Day 9, Part 1: Daytime at Tokyo DisneySea

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.

Love the post pile effect!

Can you spot Gigantor?

This is where they hold you for rope drop on the Mysterious Island side of the lagoon

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.

Wow—it looks like Patrick finally got a shot of the loading area!

And one of the, um… magma?

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.

The menu at Miguel's El Dorado Cantina (more on that later)

This popcorn cart was serving chocolate popcorn in a Tink-themed bucket

View from Lost River Delta over the outdoor portion of Mermaid Lagoon

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.

King Triton welcomes you at the entrance

I made Patrick take another picture of an adorable Japanese toddler, but it backfired on me (the picture, not the kid!)

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.

I smell another Facebook profile pic!

Layout of the Play Area

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.)

What, no takers?

Newsie's Novelties gift shop

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!

Clam Chowder – ¥600

Clam Chowder – ¥600

Sauteed Scallops in Sea Urchin Sauce with Seasonal Vegetables – ¥2100

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…

Another criminally cute Japanese kid gets hauled off to the slammer!

Wait a minute—this is where we started! Were we walking in circles?


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.”

(Yeah, it was pretty cold.)

“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!

The Model…

Inside the ship

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!

Profile pic!

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!

Click Here for the Rest of Day 9!

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22 Responses
  • Sherry Richardson
    September 28, 2014

    I have really enjoyed reading about your trip! Do you know if Tokyo Disney will accept Disney gift cards? My husband and I are planning a trip in mid-October and I would like to use some gift cards there if possible. Thanks so much!

    • Carrie
      September 30, 2014

      Hi Sherry! Unfortunately, they will not accept Disney gift cards in Tokyo, simply because Disney doesn’t own Tokyo Disney Resort. It is run by the Oriental Land Co. Here’s more info about gift cards. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news…

      • Sherry Richardson
        September 30, 2014

        Hi Carrie! I figured they didn’t accept the gift cards but just wanted to make sure. Thanks for letting me know!

  • Rona Resnick
    April 12, 2014

    What time of year were you there? I can’t seem to find a date. I’ll be there in a couple of ekes and I’ll be prepared for rain and cold!

    • Carrie
      April 15, 2014

      Hi! We were there at the end of March. I think your weather should be much better than ours was! Have fun 🙂

  • Emily Rawling
    March 21, 2014

    Thanks for your response!!! In the UK we generally call them Basalt Colums so I thought you were referring to them as Post Piles because you did not know what they were hehe!!! Lucky you having AMAZING rock formations where you live!!! XXX

    • Carrie
      March 21, 2014

      Oooh! “Basalt columns” is much better, I think—more descriptive! 😀

  • Emily Rawling
    March 20, 2014

    I am LOVING your trip report!!! We are hoping to go to Disneyland Tokyo next year and the info you have provided will really help us!!! Your photo with the caption “Love the post pile effect!” Is a reproduction of a natural rock formation!!! It is the same phenomenon that is at the Giant’s Causeway in Ireland!!! I have been, it is AMAZING!!! Google it you’ll be impressed!!! 8:0) XXX

    • Carrie
      March 20, 2014

      Yes! We have one of those too (Devil’s Post Pile, near Yosemite) and Patrick and I had just been to see it, so we thought we were hot stuff for IDing a post pile in Tokyo—tee hee! We’ll have to put Ireland’s on our travel list.

  • Rienamars
    March 5, 2014

    I just got back from Tokyo last week and I must admit I miss it so much! That’s why I landed on your page! What a shame that I didn’t find out about your blog prior my trip, I’d have saved so much time and really enjoyed Disneyland/Sea!!
    Thanks to you, I plan to come back next year! Keep on writing! Surely love your babbling!

    Riena, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

    • Carrie
      March 5, 2014

      Well I’m glad you found the blog now, at any rate! We can commiserate about missing Tokyo!

  • Ali
    October 3, 2013


    I love your website/journal/blog/musings about Japan. I have wanted to go to Japan ever since I was in my early teens (mysteriously coincided with my first viewing of spirited away). I fell in love with the pop culture and for years I have experience Japan through the eyes of other people. Unfortunately being from a low socio-economic background I didn’t really think it would ever be possible that I would be able to go, that is I dared not imagine it. But next year in February thanks to the generosity of guests at my wedding and my partners parents we are going for 16 days and we are going to spend 3 nights at Miracosta! I am so excited that I have spent every day researching things to do and where to go etc. After reading your post I feel like I don’t even need to go to Disneyland/Disney Sea. You have captured everything so beautifully and I can’t thank-you enough for sharing these images with the world! I am sad that you had rainy weather for your trip, I am going in winter so I don’t think ours will be much better but as you realised looking back at your photos the day is what you make of it. Rain, hail or shine. Thanks once again! Ali.

    • Carrie
      October 3, 2013

      Hi Ali! Wow! That is so wonderful that you are finally getting to experience your dream trip. I think I had a similar experience with England after I discovered the novels of Jane Austen around the same age, and I can tell you, that first trip where you finally see everything in person is extraordinary. Have SO much fun!!!

  • Bev
    June 5, 2011

    I made it to the end. I’ve spent a very lazy Sunday reading. The final day was a goodie, I am not sure I should say much more right here in case I spoil the surprise for future readers 🙂

    • lurkyloo
      June 5, 2011

      Hee hee! 😉

  • Bev
    June 5, 2011

    I’ve just spend the past 2, 3, 4 hours lost in Tokyo with you… I am so upset for you about all that rain. I’ve done Disneyland Paris in the cold rain, and it’s definitely not the same as it is when it’s dry and sunny. I’m off to read the rest of Day 9 and I hope the sun comes out.

    • lurkyloo
      June 5, 2011

      I can’t remember if it came out on Day 9, but if you keep reading there’s a weather surprise at the very end of the report…. 😉

  • Elizabeth
    May 3, 2011

    Those Mythica boats look like Mardi Gras parade floats on acid! LOL

    And what was the deal with that lunchbox looking thing on the one restaurant display? Kids meal? Lunchbox included?

    • lurkyloo
      May 3, 2011

      Exactly! They have all these adorable “set meals” that come in cool boxes or on souvenir dishes. They’re irresistible…

  • Heidi
    October 6, 2010

    Omg – how many times have you guys ridden Jungle Cruise to have memorized all the jokes? LOL. As Will says, that ride really is dependent on how funny of a guide you get… and our last guy sucked. (Have you gotten someone to yell at the natives to hide until the animatronics go down for the next boat pass? Hilarious).

    … Wait, if I *recognize* the jokes, we’ve been there too many times too.

    • lurkyloo
      May 3, 2011

      A-ha! You’ve been caught! I guess it increases the repeatability of Jungle Cruise because you’re always hoping you’ll get a really good guide with a funny spin on the same tired jokes.

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