Day 10, Part 2: Evening at Tokyo Disneyland + Checking into the Ambassador Hotel

After spending the morning soaking up as much Tokyo DisneySea as we could before we had to go back to Tokyo, we hopped on the monorail and got to Disneyland around 3:30pm. We kinda couldn’t believe that the park was only open til 10pm, even during Top Season. But I s’pose if we’d been able to stay later, we would have run ourselves ragged trying to wring every last drop out of the Tokyo Disneyland experience!

Once we got inside the park and took a gander at the huge lines and sold-out FASTPASSes, we decided to just explore the park and shop for Uncle Matt.

No, thank you!

I don't know where Patrick found this, but it's kinda cool!

So… are llamas a big deal in Japan? This stuff was just the tip of the iceberg…

Before… and AFTER!

Along the way, we ran into two of Patrick’s fellow puppeteers, who’d made a banzai run out from Tokyo, and they tipped us off to a magazine Disney produces that describes all the limited-edition merchandise being released. I guess we all were going to miss the debut of some fabulous merch related to the start of Disney’s spring promotion the following week. When one of Patrick’s pals mentioned that he’d love us to pick some up for him if we happened to come back to Disney before we left, a seed of a plan was planted in my mind.

Of course, we had to stop by Swiss Family Treehouse, one of Patrick’s favorite attractions in any version of the Magic Kingdom, but especially in the ones where it hasn’t been given the boot by Tarzan (I’m looking at you, Disneyland!).

I can see my (former temporary) house from here!

We stopped by Crystal Palace to shoot the interior and menu for the PassPorter book. It looks pretty much just like the one in the Magic Kingdom!

"Peace, maaaaaan…."

We hadn’t spent much time in Westernland on our previous visit (which we were still referring to Frontierland at that point), so we wandered back there to have a look around.

Another place Patrick loves is Tom Sawyer Island, and it was fun to see the differences and similarities between ours and theirs.

And then suddenly it all went horribly wrong. We were exploring the fort and marveling at all the places that would have given our Disneyland’s lawyers a heart attack when, moments after Patrick warned me to watch my head at the entrance’s low doorframe, I walked full-speed into the exit’s low doorframe because my doofy hat was blocking my view! Luckily no one else was around at that moment, because I hollered some words that are naughty in ALL languages. Then I plopped down on a fake barrel and burst into tears.

As I was disintegrating, a little girl stepped into the fort, took one look at me, SHRIEKED, and bolted back out the doorway. This instantly cracked us up. I can only imagine how frightening it would be to step into a dark and spooky old fort to discover a ginormous woman in a voluminous white poncho wailing at the top of her lungs.

The Lair of the Wailing Woman

After that I managed to pull myself together, and we staggered off the island as it closed for the night. Patrick kept asking if I could see straight or if I felt dizzy, but mostly I just felt like an idiot for not watching where I was going.

Oh NOW you tell me!

After nearly getting sent to the hospital while trying to ask the park nurse for earplugs, we knew if I went in there now they’d probably euthanize me, so instead Patrick got me a cup of ice at a counter service restaurant and poured it into a handy Ziploc bag. Actually, *I* got the ice because I made Patrick go around taking more reference pix of the restaurant….

This is the Lucky Nugget Café… or possibly Thomas Keller's French Laundry, for all I knew…

So then I was the ginormous woman in a voluminous white poncho holding a plastic bag to her head. We rode the riverboat. I got to sit down. The Japanese 3-year-old next to me was practicing saying his numbers, and he knew more of them than I did.

At least I still have my popcorn bucket!

Hey cool! The settler's cabin is still burning in Tokyo! Now all they need is the body draped over the table… or me sitting there wailing…

We still hadn’t set foot in Toontown, so after we wobbled off the Mark Twain, we continued wobbling across the top of Fantasyland toward Toontown.

We never find ourselves in our Toontown after dark, so it was kinda surreal to be in an unfamiliar (dare I say “Bizzaro”?) Toontown at night.

Huey, Dewey & Louie's Good Time Café

Despite the fact that I was at that moment powering my way through a tub of Honey popcorn procured near Pooh’s Hunny Hunt, we decided to go eat dinner back at the amazingly themed Grandma Sara’s Kitchen in Critter Country.

Beef Tomato Stew with Seasoned Rice Set (incl. salad and a drink) ¥1,400

Seafood and Rice Au Gratin Set (incl. salad and a drink) ¥1,300

The food was… not so amazing. Patrick’s Beef Tomato Stew had three tiny pieces of beef, and my Seafood and Rice Gratin was a plate of rice with a thin veneer of fake cheese dotted with overcooked shrimp and scallops. But at least Grandma Sara had hot chocolate for us!

After dinner we headed to Adventureland to see if we could get on any rides.

As my pal Jensey would say, "Favorite!"

We got on the Jungle Cruise fairly quickly, and even though the guide was speaking Japanese, we still knew when to laugh!

Patrick turned out to be rather interested in the Polynesian Terrace, the site of an impossible-to-book lunch/dinner show. I felt bad for not doing more research about this aspect of Tokyo Disneyland, but characters are not exactly my top priority, and I only had TWO WEEKS to plan, fer cryin’ out loud!

Mostly, I think he just liked the idea of getting to eat someplace kind of like Disneyland’s former Tahitian Terrace restaurant. Next time!

We ducked into Country Bears to escape the cold and found it much better attended than the one at the Magic Kingdom—but we still got right in. The exit area is also way more elaborate than Florida’s. Oh, and some of the songs are in English!

"So… do you have a pin of this sign?"

Back in Adventureland we stumbled on a place I’d somehow missed before but was ecstatic to find: the perfume shop! My collector’s Holy Grail is Dorothea Redmond’s concept art for the former perfume shop in Disneyland’s New Orleans Square (now the crystal shop). It was made available a few years ago through print-on-demand but pulled within a week because the digital file was corrupt, and they never fixed it. But here in Tokyo, I’d just walked into a full-size replica of the place!

I will often buy or bring one perfume to wear on vacation so it reminds me of that vacation every time I put it on again. This time was no exception, although my nose was so stuffy I couldn’t really smell it til about 3 days later.

The Disneyland Railroad was a walk-on, prolly cuz you can’t really see much in the dark! As I think I’ve mentioned before, at Tokyo Disneyland, it’s really just a ride, not an actual mode of transport, because they would have to charge a fare if it went anywhere.

Finally it was nearing closing time, so we ran to the Buzz Lightyear gift shop and then to the Monsters Inc gift shop to get omiyage for everyone and his brother.

So long, Tokyo Disneyland!

Taking the shuttle bus to the Ambassador was totally painless—we only waited a few minutes for one to show up, and then another few minutes later we were at the hotel.

Because we booked our trip basically at the last minute, I had to do a lot of finessing of our Disney resort reservations online. I made and cancelled about 6 different reservations for various combinations of date and hotel before I settled on our 3-resort hop. The Ambassador was the only hotel I could get for the Friday night of our trip, and I was kinda bummed. For some reason—lack of photos online?—I assumed that the Ambassador would be the Paradise Pier of Tokyo Disney’s resorts: a bland, basic hotel with the barest Disney overlay and chintzy amenities. Instead, we found a gleaming Art Deco masterpiece with subtle but Disney-fabulous theming and basically the same amenities as Hotel MiraCosta (although it was the first Disney hotel built in Tokyo, it’s only one year older than MiraCosta, and the rooms are almost identical). Sure, it’s not on the monorail (whose idea was that, BTW?!), but it is close to Ikspiari and feels just as posh as the other two Disney hotels. In fact, Patrick declared it his favorite of all three resorts.

What made our stay even better was getting a room on the Concierge level (known as the Ambassador Floor). One day during my reservation finessing, an Ambassador Floor room popped up that was only about $40 more per night than the cheapest category of standard room. We never stay Concierge in the US because a few muffins at breakfast and a handful of truffles at dessert are not worth the $100+ surcharge per night. But breakfast at Chef Mickey’s in the Ambassador would have set us back more than 40 bucks, so I jumped on the deal.

We were directed to the 6th floor Ambassador Lounge to check in. When we got there, the first thing they did was seat us at a table and offer us free drinks.

Not being a big soda drinker, I think I ordered a glass of milk… and it looks like it had ice cubes in it…?

Then they had me go over to a desk and sit down with someone to check in.

Then there was more drinking back at the table, and then someone came over with our room keys, and a woman escorted us to our room. The corridors look like those on a cruise ship, and each door has a faux porthole.

The beds look so narrow in this pic, and I remember worrying about the size, but I don't recall them being too tight a squeeze…

We got yet another free fruit bowl—it's a wonder poor Patrick didn't get the trots!

This was the only Disney resort that had a desk/vanity built into the hall shelves—nice touch!

In addition to the standard Disney-branded toiletries, we got a set of real Shiseido toiletries and a pack of rose-scented bath beads (I’m guessing cuz we were Concierge?). I looooved my bath.

Hmm… I think I'monna bust out some of that bath gel tonight! Er, I mean, I would if I had taken some from the hotel…

"Must not steal towels…. Must not steal towels…"

In case you're wondering…

Ill-fitting jammies!!!

And what's this? Ill-fitting slippers too?!!!

You’ll see waaaaaay more of the pool in the next update, but here’s how it looks at night:

The view from our room (with zoom!)

Something that we don't know what it is…

Boy, this is a lot of pictures… Patrick must’ve been delirious with exhaustion at this point!

Up Next: Breakfast in the Concierge Lounge and Shopping Disney Till We Drop!

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10 Responses
  • Bob
    December 11, 2012

    I saw your post on Dorothea Redmond’s concept art for the perfume shop, and was wondering if you could confirm that this is it.

    • Carrie
      December 11, 2012

      That is the exterior concept, but there’s also an interior concept that is absolutely stunning. Print On Demand at Disneyland had it for about 3 days before they discovered the file was corrupt, and they never offered it again. 🙁

  • Allison
    November 10, 2011

    Thanks for clearing that up! I might be going with 2-3 others and knowing how big the beds definitely helps when thinking about booking our room(s).

    • lurkyloo
      November 11, 2011

      The cool thing is, many of the hotels have options for rooms with 3 beds in them, so you guys should have plenty of options.

  • Allison
    November 9, 2011

    Just wanted to let you know that I love this trip report! I might be going to Japan next year, and your pictures are making me more excited than ever about possibly seeing Tokyo Disneyland. 🙂

    I do have a question for you: you commented about the beds looking narrow–are the beds single beds or double beds? I would think they’d be double beds as pretty much all hotels have, but I just wanted to make sure.


    • lurkyloo
      November 9, 2011

      Well, the trick is that what appears to be a double bed (Disney calls it a “large-size” bed) is actually several inches narrower than an American double bed, and twin beds (which are a couple inches wider in Japan) are actually standard in most Japanese hotels. We only ran into twins at the Disney Ambassador Hotel. Our room at the Tokyo Disneyland Hotel had an honest-to-goodness king bed in it, and we got two “large-size” beds at Mira Costa. Of course, this all may be due to the room categories we picked, too. Perhaps we’d have been stuck with twins at the other two Disney hotels if we hadn’t shelled out for the view rooms. Fortunately, most Japanese hotels that cater to Westerners (like the Sheraton and Hilton at TDR) have larger beds.

  • Elizabeth
    May 3, 2011

    Love the close up of the toilet controls. Last time I was in NYC I had my teenage niece with me and the sushi restaurant we went to had a toilet like that…she was too scared to press any of the buttons, but I LOVED IT! LOL! I would totally have one if I was rich…

    And what is that white thing by the TV stand with the two holes in the top? Garbage can?

    Finally…last comment. Do you guys let people past when you are taking photos on the Swiss Family Treehouse? Last time I was trying to take pics the people behind me kept almost running me over and didn’t seem inclined to just go on by.

    • lurkyloo
      May 3, 2011

      Yeah, there’s always a lot of waiting and motioning people to pass. Also, I think that white thing is a recycling container. And re: bidet toilets, we actually investigated them right after we got back. All you really need is the seat part, which can be had for as low as $400 for a very basic model. The problem is, they don’t fit older models of American toilets like we have. For a while we seriously considered buying a whole new toilet—and we rent!

  • Heidi
    October 7, 2010

    Carrie, honestly, I’m glad I’m not the only one who’s had a “DO’H!” moment (as you would call it) at a Disney park. The first time I went on the Riverboat, a few years ago, I was running to catch up with Will and my leg ran straight SMACK into the turnstile! 4″ x 4″ bruise, easy. Took over a month to heal. And that’s not even the best part – some odd months later, I did it AGAIN at the turnstiles heading into California Adventure! Same bruise, other thigh. Now, I go through sloooow and careful. (Will got the ticket lady to let me in through the stroller/handicapped gate once by explaining to her that I had a misunderstanding with turnstiles… isn’t he sweet?).

    • lurkyloo
      October 8, 2010

      He IS sweet! And I’m glad to hear I’m not the only Disney klutz…

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