13 year wait is over

Whats worse than Tokyo station in peak hour? The opening of the Disney gates and getting between a crazed fan and their rides 🙂 I had read online that this was quite an interesting scene, and today I experienced it for myself. But back to that in a minute. I woke up today with a cold. That’s what I get for freezing outside last night, but unlike my last Disney trip where food poisoning confined me to my room this was not going to stop me. Staying at the Sheraton Grande in Tokyo Bay (actually the cheapest of all the Disney Hotels) I splurged a little and booked a room on what they call their club floor. Basically its the top floors of the hotel, and has access to their exclusive club lounge for free internet as well as free drinks, but also includes a buffet breakfast every day in their top floor Summit Restaurant. Breakfast offerings were very similiar to what we had while staying in Zao with both Japanese and Western offerings. Upon entering I has the choice to either overlook the Disney parks or the bay, so given my room overlooks the parks I went for the bay. I found however there is not much to look at out there, a few ocean liners going past, some fishing trawlers, planes taking off and landing. Still a great view though, so no complaints. After filling up on a big breakfast I got myself sorted and headed off to the second Disney park, DisneySea. Arriving at 9:30am for a 10am opening time the lines were already long, however I was already aware that this would probably be the case. Standing in the line with many thousands of other people I was surprised to be the odd one out, that is the only foreigner I could see. I think they were surprised too. Quite a lot of groups of kids by themselves in school uniforms, not sure whether the school knew they were having the day off or not. At 10am the gates went up and one by one people passed through the turnstiles with their tickets scanned, however when you have so many side by side the crowd moved very quickly. The mayhem was on the other side; once people were through those gates their legs were running to beat the crowds. After making it through myself after 5 minutes I put my backpack with some extra warm clothes in a locker at a cost of about $4 for a day, only to make the mistake of sticking the key back in to find once its back in the hole thats the end and you have to put money in again. So after another $4 down the slot I headed off to find the lines were already increasing and wait times were climbing. Grabbing my first fast pass ticket which was for only half an hours time, I then lined up for something else. By the time I finished and then also used my fast pass meaning I was able to get another, I headed over to the Tower of Terror for my second fast pass to find it was already up to 4pm, and the current time in the waiting queue was 130 minutes! There is no way I was going to stand in the queue for over 2 hours, so waiting until 4pm was fine with me. I have been waiting for 13 years to ride this one, so the extra hours were not going to hurt. Was only very soon after that the fast pass system was shut down as the day’s allocation was exhausted, so the lesson is get in early for the most popular rides. Spent the day browsing the park and new rides. I was let down by a few; they were ok but I was expecting more. One thing that I am finding good on the rides is every single time they seem to separate me out at the front of the queue and put me in the front row. Not sure whether its because I am by myself, whether I am the rare foreigner, both, or some other reason. Have to laugh getting on rides when they give you all the safety instructions in Japanese, so I just follow every one else and do what they do. I also caught a live band show in the theatre and the entire thing was in English which surprised me, not just the music but the talking too. Not much more to say, not going to give running commentary of every ride I went on. By mid afternoon I was starting to get bored, I had done the rides with the shorter waiting times, and even though I had not done 1 or 2 major rides still I was not going to line up for over an hour. By this time I was eligible to get another fast pass ticket, however all the rides had their allocations exhausted. I will do these rides first when I visit again tomorrow or the day after. 4pm eventually rolled around and I walked straight to the front of the queue for the Tower of Terror. I did enjoy the ride except for the fact my sore back had been getting progressively worse again over the day, so the sudden movements were a bit painful. Will definitely have one more turn in next couple of days. With only over 2 hours of park open time left, and with 60 minute waits still on rides, I decided to call it quits for day. Rather than head straight back the hotel on the monorail though I instead stopped back at the main welcome centre which also has a shopping centre boasting Tokyo’s largest disney store. I was quite let down by it, and yes even though it has stuff under one roof, just a couple of the smaller stores in the parks put together would beat it. Merchandise was quite different too though with 99% of the items not sold in both the park and in this store, yet I still found the stuff in the parks to be better. Grabbing some dinner in a Hawaiian burger joint (refuse to sit alone in a nice restaurant) and also picking up some cold and flu tablets (after trying to work out with the shop assistant the directions) I headed for the hotel. I sat in the club lounge most the night, and even though I was back in plenty of time for alcohol serving, I figured mixing this with the cold and flu tablets might not be recommended.