Thursday, June 14, 2018

Japan Travelogue Day 4: Guide to DisneySEA

Following the previous post on Disneyland, here’s the follow up post to the next theme park, DisneySEA! As mentioned in the previous post, (click HERE to read if you haven’t!) I bought the 2 day theme park tickets via KKday in advance (note that the 2 tickets have to be use on consecutive days) DisneySEA is exclusively to Tokyo only so i was really really excited for Day 2 because i have no idea what to expect!
DisneySEA is located beside Disneyland so the same station to stop at applies - JR Maihama Station. Not sure if you can walk from the station to DisneySEA but we took the Disney themed monorail for ¥260 ($3) which leads you to the entrance of the park. Since we are already there, might as well go for the full experience!
Weather was so much better than the previous day at Disneyland even though there were still on and off drizzle from time to time. Even though there are a lot of information on the theme parks online, i tried my best to refrain from reading too much so that i don’t end up spoiling myself at DisneySEA. LOL
Remember the Micky popcorn bucket that i bought the previous day at Disneyland? This time i brought it along and i filled it to the brim with snacks that i bought from the supermarket! HAHAHHA #cheapo
DisneySEA also has the FastPass system in place and here are the must go rides:

- Journey to the Center of the Earth
- Nemo and Friends SeaRider
- Mermaid Lagoon Theatre (King Triton’s Concert)
- Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Crystal Skull
- Raging Spirits
- Tower of Terror
- Toy Story Mania!

I would say the most popular ride in DisneySEA would be the Toy Story Mania! Queue can be for as long as 3 hours and even though i arrived early in the morning and got my first FastPass at Toy Story, my timing was already for 5.20pm. So i would highly recommend for everyone to rush to get your FastPass for Toy Story first. Before the ride, I honestly had no idea what the ride was about and why it was so popular.
First ride of the day (and the shortest queue at 30 mins) was Aquatopia located at the Port Discovery area of the park! If you read my previous Disneyland post on the “trackless ride system” for the Winnie the Pooh ride, the Aquatopia is also one of the 5 rides in the world which uses the same system! It was really fun “floating” on water, avoiding everyone else on this ride, highly recommended!
Next to the Aquatopia is one of the newest attraction - Nemo & Friends SeaRider (opened on May 17) The queue was soooo long and since we had some time before the next FastPass, we decided to start queuing for it. We queued for about an hour or so, and was presented with a short pre-show on what to expect and next thing we know, we were ushered into the “SeaRider” which is apparently a 4D ride. LOL It was quite fun, maybe not the best ride for those prone to motion sickness but highly recommended for families who are familiar with the whole Finding nemo storyline.
Next up, Journey to the center of the earth! This is probably one of the highlight rides in the whole of DisneySEA. When you first enter the theme park (or even before) you will notice that a  huge “volcano” sits in the middle of the park and that’s where the Journey to the center of the earth attraction lies. It’s honestly one of the best ride i have ever took in terms of the overall experience.

You get into the mine vehicle which literally brings you through the volcano down to the center of the earth (duh!), the effects, the different areas, everything was so elaborated and well designed. But because everything happens so fast, you don’t really get to stop and admire each area but leave it to your imagination. Awesome.
While wandering around the park, you might spot these talented “cleaners” painting portraits of Disney characters on the floor simply by using their brush and water. Do grab a photo of the images before they evaporates!
Another ride which i took the FastPass was Raging Spirits which is just a roller coaster ride with a 360 degree loop. Probably because it’s a thrilling ride that’s why so many queue for this.
Spotted Mr. Incredibles! (Note: This post took me so long that the new Incredibles 2 movie is out today in cinemas, LOL)
I really love meeting mascots! It’s like they gives out these positive vibes to everyone around them by being so cheerful and happy. Then again, i wonder if the person inside is like that or is it just plain acting because it’s their job. Hmm…
You know how Disneyland have their daily parade, DisneySEA does it over the waters on their float! During the period i was there, it was the Halloween event thus they had the whole Disney villain theme ongoing. Love it!
While wandering around, we chanced upon Mermaid Lagoon (which we actually have no intention of visiting) The area is themed to the palace of King Triton and is supposed to portray being under the sea. The rides inside are mostly kiddy rides and just nice when we were there, a show was about to start so we went in together with the crowd without knowing what it is about.

Apparently we went into the Mermaid Lagoon Theater, and guess what. IT WAS THE BEST SHOW EVER. It’s basically a “under the sea" musical show with Ariel and her friends and it was so well executed even though i have no idea what they were saying in Japanese. I almost teared at how good it is (i swear i’m not exaggerating!) The standard is like those you need to pay for tickets to watch in the Singapore indoor stadium kind. I was so impressed that i always recommend it to whoever is going to DisneySEA to go watch it. LOLOLOL
In DisneySEA, tickets to shows such as the “Big Band Beat” at the Broadway Music Theatre are only available via lottery so you have to try your luck at this place called the “Biglietteria” and you may attempt a lottery for each show only once a day. So you go there, scan your park tickets at the machine and pray that you win reserved ticket(s) to the show. Good luck!
On top of the usual rides and attractions, there are game stalls inside DisneySEA as well. For the entire day I was lamenting on how every other person is carrying a huge Donald duck in their hands and how i wish i had one too, LOL We finally found the game store after roaming around. The mechanics of the game sounds easy but it’s actually quite difficult to win. Had to try a couple of times before winning it and i was a happy boy for the rest of the day! :D
At about 5pm, we finished visiting most of the must-go rides in DisneySEA and we headed back to Toy Story land to utilise our FastPass for the highly raved Toy Story Mania ride which i mentioned earlier.
Even with the FastPass, we had to queue for a good 15 to 20 mins before our turn but that cannot be compared to those queueing for up to 3 hours just for this ride. The interior of the ride was really interesting and colourful. The toys were larger than life and all of us were like shrunk to the size of a toy.
When it was our turn, we were ushered into the little carts. On a side note, the staffs inside the theme parks were really professional and regardless whether you understand japanese, they will just rattle off the safety procedures to you. LOL

I went on the ride without any expectations because i have no idea what it is about and that’s when the real fun begin. IT’S AN INTERACTIVE RIDE where you have to use the “toy gun” to play a mini carnival game whenever the cart stops in front of a screen. The more targets you hit, the more points you accumulate. It was soooo fun and being competitive me, i went trigger happy and tried to score as many as i can. Did i mention that we had to wear 3D glasses so everything on the screen seem to real and things were “flying” out of the screen. HAHAHA

The whole ride went on and on for a good 5 mins? (longer than usual rides in fact) and everyone had so much fun and laughter. No wonder it’s the most popular ride in the entire DisneySEA!
Our last attraction ride of the day in DisneySEA - Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Crystal Skull! This ride is also one of the popular rides in the theme park, you embark on a journey on this vehicle into the “temple” but the temple's vengeful guardian spirit, the Crystal Skull, is not happy about this and unleash his anger. It’s a high speed ride and like the Journey to the center of the earth ride, the details and ride was as amazing.

With proper planning, we managed to finish every single one of the must-go rides and attractions by 7pm which leaves us some time for dinner and get a nice seat for the final night show at the main harbour.
DisneySEA is famous for their exclusive characters which started from Duffy and now his friends. I even went to read up online on how this Duffy came about but not so much on the friends. I just feel like they created more characters like the rabbit and the cat to cater to the likes of different people. Then weave some cute story on how they link to Duffy. Smart move Disney, smart move.
I still think that Duffy is the cutest among all. Bought a few small Duffy and Shellie May (the girlfriend, lol) as souvenir for myself and some friends. Other than Duffy, the rest all have weird names tho. Shellie May (the gf), Gelatoni (the cat) and StellaLou (the rabbit) How did they even come up with the names???
The view was so amazing at night! It’s like everything came to life. In case you are wondering what camera i’m using for my trip, it’s either my iPhone 7+ (for the not so good quality ones) and my trusty Canon G7X Mark II. Not sure if guys can see the difference in quality tho.
Last but not least, the ultimate show to end the night! Music, water, pyrotechnics and fireworks. So impressive! I’m not gonna talk too much about the show because i suspect they change the show from time to time so by the time some of you go there, it’s a totally different show altogether BUT do stay for the show because it will complete your DisneySEA experience. Unless it’s raining.

With that said, this marks the end of my Disneyland/ DisneySEA guide. Time to continue on my Japan Travelogue! (At the rate that i’m going… it might really take me a year to complete this travelogue, LOL) I’m currently at Day 4, means 10 more days to go since i went japan for 2 weeks? LOL


Till the next post!                    



Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Japan Travelogue Day 3: Guide to Disneyland Tokyo, Japan!

As i was planning my Japan itinerary, i planned 3 full days out of my 15 days to visit Disneyland, DisneySEA and Universal Studio Japan. The first Disneyland i ever went to was in Hong Kong, and it was quite a good experience (i mean, how bad can Disneyland be!) and i was really excited about the one in Tokyo!!! I was so thrilled to be able to experience the happiest place on earth 2 days in a row including the exclusive one and only DisneySEA. Oh ya, did i mention that i visited Disneyland on my actual birthday! 

Before going to Disneyland, you actually have to do some homework so that you maximise your time there. There are certain must-go rides and if you do not plan your day well and head in aimlessly, you might miss one or two rides and not complete the entire park. Then again, it also depends on what kind of theme park go-er you are. If you just want to go in and explore, take photos, queue up for rides one by one, yolo your way through then by all means just go during the opening hours. 

But if you are like me, ambitious and want to cover the entire park. You are at the right place because this post will probably provide everything you need to know about going to Disneyland!
Disneyland/SEA is pretty accessible as there are trains that leads right to the theme park. The stop that you should be looking out for is, JR Maihama Station. The journey takes about 30 mins from Shinjuku. You can also take a bus (which might be cheaper at ¥1,000 one way) but it takes about an hour to reach.

You can get theme park tickets over the counter or simply get them online to avoid queuing. I got mine from KKday which allows you to get your tickets in advance! Simply purchase and use the e-ticket on your phone to gain entry to the theme park, totally fuss free. If you are thinking of visiting both Disneyland and DisneySEA, i would recommend you to get the 2-days Passport which saves you ¥1,600 (SGD19.50) compared to getting separate park tickets. The only thing you need to note is that the 2 day passport have to be used consecutively, meaning 2 days in a row. 

There are a lot of different kinds of park tickets so do check out their official website (http://www.tokyodisneyresort.jp/en/ticket/) to find out which is more suitable for your itinerary. To give you a rough idea of how much the park tickets would cost, it’s about SGD$90 for a day pass and SGD$160 for the 2 days passport.  
As you can see from the above photo, it was raining, again. When planning for your trip to Disneyland/ SEA, do checkout their official website (http://info.tokyodisneyresort.jp/en/calendar) to check the opening hours for that particular day you are visiting. Sometimes they open at 8, sometime 8.30 or even 9, so it’s very important to check before you go. It doesn’t harm to go there early as well because i read that people (both tourists and locals!) do queue up early in the morning even before park opens.  
Now that you are aware of the tickets, accessibility as well as opening hours, you are almost there planning your trip to Disneyland, the next thing you need to know are the rides and popularity. 

These are the must-go for Disneyland, Japan: 

Pooh’s Hunny Hunt
Monsters, Inc. Ride & Go Seek!
Big Thunder Mountain
Space Mountain
Splash Mountain
Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters 

Which leads me to my next topic - FastPass. This has got to be the most brilliant idea that anyone has came up with to manage crowd control in a theme park. I can’t help but rave at how genius this idea is AND this system doesn’t cost the park go-ers a single cent (unlike USJ…) FastPass machine at popular attractions dispense queue tickets and allows you to return to the ride at a specific timing and gain entry to the ride within minimal queuing. 

Scan your park ticket at one of the FastPass machine outside the attraction, and get one of these FastPass tickets. The next time you can get another FastPass ticket will be 2 hours later. With this system, you can manage your time in the park so much better and you don’t have to waste time queuing for every ride. 

The recommended strategy to use the FastPass system would be to grab tickets to Monsters Inc. the moment you enter the park. 2 hours later, go for Pooh’s Hunny Hunt, then Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters or according to the must-go list i have above. If you intend to spend the whole day in the park, say 9am to 10pm, you will definitely be able to get at least 4 to 5 fast passes to the popular attractions. Being super kiasu, i set an alarm for every 2 hours, LOL 

FastPass attractions are:

Big Thunder Mountain
Splash Mountain
Pooh’s Hunny Hunt
Haunted Mansion
Star Tours: The Adventures Continue
Space Mountain
Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters
Monsters, Inc. Ride & Go Seek!

While you are waiting for your next FastPass chance, spend the 2 hours in-between queueing for something else and explore the rest of the park. At this rate, you should be able to cover the entire park :)
Throughout the day, do also checkout the board that tells you the estimate queuing time of the attractions because you never know if some popular rides have shorter waiting time, which means you might not even need the FastPass. As i arrived pretty early that day, i got into Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters within 30 mins!
The ride was quite fun! Basically throughout the ride, you get to use the “Astro Blasters” to shoot the aliens and gain points. Pretty interactive and fun! I wasn’t being ambitious at the game and took some time to snap a couple of selfies with the blasters, HAHAHA  
Being a huge Stitch fan, i just had to queue to enter the Stitch Encounter. An interactive show with an on-screen stitch. It’s the same as the one in Hong Kong Disneyland just that this is in Japanese. Totally no idea what was the Stitch saying. LOL  
The other thing that is probably catch your attention throughout your adventure in Disneyland would be the popcorn carts! These carts are spread throughout the theme park and they offer Disney themed popcorn buckets. Each cost about ¥2,800 (SGD34) I think the price varies with the design. You will definitely be tempted to get one for yourself after seeing everyone carrying theirs around!  
With the popcorn bucket, you get to refill your bucket at a discounted price of ¥520 ($6) and trust me, you would refill it non stop because there are 7 different types of flavoured popcorn throughout the park! I cannot remember how many times i refilled mine because i wanted to try almost all the flavours, lol. (and you can also bring your bucket into DisneySEA the next day without being judged. Oh! You get the discounted popcorn rate at DisneySEA too!) Come to think of it, this popcorn cart idea is actually quite brilliant!  
Bought the Micky popcorn bucket in the end and i love it so much! #bigkid LOL  
My FastPass tickets for Pooh’s Hunny Hunt! One of the top attractions in DisneySEA. You sit in this “honey pot” and it brings you around the world of Winnie the pooh. The really cool thing about this ride is that it’s “trackless”, meaning there is no track on the ground for your cart to follow. I read online that this is one of the 3 rides in the world that is trackless. The ride itself is also very interactive with a lot of things to see and admire. No wonder it’s a must go for Disneyland Tokyo!  
It was raining throughout the day so when the rain got heavier, we had to seek shelter and at the same time, find some food to eat! There are several must have snacks in Disneyland/SEA. Turkey leg is one of them! If you haven’t notice, i’m wearing my Stitch tee which i bought from BKK many years back, finally an appropriate day to wear it!!!  
Despite the rain, the highly anticipated parade went on as planned! It’s like every child (and some adult’s) dream to be able to see their favourite Disney character right in front of them! No wonder Disneyland is dubbed the happiest place on earth. I totally agree.  
The Pirates of the Caribbean ride which is essentially a boat ride which leads you through a pretty realistic journey through a story of pirates during the period of piracy, somewhat in line with the movie. Not a must go but still worth it to go in-between 2 hours FastPass interval.  
Totally enjoying my birthday at Disneyland despite the rain and soaked feet. LOL  
One of my favourite photo taken at Disneyland! There is the huge majestic castle at the back (Cinderella’s?), my super apt Stitch tee and my Mickey mouse popcorn bucket! Not forgetting my ash grey hair which i specially bleached just for this trip (Thank you Black Hair Salon for the sponsor!)  
We literally spent the entire day in the park. Had had one of their themed dinner in one of the restaurant and wanted to watch the night show (with fireworks) but because of the weather, they announced that there will be no fireworks that night. So saddddddd. Went back to our AirBnB to rest as the next day is gonna be another adventure. 

Next post, DisneySEA!