Against our better judgment, we're going to go to Disneyland this evening. Gaston is coming into town, and he apparently is physically incapable of being in Anaheim without being at Disneyland. We were going to stay home tonight because the park is crowded in the evenings, and we wanted our first trip back to our home Disneyland to not make us immediately hate it, but it's hard to say no when a friend wants to go to Disneyland with you. So now we've decided that if it's crowded we'll blame it on Gaston and not hate Disneyland itself...or something.
Anyway, he's at a local hockey store now, and when he's done there, we'll be off to the park! So I have until he gets here to write up as much of our travel log as I can!
On Wednesday, we went back to Disneyland! We kind of chose the date arbitrarily and kind of did it based on the weather forecast. We wanted to make sure it wasn't going to snow on us. But we didn't wait for the wind forecast to go away, so it ended up being very cold and windy. First, we picked up some breakfast at Family Mart, because we were kind of eager to get going, and the bakery (which I forgot to mention yesterday; don't let me forget to talk about it before the second DisneySea report) wasn't open yet. We saw some pancakes wrapped in plastic and thought hey, pancakes are good. But we were in a rush to get to the station so we didn't learn until later that they were actually pancake sandwiches! They had maple syrup and margarine filling. Why margarine and not butter? I couldn't say.
Anyway, the mistake we made was that we tried to leave for Disneyland during the morning rush. Now that
was an experience. Maybe the most authentic Japanese experience we had the whole trip! (Maybe not.) We were squished for a good portion of the ride. But most people got off a few stops before we had to make our transfer, so that was nice, being able to breathe again. There were even some seats available to sit in!
When we got to Maihama Station, we were pretty excited, and a little anxious, because the area between the station and the park gates is always packed with people before the park opens (or it has been two out of two times we went there), so we were like, "Noooo! The park is already crowded!" No it wasn't; they just hadn't let anyone in yet. That's why they were all condensed into this one space.
This time, we got two-day passes so we could go back to DisneySea, and then we waited in line to be let into the park. When we got in, we were once again overwhelmed by how big it is! There's sooooo much space! So much space! And the castle! It's aaaaaall the way over there! And it's gigantic! ...And there were a bunch of Frozen decorations up, because they were doing some kind of Frozen Festival thing, and we asked ourselves once again why oh why so many people like that movie so much and then we moved on with our lives.
At their equivalent of "the hub" (the place at the end of Main Street (or the World Bazaar, in the case of Tokyo Disneyland) where the path branches off into all the different lands), there was--you guessed it--another brass band! They didn't have Mickey and Minnie this time, but they still had some awesome arrangements of Disney songs. We loved it! ...until they started a Frozen medley, which we didn't hate but didn't love, either. It included the most upbeat version of Let It Go we've ever heard. We kept watching because brass bands are awesome and we were so overwhelmed we didn't know where to go. The band gave us a chance to not worry about that for a while.
Then they stopped playing and it was time to pick a direction. Well, obviously you have to go through the castle at some point, so we decided to go ahead and do that first. I must say, it was rather disconcerting to have this giant castle in front of us and then look to the right and not
see a scale replica of Matterhorn mountain. But anyway, we went through the castle and ended up following the exact same path we followed the first time we went to Tokyo Disneyland...or at least the same path when we went to Fantasyland. Checking our report, it looks like we went to Adventureland first back then.
But anyway, we found ourselves at Mickey's Philharmagic! Last time we went, it was still the Mickey Mouse Revue, and you can read about it in this post
. I'm a little sad that the Mickey Mouse Revue is gone, but Philharmagic was recommended by Masakazu Morita to people on Twitter, so we figured it was pretty good, too. We also know it exists in Florida, which explains why the lips didn't always sync.
Mickey's Philharmagic is a 3D show, that starts out kind of like the Revue, in that the idea is you're going to see an orchestra concert. The concert was starting late because they had to look for someone--we think it was Donald, but then he was there with the orchestra all alone and Mickey showed up and gave him instructions. Maybe they found Donald and shoved him onstage, then Mickey went to change into his costume. I don't remember. But the important thing is that Mickey told him not to touch his hat--the blue pointy hat with a moon and stars on it, that was sitting very conspicuously on top of the conductor's music stand. Well anybody who knows anything about Donald Duck and Disney storytelling knows that almost immediately after Mickey left, Donald put on the hat and started using it to conduct the orchestra (musical instruments that played via magic instead of musicians). But then everything went crazy and the hat made some kind of a vortex, and Donald got transported to another world! Neither of us remembers exactly what order he went in, but I know he went to Beast's castle and found himself in the middle of "Be Our Guest", which was fun because they did the thing with all the plates and saucers, only it was in 3D! And he went to Ariel's grotto, where she sang "Part of That World" at him, and he went to London where he joined Peter Pan and the Darlings in "You Can Fly", and that transitioned into "A Whole New World", and at the end of that Jasmine gave him the hat back. Oh right, I forgot to mention that after the hat made a vortex and transported Donald somewhere, it kept running away from him, but he was trying to get it back because it was his only hope of fixing things. And "I Just Can't Wait to Be King" was in there somewhere. And eventually he made it back, and Mickey did the exact same thing to Donald that Yen Sid did to him at the end of The Sorcerer's Apprentice, and it was all quite fun and lovely.
The path led on to Pinocchio's Daring Journey, which is pretty much the same in Japan as it is in California, only the characters speak Japanese, and there's more smoke in the room where Lampwick turns into a donkey. (The ride pretty much takes you from one scene in the movie to another, starting with Stromboli's cart, where he puts you in a birdcage and says, "This is your home now!", and then the Blue Fairy sets you free, but instead of going home (Jiminy Cricket says, "No, not that way!") you go to Pleasure Island...which reminds me, we always wondered why the world in Dream Drop Distance is called Prankster's Paradise and not Pleasure Island. We checked Wikipedia in Japanese, which led us to believe that maybe they never called the place by name in the Japanese version of the movie, but this ride had a sign right there in big letters, totally easy to read. Now our theory is that someone down the approval/localization line who can't get their mind out of the gutter thought "Pleasure Island" sounded too "adult"...but anyway, then you see kids turned into donkeys, and then you go to the ocean where you run into Monstro, and finally you make it home to Geppetto's house where the Blue Fairy turns Pinocchio into a wooden puppet. I don't know what it is; they just show you the puppet version instead of the real boy version in both rides. But the Blue Fairy is prettier in Japan.)
We usually like to just go down the line and hit all the attractions, but the way Fantasyland is set up in Japan throws me off somehow. So I don't know how it all went about, but we ended up on It's A Small World...which, checking my source, seems to have actually happened before Pinocchio, but that's okay.
And our ride just called, so we're off!
Today I'm thankful for getting to go to Japan's Small World, Mickey's Philharmagic, honey popcorn, pancake sandwiches, and figuring out where some of my Bizarro Disneyland dream ideas came from.