Thursday, February 24, 2011

Tokyo Disneyland

We recently went to Tokyo Disneyland with friends Michael and Momoe. We actually willingly got up at 6am (!!!) and headed out by train. We were not the only ones.
Although things from the JR station looked a little unfamiliar...
...that changed as soon as we got inside. I remember those pointy blue spires...
First thing we did, of course, was run to space mountain and get our fast pass ticket. I thought this was a new and incredibly creative way to deal with large crowds and was unique to Tokyo Disney, but my brother informs me that the California branch has done the same thing. Guess it has been a long time since I've gone.
So what IS different about Tokyo Disney? This was my big question. I urged the crew to go on It's a Small World with me first thing in the morning. Surely Japan wouldn't use the same stereotypical, borderline racist, iconography as the old US version, right? Particularly for the Asian nations, right?
They did. Actually, if I am not mistaken, this ride is an EXACT replica of the US version...
...down to the last laughing hyena and dutch wooden shoe.  Oh, but just as we were leaving, the last couple refrains of the monotonous "It's a small world" song turned into Japanese.  Ok, so I will be able to find some differences here, but they may be subtle.
For instance, tell me this Pooh ride doesn't exist (with that spelling) in the States. It can't, right? I really wanted to go on this one actually because I thought it might be a Tokyo-only ride, but the line was 70 minutes long when we approached. I'm not THAT interested in Pooh, or his "Hunny".
Entering this part of the park seriously made me want to go back to New Orleans.
We decided to go to the Blue Bayou restaurant for lunch. To properly set the mood, they greeted us with "Konbanwa" (good evening) even though it was like 11:00 in the morning. The food wasn't very true to the Big Easy, but it was nice to watch the Pirates of the Caribbean boats float by and the fireflies dance around.
The Jungle cruise ride was exactly the same too, but it was kind of fun hearing it all go down in Japanese, including the faux panic and gunfire at the angry wooden hippo.
Since it became clear quite early on that just about everything at Tokyo Disneyland was the same as in the US, I spent the rest of the day focusing on the differences. At least as I perceived them. For instance, I don't recall seeing grown, fashionable 20-somethings in the States going crazy with the furry ear hats.
I'm told that going on a date to Disneyland here is a big step in a relationship. This couple above must be experiencing a big moment there with their matching tigger hats. They look delighted, don't they? And is that a teddy bear purse that he has?
Lots of photo ops.
Whole crews in matching hats.

And popcorn was a super popular snack. I can't imagine that this soy sauce and butter flavored popcorn is available back home. We also had caramel popcorn and curry flavored popcorn (we took it as our personal mission to sample every available concession).
We saw a parade,...
a pair of mini-Minnies,
a stroller parking lot, complete with at least two paid attendants to keep those strollers in orderly lines,
and another employee trying to drum up business, if you will, for the concession stand to his right. What is in his hand you ask?  A turkey leg. Teriyaki chicken legs were also available on the other side of the park. 

I also saw this. Her fashion style is apparently a perfect example of Mori girl, or forest girl. 
And just before we left, we saw this family of leopards (can you find all five?)

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