Disneyland!

On Sunday I went to Tokyo Disneyland!  It was, in fact, my first time to go to a Disney theme park, which came as a surprise to most people I spoke to.  Here in Japan, Disney is a big deal!  My students constantly talk about having been there, and we are always receiving Disney omiyage.  Actually, that’s sort of how I came to go there.  My friend (who is a teacher at another school) asked me if I had ever been to Tokyo Disneyland (because her students kept talking about it), and when we realised neither of us had we figured we should go and see what all the fuss was about.  So we did.

To be honest, I never really saw myself as a Disney person.  I mean, I like a lot of the movies, but I’ve never been crazy over any of them particularly.  I always enjoyed a browse in the Disney store in London, but I really thought Disneyland wouldn’t be anything so special to me.  I was wrong!  From the moment we got off the train and started seeing signs, we were both dancing and giggling like school girls!  It seemed the Disney magic got us straight away!

It really is magical.  Almost as soon as you arrive at Maihama station you are in Disneyland.  It was a gorgeous sunny day.  The sky was cartoon blue, and we were shedding our coats and gloves immediately. Walking towards the entrance felt like we were on holiday and stepping into a foreign land…

As I said, I’ve never been to Disneyland anywhere else, so I can’t really compare Tokyo’s efforts to another Disney theme park, but I was impressed from the word go.  It was very well organised, and immaculate.  Staff seemed friendly, and everything (of course) had that Japanese touch.  I left with more plastic bags than I will ever need (in Japan you are usually given spare bags so you can give all of your gifts in original bags from the store).  Naturally, a lot of things were in Japanese, but everything was bilingual – some announcements were even given in English first!

It was Sunday, and it was near Christmas, so of course the whole place was totally jam-packed!  I couldn’t even guess how many people were there, but at times we were squashed in and trapped watching parades, and you really couldn’t move at all.  The shops were heaving with people (mostly Japanese) carrying huge armfuls of sweets and chocolates and other gifts.  And all of this meant, of course, that we had to wait forever to go on any rides.  But we didn’t mind, as neither of us expected to go on much really.  We didn’t pay the extra for ‘fastpass’ tickets (tickets which allow you to effectively reserve your place in line and come back later), so we waited in line, in the blazing sunshine, for 120 mins (or so) to go on the Nightmare Before Christmas Haunted Mansion ride.

Even outside the ride there was lots of look at:

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The ride itself was well worth the wait!  The special effects were outstanding, and I still have no idea how they made the ghosts… There was a huge dining/party scene, with dancing ghosts, and ghosts at the table which appeared and disappeared, and it was really well done.  The ride itself wasn’t scary at all – in fact, it was funny, but only because I found it very amusing that Jack Skellington was speaking Japanese!  At the end of the day, when we had decided not to try and go on any more rides, some very kind Japanese ladies gave us their ‘fastpass’  tickets for the Nightmare Before Christmas Haunted Mansion, as they had to go home.  So, we went on it again!  It was good to see it a second time, as there was too much to take in the first time really.

The only other ride we went on was Space Mountain.  I didn’t know anything about Space Mountain, but as we were queueing up I was very confused – why couldn’t I see the roller coaster?  I didn’t realise it was inside, in the dark!!  So even up until the moment when we climbed in and it set off, I was expecting to pop out into daylight somehow!  Haha!  I screamed so much, but it was awesome!!!  I really wanted to go again straight away, although it did leave me feeling a little disorientated!  It’s a very bizarre feeling, dropping into complete darkness, surrounded by stars…

Disneyland was, of course, totally covered in Christmas!  I don’t think I’ve ever seen so much Christmas in one place!  The World Bazaar area had a massive Christmas tree, and everywhere we went there were statues (which Japanese people dutifully lined up by in order to have their photo taken) and Christmas decorations.

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There was a great Christmas singing and dancing show by the castle, which we caught once in daylight and once at night, but it was very hard to get close enough to take photos.  I loved the dancing snowmen though – so cute!!

All the shows and parades we saw were so tight – at times you couldn’t almost mistake the people for mechanical toys!  The amount of work that must go into Disneyland is really amazing.  At night we saw the Electrical Parade.  The floats were beautiful, and my photos really don’t do them justice at all.

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And of course, there was the Disneyland castle, which was just beautiful by night:

It was a really wonderful day and I desperately want to go back again now!  I also want to check out DisneySea, which we didn’t go to.  I hope I can go again soon! 😀

3 thoughts on “Disneyland!

  1. Yeah, I liked Disneyland too, but it was way too busy when I went there this year with waiting times being longer than 3 hours! So I really want to return during an off-season to see Disneyland and Disney Sea!

    By the way: the fast passes are free… But not really effective when it’s really busy. We picked up a fast pass for the Big Thunder in the morning and it told us to come back by 9:45 PM!!!! By then we’d already left the park anyway.

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  2. Oh, I thought you had to have a certain kind of ticket to get a fastpass… I think with the kind of ticket I had I couldn’t get one…

    But yeah, going off-season sounds like a good idea!

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  3. >a certain kind of ticket to get a fastpass

    No, anyone with a ticket in the park can get a Fastpass ticket for the rides. And, yes, there’s no extra charge. If you go back there, you should use them.

    BTW, if you go to Tokyo Disneyland at New Years time, you can see Mickey Mouse wearing a 着物 (Kimono) for the holiday.

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