So I made the realization last night that we very likely won't have time to post to LJ from Monday until Friday (although I might make some time to post a review on Wednesday), which means I only have two days to finish up our Japan trip report! We have yet to determine if this will result in longer posts or multiple posts for today and/or tomorrow, but as you can see, it certainly didn't prompt me to post earlier. That's because we were working, because our Plans for next week won't really be conducive to that, either, and we have deadlines.
So I better get to reporting! After the show (by the way, we didn't point this out as we planned to, but did you notice that the two leads were named You and Me? that means the show is about all of us! we all
can look inside and find consideration and imagination and courage!), we continued our course along the Lost River and found ourselves in Port Discovery, where we looked sadly at the Center for Weather Control, now surrounded by scaffolding for people to use while remaking the ride into dumb old Finding Nemo. This is all the more reason I decided I was very happy that Out of Shadowland didn't have any preexisting Disney characters. Down with branding!
Naturally, we didn't go on Storm Rider (that's the ride inside the CWC), so we kept going on to Aquatopia. A sign and a cast member told us that we could go on the regular version, or, because it was a rather warm day, they had opened up the "bisho-nure" course. That's the course where you get wet, according to the English version of the sign, but the Japanese version is a little more extreme. "Bisho-nure" means "soaked" or "drenched". And oh my goodness, they were not kidding. I may have described Aquatopia as a ride where you're on a little hovercraft, hovering over the water, and there's no track so it's different every time. They take you by whirlpools that spin you around and around and around!, and dangerously close to waterfalls, etc. You don't necessarily get both in the same ride, but here's the thing--it doesn't matter. What you are
guaranteed to get on every ride of the bisho-nure course is a spot right in front of a jet of water, where your hovercraft will stop until the water jet has sprayed every member of your party, and I think it goes back and forth a few times. And we got it twice. The second one was close to the outside of the ride, so there was a group of girls stationed there to watch everybody else get drenched. It was fun, and quite refreshing after such a warm day. We were a little worried, because we'd heard that in humid places, you never dry off, and the sun was starting to get close to the horizon. But it turned out to be fine.
We kept walking after that, to the American Waterfront and past the stage for A Table Is Waiting. There was still time before the next show, so we wandered around a bit and decided that the line to Tower of Terror was in fact too long. That was another one we were undecided about, because usually it's a solid no, but since there's all the hullabaloo about them changing the California one, we thought now was the best time for comparison. Only it wasn't, because the line was long and we didn't care that much. We found a cart selling Little Green Man. We noticed them last time and thought it was a clever enough idea for us to get over our anti-Pixar bias, because in this case, the man is short for manju. What they are are little green manju that are done up to look like the LGMs from Toy Story, and they have custard filling--one with chocolate, one with vanilla, and one with strawberry.
We didn't get a chance to buy them in January after we decided we wanted to, so this time we made sure not to miss out! And oh man, the custard was so good. But the mochi part...tasted like nothing. So it was like I was chewing on something that was persistently not getting to a swallowable point and had no flavor to make it worth it. We think it probably does have a flavor that we haven't yet learned to detect, and the subtle taste would only have been hidden more by the custard (the chocolate especially was nice and thick in flavor). Athena seems to remember it tasting vaguely of food coloring. I wonder if Cecille would have been able to taste something, though, since she has such a sensitivity to sweetness, and I'm sure that whatever flavor mochi has is a sweet one. But she wouldn't be interested in the custard. Ah, the dilemma...
Of course we watched A Table Is Waiting again, and since the sun was still up this time, I got a ton of really good pictures. And it was so cute, because there was a woman sitting next to me who had clearly seen the show several times, because not only was she singing the songs, but she was doing all the hand gestures along with the actors, too. It was adorable.
Oddly enough, I don't think the show about food had anything to do with our post-show realization that we should maybe get something to eat. So we headed over to the Arabian Coast, because lyschan
had expressed an interest in curry, and I have always had an interest in sitting in while somebody ate at the Casbah. Plus, they said they were doing something with a magician there for Halloween, but I think we got there after he was finished. Nevertheless, it was a pretty great place to eat. The ambiance and decor were great, and there was a statue of Jafar, and red and black velvet hanging from the columns (I think that last part was more of the Halloween decor, but since I haven't been there at a non-Halloween time, I couldn't say). Athena and I had mango mousse cake, which was pretty much what I expected, but had the added happy surprise of a puff of meringue!
Our Indiana Jones fastpasses became active at some point (there may have been another trip through Sindbad's Storybook Voyage), so we headed over there. This time, since we were with a friend, we wanted to pose for the picture, especially since we were most certainly not
going to be posing for the Splash Mountain picture. So we had to pose on some
ride for our Noragami fan wish fulfillment! Unfortunately, none of us is real great at coming up with poses, so the best we could think of was the "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil" thing. We told lys where to watch out for the camera, and bam! we posed! (Incidentally, the standard "I want to pose but I don't know what to do" pose in Japan would appear to be to make a heart either with your arms above your head or by putting your hands together and forming the heart with your fingers.)
Naturally, we had to buy a copy. So we went to the "buy your picture" spot and hesitated for a while because we weren't quite sure how it worked (we don't buy pictures that much in the States, and it's not always exactly the same process anyway), and then we talked to a cast member. She was very friendly, and tried to make conversation while we waited for the picture to print. When we didn't have a whole lot to say about the rides we'd been on (although if I'd been in the right frame of mind, I'm sure we could have spoken at length about Sindbad), she pulled out the cardboard frame that the picture would be inserted into and told us there was a hidden Mickey there, and asked us to look for it. But we are pros at finding hidden Mickeys, so that didn't take long. She was like, "Wow, that was fast. Okay, can you find the one on this shopping bag?" That didn't take very long, either, so she turned it over to the new Halloween side and told us she thinks there must be one there, too, but she hasn't had a chance to look for it yet. That one stumped us, but I'm going to say it's just because our picture was printed before we could find it. And this has been me bragging about my hidden Mickey finding abilities.
I think the only other thing (other than probably another ride on Sindbad's Storybook Voyage) was Fantasmic!. We hadn't been sure if we wanted to watch Fantasmic!, but if we got all the colors on our Crystal Compass, than it was going to Glow with the Show(tm) (it wasn't actually the trademarked version, I think, but there is a Glow with the Show trademark at Disneyland, CA). What that means is that there's something somewhere transmitting a thing to make the colors on the compass change in sync with the nighttime spectacular. We'd never done Glow with the Show before, and this was commemorative!, so we had to try it. Also, we thought we should give their Fantasmic! another chance.
Fortunately, we knew exactly where the best area to watch from was, thanks to our Disney Date CD, and this time we actually took the CD's advice. We had a much better view of Mickey, and were closer to everything in general...but it still just wasn't that great. Our best explanation now, in addition to a lack of syncing the visuals with the music (this is the basics of the basics in magical nighttime spectaculars, and yet Disney has been forgetting it more and more), is that there was too much going on without any clear message as to what exactly we're supposed to be watching. There's a giant sorcerer's hat coming out of the ocean with light-up images on it, and three giant barges that have dancers and
inflatable projection screens with more images on them. It's just too much, without enough coordination. Oh, and jet skis! Always jet skis. (I admit, the jet skis are cool. I think they should get a couple for our Fantasmic! so they can bring Flotsam and Jetsam back.)
But now we know it's okay not to make time for it next time. After the show, we took advantage of one other function of the Crystal Compass--to connect with friends (aka cast members)! Any time there was a cast member with a Crystal Compass, you could point them at each other and push the button, and they glow and choose a color at random. And the cast member asks what character it is (this part was tricky at first, because the cast member was trying to do it in English and wasn't sure quite how to do it, but we all figured it out eventually), and it's just a fun little silly thing. This is how we learned that most Japanese people (or at least most Japanese Disney fans) call Minnie "Minnie-chan", which I just think is really great.
We rode a couple of more rides in Mermaid Lagoon (we hadn't been on the Scuttle Scooter or Flounder's Fish Coaster yet!), and then we did a little bit of shopping before we headed back to the hotel after another happy day at DisneySea.
The next day, we got up just as early, even though Disneyland would be opening half an hour later than DisneySea did, because we did not want to get squooshed in rush hour train traffic. We did that in January; we weren't fans. And since we already had our tickets, that meant we had that much more time to kill before the park opened, but this was perfect, because just outside Maihama station is a place called Bell's Crepes and we had not had the chance to enjoy Japanese crepes yet. And this place had the best crepes, because oh my gosh, you guys. They had one flavor called "rich chocolate", where they make a crepe, and while it's still hot, they put all these chocolate squares on it. The thick ones, like...Hershey Nuggets? Maybe like Dove squares. Yeah, I think like Dove squares. And then they wrap it up like they do, and let the chocolate melt inside, and it is the best thing I have ever had. But it does not come without a price (in addition to the 360 yen or however much we paid for it). That much melted chocolate is guaranteed to make an enormous mess. Eat crepes responsibly, is what I'm saying. Oh, but it was so delicious. Next time, I want to try the same flavor with ice cream.
Despite our crepe adventures, we ended up waiting quite some time for the park to open, but that's okay, because we had sunblock now. When the gates finally opened, we got to see their fancy Halloween decorations. They had orange and black fabric hanging everywhere, and unlike at our Disneyland, they cut it up to make it all ragged and spooky (but not too spooky), which I only bring up, because one time we were noticing the decorations and we saw a tear in the fabric that looked a lot like Yato's crown emblem.
Anyway, we first went to Tomorrowland, in case we would need fastpasses for Space Mountain. When we got there, the line was only twenty minutes long, so instead we just got in line. It's funny, because once you get inside the mountain, the line is shaped exactly like the one in California, but it's soooooo different! It was much darker, and they had some cool effects on the spaceship thing that's hanging above the loading area. The sad thing, though, is that the ride vehicles don't have speakers to play music at you as you ride through space. I wondered if this is part of the whole "sound doesn't carry in space" thing, but I think I heard some generic whooshing sound effects, so I don't know. I'll just sit here and wait for them to bring back regular musical Space Mountain (as opposed to Hyperspace Mountain...although, come to think of it, they're doing Ghost Galaxy now, so maybe when that's done, they'll go back to the regular one...not that Hyperspace Mountain isn't cool, but I really just like the regular one best).
But we hadn't walked through the castle gate yet, and you always have to walk through the castle gate, so we headed in that direction...but first we checked the line to the Stitch Encounter, since it was on the way, and it was short, so we lined up! And oh my goodness, it was different this time! There were similarities, of course, like how Stitch recognized someone in the crowd from space prison. This time it was Keisuke, who was locked up for interstellar speeding. And asking everybody's name was the same, only this time after listing a few names that he made out, he went, "Suzuki, Suzuki, Suzuki..." (For those of you who weren't there for the Tanaka version, he chooses a really common Japanese surname and just says it a lot. I'm starting to wonder if it's based on actually hearing one of those names...)
But this time he wasn't running away from a fight with Lilo. Athena says that they said at the beginning (I didn't catch this part) that Gantu was after him, so that's why he was out in space. But this time, Stitch saw a woman in the audience who caught his attention named Miho. He asked her to introduce herself, and then he was like, "Oh wow... I think I've met...the one. Hey Miho, do you have a boyfriend?" "Yes." "Well where is he now?" "Sitting right next to me." The camera panned over and we all got to see her boyfriend. Stitch demanded to know his name, and he said, "It's Tomohiro." Stitch repeated it in a mocking tone, then said, "...Cool name..." But after that, every time he said the name Tomohiro, it was accompanied by an ominous musical riff.
So Stitch found a new, uninhabited planet, and he was going to give it to Miho, but then he accidentally destroyed it, so he said he was really sorry and blamed it on Tomohiro. Then Lilo called and reminded Stitch that it was Family Day, and they were all going to have dinner together, remember? I think Stitch had just said something about how nothing could come between him and Miho, but now he had to go. But before he could get home...Gantu arrived!!! OH NO!!! Stitch begged for mercy and offered to let him have Keisuke, but Gantu wasn't interested, so the audience got to help Stitch escape from Gantu by guiding him to the red spaceship. It was cute and a lot of fun. And in the end, Stitch wanted to take a picture of everybody to remember us all by, and he took a bunch, so he's like, "Okay, smile! And another! Now let's make funny faces! You call those funny faces? Funnier!" There may have been a comment about Keisuke's face always looking funny. And we all said goodbye and went on our merry way.
And our Tokyo DisneySea Music Album just finished, so I think I've been typing long enough. I am satisfied that this entry made it all the way through that, which gives me hope that I can finish in just one entry tomorrow. We shall see.
Today I'm thankful for the most amazing chocolate crepes in the world, getting all the colors on our Crystal Compass, getting to pose for pictures on the Indiana Jones ride, having another lovely encounter with Stitch, and the bisho-nure course on Aquatopia.