The other consensus seemed to be that Disneysea is Awesome. And we were very anxious to find out why.
We got up at around the same time we did the day before, maybe a little later because we already knew the train route and we'd already bought our tickets. I don't remember what was on TV that morning. We got off at Maihama(=Disney resort) station and proceeded on our Quest for Disneysea. We didn't realize it would be a Quest, but indeed it was. We followed the sign that said Disneysea, and it took us to the actual Disney station. We didn't realize at the time, but the entrances to Disneyland and Disneysea are so far apart that it really is more convenient to take the Disney train. It's basically their version of the monorail, which is super fancy (it has windows shaped like the Mickey emblem!), only you actually have to buy tickets for it. But that didn't matter to us at the time, because we chose to walk to the entrance.
We got a little worried that we weren't seeing the entrance, but the people walking around us seemed to have that "I'm going to Disneyland" excitement around them and were still going the same way, so we pressed on through the driving drizzle. And eventually we found it--the entrance to Disneysea. And it didn't matter that it took us so long, because, as it turned out, Disneysea opens an hour later than Disneyland, much like California Adventure here. So we waited in line for the park to open, and while we were at it, we grabbed a map and show schedule. A security guard warned us that it was Japanese only, but that wasn't a problem for us. (The girl who sold us our tickets at Disneyland gave us an English map, and we were a little sad, but not too sad, because it's a lot easier for us to read English.)
Half an hour later, they finally started letting people in. There was a band playing, and Mickey and friends were all around greeting people, and there was a big globe floating around on this fountain thingie that the Fab 5 and Daisy and Chip and Dale (we think) were all pouring water into. We assume it was decorated to look like the streets of Italy, because the land (or sea, I guess, in this case) you start out in is the Mediterranean Harbor. Much like Disneyland's Main Street, it's got a bunch of souvenir shops and stuff. And once you go through the first hall with shops on either side, you come out to see this:
A few apologies about the picture. First, I'm terrible at taking pictures. Second, our camera's batteries were running low. Third, I'm too lazy to resize, but aren't LJ cuts wonderful? But I hope you get the idea. There's an oceany area underneath all that that you can't see for all the people.
As you can see, while our Disneyland has the Matterhorn Mountain (which I love), Disneysea has Mount Prometheus. It's a volcano. And I'm very sad that I can't convey that out loud, because the intonation is everything, and I can't think of a good example to model it after. But yes. It's a volcano.
It was about that point we started whining--Why don't we get a Disneysea? And then I remembered that when I was training to work at Disneyland, I learned exactly why. Disney had bought a bunch of land in Long Beach (remember the place I mentioned as engendering my greater fear of travel?), and they were going to build it there, but then suddenly Long Beach changed their minds and said they couldn't do it. So Tokyo got Disneysea, and we got California Adventure instead. I think we all know who got the better end of that deal. Although again, California Adventure is awesome in its own right, and has much less walking.
That's right, walking. Walking walking walking. Always with the walking. Sheesh, everywhere else in Tokyo, things are jammed super tight together, and yet the Disney parks are covered with pointless walking. It took us a good five, ten minutes to get to the first attraction, and we walk pretty fast (though not as fast as a lot of Japanese people, interestingly enough). But it was a lovely walk, anyway, and all the topiaries we missed in front of It's a Small World were found here now. This most likely has a lot to do with the Spring Carnival going on. And these topiaries were fancy, let me tell you. We took a picture of the Pinocchio ones (or at least the Blue Fairy; I don't quite remember. But I'm done uploading pictures for now. Call me Lazy McLazypants.)
We walked through an opening in Mount Prometheus and found ourselves in the Mysterious Island, which actually seemed to be kind of the opposite of an island, in that it was a large pool of water surrounded by land. But it was Awesome anyway. Since Mount Prometheus was a volcano, there were signs of volcanic activity all over the place, and sometimes had little geyser-like things (what are they called when they're in the ocean? Still geysers?) shooting up occasionally. They even had charred plants on the side of the mountain! So cool.
As we kept walking, we ran into a cast member telling people there was only a five minute wait for 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, which in Japanese is 20,000 Miles Under the Sea, which can't be right. We need to look that up. How long is a league, anyway? Three miles. Okay, now I feel better.
Anyway, one of the interesting things about Tokyo Disney resorts is that I think they have cast members out advertising the attractions more. There are a lot more people saying, "Hey, come on my ride!" Also, the name tags have their family names instead of their given names. That was kind of interesting to us.
So we went on 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, and this is where we discover again that I'm much more likely to give a lengthy description of a ride when I've never been on it before, whereas with things like Pirates of the Caribbean, it's more of a, "And this is what I noticed this time." Anyway, it was super cool, because the entrance to the line is at the top of a spiral walkway that takes you closer to the surface of the water. There was never a long line, so we didn't get to spend much time on it (for some reason we never have been able to master the ability to just stop and hang out in a queue area, even though we desperately wanted to translate every inscription in the line to Indiana Jones (some of them are quite long)), but it was awesome. We took a picture of the submarine thingie anchored in the... at the... in the place. This is what I get for trying to be all nautical.
As for the ride itself, you get in these little pod thingies, kind of like mini-submarines after the style of the vehicles in Disney's Atlantis (and possibly, as I would imagine, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea; we really need to rent that (I know--what's with our not having seen it yet?)), and, like our submarine ride back home, the captain and... I guess he's called the first mate? I can never remember proper titles. Anyway, they start talking, and Athena noticed it first but the guy (we'll call him the first mate) sounded a lot like Shin-ichiro Miki. Sadly, Wikipedia doesn't talk about this ride, so we don't know for sure, but we do know that they probably would have been calling him in to be Aladdin for shows or something in the park anyway, so it's possible. Right?
We went to the bottom of the ocean, which turned out to actually be above the ocean, only with water in our windows so they could make it all bubbly to look like we were going under. It wasn't until the second time that I realized, "Hey, there wasn't really any, like... actual going down or anything was there?" so it's a pretty effective effect. But we explored the under the sea anyway, and they let you control the searchlight and point it at stuff, which was really neat, only it controls like all those flight simulator games that I can never get the hang of, where you pull down and it goes up, but Athena's more used to it that way, so we'll just let her control the searchlight from now on.
Then we get caught by a giant squid! And he won't let us go, so we zap him! Zap! Crunch. Just like that. Crunch. (Sorry; couldn't resist. (PS: Name the quote! (which may or may not be entirely correct)))
But then we're lost... And we don't know where to go, but there are mysterious fish people around. Athena was trying to come up with something they look like to give you an idea, and she's like, "They look like... those guys in Kingdom Hearts that carry the big giant balloony fish thing. *gasp!* They really do look like those guys! Only without the pointy hats." In the ride, they had tentacle-y hair instead. But it still makes us wonder if those Heartless were based on the fish guys from this ride.
As it turns out, the fish guys were Atlantians, and they took us to their kingdom before helping us find our way back. They were really cute. And then the captain and first mate said that we should keep this a secret, but I have no idea why, so I'm just telling everybody everything. We made it back safely, and it was all very very happy. Yay!
We got off the ride and just kept walking. We soon found ourselves in Mermaid's Lagoon, also known as Arielland. There are three major attractions in Mermaid's Lagoon: Flounder's Flying Fish Coaster (who convinced Flounder to have a roller coaster?), Scuttle's Scooter, and King Triton's Kingdom. Only I was just kidding, because King Triton's Kingdom has a ton of stuff. But somehow I feel like it's one big attraction. So we went to King Triton's kingdom, because that's what we got to first.
King Triton's Kingdom. was. Awesome. Awesome and win, and I don't say that about just everything. As the name suggests, it's all decorated to look like King Triton's kingdom, and as we all know, King Triton is the ruler of the sea. Athena: So it's under water. Only not. Because you can breathe. Which is nice. I like that addition.
There are a bunch of rides that have siblings in California Adventure, including the Jumpin' Jellyfish. They had one ride where you ride around in carts strapped under blowfish, like hot air balloons, only with blowfish instead. And they project lights on the floor to look like schools of fish swimming by, and on the walls to look like bubbles going up. And the ceiling is decorated to look like the surface of the water.
But the main attraction is the Mermaid Lagoon Theater, where they show the Under the Sea musical. This thing was Awesome. You walk into the theater, and there's a little stage in the middle, probably only a little bigger than the "stage" area in the Tiki Room. Only the stage isn't really for walking on, because there's a big hole in the middle with two wires coming out. There are seats all around the room, because the show is one of those ones you can appreciate from just about any angle.
When the show starts, the two wires lift up, and there's Ariel--a real girl on a trapeze-like harness that connects at her hips so she can do flips and stuff in midair. Ever since the Disney Insider newsletter forced us to acknowledge a Little Mermaid Broadway show (it was out of jealousy we preferred not to), I wondered how they did all the merfolk stuff, and I'm sure this was their trial run. It was incredible. She sang Part of That World (only it was a recording that she lip-synched to), and she swam around almost exactly like Ariel does in the movie. And when she finished, she was so excited to see all the humans there to see her. It was kind of like the Country Bear Jamboree, in that all the songs stayed in English, but the talking was all in Japanese. The really interesting thing was that they had a white girl playing Ariel, but again, she was just lip-synching to a recording. Although for all we know, the actress really could speak Japanese.
Then Flounder and Sebastian came out to say hello. They were giant puppets, like in the Lion King Broadway show, only Flounder's puppeteer rode in a kind of bicycle-like thing that hung from the ceiling. There must have been some dance number, because a starfish came out to help Ariel swim around (though that might have been during Part of That World--she would fly out over the audience and wave to everybody; it was so cool!) and a bunch of other fish came from the ceiling with Flounder. Made. of. Awesome.
And then Ariel started talking about how she wished she could go to the surface world, and then Flotsam and Jetsam popped up from inside the stage. And then, the wall opened up, and there was a giant Ursula face! And other puppeteers came from the ceiling with her tentacles. And she started singing Poor Unfortunate Souls, and puppets of her hands came out. And they were like thiiiiiis big. And a baby started crying and we felt bad, but it was still incredibly awesome and amazing. And right when Ursula almost convinces Ariel to go along with her evil scheme, Sebastian sings Under the Sea to her (in English with a Japanese/Jamaican accent; it was very interesting), which of course was awesome, and she remembers that all her friends and family are still here under the sea, so she decides to stay a mermaid after all. That made us sad because we wanted to see Eric, but we guess that's what the Broadway show is for. (He even has a song in it!!) And then it's time to say goodbye, and they ask us to come again, and we leave, happy for being able to partake of such awesomeness, but sad that it's over.
I think I got a little carried away in that report. Ah well. Anyway, thanks to all that, we've decided to use our stimulus checks to help pay for a trip to see The Little Mermaid on Broadway. We'll see what our finances are looking like.
Today I'm thankful for exceedingly awesome Little Mermaid shows, getting to visit King Triton's kingdom, the Mysterious Island, finally being able to see what everyone was raving about, and getting plenty of exercise.