13 June 2012

Japan Day 4: Both parks

Note: Again, please visit Flickr for all the photos. Photos herein are not linked to Flickr.

Today was the first day we managed to get closer to being on Japan time. Last night we were pretty tired and got to bed around 11. We also cleverly decided to shut the blackout curtains which helped stop us waking up with the sun. We woke around 7:30 and were much more well rested and pleased with ourselves for acclimating time wise. We spent the morning relaxing a little, captioning the photos from yesterday and blogging all of yesterday's adventures because we'd been too tired last night. Blog post and photos uploaded, we were ready for another full day in the parks! Note: park tickets are done differently here than at WDW. Your first two days are single park admission and you have to tell them which parks on which day when you buy your ticket. All days after that are hopper days and you can visit both parks as often as you like.

We started our third day at Disney Sea. It is not particularly "classic Disney," but as you saw from the photos yesterday, the theming is over the top amazing. We hadn't seen the American Waterfront or much of the Mediterranean Coast, so we wanted to check out hose places. Plus, because of the drizzle, we hadn't seen any of the shows. We headed into the park to find slightly more people than yesterday, but still not too crowded by any means. This time we knew to check the info board just to the left as you enter the park. It is staffed constantly with multilingual CMs and they also have the task of manually updating the wait times for all the attractions on the board. Noting a few show times, we headed for he giant cruise ship that marks the American Waterfront.

As we entered the area, we passed a Stomp!-esque trio of Caucasian chefs who had gathered a crowd. A little further down the street, we caught part of a giant "Easter in NYC" performance featuring the fab 5 and Duffy, his female counterpart Sallie Mae and some lady chipmunks who appear to be Chip's and Dale's female counterparts.

Entirely in Japanese minus a few choice song lyrics, we didn't really get the story line if there was any. When the show concluded, all the performers walked by us in a parade like fashion to their hideout. We noted that the crowd control strings were held by kneeling CMs instead of the usual stanchions, even though there are stanchion port holes littered around the ground. Only in Japan. Two shows down, we walked around the Waterfront area as we waited for the main show to begin. We found 2 more popucorn stations, chose to try black pepper and passed on the vinegary smelling cranberry.

Again we considered the Mickey/Duffy bucketo with mini bucketo, but passed in favour of filling our Mickey for only 300¥. Appetites teased by he popucorn, we found a place called New York Deli where we tried some interesting g sandwiches.

Mine was a super soft bagel (seriously, we need to find out how they get their baked goods to be so soft!) with smoked salmon, cream cheese, lettuce, avocado sauce and shrimp. It was supposed to come with onions too, but handy Google translate app to the rescue and we fumbled our way through a Japanese menu modification! Oishii rating: !!! T got a "chefs special" that consisted of strange spamish ham, cheese and egg salad. It also came with a drink. Instead of being adventurous with everything, we opted for iced tea. T's selection oishii rating: !! (because of the odd ham)

After lunch we headed towards the main stage where it was already full of people awaiting the show. We picked a nice spot to stand and watched he show. Mostly in Japanese, it wasn't too hard to figure out. General story is that Lumiere is setting the table for all of us as his guests and different cuisine ambassadors come to help but the American burger parts can't get their act together and nearly sabotage the whole thing! Luckily, with some encouragement from Mickey and others, the meal is saved.

We took a lot of video...

Having seen all the American Waterfront has to offer, we went in search of the gondola ride towards the front of the park. They were already preparing for the mid-afternoon water show, "Legend of Mythica," so the rides were suspended. We found a perfect, front row seat for the stage area and set out our newly acquired (yesterday in Mermaid Lagoon) portable tarp and felt very Japanese-y.

The Legend of Mythica was absolutely amazing. We'd love to see it again from a different vantage point. Though we had excellent seats to see the dancers, it was harder to appreciate all the insane shenanigans happening on the water. The enormous floats were stupendously fantabulous though. Who knows what the story was, but it involved journeying through imaginashon, fairies, dragons, a hydra, unicorns and bizarro dancers in addition to the fab 5. Here are some photos:

After Mythica, it was actually seeming like it would stay a bit sunny and warm so we headed back to the hotel to change. Because we'd had a proper night's rest, we weren't even tempted to nap. We headed straight back to the buste for Dizunee Randuruu. As was often the case, the bus (they run every 10 minutes, very punctually, even early!) was there waiting for us.

Inside the Randuruu, we headed for the Monsters Inc. Ride & Go Seek because we'd slept through our FastPasses on Monday. The wait was 40 minutes, but we figured it was worth it. Again, great theming here and the wait was not unpleasant.

They even have a shelfy bit on parts of the railing for resting your rumpus. The ride was kind of like Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin. You get in a security mobile and use your attached flashlight to shine lights on the hiding monsters; indicated by their helmetos. I noticed that my flashlight shone a blue Sulley silhouette but T didn't catch what his was supposed to be. It was red. Quite a fun ride, but sadly no points or score tally. I probably won. At least I knew where I was shining my flashlight because I knew to look for Sulley...

After the ride, we were surprised to be semi dumped off into a gift shop - first time, unlike in the States. Outside we found some alien eggs and a trio of high school aged girls trying to get a picture of all of themselves. We traded photo skills and were all excited when they spoke English and we tried our hand at some Japanese too.

Feeling clever for being multilingual-ish, we stopped at the Tomorrowland Fueling Station for some snacks and ordering in Nihingo. I chose a cheese Mickey smile and T selected a shrimp and pork star bun. The cheese in Mickey's face was not cheese but some sort of slimy,translucent, orange (in colour, not flavour) cream filling. My oishii rating: 0, T's oishii rating: !. It was too weird. I had one ear and passed it off to T. His was essentially like any other meat filled bao, but I wasn't a huge fan of the shrimp/pork combo. His oishii rating: !!, mine: !. By now the Eastaa Wondranduu parade was wending around the park again and we found ourselves ushered into ToonTown.

Far more elaborate and cool seeming than the late one in WDW (now replaced by new Fantasyland!!!), it was actually worth taking photos. They are also working on an interactive Goofy house that will involve some kind of painting...

On Monday a kind CM had taken our photo in the front of the park, but we managed to some how delete it or something. So I wanted new photos. In front of the castle, we were able to share photo taking opps with some Japanese ladies. This front of castle, courtyard area is photo central and there are CMs everywhere to take your photo (even though they are costumed as janitors, security and other non-photo people).

Note: they do not have PhotoPass here and instead have photogs who will snap you photo and send you off to the camera center to buy it. But they will also take your photo with your camera for free. Photos done, we were ready to go back to Disney Sea for the evening. Quick pit stop again at the too to change back into cooler weather clothing first.

Inside Disney Sea, we headed for he giant castle between Med Coast and Mysterious Island. Home to a full keep with myriad rooms and a galleon, we spent quite a while exploring the whole place. Game of Thrones fans would love this place! There's a room of planets where you can the gears to help the planets orbit, a crazy weird "camera obscura" thing that somehow projects a view of outside onto a giant floor screen inside, and all kids of other stuff. The keep was on high ground and walking around, we were going further up, so it was starting to get chilly.

We decided to check out the gondolas again and encountered a super nice gondolier who seemed to think we were very lost indeed without a map or times guide. He offered to fetch both for us and disappeared for about 5 minutes. Meanwhile another gondolier offered to take our photo:

When our first gondolier reappeared panting, he was very apologetic that he wasn't able to find us an English times guide and led us around the corner to the info stand to find us one. He told us where all the good places were to watch Fantasmic! and also told us where we would get wet or dizzy from watching at weird angles.

Newly superbly informed, we decided to find some dinner and settled on Mama's Biscotti, a seemingly Italian bakery place. The offerings were again interesting, so we picked the "lunch case set" and an a la carte "char siu pizza.". The lunch case set actually came with a lunch box! The meal consisted of a shrimp/egg salad/avocado sauce/tomato/cheese/lettuce sandwich, a cup of chocolate panna cotta, a nuts/raisins/something else muffin and a drink. There weren't any interesting drinks this time so we got iced Oolong tea.

The sandwich was pretty good; oishi!!. The muffin had an odd, bubble gum flavour; ! And the panna cotta was very rich and dark chocolate; !. The char siu pizza was the best even with all the caramelized onions; !!!.  ICN: The Japanese have managed to reduce waste as much as possible.  We noticed that we have not seen dreaded styrofoam anything anywhere.  People all carry around their own water bottles (even 2 year olds) and the take-away food is all made of paper/biodegradable materials.

By now it was getting dark and close to time for Fantasmic! We hung out in some shops to keep warm and headed out to the same area where we'd sat to see Mythica. This time there were already rows of people seated comfortably on their tarps. We spent some time finding an acceptable (to us) and allowable (to the CMs) place to put down our own tarp. Fantasmic! was definitely fantasmic!

Again awesome floats appeared and huge electronic devices floated out to show images in addition to the water screens like in the States. It is the same general story line, but executed very differently. Unfortunately, all the video we'd taken earlier in the Waterfront used a lot of battery, so our camera quit after about 5 minutes. The rest of the time I used my phone and telephoto lens to try to capture some of the amazingness. Fantasmic! over, we headed out and back to our buste (#go: #5). As we were waiting for the basu, we saw the fireworks from Randuruu. Not as wimpy as others have described, they are more like you local July 4th display. Definitely not on par with WDW, but not totally sad either. Anyway, we found it was a nice ending to our park time. We were definitely ready for bed even though it was only 8:30!

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