But in the meantime, more of our Japan trip.
So we walked out of the clear blue skies after destroying the giant storm into the wet grey skies of Tokyo. It was just about time to use our fast passes for Indiana Jones, so we started to head in that direction when a crazy-looking car with a couple of crazy-looking scientists drove up. We recognized them from their performance while we were waiting for the train to leave earlier, so we figured why not stop and watch.
They were there to demonstrate their brand new meteorological technology. They started out by predicting that it would rain in three years. The younger scientist, who had bright orange hair, complained to the older scientist, who had crazy grey hair of course, that nobody cares what the weather will be like in three years--we want to know what the weather will be like today. The older scientist pointed out that we could just look around. Tadah, it was cloudy.
The younger scientist prevailed on the older to do something to really amaze us, so he said he'd demonstrate their new technology that would control the weather. He needed an assistant, so they called up an adorable five-year-old boy from the audience who couldn't stand still if his life depended on it. He was so cute♥ They showed him four cards--one with sun, clouds, rain, and snow. He was to pick a card, and they would make the weather match the card he picked. He advised the boy not to pick snow, because hello it was May. (Incidentally, part of the younger scientist's job was to apologize for the older scientist being kind of a jerk.) He shuffled the cards, and I wasn't watching closely enough to see if he rigged it somehow (we're pretty sure he did), but of course the boy picked the snow card. The older scientist was none too happy about that, so he called for a do-over. The younger scientist protested, but he was overruled, and they did it over. And the kid picked snow again. This time the younger scientist convinced the older that he didn't get any more do-overs, so he decided it was impossible and walked away.
The assistant was determined not to let him go, so he got all of us to call out, "Hakaseeee (Professorrrr)!" That didn't work, so we all had to call out, "Hakase, kakko ii! (Professor, you're so cool!)" He was so flattered he came back, and was especially pleased that even the men in the audience said it. He went up to a guy who was clearly with his girlfriend and made him repeat it, and when he did, the scientist said, "I don't like hearing that from guys!"
So he got out his very scientific bottle of water and his very scientific paper cup. (When the younger scientist asked, "Water!?" the older scientist said, "Yeah, I got it over there for 200 yen. It better be water.")
He explained that this experiment had actually never been done before, which of course meant he'd never done it himself, so he didn't know what could happen. There might be a loud bang. He got ready to pour the water, but he was too afraid to, so we decided we'd count down to it, starting at three. So he gets ready and goes, "Three, four, five..."
His assistant interrupted and said that no, you have to go down when counting down, so he reluctantly agreed, got ready, and said, "Three, four, five..." bending his knees lower with each number. He eventually got to a point where he couldn't go any lower. The assistant said that the number (kazu) was supposed to get lower, so the scientist called for Kazu-kun. The assistant started to argue again, and the scientist got fed up with it and went, "threetwoone *pour*."
And nothing happened.
He started lecturing the five-year-old boy about how it was all his fault, you can't expect him to make snow in the middle of May, etc. etc. etc. As he was talking, he was moving around, and suddenly... snow started coming out of the cup! He made it snow in May! Tadah!!!!!
We all applauded and stuff, and they drove off. And then we headed to the Lost River Delta and the Temple of the Crystal Skull. Based on the title of the ride, we figured it was a pretty recent edition. The queue area looked kind of like the Temple of the Forbidden Eye in Disneyland California, only a bit more South American. There were a lot more colored paintings on the walls and fewer engravings. It was kind of weird, because it was so similar and yet different--until we turned a corner and went up some stairs that were exactly like close to the front of the line in CA. But before I go into that, I want to mention that the safety movie was made by Paco (we assume he's in Kingdom of the Crystal Skull?) instead of Sallah. It was really interesting, too, because he was clearly mouthing Japanese words, but also clearly dubbed. It was funny. The especially interesting thing about the Crystal Skull stuff is that we saw posters all over the subway for the movie, and it doesn't open there until a month after it opens here, and yet they already have a ride at Disneysea. They could have slowed production to match the dates more. Maybe they wanted it before Golden Week.
So anyway, by the time we get on the ride, everything looks exactly like it does at Disneyland California, only no Mara. For those of you who haven't been on the ride here and want to know (for those of you who want to be surprised when you eventually do go on it, skip this and the next two paragraphs), the premise is that they've found this temple where the idol goddess Mara will grant you the ability to see the future, riches, or eternal youth (you "pick" one (really your car chooses for you)), but if you look into her eyes, she sends you through the Gates of Doom. For this version, they just tell you not to anger the Crystal Skull, though I'm not sure why you'd visit the temple to begin with. In CA, the first thing you do is go through one of three doors, to a hall decorated according to what you "chose." It's actually the same hall, but the idea was to have the ride change every time you went on it, and that hall is the one place they managed to get it to keep working. Anyway, they draw all the attention they can to Mara's eyes, so everybody ends up going through the Gates of Doom anyway. In the Japanese version, the hall is kind of a combination of the three treasures they have in CA, and instead of an idol of Mara at the end of the hall, it's the Crystal Skull, which glows and yells as soon as you get close to it. Apparently the Crystal Skull is very easily set off. So you go into a room with electricity flashing through the walls, and there's Indy, leaning against a large pair of doors to keep them closed. Incidentally, the Japanese Indy looked a little more like Harrison Ford to me than the Californian one. He tells you to go to the left, and you find yourself in a giant room.
In California, the room has a giant statue of Mara's face that's half crumbled on the other side of a giant fire pit with a bridge across it. In Japan, the statue is all crystalline and skull-like (of course), and the pit, sadly is not fiery. Instead, they have a well-type thing with a swirling vortex reaching from it to the ceiling, which is pretty cool, but not as cool as flame throwers. Okay, so technically, it's more cool than flame throwers, for obvious reasons, but not quite as awesome. You go to the catacombs, which is pretty much the same old skeleton graveyardy thing, only looking more South American, and then you go into the dark hall where the jeep's headlights show that the walls are covered in bugs. You get to the bridge, which our friend, who's mom was an Imagineer and so he got to go on the ride super early on, swears he remembers collapsing under them once, but that has never ever happened since. In CA, the other side has snake statues on either side that start to exhale green smoke once you see them, and go into a room full of cobras, including one giant one that strikes at you as you pass. In Japan, there's only one snake (the big one, of course), and it's not a cobra. We assume it's some South American snake, but we're pretty sure it's not a constrictor, because they aren't venomous. It had crazy fringy hornlike things on its head. You go through the room with all the skulls, and this time, instead of a giant skeleton warrior above you, there's another statue of the Crystal Skull, and it's in the center where the cauldron is in CA.
Then you go into the scary dark hall. This is where the really cool thing is. In CA, they have a smoke screen with rats projected onto it that makes it look like they're falling into your jeep. They're on a low ledge too, and it took several rides for me to remember I wasn't going to bump my head. In Japan, there are no such worries, because instead, they have another statue of the Crystal Skull. You drive right up to it and stop. Then it yells, "Bureimonoooooo!" (I would translate it as "infidels," but it really just means "rude person (people);" I don't know what the skull says in the movie though) and sends a shockwave at you. And it really looks like a shock wave, too. It was kind of scary. Then, instead of paintings of skeleton warriors blowing darts at you in the next room, there are stylized statues of heads blowing darts at you. And then you run into Indy again, hanging from his whip above you, and he says something like "Hey lemme in!" and then... the Boulder starts coming at you. And Indy's like, "On second thought, let. me. out!" And that's when you actually drop down and some would say go under the boulder, but we like to think you crash into it. And there's Indy again, saying something like, "You did good. For tourists." (There are a few different things he said, but I know we got this one.) And you make it safely out of the temple! Yay!
The one major difference between this one and the CA one, other than the interior design, of course, is that on this one they take your picture. We've always wanted them to start taking pictures on the Indiana Jones ride, because you ride in a jeep, and it would be awesome to get pictures of us on the ride in Saiyuki costumes. Unfortunately, we don't know if the Tokyo Disney resorts would let us in dressed as Saiyuki characters, and, thinking about it, they don't really have anywhere in CA to build the area where you'd be looking at the pictures they just took of you. Although the exit is pretty long, so maybe? But they'd have to close it down for a while to do it, and I'm not sure they'd want to. Ah well. I'm sure it will work out eventually.
After Indiana Jones, since we were kind of in the area, we went on Sindbad's Storybook Voyage again. Before we got on the ride, I saw a concerned mother say something to a cast member, and then heard the cast member say, "Ah, kowaku nai desu yo! (Oh, it's not scary!)" in a very cute voice. This time, we memorized the chorus to the song. It was actually pretty easy. It goes:
Jinsei wa bouken da
Chizu wa nai keredo
Shinjite, Compass of Your Heart
The reason it was easy is it's exactly the kind of thing you'd expect to find on a kids' ride like this: "Life is an adventure. We don't have a map, but let's look for treasure. Believe in the compass of your heart." And that's exactly the kind of stuff we're suckers for♥ So we like it a lot.
And next we had another sort of adventure, because Sindbad's Storybook Adventure is close to a little snack stand called Open Sesame. They sell drinks, and sesame churros. That's right--sesame churros. We still don't know exactly what sesame is supposed to taste like, but the churros were pretty good. Grey, but good.
(On a completely random note, we're noticing which words our spell checker is claiming are right and wrong, and it seems to think that the first line of that chorus is spell completely correctly, despite being in Japanese, while the rest of it (except for the English) is wrong. Weird.)
By this time, we'd been on just about everything we really wanted to go on. There was Center of the Earth, but we were really unsure on that one. For one thing, it takes you to the center of the earth through a volcano. That spells Awesome. But for another thing, we'd been keeping our eye on that volcano, and we saw people going down inside it, and it looked like it could be a giant drop. That spells Suck. As it turned out, we never found ourselves at the entrance to that ride, so we were spared making the decision.
So we went on 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea again. Excuse me now while I go add that movie to our Netflix queue.
Alright, I'm back. I've already discussed that ride, so I'll move on. We realized that we never actually made it into Ariel's Playground, so we went back to Triton's Kingdom. First, we got some french fries. Then we went into Ariel's Playground, and I'm so glad we didn't skip it. First, there's a sunken ship, and giant fishing nets to play in. Those are always the funnest to play in, except when there are signs telling you not to run. But we were kind of exhausted by then anyway, so we didn't mind not running, and all the little kids were ignoring the signs anyway. It must have been the sunken ship Ariel found the dinglehopper and snarfblatt in, because Glut (the shark) was still wandering around. There was a box of fireworks that started going off if you opened it (those are impressive fireworks, exploding under the ocean like that), and if you got too close to the window, suddenly lightning would flash and Glut would jump out at you. I actually never really figured out what activated that. And they had sails to bounce back and forth in.
There was a trail of something (I think it was starfish?) on the floor that took you through a mysterious cave, and in the middle, there was a big room where they had those things where you pose against the wall and there's a flash and your shadow sticks there. We should go there with someone and do Charlie's Angels poses.
And next to that was Ariel's grotto. It had the statue of Eric and everything! It was so awesome. It had other stuff for kids to play with, like books that made sounds when you opened them. Kind of like when you go there in Kingdom Hearts, only with less keyblade whacking. There was also a mirror that looked kind of strange, but we couldn't figure out what the trick was.
Well, we couldn't until we kept going and ended up on the other side of the wall near Ursula's lair, where there was a little cauldron thingie that you could look through into Ariel's grotto and spy on her! Nooooooo! There was another mirror with a bunch of buttons that would light up, and if you pushed the button when it was lit, Ursula would appear in the mirror and talk to you. She said a bunch of stuff like how she had captured you and you were hers now, but it was really Ariel she wanted, so if you just told her where Ariel was, she'd let you go, blah blah blah. And there was this tunnel with a bunch of tunnels for kids to play in which was really neat, and as you walked through, Flotsam and Jetsam would taunt you with stuff like, "What are you doing? We're over here!" We were just walking along, so we didn't get much from them, but there were a couple of kids crawling around to help us out. Then as we got to the end and started to walk out, suddenly they said, "Leaving already?" Like they were actually watching us! Aaaaaaaahhhhh!
And then we went out to the place where there were a bunch of fish squirting people and things, and then we left.
At one point, I don't remember which, we found Scuttle's Scooters, which were really neat. You ride on these sea snails that are all arranged in a circle on the ground, but the ground was all wavy, so as they moved around in a circle, they went up and down. And then! half of them would turn around and start going backwards, and they'd turn back around and the other half would turn around, like they were doing a little dance. It was so cute!
We still had time before BraviSEAmo, so we followed our rule--if you have time to go on another ride, go on Indiana Jones. And then we went on the Sindbad ride again, and pointed out to each other everything that was amazing about the animatronics. Like how when he would sing long notes, his chin still wavered, and how he'd turn his wrist, and how each robot has its own personality, and how Sindbad would actually look back and forth at the monkeys as they had their jam session to see how they were doing. At the end of the ride, Sindbad waves to all the guests, and every time I felt like I need to wave back, even though by the third time I was well aware that there wasn't anybody in a hidden room talking to the guests from the robot like there is at the end of the Monsters, Inc. attraction in California Adventure. That was another thing too--that same robot that waves to you will cross his arms and look down at Chandu (sleeping♥), nod, and look back at the guests and start waving again. Man, it was incredible.
There was no one in line like at all, so we would have gone on it again, but it was just about time to go find a place to watch BraviSEAmo. The first thing that struck us was that it was very obviously raining, but there were no announcements about postponing the show. Rather, a cast member was saying, "If it's not raining too heavily during the show, please put down your umbrellas!" Most people ignored this request. Unlike with Fantasmic!, we had no idea where would be the best place to see the show from, so we found a place that looked like it was in the middle and waited for the show to begin. It turned out to be a pretty good spot, except it was a little far from the action, and there was a girl in front of us who wouldn't hold her umbrella still.
The show starts out with Mickey Mouse coming out on a boat, dressed like... we guess Neptune? and talking about how beautiful the land is. He says it wasn't always that way, and then there's a narration about how there was a beautiful water spirit and a powerful fire spirit and they ignored each other most of the time and never met until... And Mickey and the narrator go away, and the water spirit comes on. And starts singing (but not in any language) and puts on a very pretty water show, and then she goes away and the fire spirit comes out of the water, and there's lots of fire everywhere, and then the water spirit comes back, they go to each other and... um, I think that's it. Based on the description, they fell in love, and I imagine that together, they made Disneysea the beautiful place it is today. For more info, go ahead and check out the web page. There's an English version, too, somewhere. You should be able to Google it pretty easily. Right now I'm just sad that they have BraviSEAmo wallpaper but not Sindbad wallpaper. Alas.
Anyway, now it was time to see if we could find souvenirs for our family. As it turned out, after much anguish and deliberation, we couldn't. We're just very bad at buying souvenirs. We're like, "Oh, this is cute! But I don't know if she likes this character. I don't know if she'd use it for anything. Etc. etc." It didn't help that Japan doesn't seem to be as obsessed with the princesses as we are here. If they'd had Cinderella and Snow White merchandise, we could have got souvenirs for Celeste and Sarah no problem. And Mom likes Maleficent and the Evil Queen, but they don't seem to be into the villains so much there, either.
So we decided we were too exhausted to get people lame things just for the sake of getting things, and we went home. It was a long journey back, but the Disney Resort train was fancy. On our long walk through the Akasaka underground (I think it has a different name actually, but well), we walked by a group of people with a couple of women screaming and I guess a couple of guys getting in a fight. The station workers had already made it by that time, but the screaming seemed to get louder as we got farther away. Hopefully they got everything under control. This time, we were in the hall when they changed the lighting so we could see their fancy constellation decorations on the ceiling. That was pretty neat.
And then we finally got back to the hotel, checked to see if any anime was on, and, finding out it wasn't, got ready for bed and crashed.
And that's it for Disneysea. Wow.
In other non Japan trip news, we got up early (for us) this morning to go to our church enrichment activity. We were sad to have to wake up, but we did anyway, and it turns out it's good we did, because they had food there, and we got to take home the leftover milk. This was especially awesome, because we were just about to run out, and thought we might have to walk to a store to get more, and now we don't have to. It just goes to show once again that when you do what you should, the Lord blesses you.
Today I'm thankful for getting more milk, recreations of Ariel's grotto, getting to go on Sindbad's Storybook Voyage three times, weather control, and sesame churros.