Saturday, 18 July 2015

Day 8: Tokyo Disneyland!

How can I ever forget this hotel? 
We had to walk an altra-long L shape before we could reach our room, exhausted as we were!

The next morning at 8am, we boarded the Disney Resort Shuttle Bus to Disneyland!

The bus terminal

A board at the bus terminal showing the bus numbers that correspond to the hotel you stay.
I noticed that the bus stands for DisneySea and Disneyland had different numbers for the bus to our hotel, so the board was very useful to me.
The first thing we saw as we entered Disneyland was the Character Meet and Greet near the entrance.
The Disney characters were roaming around and whoever wanted to take pictures with them crowded around them and waited for them to pick the lucky souls for photography using their own camera.
 
While my mother queued up for the Mickey Meet and Greet which would last for at least an hour, I took Baby to take pictures with the characters above too.
 
A few younger kids got to jump queue because they went up and hugged the characters!
Above left: Our first shot with a Disney character, Mickey, at Disneyland (Day 2)
Below left: Picture with Minnie at
Right: Picture with Ariel at Ariel's Grotto
 
There was some miscommunication. The lady at the photography area failed to ask me if I wanted the official photographer to take the picture and I in my haste totally forgot about that.
We ended up with a photograph taken using my own camera.
I was quite sore about it actually. I mean, this is Disneyland - a place where dreams come true?? Hong Kong Disneyland would never let this happen!
 
Wow! When and where would you get an unobstructed view of the Cinderella/Sleeping Beauty Castle?

We zoomed straight to the Fairytale Land where the popular Pooh Bear Hunt ride was. 

After collecting the fastpasses for Pooh Bear Hunt, we went on a Pinnochio ride.
The verdict? 
We were frightened by the Pleasure Island baddies' wicked laughter and the dark alleys Pinnochio ran through and the whale's dark belly that Pinnochio stayed in.

We chanced upon the prettiest Aurora we have ever seen. Alas, the queue system in Tokyo Disneyland was non-existent. If you fancy a character, you need to crowd around her like a fan and wait, pray and hope that she chooses you to take a picture with you. She is free to pick who she likes and allows anyone she likes to jump queue.

Baby didn't get the chance to take a picture with Aurora. I didn't know she felt so bad about it until she said at dinner time,"I am not pretty. That's why Aurora didn't want to take picture with me."

Goodness! I told her,"Of course not! Disneyland has a lousy system of allowing people to jump queue. You were bypassed because you didn't go up to her and hug her to jump queue!"

We took a ride at Snowwhite's.
The verdict?
We were frightened again by the dark and scary forest Snow White ran through.

We aborted our plan to go for the Haunted House ride, another popular ride with fastpass.

The parade was on!


As usual, I was standing behind a sea of heads

In the queue for the Grand Circuit Raceway

This was similar to the one at Paris Disneyland.
Just step on a paddle and it moves automatically.

At the Star Tours where we were seated in a 3D cinema and shaken left-right-back-and-forth to simulate a flying and crashing experience of a space craft. Without the rain bits though.

Monsters, Inc., yet another coveted ride with a Fastpass.
 
At Disneyland or DisneySea, whichever ride requires a Fastpass means you need to queue for at least 1.5h for it without one. So try to get a Fastpass whenever you are going for the popular rides.

Pick up a torch and shine at the 'M'!

This is at the end of the ride where the camera would flash at you.
I was busy taking this picture and had forgotten about the camera. 
My picture showed me having a camera in my face! 

Fastpass machines

Buzz Lightyear's shooting game is in every single Disneyland!

Pooh's Honey Hunt - another ride with a Fastpass.
 
A really popular ride there. I am not sure why. The Pooh Bear ride would entail a ride in a honeypot, bringing you through Pooh's honey search journey. The ride is similar to other Disneylands' except that in other Disneylands, the figures are two-dimensional cut-outs while in Tokyo Disneyland, the figures are three-dimensional.

The winding queue passage of the Pooh's Honey Hunt

Vending machines at Alice's Wonderland

We moved on to Critter Country.

I didn't think they would really make us paddle a canoe.

*gasp* They really made the guests canoe!

Baby had a baby oar.
 
It was a long roundabout journey. Although there were at least ten of us on the canoe, we felt tired and quite damp after the canoeing. Never again.

The deadly Splash Mountain which I wouldn't be caught dead in.

We strolled over to the Westernland to take Mark Twain Riverboat, a huge steam cruise around the same river.
We saw the ride that we were to take after that.
The Red Indian figurines, the native inhabitants of America, were planted along the route for visitors to have a glimpse into their way of life.

We were there earlier on, paddling our lives out!

Mark Twain Riverboat

Upon alighting the Riverboat, we boarded Tom Sawyer Island's Raft immediately ...

to get to Tom Sawyer Island

Baby had a blast on the Island!


It was 6pm and Baby said she was 'very hungry' and couldn't wait to eat.

So off to Crystal Palace Restaurant we went.

The exterior is a pretty sight at night!

By the time we finished our dinner, it was 7.30pm.
We wanted to catch our Fastpass ride at Monsters, Inc. but went to Pooh's Honey Hunt instead! I totally forgot which ride we had our Fastpasses for!

After the second Monsters, Inc. ride for the day, we joined the crowd in welcoming the night parade.




Snacks we ate at Disneyland and DisneySea
 
Again, we concluded our day with a shopping trip a Toy Station at 10pm and returned to our hotel exhausted.

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Day 7: We Love Tokyo DisneySEA!

After reading in forums that there were people who got tickets but were rejected at the gate due to overcrowding, I got worried about us not being able to gain entry into DisneySea. We didn't even have tickets! I had tried buying the tickets but it seemed the dates I wanted were not available but I thought it would be safe anyway to buy tickets on the spot.

I logged onto the Tokyo Disneyland website the morning we were to set off for DisneySea and tried refreshing the page a few times and for some reason, I could buy the tickets!

I went down to the hotel lobby and requested for the computer and printer at 7am and printed the tickets out with the help of the receptionist.

We left the hotel pretty early and took the train to Maihama Station before transferring to the Disney Resort Line to get to DisneySea.

Disneyland was the second stop, one stop before DisneySea, on the Disney Resort Line. 
There was a light drizzle but it was crowded at the entrance of Disneyland anyway! 
It was Sunday after all!

I believe I have never boarded a more crowded Disney train!

As we inched past the entrance of DisneySea ...

We finally set foot in DisneySea!

The information board near the DisneySea entrance updating the waiting time for the queue for the rides and time to return for fastpass rides

Tokyo Disney was celebrating Easter from April to June!

I went the wrong way into the Mediterrain Harbor in search of Toy Story Mania (which was located at American Waterfront)! I picked up the fastpasses for Big Band Beat, a singing and dancing performance by the Disney characters at Broadway Music Theatre instead. 

By the time I realised I was in the wrong area, it was too late and the fastpass queue for Toy Story Mania had become insane. Yes, this is the fastpass queue! We were nearer to the DisneySea entrance than Toy Story Mania at 8.15am!

See the house-like structure right at the other end of the queue? Toy Story Mania was somewhere on the left side of that house!

I finally got to see the fastpass ticketing area! It was nearing 9am and the time to return for the fastpass ride was 8.10pm!

I finally got my fastpasses at 9am - to return at 9.35pm for the ride!
Well, we had to be thankful because not long after we entered the ticketing area, the crew closed the queue as they had run out of fastpasses.
We hadn't had our breakfast so we bought these cute Little Green Dumplings for 360 yen at a cart just outside Toy Story Mania.

We all agreed that the vanilla flavoured one made for the tastiest dumpling.
The chocolate and strawberry weren't the best.
We were still hungry after the dumplings so we had some Mickey-face waffles just below the Electric Railway Station.

Hmm ... not fantastic at all. Don't even try it.
We took the Electric Railway to Port Discovery.

We queued half an hour for Storm Rider but decided to abort the wait after having some
white chocolate popcorns.

Downed a frozen mango ice-cream while in the queue too!

I got our Storm Rider fastpasses and we left for the nearby ...

Aquatopia which moved on the shallow water without any steering. 
It swung us in an automated manner which Baby found fun!
After the ride, I bought some Ukiwah Buns at the wagon nearby.

Meat with shrimps as fillings. Quite tasty too!

Long but fast-moving queue at the Ukiwah Bun Wagon near Aquatopia


It was crowded everywhere, so I decided to venture into Mermaid Lagoon which was meant for young children.

On Scuttle Scooters that went round and round, with a turn of the carriage in between the rounds

Unfortunately, the queue was just a little wee bit shorter than the ones outside the Mermaid land. Teenagers thronged the place for the shorter queues, never mind the kiddy rides.

The unadventurous Jumpin' Jellyfish ride that bobbed up and down a few times.

We returned to American Waterfront for our Big Band Beat at Broadway Music Theatre for about 30 minutes before strolling back to the Mermaid Lagoon to continue with our indoor rides.

On the way back ...
We almost always watched their parades from afar.
Refreshment wagon at Mysterious Island selling Gyoza Buns

 To save time on meals, we had Gyoza Sausage Buns (500 yen each) as part of our lunch.

Read that it was pork filling and it was great for filling the stomach!

Just to give a perspective on the size of a half-eaten sausage
Back to Triton's Kingdom at the Mermaid Lagoon, an enclosed area with indoor facilities. 

We went on the Blowfish Balloon Race, a simple ride that elevates you and goes round and round.

Soon, it was time for us to return to Storm Rider. 

It was a theatre ride that simulated a storm-control machine which was tossed around in a ferocious storm followed by a crash into the water. We sat in seats, shaken in different directions. 

Naturally, there were sprinkles of water to simulate the water crash, so protect your camera with a waterproof cover.

Baby loved it!

With that, we covered the three rides in Port Discovery: Storm Rider, Aquatopia and DisneySea Electric Railway.
We moved on to Arabian Coast 
where we took the ride on the second level of the Caravan Carousel

and flew on Jasmine's Flying Carpets.


We went on the Sinbad's Storybook Voyage to see what he was up to




After all three rides at the Arabian Coast, we took a short rest at Sultan's Oasis to have some Maple Cream Balls and Chandu's Tails. 



We preferred the Maple Cream Balls to the much-raved Chandu's Tails though.

By then, it was evening. The weather turned a little chilly.

We walked to the Mediterranean Harbor and tried waiting for the water show Fantasmic to come on but the wind was too much to bear so we did some shopping at Mira Costa Hotel lobby where a Disney shop was located instead!

Perhaps it was because we were too far from the location, but we did not feel that the water show was fantastic. 

Towards the end of the show at about 8.30pm, we decided to walk to Toy Story Mania and waited in the queue for the ride. We thought it was a brilliant idea and the wait should not take too long. 

How wrong we were!

People were running to Toy Story Mania even before Fantasmic ended! Yes, RUNNING!

So this was the queue.

In the end, we still utilised our fastpasses at 9.30pm!

You have to pick up a pair of 3D or 4D spectacles before you enter the area for the rides.

Here we go!

The concept was similar to Buzz Lightyear: you get swung around in the car and you shoot at scores or points in the denominations of 100, 200, 500 and 1000 by tugging at a string attached to a ball.

It was huge fun. We all enjoyed it!

The pretty lighting of Toy Story Mania!

I had heard from a colleague and read from the internet that DisneySea is for adults. What we have experienced tells us a different story! It was totally suitable for kids as well! In fact, Baby loved DisneySea more than Disneyland! Perhaps it was also because Baby had been to two Disneylands (Paris and Hong Kong) so Disneyland was more predictable and 'boring' to her while DisneySea has a great deal of novelty and new rides to offer.

I read that Tokyo DisneySea and Disneyland were HUGE and Hong Kong Disneyland was "minuscule" so I had planned for 3 days of enjoyment of the two places.

Day 1 (with rain): DisneySea
Day 2 (sunny): Disneyland
Day 3 (sunny): Either or both

It was just right I feel.

I had targeted at the rides first. If we had more time, we could watch the shows. 

My sister was asking me if I needed to pay for the fastpasses and what the fastpasses are for. 

No, you don't need to pay for them. Fastpasses are free for collection and they are usually in a shelter near the related rides. You will need the tickets or your Disneyland Passports to have the QR code scanned before you could get the tickets. You will be given an hour allowance to return to take your ride. 

Fastpasses are great as they cater to crowds at popular rides. With a fastpass, you do not need to stand in the queue like fools and wait for 1.5 hours to 2 hours just for a ride that lasts for a few minutes. You can get your fastpass and go off for other rides with shorter queues before returning for the ride you collected fastpass for at a specific time. 

However, you cannot go around collecting fastpasses, one after one another. The system is such that after collecting one ride's fastpass, you need to wait for some time before you are allowed to get fastpass for another ride. The time will be stated on your fastpass.

We did some quick shopping at DisneySea before leaving the park for the day at the park's closing time. 

Baby and I were so exhausted we hit the sack the moment we reached our hotel room. She didn't change out of her clothes and I didn't remove my makeup! 8am to 11pm. We were just too tired.