Another early start, and a much less cheery/excited one as we’re both still in physical pain from the big day yesterday.
After the rest when I updated this blog, we went back to the park for the night parade, some more shopping, and a wander around looking at the lights and seeing if we could get on any rides quickly. The night parade and fireworks were amazing, but we both felt too tired to stay another hour for the projection show, so that’s tomorrow night’s mission.
I slept okay in the Tinkerbell bed, but my body had a lot of things to tell me about the hours of walking and standing and the various ways it’d been thrown around on rides. I woke up at two am ish with no way to get comfortable as whichever way I lay something hurt. Lesson learned: last night I didn’t have a bath before bed, so my muscles weren’t forced to relax. Will not make that mistake again!
So today we got up, got into our Disneybound gears (Ariel for Anna and Prince Erik for me), and we navigated the Disney Resort Monorail and got to Disneysea. One of the many benefits of staying in a Disney hotel is free monorail passes, so when you get to the park to use your early entry you don’t even have to pay. I guess it’s probably covered in the room rate, but whatever, it feels nice. The monorail, like most things around here is very in theme.
Where Disneyland is a pretty close copy of Anaheim Disneyland, Disneysea is a different beast. it’s an immersive park designed to make you feel you are in different worlds. The worlds include a Mediterranean harbour, a New England American waterfront, a mythic Arabian inspired Agrabah, a Mermaid Lagoon and some steampunk inspired zones called The Mysterious Island and a gigantic volcano forming the centre of the park. The volcano goes off every now and then, with booming, smoke and fire plumes.
Last time we’d visited Disneysea we didn’t quite do it ‘right’. We didn’t research before going and we missed some entire zones. This time I researched the crap out of the park and we went in with something of a plan. We’d missed the most popular ride in the park last time: Toy Story Midway Mania, which is a game ride, you get in a little carriage with a toy gun loaded on it. The ride takes you through various passageways where you fire at targets and a running total is kept of how much you’ve hit.
As soon as the park opened we followed the crowd of early entry guests directly to this ride in the American/New York zone. It was only a ten minute wait so we decided to skip the fast pass and just get on the ride. It was a lot of fun, and the ride’s theming is beautiful, lots of gigantic toys and furniture to make you feel like you’re tiny. We liked it, especially the game aspect (Anna won points wise, although I had a better hit rate), but I’m not sure I’m desperate to ride it again. It’s not in my top ten rides, let’s put it that way. But I’m glad we experienced it.
After that we had an American hot dog for the first part of breakfast and headed to my favourite ride at Disneysea: Journey to the Center of the Earth. It’s heavily steampunk inspired. We had about an hour until the fast pass return time, so we went on 20,000 leagues under the sea which is another excellent steampunk ride. Predictably, you get in a little submarine pod and go under the sea, you’re attacked by a kraken and then rescured by alien-esque Atlanteans. It’s pretty neat! After that we had a special Halloween food item, the Queen of Hearts sausage gyoza bun. It was… very strange. I liked the bun part very much, it tasted like a bao bun, but the filling was an oddly crunchy sausage mince and I don’t really understand what the flavour was. Anyway, we tried it!
Before riding Journey we made a dinner booking at Magellan’s, which is a fancy, mostly hidden restaurant overlooking the harbour at the base of the volcano. Looking forward to trying it out tonight!
Journey to the Centre of the Earth is another miracle of immersion. The line ( which you race through with a fast pass) sets the scene: a mining operation deep into the Earth in some kind steampunk world. You get into an elevator down to the start of the ride, and the elevator is designed to appear rickety, and make loud, disturbing noises and blow air at you. Then you get off into a place cluttered with boxes and crates and are loaded into a weird drilling bulldozer looking vehicle. The ride starts out beautifully with crystal caves and large, strange funguses but quickly turns to disaster as you get deeper and deeper into the Earth. I won’t spoil the ride but it goes from lovely and slow to a fast roller coaster through the dark and you shoot out the top of the volcano. It’s absolutely brilliant and very thrilling.
Then we went over to the Lost River Delta and booked fast passes for Indiana Jones, which is (as I understand it) very similar to the Indiana Jones rides at other parks. Last time we went it really freaked me out but this time I managed to mostly enjoy it. There was still a lot of screaming with the giant snake and the boulder almost crushing us, but it was fun too. We went on Aquatopia, which is a lovely and calm ride where you zip about on steampunk boats on the water.
From there we went to the Mermaid Lagoon and explored ‘Under the Sea’, we managed to time our arrival nicely with the start of the Mermaid Theatre show, so we went into that and holy crow. It’s a huge theatre decorated to look like the undersea. A gigantic animatronic King Triton appears up in the corner and people animating large puppets played Flounder and Sebastian. Then Ariel the Little Mermaid appeared suspended from wires so she could ‘swim’ around the theatre and over the audience. There was projections and props and music and it was really impressive. That actor playing Ariel must have some brilliant core strength.
Before the show started Anna made friends with a little Japanese girl who noticed she was dressed as Ariel. She pointed at Anna’s shiny, scaly leggings and then shyly showed us that her black dress had tentacles attached to it. They smiled and Anna said she was ‘kawaii’ (cute) and the little girl showed the rest of her family Anna. After the show we met up again in the gift shop, and the little girl showed Anna that her seashell necklace was homemade. I asked if it was okay to take a photo and her mother said yes, but I won’t share it here as we didn’t ask permission to share it online. Suffice to say both Anna and the tiny Ursula were beaming in the photo and afterwards. It was a really lovely encounter.
After that we wandered to Agrabah and saw a couple of costumed characters, and rode the Sinbad the Sailor ride, which is a beautiful boat ride through the story of Sinbad. It has some seriously impressive animatronics and the scale of it is huge. It’s also a ride with a beautiful soundtrack and special effects like the smell of bananas during a sequence where Sinbad is working with monkeys to harvest bananas. (I think. It’s all in Japanese so the story isn’t always clear.)
We were both pretty tired out. Although it’s not so hot today which makes things easier, Disneysea is a difficult park to negotiate. It’s huge, and over several levels, so although in Disneyland you’re mostly on the flat, it’s up and down and stairs and round mountains at Disneysea. There are also less attractions, so you do have to walk further to find things. Besides that, we’re coming off a big day at Disneyland. We were joking it felt like we’d already spent a full week at Disneyland.
We did a little shopping, I got a new friend.
Then we made our way back to the hotel for a rest. On the way we picked up some snacks for lunch at the konbini and had a nice picnic in our hotel room. Tonight we head back for dinner at Magellan’s, to see Phantasmic (a water based night show) and another ride on Journey to the Centre of the Earth, having got a slot in the last fast pass time frame of the night.