I have 400 pictures from our second day at Tokyo DisneySea (and that’s *after* editing), so I’m going to break this day’s report up into two installments.
Day 9 started with a bang, or at least with a “vroom-VROOOOM!” After I woke up to yer typical “Where the H am I?!” hotel-room freak out, my next thought was, “And what the H is that NOISE?!” It was bunch of guys on jet skis practicing in the lagoon.
After a good night’s sleep, things looked much better. It was still cold and rainy out, but this time we were going to be bundled up, and the pressure to see and do it all was gone. The goal for Thursday was to collect FASTPASSes and check out areas and attractions in Tokyo DisneySea that we’d missed the day before. And take lots and lots of pictures…
We did start the day off in the big opening crowd, but it was much easier to do as a MiraCosta guest. They line you up in my favorite hall, the one leading from the lobby to the convention center, and about 15 minutes before park opening, you proceed down the stairs to Mira Costa’s private entrance. Once inside, you can walk up to the rope-drop areas on either side of the lagoon and wait for the park to open. Then you have a head start to the FASTPASS machines for either Tower of Terror or Journey to the Center of the Earth.
I waited at the rope so Patrick could wander around taking more pictures.
At 9am the rope was dropped, and we only had a little way to run to get Journey to the Center of the Earth FASTPASSes and ride it.
From there we went straight to 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, where we must’ve gotten the same loading-area Cast Member as last time, because we were once again ushered to our own car—whoops!
You can kinda see what the inside of the ride vehicles look like here…
On the way out, you pass by the overflow queue, which we thankfully never had to wait in. Patrick was bummed because he couldn’t get any good pictures of it though.
Off to Lost River Delta!
The goal was to get FASTPASSes for Indy and maybe ride it, but they weren’t doing single rider at that point, so we kept going.
At the edge of Lost River Delta, where the path leads either to Arabian Coast or Mermaid Lagoon, is Tropic Al’s, a cart selling something called “cheesecake chimichangas.” Now I’m not a cheesecake fan, but I was dead curious to know what one was. It sounded like it’d be a delicious pocket of fried dough stuffed with sweet cheesecake, but I was pretty sure it wasn’t going to turn out to be like that. However, because Tropic Al’s keeps very limited hours (something like 11am-4pm, otherwise known as “the time we are never ever in Lost River Delta”) and I was constantly frustrated in my attempts to obtain one, it became an obsession! You’ll have to keep reading to find out if I ever managed learn what a cheesecake chimichanga is (and if you’ve actually had one, mum’s the word!).
Today was an excellent day to explore the almost-entirely indoor Mermaid Lagoon area. The kiddie coaster outside did not foster high hopes for this land to be very interesting, but hey, it was warm and dry.
Holy crap, the place was amazing! The rides are all pretty much re-themed off-the-shelf kiddie rides, but the under-the-sea effects are so cool.
We attempted a gag picture…
…but then found a more convincing setup.
The “Under the Sea” musical in Mermaid Lagoon Theater was a walk-on, so we decided to check it out.
We asked for audio translation devices. They’re kinda like an chunky iPhone that displays written translations of the dialog.
You’re not allowed to take pictures inside the theater, so we only have this one illicit shot.
After getting burned (and doused!) by the creaky old Little Mermaid show at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, we weren’t expecting much from “Under the Sea.” So we were surprised and delighted to find it a slick overhead Cirque du Soleil-style show with the production values of Nemo: The Musical at Animal Kingdom—with one big exception: the hilariously revisionist plot.
Should I spoil it? I’ll spoil it: In this version, all it takes is a few words from her pals for Ariel to change her mind, throw over Prince Eric, and decide she’d much rather stay under the sea—which means zero drama or tension but plenty of cheery musical numbers!
Ariel (singing): “What would I give/if I could live/out of these waters…?”
Sebastian: “But AR-i-el…”
Ariel: “You know what, Sebastian, you’re right! I DO belong down here in the ocean with my family and my friends and all these craaaazy beats—hit it! (singing) Under the sea! Under the sea! Everybody limbo!!!”
After the show, we poked around near the counter-service restaurant and the gift shop.
The Sleepy Whale Shoppe is a treasure trove of adorable souvenirs for the Little Mermaid fan on your shopping list.
Ariel’s Playground is one of the most immersive, imaginative play areas I’ve ever seen. I mean, we’re grown-ups, and we spent almost an hour in there!
The very best part is a faithful re-creation of the cave full of her treasures.
After we left, we moseyed over to the American Waterfront to unintentionally keep our lunch reservation at the SS Columbia Dining Room. (I thought our reservation was for the next day.)
I knew Patrick was going to like the SS Columbia Dining Room the moment I spotted the huge Art Deco mural in the entry.
We sat by the windows just inside the door, but there’s a whole other main part to the dining room.
When you sit down, they hand you so many papers to review you practically need a Trapper Keeper—there seemed to be about 4 different menus, plus all kinds of info about the ship and the restaurant.
One of the biggest impressions I took away from Japan is that it’s a magical place where real jazz plays in every restaurant and you can eat seafood three meals a day. This day was no exception. For lunch, we decided to split the clam chowder and a scallop dish.
First, a woman came by with a huge tray of bread and let us pick the ones we wanted.
The next time she came by, we picked the ones we hadn’t tried the first time. The next time she came by, we picked the ones we liked the best of the other two times. And the next time she came by, we realized we could have just ordered a cup of tea and had free bread for lunch!
Have I mentioned the no-tipping thing yet? Another thing we loved about Japan, in addition to the jazz and seafood everywhere, is the absence of tipping. Get this: In Japan, service people do a good job because it’s their JOB—imagine that! We read that you can actually offend people by trying to tip them. Now in the States, we always tip 20% at restaurants and bring bills for bell hops and maids and such, but it was so nice not to always be paying 20% more than the check every time we ate out or scrambling for bills just because we’d parked the car someplace.
After lunch we explored American Waterfront…
Next we hopped on the DisneySea Transit Steamer Line for a soggy boat ride around the park. Another fabulous thing about Tokyo DisneySea is the surfeit of cast members everywhere. They’ve got four of them just to wave goodbye!
I can’t remember if there was narration on the ride, but let’s pretend there was:
“Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome aboard the Tokyo DisneySea Transit Steamer. On our right you’ll see Cape Cod. As we cruise by, be sure to keep your mouth and nose covered so you don’t catch… Duffy Fever!”
“We’re now approaching Port Discovery. If this wind-tossed boat ride isn’t soggy or nauseating enough for you, you’re going to want to come back here later to try Aquatopia!”
“On our left is the Temple of the Crystal Skull. Looks like another adventurer has flown in to try his hand at retrieving that skull, but he’ll soon find out the temple is a dangerous place to be-headed….”
“Coming around the bend here, we’re approaching the beautiful… the marvelous… the back side of Agrabah!”
“We’re now approaching Mermaid Lagoon, home to Ariel, the Little Mermaid who wanted desperately to be human but then changed her mind and lived happily ever after.”
“Up ahead you’ll see the Nautilus, Captain Nemo’s home away from home. You’d think that all his mining and marauding would pay well, but I hear he can’t keep his head above water…”
“On our right is Fortress Explorations, home to Magellan’s Restaurant, named for the famous explorer… Ferdinand Restaurant.”
“And with that, ladies and gentlemen, we have returned to the American Waterfront. On your way out of the boat, watch your head, and if you hit your head, watch your language—and if you don’t watch your language, I won’t know because I don’t speak English….”
Off to Fortress Explorations! The fortress houses all manner of Renaissance-era inventions in each of its different towers, and below there’s a dock area and a tall ship with lots of fun nooks and crannies to discover. I remember drooling over a model of this area that was on display in the Walt Disney Story exhibit at Hollywood Studios a few years ago. We had a blast finally getting to explore the real thing!
These cannons are a ton of fun—they make realistic sounds of cannon fire when you pull the fuse, so you can while away the day pretending to shell the crap out of picturesque Mediterranean Harbor.
A moving, manually operated map of the solar system. I’m not sure what you’re officially s’posed to do in here, but we each commandeered a planet and had a race!
At 2:15 we took a break and went back to the hotel to watch Legend of Mythica. Best seats in the house! Unfortunately, the pictures are not quite as spectacular looking in the rain.
OK, I’m gonna stop there for this page and continue the rest of the day in the next!