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.

Star Wars Pictures In and Out of the Parks

With Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm, there are plenty of exciting opportunities to bring the saga of the Jedis vs. the Siths to the parks.  Disney began this even before the Lucasfilm purchase when it worked with George Lucas to bring Star Tours to the Disneyland, and later, the Disney-MGM Studios (now Disney’s Hollywood Studios).  The addition of the Jedi Training Academy at both parks continues this presence.

Below are a few of my favorite Star Wars-related photos that I’ve taken both inside the Disney theme parks and beyond the berm (click to see larger-sized images):

While I got my first — and only — fix of Star Tours at Disneyland, the full-sized AT-AT and Snowspeeder at Disney-MGM Studios is a much cooler entry point to the attraction than the simple spaceport terminal of Disneyland.

If the Jedi Training Academy had existed when I was young enough to participate in it, I think I would have been there at every performance hoping to get picked.  Can’t think of many things much cooler than taking on a Sith Lord and the opportunity for kids to wield a lightsaber and do a mock battle with Darth Vader or Darth Maul, pictured above, is a nice Star Wars-themed addition to the theme parks.

Steve mentioned going to see a Star Wars-related exhibit where he saw a model of the Landspeeder with a Six Million Dollar Man action figure.  Not sure if it was the same exhibit that I went to, partially because I don’t remember any Six Million Dollar Men on display, but at the California Science Center in Los Angeles, I had the opportunity to go to the “Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination” exhibit where this full-sized model of Luke’s transport was available for viewing.

One of my first Star Wars action figures was Luke Skywalker in his X-Wing Pilot outfit.  I’d also receive a Battle-Damaged X-Wing Fighter some time later.  Rather than my Kenner toy, this is a picture of Luke and R2D2 in an X-Wing on display at the aforementioned “Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination” exhibit.

We’re used to seeing C3P0 in his golden skin — or blasted apart in pieces in The Empire Strikes Back — but it was cool to be able to see him without his outer layer at the science exhibit.

One of the coolest displays at the science museum was one that featured Darth Vader’s mask.  By looking through the back of the glass case, you could literally see through the eyes of the Sith Lord himself.  All those spindles and circuitry doesn’t look that comfortable though.

And, finally, the United States Post Office had a promotion with Star Wars, which resulted in several mailboxes decorated like R2D2.  We were lucky enough to have one installed here in Burbank and I had to pull over to take a picture when I saw it.

With all the possibilities of more Star Wars stuff coming to the Disney theme parks, I’m looking forward to having the opportunity to get even more pictures of two of my favorite brands.

-Matt