So we were on our way to Fantasyland. We took a little detour, because the way we were heading wouldn't have taken us through the castle, and you always have to go through the castle. Disneyland California's castle belongs to Sleeping Beauty and it's a lot smaller, while more of the other castles are based on Cinderella's. So we figure it's the same in Disney World, but as you go through the gate, the walls are covered in mosaics featuring scenes from Cinderella. It was pretty awesome, and when we finally get around to posting pictures, there will be a couple.
Once through the castle, there's a statue of Sorcerer's Apprentice Mickey. I was thinking about it, and I realized that the sorcerer's apprentice isn't really my favorite of Mickey's roles, but it's my favorite costume to see him in, because after seeing Fantasmic!, it represents all the magic of Disney. I have a kind of vague explanation as to why that is in my head, but I'm not sure I can recreate it. It kind of has to do with the dream where he's controlling all the stars and stuff, and if you think of those stars as the individual Disney worlds, like in Kingdom Hearts, then it sort of makes sense I guess?
The first attraction we visited was the Mickey Mouse Revue. It's an animatronic show like the Tiki Room or the Country Bear Jamboree, only it features pre-existing Disney characters. It starts out with Mickey conducting an orchestra. It's really weird trying to type this up, because we have so much almost memorized at Disneyland California that it's weird to have to say, "I don't really remember who all was in the orchestra." Let's see, Minnie of course was the concert master, and there was Baloo and Kaa, Jacques and Gus, the Country Mouse and the City Mouse (wow, we haven't seen that cartoon in ages), and we think Ludwig von Drake was in there...? They played a medley and then they opened the curtains to the Three Little Pigs. It was awesome, because they dubbed all the songs in Japanese, so they sang, "Ookami nante, kowaku nai, kowaku nai, kowaku nai. Ookami nante, kowaku nai, tra la la la la~~" They also had some songs from Snow White and Cinderella, and then they revealed why Donald wasn't interrupting the orchestra, like I was sure he would be. But instead, he was hanging out with the other two Caballeros. (Which will now forever remind me of the episode of House of Mouse where Daisy tells Lumiere, "You know, I'm dating one of the three candelabras.") Hearing the Three Caballeros theme song in Japanese was Awesome. And then they had a big finale and it was all happy and stuff.
What was really fun was the pre-show, where they had the Soundtrack from Fantasia come on and give a little history of Mickey Mouse. I wonder if having that attraction is part of why the Japanese seem to know so much more about Mickey's history than more Americans.
Next we went on It's a Small World. If we thought Pirates was Pirates Lite, this was like Small World Zero or something. Okay, it wasn't that trimmed down, but man, it really is a small world. We should have timed it, but that would have been hard with the watch we had. We still can't for the life of us figure out where that one girl in the peach-colored dress in the South Pacific is from. I thought about looking up a picture so everybody could know who I was talking about, but then I realized that would probably also tell us where she's from, which would take away all the mystery. Maybe I'll look her up later.
Interesting things to note: the Japan section, not surprisingly, was bigger, and they had different costumes, which were cooler, in my opinion, but probably not as easily recognizable as Japan to most Americans. The finale room was set up like an amusement park with a Ferris wheel and stuff. And, just like on our Small World, the only representation of the United States is a cowboy and Indian in the finale room. Another interesting thing to note is that they play more ethnic music in the line, and the outside is painted with a lot more colors. In California, most of the "ethnic" music is ethnic arrangements of the song "It's a Small World," and what color is the exterior? White. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Still, we missed the topiaries.
Not realizing that the Haunted Mansion was on the other side of It's a Small World, we headed toward Toon Town. We mostly just looked around, because that's mostly what you do in Toon Town unless you're lucky enough to be small enough to go into Goofy's Bounce House (it didn't even exist until after we were too tall *sniffle*). The electric company's door didn't have a sign telling you not to open it (unless you really really feel like it) like it does in CA. We're guessing this is because Japanese people actually wouldn't. But it does still pretend to zap you. We went on Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin, which was like an exact clone of the CA version, even down to the line being a lot longer than it looks. But of course all the spoken dialogue is in Japanese. We decided we like Jessica's voice a lot better in Japanese.
After the ride, we found ourselves by the parade route, right in time for a float with Mickey and friends to come by. It was very good timing, because even though we were in Disneyland, I was still feeling very out of place, and for some reason, seeing Mickey riding around on a float made me feel like it really is a small world, after all. (Ha ha ha.) And so from there on, everything felt a lot better.
We wandered over to Tomorrowland, where we finally put our finger on the problem with Tokyo Disneyland. It's too big and open. There's way too much space to walk around. Athena says that what happened was, as we were walking around, she remembered something she'd heard about Disney World: that there's a lot of walking. And that's how it is at Tokyo Disneyland. Having grown up on Disneyland California, this was a little bit frustrating, because, as we looked around at all the empty space, we couldn't help but wonder why they didn't build three more attractions there. We're pretty sure that the reason Walt Disney bought up so much land in Florida was so there would be more room for attractions, not so there would be more room for walking. Two of the last attractions he worked on at Disneyland (Pirates of the Caribbean and the Haunted Mansion) had to be built underground, after all.
But there was nothing for it, so we just went on Space Mountain. Oh, but on our way there, we passed by a snack stand that sold churros. We actually saw a few churro stands before any churro stands were open, so we were like, "I guess they do sell churros here." But they also have stands that sell things like spring rolls and gyoza and stuff. We didn't pay as much attention as perhaps we should have, because eating takes time away from attractions. But back to these churros. There was a time in the history of Disneyland California when, in addition to the regular cinnamon churros, you could buy churros that were rolled around in strawberry flavored sugar, except in Tomorrowland, where they sold galactic grape churros. And around the holidays, they made churros with chocolate batter (I think churros are made of batter, but maybe they're made of dough?) and rolled them in raspberry sugar and called them "chocolate raspberry truffle churros." It. was. Awesome.
But apparently we were the only ones that thought so, because nowadays all you get is normal churros and caramel or chocolate dipping sauce for an extra fifty cents I think. (I don't remember because we don't care about their dumb old dipping sauce (though it was pretty good the one or two times we had it.) In Japan, however, that is clearly not the case, for this churro stand, that we passed by in Tomorrowland, sold honey-lemon flavored churros. But alas, we were foolish and didn't buy any. If we had passed by again, we probably would have. But man, I wonder what those are like. Man. We'll just have to go again.
Another interesting thing to note is that churros are only 210 yen in Tokyo. In California, they're like $3.75. It's highway robbery! (Although they are somewhat bigger in California.) It reminds me of the time, and I know I've told this story a million times, but it's been a while so those of you who've heard it, please indulge me. There are these performers in Frontierland who put on a three-part show, and it's got a lot of adlibbing. At one point the last part of the show involved having one of the performers go away while the audience decides on something for them to guess... I think? I only saw that version once. But the guy took a long time coming back, and when he did, he said, "Sorry I'm late. I had an extra thirteen bucks, so I bought myself a small Coke." (It might have been eight bucks, but thirteen is funnier, so we'll stick with that.) And the other guy looked all appalled and said, "You got the employee discount!"
Anyway, the costumes for the Space Mountain cast members were awesome. I wanted to ask one of them if I could take a picture, but for some reason I didn't. I think I was planning to do it when we passed by again later, and then we were always in a hurry when we were in the area. I did get a picture of the escape pod for people who decide not to go on the ride after all. They seem to be wary of more things when letting people ride roller coasters in Japan. They even listed lack of sleep as something you might want to consider not going on the ride for. The ride itself was almost the same as it is in CA, only the beginning part where you're going up to the top is different, and there's no music. The no music part is really sad, because that's one of the best parts of Space Mountain. Athena remembered to pose for the camera, but I forgot *pout* Oh well.
Next of course we had to go on Star Tours, which was very awesome in Japanese. This is where we started realizing that they seemed to take all the hidden Mickeys away. (The one for Star Tours is in the pre-flight video, but not in Tokyo.) This is also where I decided that if Tokyo Disneyland is a clone of Disney World, Tokyo Disneyland is better because it's all in Japanese.
After Star Tours, it was time for lunch, we decided. The pizza place, which has the same theme as the one in CA but a different name, didn't seem to have regular old cheese pizza, so we started wandering toward Toon Town, the other place with pizza. This is where I have to explain a little about what it's like to be a picky eater. When you're picky, it takes a lot of courage to try something that looks gross, and a lot of stuff looks gross. I'm not sure why it looks gross, but a lot of what determines whether or not we can eat something is texture, so that probably has a lot to do with it. Going to Japan in and of itself took an enormous amount of courage, which was on the clock almost the whole time we were there, so we didn't have a whole lot of courage left to try new foods. Add to this the fact that we were lectured once when we were little not to take food that you're not going to eat, and it became very hard for us to go ahead and spend money on food in Tokyo. Because if we tried it and didn't like it, that would be a waste of food and money, because we don't have the energy to force ourselves to eat it anyway. So we had some French fries and Hi-C, and then we went and sat down for Jubilation--Tokyo Disneyland's 25th Anniversary Parade.
Man, I wish I could remember the parade better. The first thing is that there was a lot of room to sit and watch the parade. In CA, they give you the size of an average sidewalk to stand and watch the parade. If you started saving seats in time to get the curb, you can sit. But in Japan, there are rows upon rows where they ask you to sit. This won't mean much to a lot of people reading this, but it's a little bigger than the sitting area for Fantasmic!.
Now let's see what all we can remember. The first float had the Blue Fairy and Minnie in a princess dress. The Blue Fairy seems to mostly be remembered for starting parades these days. I really want her to show up in Kingdom Hearts one of these days. They were followed by the Disney princesses, by which I mean Belle, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Snow White. Come to think of it, I don't think Ariel and Jasmine were in it at all. We got the CD--if we listened to it, we might learn the truth. But! one of the things we always loved when we looked at Tokyo Disneyland stuff is that the Beast seemed to appear in the shows in human form, and this parade did not disappoint us in that regard. We took a picture, but he's kind of just a speck on it. We were pretty far back.
Actually, the parade didn't really disappoint at all. It was pretty awesome. Except that, like the current parade at Disneyland California, it stops in the middle and each float does something "special," but not as special as the ones in CA. But anyway. The Peter Pan float was really cool. It was tall enough to have a little ship thing swaying back and forth, and Pan and Hook and a random pirate were all fighting on it. And on the Winnie the Pooh float, which was also the Pocahontas float and had the forest spirit from Fantasia 2000, Tigger had his own trampoline. Oh! and the Monsters, Inc. float! Not the float so much as the dancers. They were wearing inflatable costumes that made them look just like the guys in the Child Detection Agency. You know, the ones that lock down the area and sterilize everything and stuff. It was cool.
After the parade was the perfect opportunity to infiltrate the line to Winnie the Pooh's Hunny Hunt. But I think an hour's worth of typing is enough for now. This is something I want to talk about when I have full attention.
Today I'm thankful for the idea of honey-lemon churros (maybe someday we'll taste the reality), remembrances of obscure Disney characters, French fries, parade CDs, and inflatable costumes.