The Thrilling Conclusion, Part II: Bonus Day at Disney!

When we got to Maihama Station, we RAN all the way to Disneyland station and grabbed the monorail to Tokyo Disney Sea. This is good news for you because it means we only had time to take three pictures…

Our hearts raced as the monorail puttered into the station and ambled out of it.




We dashed up to the ticket booths and… the park was OPEN! Hooray! We paid the full rate to go in at 1:30pm and we didn’t even care! We were THERE!

After dumping our stuff in a locker, we took stock of the changes since last week. Spring appeared to have sprung overnight, and Tinkerbell and her pals were out in force.

Our first stop was Journey to the Center of the Earth for FASTPASSes, but they were, predictably, gone. But we didn’t care—we were THERE!

The line for the gyoza cart doubled back on itself a couple times

This day reminded me of the last day of our honeymoon, when we spent the remaining hours in Epcot just soaking in as much of it as we could before we had to leave. But it wasn’t sad—it felt like we were seeing through fresh eyes! Everything was bigger and brighter and more exciting than before. And I was finally fully in the moment enjoying what we were doing right then.

…And what we were doing right then was taking more &$*#@%! pictures of that &$*#@%! volcano!

FASTPASS-less, we set off for Arabian Coast and got one of my favorite photos from the trip. At last, a sunny day!

Arabian Coast had been seriously sprinkled with Tink & Co.’s spring carnival pixie dust.

I was inordinately impressed to see that the Raja heads on the fountain had been exchanged for Genie ones. Such a simple thing but it made a huge impact—what a great idea!

We kept exclaiming, “They would never do this much retheming in the US parks!”

Because it was so crowded that day, we also got to see the character mob in practice. We’d heard about how people just rush the characters and no one waits in line, but today was the most frenzied we’d seen.

I looooved Daisy’s costume

From Arabian Coast we looped around toward Lost River Delta in search of the elusive Cheesecake Chimichanga! All the planets aligned and we were there during the 20 minutes that Tropic Al’s was open for business and still had said chimichangas. What would they be like? I got in the loooong line. And then I actually spotted some…

What?! Yellow CHURROS? Those ain’t no chimichangas, and you can bet there’s no cheesecake in them! HarRUMPH!

I passed. Instead we shot another popcorn bucket for you.

So Patrick has invented a friendly and one-sided rivalry with my PassPorter co-worker’s husband, who once bragged to us about his wacky Donald hat that could only be obtained at Tokyo Disney. Hence this picture…

How ya like me now?!

Patrick’s serious side

We decided to try Miguel’s El Dorado Cantina for lunch. It was nice to take advantage of this rare sunny day by eating outside on the downstairs deck.

We also lucked into an hilarious photo op…

“Help us… please help us!”

“I heard that, you two!!!”

We split a fajita platter. It was… not great.

“Fajita Trio: Grilled Beef, Chicken, Shrimp, and Vegetables You Can Wrap In Homemade Flour Tortillas” ¥980

As we ate, we were accosted by Japanese duck with a taste for Mexican food… or possibly Cheetos

“You look American—got any Cheetos?”

“Um, Cheetos?”


“Gimme some CHEETOS!!!”

After lunch we walked over to Indiana Jones to ride single-rider and LOVED it again! I even got to sit in the best seat, the one where the giant snake attacks you – whohoo!

This is hard to see, but it’s a feature of the queue. Fun things happen when the light of the “sun” moves over it every once in a while.

I love you, details!

Yes, but do you have unleaded…?

Oh look! Here’s me after getting attacked by the giant snake.

After that we walked back to Araby and got coconut soft serve. I tried the maple custard balls, and that’s pretty much just what they were! But, as you know, ice cream improved them.

I’ve talked about how surprisingly unappealing most of Tokyo Disney’s merchandise ws to us because it’s so character-focused. Well, the brand new spring promotion merchandise was a whole ‘nother story. It was SO colorful, I had to force myself not to buy it all (and I may or may not have collected a rat’s nest worth of the themed shopping bags…).

Unfortunately, I only have this one picture

Who wants to see the overflow queue for Sindbad’s Storybook Voyage?

Regular queue…

We had to go on this again, what with it being among Patrick’s favorites.

In Lost River Delta we stumbled on Panchito and Jose Caricoa (and prolly Donald, but he was so mobbed we couldn’t see him).

Around the corner in Port Discovery we ran into the Incredibles.

We tried, but we had to skip Aquatopia because we weren’t waiting no 45 minutes to putter around in shallow water for a few seconds.

All this was new for spring!

I never want to see live shows at Disney parks, but I’d been curious about Big Band Beat because it features a full swing band. I’m still not sure how the FASTPASS works for this show—apparently it sells out quickly—because they were just letting anybody walk up and wait in line. It looks long in this picture, but we only had to wait about 20 minutes and had no trouble getting decent seats—the theater is HUGE!

While we waited, we spotted the walkaround Duffy again. I still don’t get why they can’t make him look just like the actual bear, since, you know, he’s just a big walkaround stuffed bear…

The Pied Piper of American Waterfront

The theater was gorgeous inside, and a lot like the grand old movie palaces in Downtown LA. I’m not sure we were allowed to take pix in there, and I *know* we were supposed to take them during the show, so… this is all I have…

Patrick only went to see Big Band Beat because I wanted to, but afterward he was like, “WOW!” It was spectacular – there were huge production numbers, a big cast, lots of dancing and singing and swinging! Oh, and there were characters, if you’re into that sort of thing. It wasn’t full-on Broadway sized, but I’d wager it’s about the size of your better cruise ship productions.

Afterward we poked around in more shops to be enchanted by all the new spring merchandise – the colors were so appealing! I may have bought some lot of stuff.

The terraced area is where you can view the lagoon show if you manage to score a FASTPASS

My one regret about the non-hopping park passes was not being able to go into Tokyo Disneyland to get one of these adorable Easter egg-themed popcorn buckets. Some of the designs are exclusive to just one park.

For your enjoyment, Patrick extensively documented the fairy display at the park entrance.

(Sorry it’s blurry—she was moving too fast!)

We went back to our locker to get our jackets (¥300).

Menu for New York Deli

At some point we made a reservation for dinner at the swanky Chinese place in Hotel Mira Costa, Silk Road. But then we realized the park would only be open 2 more hours, so we ditched the dinner reservation and split 3 gyoza at the snack counter on the lower level of Mysterious Island, then dashed to Journey to the Center of the Earth because the wait was listed as 120 minutes (i.e., right up to park closing) and we thought they’d cut the line off. No way would we wait in these kind of lines at the US parks, but when were we ever gonna get here again?

We “only” waited an hour and 5 or 10 minutes to ride it, and it was FAB! When we got out, we saw the line was still open, so we hopped in and waited just 35 or 40 more minutes to ride it one last time. HOORAY!

Oh, yeah. Um, I bought some spring ears.

Too tired to mug for the camera.

Scratch that!

Oh great, the lava ruined one of the drinking fountains—bad show, you guys!

Our last ride on Journey to the Center of the Earth was exhilarating—the perfect way to end our trip! And then the park was closed and we walked out taking pictures the whole way and just enjoying our last time there.

Finally, it was time to leave Tokyo DisneySea. But because we’d had such a full day and been able to really appreciate our time there, I didn’t feel sad to leave. Plus, we had a whole bunch of shoportunities to look forward to!

Since it was Patrick’s buddy Brett O who put the idea in my head about going back to Disney later in our trip, we wanted to see if we could find the spring merchandise he’d wanted but missed because he had to fly back before the promo started. So we were on a mission to find a Mad Hatter-looking Mickey for him. Unfortunately, as with the popcorn bucket, most of the merchandise was exclusive to either Tokyo DisneySea or Disneyland, and all the Easter/tea party stuff was in Disneyland. We decided to scour every gift shop outside the parks and see if we could still find it.

The Disneyland Hotel and the shop just outside the gates of Disneyland were a no-go, but Bon Voyage had a good representative sample—including the Mickey, who turned out to be much smaller and much less like the Mad Hatter than he appeared in the merchandise brochure. And he was ¥3200! For a 6-inch doll! Hopefully Brett O still liked him… We also stumbled on a cache of ridiculous hats, including one that wins the prize for MOST Ridiculous Disney Hat Ever.

Sort of Silly

MOST Ridiculous Disney Hat Ever

I mean, really, what *doesn’t* this hat have on it?

Finally, we headed for Maihama Station to catch the train back to Tokyo. The platform was PACKED, but we chalked it up to Top Season at Tokyo Disneyland.

We should have known something was amiss when the train came 20 minutes late and crept into the station at a snail’s pace. But we managed to squeeze on it with all our bags, standing up in the crush of people. The train moved at about half speed into the next station, the doors opened, and then… nothing happened. After the train had sat for about 15 minutes, people started to get off and cross the platform to the other packed train that had limped into the station. New people coming into the station would get on, but the doors remained open and our fellow passengers began to sit down on the floor. The conductor made periodic announcements, but only in Japanese.

We had absolutely no idea what was going on until the guy sitting next to Patrick took pity on us and explained in English that all the trains had been stopped due to high winds, and there was no estimate of when they would be able to run again! He said that it could be a few minutes or it could be overnight, and that it happened a lot in Tokyo.

It was very eerie sitting on the train as the wind buffeted the cars and people huddled around us like refugees. It was also kind of scary for us because we truly felt stuck out in the boonies—no longer at Disney and not close enough to Tokyo and our hotel. This line was the only way we knew to get back, and we didn’t have friends with cars we could call. Some people were going down to the station to look for taxis, but we kept thinking, “What if we go drop ¥¥¥ on a taxi and the train starts up again just as we leave?”

Finally, after another half an hour, our new friend decided he was going to get a hotel room for the night, so we decided to bite the bullet and pay for another taxi ride back to Tokyo. Except when we got down to the street, the line for the taxis was 200 people deep, and cars were trickling in at a rate of one or two every 10 minutes!

It turned out we were out by the huge aquarium Tokyo Sea Life Park, but of course it and everything around was closed for the night.

Wouldn’t you know it, the one place open and warm and serving food and offering clean restrooms was McDonald’s, and I’ve never been so glad to see one in my life! I got us the dinner we never had while Patrick waited in the line for taxis. A sort of camaraderie sprang up among we stranded travelers. McDonald’s was packed with tourists chatting and laughing, and people walked around in the street outside hoping to catch a glimpse of the next taxi coming to rescue us.

We kept joking that every taxi driver in Tokyo should be descending on the spot to pick up all these easy fares, but it was another 45 minutes before a fleet of them finally rolled up.

One ¥5500 taxi ride later (ouch!) we were safely back at our hotel—and it was prolly the best money we spent on the trip!

Up Next: The Wrap-Up! Using the Limo Bus, Negotiating Narita Airport, and Tallying Up All Our Loot!

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8 Responses
  • matt
    November 14, 2013

    again amazing photos! such a huge article, it must be a lot of work.
    🙂 keep up the good work!!

    • Carrie
      November 18, 2013

      Hey, thanks!

  • Solomani
    June 1, 2013

    I noticed in a previous update you collected Fastpasses. Did you just grab one every two hours then hit them one after another?

    • Carrie
      June 3, 2013

      Yes! I think this strategy still works in Tokyo, and it’s only the American parks that now force you to return within the window on the ticket if you want to use the FASTPASS.

      • Solomani
        June 3, 2013

        Great. Thanks. One other question – did you reserve any of the restaurants ahead of time? Or just visited in the morning for any of your lunch and dinner reservations?

        • Carrie
          June 3, 2013

          My memory is hazy… I feel like I did call one month out to try to reserve maybe Blue Bayou and/or Magellan’s, but we probably wouldn’t have needed reservations—none of the table-service places were that busy when we went.

  • Elizabeth
    May 5, 2011

    Love all the springtime theming…it’s like the EPCOT Flower and Garden Festival threw up in there!

    • lurkyloo
      May 5, 2011


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