TOKYO DISNEY RESORT
Experience The Happiest Place in the Far East
Since the unique door to the wonderful world of Disney was opened up in the Far East through the construction of Tokyo Disneyland in nearby Chiba in April of ’83, Tokyo Disneyland has had a thriving twenty years involving hoards of maniacal followers, and families from all over this highly populated side of the globe. It has since then ushered in the richest, highest quality amusement to be seen anywhere in the world, making it not just an amusement park, but an entire amusement experience complete with a vacationing resort, with hours of unlimited magic and fun just outside the hotel doors. Japan’s first theme resort, and Disneyland’s first park to be built outside of the United States, Tokyo Disney Resort is huge! The hunk of 200 hectare (2 square kilometer) property that takes up most of the peninsula it is positioned on, now boasts to include an entire spectrum of themed microcosms found inside and out of Tokyo Disneyland itself, in recent millennium developments such as the Ikspiari shopping ‘town,’ the Disney Ambassador Hotel, their very own Disney Resort Line, a train – Mickey-shaped windows and all – that runs around the entire resort parameter, and all the brand new sub-realities at the one year-old Tokyo DisneySea as well.
Tokyo Disneyland Itself
Other than being the world’s first Disneyland outside of the ‘States, Tokyo Disneyland is also Japan’s first theme park of overseas origin. Tokyo Disneyland offers just about the same exciting attractions as can be found in the Anaheim, California park, with only a few major differences. Adventureland, Westernland, Critter Country, Fantasyland, Tomorrowland, and Toontown, feature just about the same great attractions and rides. The half English, half Japanese, with most of the character dialogs of course being in Japanese, adds to the change of the customary Disney scenery and experience. If you understand Japanese it is interesting to hear all the different characters’ dialogs and the defunct colloquial (or purely made-up, fanciful) Japanese voices they are made to speak in. If you don’t understand, it is still a laugh and there is plenty of English to go around for everyone. Tokyo Disneyland’s main street is covered with an all-weather glass canopy and is called World Bazaar. Souvenir shops here are packed with busy shoppers- a bagful per person, any time of any day.
Where there is Land there Must be Sea
Tokyo DisneySea was put together with every last detail in mind, and is just like being in a movie backdrop or film studio. Starting with an Italian ‘Mediterranean Harbor,’ complete with harbor-side town, Tokyo DisneySea takes you through seven unique and new areas, each complete with their own fabric of reality. These include “Mysterious Island,” “Mermaid Lagoon,” “Arabian Coast,” “Lost River Delta,” “Port Discovery,” and “American Waterfront.” Cruise around the Italian waterways on a romantic gondola ride, then in “Mysterious Island” “Journey to the Center of the Earth” or “2000 Leagues Under the Sea.” Continue to the “Mermaid Lagoon,” a fantastic underwater playground that’s perfect for the little kiddies. At the “Arabian Coast” take “Sinbad’s Seven Voyages,” discover ancient civilization at the “Indiana Jones Adventure,” an archeological expedition style jeep ride turned roller coaster, at the “Lost River Delta’s” “Temple of the Crystal Skull”. “Port Discovery” will have you soaring into the high-speed winds of a hurricane on “Storm Rider.” From there screech along on the “DisneySea Electric Railway” to the “American Waterfront,” modeled to look like an East Coast harbor town complete with New York Deli and old fashioned brick buildings and advertisements. These are just a few of the possibilities at Tokyo DisneySea. It is amazing to look at the mountains and the vicious fire-spewing volcano, Mt. Prometheus (erupts in the early evening), and realize they are only brand new, and have not been in place forever. Area-wise, Tokyo DisneySea is the largest of the world’s Disney theme parks, especially when you consider the fact that there is less parking lot area in ratio to park area, due to the abundance of railway transportation in Japan.
On another note, there are some regional cultural differences that add to the overall experience. In general, the tamer quality of the Japanese society and overall obedience and characteristic respect for following rules, give Tokyo Disney Resort an added quality of comfort and security like none other in the world could fully provide. The cleanliness of the park and resort are also worth writing home about. Not a speck of dirt, or flaw. Everything is kept in sparkling clean condition.
Enjoy the Show
There are a myriad of events going on in the Disney ‘Kingdom’ this year. In Tokyo Disneyland the New Year will kick off with the “Disney on Parade: 100 Years of Magic,” which will last until the 21st of January. Following this is the “Dreams on Parade” starting from January 25th. It will feature nearly 200 performers and feature Mickey in a dream-themed party style procession. At the same time as this, is the “Cinderellabration,” great for lovers of a romantic nighttime light up. Here, the entire court in front of the Cinderella Castle (Tokyo Disneyland) will light up and have you feeling all warm and fuzzy inside- perfect for the winter cold of Tokyo; check it out from January 25th till the 20th of March (don’t forget your jacket!). Also, don’t miss the daily events: Tokyo Disneyland Electrical Parade “Dreamlights,” and “Fantasy in the Sky,” every night (starting times change depending on park closing time; the parade will be off until the start of the “Cinderellabration”).
Let’s Go !
The Tokyo Disney Resort is not actually located in Tokyo. It is in Urayasu, a city in neighboring Chiba Prefecture, and takes from 15 to 45 minutes to get there from Tokyo Station, depending on the availability of express trains, and the factor of time you have to wait at the platform for the next train to come along. Once at Tokyo Station, follow the arrow signs to the red color Keiyo Line (at who’s platform also runs the orange color Musashino Line). Both lines take you into Chiba; they will not take you in any other direction from Tokyo Station. But be careful when coming back from Maihama. Don’t end up on a train going deep into the middle of nowhere, pitch black Chiba at night. The line numbers at the platforms and the directions of the trains are always changing, as incoming trains will often turn around, and run reverse into the same direction they came in from. The signs can even confuse Japanese speakers, who are not used to the local train movements.