TacoCat’s Travels #62 (Japan 2.0): A Magical Summer in Tokyo Disneyland! 🏯
If you didn't catch the last post, this series is about our trip to Tokyo (again) way back in August 2016, when we went there for a short international exchange program called Promoting Asian Leadership (PAL) with Keio University! The program was a week long, but we went there a few days ahead of time to explore and revisit our favourite places.
So in the last post, we just arrived in Tokyo to the searing heat of summer. And had a chill few days revisiting Ikebukuro and Shibuya (while still recovering from jet lag since this trip was a mere 2 days after we came back from Paris).
1 August 2016. Monday.
We had an early start today because we were going to Tokyo Disneyland! We had to take the train there and the nearest station was Maihama station, which was quite a ways from our Airbnb. So we made sure to get up bright and early so we had plenty of time. And by early I mean we were at our station at 8:30am (which is pretty dang early for us).
Since Odaiba was kinda on the way to Disneyland, we decided to make a stop there and explore a little bit, because we didn't get to visit it the last time we were in Tokyo. Just to recap, although this was technically our second trip to Tokyo, we only spent a few days here since we also visited Osaka the last time. But this trip would be only Tokyo, so it gave us more time to explore the city! Yay!
So we first took the train to Tokyo Teleport station! ..where we came across a strange sign:
The sign wasn't kidding though, the winds get really strong from how fast the trains are going.
After leaving the station, the first thing we saw was a huge Ferris wheel!
It was getting pretty warm, and we hadn't had breakfast yet, so the first thing we did was find some food. Unfortunately, there weren't any konbinis (convenience stores) nearby and the first shop we encountered was Starbucks so we bought a quick snack.
Before heading to the huge mall in Odaiba - DiverCity Tokyo Plaza!
And also getting an obligatory shot with the Gundam statue in front of the mall. Neither of us are Gundam fans (although I do remember watching my brother play a bootleg Gundam game on PS1 way back when), so we just took some photos for fun.
Unfortunately, a lot of the shops weren't really open yet or just starting to open, so we headed to the food court first to get more food. There were quite a few options there, and we ultimately decided to try some yakisoba.
It was pretty okay for yakisoba, but I think I'm not really a fan of the sweet sauce (which is typical for all yakisoba anw but oh well).
After that, we walked around for a bit, and found that there wasn't really anything open yet other than the Gundam exhibit, so we just went to check it out.
It was pretty cool I guess. I bet a lot of Gundam fans come here to admire and purchase the merch. But since neither of us are fans, we just took a quick look around.
Before heading to the arcade!
There was the new Luigi's Mansion arcade game and we decided to try it! Turns out it's pretty dang difficult, but it's really fun! I like that they modelled the "controllers" after the vacuum cleaner that Luigi uses in-game, aka the Poltergust 3000.
A couple games later, we left the arcade and walked around the mall a bit more. Sean wanted to try this hojicha ice cream, so we got a cone to share.
It was pretty good. You could really taste the bitterness of the tea in the ice cream. At least it wasn't sweet though. We walked around for a little bit more while enjoying our treat, before getting back on the train and heading to Disneyland! It took about an hour, but we made it! ...just in time for high noon sun. At least it was kinda cloudy so it wasn't too hot. Yet.
There was still quite a lot of people around though, even in summertime. I guess maybe they're more heat tolerant than us. 🤔
Pretty much the first thing we noticed was this group of 4 girls wearing the exact same Minnie Mouse outfit. And I thought it was so cute!
Then we entered the resort and found that this was an actual Japanese fashion thing; where groups of friends would wear the exact same outfit. Because not 2 seconds later, we saw another group!
Of course, the first thing we saw after the main entrance was the castle, which I learned is Cinderella's castle! I believe each Disneyland has a different Princess's castle, because the one we saw in Paris was apparently Sleeping Beauty's castle.
Btw here's a map of Disneyland Tokyo:
In case you're wondering, we'd only be visiting Disneyland and not Disneysea, because 1) Sean has been there before but not Disneyland, 2) we only had time for 1 theme park especially since it was summer, and 3) Sean told me Disneysea was pretty much the same as the Walt Disney Studios in Paris which we already visited.
Well anyway, the first thing we did was head to the board and see what rides there were.
HOWEVER, this was high noon in the heart of summer. So we abandoned our regular strat and made a beeline for any indoor rides that didn't have a long line.
The first of which, was Pirates of the Carribbean in Adventureland!
I think we also rode this in Paris, but it's a dark ride where you sit in a boat and you "sail" along in a cavern where there's pirates singing and dancing on either side of you. It was pretty cool; I think we might've forgotten that we rode it in Paris already, but hey, there's air conditioning so we didn't mind.
After that, we started our walkaround the park, and maaaaan, was it crowded!
We didn't think it would be this crowded on a Monday, but then we realised it was probably the school holidays too, so there were plenty of kids around. Dang it.
It got real hot, real fast. So we tried to find shade and avoided the crowds as much as we could.
While taking lots of pictures, of course.
After walking around for a bit, I was pretty much sweating up a storm, so we decided to find another ride to take.
The next ride we took was the Star Wars one in Tomorrowland (since it's also indoors)!
The queue was pretty dang long though, but it was worth it when we got to the indoor part with air conditioning. Anything to get us out of the heat.
This ride was called Star Tours – The Adventures Continue! Set in the Star Wars universe, it takes passengers on a turbulent trip across the galaxy, as droids C-3PO and R2-D2 attempt to safely return a spy to the Rebel Alliance.
We're not huge Star Wars fans (I don't think we've watched the movies to completion), but we knew who C-3PO AND R2-D2 were so, that's good enough? It didn't really help that all the dialogue was in Japanese though.
Anyway, for this ride, 30 or so passengers go into this motion simulator machine wearing 3D glasses. An animatronic C-3PO is there helping to pilot the ship, called the Starspeeder 1000, and you go an a space journey fighting Darth Vader's minions while making sure the Rebel spy is safely delivered.
What I didn't know (and just learned via wiki), is that the ride sequence is randomized! And that each time you ride, you'll experience four out of the eighteen different segments during each journey! That's actually really cool! And it gives Star Tours the advantage of being both highly repeatable and constantly surprising. But the main priority is always delivering a Rebel spy to safety. The funny part is that the Rebel spy is actually chosen from among the guests onboard and their photo is displayed to the riders. 😅
Other than the dialogue being in Japanese, the ride was super cool! The animation and visual effects were really good. Although I'm not one for 3D movies, I really enjoyed this ride!
We soon ended up in the gift shop again, and you know what that means!
But anyway, I think this post has gone on long enough. I think I have enough photos for one more post, so tune in next week for the exciting conclusion to our summer Disney adventure!
Thanks so much for reading!
To find out more about me, check out my intro post here!
Check out my previous post in this series!