As a bit of backstory, since there’s no way you’d know this about me, is that I have always been secretly, massively into the Disney theme parks, despite never having been to one in my life. There was a Disneyland promo video at the end of my Lion King 2 VHS and you can bet that I watched that movie more than I otherwise would have, just to watch that promo again and again. I've read up on the development and history of the parks, find Disney himself a very fascinating figure, and subscribe to way too many Disney travel and park blogs. So yeah, the idea of going to a Disney park has always been something I've wanted to do, but never really thought was feasible. But then, of course, we started talking about Japan and I tentatively asked James if perhaps, maybe, we could spend a day at Tokyo Disneyland even though it was a short trip? And he, being wonderful and knowing how much it meant to me, said of course!
We made a leisurely start to the day and after breakfast left the hotel a little before 11AM. Being a Disney nut, I had contemplated making one of those super efficient park itineraries and getting there for opening, but had decided that I'd rather just have an organic first Disneyland experience. And besides, we were still tired so sleeping in was a priority!
We took a train to Tokyo Station, and on the train was a young man playing a game on two phones at the same time! We were both very impressed. Other than that, the train to Tokyo Station was uneventful. But oh my goodness, it took us a good ten minutes to walk from our arrival platform to the one where we would transfer to a train to Maihama - Tokyo Station is huge! There were some massive escalators and moving paths like at airports to make the literally nearly a kilometre journey easier but still, it was intense.
On the plus side, we saw our first food vending machine - it sold icecream!
Then we were on the train to Maihama, and soon enough we disembarked and Disney time began because the station itself had lots of Disney posters and other theming!
I put on my ears (which a coworker bought for me when she went to Walt Disney World last year) and grabbed James for a selfie. I was getting so excited already ^__^
We did have a bit of a problem trying to exit the station - something that had happened before as well...James's Pasmo card stopped working! We were able to get through by talking to a staff member but it was baffling. We figured it was probably somehow due to storing his Pasmo card in his phone case but oh well. We were through the gates and I could see Disneyland in the very near distance!
It was drizzling on and off but we decided to walk anyway rather than catching the monorail. So soon (and hardly damp at all) we reached the first gate! Of course, James being the lovely man he is took lots of photos for me.
Then we walked through to the next gate, the green gate, and I was overflowing with excitement. I looked at the four cardinal statues, squeed internally, and we frolicked on down the walkway. Well, frolicked, then paused for me to admired more statues, frolicked, admired, and so on ^__^
It was so amazing to walk past the Disneyland Hotel and up to the ticket gates, I really can't communicate my excitement. We waited in line for a couple of minutes, bought our tickets, and passed through security. And then...we were there!
I looked at the map to get my bearings, and we took a photo of our guides and tickets. Then we walked into the World Bazaar...and I cried. Legit, we started walking and and I had to pull James off to the side so I could get a hug and cry onto his shoulder. I was just so damn happy and overwhelmed.
After I was ready to move on we walked about two steps before stopping to listen to this saxophone quartet for a little while.
But then we moved on, barely giving the World Bazaar any attention, because beyond it I could see the castle!
Once we were outside, James played photographer for me again and I'm so happy to have these photos. I was there, guys! I was there ^__^
I decided to take us to the left, and we just wandered, looking at everything. As it was April, the park was decorated for Easter, which was super cute.
We walked by the Jungle Cruise and saw that the line was short, so we decided to queue up! I really love the theming of the queue area and we both got pretty excited watching the boats come in as we got closer and closer.
A cast member also noticed James's shirt (he was wearing the Vegeta one again) and gave him a big smile and "kamehameha", which was great! And then it was time to board our boat, the Orinoco Idae.
I really enjoyed the Jungle Cruise, though obviously we did't understand the skipper's monologue. But she was fun and enthusiastic so it was enjoyable nevertheless, and I loved all the animatronics. It was fun trying to figure out the mechanics of the ride as well, James and I spent a lot of time at Disney discussing how we thought the rides worked. It was fun!
With our first ever Disney ride done, it was time for a quick bathroom break and snack. I unashamedly loved every toilet in Disneyland - these ones continued with the Adventureland theme! With business taken care of, we headed to a food vendor called Squeezes...and saw Baloo nearby on the way! I got an icecream and James got a juice, and then we went straight into the queue above Jungle Cruise, because was the Western River Railroad and I had to go on it.
Like with how my love of Disney Parks is something that is real, but not evident on this blog, so is my love of trains. I really like trains. So there was no way I was not going on a Disney train!
Confession time: When we boarded our train carriage and were waiting for the ride to start, I cried again. Why? Because it only just hit me that this was also James's first time at a Disney Park, and that our first times were together. This realisation was just too wonderful for my fragile human eyeballs to contain ^__^
I loved this ride as well - it was different to what I was expecting (especially the bit with the dinosaurs!) and it was really cool to see a new angle of the park, especially Big Thunder Mountain!
In fact, seeing so much of Big Thunder Mountain led to us deciding to go there next! I'm a super scaredy cat with roller coasters, so this was a big thing for me! So we wandered over (passing Woody on the way) and since the posted wait time was only 30 minutes that was that - we were going on! We took a commemorative queue selfie ^__^
I have to say, the queue for Big Thunder Mountain was really sneaky. It went through several different rooms and levels so you kept thinking you were almost there when you weren't. Physiologically effective, but also a bit annoying. But the half hour wait time was accurate and soon we were able to board our runaway train.
James had hoped to film this ride with our GoPro, but got asked to put it away, which was a bit disappointing. However, that allowed him to enjoy my screams and squeals in real time all the more. I had a lot of fun but it was really freaky!
Also, James proved himself to be a total ninja. At the start of the ride he put his arms up, and in doing so knocked his glasses off his face. Which he caught midair as they flew out of the ride vehicle. Talk about insane reflexes!
After such an intense ride it was time to sit down, and also grab some lunch since it was now 2PM. So I consulted our map and led us to Grandma Sara's Kitchen, because they served a low-allergen menu that would be safe for James. However, ordering it without speaking any Japanese was a bit of a challenge. When I did my usual "point and smile" routine, the cast member taking orders instead had to call over some kind of manager, who searched for allergens on a tablet and got me to confirm the selection. I was kind of confused at this point as to what, exactly, we were ordering, but in the end it all turned out fine and we got the advertised low-allergen meal. But it was a bit of an experience!
With food secured we found a table and enjoyed our lunch. Unfortunately, it was took dark inside to take food photos so you'll just have to trust me when I say it was a pretty decent lunch ^__^
We left Adventureland and meandered into Fantasyland, and decided to go on the Snow White ride because the wait time was 20 minutes, which seemed short! The ride was kinda creepy, I'm glad we did it but I have no desire to repeat it. Then we went over to the Haunted Mansion, which had an even better 13 minute wait.
The queue area for Haunted Mansion was really pretty, I think they did a great job. Here are a few of my favourite bits!
And oh my goodness, the Haunted Mansion ride was so much fun! I think it was my favourite ride (sorry, everything train-based) that we went on and I really want to go on it again. I mean, I want to do everything again, but this most of all!
At this point, it looked like a parade was going to start soon, but we weren't too interested and were getting hungry again, so we went into the nearby Queen of Hearts Banquet Hall for lunch 2.0. What can I say, I'm a hobbit at heart! This place also made me really nostalgic - I had forgotten how much I loved Disney's Alice.
After we'd eaten and rested for a bit, we came out again to find out that the parade was indeed happening. It had just moved on from our vicinity, but we could see and hear it parks a little further down. So instead of crossing Fantasyland, we decided to go through the castle.
Once we were through, we saw that the parade was parked in a full semi-circle around the front of the castle. It was cool to see how big it was (and the song was starting to get into my head) but we didn't really want to watch it, so we went back through the castle and headed to Toontown. I appreciated how well organised all the cast members were in keeping the route the parade would shortly come through clear, and how well all the visitors complied with their direction!
We wandered Toontown for a bit and took some photos. James is adorable and I was also really enjoying the Easter decorations.
However, when we went to leave I realised that Toontown didn't really lead into any of the other lands - there was one way in and out, and it was currently blocked by the parade! So we did end up watching a bit of the parade, which is called Usatama on the Run, from a bench a little ways back from the parade route. It was cute, and the song really, really got stuck in my head this time!
We were both pretty exhausted by this point, so we decided to head back to the World Bazaar via Tomorrowland and do any rides that had a short wait on the way. To my absolute shock, we went by Star Tours and saw a posted wait time of five minutes! So of course, into the queue we went.
I loved the queue area for Star Tours, it really was like a futuristic, alien port. However, the ride itself made me motion sick, and James's seatbelt really cut into his gut on some of the movements, so we both left the ride feeling pretty off. It was good we were already planning to leave, but it did mean we ended up leaving with no further detours, except to take some more photos.
I just had to grab a shot of these beautiful dresses in a storefront in the World Bazaar! I did want to shop, but all the stores were really busy, so we decided to visit the Bon Voyage store on the way to the station instead.
And we took photos of the monorail coming up to the Disneyland Hotel. As you now know, I like trains...and that extends to monorails ^__^
We tiredly walked back along the walkway towards the station, and stopped in at Bon Voyage, where I bought two pairs of ears (because James is an awesome enabler and said "get both" when I was having trouble deciding).
Then it was back on the train, back to Tokyo Station, the long station walk, and back to Shinjuku. I have to say, Shinjuku was gorgeous at that time of day!
We got back to our hotel a bit before 6.30 and decided to make use of the laundry facilities. I put a load on in the laundry on our floor (and had a bit of a chat with another non-Japanese lady who was putting her washing into the dryer) and then we relaxed for an hour until it was time to put our clothes in the dryer. After that was done, we went out in search of the Shinjuku Don Quixote.
We bought a few things in Donki (and accidentally shoplifted some earrings) and went back to the hotel. Our laundry wasn't quite dry yet, so I put it on for another hour, and we decided to actually go out for dinner at a fruit parlour kind of place on the same street as our hotel.
We both ordered a meal and a parfait, but I didn't realised that the advertised "salad and fruit" that would come with our dinners would be so substantial! And so delicious, oh man, Japanese fruit was to die for.
Our meals were very tasty but so filling! Because of that, we were kind of happy that it took a while for the waitress to bring our parfaits...but then a while turned into a really long time so I eventually flagged her down, pointed to the parfaits on the receipt and shrugged. I really, really hate trying to resolve issues when there's a language barrier. I hate it even when there isn't! Fortunately she understood what I meant, and our (massive) parfaits were delivered shortly thereafter.
And oh my goodness, they were so tasty! To our sadness, however, we were so full from dinner and the earlier fruit that we couldn't eat them. We should have just ordered one to share but we were not expecting everything to be so large. Oh well, what we ate was still amazing and I dream about those strawberries still...
Then it was back to the hotel to collect our laundry and collapse into bed. We had another big day coming up on Saturday! ^__^