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Tokyo Disney Resort Trip Report May 2009

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Tokyo Disney Resort Trip Report May 2009
« on: June 13, 2009, 01:02:05 PM »
So unlike previous Trip Reports Iíve written, this time Iím going to change the format a bit and not offer the usual step by step guide to what I did, and instead I plan to list various items I wish to talk about and give my views on this. Iím going to start with my arrival into Tokyo.

The Flight
I ended up flying with JAL (Japan Airlines) as it was about $70 - $80 Dollars cheaper than other United Kingdom carriers like BA and Virgin. I was very impressed with the service offered here and would happily fly with the Airline again at some point in the future. Iím not a lover of the food served of flights and usually refuse it, which I did this time too, but what I did find interesting is that I usually get an odd look and the Stewardess carries on with his or her job. Not on this Airline as the reply was would you like to eat later instead and if your hungry let us know. The food by the way was a mixture of western and Japanese food with two options given out. The entertainment was one of these on demand services and offered a wide range in entertainment including moves and audio, both offered it in both English and Japanese. A new procedure was that everyone on board had to fill out a short questionnaire regarding the H1 N1 Flu outbreak, asking questions like have you been to either Mexico or the United States or been in contact with anyone from the infected area. The Japanese passengers on board as well as people in general seem to take this latest outbreak very seriously and face mask were being worn by a lot, especially by everyone at Narita Airport.

Narita Airport
Upon Arrival passport control and customs were very quick and organised and even the extra time it took to hand in your questionnaire didnít seem to take to long here. Western Countries should take note on how its done. Arriving into the terminal I found the Friendly Airport Limousine Counter right in front of me and got a ticket for the next coach to Shinjuku Station. I did consider taking the train but after much discussion online it worked out at not really making much difference.

The Hotel
I booked the flight and hotel though the Expedia website and found some good rates and reviews for the Sunroute Plaza Hotel, which is located about a 5 minute walk from the South Exit of the Shinjuku Station. The hotel was in a fantastic location only a short walk from McDonalds and KFC, and had a AM PM store right opposite the street to the hotel. The hotel had a couple of Restaurants one Japanese and another Italian, and the room offered only one English TV Channel CNN Worldwide. The hotel staff all spoke some English, although very broken. It must be a hit with Western Guest anyway because the hotel was full of them.

Next time I will start reflecting on my thoughts on what you all want to read about Tokyo Disneyland, before moving on to my thoughts on Mt Fuji, Tokyo and Zed. Before finishing the Trip Report with Tokyo Disney Sea. Oh and photo's to come too!
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 01:00:00 AM by Guest »


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Re: Tokyo Disney Resort Trip Report May 2009
« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2009, 01:08:49 PM »
Tokyo Disneyland

While I will be the first to praise the efforts of the parks operations team, I just donít understand its procedures during opening of the park. You have sat out side your gate a massive crowd waiting for the park to open, so why wouldnít you do what the other Disney parks often do and open up World Bazaar earlier so the crowd has something to do while waiting for rope drop. There may even purchase some food and merchandise items while waiting, and it would also result in a more organise flow than the usual and dangerous early morning dash you get. The mayhem each morning is just crazy and could be better organised doing it this way. On the positive side I do enjoy the Characters all coming out and warming up the crowd a few minutes before opening.

I didnít really notice a big difference in the selection of food available compare with previous trips, but no more Mickey shaped Burgers, a big surprise especially since Disneyland Paris has started selling its own take on the burger recently. Food portions still on the small size, and could be in many cases could be referred to as kid size portions, like the cup size for drinks. Also has the Resort started putting its prices up because I seem to go though a lot more money than I usually would do here.

Iím not really in the target audience but I did purchase and find a few cool items. Items of interest for me were a great set of Monsters Inc figurines, some of the 26th Anniversary Monsters Inc related stuff like a Mickey in Cast Member costume. And I added a few titles to my media collection. Love how two of the previous stage shows have been released for purchase on DVD.

Granted I only visited on Weekdays but crowds were not too bad, obviously Monsters Inc had the longest wait time at about 220 minutes, but the longest I personally waited was only 65 minutes, so the wait times posted like previously stated on message boards were not accurate here. A tip I found is to hit this attraction first thing and skip the FastPass queue and head straight for the stand by line which usually reaches Space Mountain first thing in the morning. But hereís the thing with out FastPass being used that queue moves very quickly and the wait time is only about 30 - 40 minutes. My longest wait the whole trip was about 90 minutes for Splash Mountain, but as the weather was rather beautiful and hot, so I think a lot of people were using Splash Mountain as a way to cool off. While lines were still posting long waits at 120 minutes on average. These were manageable compare to the wait times I have encountered in September during the popular Halloween Events.

Monsters Inc
Iím not quite sure what to make of this new attraction. First the location is a bit odd with it kind of being located between both World Bazaar and Tomorrowland, as it doesnít belong in either land and kind of doesnít as its in its own mini Monstropolis land. The queue starts outside the Monsters Inc building where the slogan that featured in the movie has changed from Weíre Scare Because We Care, to Its Laughter Weíre After. A short video in Japanese is shown explaining the attractionís storyline. Before we enter the main show building, which is an exact replica from the movie including Roz reception desk. The attraction vehicle I think may cause a bit of trouble for anyone over a certain height as leg room was on the premium bit is not as bad as the knee scraping you get on Journey to the Centre of the Earth.

Ok on to the ride itself, and we are shown in my opinion some impressive show scenes and AAís though out the short ride. The facades during the Monstropolis scenes gave you the impression you were really in the world of Monsters Inc. But the flashlight given to look for the Monsters is very repetitive after a while and does distract from the overall enjoyment of the ride. I would prefer if the ride was slower too as its hard to take in all the details of this well themed environment. So if it was up to me I would take away the silly tag system which serves no real purpose apart from distracting you from enjoying the ride, and to be fair after about three trips on the attraction you would of seen all the Rockyís, BLTís and what ever other Monsters are hidden. I also would of prefer if the likes of Rocky were given more of a backstory here as I didnít feel the need to go searching for the character with my flashlight, as I have no connection or feel for the Character in anyway, not like I do with Mike and Sulley. Its my understanding Pixar were heavily involved in the character development of the new characters, so there could of done more in creating back storyís for the new characters. So my recommendation is to scrap the flashlight and enjoy what is a beautiful and well themed dark ride that the entire family can enjoy together.
Leaving the attraction a Cast Members was handing out the Monsters Eye Newsletter which is a promotional tool to help push the various Monster Inc related merchandise and food items currently on sale. You than end up in the Gift shop where a ton of Monsters Inc related items can be found on sale, including much of it devoted to Rocky. Unfortunately if the Resort is trying to make Rocky the next Duffy, I think there have there work cut out here, as I found no one walking around with Rocky soft toys. I predict within a years time the role of Rocky will be downplayed within the attraction, and a tip from me is to buy your Rocky pins and phone straps now as I donít see them being around forever.

Thumper & Mrs Bunny
Question how long has Thumper from Bambi and his Girlfriend been out doing meet & greets? I was shocked to see both out posing for pictures in Fantasyland during my visit!

Tiki Room featuring Stitch
Now just to set the record straight I am not one of these people who hates the characters, and if Disney choose to add characters to every attraction inside the parks Iím not going to loose sleep over it, but I do draw the line when the attractions end up being as terrible as the latest version of the Tiki Room. I donít have a problem with Stitch and was all for them introducing him to the Tiki Room, but sadly the new show sucks. The pre show is gone and the new show is not only a lot shorter but its even missing the main title song. This show had so much potential and the Imagineers totally missed the point and have created a show that makes the Tiki Room Under New Management sound good. The attraction is stuck with some stupid storyline about the birds being concerned over this God who ends up being Stitch. The few songs that are played are incredibly short and appear to be filler to introduce the next hint that the Big Khuna or what ever heís called is actually Stitch. The show is a pile of crap and where were the Elvis songs, at least the AA Stitch saves the day for the female audience who are in love with Stitch and think heís cute. Bring back Get the Fever.


I had spent the last couple of years gathering up as much information as I could on Tokyo Disneylandís 25th Anniversary Parade Jubilation. I knew first hand that the Tokyo Disney Resort knew how to put on a show and parades were there strong point. It was also during my first trip to Japan in 2006 that I was able to watch Legend of Mythica and Dreamlights. The scale of production for both shows/parades were huge and this gave me high hopes that Jubilation would impress me in the same way.

I am happy to report that despite one or two issues, Jubilation did meet my high expectations. If I talk about the negative bits first, I wasnít that keen on the paradeís soundtrack, donít get me wrong I love how the music altered to reflect the various stages of the Parade and didnít stick to just one loop. It executed this very well, but the music just did not blend in well with what I was watching. The other issue is that some of the floats are very beautiful and elegant and I will go on record to say its Disneyís best work to date. But some of the other floats were in my view just average, and the flow just didnít work for me. Take the circus float for instance, wow I was buzzing after seeing the detail and movement was outstanding, but unfortunately the Pixar floats followed and non of them were able to top what I had just seen previously, so it lowered the mood a little.

The scale and scope of Jubilation is massive and there were many moment where my jaw dropped to the floor. Just take a look at the costumes each float had its own unique set of performers wearing some of the most stunning costumes Iíve ever seen inside a Disney park, and each group of performers had there own dance routines. Jubilation is certainly not one of these parades you will find repetitive after a while, as the mood and setting changes with each passing float. 90 % of all Tokyo Disney Resort Guest are repeat visitors and this parade is ideal for this kind of audience because the pace changes so much that its impossible to capture everything thatís happening in just one showing.

Jubilation is a thumbs up from me, itís a very ambitious parade and one that will be enjoyed Iím sure for years to come, I only wish it was a bit more consistent though out. Every part of a parade in my opinion should be as strong as the one that follows it.

I was fortunate enough to get a few rides on my favourite signature attractions here are my thoughts on some of them.

* Big Thunder Mountain may not be as good as the version in Paris but in my view its not far of it. Love this attraction and its nice not to be knocked about like the death trap version in Orlando.

* Splash Mountain is best enjoyed on a hot day and Iím happy to report I took advantage of the heat and did multiple rides.

* This was my first time in Tokyoís Haunted Mansion that did not feature the Jack Skellington overlay and I enjoyed it, because the effects were all in excellent condition. While I have done the Haunted Mansion more times than I can recall, riding this version was like riding it for the first time. I felt the same way when it came to POTC and the Country Bears, so nice not to hear any clicking noises.

Iím starting to question the point to the Fireworks, because most nights there end up being cancelled. Personally I would just scrap them as it saves disappointment. Most people end up leaving after them anyway so it doesnít end the day on a high note.

Right thatís my thoughts on Tokyo Disneyland out the way, next weíll move on to Tokyo and Mt Fuji.
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 01:00:00 AM by Guest »


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Re: Tokyo Disney Resort Trip Report May 2009
« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2009, 01:10:30 PM »
So its time once more to continue my Trip Report. This time looking at Tokyo and stepping away from the parks.

Mt Fuji
The best way to see this tour is by Sunrise Tours, but be aware when picking days, as if the weather is cloudy chances are you will be unlikely to see anything which in my case was a complete waste of a day. Unfortunately I was aware of this before I left but my itinerary was arranged months earlier so I couldnít predict back then that the day was going to be a complete let down. Pick up was from the Keio Plaza, a hotel I have stayed at on a previous trip. We were met and picked up and dropped off at the terminus building, where everyone transferred to another bus. Our Tour Guide was amazing and went by the name of Katz or something like that. The guy spoke a number of languages including a dodgy Australian accent, his words. Also made me laugh when he informed the entire bus while passing Fuji-Q High Land that there would be no time for Roller Coasters today. We first arrived at the Welcome Centre, followed by a trip to the 5th Station where the Volcano could be seen, except the cone. After a endless supply of gift shops we boarded the Coach back to some Hotel where everyone had lunch. I opted not to go for it and visited the Hotelís Bakery where I was able to access the net. The Afternoon was followed by a short cruise on Lake Ashi, before taking a ropeway cable car for what is meant to be stunning views. But turned out to be nothing but white cloud. Return journey was made by Shinkansen. Had the weather been good with clear sky this tour may have been worth doing but sadly for me it was a bit of a waste and I recommend anyone considering this tour to not book too far in advance until you have a better idea on how the weather is going to be.

Tokyo Tower
Made the trip up on the Tokyo Tower and it does offer some good views, but I would likely die if I was up there during an earthquake.

Wow what an interesting Shopping district, I loved the vibe and walking across the crossway was an experience in itself. I did a little shopping at HMV and checked out the Disney Store although I wasnít that impressed by it. Much prefer the store in Ikspiari, the Shibuya store has a very cute entrance with a cute looking castle faÁade, but the Store was located on three different floors, which you had to get to by walking up a narrow stairway. The place also felt a little run down. But great Cast Members who were very helpful. Iím not sure what it is about Shibuya but everyone was a lot more friendly and outgoing. I also did something very cool and visited the Apple Store.

Rainforest Cafť
I am a big fan of the Rainforest Cafť brand but after a second meal here Iím convinced the Tokyo Rainforest Cafť is the worst Restaurant out of the chain. The service was quick and friendly enough but the actual food selection were abysmal. In defence of the menu its heavily focused on Seafood options which is fair enough as you are catering to a Japanese audience, but the food is terrible. itís the sort of quality you would find in the fast food served at the parks. Donít get me wrong there is nothing wrong with the fast food served at both parks, but you donít expect it in a restaurant outside of the parks. I ordered a pork sandwich which was ok, but nothing special. Just to report back on how packed the restaurant was, it was filled to capacity but waiting time was short, I put this down to the set up, and how quickly the food was coming out. I guess because the food was theme park quality it was also quicker to dispatch.

Tokyo Disneyland Hotel
I made time to check out the hotel one afternoon while waiting for a showing of Zed, and I was impressed with what I saw. The Victorian architecture was beautiful and the detail was massive. I spotted a lot of people in the hotel just hanging out taking pictures. A good find is the gift shop which sold a number of exclusive TDL Hotel merchandise.

I had pre purchased tickets by using an e-mail address found on the Zed website. The tickets would be waiting for me at Will Call. This turned out to be a good option as the seating was directly in front of the stage about middle of the theatre and I honestly think it was the best seat in the house. I had an amazing view of what is a incredible performance. A bit disappointed no Zed soundtrack was available but I ended up purchasing a programme and will be seeing the show again next time Iím in town. I highly recommend if your on vacation visiting the Resort you make the time to watch and enjoy Zed. This show sadly was half empty and itís a shame because the venue is fantastic and the performers put a lot of work into it, so check it out.

Ok that should do it for today, but Iíll be back soon with Tokyo DisneySea.
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 01:00:00 AM by Guest »


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Re: Tokyo Disney Resort Trip Report May 2009
« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2009, 01:32:44 PM »
While your waiting for my Tokyo DisneySea Report, feel free to take a look at some photo's I've uploaded.  http://picasaweb.google.co.uk/jmalin725 ... feat=email
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Re: Tokyo Disney Resort Trip Report May 2009
« Reply #4 on: June 14, 2009, 10:19:08 AM »
Hey Malin,

Thanks for your amazing impressions from Japan!

It's really on my "to do list" ... Maybe 2011 or '13 ... Just need to find the time to take some Japanase lessons before that. :)
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Re: Tokyo Disney Resort Trip Report May 2009
« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2009, 08:24:13 PM »
Quote from: "Malin"
Iím starting to question the point to the Fireworks, because most nights there end up being cancelled.

Why are they cancelled most nights?.
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Re: Tokyo Disney Resort Trip Report May 2009
« Reply #6 on: August 14, 2009, 06:36:32 PM »
Great pictures Malin!!  :D
We are planning a trip to HK and Tokio for the summer of 2010, so great to read your
story. Thanks for sharing ;)
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Re: Tokyo Disney Resort Trip Report May 2009
« Reply #7 on: August 14, 2009, 10:24:03 PM »
Fantastic trip report Malin, I really enjoyed reading about your views of Tokyo and seeing your fantastic photos. I hope you had a great time :)
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 01:00:00 AM by Guest »