Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Tokyo Disney Land - this is LOVE

This might be my last big Disney weekebnd with both parks (although I will be back to Land in 2 weeks) but this was my last trip with Josh, and so it was a bit sad - we shall have to do DisneyLand Paris once we move to Europe in 2 more months - and of course, we will both be in Florida, but seperately. It was just nice to get some photos of him and I - our last few big trips are behind us and this is probably the last one together!
I find Disney incredibly romantic personally - a little manufactured - but fairy tale like, and thats what I like. Our great friends Sophie and Russ got engaged the night before at Tokyo Disney Sea, so we went to take photos of them and their ring, and Sophie snapped a few of Josh and I in our matching navy V necks! When she said "Do something romantic!", he proceeded to put his hand on my head, and this is the photo that resulted! I love how we are in front of Cinderellas Castle, and I love how it is decorated for "Happiness Year", or the 30th Anniversary since the Park opened. There were special balloons everywhere, and I got so many special limited edition 30th year sovineers too. It was a wonderful trip - possibly the best I have had all year and definitely, while it might not be so Japanese, the park has its own Japanese feel to it - the way the characters are idolised, to the matching outfits, to their obsession with Duffy and keychains on their bags - this place is somewhere special to me. Because really, Disney is the same all over the world - and thats why its so wonderful!

Tokyo Disney Sea - Tomorrow Land

One of my favourite areas - and the new ride is here too! Star Tours just opened at Tokyo Disney less than 2 weeks ago (which is coincidentally why Sam and I will go again in 2 weeks). It was packed, but we managed to get a fast pass and ride it all together once. Sophie went to grab fast passes while we were in the line - and they let her right back in the line - and she came bearing Honey Popcorn from near the Winnie the Pooh ride! So, thankfully the line didnt get too boring!

Tokyo Disney Land - Frontier Land

I really regret not being able to ride Thunder Mountain - but we simply just ran out of time! I love that Wild West area though - its a cross between rustic - and super clean, wide Japanese street! It is so classic Disney that I just love it! And everytime we walked by the Country Store, I was reminded of Josh and Julianne in Davey Crockett hats!

Tokyo Disney Land - The Tiki Room

The areas around Tokyo Disney Land arent the most distinct - and there is an area around the Louisiana/ New Orleans section which fades into the Hawaii Tiki area. And this is where we found Baloo. The woman working with him seemed excited that we actually knew who he was - and even more - what movie he was from (aparently the Japanese patrons just dont care!) but we had to have our photo and it turned out super cute in our matching outfits!

Tokyo Disney Land - Toontown

I am at Tokyo Disney Sea a lot more often than Tokyo Disney Land, so I was really excited to get to do both parks in one weekend! We chose to do Disney Land on the Sundayin hopes that we could get it all done in the morning, before we headed home in the afternoon. I actually hadnt been to Tokyo Disney Land since the summer when we went with David and Julianne for my birthday! I also discovered that I had never been to ToonTown! I remember going in Hong Kong, and in Orlando too, but when I was a littl kid. I guess it is full of little kids rides, but it also is where you go to meet all the characters! I didnt want to wait in line, so instead made everyone walk through the area, and we took photos in front of all the houses. My favourite was Chip and Dales Tree House. I think it looks like its Josh and my new house instead! We climbed all through the houses, and took lots of funny pictures, like these lamp post ones. People thought we were hillarious (and we certainly are!) but I took a lot of pictures of the funny postboxes and the corn potage popcorn they have there! (We certainly didnt try the corn potage popcorn either!) I think my favourite photo from the whole trip is the one with me driving Goofys car! I look delighted, while everyone else looks like were crashing and its a pretty funny photo - with my pretty funny friends!

The night view from the Hilton

We said goodbye to Tokyo Disney Sea (maybe for the last time while we live here) and headed back to our hotel. The Hilton was in Shinjuku, right next to Shinjuku Park, and from the 35th floor, its a pretty nice view. We were lucky enough to have Executive Lounge access, so we went up a few floors and had a quick drink when we got in, before headed to bed (still relatively late) because we had another early morning at Disney on the Sunday!

Tokyo Disney Sea - The entrance

Right outside the main entrance to Tokyo Disney Sea is a large, Aqua Globe. They often decorate it for certain holidays. This year, is the 30th anniversary of the sister park, Tokyo Disney Land opening. Its a big deal - and makes me feel pretty old - as it was pretty new when I first lived in Japan in 1990 and went there! Its called the "Happiness Year", so theyve decorated a lot of the parks, and have special activities and shows, which are related to the 30 year anniversary, and of course a lot of special souvineers you can buy. So this time, in front of the Aqua Globe, there was a light up Mickey and Minne!

Tokyo Disney Sea - Trolley Park

One of the newest additions to the park since I last visited in October was the Toy Story Mania ride, which is in the brand new Trolley Park town area. Its based on the same ride as the one in DisneyLand in Orlando, but the area is themed a lot differently from what I remember. This area is right next to Tower of Terror and actually really small! I went in during the day - but at 8am, opening time, the line was already several hours long - so instead I went in at night to take photos. Disney Sea isnt very well lit - its got very natural lighting rather than bright and safe(like you would find in America) and the Trolley Park just is hugely lit by bulbs all over the roofs and every possible surface! It looks really impressive and so nice at night! It seems really small - for what they could have built - but it seemed to be really popular - and a good way to bring Toy Story into the park - especially as they brought cute little green alien dumplings as the snack in that area!

Tokyo Disney Sea - The Orrery

I do love all of Disney - every single section of it - but nothing makes me as happy as the Orrery. It is literally the most beautiful room I have ever seen. I just sat and stared at it for a while, just listening to the music and just enjoying being there. It was a nice break from the walking around and the fast busy pace of the park and a chance to just be alone. If I could take some part of what I have seen in Japan - I really would take that home - even though its not very Japanese at all! You can play with the planets - but the best thing is the beautiful lighting, the constellations on the ceiling and the great Gregorian Chants. I discovered it only a year ago - and each and every time I go back and seek it out in one of the castle turrets where it is hidden away. Simply put: it is beautiful.

Tokyo Disney Sea - Arabian Coast

Usually I never really spend any time riding any rides in the Arabian Coast section - or eating curry or the curry flavoured popcorn they have there. Instead, we often walk through it and just take pictures.
This time, however, we rode the Sinbad ride, as Russ really likes it. Its a similar idea to the "Its a small world" ride in that you go around on a little boat watching animatronics sing to music. Like the Disneyland attraction, its pretty catchy! One place we always stop however is at the giant Tiger and at the Camel. You can see that Josh and I had matching outfits - and Sophie and Russ and Josh and I all had the same matching Pixar and Disney shirts! Very snazzy! We love that camel - and have so many dorky photos - some from our visit in October are on my wall at home, and I just love them!

Tokyo Disney Sea - New York

Maybe this place is where the most iconic part of the "Sea" part is - the giant cruise liner! Its based on 1920s-1950s New York - lots of rustic buildings and side streets - and its just a really fun, open area near the front of the park. Its also where Tower of Terror, my favourite ride is. We all got to ride it together, and made a YMCA shape! It was pretty cute! There were these cool cars you could drive around in - or ride around in - but Josh got to ride the taxi one - he thinks he looks pretty cool! Hehe! They also have my favourite thing about Disney Sea here - the apple cinnamon popcorn - which is to die for!

Tokyo Disney Sea - Meditteranean Harbour

One of the largest parts of the Disney Sea park is the Meditteranean Harbour area, which is right as you come in. It is basically a full scale model of Venice. I usually spend hours here just taking pictures. This is where all the nice shops are, some great Italian restaurants, a Gelato shop, and even a hotel you can stay in! I never thought there were any rides really there - instead it was more of a stage for the shows - but actually you can take a gondola around the main laggon area in the centre. We were waiting for Russ and Sophie to watch a show, so Josh and I went over and managed to time it perfectly for the gondollas first opening of the day. So we got to take a really nice, leisurely boat ride along the canals up to the main laggon, where you could see the whole main park. It was ncie to get a different view of the park too! Lots of people waved at us, and the gondalier man sang in Italian, so it was pretty lovely! It is seriously easy to understand why this theme park was the most expensive theme park in the world to build. The attention to detail, and the little asthetic parts (which are my favourite) may not be neseccary but are certainly amazing.

Tokyo Disney Sea - Mermaid Lagoon

Another one of my favourite areas (maybe all of them are my favourite), but this one specifically reminds me of my Daddy, as we spent a lot of time when he visited Tokyo Disney Sea with me last year in May. I love the colourful detailed mosaic walls all around Tritons Kingdom - but I especially love the inside of Tritons Kingdom - its like an indoor play area and night club all in one - everything glows and is lit up and it really does feel like you are under the sea! I love all the details there too! We ate a heck of a lot of popcorn in this area - mainly because it was sea salt flavoured!

Tokyo Disney Sea - Cape Cod

My visit to Tokyo the week before hadnt been particularily productive - and actually,I found myself a bit bored with Tokyo! I needent have worried, as only 4 days later, I was back on Shinkansen to Tokyo. I was very happy that when it stopped in Shin-Osaka, Josh got on and we could ride the rest of the way together. We luckily got to stay at the Hilton in Tokyo - a superb hotel that is very luxurious - and strangely enough, only one of 2 Hiltons in the entire Metropolis! The next morning, we got up bright and early and headed over to DisneySea - one of my favourite places on Earth! One of my favourite areas there is the Cape Cod section, modeled right after the American waterfront village. This is the home to Duffy - and I was really excited to try this mochi fruit cream filled Duffy shaped head thing! That is one of my favourite things about Tokyo Disney - all the themed food!

Asakusa - home of the Giant Red Lantern

I remember, back in October 2011, taking a photo with Shelby in front of the giant red lantern in front of Asakusas temple gate. In the morning, we got breakfast and headed out on our ways, but we stopped quickly for a photo! My day in Tokyo was pretty short lived, we made a brief stop in the Gundam Cafe in Akihabara, and then I was back on my way to Osaka, to stop for a few hours to have dinner with my Josh!

Back at Asakusa at night

We made the long trip back to Tokyo, and again I slept really well. We stopped and did a little shopping at the giant shopping mall which is underneath Tokyo Sky Tree. I think that mall is really nice and I introduced Sam to the wonder that is Coldstone ice cream! It was super yummy! After going back to the hotel, and freshening up, we went back to Asakusa temple to take some photos. I havent been there since October 2011, which seems a really long time now. It was just as pretty as I remembered!

A rainy day in Nikko

I finally made my way back up to Tokyo - the first trip since March, and was so happy to see Sam! She had booked us into a super cute twin room which was more like my dorm at Moreton than I care to admit! We got up early and headed on the long train to Nikko....well, I slept the entire way and some nice old men woke Sam up to ask if we needed to change trains at the intersection station. It was pretty sweet of them! Finally, we arrived, got the correct bus, and headed up to the temple areas. It was just pretty drizzly all day, but in the morning, it was very light and we could do without umbrellas. All the temples were really beautiful, covered in intricate carvings and pretty colours. Even in the rain they stood out! We didnt stay too long, just enough to see the temples and grab some bannana pancakes from a food truck with a vendor from Hagi! Pretty small world!