Korea + Japan 09/18 – Tokyo DisneySea
From people worth listening to, to random channels on YouTube who can’t even name the park’s lineup, Tokyo DisneySea has been branded the best theme park in the World countless times.
If the statement were “best THEMED park in the World”, you might be able to convince me but as for being the greatest theme park in the World, I’d strongly disagree. Hell I’d even go as far as saying it’s not even the best theme park in Japan.
So today was the day the typhoon was set to hit Japan. Me and Heartline made the decision that if we looked out the window and saw carnage we’d spend the day in the hotel watching Korean TV shows but if things looked fine we’d stick with our original plan of hitting DisneySea.
I opened the curtains expecting the worse but instead got blinded by the blazing sun, I think we’re going to Disney boys.
Despite there supposedly being a typhoon, the weather today started off insanely hot again and as I chose to wear jeans expecting the worse, things were rather uncomfortable for me.
Once we arrived at DisneySea we purchased the 2 day Disney Resort Pass. Sadly with the 2 day pass they force you to pick which park you do on which day and you aren’t allowed to visit both parks on the same day. This was a bit of a shame because that was one of my favourite things about Disneyland Paris, the ability to bounce between parks at your leisure.
Not knowing where we were going or even wanted to go, we accidentally ended up in the Mysterious Island area of the park. This is the area to bring up if you’re trying to convince me it’s the best THEMED park in the World, because Christ this area looks beautiful.
20,000 Leagues Under The Sea – Noticing that this submarine based ride had a 0 minute wait time, we walked straight onto our first dark ride of the day.
Picture Legoland’s Atlantis done properly and without the real fish and that’s basically what this was. Whilst I quite enjoyed it, I couldn’t help but think that it ended without any major climax or stand out moment.
After picking up a fast track ticket for Journey to the Centre of the Earth, we made our way over to Lost River Delta…
Raging Spirits – Japanese version of the Indiana Jones coaster from Disneyland Paris.
It wasn’t as bad as I remember the Paris one being but I’ve taken many a beating since then so it’s probably not fair to comment.
Indiana Jones: Temple of the Crystal Skull – This dark ride was absolutely amazing!
After loving Fantawild’s outstanding knock off, Qin Dynasty Adventure, I was desperate to ride the original and I was not disappointed. Incredible from start to finish, I am so sad I only got to experience it once.
Nemo & Friends SeaRider – This giant simulator attraction featuring the characters from Finding Nemo was good fun.
Journey to the Centre of the Earth – With our fast track time up, we ventured back over to Journey.
What can I say really, it’s fantastic, but much like 20,000 Leagues it feels like the ending is missing.
The dark ride part of the attraction that starts you off is incredible, the lava monster itself is insane and the high speed section after you meet the monster is fantastic fun, but then things just end abruptly with no final payoff.
Tower of Terror – After making it back from the centre of the Earth, we made our way over to the Waterfront section of the park to ride one of my most anticipated rides in the park, Tower of Terror.
I absolutely love the Paris version of this ride and knowing the Japanese one had it’s own unique story made me incredibly excited.
Up until the actual elevator section, Japanese ToT is AMAZING. The new story and effects used to convey it in the preshows made me prefer this over the Twilight Zone version. Then the ride itself happens…
Call it lost in translation but I really didn’t like the way the new story is applied to the actual elevator section, it didn’t really make sense and left me thinking that this story would of suited a trackless dark ride much better than the very limited elevator system ToT is tied to.
Also, either I’ve changed or Japanese ToT is incredibly weak when compared to Paris, the drop sequence was completely forceless.
At least you can’t deny the building itself looks breathtaking.
Something I’d glad to say DisneySea did do better than it’s French counterpart was food, we had a lovely pizza for lunch which came out far cheaper than we were expecting.
Flounder’s Flying Fish Coaster – Why is this here?
Toy Story Mania – I really enjoyed Toy Story Mania but Maus Au Chocolat at Phantasialand is a far superior example of this kind of ride. Look DisneySea you’ve made me praise Phantasialand, you’re making us both look bad…
After exiting Toy Story Mania it became apparent that while maybe the typhoon wasn’t striking Tokyo, it was making it presence known by providing us with extremely strong winds.
I had never felt anything like it but testament to Japan’s familiarity with such events the locals didn’t seem bothered at all and the park made no announcement.
Sinbad’s Storybook Voyage – Fighting the wind we made our way to Sinbad’s dark ride.
This water based ride takes you through various scenes based on Sinbad and is heavily focused around music. I rather enjoyed it and it had me laughing out loud at points, wondering when Sinbad was going to break into song next.
And with that, Tokyo DisneySea was complete and here lies my major issue with calling it the best theme park in the World. I count 9 attractions in my opinion that are worth doing, which to me is far from enough to keep you busy for a whole day. But you have to factor in that only 4 of those attractions are unique to the resort, 1 is a terrible Togo junior coaster that couldn’t feel anymore out of place and ToT can be experienced in a far superior form elsewhere.
From my personal experience, only Indiana Jones exceeded my expectations, with the other attractions either leaving me slightly dry or doing exactly what I expected and nothing more.
Much like Universal Studios Japan, Tokyo DisneySea also suffers from a distant lack of magic. Now hear me out, at Disneyland Paris the atmosphere was at points overwhelming and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel quite emotional just being there. To contrast this, for all the time I was at DisneySea the “magic” of the place never struck me.
With Universal Studios Japan lacking the atmosphere that it’s Singapore counterpart emits, perhaps the issue is country based?
This isn’t to say I didn’t have a good day out at Tokyo DisneySea because I did, it just didn’t live up to my expectations based off of Disneyland Paris or live up to the immense hype placed on it’s shoulders.
With everything done, we headed for another go on Indiana Jones, however it was closed due to a breakdown. While waiting for it to open the parkwide PA system announced “your attention please, the train line linking the Disney Resort to the rest of Tokyo may soon close due to extreme weather conditions”.
We decided it was in our best interest to heed this advice and make our way back to the hotel.
After getting off the monorail that links the parks to the Disney train station, we knew we were screwed.
Thousands of people milling around outside the station with screens listing the closed lines, of which there were many.
We headed up to the rammed full train waiting in the station, due to depart any minute and there we stood for over 20 minutes, cramped and confused, as the train just sat there but more and more people piled in.
To save ourselves having a panic attack we got off the train to ask a guard what was going on, he blanked us and walked off… So we walked back down the station stairs to the ticket office and asked the lady at the barriers what was happening, “I don’t know” she shouted back, so we asked another staff member, who just walked off… See I wasn’t joking when I said the Japanese train staff are absolute bastards.
It turns out the trains had been stopped, but no one there thought it would be helpful to tell us that.
Not knowing at all what the hell was happening or the best way to get off of the Disney Resort island, we ventured into the Disney WELCOME Centre and couldn’t have felt any less welcome.
As we walked in, the 2 women behind the counter stared us down. “Hi, it’s madness out there, can you please help us find the best way to get back to our hotel?”, “oh no no no no no no, I can’t help you”, “sorry what?”, “I don’t speak English, I cannot help, sorry”, “right….”.
There was a mall next to the Disney station that upon searching was home to the Disney annual pass centre, so in we went. Inside we found a woman who put the WELCOME centre staff so much to shame it’s laughable. She got translators involved and maps and bus schudules up on her computer. Thanks to her helpfulness we were told we needed to catch bus number 1, easy right?
Into the bus rink we went and into madness we descended. There were many bus stops, with none of them showing the destination we were meant to be heading. After awhile we spoke to a member of the bus staff and he told us that we needed to be in the coach park. Fine we thought, we are on track now…
On approach to the coach park we saw a sight that will forever haunt me, thousands and thousands of people, all waiting to catch buses.
Thinking no, this CAN’T be real, we spoke to a member of staff who informed us we needed to catch a bus from stand number 1, but the queue was going to be, “many many minutes”…
What followed was over 3 hours of waiting for a bus, in a Tokyo DisneySea of people, in typhoon strength winds.
No this wasn’t Disney’s fault, it was ours for going out in a typhoon and the train companies for being awful at their jobs, but either way this wasn’t the way I wanted this day to end.
Moments before getting on our bus we were informed that the train line had just reopened. Well that’s a lovely insult to injury…
When I finally got back to the hotel I was tired enough to sleep through the immense wind trying to blow the hotel over.
Thanks for reading, click here for day 12 of my report when we visit Tokyo Disneyland.