pictures were taken at the Restoranti di Canaletto where we enjoyed a wonderful lunch next to a Venetian canal. In the first picture, Katsumi is on the left and Daisuke on the right. The second picture is the view I had from my seat. Not too shabby.
One of Katsumi and Daisuke’s favorite shows at Tokyo DisneySea is The Legend of Mythica. I learned that this show won the 15th Annual Thea Award. This honor is presented each year by TEA (Themed Entertainment Association) whose international organization recognizes the world's leading creators, developers, designers and producers of compelling places, experiences, and storytelling.
The Legend of Mythica is presented on the vast body of water that makes up Mediterranean Harbor. Viewing areas were carefully considered when designing Tokyo DisneySea and guests can choose ideal locations all around the lagoon. Like so many others who visit this park, Katsumi and Daisuke stake out their favorite viewing spot well over an hour in advance.
Briefly, the Legend of Mythica tells us that the creatures of fantasy really did exist in ancient worlds. And during this time, man and these mythological beasts shared the same space and lived and played together. But when man became divided and argued, these wonderful creatures retreated to the seas, only to return when man could restore harmony. The pageantry that unfolds before us celebrates the return of these magnificent creatures.
Of course, the Imagineers have woven several of the Disney characters into this fanciful tale by giving them a purpose in man’s return to harmony. Goofy represents the Spirit of Laughter, Minnie is the enduring Spirit of Love, Donald reflects the courageous Spirit of Adventure, Pluto represents loyalty and sincerity, and Chip & Dale symbolize the Spirit of Friendship. And of course, Mickey represents the Spirit of Imagination.
A number of stunning floats, performers, kites, pyrotechnics, and boats make up the show. It is pageantry unlike anything seen at the other Disney parks around the world. It is little wonder why thousands of people line Mediterranean Harbor each afternoon to witness this spectacle. Here are a few pictures of this remarkable show.
Although I have many more stories and adventures I could share about my recent trip to the Hong Kong and Tokyo Disney Resorts, that’s all for now. As I said in my blogs two years ago, if there is any way you can swing it, plan a trip to Tokyo. You will not be disappointed. And I firmly believe that once the new lands are completed (in a few years) at Hong Kong Disneyland, this resort will also be worth the long flight across the Pacific.