We got out of the show and went on some of the Triton's Kingdom attractions. We thought we would check out Ariel's Playground, but we wanted to check out the shops first, because we didn't do that very much at Disneyland and we didn't want to miss any neat merchandise, especially because our Disneyland has a crazy habit of sometimes selling things only in one store in the whole park. And this was Arielland, so we really didn't want to miss out. As we made our way over there, we saw something that stopped us dead in our tracks.
Based on our experience with popcorn and churros, Athena had made it a point to check what flavors were available at all the food selling standy things (well, that and to see if there was anything we'd actually eat; eheh), and there was an ice cream vendor right next to Ariel's Playground. That's where we saw It. Sea salt ice cream. It really exists! We could hardly believe it! Well, we could believe it, but we were still pretty amazed to see it right there in front of us.
But we decided to check out the shops first anyway, because it's dangerous to take ice cream into shops, and we also didn't want to find out the hard way if it wasn't allowed. The shops had a ton of cute merchandise, including a lot of Baby Ariel merchandise, which is soooooooo adorable. The best was that they had a shelf full of baby Ariel pillows (pillows shaped like baby Ariel), only on the end, the pillows had blue skin and hooked noses. It was the Genie, transformed to look like baby Ariel! They actually had a lot of that kind of stuff in Japan, which is Awesome. I wish they'd do that here.
Also, they were showing the Little Mermaid dubbed into Japanese. It was on sale of course, but, despite our new translation help strategy that we acquired on the plane, we decided not to buy it, because we already have the Little Mermaid, and if we decide we want it in Japanese, we can always order it from CD Japan later. Like I said, we are very very bad at buying souvenirs.
We were satisfied with our window-shopping, and then it was time for the moment of destiny. We bought some sea salt ice cream. Giant Kingdom Hearts fans that we are, we couldn't not buy any. I mean, I remember making ice cream when we were little, and feeling like we could only let the rock salt get inside the mixer with the ice cream on penalty of death, so the idea of salty ice cream has always been a mystery to us. Well, always since March 2006. But this ice cream was ice cream ice cream and not popsicle type ice cream. And it came in a special Ariel collector's case, which we really have no idea what we're going to do with now, but it's a very nice shade of pink and has a pretty picture of Ariel on it. We took the ice cream outside and looked for a place to sit and eat it. (We figured it would melt faster outside and thus be easier to eat; it was really hard when we first opened it.) It actually tasted a lot like vanilla ice cream, only a little salty. But it was good salty vanilla ice cream.
The place we were sitting was very close to Flounder's Flying Fish Coaster, which turned out to be a lot like Gadget's Go Coaster (a cute little roller coaster that's kid friendly), so it makes a little more sense that Flounder would have one. One of the best parts that I wish I had gotten a picture of was the no smoking sign in the queue area. Instead of just a lit cigarette, the red circle with the line through it was over the silhouette of a tropical fish with a lit cigarette sticking out of its mouth. It was hilarious.
Done for a time at the Mermaid Lagoon, we moved on to the Arabian Coast. From Arielland to Aladdinland. This place is perfect for us, because Aladdin and the Little Mermaid are two of the movies that we were completely obsessed with growing up. We were so happy.
We went through a gate/building thing into the plaza which was very very pretty and, of course, Arabian-looking. The first thing that catches your eye is the Magic Lamp Theater, but we didn't go there right away because we were still eating our sea salt popcorn. They really like sea salt at Mermaid Lagoon. Go figure. So instead, we wandered around the bazaar. It wasn't a very big bazaar, but it was really cool, because as we were wandering around the marketplace, they were playing the marketplace music from the Aladdin soundtrack! It was like we were really there! They had these games where if you won, you got a big plushie of Stitch or his girlfriend we assume to be named Angel based on the tags on all her merchandise (also very popular in Japan), but if you lost, you got an adorable pin of Mickey, Minnie, Stitch, Angel, or... I'm sure there was someone else... dressed as a character from Aladdin! I wanted to play, but not enough to deal with the lines. We really are bad tourists.
Then went on the double-decker carousel. It was awesome. In addition to the standard horses, it had camels, elephants, genies, and griffins! And the cast members that watch to make sure everything is safe stand around the carousel and wave as everybody passed by. One of them seemed very excited when I waved back. She was very cute.
We got fast passes for the Magic Lamp Theater. They have fast passes for the show type things like Honey I Shrunk the Audience in Japan, which is kind of weird, because once they let you in, it's still kind of a seating free-for-all. But get fast passes we did (probably because we were still eating popcorn at the time), and, since it hadn't come time to use them yet when we were done on the carousel, we went back through the marketplace and found ourselves at Sindbad's Storybook Adventure. We were a little confused about this ride, because it looked like it had very carefully taken characters from something, and for some reason the art style seemed to suggest it wasn't straight from the Arabian Nights. I guess it had a lot to do with the "storybook" part of the title. But as far as we knew, the only Sindbad animation out there was Dreamworks's Sinbad movie, and Dreamworks is Not Disney.
Of course we were going to go on it anyway. It had Sindbad (our favorite Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne character except for Chiaki ^_~) and Storybook in the title. How could we resist? Plus it's a Disneysea attraction and we don't have one at our Disneyland, so we had to go on it. The queue area (there was no line, really) was decorated with pictures from all of Sindbad's adventures, and we were really starting to wonder if there was some anime or something we didn't know about, but we were pleased that he goes to the Land of the Monkeys.
When we got on the ride, we stopped caring, because it was Amaaaazing. I'm not sure exactly what it is that had us so enchanted with this ride, but it was there. The ride is a boat ride with animatronics, like It's a Small World and Pirates of the Caribbean, only the animatronics were clearly more advanced. Like whoa. The first time we went on it, we didn't pay attention to all the little details so much, because first you want to take everything in as a whole, but I was very impressed when in the first room, where Sindbad's getting ready to leave his hometown to set out on his adventures, they had a little area with kids watching a shadow puppet show, and as you keep going, you see the behind the scenes with the people moving the puppets and stuff. It was cool.
And the song! The song is our favorite song ever. It's kind of the same thing you get in all the cartoons we watched growing up, so maybe a little cliche, but exactly the kind of thing we love to itty bitty bits. And Sindbad's voice didn't hurt, either *swoon*
As for the contents of the ride, you join Sindbad and his adorable little tiger Chandu as he sets out on a quest for treasure. First you see the farewell party they throw for him, with the wisemen saying, "Be careful, there's danger ahead! Always follow the compass of your heart!" (Compass of Your Heart, incidentally, is the title of the ride's theme song.) Then you see a shipwrecked ship, and Sindbad's there with Chandu and a couple of mermaids, whom he thanks for helping him make it out of the storm alive. Next he's on an island where these evil bandit guys are trying to steal a roc's eggs, and Sindbad and Chandu are fighting them off. Chandu is on a bandit's head and is so cute. You sail right under the roc, who's got a bandit in its talons and into a room full of the giant's treasure. There are more beat-up bandits, and Sindbad is using the roc's feather to unlock the dungeon and free the giant. He plays some music with the giant and they sing Compass of Your Heart together, and then Sindbad moves on to the next town, where we guess the sultan lives, and he tells Sindbad that with the magical instruments he got from the giant, they can soothe the savage monkeys. And Chandu♥ is playing a giant drum by standing on it and hopping occasionally. So Sindbad goes to the Land of the Monkeys, where they all have a jam session and he gets a literal boatload of bananas (which Chandu♥ is buried in), and the whole room smells like bananas! Then a giant whale with trees growing out of him takes Sindbad home where they have a grand finale with fireworks and everything, and Sindbad sings about how he's found his treasure and it's more valuable than jewels or gold--it's the friends that he made on his journey! Athena: Cheesy? Yes. But made of love♥ (I also happen to think that you can get away with a lot more cheese in songs than in spoken words.)
And when it all came together, it had me crying *sniffle* I believe the word "wow" was repeated several times.
Now it was time to use our fast passes for the Magic Lamp Theater. The main difference between that and the standby line is that they let us into the inside theater waiting area first, which ended up being good for us, because we ended up sitting on the bench right in front of the basket where the animatronic snake pops out to explain the setting of the show. Apparently, there was a boy named Asim (or whichever Arabian name is closest to Ashiimu) who was the assistant to a lame-o magician named Shaban. He was really lame-o, so when Asim found the magic lamp, Shaban took it! and rubbed it first, gaining the three wishes for himself. His first wish was to be the biggest magician in the world! You can all guess where that went ("Biiigu misuteeeku," the snake said). So then he wished to be the greatest magician in the world, and the Genie (the very same we all know and love from Disney's Aladdin) granted his wish, and suggested that every good magician needs a partner, how about him? Shaban thought it was a great idea at first, but then the Genie kept upstaging him and getting all the attention, so he wasn't too happy anymore. So one night, while the Genie was sleeping, Shaban locked the lamp up in a box! But the Genie was Asim's one and only friend, so Asim was determined to get him out! And that's when you go in to see the magic show.
You go into the theater, and Asim is there, looking through all the seats and asking people if they've seen a key. (When we saw it, he was played by a girl.) Of course nobody has, and the show starts without it. Shaban calls Asim up to be his assistant, and for his first trick, he's going to cut Asim in half! Asim gets into the box, and Shaban straps him in ("I will lower the safety bar," he says!). He sticks the sword in the box, and begins to slice! "Ow," Asim says. Nothing happens. So Shaban, who actually kind of reminded us of Ryuji Kasahara (of Sailor Moon Musical fame), had to coax the audience to help him out. It was great, because he uses Disney park humor, which I never expected to hear in Japanese. And after some more antics, like Asim's feet walking away ("Anta, kubi! Ashi dakedo kubi!"), Shaban has to go off stage to get the next prop, and Asim finally has the key! But before he can free the Genie, he has to tell us all to put our magic glasses on, because the Genie is actually a 3-D animation! Waoooo!
The Genie comes out and interacts with the actors on stage, which was pretty cool. His plan is to get Shaban to use up his three wishes so he and Asim can pair up and be best buds forever. After upstaging Shaban some more, he gets him to wish that he'd never met him, and so Shaban is back to being a lame-o magician and Asim can have the lamp. And he wishes that he can be friends with the Genie, and the Genie's like, "Aww, but I'm already your friend!" so he makes him rich and they fly off onto the 3-D screen together and the show is over. Sadly, I don't remember most of the neat effects, except the Genie pointing at multiple people, reminiscent of the "Exits are here, here, here, here, here!" bit. Oh, and the part where Shaban was going to pull a rabbit out of the basket, but the Genie beat him to it, which was when Shaban discovered that the Genie was free, and the Genie reached into his basket and pulled Shaban's head out of it! (Shaban on stage was like halfway inside the basket, and animated 3-D Shaban's neck was all stretched out. There was another Japanese pun in there, too.)
I could go on to talk about the Lost River Delta, but our home teacher is going to be here to home teach soon, and/or Jeopardy's going to start, so more on that later. Today I'm thankful for Sindbad's Storybook Adventure, real live sea salt ice cream (well, not really alive; that would be gross), audio-animatronics, air conditioning, and Chandu♥