Day four part 2

We had a really good rest in the afternoon, and we needed it. But heading back into Disneyland on Friday night we got a fair bit done! We went back in for dinner and our Big Thunder Mountain Railroad fast passes.

I was impressed with how different the ride was at night. Various parts of the surroundings were lit up. The railroad is surrounded by a pretty full on faux American West mine and mountain. There’s a bit where you go past stalactites, another when you race under a tree with oposums on it, or wolves whose howls follow you as you zoom back into the mine. At night there’s an extra bit with bats in the mouth of one of the caves.

We had another example of how Disney goes the extra mile to make each experience a little unique when we went onto the Star Wars ride again. It had a very short wait time so we figured we might as well.  The ride is a motion master, and they have six different rooms for it. In the evening we went into a different room and as it turned out, a different experience. On Friday morning the ride featured us being chased by Darth Vader, crash landing on Naboo and almost getting eaten by a sea monster. The ride on Friday night seemed to be Last Jedi inspired, as Kylo Ren intercepted us on take off with a huge army of stormtroopers. We skimmed over the surface of the planet with the ice foxes, got caught up in a battle, Poe Dameron talked us through a dog fight in orbit and it ended with us apparently joining the resistance. It was awesome!

The park restaurants were pretty busy but we found space at Grandma Sara’s Kitchen. It’s designed to be home-style cooking, and make you feel like one of the critters off the Splash Mountain story. I had the seasonal set and the highlights for me where the potatoes and the apple/cinnamon crumb cake. Holy crow that cake was delicious.

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We also got on Buzz Lightyear with our fast passes from when the system had broken down. It’s a fun ride, you get in a little ‘toy’ spaceship with a gun on front. You move through various animatronics of space aliens and robots. The story is that you’re helping Buzz Lightyear defeat his nemesis Zurg. The animatronics have targets on them and if you hit them in the centre with your laser gun you get points. Some targets are worth considerably more than others and they’re much more difficult to hit. I managed to get a couple of the 10,000 point targets so I was feeling pretty smug.

Pirates of the Caribbean also had a short wait time so we rode that again which was very enjoyable. We came out of Pirates in time to see most of the Castle Projection night show which was very impressive. It has themed sequences for most of the big rides, and it was fun to spot them. Also it’s the classic combination of lights, animation, fireworks, music and special effects which made Fantasmic so impressive.

We went back to the hotel via the store so I could get the Mickey rainbow t shirt. I love my Donald one so much I just had to have another one!

The schedule we kept, going into the parks early and going hard while it’s relatively quiet, then heading back to the hotel to rest in the afternoon, then heading back to the park after dark really worked for us. We got to do a lot of rides early in the morning and late at night, and work the fast pass system as best we could. We could prioritise different things each day, so I definitely recommend staying close enough to the park so that you can duck in and out.


A little word on Japanese toilets..

Most of them have built in bidets. They come in a lot of different brands, but generally all are built into the toilet with a control panel on the side.

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You can control where the water is aimed, what temperature it is and how much water is coming at you. It’s a little intimidating if you don’t know what you’re doing, but the stop button is generally red and has a little square, so it’s easy enough to stop whatever’s going on.

The options change a lot depending on how fancy the installation is. Some have seat warmers, some have little sound effects like running water noises so you don’t have to feel awkward about any noises you make. The extremely fancy ones have blow driers so you don’t have to touch anything down there at all.

It’s amazing how much cleaner you feel after using the washlet. Anna and I have agreed that one of the first things we do whenever we get our own house is have these installed on the toilets.

 

Day four – Disneyland again

We had a bit of a sleep in today, we weren’t at the park for opening and we had breakfast in our hotel room! I also used google translate to ask for a three into two prong plug converter so that I can charge my laptop and make these updates, as the fancy ‘all countries’ plug converter I bought isn’t the right voltage to support the laptop.

Today we didn’t Disneybound, but wore our new rainbow duck shirts and Halloween ear hats. They’re very photogenic I feel.

We spent most of the morning in Tomorrowland, where we rode Star Tours and Space Mountain. It was also the morning of character themed food, we ate Mickey chicken  nuggets, and then went to Sweetheart cafe for various themed pastries. It was all ridiculously tasty. The nuggets had a crispness to the batter and the interior tasted like real pieces of tender, juicy chicken rather than the chicken mince I’m used to. The pastries were all perfect, fresh and light.

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Apple and Walnut Mickey muffin, dark cherry Danish and grape jelly dessert.

We had fast passes for Buzz Lightyear’s astro blasters, but the system was down when we went to redeem them so we didn’t ride it. We were assured we could ride it later in the day, so that’s tonight’s challenge.

We went on the haunted mansion again, which was still excellent. Alice’s tea cup ride, where I discovered my beloved REALLY LOVES speed. For those who haven’t ridden this iconic ride, you get into a tea cup, which whirls around a giant teapot. It’s quite spinny to start with. But each cup has a steering wheel in the middle, which you can turn to increase the spinning velocity of your particular cup. It goes very, very fast if you make it. The both of us were laughing hysterically, forced into the edge of the cup by the centrifugal force and the world around us was a literal blur. When the cup finally slowed down I could feel how dizzy I was, even though the ride was still going and we were still whirling around.

The park was noticeably busier today, it being Friday and a lot of Japanese people here for the weekend. It was harder to get around and the waits for a lot of rides were longer. Besides that, third day at Disney and we’re more tired and our feet more sore. I had a brilliantly restful sleep last night but Anna didn’t have that luxury, so we took things a little slower and didn’t try to do too much.

The Halloween costumes on the guests continue to be amazing. Lots of excellent couple and group costumes, and some princesses so good we’re not sure if they’re the real deal or guests. You have to look for handlers to be sure.

After the haunted mansion we caught most of the Dreaming Up! parade, which I was glad to see again. It’s a beautiful parade and the costumes are all a bit next level. The weather was also on the verge of packing it in, so I got quite a nice atomospheric shot…

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Ever since I read about them being a special anniversary thing, I knew I had to have the duck butt ice cream. Today Anna made it happen for me, and lo, the duck butt was delicious. It’s a nut and chocolate chip vanilla ice cream scoop with a powdering of chocolate underneath and a ‘chocolate crunch’ bar, which seems to be like chocolate covered rice bubbles and was very, very good.

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We went back to the hotel for a rest and to avoid the crowds, and checked into the Alice in Wonderland room. It’s another beautiful and fully themed room, this time with a couch instead of a day bed.

Then we both napped, because three days at the theme parks is pretty exhausting.

Quick notes about some of the Disney magic we’ve seen:

  • A member of the cleaning staff with some kind of magical sound effect machine in his wheelie bin, making boing and bing and whoosh noises to match up with the mime interactions he did with guests
  • Two members of the cleaning staff having an impromptu breakdance party
  • Leaves raked into the shape of a Mickey head
  • A cast member comforting a lost child, giving them a sticker and letting them play with her ID while on her headset to report the child lost
  • Cast members praising people in great costumes and giving them prizes. (We’re not sure but guesses include fast passes, priority seating to shows and day passes to the park.)

Also the return to the park hand stamp is invisible except for under UV light. I’m paranoid I’m going to wash it off, but this morning I saw my one from yesterday while we were on space mountain so they must be very cleverly done.

Day three part 2 – Disneysea at night

I read somewhere that people refer to Disneysea as ‘what Disney imagineers could do with unlimited resources’. We got a little gimpse of that last night when we had a quick look through Fortress Explorations, had dinner at Magellan’s and then saw the Fantasmic night show.

Fortress Explorations is a science based experience next to Magellan’s restaurant. It features a bunch of beautiful interconnected rooms with things like pendulums or little boats you can sail, or an anamorphic painting and viewing dome. We didn’t have a lot of time to check it out, but what we saw was gorgeous. It’s all based around a made up organisation called Society of Explorers and Adventurers (or SEA), and between that, Magellan’s and our steampunk inspired outfits it was an epic night.

Magellan’s is designed to make you feel like one of the members of SEA, and it’s exquisitely detailed. The central piece is the globe, which is just stunning. Above it, a map of constellations in the dome, all gorgeously painted. The food at Magellan’s is fine dining, we chose the Pacific course menu (Anna pointed out the irony of coming all the way to Japan to eat ‘pacific’ food, but we both wanted the lobster…) 20181011_192416

We had entree, salad or soup, the main (lobster shown above) and a dessert, and although each course looked small it was all really filling. Also there was unlimited bread which was warm and delicious and I had to hold myself back from eating too much of. It was all very European, but I figure once we’re in Tokyo proper we’ll really get into Japanese food. Magellan’s was a lovely experience, lots of attentive servers, great food and gorgeous surroundings. It was also the first fancy meal Anna and I have had out together since we got married, so that was nice, too.

We finished up at Magellan’s just in time to nab a spot down by the water for Fantasmic. Fantasmic is a water show, featuring boats and floats and shooting water and special effects all set to music. We were sort of behind it, at Fortress Explorations, but it was still mind blowing and breath taking. There’s a snake boat, giant bubble balloons with animations playing on them, projections onto sheets of mist and a literal fire breathing dragon. It was aces, and I was all set to head to it again tomorrow for a better view but Disneysea is closing at 6.30 Friday for some reason. Sad panda face 😦

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Also the volcano erupts sporadically throughout the day and I got a great view of it during Fantasmic. The ride Journey to the Center of the Earth comes out just to the left of the bottom of the cone and then goes right back in.

After Fantasmic I dropped a little money on accessories for my Duffy Bear and Gelatoni Cat and we went on Aquatopia again. It’s very lovely at night, cool breeze, pretty lights in the water and just very atmospheric. After that we went on Nemo and Friends Searider, which is a new ride since we last visited and was very fun. It’s a motion master styled ride, based on the story that you are helping a scientific investigation by loading into a fish shaped vessel and being shrunk down to fish size. There was a great demonstration of the shrinking technology before we went into the vessel, it was very realistic. Once the ride starts you’re ‘launched into the water’ where you promptly meet Dory, Marlin, Nemo and friends. It’s a charming experience, and the ride had little screens along the sides which had animation as well. We really enjoyed it.

After that it was time for another ride on Journey to the Center of the Earth. It was a lot of fun but the ride broke down for a couple of minutes just before we got to the scary/fast bit, so it felt somewhat disjointed. I did have the fortitude to look to the side as we shot out of the volcano and got a fleeting yet gorgeous view of the harbour and all the lights of Disneysea.

Exhausted, we wandered back to the monorail and our room. A hot bath to soothe the muscles and then bed.