Disney Sea

My second and final full day in Tokyo was visiting Disney Sea. The friend I was staying with decided to join me since she was also on vacation and we made our way to the park. We had decided to try something called Disney Bounding, even though it was late September and the parks let adults dress up in actual cosplay of characters. It’s really cool to witness. My friend and I decided to go for villains because we believed Disney Sea was the park that was taken over by villains and maybe we’d see the whole park transformed with a larger Halloween influence than I had last year at Tokyo Disneyland. Disney bounding is putting together an outfit that is inspired by a character to wear at the parks since about 80% of the year adults can’t dress up. My friend chose Scar from The Lion King and I picked Captain Hook from Peter Pan.

I had a lot of fun figuring out an outfit, though to be honest, I failed my first attempt. South Korea has a lot of  really nice underground malls where clothing is a bit cheaper and I spent an afternoon with a friend walking around trying to put something together. I really proud with my finds only to go home and realize that despite being elastic and looking like they’d fit that they didn’t actually. The downfall to shopping in the underground where you can’t try anything on. Lesson learned. I’m still proud of what I ended up with but as family and friends have pointed out I also ended up looking a bit like Carmen Sandiego. It was a happy coincidence.

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picture of the monorail with Mickey Mouse shaped windows and gates that say “35 Happiest Celebration”

Once we arrived at Maihama station we had to take the monorail to Disney Sea. The monorail has four stops.

1: Resort Gateway: This is where you catch the train back to Tokyo. 

2: Tokyo Disneyland Station

3: Bayside

4: Tokyo Disney Sea

The monorail isn’t free. It’s 260 yen per ride and you can get a day pass or a two day pass. You can also use the same pass that you might use in Tokyo for the regular trains and buses. I hoped that there was a special Disney one way ticket but there’s not. I had a Passimo (a transit card for Tokyo) which I should’ve just used instead. You can also walk to either park. I walked to Disneyland last year, but it was nice to take the monorail which was comfortable, played Disney music and was very cute.

Once at Disney Sea we headed to the bathroom so my friend could add the finishing touches to her Scar look. Which included us spending a half hour while she drew the iconic scar on her face with lipstick and eye liner. We took our cute tickets which she’d gotten at a Disney store in Tokyo and headed in. I went straight through but my friend got stopped. There’s a list of do’s and don’ts for the park and despite being on the website it wasn’t anywhere we’d looked before going. To save you time because I couldn’t find it easily while navigating the site you can find rules for dressing up here. We spent nearly an extra half hour waiting for a staff member who was kind enough to run off and get my friend make up remover.

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35 Happiest Celebration Mickey Mouse Ticket 7,400 yen (~$74)

Once in the park we looked at the schedule for the day. We arrived early enough to catch the main show we wanted to see “Villains World” but there was already a crowd before it started. Two! Hours! Early! Rather than wait with the crowd for two hours in the early morning sun we headed towards the back of the park towards the Lost River Delta to watch a show called “Out of Shadowland” at the Hangar. We were about an half hour early and there wasn’t too bad of a line. We got good seats and enjoyed the show which was a musical that was 100% in Japanese. I was expecting it to be a little bit like the Lilo and Stitch show I saw last year where it came with a translator but no. The plot is simple and it is possible to follow along. It’s about a group that goes into a woods in search of a special bird. A shy girl named Mei finds and follows the bird and becomes separated from the group and then finds herself in the “Shadowland” where she meets a deer spirit named Yuu. Yuu wants her to help save the world he lives in (with her magical powers) and defeat the evil bird but Mei just wants to go home. Through her adventure she finds courage and confidence. It was pretty to watch and fun, though as a note there is some flashing lights at various parts and possibly some parts that may be disturbing to very small children.

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Sign for “Out of Shadowland” with showtimes

The last showing is on March 31st, 2019, after which a new musical will be performed at the Hangar stage. The show is about 25 minutes long. The schedule for the performances change occasionally but in general it seems to be performed about 5 times a day at the Hangar stage: 10:30,  12:00, 1:30,3:45, and 5:15 p.m.

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Picture of Mermaid Lagoon, lots of blue and pink coral

After the show we headed to the Mermaid Lagoon to get lunch. Most of the Mermaid Lagoon is indoors in an area called Triton’s Kingdom. Inside Triton’s Kingdom is a very fluorescent space made up of coral mixed with a video arcade vibe. While there aren’t video games, there are tons of rides perfect for children. We weren’t there to ride any of the rides though and none of them really seemed like adult rides. They all seemed to be specifically activities for children. We headed towards the back to Sebastian’s Calypso Kitchen. This is a counter style restaurant where you order, pay and then go up to the counter where they’ll give you a tray with your food. We went here because according to the today page (which is 100% in Japanese) you can get some special Halloween treats.

My friend ordered their  スペシャルセットwhich was a seafood burger that was a scallop cream croquette with ratatouille sauce on a purple bun. She ordered it as a set so it came with a side of fries and a choice of drink for 990 yen. I misread the today page and thought that it was also the restaurant with Halloween non-seafood burger but it wasn’t. So instead I ordered a sausage pizza ソーセージピザ (700 yen) and their special Halloween drink calledメロンソーダ(ホイップクリーム&パイナップルシロップ)(380 yen) which was a melon soda with a whipped cream and pineapple syrup topped with little gummy candies in a very cute cup.

The seating was cute with little clam shell booths but like the rest of Triton’s kingdom it was very dimly lit. When we finished eating and were just enjoying our drinks my friend let out a scream, threw her arms out and then herself over the back of our clam shell booth. At first I thought she’d forgotten something she had to do for work or saw something upsetting, but then I spotted a Donald Duck wobbling past in snorkeling gear. I told her “go” and she bolted. It was probably the funniest part of the day and she managed to get some cute photos with the Donald Duck who was instantly swarmed on all sides by children, just like Pluto that was also wearing beachwear nearby.

After our trip to Triton’s Kingdom in the Mermaid Lagoon we headed to the Arabian Coast. While the Mermaid Lagoon is The Little Mermaid themed the Arabian coast is Aladdin themed. Here we rode Jasmine’s flying carpets which is a ride similar to Dumbo the flying elephant. Only for Jasmine’s flying carpet each carpet can seat up to four people, with two people up front and two in the back. The two sitting at the front get to control whether the carpet slowly moves up or slowly moves down. It’s a bit delayed but fun.

After the ride we stopped momentarily at a snack stand called Open Sesame to buy a pumpkin and maple churro. There was also a large line in the Arabian coast but for what I wasn’t exactly sure. It may have been for either the Agrabah Marketplace which boasts magic tricks as well as items for sale or Abuu’s bazaar which was a place to play carnival style games for an extra fee. Those were at least things in the area I assumed might’ve been the cause of the long line, but there is also a restaurant, some shows and a couple more rides that may have caused it.

Our next stop was the most exciting to me: Mysterious Island. Mysterious Island is located in the center of the park and is enclosed on all sides with paths leading in and out. It’s easy to spot from the rest of the park since a large portion of it is a volcano called Mount Prometheus. It’s 189 feet (57.61m) tall and occasionally belches out flame that can be seen and heard almost everywhere. Beneath this mammoth of a man-made volcano are two popular rides and a small cove to excite any steam-punk fan or better yet, anyone who enjoys the works of Jules Verne.

Jules Verne was a French author in the 1800’s to early 1900’s. He’s most well known for his science fiction adventure stories that are hinted at throughout the Mysterious Island. Actually even the name of this section of the park is the name of one of his novels, specifically his #12 novel in “The Extraordinary Voyages” series. The island is in fact the hide out of one of his characters Captain Nemo who is also found in his book Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (book #6) which shares a name with one of the rides on the Mysterious Island. The other ride is Journey to the Center of the Earth (book #3), which is another of Verne’s adventure novels.

We headed first to ride Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and made our way down underground and into a semi-long line with plenty to look at and enjoy. When it was time for us to board our crafts, small submarines that fit six, each set of two with their own window we were quite pleased. The ride was fun and felt in the same spirit as the book, a journey of exploration of the ocean with a bit of danger. Which really was the theme of both rides. It’s a similar style ride to the Peter Pan one found at the other parks.

I enjoyed the ride so much that I was ready to run across and under Mount Prometheus to get in line for Journey to the Center of the Earth. This was a bad idea. Outside Journey to the Center of the Earth are a lot of benches and places to sit. I should’ve sat. My feet were already hurting and the line ended up being 70 minutes. Which for park lines isn’t too long, I’ve been in line much longer before but the wait was disorienting. Unlike many rides at other Disney parks there weren’t any “From this point on your wait is___ minutes”. There also wasn’t any staff to ask. We were underground and there wasn’t much difference in things to look at. The line snaked around items and among other parts of the line to the point I didn’t know who else was behind me and who was in front of me to know where I was going next. That coupled with the pain in my feet was just torturous. I was about ready to throw in the towel when my friend spotted what she thought was the start to the ride. What she spotted in actuality were elevators that took us down further to where we entered another line, but this line at least we could see the special drilling device designed roller-coaster car. The ride was a lot of fun and the most intense roller coaster we managed to get on that day. Thankfully it had little places at the front of our seats to place bags and hats or anything we needed to store for fear of loosing. This was another ride that fit about six people.

These rides were a lot of fun and if you’re in a hurry it’s worth getting a fast pass for. We didn’t understand how fast passes worked and didn’t try to get any for the day. There should be fast pass ticket machines near the rides where you can scan your ticket and get a fast pass for a specific time period in which to return to the ride. Thankfully though our 70 minute wait was the longest we had for a ride that day.

After a short rest we left the Mysterious Island and headed down towards the Mediterranean harbor. The Mediterranean harbor is a lake area near the front of the park. This is where all parade like performances are held. We saw two from vastly different view points.  We caught “Villains World” from in front of the Zambini Brother’s Restorante near the Disney Sea Transit Steamer Line. The best place to catch shows is from the front stage however the seating here fills up over two hours before the show starts. The area we sat filled up about an hour before the show. I suggest bringing an umbrella or parasol while you wait and snacks. Because there were two of us, one of us would sit while the other would go off and get snacks. Since it was still hot out I made use of my electric fan. You can’t move much so I highly suggest bringing something to do or something to keep you either warm or cool depending on the weather. People also bring mats to sit on or collapsible chairs that they take down before the show starts.

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Screen shot of Mediterranean Harbor with suggested viewing wait spots for the shows. The Yellow Star is where the main stage is and fills up nearly 2 hours or more before a show starts. The black and white stars are other stage spots where characters may disembark from boats as well as where dancers may appear. These don’t fill up nearly as quickly but still try to be there about an hour before the show starts.

I really loved the “Villains World” show. It was fun and entertaining and great to watch. We had good seats since we were right outside a mini side stage where the characters got off their ships to interact with the dancers that were dressed to match the villains. Part of the music was in English and a lot of what the villains said was in Japanese. It was a lot of fun.

This was however a point where I lost my friend for a bit. When the show ended and we gathered up our things she had to go file a complaint with the staff because of an altercation she had with one of the other guests sitting near her. It didn’t go so well and she was gone for about an hour. During this time, since I had no way of contacting her I wandered around the American Waterfront as quickly as I could before going to our meeting spot. There isn’t any wifi at Disney Sea which made me worry how we’d communicate if something happened while she filed her complaint. She also has a phone with very poor battery life which meant she might not have been able to contact me even if she’d wanted to to update me on what happened.

There are some cool things to do in the American Waterfront. You can watch “Big Band Beat” which is a musical performance with characters and dancing at the Broadway Music Theater. It’s thirty minutes with about 5 show times a day that may change depending on the day: 12:20, 1:50, 3:20, 5:20, and 6:50pm. There is reserved and non-reserved seating available depending on the time of day. Reserved seating is usually for orchestra seating and requires getting a seat via lottery. To enter the lottery you need to go to Biglietteria (located near Gondolier Snacks across from Lido Isle at the Mediterranean Harbor) and scan your ticket that you used to get into the park.  (Same as with getting a fast pass) Otherwise head to the Broadway Music Theater before the show to try and get a seat in one of the non-reserved spaces.

Also in the area is The Tower of Terror and a Dockside Stage which is where a twenty-five minute performance called “Hello New York” occurs. Performances happen about five times a day though they do change and sometimes there are less. Usually performances occur at 12:05, 1:35, 3:05, 5:15, and 6:45.

Toy Story Mania is another area in the American Waterfront. It’s similar to Abuu’s bazaar in that it’s mostly carnival games though there is a couple indoor rides. There’s also a beautiful park called the Waterfront Park which was a popular spot to get photos. I saw a ton of people wandering through the park getting pictures of their photos.

After this quick wandering through the American Waterfront I hurried to our meeting spot where the other Halloween sandwich was that I wanted to try. It was in one of the many restaurants on the American Waterfront, this one called New York Deli. The entrance was a little confusing since it wasn’t on the main street but instead around the corner from the main street. I had hoped it’d be a smallish deli where I could easily spot my friend but instead the shop was huge. I did a quick run through to make sure she wasn’t sitting and waiting for me and when I didn’t find her I ordered my meal, スペシャルセット, (1,150 yen) which was a prosciutto and apple sandwich set. I couldn’t remember what prosciutto (raw dry cured ham) was and thought it was just a regular deli meat until I took a bite and saw that it had an unsettling raw color and consistency. I’m not a huge fan of raw foods and despite everything, knowing that it’s meant to be that way just couldn’t really get over the texture. I picked at it, enjoyed my fries and my Kirin apple soda. About an hour later after being super anxious for awhile, my friend showed up and joined me. She didn’t have as much trouble finding me in the restaurant as I feared. We headed off to Port Discovery to ride Aquatopia and were pretty happy to see that it had a short line.

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Picture of Aquatopia building at night.

Aquatopia is split into two sections. It’s a water ride where you won’t get wet. You board a small craft that follows an under water track that spins and turns and goes around obstacle’s and water features that may make someone dizzy. It did make me a little dizzy at one point. We ended up enjoying it enough to ride it twice, trying each side of the ride. Afterwards we had just enough time to head back to the American Waterfront and catch the “Fantasmic!” show. We took the Disney Electric Rail that goes from American Waterfront to Port Discovery and back then hurried to the water to try and find a spot to watch the show.

It was fun and a bit like the one shown at Disney World under the same name. It stars “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” version of Mickey Mouse and includes many familiar Disney characters.

After the show we walked to the other side of the lake to catch the first Disney Sea Transit Steamer Line after the show. The Transit Steamer lines stop at various ports around the park. At each spot you can show a crew member your map and they’ll show you where the boat will let you off. Ours stopped at the Lost River Delta, the only spot we hadn’t really spent much time in and which we had run out of time to enjoy. There are two large attractions here Raging Spirits and Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Crystal Skull. Instead of exploring we hurried back in line and boarded the next Transit Steamer Line back to the Mediterranean Harbor. Riding it around was a beautiful and peaceful experience. We got to see the entire park from a different view and it was lovely. We were even able to catch site of the fireworks from the “Brand New Dream” show that starts at 8:30 every night.

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Minnie Ice Bar in Peach and Raspberry Flavor that cost 310 yen

After exiting back at the Mediterranean Harbor it was close to closing time. We popped into one of the shops near the entrance to get souvenirs and I quickly learned that only one specific shop carries pins and it wasn’t near where we were. We were even in what the map stated was the shop with the largest selection of merchandise.

Utterly exhausted and with a couple souvenirs to share with friends and coworkers (Omiyage (お土産)) we boarded the monorail back to the train station. Utterly exhausted neither of us paid close attention to the stops assuming that it’d be awhile till we got off and thus missed our stop and had to ride the monorail around once more. We heard Resorts and tuned out when it continued on to say JR line. It was literally the next stop.

I feel like Disney Sea was a bit harder to navigate than Disneyland. You really need to plan what you’re going to do, especially if you want to watch any of the performances. Unlike other parks there isn’t a parade route that goes throughout the majority of the park that you can catch a decent view. Instead there’s only a man-made lake at the front where you have to be early in order to try and get a good spot. While it feels like there’s less to do at Disney Sea it’s much more spread out leading to rides having a long wait time that can very quickly eat away at your day and time. A lot of things also aren’t really explained in English, only a couple things on the map state: In Japanese only, or give warnings about strobe or flashing lights. If you don’t do a lot of preparation ahead of time you could be caught unaware. Visiting with characters is also a bit more difficult. While there are certain set character visits, our surprise Donald Duck and Pluto in swim gear isn’t along the list of character greetings on the English website, neither was Jafar which I spotted wandering around the Arabian Coast at one point. This meant my goal of finding a Captain Hook to take a picture with for my Disney Bound inspired outfit was a bust. The only time I spotted him was during the “Villains World” performance.

Disney Sea is just a little bit less festive than Disney Land. It wasn’t taken over by villains like I had expected and the amount of decorations was a lot less. Both parks aren’t as festive as my Halloween loving self would like but, each have about one good Halloween performance and some decorations. I think Disney Land, though, wins out by having the Haunted Mansion turned Nightmare Before Christmas.

Another thing happening while I was there was the 35 anniversary of the parks. Throughout the parks were special Mickey Mouse statues that reflected the area of the park they were in. I didn’t find them all, but they can be found on the map. It felt a bit like a scavenger hunt when I did stumble upon one.

 

 

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