Sean: Though I had been to the Tokyo Disney Resort a week or so prior to visiting Tokyo Disneyland, to visit DisneySea, it was finally time for me to visit my last Disney theme park. This was it, all 12 parks within 9 months. I thought that among the shiny and unique Disney parks I had encountered Tokyo Disneyland would not stand out. After all, Disney’s best product (DisneySea) was just next door. I was pleasantly surprised. Tokyo Disneyland has something to offer that no other Disney park can. Let’s find out what that is!
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We started our day way before opening, queueing to run into the park as one of the first, with the goal of obtaining a FastPass for the infamous Monsters Inc. Ride and Go Seek. We were successful, but in that rush we didn’t think to take pictures. Shortly after grabbing the FastPasses were sprinted over to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, a definite priority for me. I just couldn’t help but be so curious to the ride experience on the 4th and last Big Thunder for me.
This is moments after the park opened. The local audience takes their Disney days very serious, there’s no strolling up at the park in the afternoon (Anaheim) mentality, people are there at opening. The midway queues that lead into the much bigger Big Thunder Mountain Railroad queues are the proof!
The queue, unlike Paris (which is far removed from the main ride) and Anaheim (which is a little more intimate with just the finale of the ride), the Tokyo queue is a big set of switchbacks that offer a nice view of the entire ride. The rock work is different, but much better, than that of Walt Disney World and the ride has a much better look and feel to it that manages to feel unique. It was a great impression just from standing in the queue.
All of the Big Thunder Mountains feature similar layouts, especially the Magic Kingdom, Anaheim and Tokyo ones. The Tokyo version has the intimacy of the Anaheim version, but the grandness/size of the Magic Kingdom one. A very good combination of their respective qualities.
The ride experience is awesome on this Big Thunder Mountain, the views of the Rivers of America are great, so are the views of the nearby Splash Mountain. The integration of station, queue, and classic Big Thunder Mountain Railroad effects are very neat, and it has a very unique straight-down-drop finale that really stands out!
Ranking this Big Thunder Mountain is hard, it has great qualities that it shares with all 3 other Big Thunder Mountains, it is not as unique as Paris, feels a little less detailed than Anaheim, but certainly is a much better ride than Walt Disney World’s, which I think is terrible. Having said that, this installment made me appreciate all of the Big Thunder Mountains for their personal qualities and overall I am a much bigger Big Thunder fan, simply because of how fun and exciting this installment is.
Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain are on opposite sides of the Tom Sawyer Island, and feel like staple attractions in their own way. Being so used to the original Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, I loved the position of these two “Mountains”. You get a great view of the “other mountain” when riding these rides. We’ll get to some more Splash Mountain in a little bit.
Tokyo Disneyland’s Fantasyland is the most classic of them all, still themed to a fair with tons of tents, the never ending colorful buildings, rides and facades are awesome. I was expecting this Fantasyland to feel outdated, for some reason it really did not feel outdated at all. Another classic Disney area you find everywhere, managing to feel unique, charming and authentic.
Since it’s Halloween Time the park’s Haunted Mansion got the Nightmare Before Christmas overlay, the added detail on this installment really made enjoy their overlay much more than the Anaheim one! More on that in a bit!
Remember how I mentioned bright colors in Fantasyland just a few minutes ago?! Look at the amazing facade of it’s a small world. Given that the facade is directly on the midway, it feels much grander and more impressive!
Because there is a Gadget’s Go Coaster we have to ride! This Vekoma Junior rollerskater is nothing particularly awesome and feels similar to Anaheim’s, just lacking some of the intimacy that the Anaheim version has.
One thing that the resort is very well known for is their dedication to popcorn. Not just popcorn you see in the US, but popcorn of many different varieties and never ending popcorn bucket options. In fact, the park maps have special popcorn sections. We tried a bunch of different types, one of which was Honey Popcorn, right in front of… Pooh’s Hunny Hunt of course!
The park is very busy with adding a Beauty and the Beast trackless dark ride, which will be coming to the resort soon, thus the walkway from Fantasyland thru demolish Tomorrowland to Space Mountain, was a bit uninviting.
Oh look! It’s a bunch of people we know, riding classic good ol’ Space Mountain. We’ve got lots of Space Mountain comin’ up!
Instead we went to ride Monsters Inc. Ride and Go Seek first, a very popular attraction that is a Tokyo Exclusive. Alex was very excited to ride it again after riding it first in 2017. It’s one of his favorite rides Disney ever created. I had high hopes.
The ride’s vehicles are awfully small, but the ride itself is fun. It’s quite long and activating effects with your flashlight is a fun and neat concept. It’s like an interactive dark ride you see at other parks, except it doesn’t collect points, so you just have fun without focusing on winning. Perfect!
Space Mountain at Tokyo Disney is wonderful. It’s classic, no onboard audio, a heavy green and blue light usage and light-up rockets that you can see zoom by in the dark dome. The ride is smooth, fast, and overall just amazing. We had several very amazing experiences on and off ride, which we’ll touch on in a bit!
The neat thing about Tokyo Disneyland, which is located in a climate with a monsoon season, is that their Main Street USA was replaced with a World Bazaar, which is a great classic indoor main street with shopping and dining. Hide from the rain and hide from the brutal sun inside this great replacement of Main Street USA.
Right next to the World Bazaar, which features side entrances that provide very easy access to Pirates of the Caribbean and Tomorrowland, is the ride we rode next. Classic Pirates of the Caribbean. Which is much like Anaheim’s, just a tad shorter. It was fun to ride, but with Shanghai, Paris and Anaheim’s being longer and more impressive, this one-drop wonder just failed to stand out to me.
We were in the mood for some good food after Pirates, so we headed over to Westernland for some amazing Tokyo Disney curry. The resort has the best food of any parks we went to in Asia, in particular their curry dishes. If only Hungry Bear in California served this amazingness…
As desert we got ourselves pumpkin and milk soft serve. Seriously so amazing. Tokyo Disney Resort loves to have lots of special menu items, merchandise and theming for their Disney Halloween, and I am here for it!
And with this magical ice cream, unique to their Disney Halloween event, we move to the park’s Disney Halloween Haunted Mansion overlay, and much more, in Part 2!