Of all the things I could do on Christmas, I decided to go to Tokyo DisneySea! I don’t normally like Disney parks (I’ve been to Disney World in Florida more than enough times for one lifetime) but it just seemed like a fun thing to do on Christmas. While Tokyo Disneyland is the same as all the other Disneylands in the world, DisneySea is only in Japan. And I knew DisneySea would have lots of fun Christmas lights and other Christmas stuff, which cheered me immensely. (As I mentioned in my last entry, Christmas is not a holiday here and everyone goes to work.)
Waiting for the train to take us to Maihama Station (the closest station to Disneyland). Way, way off in the distance you can (barely) see the Tokyo Skytree. Tokyo Disneyland is quite far if you’re coming from west Tokyo — it was about an hour on the subway. It’s right on Tokyo Bay, and is technically in Chiba.
Because I’m so not a Disney nerd, I didn’t want to spend ¥6200 ($75 CAD) to get inside the park. Instead, we left later in the day to take advantage of the “After 6 Passport” which gets you into the park after 6pm for only ¥3300 ($40 CAD) which is much more reasonable! Plus, in the evening is when they have all the cool Christmas illuminations anyway. To kill some time before 6pm, we hung out at Ikspiari, which is the equivalent of Downtown Disney in other countries.
Mike made friends with this alpaca.
Ikspiari is sort of a combination indoor/outdoor mall with restaurants and stores and stuff.
Pretty decorations! There was actually a Santa Claus around the corner with a long line of people waiting to have their picture taken with him, but there were NO PHOTOS ALLOWED so I didn’t take one of him. He was a strange version of Santa though, dressed all in silver and white with moon boots and a stick/wand thing. (I probably should have just taken a photo of him.)
Eventually 6pm rolled around so we were off to DisneySea. DisneySea and Tokyo Disneyland are the only Disney parks in the world not owned by the Walt Disney Company. ANOTHER FUN FACT: DisneySea is the most expensive theme park ever built.
But I’m fairly certain that the park has paid for itself just in sales of Duffy. Duffy is this stuffed bear that was exclusively sold at DisneySea but he is now available in other Disney parks. Japanese people are SUPER CRAZY INSANE OBSESSED with Duffy. I don’t even think I can explain Duffy mania to you — you really just need to go to Tokyo and see it. Duffy is everywhere. This store was wall-to-wall people. It was so packed you’d think they were giving Duffy away for free.
These mini Duffys were constantly being snapped up and replenished.
Soooo… obviously I bought a large Duffy and a small mini Christmas Duffy. I couldn’t not buy Duffy. You can’t go to DisneySea and not buy Duffy. If you don’t buy Duffy, I can only assume that some staff member springs out of the bushes and pins one to you. Everyone (and I mean everyone) had some kind of Duffy attached to them. Duffy is not a souvenir — you must buy him when you arrive so everyone can see him. As we were standing in line for a ride, I looked down the line and every single person had at least one Duffy or Shellie May (Duffy’s girlfriend bear). Some girls have three or four or eight Duffys hanging from their bag. Some just carry around a giant four foot Duffy or Shellie May in their arms. Couples will have matching Duffy and Shellie May bears pinned to their clothes. It is weird. But at the same time I was also compelled to BUY DUFFY IMMEDIATELY.
This was part of the “American Waterfront” part of the park.
More American Waterfront.
We went to the The Teddy Roosevelt Lounge to have a drink. I like how the swizzle stick has Mickey on it. (Details! I like them!)
Duffy waits patiently for us to finish our Manhattans.
A Toy Story ride we did not go on.
We watched some hanabi (fireworks) set to Christmas music.
There’s a two-storey carousel in the “Arabian Coast” area, which is kind of cool. I’d never seen a two-storey carousel before.
Arabian Coast really just means “Aladdin.”
Creepy Aladdin Genie fountain.
“Mermaid Lagoon” (aka Little Mermaid Land) was pretty impressive — it’s for younger kids, but the design of it is very well done. It’s mostly indoors and it’s meant to look like you’re underwater.
See, Mike totally looks like he’s underwater!
I love the ceiling.
Ugh, the level of detail that goes into Disney parks kills me. This is on the monorail that goes around DisneySea and Disneyland.
And of course, Mickey-shaped windows.
As someone who has lukewarm feeling about all thing Disney, I really liked DisneySea. I might have been blinded by all the Duffy bears, but it was fun! It’s obvious that a lot of money was spent on the park and that a lot of thought went into the design. I liked how compact is it — it’s easy to get to each of the different lands, and each one is interesting and full of amazing details.
There’s also this thing with popcorn there. I didn’t try any, but it was really popular. Each land has its own flavoured popcorn — some of the ones I saw were strawberry popcorn, curry popcorn, and black pepper popcorn. You can buy a refillable pail (shaped like Duffy, of course) if you want to try them all.
DisneySea = my new favourite Disney park. (I didn’t have a favourite before, but if I had to pick it probably would have been Epcot in the USA). I’d even go again! (Maybe just to buy another Duffy.)