For a girl who grew up watching Disney movies, Disneyland to me sounds like a dream, the place where one ventures into the lands of fantasy and embrace the fond memories of Disney’s films, therefore a definite must-visit.
Established since 1983, Tokyo Disneyland was the first Disney theme park opened outside the United State. It comprises seven theme lands including the iconic Cinderella Castle, a Victorian-styled World Bazaar, a tropical Adventureland, a Westernland depicting America’s western frontier of the 19th century, Critter Country, Fantasyland, Toontown and the futuristic Tomorrowland. Each land has its own distinctive attractions, but as all theme park goers would know, the chance to cover all rides within a single day is almost nil because of the crowd.
But of course, in the optimistic spirit of Walt Disney, my friends and I didn’t let the rain bother us as we braved the weather and start playing. I had good moments on various rides, but my favourite was the ‘Star Tours: The Adventures Continue’, which transported us into the fascinating Star Wars universe in a flight-motion simulator. ‘Peter Pan’s Flight’ ride was also as enchanting as I imagined due to its level of detail, interaction and care that made my inner Lost Girl smile throughout the journey around the magical Neverland. Cinderella castle, on the other hand, offered a walk-through along the intricacies of her world, from beautiful dioramas, art collections, stained glasses to the lavish royal throne room.
The walk within the vicinity of Tokyo Disneyland also proved to be exciting as we enjoyed the elaborate seasonal Easter decoration found at every corner. On top of that, I heard so much about the impressive list of the park’s popcorn flavours that my friends and I decided to hunt for them. These popcorns are sold in adorable refillable buckets at popcorn carts scattered around the park; each cart offers different bucket design and popcorn flavour according to the theme land where it is located. As our hands got dirty from eating too much popcorn, we stopped by at one of the designated hand washing area and found ourselves won over by the cute Mickey-shaped soap foams. It was interesting to see how much thought the people behind Tokyo Disney Resort have put into such small details, convincing me and other visitors alike that happiness comes in the simplest forms.
When the rain finally stopped as the day went by, it gave us the chance to experience the ever popular Splash Mountain ride, which features a story from a Disney film entitled the ‘Song of the South’. It was indeed thrilling, especially at the climactic 50 feet drop into a briar patch.
At night, Tokyo Disneyland was illuminated with dazzling ‘Dreamlights’ parade of glowing floats and dancing notable Disney characters, followed by a spectacular ‘Once Upon a Time’ show of light projection on the Cinderella Castle, fires, pyrotechnics, lasers and fireworks – a perfect way to end the trip in Tokyo Disneyland.
DisneySea, on the other hand, features a slightly different atmosphere: less pretty but nothing short of spectacular. The landscape of the park is so detailed and immersive that the view itself becomes surreal. It comprises seven incredible ports of calls including Mediterranean Harbour, American Waterfront, Port Discovery, Lost River Delta, Arabian Coast, Mermaid Lagoon and Mysterious Island with plenty great versions of classic rides along with several original attractions exclusive to DisneySea only.
Highlights of my visit to the theme park consisted of a Broadway-style ‘Big Band Beat’ show, a long boat ride in Sindbad’s Storybook Voyage and a lively musical entitled ‘King Triton’s Concert’ where Ariel sang and swam gracefully over the audience. I heard that the ‘Tower of Terror’ was awesome too, but due to its never-ending queue and time constraint, our group decided to skip it. Besides my favourites, DisneySea also introduced special shows and activities under the theme “The Year of Wishes” to celebrate its 15th anniversary. One show in particular, ‘Crystal Wishes Journey’, features joyful dance routines staged by Mickey Mouse and his friends together with DisneySea’s main character, Duffy.
In line with the Tokyo DisneySea’s “The Year of Wishes” theme, each themed port has a designated ‘Crystal Point’ where visitors can use to collect points by simply placing their ‘Crystal Compass’ (bought from the souvenir shops) on it. Once visitors have completed in collecting all seven points from various ‘Crystal Points’, their ‘Crystal Compasses’ will be able to emit multiple lights and messages from various Disney characters. If travellers do not accumulate enough ‘Crystal Points’, their ‘Crystal Compasses’ will only emit white light.
We ended our trip here by watching the invigorating ‘Fantasmic’ show that incorporated Disney characters, barges, boats and a multitude of different effects like explosions, mist screen projections, water effects and of course, fireworks.
Good to Know
- Tokyo Disney Resort, like any other major theme park, can be crowded especially during weekends and holidays, therefore it is best to plan ahead and strategise on what rides and attractions that visitors would like to go on first to maximise their experience. The map can easily be downloaded from the resort’s official website http://www.tokyodisneyresort.jp/en/.
- Arrive early, or be prepared to join in the long queue. Tokyo Disney Resort also offers a time-saving system, FastPass, which lets visitors minimise the amount of time waiting in line at popular attractions. Simply insert the ticket into the FastPass machine at the desired ride and, in return, they will get a FastPass ticket with a designated time period printed on it. Proceed to play at nearby attractions but come back again at the ride once the time has arrived. This way, visitors will get to enter through FastPass entrance and have much shorter time waiting. However, take note that only one FastPass ticket can be issued at a time for a single holder.
- There are no public Wi-Fi spots in Tokyo Disneyland. So, travellers should consider bringing pocket Wi-Fi to avoid frustration when wanting to make broadband connection. We use the service by Samurai Wi-Fi Malaysia because it offers one of the best rates for unlimited 4G connection throughout Japan.
- Currently, there is no halal-certified restaurant in both parks; however, seafood and vegetarian options are abundant. Two popular choices include East Side Cafe in Tokyo Disneyland and Ristorante di Canaletto in Tokyo DisneySea.
Gaya Travel Magazine extends our heartfelt gratitude and appreciation to Tokyo Disney Resort for turning Shahida’s Disney dreams into reality.