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.
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.
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.
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!!”
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.
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.