Surviving Japanese Summer: Disney Sea edition

After our super sad trip to USJ we were all determined to do a much better job with Disney Sea. Our hotel was nearby, it included a free shuttle so there was no way to get lost, we just had to pick up our tickets and ride the Disney train.

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I had a list of goals for Disney Sea

  • Try alien mochi
  • Ride a new ride (Lost River Delta) with preferably a fast pass
  • Watch Big Band Beat
  • Find and buy the Disney Sea pins.

Anything else would just be a nice addition.

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When we arrived a showing for their summer pirate themed water show  was  starting but my friends were very adamant that this time I wouldn’t miss the show on my list. So we bee-lined straight for Biglietteria so that we could try our hands at the lottery. Biglietteria is a small area near the entrance and Mediterranean Harbor with a ton of screens where you scan your passes for the lottery you want to enter. For Big Band Beat that means to get reserved seating (best seating) for the show. However this doesn’t include the first show, it’s for all the shows after. You can also only enter the lottery once. That’s it. It essentially is like playing a slot machine nut if you loose there’s no more chances. So we didn’t win. What we decided to do was to go try and get a fast pass for a ride and just come back to the first show which was a free for all. We quickly headed to the Lost River Delta as the music for the show began to swell and the crowds began to get bigger. We managed to get a fast pass for Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Crystal Skull and then when we tried to get one for Raging Spirits quickly learned that after getting one fast pass you’re stuck with a wait time of at least an hour before you can do it again. (And awkwardly in our case, one hour for two of us and two hours for the third, we and staff couldn’t figure that one out.)

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Thankfully a cast member caught us and explained it to us. She also was very kind and since for at least one friend it was her first time at Disney ever, so she gave her a cute sticker so that the staff would welcome her to her first journey to Disney. We also all got first ride of the day stickers with a cute Baymax drawn on it. (That throughout the day and the heat we all subsequently lost at one point or another.)

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Since we had a lot of time before we could make another fast pass or go to the first showing of Big Band Beat we headed over to the Arabian Coast to get some popcorn and kill some time. As we were doing this an alert came through the speakers throughout the park in multiple languages saying that due to extreme heat they were asking guests to stay hydrated and take frequent breaks. We figured this was our plan as well and hopped in line for a short 20 minute wait at Jasmine’s Flying Carpets. Then we bought curry popcorn and a cute popcorn box to trade off carrying for the day.

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While at USJ we didn’t eat much popcorn, at Disney Sea we ate a ton of it and this Steamboat Willie popcorn bucket was constantly being refilled. (And also occasionally played with since the top makes a fun squeaking sound) It did however sometimes reach the same fate as the Sailor Moon box at USJ, which was that the popcorn after a certain amount of time started to go stale.

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Before leaving the Arabian coast we figured we’d see how long the line was for the Caravan Carousel, there was practically no line so we quickly joined, waited for the ride that was going to end and then climbed up to the second floor to pick our creature.

It was just nice to already have beaten our poor record at Universal Studios Japan. We had a bit of time left before the first showing of Big Band Beat so we decided to go grab lunch first. My friends got very excited looking at the menu for New York Deli which was near Big Band Beat so we figured we’d go eat there. We also planned to stock up on water while there as well since we had yet to see any for sale. The New York Deli is huge. There is so much seating. But when we went it was slammed. I sent my friends to get in line while I looked for a spot and there were just no tables open so I hovered. Eventually one nearby opened and I swooped in to take it and wait for them. One came back and relieved me of duty so I could join the other in line and we could order together to save time. I ordered the deli salad. And learned much to all of our dismay, that they didn’t sell water.

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860 yen for the deli salad

They did have cups that you could use and a little fountain, but no bottles, which I know is not the greenest thing but to have a container for water that you can quickly shove in your bag on rides is much easier than a paper cup. The salad was okay but very difficult to eat. It was a regular salad but then whole sandwich slices of meat on top, and sticks of cheese, which were not the easiest things to mix into the salad.  After lunch we headed to Big Band Beat and were pretty happy to see no line.

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Big Band Beat is the only show at Disney Sea that’s in English. It’s all music and songs in a swinging jazz 1920’s big band style. It was really nice to sit inside and watch it and it was quite fun.

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While the first showing is a first come first served set up, for the rest of the showing the first floor seating is only for those who win the lottery and the rest of the seats are first come first serve. It’s well worth it, we didn’t get there early enough for the first floor seating, but our seats were quite good. Better than the time I saw Hamilton and was behind a pole. I think, it makes a perfect break, especially on a hot day. After the show we quickly found the alien mochi I’d wanted to try.

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Three come in a cup and all are different flavors. The filling is chocolate, vanilla and strawberry ice cream. It was so nice.

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Because of the time one of our friends left in a hurry to see if she could quickly get us our fast passes for Raging Spirits. While she did that my other friend with the popcorn box jumped into the popcorn line (garlic shrimp) and I went on a hunt for water. What I quickly learned, despite the many many alerts going off to stay hydrated, that water isn’t commonly found at Disney Sea. As the day progressed we realized more often than not that the vendors didn’t sell water. Soda and ice cream yes, but water, no. So it became a thing, that if we saw water we bought it. And sometimes one of us would run off while the others were in line and run half way around the park in search of a vendor that did in fact sell water. It was incredibly frustrating. It was also more expensive than not only water outside the park but the water we’d bought (and had been available at every single vendor) in USJ.

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Ukiwah bun 500 yen

I’m a bit sensitive to spicy so there’s a lot of things I didn’t try last time out of fear. But one of my friends who was with me was down to try everything, and since she’s the one who’d ran to try and get us fast pass tickets I wanted to get her a treat, something we could maybe share but also mostly for her. Disney Sea does these cute buns that come in very cute character wrapping. Last time I was in Disney Sea the Arabian coast had one filled with curry and Chandu on it, but because it might have been spicy I decided not to get it. But I’d asked about it in the Arabian coast earlier that day and they said they didn’t sell it in the summer. So instead when we were walking from the American Waterfront into Port Discovery I got in line at Seaside Snacks and got a pipping hot bun to carry over to the Lost River Delta to give her. I could literally only hold it by the the top because it was way too hot. It was very cute and not bad, not spicy either so I enjoyed a bite. It was filled with shrimp. Probably, it’s more enjoyable when it’s cooler out.

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Back in the Lost River Delta we learned that the fast pass option had been closed for the day. We’d missed our opportunity to get a fast pass for Raging Spirits. Which was fine. We still had one fast pass for Indiana Jones and speeding through the line, scanning our tickets was really nice. (Though sitting in the Jeep for the ride hurt one of our friends knees, due to some position she got stuck in for the duration.) The wait time for Raging Spirits never seemed to drop below 2 hours so eventually after walking past it a couple times to see, we gave up and returned to where we’d been the luckiest, the Arabian Coast.

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It was hot, we were tired. The waits in the Arabian coast weren’t long at all so we decided we’d see what we assumed would be a show and got in line for Sinbad’s Storybook Voyage. It ended up being the best ride. It’s a slow boat ride with a very similar aesthetic to It’s a Small World with singing marionettes. However it tells the adventurous story of Sinbad, a bit nicer and Disney-fied version, and includes Sinbad’s adorable tiger cub companion Chandu, which I had totally mistaken as a baby Raja when I saw the souvenirs and even the curry bun last year. Apparently when the ride first opened there wasn’t any singing and it was a bit creepier and darker and truer to the original story. But I liked the cute adventurous song that played throughout the ride and will keep playing it over and over on youtube. I didn’t get sick of it the way I would for It’s a small world, and it was cool and dark and it was just nice to sit for so long. If you’re in the area and it doesn’t have a long wait I suggest going.

At this point despite taking constant breaks we were running low on energy. One friend in particular, who’d gotten her knee twisted a bit uncomfortably wasn’t doing so well so we took a break and had some snacks

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shaved ice with strawberry and ice cream at Sultan’s Oasis

After recovering for a little bit we decided to hop on the Transit Steamer line to take it from the Lost River Delta to the Mediterranean Harbor. I figured it’d be easier on my friends knee and would put us closer to shopping so we could buy the things we’d been wanting to get. Plus we’d be closer to the last popcorn flavor they wanted to try, Chinese Chili which was a little spicy. (Our favorite ended up being the curry)

It was a nice peaceful boat ride and they got to see more of the park from another view, like the Mysterious Island that we’d only quickly passed through earlier in the day to get to our lunch.

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The pins were a little disappointing. There weren’t a lot available which even the staff at some of the shops, when we asked about them mentioned. We were told that they sold out often and the options didn’t usually say “Disney Sea” but after some searching we found a couple that we liked, including one of Chandu and one for a new ride that was broken when we passed and with an insanely long line outside called Soaring: Fantastic Flight which you can get a fast pass for. We decided after seeing the line and learning it wasn’t currently running that it wasn’t something we had energy to wait for.

Finally near all the shops as the sun began to set we grabbed a table and got in line for Mamma Biscotti’s Bakery which according to the Today’s event guide for the summer was having some bubble tea drink. It was in Japanese so we weren’t sure exactly what it was or how it tied in to their summer pirate theme. We ordered one and then got a ton of really cute baked goods to split.

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The bubble tea drink turned out to not be bubble tea but iced bubble coffee, so we weren’t as happy with it as we’d originally hoped. (As 2 mostly tea drinkers and one dehydrated picky coffee drinker) However the long line at the bakery was for this drink. Our snacks though were really good. We got (from left to right) a banana and walnut muffin (300 yen), a black tea bread with custard (280 yen), and an apple custard danish (330 yen). With everything cooling off, some snacks and feeling a bit more rested we had a small second wind. So we decided to wander off towards the Teddy Roosevelt Lounge for dinner.

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While the Teddy Roosevelt Lounge wasn’t on my must do list, it had been on my I’d like to go to list, mostly for one of their insane seasonal parfaits. But I was also hungry. The salad I’d had earlier in the day hadn’t been particularly filling, and I was mostly full of popcorn, and I really didn’t want another night of convenience store dinner. So I figured I’d order food and if my friends wanted to help me eat it then they could. If not I’d do my best.

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2,040 yen

I ended up ordering one of their very meaty platters. It came with three different types of sausage (one of which was spicy), a beef pie, and chicken breast. It was a lot. But I felt like I hadn’t gotten a lot of protein (yes I completely forgot my salad had been sliced meat on top of leaves after a long day in the sun) and another friend with a special diet needed wanted some meat to counteract the sweets. It was quite good, but a bit too much for me. While I’m not a vegetarian I don’t eat that much meat and this was like a meat lovers platter. Then I ordered the thing I was most excited for. The seasonal parfait.

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The seasonal parfait can be a bit more expensive if you want to keep the fancy glass it comes in (2,260 yen) but if you’re like me and have no space in your luggage and just want a nice seasonal treat then it’s about 1,230 yen. It was so good. It was mostly mango and pineapple with some blueberries snuck in there. So after the fresh fruit which included some insanely delicate slices of folded mango was whipped cream then below that was a delightful fruit sorbet then more whipped cream, some fruit jelly, more fruit and it just was layered to match the fruit on top. Since it’s a seasonal parfait if you have any dietary restrictions or food allergies I’d ask the staff first what’s in it.

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Some Teddy Roosevelt paraphernalia

The Teddy Roosevelt lounge has a much fancier atmosphere. The food is a bit more pricier than you’ll find elsewhere in the park but it’s also a lot calmer and has a more adult vibe, especially around the bar. If you want a more chill atmosphere to eat or even if you have a large group it’s a good spot to go. The three of us sat at a booth that could have easily fit 9 or more people, it was insane. If you’re also a fan of US history/ presidents there’s tons of Teddy Roosevelt stuff around the restaurant. And the bar is held up by carved wooden bears.

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After dinner we split up. The friend whose knee was hurting and I took the train then shuttle back to our hotel while our other friend who was at Disney for the first time stayed to ride a few rides and watch the fire works on her own. She ended up leaving when the park closed and even waited in the insanely long ride for Raging Spirits.  Ultimately it wasn’t that bad. But oh boy, summer in Japan is brutal, especially at amusement parks without much shade.

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Things we did to combat the heat:

  • We took breaks often. If there was a seat somewhere, whether it was in the sun or not, we grabbed it. Usually one person (me) would grab a seat or hover until a seat opened up, then everyone else would order their food or drinks or snacks and then we’d either switch or I’d pay them back.
  • If we saw water for sale we bought it.
  • Anytime we were out in the sun we used our umbrellas/parasols.
  • 50+SPF sunscreen was reapplied when we went to the bathrooms. We even shared with the occasional other slowly burning tourist who’d forgotten some.
  • We all had fans that we got here. It’s a Korean website, so not easy to navigate if you don’t know Korean, but those fans were great. We wore them on our neck and they  blew air up into our face so our hands were free. Mini portable rechargeable fans are really popular in Korea and have been for the last couple of years, however this is the only kind I’ve seen that is hands free and blows towards you. Only note with the fan is if you have long hair and it gets caught you’re kinda in a world of trouble. (I did this at USJ and my friends had to spend a good five minutes in line for butter beer rescuing my hair from my fan) They also do occasionally turn themselves off.
  • At the nearest convenience store/ drug store I stocked up on -3 degrees Biore sheets which are these wet towelettes that when rubbed against your skin make you feel cooler. One of my friends did not like them because it made her skin in certain spots have a burning sensation. Like in the crease of her elbow or the backs of her knees. So if you have sensitive skin, skip these. It’s like a cool tingly feeling that I didn’t mind, kinda like a mint product. If you’re curious this is a the Japanese website for what we used. I literally loved it so much that I bought more to take home.
  • a handkerchief- Whenever I’m traveling and it’s going to be hot I bring a lightweight “My neighbor Totoro” handkerchief that I tie around my wrist to soak up sweat. It’s gross but I hate the feel of dripping sweat so it’s necessity, and it’s better than rubbing my face with my hands, or trying to use my shirt. Plus I can pour water on it and then my wrist is cool for a bit.
  • bring your own water bottle. Fill it up before you get to the park. Some times there’s water fountains but not often. Or buy several bottles of water outside the park to carry in your bag throughout the day. There really aren’t a lot of places around the park selling water or even with water available. I’d say maybe 1/3rd of vendors offer it. If that.
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