A few tips for your day at DisneySea, Tokyo

DisneySea Tokyo
http://www.tokyodisneyresort.jp/en/tds/

If you’re reading this, congratulations on making it to Thursday! Almost at the weekend! To keep you going a little bit longer, let’s take a quick time out and go to DisneySea 🙂

I skipped Disneyland in Tokyo, because from all accounts it’s pretty similar to the Disneylands in Anaheim and Paris, which I’ve already visited. Also just realising this was my third Disney visit in three years – YAY!!! But being a ridiculously big Little Mermaid fan, DisneySea I was excited about!

A few things to know about DisneySea when you visit:
– Catch the train – it’s pretty easy! Follow this link to work out the lines you’ll need.

– The lines are MENTAL! All day long, every day – we visited on a Wednesday in off-peak season and it was nuts! Get there a good 45 minutes before opening time.

– Bring some of your own food. Because waiting an hour for a hot dog when you’re famished is not fun. This was the line for the snack stand, by the way. Follow it around the bottom of the frame, up the left side, and note that you can’t see the end of it because it keeps going up the top right corner. For cake.

– But, wait in line for the popcorn. It’s totally worth it. If you’re planning to eat your weight in it, buy a popcorn bucket – they come in all sorts of cute shapes and sizes (like Mr Potato-Head) and you can get them re-filled with flavours like black pepper, white chocolate or caramel. Also, wait in line for these in the Toy Story area:

– Bring sunscreen. It gets hot and there’s not always a heap of shade available.

– When you ride the carousel in the Aladdin area, take yourself to the top level and enjoy the view…

– Get yourself to Triton’s cavern and submerge yourself into the world of Ariel and buddies. I almost died of excitement. This is all underground. OMG.

– Don’t bother bringing your fancy, expensive DSLR camera – your phone will do, and it’s a lot easier to carry around!

– Stop stressing about getting on all of the rides, and enjoy just walking around a little. Take it all in. Sit on a park bench and stare at the castle. Eat some more popcorn. Watch the groups of teenagers in perfectly matching outfits. Just take a time out and be in Disneyland!

– Fastpass where you can. And do it early. By the time we’d realised how long the lines were for EVERYTHING it was around 10:30am. Fastpass return times at this stage were to come back at 6pm.

– Do not enter the park without a set of ears. I’m serious.

– The Mediterranean area is gorgeous – think “old” bridges, gondolas, open piazza spaces, and shopping! It’s a really beautiful spot to grab a drink and chill out for a while if you’re getting a little tired.

– And lastly, get into it. Get really into it. Because it’s Disneyland!!!!! 

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Disneyland’s World of Color + dining package at Ariel’s Grotto

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So yesterday’s post got me thinking more about my upcoming trip to Tokyo…  I don’t know when this happened, but it’s only 106 more sleeps until I’m off to Japan! Yay! And one of the things I’m a little excited about doing there is Disneyland – I can’t believe that its the third Disneyland I’ll get to tick off the list since 2013, that’s crazy!

One of the things I was most excited about doing in California’s Disneyland last December was the World of Color light and sound show, something I’ve wanted to see for as long as I can remember. The World of Color show is a half hour spectacular held in the Disney California Adventure Park, where clips of Disney’s favourites are projected onto an absolutely mammoth water “screen,” complete with music and light/water effects; we were in for a double treat, visiting a week and a half before Christmas! They use somewhere around 1,200 fountains to shoot water up to 200 feet into the air, to create an almost 20, 000 square-foot projection screen – only at Disneyland, hey? I’d also heard that viewing the show could be difficult, and had recommended the Dining Package; basically, you’re paying for dinner and priority viewing area, which we figured was worthwhile seeing as we had to eat anyway.

Three options are available, restaurant-wise – the Italian Wine Country Trattoria, the fancy Carthay Circle Restaurant, and the only option I was ever going to choose being a lifelong Little Mermaid fan: Ariel’s Grotto. I grinned like an idiotic, sugar-hyped child on my way down the spiral staircase to the dining room, and happily took my seat in a very “under the sea” themed restaurant. The service was, as one expects in Disneyland, second to none. We were seated with a smile, the fanciest complimentary bread basket I’ve ever seen (below, top right), and a patient explanation of how the dining package menu worked. For USD$45.35 each, we were entitled to three courses, our choice of entrée and main, as well as a dessert platter each. After dinner, we would be directed to the priority viewing area.

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The food, like the service, was amazing. I went with:
– Entrée: salad with apple, walnut and blue cheese (above, top right)
– Main: grilled lobster tail and red oak-smoked tri-tip with mashed potato and vegetables (above, bottom left)
– Dessert: platter of crème brulee, chocolate s’more slice and chocolate dipped strawberry (above, bottom right)

The grilled lobster tail and tri-tip were such a big highlight for me, they were cooked perfectly, both tender and soft, and the smokiness of the tri-tip was fantastic! I’d highly recommend the dining package, particularly to first time visitors like us; it makes a fun night a bit more special, and it’s nice to know that you don’t have to rush or get involved in the push and shove of finding a spot.  And our priority viewing was quite literally front and centre, we couldn’t have possible asked for a better vantage point! The show itself was fantastic, Christmas themed with all the Disney favourites both old and new, and some Christmas carols led by Frozen’s Olaf. Beware, though; these amazing viewing spots should come with a warning – you will get a little wet, because that’s how close you are to the action!

Disneyland eats: Award Weiners, Wetzels Pretzels & Tangaroa Terrace

Quite a few food options in the fantasy city that is Disneyland, and incredibly hit and miss as to what’s worth spending your money and calories on! Some of the places I enjoyed for a cheap eat on the run:

Award Weiners
Hollywood Land – California Adventure Park
– they do their dogs on wholemeal buns and even offer a side of apple slices instead of fries as a healthy option.

Wetzel’s Pretzels
Downtown Disney
– we tried the pretzel dog which was completely delicious, but they also did standard pretzels, sweet pretzels and even pretzel pizzas!

Tangaroa Terrace
Disneyland Hotel
– hidden in the hotel grounds, best option for a quick post-parade dinner at a decent price when all the other food spots have 30-60min waits. They have some burger/sandwich options as well as salads (I had a salad with kale, cabbage, pineapple, tomato, toasted macadamia nuts and tofu.. Which was crumbed and deep fried and absolutely, disturbingly amazing!!) and kids meals.

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USAdventure days 1, 2 & 3: Disneyland!

Stayed at: Super 8 Anaheim Disneyland Drive

Ate at:
– burger at Trader Sam’s
– cheese dog at Award Weiners
– 3 course meal at Ariel’s Grotto
– pretzel dog at Wetzel’s Pretzels

Got up to:
– Disneylandddd!!!! Duh!
– also, World of Color
– ESPN Zone
– Disneyland’s Christmas parade
– Pixar Christmas parade

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I always wanted to go to Disneyland.. let’s start with EuroDisney!

Hi, I’m Jess, and sometimes I’m a 6 year old kid in a grown woman’s body. Whatever.

I’ve always wanted to go to Disneyland. I realised I wanted to even more when I realised that every member of my family bar me had been to a Disneyland; dad and my youngest sister went to Disneyland in California a few years ago when my sister was in America on a basketball trip and dad went along. Mum and my other sister went to EuroDisney on a trip they took to Europe a few years ago. Apparently I was forgotten about.

As with most things in my life, once I realised, my attitude snapped to “stuff it, I’ll get myself to Disneyland!” and found a way to weasel a few days in Paris to our already packed Egypt/Euro trip last year. Luckily, husband is also a child at heart!

Photograph © Jess Carey 2014

 

First things first – I point blank refused to do anything until I had a set of ears perched upon my head. Into the gift shop we went, I grabbed my Minnie Mouse ears, and joined the line behind one very excited little girl, clutching her princess costume like it was the crown jewels. The man at the counter was as excited as she was, as he put her purchase through, and proceeded to help her into her new princess dress over the top of her little jeans and coat, and settle her tiara on her head, while mum looked along with gleaming eyes and a beaming smile. This was big, because usually I really don’t like kids, especially when they hold me up. That’s when I realised that regardless of your actual age, everyone is a kid at Disneyland!

Photograph © Jess Carey 2014

 

Photograph © Jess Carey 2014

 

Photograph © Jess Carey 2014

 

I got pretty excited at Alice’s tea party set up – and yeah, those ears didn’t come off all day, despite the horrible headache they started to give me! While we were waiting our turn for me to jump on the chair to get this photo taken, I noticed a lady giggling in my general direction… apparently, after looking around, I was the only adult to be seen wearing ears…. meh!

 

One of the highlights though had to be Sleeping Beauty’s castle… it is gorgeous inside, particularly the stain glass windows…

 

Photograph © Jess Carey 2014

 

Photograph © Jess Carey 2014

Anyway, enough of the photos… the point of this post, other than allowing me to re-live one of the most fun days I’ve had in a very long time, was that there is a world of possibility out there. And it might seem big, it might seem small, simple, unachievable, unimportant in the scheme of things, selfish, life changing, whatever. If you want it, please find a way to do it. Visiting Disneyland was in no way my biggest goal in life, but it was something fairly insignificant in the grand scheme of things that I did want to do. If going to Egypt was my proof that I could make my big dreams come true, then finally getting to (a) Disneyland was my proof that little dreams are important too, and, everyone else be damned, if you want those little dreams, then just go for them. Even if you are the only idiot over 10 years old running around in Minnie Mouse ears. Screw it.

 

Also, I’m finally actually going to the original, California Disneyland this year, as part of another dream – a 6 week trip around the USA, with stops in Canada and Mexico  : ) Ain’t nothin gonna stop this dreamer now!