Tokyo Disney Sea Photo Report

After looking around Tokyo Disneyland in earlier photo report, I’m now going to show some of what Tokyo Disney Sea has to offer.

The sea is something that is an important aspect of Japanese life, being that the nation is an island surrounded by water.  Using that as an underlying theme to tie the various sections of Tokyo Disney Sea is both clever and meaningful.  As we continue to lose theme in many of the other Disney “theme parks,” makes Tokyo Disney Sea more than just a collection of rides and attractions.

BTBTDS01At the entrance to the park is a giant rotating globe called the Aquasphere.  While it is an impressive icon onto itself, for the 15th anniversary of Tokyo Disney Sea, they created a gigantic ship with the Disney characters that actually dwarfs the Aquasphere.  It’s am impressive display for a singular event.

BTBTDS02To enter the park, you actually go under the Hotel Mira Costa, which is inside the park boundaries.  There are an assortment of shops on the ground level, making this entrance much like the more-traditional Main Street.  Note that there is more anniversary decor with banners and such to announce the celebration.

BTBTDS03Once inside the park proper, you come across a massive body of water.  Mediterranean Harbor represents the grand scope that Tokyo Disney Sea offers.  Being performed is the summer entertainment, “Minnie’s Tropical Splash,” a 20-minute show that features music and massive streams of water.  Fantasmic is performed in the Mediterranean Harbor at night.

BTBTDS04The “wienie” of Tokyo Disney Sea is Mt. Prometheus, a giant erupting volcano that houses the Journey Into the Center of the Earth attraction.  It is visible from every one of the ports of call that make up Tokyo Disney Sea.  At its base in this picture is the Fortress Exploration, a full-size fortress that is like Tom Sawyer Island on steroids.

BTBTDS05You actually pass through the mountain to get into the Mysterious Island section of the park.  I loved the steampunk vibe of the area complete with Nautilus submarine.  One thing that struck me about this section of the park was the absence of background music, though there was an industrial buzz about the place.

BTBTDS06Did I mention that Mt. Prometheus erupts?  It’s a really cool effect and one that I would be surprised to find in a stateside Disney theme park that has trouble to maintain or a desire for cost-cutting of such an impressive throwaway.

BTBTDS07There was plenty of 15th anniversary decor around the park to indicate that they were celebrating the milestone.  This marker was located across from the Mermaid Lagoon section of Tokyo Disney Sea.

BTBTDS08Mermaid Lagoon is impressive day or night.  Night shots are more difficult, however, because of the ban of traditional tripods throughout the Tokyo Disney Resort.  I’ve always loved nighttime at Disney theme parks and Tokyo Disney Sea delivers.

BTBTDS09Day or night, the inside of Mermaid Lagoon always looks like you’ve gone under the sea.  It’s basically a giant warehouse filled with aquatic-themed attractions, a theater, eatery and shops.  This was a nice respite from the rainy day we encountered on our visit and was a hit with the littlest member of our traveling party.

BTBTDS10One of the rooms inside Mermaid Lagoon was Ariel’s Grotto, pretty much a life-size replica of Ariel’s secret hiding spot in the movie, complete with thingamabobs and dinglehoppers.

BTBTDS11Perhaps my favorite area of Tokyo Disney Sea was the Arabian Coast.  Again, impressive in size, decor and upkeep, it could easily have been a theme park unto itself and yet here it was as only one part of a more massive theme park.

BTBTDS12Under the dome is a double-Decker carousel.  Though not necessarily an E-Ticket ride of its own, the size and scope of it set it apart from any other carousel I’ve ever visited.  My favorite of the ride characters was the Genie from “Aladdin.”

BTBTDS13Perhaps I like the Arabian Coast the most because it was also the home of my favorite attraction, Sindbad’s Storybook Voyage.  A combination of Pirates of the Caribbean and it’s a small world with an ear bug of a theme song, it was a great attraction that everyone in the family could enjoy.

BTBTDS14And though it looks like we’ve gone into some jungle in Central America, it is only the Lost River Delta section of Tokyo Disney Sea.  This pyramid hosts the Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Crystal Skull.  Like several attractions at Tokyo Disney Sea, it shares the basic ride infrastructure with other Disney parks but with its own particular theming and storyline.

BTBTDS15In Port Discovery was the Aquatopia, a fun, little trackless ride that piloted you around various obstacles in the water.  While it looks like you are in deep water, it is only several inches deep.  We laughed at the fact that they cranked the wetness level up to absolutely soak guests in the summer heat.

BTBTDS16The American Waterfront at Tokyo Disney Sea featured two sections.  This one was themed to Cape Cod and was the home of Duffy, the Disney Bear, and his friends.

BTBTDS17The other section was the New York Harbor and was just absolutely amazing in its scope with full-size cruise liners, bridges, docks, etc.  In the background is their version of the Tower of Terror, though not themed to “The Twilight Zone.”

BTBTDS18Probably the most popular attraction at Tokyo Disney Sea was Toy Story Mania.  A FastPass attraction that was out of tickets early in the day, wait times were more than an hour and a half to ride this one attraction that really is a clone of its American counterparts.  Though the entrance through Woody’s mouth is both cool and creepy.

BTBTDS19And back at the entrance to Tokyo Disney Sea was the Venetian-inspired architecture of the Mediterranean Harbor, complete with gondola rides.  This area was home to Gelatoni, an artistic cat friend of Duffy the Disney Bear.

Many call Tokyo Disney Sea the best Disney theme park in the world and it is hard to disagree.  I think I still prefer the original Disneyland and even Epcot more but Tokyo Disney Sea is beautiful, massively scaled and yet intimately detailed.  We only had a couple of hours of non-cloudy and rainy weather, which is too bad because it is a place screaming to be photographed.

Traveling internationally may not be for everyone but I’m glad that I had the chance to go to Japan itself and the Tokyo Disney Resort specifically.  I would seriously consider another trip there as much as I would consider a trip to Walt Disney World at this point.  And it’s been really hard being back to visit Disneyland and comparing cleanliness and maintenance levels, which really are unmatched as part of Japanese culture vs. American culture.

Hope you enjoyed my very limited photo tours of two amazing places!

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