I’m still a big kid

Was up early this morning and on the train over to Harajuku to hopefully check out some local talent hanging out in Yoyogi Park (see post on 21st January to understand what I mean). It was pretty quiet on the talent front with a guy learning saxophone and a handful of others practicing some drama acting. It was a nice morning walk though with all the other walkers, runners, and cyclists; obviously a popular spot. If I hung around longer and seen nothing more it would be time wasted from Disneyland, so I headed back to the hotel and checked out. With an extra bag in tow I had considered getting a cab, however being a Sunday I figured using the trains would be ok. Wasn’t that a big mistake. Waiting on the platform trains were coming and going (every 3 minutes), with each of them very full. I was hoping one might be a little less crowded than the last, however with this not appearing to be the case I dragged my bags on and pushed my way into the crowd. Luckily it is only an 8 minute ride into Tokyo station where I needed to transfer, however this proved to be just as much fun. Hopping off the first train and starting to follow the signs for the next train line I found it was a 500m walk in the underground tunnels. This proved to be a challenge with people walking in every direction. I have found though that people often move in bursts, so not being in a great rush myself I slowly made my way through and stood to the side when I was in the way. One thing I have found is travelling with bags on trains in Japan is quite difficult. We noticed when we were up in Zao that each day a truck would deliver and take away bags suggesting that bags may have been sent separately to the actual travellers. Eventually I made it to my second train and I was soon out of the city heading out over the bay. Arriving at Maihama station (Disneyland) I headed downstairs and immediately found myself at the Disney welcome centre. First stop was the hotel check in counter who gave me my room keys and took my bags off my hands to be delivered to the hotel later in the day. Next stop was to pick up my Disney tickets, then I was off to the monorail. The monorail links Maihama station and the welcome centre with the 2 Disney parks (Disneyland and DisneySea) and the hotels. Today I had elected to visit Disneyland, and before long I was walking through the front gates. There were quite a few people, but based on the waiting times for the most popular times being about an hour I realised this was a good day. Reviews on the internet say when it is at its busiest rides experience a several hour wait. This is why I have a 4 day ticket, and with my next 3 days being the beginning of the working week with kids also at school I was planning for it to get a bit quieter. Similar to other Disney parks around the world it also implements a FastPass system where you can get a ticket with a time later in the day to come back and skip straight to the front of the queue. As they only allow so many of these entries per hour on each attraction, my first fast pass ticket was for 7-8pm even though the time was still only early afternoon. You can only get a new FastPass ticket after the beginning of your time period has passed, or after a few hours since your last (exact time printed on ticket). What I found though was by this time on the ticket came around all attractions had already exhausted their FastPass allocations and therefore all the machines has been closed up for the day. I was fortunate in one line I was waiting in that a worker pointed out to me for that ride only as a single rider I could also go up the FastPass line without a ticket. I will definitely have to check out whether this is also an option on any rides when I visit the other park tomorrow. I avoided all the other rides with long wait times as I figured I can make use of their FastPass system when I return to the park first thing of a morning on the 3rd or 4th day, and hopefully also with less crowds. What I also found funny is some of the rides with theme music, not all of the worlds translate to English so the songs are a bit of both. One example for instance is the lines “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah, Zip-A-Dee-A” do not translate so they are sung as is, however the following lines beginning with “My oh my, what a wonderful day” are translated. Was pretty funny and put a grin on my face when I heard it. I found for most cases any characters on rides talking were in Japanese (i.e. bits you walk through while lining up), but others especially when music is involved is left original. This must confuse some people who have no idea what the songs are about. Between rides I also managed to do some browsing in the surrounding shops, primarily to find another beer mug or wine glass (or both) to add to my increasing collection. Have already found a couple of new designs and styles, including a wine glass shaped like a cactus, so I might be returning to Australia with a few more items squeezed in my bag. Everywhere you looked there were staff working, however this was just not limited to Disney but all of Japan. Not once did I see an overflowing bin, and any mess was cleaned up immediately with spilt popcorn an example I saw. I was also surprised to the reasonable pricing of food and drinks, for instance in Tokyo you could buy a bottle of Coke for 150 yen (just over $1.50), and even though prices were up here it was still only 200 yen (just over $2). Most public places or events around the world usually charge a high premium because they can. Even buying tubs of flavoured popcorns was only 300 yen, and plenty of other snacks like crepes and hotdogs were all under 500 yen. By the time the sun fell the temperature dropped rapidly, and although I was wearing a jacket I really would have liked my fleecy jumper. I also found the hard way this isn’t a good time to go on rides where you get wet. Crowds started to gather along the main paths and eventually the evening entertainment started beginning with the Electric Lights Parade which consisted of Disney themes floats covered in thousands and thousands of coloured lights which were programmed to change colours and perform patterns which was quite impressive. Now starting to feel like my fingers were ready to drop off, but only being half an hour before the fireworks show started, I figured I might as well stay especially since they have cancelled all mid week performances making this my only chance. After waiting and with minutes to go a Japanese announcement came over which caused everyone to get up and start leaving so I guessed it wasn’t good news. The announcement eventually came over in English which said it had been cancelled because of the weather, but still not sure what part of the weather given there was no rain or wind. With only half an hour now before the park closed, I decided to call it quits and powerwalked for the exit to get in front of the crowds. Back on the monorail I jumped off at the hotels station and boarded an awaiting bus to the hotels front door. I was aware the hotel was walking distance, however I didn’t realise as soon as the bus pulled away from the station it turned into the hotel driveway. The few minutes I waited on the bus for it to leave and I could have walked, but at least it was out of the cold. Already having my keys I headed straight upstairs and found my bags in my room. Being on the 11th of 12 floors of the hotel (club floor) the view over the parks is not bad, however there is a car park between us which adds a little distance. Being on the club floor it also provides me free access to the club lounge which provides me with free drinks and snacks along with other services, but with alcohol only being served until 9pm and me arriving a few minutes after I had to live with a coke. I am looking forward to visiting the DisneySea park tomorrow given it has the Tower of Terror ride which I have always wanted to ride, but with nobody wanting to go with me 13 years ago when we were at DisneyWorld in Florida which resulted in me skipping it, then being confined to the room with food poisoning 3 years ago at Disneyland in Paris, tomorrow I should finally be able to cross this off my list.