Several members of the AllEars team spent most of March visiting Disney destinations far from home. We visited Hong Kong Disneyland, Tokyo Disneyland, Tokyo Disney Sea, and Aulani in Hawaii. Along for all or part or this journey were AllEars' Deb Wills, Laura Gilbreath, Lee Zimmerman, Jeanine Yamanaka, Linda Eckwerth, and Deb Koma, and friends Jack and Pete.
Tokyo Disney Resort - Day 3, Part 2, Tokyo DisneySea
It's still Tuesday, and we're still touring around TDS...it's time for us to use our Fastpass for the Indiana Jones ride.
From Port Discovery we crossed the bridge to the Lost River Delta. A seaplane had been pulled up onto the riverbank - it had a familiar tail number: C-3PO. :-)
The Lost River Delta has a "jungles of the Yucatan peninsula" feel to it. Lots of temple ruins that look like they came out of Central or South America. The two attractions are Raging Spirits, which we had already done (and were not impressed by), and the Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Crystal Skull. Which we had a Fastpass for, so we didn't have to wait in the 2+ hour standby line...
This has a really elaborate, well-done queue. Even with a Fastpass we went through most of the interior queue, though we were walking through it and not waiting in line like those in the standby lines next to us. While most of the queue at the Indiana Jones attraction at Disneyland is there just to get you beyond the berm to the actual show area, this one spends more time inside the temple with more of an opportunity to look at the art and artifacts in it.
Instead of Sallah giving the safety spiel, it's Paco who instructs us to fasten our seat belts and not look at the eyes of the idol.
The ride is the same as that at Disneyland, though the interior is decorated differently to reflect a South American god instead of an Asian god. But it still has all of the same elements, like the large room with bridges, flames, and the huge face of the idol. And the snake...why did it have to be snakes? Plus the darts and of course the rock.
I still think this particular type of attraction is one of the best things Disney has ever done, so we enjoyed it - our favorite TDS attraction thus far.
Raging Spirits standby line was up to 160 minutes by this time.
One of the snack carts in this area sold smoked turkey legs....HUUUUUGE line. Not 160 minutes, but probably at least 30!
We circled back to the Arabian Coast area to find that Sindbad was still down. "Sultan" Stitch was out greeting guests, and so was a female pink version of Stitch, wearing a sort of harem headdress and veil. We had no idea who that was but I have since found out that her name is Angel, and she's Stitch's love interest. She was as popular as Stitch - they both had pretty long lines of guests waiting.
We went back into the walled city and got in line for the Magic Lamp show. It was about 20 minutes before we went inside. Unfortunately no translation device was offered, and we didn't know to ask for one, so I really have very little idea of what went on. :-) There were special effects and a live magic show - the audience laughed a lot so the dialog must have been funny. Later in the day the queue was 60 minutes.
Since we'd had an early lunch we were ready for a snack. Of course most of the snack carts had enormous lines, but we went into the Vulcania restaurant in Mysterious Island (it was about 1:30), which didn't have much of a line. This is built "inside" the volcanic caves, so the walls and ceiling look like lava. Very realistic.
I had egg rolls and corn soup.
Lee had a tempura, beef, and noodle dish. It was all pretty good.
From whatsapp we knew the rest of our group was at the Mediterranean Harbor where they had a spot on the Lido Isle for "The Legend of Mythica" water show that started at 2:30. There was still plenty of room for us, since it was still almost 30 minutes until the show started.
We compared notes on what we'd all been up to...Deb and Linda had been almost to the boarding area of Sindbad when it went down. Lee and I had by far done more attractions that day than anyone else. :-) But they told us that the crowds were half what they had been on Sunday. Yikes. I'm glad we missed that.
Mythica was quite spectacular. A series of absolutely beautiful floats (that really DID float) that over the course of the next 40 minutes circled around the Mediterranean Harbor in BOTH directions so that everyone could get a good view. The main float in the middle also had fountains and a big platform in the middle that rose up.
Mickey was on the main float and other Disney characters were on five of the other floats - each of them stopped at a different place around the harbor where the characters and dancers got off and performed a show. That was the only aspect of Mythica where it mattered where you were. (And some people lined up at particular spots early to see their favorite character - though I didn't see anyone waiting six hours early!) There were also jet skiers powering around in various formations.
Towards the end four new floats joined in - these depicted mythological beasts: a winged unicorn, hydra, dragon, and phoenix. These were seriously gorgeous floats. Jaw-dropping. The phoenix even flamed. Wow. The music was wonderful too.
Water is a harsh environment, especially this close to the ocean, and this parade has been running since 2006, but you wouldn't know that from looking at the floats - they looked NEW.
First the Electrical Parade, and now Mythica. Tokyo Disney definitely excels at the whole "spectacular" thing. Well, except for the fireworks. :-)
We'd gotten a little chilled while waiting for and watching the show. Pete suggested the Teddy Roosevelt Lounge on the SS Columbia. Very masculine, men's club look inside, but it was very nice. Our group started with Linda, Pete, Lee, and me, but eventually Jeanine, Deb, Masayo, and Mamoru joined us, too! We were overflowing the booth. And it was nice and warm in there - we weren't in a hurry to leave. Lee had some kind of non-Bud Light beer, I had a glass of champagne. (Though what I really wanted was more of that hot wine!)
Masayo and Mamoru were headed home, and I think just about everyone else headed to their respective hotel rooms - except Jeanine who was going to one of the shows. Linda and Deb had recommended the "Mystic Rhythms" show, and there was one starting in about 10 minutes, so Lee and I power walked to the Hangar Stage at the Lost River Delta. We got in just before they closed the doors - our seats were over on the side about halfway down, but at least the theater was enclosed and we were inside where it was warmer.
This was sort of a Cirque-du-Soleil type of show. It was set in a rainforest with lots of acrobats and dancers representing animals and birds. Very artistic and interpretive. Or as we call it: "very French". :-) It was a good show - just not really what I was in the mood for at the time.
It had been a long day and we were tired and cold, but we wanted to see Fantasmic! which was less than 2.5 hours away, so it didn't make sense to go back to our room. We went over to Mermaid Lagoon (very beautiful lighting now that it was getting dark!) and went into Triton's Kingdom.
This was indoors where it was, you guessed it, WARM. There are a few outdoor rides at Mermaid Lagoon, but most of them are indoor - including Jumpin' Jellyfish, which rises 20' or so into the air.
This is a very large indoor space - there are two other attractions, a play area, theater, shops, and restaurant. And of course that beautiful "grotto-under-the-sea" theming.
We'd spent a lot of time walking through Mysterious Island, since (short of taking a VERY long walk around the perimeter of the park) it was the only way to walk to Mermaid Lagoon and Arabian Coast, and was the shortest route to Lost River Delta. But it was cold walking through that crater with all of those passageways that became wind tunnels.
This time we were on our way to The Fortress, a multi-story citadel on the side of the volcano next to the harbor, which contained a number of interactive exhibits. And it was presented by the Society of Explorers and Adventurers (SEA) - remember them from Hong Kong?
There was a pendulum, and a chamber of planets, where we could turn handles to move the different planets through their orbits. This room also had a large dome with many stars and constellations depicted on it. There was an illusion room and an Explorers Hall with portraits of scientists and explorers from Ptolemy to Drake. On the parapet were cannons - I was very surprised when we pulled the cord on one and it fired! That could get really annoying if someone did it over and over. We noted that this might be an interesting spot to watch Mythica from.
Down on the harbor side of the Citadel was a ship we could explore - like the Sailing Ship Columbia at Disneyland we could go below deck, too. This was a lot smaller than the Columbia and it was a stationary ship.
We'd managed to kill a little more time, and largely remain indoors. It was about 7:00 by then and Fantasmic! was at 8:00 - and we still needed to find something for dinner and then a place to watch the show. As we walked around the Mediterranean Harbor we found the Zambini Brothers Ristorante - counter service Italian. It had almost no line - that should have warned us. :-)
Definitely the worst meal of the trip. I had the vegetable lasagna - which I thought meant it was vegetarian, but it had a meat sauce.
Lee had some kind of a chicken pizza, which he offered to me instead, but it had two kinds of peppers on it. Sigh. But at least we were inside to eat! I believe just about all of the counter service restaurants had large indoor seating areas - the only one I remember that didn't was the pizza place at TDL.
I was surprised when we came out of the restaurant and the area around the harbor wasn't really that crowded with people trying to get a spot for Fantasmic. I don't know if the cold had made people leave early (it was in the high 30s by then, with some wind), but we found a spot pretty close to the rail - we were in the second row of standers. It was about 15-20 minutes until the show started.
There's no island in the harbor, so instead they bring out this floating stage/structure that telescopes into Sorcerer Mickey's hat, and lowers down to form a stage. With fountains around the base. Oh, and the whole hat is an LED screen all the way around! And there's fireworks. It's a Magical MAGICAL hat float.
Other floats come out that have characters on them, and then later the characters disappear and this round balloon appears on top of each of them that looks like a huge crystal ball-like projection screen. (These floats have an awful lot of people and stuff on board - it must be very crowded down below!)
Then there's the Magic Mirror (not sure where that came from - the main stage was between us and it so we couldn't see it very well), and then there's the dragon, which we also couldn't see well. But it lit the lagoon on fire - which was warm and felt pretty good!
Mickey's imagination vanquishes the dragon and the floats reappear with about 8-10 characters on each one, and there's more fireworks and fountains, and the show ends.
Pretty amazing. While it's still about Mickey's imagination and its mostly the same music, it's very different than the versions here. It's all on the water - there is no stationary stage on land. And that Sorcerer's hat floating stage/screen/fountain is pretty cool.
After standing and watching the show we were really chilled. But it was still almost 40 minutes until we could use our Tower of Terror Fastpasses.
We wandered through some of the shops, but they were quite busy and unpleasantly crowded. We actually had NOT been into the Toy Story section of the American Waterfront yet, so we went over there. It's set up like a midway, but all that's there is a photo spot, gift shop, and the huge queue for Toy Story Mania. You enter the interior queue through Woody's open mouth...I haven't decided if that's really fun or really disturbing...
The Toy Story line may have been the longest one in the park. That's one attraction that we never did, since we never were in the right place at the right time to get a Fastpass for it. And from what we understand it's the same attraction we have here so we didn't make an effort to get a Fastpass.
We still had some more time to kill...I saw on the schedule that the show "A Table is Waiting" was starting in front of the SS Columbia. This is an outdoor show with a relatively small seating area, but they do it a whole bunch of times a day. You can get a decent view of it from outside the seating area. The dialog was in Japanese, and the songs were a mix of Japanese and English. We missed the beginning of it, but it was about food. It was very odd. Disney characters were celebrating different types of cuisine (e.g. Mexican, French, American, Indian), as dancers dressed as different foods came on stage. One of the weirder moments was during the celebration of American food (hosted by Pluto), when people dressed as a hamburger patty, two as slices of cheese, and a hamburger bun all piled on top of each other on a foam bun that had been placed on the stage. (I'd say it was goofy, but he hosted the Japanese food portion.)
Oh, there was a pie fight at the end. :-) Most of the pies were fake, but Mickey got whipped cream smeared on his nose and someone in the audience got a pie in the face - I'm still not sure if it was a real guest or a disguised cast member.
By then it was FINALLY 9:05 and we could use our Fastpass for Tower of Terror!!! The HTH - Hotel Hightower - seems much larger to me than those in California and Florida. This one doesn't have the Twilight Zone connection at all, and instead the story involves the owner of the hotel, Harrision Hightower III. He was a member of SEA (we saw portraits of him at Mystic Manor in Hong Kong), who brought home a cursed idol named Shiriki Utundu. (Which was not exactly lawfully acquired in the first place.) Hightower foolishly mocked the idol, and on New Year's Eve stepped into the elevator with it. When the elevator doors opened, all that was left inside were his hat and the idol. In the attraction we get to watch Hightower in those final moments. And there's the whole rise and fall of the elevators, too. (Unlike the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror versions, where I feel a little sorry for the passengers being in the wrong place at the wrong time, in this case I thought Harrison's end was entirely justified.)
Lots of interesting details and things to see inside, since the hotel is where Hightower housed his collection. Really well-done - I think this is the best Tower of Terror I've seen. I wish we'd had a chance to do it again.
It had been looonnnng day, and we were SO ready to go back to our hotel to get some sleep and get warm! I thought we might have a wait for the monorail, but I think because we didn't leave right after Fantasmic, we missed the big crowd. We just had a short wait until the next monorail arrived at the station, and we even had seats. Ours was the second stop so we were quickly back at our room.
Really a wonderful day, but we were very tired.
Coming Next: Park hopping: Tokyo Disneyland AND Tokyo DisneySea in one day!
The previous post in this blog was Tokyo DisneySea - Part 4.
The next post in this blog is Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 6/27/14.