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.
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!).
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!
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.
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.
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….
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
You’ll see waaaaaay more of the pool in the next update, but here’s how it looks at night:
Boy, this is a lot of pictures… Patrick must’ve been delirious with exhaustion at this point!