TOKYO, DISNEYSEA is the only one of its kind in the world. Walking into the Disney train station made me feel all kinds of nostalgia because of the Disney soundtrack playing in the background, plus the kids and adults donning their Minnie Mouse and Donald Duck hats. Even more so when you enter the park and are greeted by a thumping bunny mascot or an animated Goofy giving free hugs!
In place of Cinderella’s castle that you see in Disneyland is a vibrant volcano that erupts smoke from time to time, plus a river that winds around the park. What makes Disneysea different from its land counterpart is perhaps that it’s more suited for adults. Well for one, it’s the only Disney park that serves draft beer. The crowd mostly consists of groups of friends and couples, some of whom wear Duffy the bear onesies and snap kawaii photos of their stuffed toys against the scenery. But of course, what is never lost is the magic and joy the theme park brings to everyone who visits.
Mysterious Island would bring you to a sci-fi, somewhat post-apocalyptic world that we later on came to realize, is inspired by Atlantis: The Lost Empire. The spiral staircase leads down 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Once you’re at the end of the line, your group will be hopping on a submarine that’ll take you down underwater to see some glowing crystal gems and treasures. Occassionally, you’ll get hit by an octupus’ tentacles, but nothing too scary happens here.
The shouting from a nearby distance got me excited for the next ride. After taking a second look, we discovered that the roller coaster was inside the volcano! But before falling in line, there was a sign that warned of a 180-minute wait, and they weren’t giving out fast passes anymore. Not to worry- there’s still so much to see!
Little Mermaid’s colorful castle glistened in the sunlight and welcomed us down where it’s better, under the sea! The dimmed lights and coral-ful design really makes you feel like you’re underwater– amid jumping jellyfish and spinning pufferfish. The rides over here are more for children, with some Disney crew waving at you the whole time you sit on dizzying teacups. Here, we found our treasure trove of ice cream: sea salt vanilla ice cream in the form of a pink shell, and Mickey Mouse’s tiramisu sandwich bar. YUM!
Crossed the bridge, and we were immediately transported to a whole new world, made all the more dazzling by the flying carpet!
We went to see a magician show in 3D glasses and matching vibrating seats, but I think we would’ve enjoyed it more if we understood Japanese. But we did fall in love with this side of the island, especially when we tasted their chicken curry with naan bread and lassi. Good thing we had early dinner, because the line for this curry got really long by nightfall. Curry popcorn, anyone? Sounded strange to me at first, but if you’re into Indian spices, go ahead and try it out!
Made the most out of this whole new world and hopped on a little boat to see Sinbad’s adventures. This was a blast from the past for me, because I suddenly remembered “It’s a Small World” from Disneyland back from when I was very little. Loved the song on this version, plus the intricate props, animated puppets and sound effects.
In the outskirts of the Arabian castle, lay a jungle full of hidden temples and ravaging rides. I was curious about the roller coaster with a 360-degree turn, but decided to save that for next time. Because of the queueing time for these last two rides (more than a hundred-twenty minutes), we had to choose which to take- the Indiana Jones, or the roller coaster back in Mystery Island, whose queueing time went from 180 minutes, to 150.
I had an inkling that the Indiana Jones ride is available in Disneyland too, so the ride that’s more unique to this park won us over: The Center of the Earth.
From the start of the line, you couldn’t really see how far to go before reaching the ride because it kinda just snakes around. I think they intentionally craft it that way, plus place props in the area, so instead of dying of boredom, you wait in anticipation.
Once we finally got to the end, we were ushered into an elevator, that I hoped wasn’t the start of the ride because it looked dystopian and steel. Well, we didn’t line up for tower of terror… right?
Everything was so steam punk when we got in, like we teleported into the Industrial Age. Got on the train-like roller coaster, which started out slow so that we could see the crystals, gold, the mined treasures. Then suddenly, it picks up speed after this huge, cockroach-like two-legged bug (really freaked me out!) huffs at you, and you lunge down what feels like the slope of the volcano. The adrenaline rush from the ride left me laughing as we exited– or maybe it was the sound of my screaming amidst the complete silence from our all-boy cart that made me laugh.
The park was emptying out when we finished our ride, and everything was beautifully illuminated under the night sky. We had the time of our lives in Tokyo Disneysea- a mesh of different worlds, filled with magic and wonder. I still get giddy and smile like an idiot each time I look back at this day 🙂