So we decided to go to Tokyo Disney Sea on Monday rather than the weekend. The weather predicted a small chance of rain and partly cloudy, so I had to coax Jamie to go on this day. Aubri also didn’t want to wake up.
After much coaxing and repeated reminders that she would get to see mermaids, she was finally ready to go.
It’s about a 20 minute train ride from Tokyo station to the park station at Maihama station. Then it’s another about 10 minute walk to the gates. The entire walk is neatly trimmed and beautiful, though, so we suffered willingly.
Once at the gate, it was 6400jpy/ea for the adults (about $64 right now) and anyone 4 and under is free. Before you choke at that price, realize that as of this writing Disneyland in California is $86/ea for ages 3-9 and $92/ea for ages 10+. Yikes! Now, Disneyland/Disney Sea is technically licensed to the company who runs them, but not actively run by Disney themselves. I’m not sure about the Disneyland side, but I imagine that’s why only older characters are present on the Disney Sea side.
But on to the park.
From the moment we stepped foot inside, the wonder for Aubri began.
This place has a big map with lots of zones, so we just folded up the map and started walking. If you take a right from the entrance, you’ll walk through a big open walkway and step into the Shipwreck and Castle area (Noted as Fortress Explorations on the map).
I should note that even right here, everything has both ramp and elevator access. The entire park is super easy for both strollers and wheelchairs.
So we let Aubri go and explore…
These canons really fired with a little blast of smoke (after a long loading noise) when you tugged the fuse.
Heading up to the castle portion…
And then she found this…
This awesome tucked-away play area has a contained weather system with ships. For 100jpy/play (which lasts several minutes) you can steer boats through rain, storms, whirlpools, dangerous straits, and other hazards. It’s super fun and I had to drag Jamie and Aubri both away from it…
The inside of this castle is done up as though it belonged to a secret society of explorers.
It has a whole scavenger/clue finding game you can play throughout the castle to “Crack DaVinci’s Code,” but we felt that Aubri wouldn’t have the attention span for that. So we reluctantly moved on from the fortress and found ourselves in the Mysterious Island area. This is about the time we started realizing just how great the attention to detail is here. Every inch of the entire place is not only themed but segmented by zone, down to the lamps totally changing styles. And every single ride has its own style of costume, in addition to each zone having different costumes.
We’ve been to Disneyland California several times, and this totally takes the cake.
So in Mysterious Island we had our first batch of Sea Salt ice cream. We were a little disappointed that it didn’t come in blue on sticks, but it was very tasty (310jpy for ice cream, so around $3).
Then Jamie and I grabbed Fastpasses for Journey to the Center of the Earth, and we moved on to occupy Aubri for a while.
Now, something we didn’t realize about until later (but would be very handy to use) is the fact that they have “Baby Ride Cards.” Basically, you both fast pass and then ask for the ride card. The first person gives the card to the second person when they come out, and that second person gets to go up the exit line and ride basically immediately. No second fastpass wait. Pretty cool.
We grabbed a sausage bun (basically gyoza meat inside a fluffy steamed bun, 430jpy ea):
And then moved on to the Mermaid Lagoon area.
Now, the Mermaid Lagoon has an outdoor area with several rides (all kid themed, but one is a mini-roller coaster which only ages 3 and up can ride), and then it has an additional area “Triton’s Kingdom” that has more rides inside, is dark like the deep sea, and has a giant play area and a stage.
So we rode some rides, all with virtually no wait because the park wasn’t that crowded:
And then we went inside.
We rode the Jellyfish ride and then I sent Jamie to go ride on the first Fastpass while I rode with Aubri.
We rode this Blowfish ride…
And then the “Kelp cups (Teacups)”
Then played with some lights on the floor…
And then we found Ariel’s Playground.
In Ariel’s Grotto
Climbing through a dark tunnel of evil squids
And then Jamie found us in the play area and I tapped out to go ride. The Journey to the Center of the Earth is fun, and the detail even in all the displays leading up to the ride is pretty cool. Alas, I left the camera with Jamie. It took me about 20 minutes to get out to the ride, get through the Fastpass line, ride and get back.
Then we rode the blowfish again.
And it was time for lunch. We ordered the chicken and salsa set lunch for 1080jpy and the scallop sandwich set plate for 960jpy.
While I found the apple tea soda weird, the sandwiches weren’t bad. The scallop sandwich is mashed scallop fried into breading. Overall filling enough for roughly $20.
There was a show coming up at 2 that we wanted to see, so we packed Aubri into the stroller and headed out to grab a fast pass first. We grabbed a Stormrider Fastpass from Port Discovery since it’s a quick walk from the Mermaid Lagoon. Naturally Aubri passed out just before the show started, and slept through the entire show:
They had dragon-styled jet skis and they were flying kites from them…
So we watched the show and she slept on. Then we headed back toward Port Discovery and Lost River Delta. In Port Discovery we stumbled across a Japanese Steampunk Brass Band. Seriously:
They were really fun to watch, but they woke Aubri up (of course). So we took her grumpy self over to take a picture with the Goofy Inventor.
And then it was time to go see the show at the Hangar Stage in Lost Delta. Along the way we saw some plane wrecks:
I love that this plane is called C-3PO.
The stage was too dark to take pictures, but the show is basically this story of the various element spirits. Lots of cool special effects and great acrobatics, definitely a great surprise. We felt like we’d just watched a small segment of a Cirque du Soleil show.
Afterwards we left to go ride Storm Rider, which is a virtual reality storm chaser ride. It’s fun, but Aubri had to sit in her own seat so she got a little nervous (we also had to tell them she was 3 *koffkoff* because she is over 90cm tall and thus tall enough to ride).
But then we grabbed a Fastpass for Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull. We moved on to the Arabian Coast, and the Flying Carpets, to kill time.
We also had time to run through Sinbad’s Storybook Voyage, which is exactly the same ride as Pirates of the Caribbean, but set in the desert with camels. Aubri enjoyed it. The paint jobs are a little newer, for sure…
So we headed to go ride the Indiana Jones ride, and found out about the baby ride cards. So Jamie rode first while I entertained Aubri by the sales carts. So far she’d been a totally awesome well-behaved kid. Naturally I was about to change that.
The Indiana Jones ride was exactly like the one in California too, except that the model did look older (Harrison Ford ages!).
We caught sight of the full moon rising over Jasmine’s Palace:
And decided we had time to ride the carousel before we needed to head back toward the front of the park (to catch the big show, Fantasmic).
So we jumped onto an elephant and a purple genie…
Snapped a picture under the watchful eye of another Genie…
Ran off to the front of the park (Mediterranean Harbor) to find Aubri a souvenir and grab a snack before the show. It was only about 6:40pm and people were already laying claim to real estate, so we tried to hurry. We did find Aubri a cool hoodie as her souvenir, and then grabbed a Mickey snack:
And then we found ourselves a patch of the side street on the bridge to watch the show. Our view was pretty good. The show was similar to Fantasmagoria in Disneyland, but with some character variation and a lot of extra frill dancing.
After the show (for which Aubri was enthralled), we joined the throngs of people rushing back. It was a little after 8:30, and with the walk and the trains we didn’t get back to our host family’s house until just after 10pm. But I would say the trip to Disney Sea was totally worth it, and probably the best experience I’ve had at a theme park. There was stroller parking available at every ride, the only line frustration we had was the swarming of characters (ignoring lines etc), and Aubri was even a little rockstar. High five, Japan Disney.
Tomorrow’s post… Matsumodo Castle in Nagano Prefecture.