Korea + Japan 09/18 – Tokyo Disneyland

Day 12

After seeing the typhoon first hand and hearing all hell going on during the night, I was sure I was going to open my curtains today to see Japan in a post Godzilla state, but nope all still standing and better yet the weather looked lovely. After checking the Disney site to make sure they were unaffected, we made our way to the Tokyo Disney Resort once again.

Tokyo Disneyland

Now while I 100% stand by my comments about DisneySea being disappointing, I did feel bad for having to report that, so you’ll be glad to hear that whilst I still absolutely prefer Disneyland Paris, Tokyo Disney park had a much better showing than it’s resort counterpart.

In order to get to the entrance of Tokyo Disneyland you have to walk on an overpass over the coach park, well now they are just rubbing salt in the wounds…

Once in, things felt much more “Disney” than they ever did at DisneySea. There was a proper atmosphere in the air and while it never reached that of Disneyland Paris, it was great to feel that “magic” again.

We first headed to Adventureland to ride Splash Mountain and Big Thunder.

It turns out that you can’t just trust where you think attractions will be located because neither of these rides were in Adventureland…

Correcting our mistake we made our way through Adventureland and over to Critter Country to experience Splash Mountain.

Splash Mountain – For years of following Disney parks online I’d been really interested to try Splash Mountain and it didn’t disappoint me for one second.

Incredibly detailed theming, an adorable story (this time featuring a defined ending), a nice long ride time and a surprisingly thrilling final splashdown, fantastic stuff.

Owing to it’s location in relation to Critter Country, we next headed over to ride Haunted Mansion.

Haunted Mansion – Phantom Manor is one of my favourite dark rides and is joint first in regards to my favourite attractions at Disneyland Paris. It’s a stunning attraction that has stuck with me since I first rode it all the way back in 2005.

Because of this, I was so excited to try out the alternative mansion, but there was a problem…

For reasons only known to the insane, Tokyo Disneyland had their Haunted Mansion in Holiday Nightmare flavour in EARLY SEPTEMBER!

So instead of getting to experience the legendary Haunted Mansion, I got some emo Christmas rubbish.

For principle I’m not even going to give an opinion of Holiday Nightmare and I guess I’m going to have to wait untill I go to the US to finally get to ride the Haunted Mansion…

Following this crippling disappointment we finally made our way over to Big Thunder Mountain.

Big Thunder Mountain – Sorry to keep mentioning Disneyland Paris, but I’d rank their Big Thunder with the list of coasters that sit just outside my top 25. The theming, the dive under the water to start the coaster, the truly out of control feeling it creates and the insane ending, I absolutely love it.

During this trip, me and Heartline kept saying to each other, it almost feels like every ride here is a far tamer version of their great other halves. The more I think about it now, the more I agree with that statement. For reasons unknown, the country that’s home to Flying Dinosaur, Eejanaika, Arashi and Pyrenees (4 of the most intense roller coasters ever made), seems to also be home to the Disneyland with tamed down rides.

Big Thunder Japan was no different. While the theming as expected is outstanding, the coaster itself rides much more like a Vekoma Junior than the out of control French version and the ending is much much more lacklustre.

It’s still a great ride but when you’ve done other Big Thunders it doesn’t quite live up.

Making our way back to Adventureland, it was time for me to experience my first Jungle Cruise.

Jungle Cruise – After almost doing Hong Kong Disney before, I had seen on their website that their Jungle Cruise contains pyros and all sort of madness kicking off, so this probably didn’t help in regards to forming my opinion of Japan’s version.

While Jungle Cruise was a lovely sit down and bless the poor skipper girl who really was giving it all she had. Sadly due to stupid Hong Kong I was destined to come off disappointed when the ride just ended without any major pay off.

Star Tours – Much like the French one, to a man who hasn’t seen Star Wars, this was just a rock dodging simulator. It’s good but it ain’t no John Cleese dark ride…

Space Mountain – Next up was Space Mountain, another attraction I’d be longing to experience for a long time and sadly another attraction that led to some disappointment.

Now this time, the disappointment doesn’t stem from the Paris one being better, probably because I haven’t ridden the Paris one…

This time it comes down to the experience as a whole falling far short of what I was promised.

The coaster itself is super super tame, which would have been fine if there was anything decent to look at but there wasn’t. So after the interesting lift hill section, you just end up slithering around in the dark while space sound effects play quietly on the on board audio. I’m sure the American Space Mountains feature a score that causes instant orgasms among Disney fanboys, so why doesn’t Tokyo have that?

After this we had lunch at the pizza place in Tomorrowland, after the pizza place in Fantasyland refused to take the pineapple off the pizza for me. I suppose it’s too much to ask the staff to not put pineapple on your pizza at the happiest place on Earth…

Pirates of the Caribbean – Exactly the same as I remember the Paris one but this time featuring really lifelike Jack Sparrow animatronics, it’s pretty good, though nothing new to me.

Western River Railroad – After using the statement, “might as well do the train”, we were certainly glad we did because it was great. A nice sit down with fantastic views of the area and even some fun surprise sections.

Gadget Go Coaster – While they have certainly done an alright job of fitting this Vekoma Junior in, it still doesn’t really excuse that Disneyland has a Vekoma Junior to start with.

Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin – I still can’t believe that Roger Rabbit has a ride at all at a Disney park, so for that alone, I love it.

Monsters Inc Ride & Go Seek – Even though I had no idea how to make this interactive dark ride work properly, I absolutely loved it. Monsters Inc is one of my favourite Pixar movies and this ride did the source material justice and then some.

With everything we wanted to do (and some extras) knocked off, we took things easy for the next few hours and hit up various other attractions that sounded worth our time.

PhilharMagic – This 3D theatre based musical adventure was amazing, easily the best surprise at the park.

Next up we did the essential photos infront of the castle.

Pooh’s Hunny Hunt – To say anything other than it’s amazing, you NEED to try it, will completely ruin this awesome trackless dark ride. Hilarious to the point of tears and a technical marvel.

Pinocchio’s Daring Journey – Exactly the same as the Paris one but still a great ride.

Small World – I’m not sure if it’s a Tokyo exclusive but this variation featured Disney Princesses within the attraction and that added an extra layer of enjoyment to the ride.

We then went for some rerides before getting ourselves in position for the night time castle show.

For the last few hours I had really started to get into the Disney magic and as the sun went down I didn’t feel a million miles away from the feelings I felt while walking through the Paris park. Unfortunately things were going to turn sour to cap the day off…

Disney Dreams at Disneyland Paris moved me in ways I rarely feel like expressing and with Heartline who’s done all but one Disney park telling me that ALL the Disney castle shows are near enough as good as Dreams, I was unbelievably excited to see how the Tokyo one was going to play out. Well…

Instead of the show being featured around Disney movies, tied together with a magical story, this time the show was based around the park itself.

This meant instead of seeing Rapunzel swinging from the turrets or hearing Elsa singing Let It Go, you were treated to crudely animated recreations of the park’s attractions, while each ride theme played. Tied together by an out of tune overly pretentious song about how great the park is. The 2 most insulting parts were, the Haunted Mansion section, when you can’t even ride the proper ride at the moment and an extended part about a paddle steamer…

Worst of all though, no fireworks at all, only a few flame throwers that went off every once in a while.

I could literally feel the magic being sucked out of me every second this waste of time continued.

Disney Dreams in person > watching Disney Dreams on YouTube > thinking about Disney Dreams > going back to the hotel > Tokyo Disney’s current castle show

Thanks for reading, click here for our final day in Japan, where we visit Tokyo Dome City and Tobu Zoo.

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