Tokyo Disneyland Photo Report

On our last Beyond the Berm podcast, we talked extensively about my trip to the Tokyo Disneyland Resort.  I could easily have continued on for much longer than the hour I covered because there aren’t enough words to convey what it is like to be there.  In this post, I’ll be sharing some of the photos I took around Tokyo Disneyland.  Even if a picture is worth a thousand words, these images also cannot showcase the wonder that is Tokyo Disneyland.  Truly, if you’re interested in a potential visit and have the means to do so, go.  But until then, enjoy these pictures.

TDLEntranceThe entrance to Tokyo Disneyland is unlike entrances to the two domestic Disney parks.  There’s no elevated train surrounding the park with a Main Street Station to walk under.  In fact, there is no Main Street.  Here is their version of the Mickey floral and beyond the entrance into World Bazaar.

WorldBazaar2For all intents and purposes, World Bazaar is Main Street USA.  Same types of shopping and dining that might be found in Disneyland or Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom but with some subtle differences.  Notice the lack of tracks running down the middle of the road because there are no horse-drawn streetcars.  No vehicular traffic of any sort actually.  And the most distinguishing feature is the glass canopy overhead, which is helpful on rainy or even snowy days.

WorldBazaar3Another view of World Bazaar showing typical “Main Street” activities of balloon selling and band performances.  Perhaps there is a more elegant way to have a covering over this section of the park but it certainly is unique.  In addition to a straight-away to the main hub, there are also side streets taking you into the Adventureland and Tomorrowland areas.

CinderellaCastleTokyo Disneyland shares Walt Disney World’s Cinderella Castle.  It’s large and impressive, as is the entire Tokyo Disneyland park.  In the forecourt, there is tons of seating for performances in front of the castle, which have to be won via lottery.

SummerFestivalTokyo Disneyland has quite a bit of seasonal entertainment and decoration.  The banners and lanterns were part of their Summer Festival.

SummerFestival2These full-sized displays were quite popular with guests wanting to take their picture in front of them.  I like them because, with Cinderella Castle in the background, they gave a nice sense that you were someplace other than Walt Disney World.

PoohsHunnyHuntI’ve been hearing for ages about Pooh’s Hunny Hunt and its trackless ride system.  It is quite impressive and the “cute” factor that the Japanese love make it a popular ride.  I know they weren’t working with the same space (or budget) but Disneyland’s and Walt Disney World’s Winnie the Pooh rides definitely pale in comparison.

MonstersIncThe other truly unique attraction that is considered a must-see is Monsters Inc. Ride & Go Seek!  The queue for this place was awesome as it truly looked like you were preparing to visit Monsters Inc. headquarters and head towards the Scare Floor.  A cute ride and the interactive nature of using flashlights to activate figures is a nice touch.

SmallWorldAs I mentioned in the podcast, it’s a small world’s entry is somewhat of a hybrid of Disneyland’s and Walt Disney World’s.  There’s the iconic clock tower, complete with marching children, but the flume is inside the building where you load.

NOSGiving more of a deja vu feeling to Tokyo Disneyland is a replica of New Orleans Square, even though this section of the park is in Adventureland.  The Blue Bayou restaurant is like Disneyland’s as it overlooks the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction.  Walt Disney World’s Castle?  Disneyland’s New Orleans Square?  In the same park?  Takes a bit of getting used to.

ROATDLTokyo Disneyland may not have a Main Street USA but they have a Rivers of America as part of their Westernland (not Frontierland).  In this picture is Tom Sawyer’s Island, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, the Mark Twain and the Beaver Brothers Explorer Canoes.

MississippiAnd even though they don’t have a railroad around the perimeter of the park, there is a railroad within the park.  The Western River Railroad goes through Adventureland, Critter Country and Westernland.  It has only one station where you have to board and unload.  And it goes through Primeval World, like at Disneyland, though not the Grand Canyon diorama.

TrixieTokyo Disneyland also has the Country Bear Jamboree, though all the bears speak Japanese.  You haven’t lived until you hear Trixie sing “Achy Breaky Heart” in Japanese.  What was really impressive about Tokyo’s version, as with much of the parks, was that it was in pristine operating condition.  All the lights worked as intended, figures moved like they should and the sound system was flawless.

DreamLightsAnother familiar-yet-unfamiliar attraction was Tokyo Disneyland’s Dream Lights Electrical Parade.  Hands down the best parade I’ve seen at a Disney park.

GenieAnd perhaps most impressive of all the impressive floats was the Genie, whose LED lighting allowed him to turn multiple colors and into several other characters, such as Pinocchio, Mr. Incredible and others.

VendingMachineI mentioned that Japan is a vending machine-based society and to get bottled drinks at Tokyo Disneyland, you had to use a vending machine rather than buy them at an outdoor cart.  This one was outside of the Queen of Hearts Banquet Hall in Fantasyland.  Well themed!

DumplingsWe enjoyed a lot of food offerings available at the Tokyo Disneyland Resort and these might have been our favorite — Little Green Alien mochi dumplings.  The outside is pounded rice and the insides were chocolate, strawberry and custard cream.  Very cute and delicious.

DearDannyI mentioned how the Japanese love their minor characters, especially animal friends.  In a store in World Bazaar, there was an entire display of “Dear Danny” merchandise.  Danny is a lamb from the little-seen Disney movie “So Dear to My Heart.”  The variety of merchandise was impressive, as was the fact that much of it was only available at specific locations rather than the same stuff at every store like we tend to see Stateside.

PrinceJohnAnd speaking of minor, or seldom-seen, characters, Chelsea and I couldn’t help but take my picture with Prince John from “Robin Hood.”  He, the Sheriff of Nottingham and Friar Tuck were all meeting guests at the front of the park.  I loved the Japanese love for these characters.

DuffyMonorailI had also mentioned that the monorails that took you around the resort were themed to different, for lack of a better word, promotions.  Though he’s never really caught on here in the U.S., Duffy and friends are huge at Tokyo Disneyland, as is evident from this Duffy-themed monorail.

TeddyBearPeltsAnd as I mentioned, the seats of the Duffy monorail are covered in teddy bear pelts.  Kathy and Chelsea are sitting on fluffy, furry and clean teddy bear pelts in the Shellie Mae section of the monorail.  I love the themed hand grips too for those that have to stand.  (And yes, the window is a silhouette of Mickey Mouse.)

Again, words and pictures don’t do Tokyo Disneyland justice.  The place truly is amazing.  I’ll post more pictures soon of Tokyo Disney Sea.

Steve’s Top Disney Photography

Following up on Matt’s post of his Top Disney Photography and our discussion in Episode 13 about our favorite Disney photographs, here are some of my favorites as well, along with an attempt to explain why I like them.

Cinderella Castle at Night 2012I had mentioned this photo of Cinderella Castle in the podcast as being one of my favorites. I always like this side of Cinderella Castle, probably because you don’t see quite as many photos of it as you do of the “front” side. Also, I take many more daytime shots than night shots, so I don’t have as much practice with my night shots. So I was happy that this one turned out just about like how I wanted it to look.

Spaceship Earth at night 2011I also mentioned this shot of Spaceship Earth at Epcot in the podcast. Another example of nighttime photography turning out well for me, which it sometimes doesn’t. I always like Spaceship Earth photos, because the huge sphere is impressive to me. And the colored lights on Spaceship Earth at night make it even better.

Polynesian Night 2012This photo of the Polynesian Resort was another photo that I had mentioned in the podcast. To me, the Polynesian is full of great photo opportunities. I have always liked the lanterns on top of the posts near the water, and getting a photo with the lanterns illuminated at night was cool.

Polynesian 2011

I have another favorite Polynesian Resort photo, and it is this one. I really like it for the clouds and the sunset colors which are also reflected in the water. Interestingly, both of these Polynesian photos were taken from about the same location, but I used different lenses on my camera, which gives them quite different looks. And also, they were taken just about a year apart, too.

World of Motion 1992

This old photo of World of Motion at Epcot has always been a favorite of mine. It reminds me of the photos from the official photo souvenir guides that were sold at the time. And I also like how the sun was reflecting off the upper windows. Of course, this photo has a good bit of sentimental value as well, because World of Motion is long gone.

Nautilus 1994

Here is another old photo from the days of film cameras, this time of the Nautilus from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea at the Magic Kingdom. I loved the ride, and I loved the movie, too. And it was always cool to see these large submarines sailing through the lagoon.

Family at Cinderella Castle 2012

Family photos are always good, too. I like this photo of Laura and Jaylin in front of Cinderella Castle because it looks like there aren’t that many people around. Actually, it was a typical summer day that day, but I’m not sure why there weren’t that many people in front of the castle at the moment. But I’m not complaining.

Tomorrowland morning 2011

This photo from Tomorrowland in the Magic Kingdom in the early morning hours is a favorite of mine because of the almost dreamlike quality to it. The light was just right that morning, and you can see that the sun was just starting to hit the tops of the Tomorrowland structures. And also, Laura and Jaylin are there at the right, so that adds a personal touch to it, too.

Cinderella Castle evening 2011

One more Cinderella Castle photo, because you can’t have too many of those, can you? We happened to walk on the pathway from Liberty Square to Cinderella Castle at just the right time of the evening, so of course I had to stop for a photo. The people at the left of the photo are some of those from our group waiting patiently for me to finish.

As Matt said, choosing favorites isn’t always easy, because they can change from day to day. And it is hard to pick just one or two favorites, or even just a few, so these are just a sampling of my favorites. If you want to see more, head over to The Adventures of Steve, where new photos (not just Disney photos) are posted all the time.