Thursday, October 29, 2009
Japan Trip: Blog 9
Our last day in Tokyo was a long day.
Tokyo Disney opens at 9AM. The problem is that rush hour on the subway is from 8AM to 9AM. The subway ride we estimated was just about an hour including each of the two connections.
We discussed the situation and decided to leave the hotel around 8:30AM. We would hopefully catch the end of rush hour. We did.
The first train was fairly full. We were standing room only. The second train was even more full. So full that I discussed at “what to do if we get separated” plan. The final train was also full...standing room only.
We finally reached Tokyo Disney. Our choice of park was the DisneySea park. To get there one HAS to take the Disney train system. In the United States Disney trains are free. Tokyo Disney isn't owned by Walt Disney and is only slightly affiliated. The charge for the Tokyo Disney train is $2.50 per person each way! Scam!
Once we reached the park....wow. Long lines just to buy tickets. The line was 35 minutes by itself. Nutty.
The park was way more packed than we assumed it would be. One perk of being at Tokyo Disney....most of the guest were shorter than me....around Kelli's height. Nice.
Our first stop was the “Tower of Terror”. We have been on this ride both in Florida and California. Each of those rides were unique but similar.
The Tokyo Disneysea “Tower of Terror” looked the same on the outside. The line was an hour long. The safety warnings were announced in Japanese, English and Chinese.
Fastpass is a great innovation that works very well at theme parks. In the United States the fast pass line allows access to a ride during a certain time frame. We used it at both Disney parks. The fast pass line/system in the United States is minimally intrusive to the regular line. Not so in Tokyo.
The Fastpass line in Tokyo is like being of a higher class. The regular line is held up and streams of Fastpass riders are streamed by. There was a much higher number of fast pass riders per time frame than in the United States. Throughout the day literally over 20 Fastpass riders were let on per 6-8 “standby” riders. This is what caused the regular lines to be so long and have limited movement.
The “standby” lines in the United States are always moving. It's rare that you are just standing still. Not so much at Tokyo Disney.
Back to the “Tower of Terror”. The employees and pre-show were all in Japanese. They could have been announcing we were all going to die or be poisoned. Kelli and I were clueless.
The ride was very short. Just two quick drops and it was over. Less than 2 minutes. Both “Tower of Terror” rides in the United States are much longer and have more interaction.
After the “Tower of Terror” we headed over to “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea”. On the way we needed a restroom. As soon as I opened a map, a Disney employee came over and asked what we needed. He then escorted us a good 100 yards to the restroom. In the United States they would have simply pointed. Service in Japan never stops.
On the way to the next ride we got a quick snack. The Japanese appear to love hot dogs (lines for hot dogs were ALWAYS 25+ people deep!) and churros. If I win the lottery I am going to open up a Hot Dog and Churro resturant in Japan.
“20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” was neat. Very detailed. This ride line was just 25 minutes long. This ride was also short. A theme was starting. I guess the Japanese like short rides?
It quickly became apparent we wouldn't be getting our full DisneySea experience due to the crazy large crowd. This sucked.
We headed over to “Journey to the Center of the Earth”. The line was 100 minutes long. Wow.
Once again the Fastpass to standby ratio was way off. All the reservations for Fastpass tickets were after 7PM. Too late for us. We waited.
The ride was neat. Once again short. Disney in the United States is just really detailed and engaging. The rides grab and demand your attention. When I get off a ride in the United States I feel totally satisfied. Not so in Japan.
We were pretty tired after waiting in line. Time for lunch. We bypassed the Mexican food (fool me once was enough...there would be no fool me twice!) and went for Chinese food. Kelli was hesitant.
One common thing in Japan is a the “lunch set”. The set is a meal consisting of several parts. They are normally really good deals but allow for little if any changes.
I went for the “Chef Special Set”. Lots of food and options. I looked like a “fat American” as I got an extra appetizer. Oh well.
After paying the excellent service continued. A employee picked up Kelli's tray and escorted us to a table. She then began speaking a lot in Japanese. We were clueless. We just smiled. Again she could have been calling us “stupid fat Americans, thank you for nuking my grandparents”. Yeah.
Lunch was good. I ate a a lot.
Next ride was “Stormrider”. It is the type of ride where you sit in a seat watch a movie while the entire ride moves in sync with the movie. It was pretty neat. Lots of detail. Not terribly short. Of course the line was an hour long. Lots of standing and walking during this vacation.
Our final ride was the “Indiana Jones” ride. After 90 minutes we reached the line. Again if the ratio of fastpasses was similar to what is used in the United States the wait time would EASILY be 45 minutes or less.
The ride was neat. Much like the ride in the United States.
When we left the sun had set. It was around 6:30PM. I had initially planned on heading back to the electronics district. Too tired. The long lines wore me out.
After paying another $2.50 we boarded the Disney train for ONE stop....about a 1 minute long trip...to the front of the park.
Three subway trains later (thankfully we had seats on two of them) we were at our stop.
Each night, before heading back to the hotel, we stopped by 7-11 for snacks for the next day.
Nearly all the snacks and products are in Japanese. We just used the appearance of the items to make a choice. I had more than a few bad choices. The items looked great....but they were awful. Bad. Gross.
I also tried a new beer each night. I was never disappointed in that area.
By 9PM we were in bed. The trip back would be long. That's for the next blog.