^Hummel Boy has no shame. Moving right along . . .
Chapter 11: The Edge of Wetness—Tokyo DisneySea
Our next stop on the tour was supposed to be Fu . . . no! That steaming puddle of yak drool is unworthy of mention here! Let’s say this: Our next stop was supposed to be The Park Which Shall Not Be Named, but since rain was in the forecast and The Park Which Shall Not Be Named shuts down at even the meanest drizzle (Why? Is it made of sugar, or something?), the schedule was shuffled around to a park that can handle a little precipitation: DisneySea!
How to describe this place? It’s about as close to theme-park nirvana as one can get; for my money, the jewel in the Disney crown. Every where you turn, there’s another cool detail, a jaw-dropping view, a little alcove or alley you somehow missed earlier. It’s exactly what a Disney park should be.
Let’s take a stroll around the place, shall we? Through the Mediterranean Harbor section in the shadow of the volcanic Mysterious Island, we turn left and amble through the streets of old New York circa the turn of the century—the park’s American Waterfront section, home of old-time cars and trucks, an electric elevated railway, and the mysterious, majestic Hotel Hightower, better known as
The Tower of Terror—Here we have yet another version of this now-classic Disney ride, only with a new twist; Rod Serling is nowhere to be seen. Seems that the Japanese aren’t familiar with The Twilight Zone, so Disney had to concoct a new story line. Ironically, the new story, with its message of how it’s dangerous to show disrespect for “primitive” cultures, is more Twilight Zone-like than its counterparts in the States. I won’t give anything away but I will say that the preshow is awesome—the best of the Towers! The ride itself is very good, although it runs a weaker program than the Stateside versions (and it uses over-the-shoulder belts—boo!). Overall, it’s still excellent, and, yes, you exit through the hotel gift shop.
Moving along, past the American Waterfront’s New England section, we enter Port Discovery, the park’s “Tomorrowland.” This is probably the weakest of TDS’s lands; I couldn’t get a handle on what it was supposed to be. That being said, it looks quite cool with its futuristic buildings, and it does have two pretty good attractions.
Aquatopia—This colorful boat ride, in which the “boats” roll around through different courses on a submerged platform in a lagoon, looks a bit cooler than it is. It really seems more like a kinetic sculpture than a ride. It’s a much better ride at night, and despite the waterfalls and whirlpool, you won’t get wet—unless it’s pouring rain, of course.
Stormrider—Take a ride into the eye of a massive hurricane in this simulator. It’s pretty good, but one ride was enough (it certainly bucks around a lot).
As you munch your box of chocolate popcorn (well, the corn, not the box, actually), the scene changes dramatically—the intractable tropical jungle of Lost River Delta. This is where you can sample the Japanese version of Mexican food (I wasn’t quite that daring), or experience
Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Crystal Skull—This is essentially an upgraded version of the Temple of the Forbidden Eye in California, only in a Mayan pyramid and with an even more impressive queue, and it’s excellent (our group rode it four or five times, and I think Ryan rode it eleven times in one night).
There’s a coaster credit, Raging Spirits, but it was down for rehab while we were there. However, credit or no, Lost River Delta is worth exploring a bit—we kept stumbling over bits of “ruins” and references to Indiana Jones movies (and even Star Wars).
The mysterious Arabian Coast calls you next, with its towering minarets, winding streets filled with magicians and cutthroats, and plentiful helpings of baklava. Here’s where you’ll find the most pleasant surprise of TDS.
Sindbad’s Storybook Voyage—This was described at the It’s a Small World of TDS, but don’t hold that against it. Sindbad an excellent boat ride with animatronics depicting that do, indeed, look as though they stepped out of a children’s book. How can you not like a ride with pirates, a bird monster, a green giant, belly dancers, and even a catchy song (in Japanese, of course)? It’s classic, old-school Disney.
There was a pretty good 4D movie (with live actors, too) involving the Genie from Aladdin, where they gave you this nifty little translator that told you what was going on in English.
Head back toward the volcano, and you’ll come across the park’s children’s section—the home of the Little Mermaid. It’s mostly indoors (except for Flounder’s Flying Fish Coaster—a credit that we all got), and beautifully themed to an underwater world (with plenty of flatrides, even the Jumpin’ Jellyfish parachute drop, for kids). The Little Mermaid stage show was kind of trippy (if you’re into enormous puppets and women with trapezes surgically implanted in their thighs).
Head toward the volcano for the best land of them all—Mysterious Island, the home of Captain Nemo and the park’s best attraction:
Journey to the Center of the Earth—Nemo invites you to explore strange underground grottoes that lie deep beneath the Earth’s crust. But it’s also the home of Disney’s coolest animatronic monster this side of the Yeti at Animal Kingdom—a huge lava dragon! There’s even a bit of airtime on this ride to go with its psychedelic sets. We rode this multiple times (thank you Fast Pass), and the queue, which winds past Nemo’s labs and equipment, is beautiful.
Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea—This ride is a lot of fun, too, if not up to Journey. You board a mini-sub for a voyage through “liquid space,” which, naturally, goes a bit wrong. This one is most interesting for its unique ride system and vehicles, which make it look like you’re underwater in a dry show building. Some of the effects are a bit cheesy, but it’s definitely worth checking out.
I’ll let the pictures explain the rest.
Up next—DL’s larger cousin
Again, another tempting offer, but I think I'll stick with the . . .
. . . dorks in Disney shirts!
Yes, these are my people! Now, let's forge ahead! This way to excitement! This way to adventure! This way to . . .
. . . wait in line for the gates to open! (Well, we were early.)
You enter DisneySea at the park's Miracosta Hotel.
Attention Kings Dominion--this is a volcano. But our objective was to score some Fast Passes for . . .
. . . the newest Tower of Terror.
Hmm--looks like quite a few people had the same idea.
Whew! This is the Fast Pass line! Good thing we got here early.
OK, let's queue up for Journey to the Center of the Earth. (I hope Capt. Nemo is a member of AAA--although that probably wouldn't do him much good in Japan, I guess.)
I wasn't sure if these "terravators" actually went up or down--but they sure made a lot of noise doing it.
Hard- or soft-core?
From the size of that screw, I'd say hard.
OK, what do I have to do to make sure you drive out in one of these little beauties today, sir?
Maybe I can interest you in a slightly used submarine boat, pal. Only one owner, and just 20,000 leagues on her! Whaddaya say?
Sorry--my budget can only afford the econo-box.
Actually, we couldnt afford either sub, so we had to walk to Ariel's home.
Here's the one credit of the day.
Yeah, it's a cute lil rollerskater.
Look! A silly American man is taking our picture! Maybe he post it online! More to come from TDS.
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