This was the day we were really looking forward to. We'd read and seen so much about TDS, and frankly it was
the prime motivator for going to Tokyo in the first place.
Our biggest fear was that we'd be disappointed
because of all the hype. This fear, I'm happy to say, was completely unfounded. Believe the hype. We got a
slightly earlier start on this morning, which began with rain. We left the Hilton at about 8:15 and got in
line to enter the park at about 8:35. There were about 20 available lines to stand in, most of which only
had about 5 or 6 people in them. Those were the un-covered ones. The line we opted for had several hundred
in it but was under an awning and dry. The CMs tried to get us to fill the other lines but very few took
them up on it, until 1 minute before opening at 9:00. We swapped lines and were in the park by 9:01. We
gawked at the Aquasphere, a huge water feature with a slowly spinning globe. We gaped at the beauty of the
Hotel Mira Costa, straddling the main entrance. Once we walked under the hotel into the Mediterranean Harbor
we stood for a bit, open-jawed, looking at the vista in front of us. Wow. Directly in front of you is a big
lagoon, about half the size of the one in Epcot's World Showcase. To your left is the Venice section of the
Mediterranean Harbor and way off in the distance you can just make out the huge Ocean Liner Columbia in the
next "land" over, American Waterfront. Across the lagoon is The Fortress, sitting at the foot of Mount
Prometheus, the parks central icon. It's a huge volcano that erupts once every hour or so. Like
Cinderella's Castle, or Spaceship Earth, it dominates views all over the park. It's beautiful in a menacing
way. To your right the Med Harbor wraps around the lagoon up a hill covered in grape vines. Where to
At TDL, everyone rushes to Pooh's Hunny Hunt to get FastPasses or get in line to ride. At TDS the attraction
to run for is called Journey to the Center of the Earth. When you go, you should head to the right and make
your way to Mysterious Island, housed within Mount Prometheus and get your FastPasses. Due to a bit of bad
luck on our part, Journey was closed for rehab during the month we visited. Truly a bummer. By the time
they'd announced rehab closures on their website, we'd been fully booked for a month. Next time! The upshot
of this was that we didn't have to race hundreds of people to a ride on the other side of the park. None of
the other E-tickets stand out like Journey. They are all equally fantastic, so the crowd spread out fairly
evenly across the park. We spent about an hour shopping and taking pictures in the Venice area before
finally making our way up the hill towards Mt Prometheus. We paused to take pictures every 20 feet. It is
very difficult in this park to take a bad picture. Everything is laid out in such a way as to provide
perfect framing no matter where you look. Bring lots of film, or as we did, laptops, to store all the photos
You enter Mysterious Island through a cave. If you head left inside the cave you will reach Journey, but if
you continue straight you emerge into the massive crater that encloses the land. It's a very impressive
sight. There is a big walkway that circles the crater about 25 feet above a harbor. This is taken straight
out of 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea. Captain Nemo's secret base Vulcania. Down in the water is the
Nautilus. You can walk down to it and look in the windows, but unlike in Disneyland Paris, it's not a
walk-thru attraction. If you walk right along the "cliff" you come to the FastPass distribution point for the
20,000 Leagues Under The Sea ride, located in the cave on your right. On your left is the entrance to the
ride itself. The standby line was posted at 20 minutes and the CMs at the FastPass machine were directing
people to just get in line, so we did. The queue takes you down to the water level on a circular walkway,
passing by a big churning geyser thing that erupts in a huge splash every 5 minutes or so. As Kel found out
on a subsequent ride, you may get wet! The line moved quickly. There are some switchbacks at water-level
and you eventually go inside another cave to the loading area. The ride itself is great!
After the ride we explored the rest of Mysterious Island, popping into a nearby shop for a bit. We had made
plans to meet up with a friend who was also visiting Japan at that time. He's a former Disneyphile who used
to go to Anaheim with us a lot, but has since decided that maybe seeing the rest of the world is just as fun
(wanker). We twisted his arm and planned to meet him at 11:00 at the entrance to Mysterious Island. The
9:00 opening time was just too early for him. From about 10:50 till 11:30 we waited for him. It was raining
and miserable just sitting around. We finally gave up and figured we'd been stood up. We had a wonderful
Chinese lunch at Vulcania. There was no line until after we'd been seated eating for about 15 minutes.
It's a buffeteria and very reasonably priced. Had a Dim Sum sampler and barbecued pork and noodles. Pat and
Kel had salmon. It's a good thing we've been eating so much sushi the last few years. Our chopstick
proficiency has gotten quite good so we didn't need forks :-) Ah small achievements!
With lunch completed we made our way out of Mysterious Island through one of the other 3 cave entrances,
leading to the Mermaid Lagoon.
There is a huge waterfall to pass by and on a hot day would be a welcome
relief. On this rainy day though it made the corridor freezing! You emerge from Mysterious Island, which is
very industrial and serious, into an area that is very organic and whimsical. The transition between lands
however is seamless. You are eased into it gradually, both by the visuals and by the background music.
Very well done and we only noticed this because we're geeks and were looking for it. Except for two small
rides, the Mermaid Lagoon is located inside a big show building, King Triton's Kingdom. This is another
jaw-opener folks. Absolutely beautiful area, made to look and feel like you are 'under the sea'. Words
can't do it justice, nor can amateur photos. You'll find the bulk of the attractions for this land here,
including the Jumping Jellyfish, the Blowfish Balloon Race and the Whirlpool. Think Fantasyland. We didn't
see any height or weight restrictions on these small rides but skipped riding them anyway for lack of time.
They did look like fun but also like slow-loaders. Our main goal was to get to the Mermaid Lagoon Theater to
see the "Under The Sea" show. As a rule we tend to skip Disney shows, with the exception of the nighttime
pyrotechnics oriented stuff. After reading a review of this show however, we felt we'd better check it out.
We are extremely glad we did! We are hard to impress but this show did it.
After the show we explored the Lagoon some more. We played around in Ariel's Grotto, a set of caves and
sunken ships to muck about in. Did some shopping in the very crowded "Sleeping Whale" shop. Picture Monstro
at Disneyland's Storybookland attraction, but replace the waterway with a shop. Very cool. Bought some
googaws. By now we were getting a bit tired so we donned our rain ponchos and made our way back to the
Mediterranean Harbor and main entrance. Short note about ponchos. We brought our own, but like Disney Parks
everywhere, once the rain starts every shop has stacks of them ready for purchase. One interesting thing
however is that the CMs posted at the entrance to every attraction and restaurant ask you to remove them upon
entering. It keeps the seats dry. There were actually way more umbrellas than ponchos, making navigation
through the admittedly light crowds a little perilous. Kel and I spent a couple hours back at the hotel
relaxing/napping in the afternoon while Pat and Melissa did some shopping at Ikspiari. At 5:00 we headed
back to the Park. It was still raining.
We headed to the right from the main entrance and boarded a DisneySea Transit Steamer Line boat, bound for
the Lost River Delta. These boats navigate through the lagoon and around the waterways of the park. If you
board one at the American Waterfront dock, you'll get a round trip around the whole park. The Mediterranean
Harbor and Lost River Delta docks serve each other. Our boat took us on a clockwise tour across the
Mediterranean Harbor Lagoon, through and past the American Waterfront and Port Discovery, past a big "leak"
in the seawall, and finally into the Lost River Delta. We wanted to continue where we'd left off earlier so
we walked straight over to the Arabian Coast. There we found a beautiful plaza with a double-decker
carrousel, lots of fountains, and the Magic Lamp Theater. We walked in to the pre-show area which is
decorated like a big tent and features an audio-animatronic snake who provides the back-story for the main
show. Watch his eyes!. The show itself is a combination of 3d movie and live-action, starring the Genie from
Aladdin. This is a pretty good show, though not as good as the Little Mermaid show. Great fun and the
language diffs don't matter too much. Just groove to the physical humor. From there we proceeded through
the Arabian Coast, exploring the little shops and the architecture. At the other end of the land is
Sindbad's Seven Voyages. It was another walk-on. I'm not sure why I liked this attraction, but I did. It
seems like a combination of Pirates, Small World, and the ride in the Mexican pavilion at Epcot. You ride in
a boat past little vignettes describing all the adventures of Sindbad. (Quick inconsequential note, they use
the alternate spelling of Sinbad for some reason.. drove me nuts). There are a lot of AA characters which at
first seem very 'small world'-ish, as they are diminutive with big heads. Once you really watch them though
you see they are just as sophisticated as some of the best full-sized figures you've seen. It's all in
Japanese so some of the plot points were lost on us, but it really is a simple story so it was enjoyable.
Nothing really earth-shattering, just fun.
After Sindbad we were pretty much done with the Arabian Coast so made our way back to the Lost River Delta
next-door. It seems like this land's sole purpose was to give them a place to put the Indiana Jones ride.
Except for the very impressive show building for Indy, and the Steamer dock area, there's not too much to
see. They've put in a pretty lush jungle area you can walk through which is probably really nice on a hot
day, but wasn't all that great on a rainy evening. So guess what we did? Yup we walked-on to the Indiana
Jones Adventure: Temple of the Crystal Skull. In Anaheim this is a top 3 for me (prolly number 2 behind
Pirates). For the Tokyo version, take the one in Anaheim, remove the stuff that never really worked right,
like the rats, the falling rocks/ice machine, the multiple programming for different 'experiences', and
replace them with pretty cool effects that do work, and you know the ride. The other major non-spoiler
difference is that it is set in Mexico rather than India, and the big-bad is a crystal skull you must not
look at, not Mara. Same track, same plot. Very fun as always.
We had one lackluster meal while in the parks and we had it at the Yucatan Base Camp Grill. This nicely
themed counter service restaurant offered "BBQ"... like Disneyland offers Creole food. Their version of
barbecue sauce is more like sweet ketchup. It wasn't terrible, just not very satisfying. Then again it
wasn't expensive either. After dinner we made our way back to the Mediterranean Harbor via the Mermaid
Lagoon and Mysterious Island. Here's another useful tip about navigating Disney Seas: it is not set-up as a
spoke and wheel, so getting from one end of the park to the other can be quite a hike. The park guide has a
general map of the park on the first page, then detailed maps of each land within. However, turn to the last
page for a really nice "Navigation Guide". This less stylized map shows in detail all of the paths within
the park drawn pretty much to scale. It also clearly marks the entrances to all the attractions and where
the smoking areas are. Use it to get from point A to point B, and the other maps to pick stuff to do.
We arrived in the Mediterranean Harbor area about 15 minutes before one of the nighttime shows at the park,
the DisneySea Symphony. It's a 15 minute cross between Illuminations and Fantasmic. It features Mickey in
Sorcerer Apprentice garb, on a tall platform above the lagoon directing a water, lights and pyrotechnics show
like a symphony conductor. Mostly Disney music. There were people staking out good spots to watch for about
an hour before the show, but we had a pretty good view, found at the last minute near the stairs by the
The 10,000 umbrellas spoiling the view didn't help much, but the best parts of the show are about
25 feet above the water so no biggee. The finale features a full-blown eruption of Mt. Prometheus with fire,
smoke and fireworks. That was way cool. Before and during the show there were CMs everywhere directing
traffic and politely keeping people off stuff they shouldn't be standing on. After the show everyone sort of
stood around, because the nightly fireworks show was about to begin. The CM who was "in charge" of our
little area came over to us and tried to tell us something. It took about 5 minutes to figure out he was
trying to tell us the Fireworks had been canceled due to weather. Bummer! People were still lingering
though, until a PA announcement was made in both Japanese and English letting everyone know about the
cancellation. At that point a major exodus began towards the exit. We've been stuck in the post
Illuminations Epcot Exodus before and did not relish the idea of crowded monorails and turnstiles, so we went
up one of the little ally ways in the Mediterranean Harbor to look around and kill some time. It was getting
quite chilly though so only walked around for about 15 minutes before giving up and heading for the main
entrance. We pretty much had the park to ourselves at that point. We lingered there for a little bit,
taking pictures while Melissa did a little more shopping. Then we had another great Monorail experience.
Once again it was empty, despite all our expectations. Got back to the hotel is record time and crashed fior