Disney Magic, travel

Truett and Theo go to Tokyo | Disneysea

The award for show-stealer this trip goes to…Tokyo Disneysea.


I read a ton of reviews before the trip and I expected it to be just ok but after having been there, it is so much more than ok. In fact, I had originally planned to spend 2 out of our 3 Disney days in Disneyland but we loved Disneysea so much that we ended up spending the third day there instead, that’s how good it was.

Magic Kingdom will always have a special place in my heart but Disneysea, wow. I think this park has shot up to a tie for #2 on my list of favourite Disney parks (with #1 being Disney World’s Magic Kingdom and the other #2 being Epcot).

The excellent theming really shines at Disneysea. The park is surrounded by water so all the lands have a nautical theme running through. Pretty doesn’t even begin to describe the landscaping. It’s quite breathtaking, really.









There are some amazing rides at Disneysea (we’ll get to that in a bit!) but my favourite was riding the gondola around the venetian canal being serenaded with operatic numbers by a Japanese gondolier; it was quite the experience.


venice painting

We were halfway in the queue for the gondola ride when Gepetto, Jiminy Cricket, Pinocchio, Honest John and Gideon came sauntering out. Gepetto!! I love Gepetto. So we gave up our spot in the queue and went over to say hi. Priorities! Gondolas are nice but Gepetto trumps gondolas any day.



bad guy

As far as rides go, adrenaline junkies will not be disappointed. According to Truett, my little daredevil, Journey To The Centre Of The Earth is the best ride ever, and by that, he means that it’s terrifying. In a good way. Followed by Raging Spirits, and upside down loopy coaster, and Tower of Terror (which he described as “not even a little bit scary, just fun”). Kid has a different scale of terrifying because the one time I rode Tower of Terror, I screamed the whole ride like a little baby.

We both agreed that Toy Story Mania was awesome. It’s a non-scary fun ride that consistently has a 2-hour queue. The fastpasses for this ride get distributed early so my advice is to get to the park at rope drop and RUN. Run like you’ve never run before because even the fastpass distribution queue can be 30-minutes long. If you run fast enough, you can pick up the fastpasses and immediately get in the standby line so you can ride it twice. And trust me, you’ll want to ride it more than twice.

toy story


We really missed Kirsten when we got to Mermaid Lagoon. It’s beautifully themed to Ariel’s Grotto, with the whole undersea vibe. There was even a cave that looks exactly like Ariel’s treasure trove when she sang Part Of Your World, complete with a life-sized Prince Eric statue. Truett ran around the cave saying “we need to bring Kirsten here, she will love it!!”


ariel's treasures 2

ariel's treasures


The one thing we found really bizarre was Japan’s obsession with Duffy. And popcorn. But mostly Duffy. Everyone was walking around the park with a stuffed Duffy bear in their arms, even grown men. Some girls were completely Duffied out, with a fluffy Duffy bag, Duffy charms and Duffy bears. They’d squeal at Duffy meet and greets and the line for that was insanely long.

We happened to be there for the launch of a limited edition Christmas Duffy bear and the queue to get into McDuck’s (the store selling it) was 4 hours. People were queueing 4 hours to get into a store to buy a bear. No bear is that cute. The bears were sold on on the second day so we managed to get into McDuck’s after a 10-minute wait so of course we had to get a ginormous Shellie May bag for Kirsten.



shellie may

Visiting Disneysea was nothing short of a magical experience. It’s always magic when you get to know a Disney park for the first time, especially a park as incredible as this one.

We’re definitely coming back again.

Disney Magic, travel

Truett and Theo go to Tokyo | Disneyland

So the real reason why we went to Tokyo was for some of this.


I was talking with my mom the other day and she was like “every trip you take is all about disney, don’t you ever get bored…you should visit new places” and I’m like “you say it like it’s a bad thing but if every trip I took had a bit of disney magic in it, I’d be happy. Besides, this Disney is a new place.”

Tokyo has been on my radar ever since Tokyo Disneysea opened and I’ve been hearing amazing things about Tokyo’s parks. My only hesitation was the language issue, not just that I don’t understand Japanese but because having all these Disney characters speak in Japanese would severely burst my Disney bubble. It’s like this one time when I made the kids watch Disney Junior in Mandarin (dual sound for the win!) so they’d be exposed to the language and they were utterly horrified. They couldn’t speak for several minutes and they stared at the tv like their little dreams had been crushed. Finally, Kirsten said “this is wrong, make it stop saying Chinese things.”

I’m happy to say that the language thing isn’t really a dealbreaker after all. Maybe it’s because we’ve been hearing people speak in Japanese for 4 days prior so there was some level of conditioning there but Tokyo Disneyland definitely manages to keep the magic magical. The only thing is that we had to skip most of the shows. As for general conversations with cast members, a combination of English words and gestures worked really well.

So what’s great about Tokyo Disneyland?

Theming. The theming at Tokyo Disneyland was excellent, and in many cases, superior to the parks in both Orlando and Anaheim. The attention to detail was remarkable – all the little details were executed to perfection and the parks were incredibly well maintained. Most of the lands were similar to Magic Kingdom but with a slightly different spin. I think they took the theme and really ran with it.

tru disney




tree night

tree presents

Also, characters. There were the usual characters but in fun new costumes, as well as really rare characters that we didn’t get a chance to interact with in the US parks.


We were walking past It’s A Small World when next to me, a familiar tune from Snow White started playing and the 7 dwarfs came marching out. They were all there, all 7 of them. They marched out, danced a bit and just hung out with the guests, taking photos and signing autographs.

dwarfs marching

more dwarfs








We met Dopey, Doc, Grumpy, Bashful, Sneezy, Happy and Sleepy. That’s one item off my Disney bucket list right there.

Oh, why yes, I do have a Disney bucket list and I’ll share some of them with you.

  • Bring all my kids to Disney (Finn’s first Disney experience coming up soon-ish!!)
  • Spend a night in Cinderella’s Castle.
  • Stay for The Kiss Goodnight Closing Announcement.
  • Ride on a parade float.
  • Visit all the Disney parks (I’m short of Paris!).
  • Dinner at Club 33 and drinks at 1901 Lounge.
  • Break the high score record on Toy Story Midway Mania.
  • Shoot hoops from Matterhorn Basketball Court.

This experience to Tokyo Disneyland wasn’t like our usual all out commando Disney trips. With baby Theo along with us, we took things a lot easier and slower. No rope drop queues or mad dashes around the park. The husband went with Truett on all the crazy rides while I mostly sat on pretty benches to nurse my baby, just watching the magic unfold and soaking up the fairy dust. Selfies with my baby. Watching him get to know the parks I’m so in love with.


selfie theo


It was really nice. I think maybe I’ll mix things up a bit on future disney trips and do this a little more.


Truett and Theo go to Tokyo | Harajuku Boys

Our next couple of days in Tokyo were spent exploring, just getting to know the city a little bit better. We’d take the subway to a neighbourhood and just walk for the entire day. The weather was divine and there was so much to take in – the scramble on busy street crossings, the laid back charm on quiet little lanes, the hipster cafes filled with spiffy work types on their macbooks, and the marvellous food places that made our tummies very happy.

I’m going to be ambitious and attempt to squeeze 4 days of Tokyo into one post, let’s see if we make it.




harajuku street

Harajuku, specifically Takeshita Street, is the place where all things kawaii descended to and made their home. The very essence of kawaii resides here. It’s a fairly short street but it was like walking into a cotton candy cloud of cute. I stepped into a shop filled with pink, fluffy bows hoping to pick out something for Kirsten but I momentarily blacked out from the explosion of pink things around me and had to make a hasty getaway.

Even the food in Harajuku was cute. We picked up 2 crepes from Marion Crepes, which were superb. Most of the crepes I’ve had were just drizzled with chocolate sauce or banana caramel but in Harajuku, they take giant soft, fluffy crepes and stuff them with your choice of strawberries, mangoes, bananas, caramel, chocolate and ice-cream. That’s how I’m eating my crepes from now on.

marion crepes

Truett’s favourite was the Calbee store, the shop where cute happy potatoes are blissfully eating their fried potato friends. That little potato on the right looks like he doesn’t know what’s coming.

Um dude, I think you’re next.

tru calbee


Incidentally, we visited Harajuku on Halloween and we discovered that people go all out with the costumes there. Almost every other person we passed by had fake blood coming out of their eyes and mouth, it was very impressive.



Not far from the action of Takeshita Street is Omotesando, a little neighbourhood with a totally different vibe. It was very artsy and hipster, with hair salons, bookstores, studios, art galleries and cafes.

We had coffee and desserts at two cafes back to back. The first was Lattest, your typical hipster coffee joint. You can tell how hipster a place is by how hard they slam the milk frother thing when they make the coffee. This one definitely had a lot of slamming going on. The coffee was just ok, but it was a nice change of vibe from all that overwhelming kawaiiness we just experienced. It was like being back in an environment I could understand.


tru lattest

boys at lattest

theo lattest

Just across the street was another cafe/bakery place that we just had to try. I’m not sure if the name of the shop was Bread & Espresso or if they were advertising the items on sale but it’s just opposite Lattest cafe, you can’t miss it.

It was a small place and we had to queue 30 minutes to get in. We’re divided on whether the wait was worth it. The coffee was disappointing but the french toast was amazeballs.

bread and espresso

kel theo



Ginza isn’t particularly interesting. You’ll get the huge malls, the designer boutiques and not much else, but to make up for it, the food is exceptional. There are a whole bunch of Michelin Star restaurants clustered in Ginza so we figured we’d have lunch at one of them. The one we chose was Sankame.

Sankame is a tiny restaurant (just 4 tables) that serves traditional Japanese food, sort of like what you get if you visit a Japanese relative at their home, except this is made by a very good chef. For about $25 per person, we had a set of appetiser, sashimi, grilled fish, rice, soup and dessert. Not fancy but homely and delicious, just the way I like it.


sankame restaurant

For desserts at Ginza, we went to Henri Charpentier, a beautiful place with beautiful cakes. The decor was gorgeous and we had as much fun enjoying the ambience as we did with the desserts.

henri charpentier

henri charpentier toilet

henri charpentier cakes




Our final stop in Tokyo city was Shibuya, where you’ll find the madhouse known as the Shibuya Crossing. It’s a massive intersection where hordes of people are crossing the street every couple of minutes. We crossed it up and down in various directions just for kicks; it was strangely therapeutic to be part of that ebb and flow of human traffic.



Shibuya is also the home of Hachiko’s statue. Okay the story of Hachiko is really sweet but the popularity of Hachiko is beyond me. We walked past the statue and people were crowding around trying to touch it so obviously we had to take a photo with Hachiko. But I’m not sure what the fuss is about, maybe it’s a Li’l Sebastian type situation (Parks and Rec reference!) and I’m Ben.


Foodwise, Shibuya has a lot of gems. We had breakfast at Uoriki Kaisen Sushi, where we enjoyed fresh, affordable sushi.


sushi chef

nom sushi

We also had coffee at Streamer Coffee Company (another hipsterish joint with more mediocre coffee), a cheese tart from Pablo (yums!) and ramen at Ichiran Ramen, literally a hole-in-the-wall establisment where we sat in booths and noodles were served via a hole in the wall.


me tru



Alright, we made it, phew! I thought it was turning into a food blog halfway through the post but it’s quite impossible to talk about Tokyo without talking about the food because THE FOOD.

So that about wraps up Tokyo city for us. It was a nice easy first half of the trip before the real fun began at Disneyland and Disneysea.

Stay tuned for that!