But now it's time to do some more trip reporting! When we left off, we were on our way to DisneySea to make sure we got to see Japan's version of Fantasmic!. The original plan was to go to Sea on Thursday and Land on Friday, but Cecille had a long list of concert goods her friends had requested she buy, and she wanted to make sure none of them sold out before she got a chance to purchase them. And of course, they went on sale on Friday. We used this development to our advantage, however.
First, we tried the economic route. Tokyo Disney Resort does offer a two-day passport, which lets you go into one park on the first day and the other park on the second. This is also where I first braved speaking Japanese to people--I asked the woman at the ticket counter if we could make our second day happen next week. She apologetically said no, and that's where Athena and I struck! We were hoping to finagle some extra DisneySea time (seriously, I had lost sleep the night before worrying about whether or not we'd have enough time to do all the things we wanted to do there), so we asked Cecille if we could go to DisneySea for one day now, then get two-day passes next week. She agreed, and that's what we did!
But for now, just one day at DisneySea, and oh, what a magical day it was. It started out with a brass band performance that included a Pinocchio medley, and Mickey and Minnie flirting with each other. I think I said this about the last time we went to Japan, but I'll say it again: I think it's so cute that Mickey and Minnie kiss in every show there. In California, that's not really a thing. In fact, they're rarely even in shows together. Usually Mickey is just doing everything by himself, and they don't have as many shows here anyway.
When the band stopped playing, it was time to go through the...thing... I want to say arch, but it's not really an arch, it's a flat ceiling... Proscenium? What is a proscenium? *checks* It's the thing that separates the stage from the auditorium, which is sort of fitting because all of Disneyland is a stage (that's why all the employees are called "cast members"), but technically we were already onstage as soon as we went through the ticket barrier. Anyway, we left the DisneySea Plaza and went into the Mediterranean Harbor, which is where you get your first really good look at the park as a whole, and the view is magical. Everything is magical. I'm probably going to use that word a lot.
We couldn't decide what to do first, so we looked to the right and we looked to the left, and we saw a ton of people heading left, so we decided not to do that and we turned right. (We also saw a bunch of people parked by the water, and hoped desperately that they weren't saving seats for Fantasmic!. They weren't, and now we have no idea what they could have been waiting for.) And then we walked for a million years until we came to the Mysterious Island, also known as Jules Verne Land. And we looked to the left and we realized, "Oh! There's Journey to the Center of the Earth."
See, last time we went to DisneySea, we looked at the super awesome volcano that towers over the park and saw ride vehicles coming out of it and sliding down the mountain, and we thought, "I don't know if I can handle that ride!" We decided we would go on it if we could find the entrance, but we never did, so we didn't have to worry about it. Looking back, I don't know if we could have handled it then. But this time, we found the entrance, so we made a mental note to go on it later. But first, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea! And this is where reporting gets tricky, because I'm not sure what's important anymore. I'm pretty sure I described this ride when we reported our last Japan trip, but that was eight years ago, so... So I'll just give a quick recap. You go into little mini-submarines and help Captain Nemo search the mysterious seas, oooohhhhh... And then you get caught by a giant squid, and you zap it but now the sub is out of power so you can't surface and you sink deeper and deeper into the ocean until you come across strange aquatic humanoid creatures who show you their magical undersea kingdom and then help push your sub back up to the surface. Tadah! Or something like that. And Shin-ichiro Miki (Maki Sugimoto in the I Hate You More Than Anyone CD dramas and other Banri Hidaka works) plays the first mate! And all of the scenes are very beautiful.
From here we pretty much followed the same path we did the first time we went to DisneySea, and that meant going straight from there...to the gift shop! But then to Mermaid Lagoon, where we went to King Triton's Kingdom. I spent a lot of extra time taking pictures, because it's dark under the sea and I have to hold still while the camera registers what's going on. On the surface (when the sun's out), I can point and click and bam!. But while we were there, we were debating whether to get in line for the theater right away or to get a fastpass. That's when a cast member came and pointed out (in pretty good English) that if we get a fastpass we'd have to wait for the 10:45 show, but if we just got in line, we could see it at 10:15. We were sold, so we got in line!
This was one of the main things we wanted to do, because we'd heard that they'd updated the show to use fancy screens, and the last Disney show we saw that used fancy screens (Mickey and the Magical Map) failed to impress us in any way, so we were a little worried, because the Little Mermaid show at DisneySea was one of the best things of all time. (Read all about it here!) The show is new now, and I'd still say it's good, but in different ways. I suspect we like the old one better, but it's been too long to say for sure.
So here's what the new one's all about. It's pretty neat, because it starts out just like the concert in the Little Mermaid movie! So the little seahorse comes out and announces the arrival of King Triton and Sebastian, and King Triton is a big animatronic (with a projection face, boo), and Sebastian is a puppet, and then six screens come down from the ceiling and each one has one of Ariel's sisters! They're live action versions, but their hair is more colorful than it was in the movie. For example, Aquata's hair is blue instead of brown. And they sing "Daughters of Triton" with the expected ending.
Then the scene changes--all the screens go up, and instead a "set" of sorts comes down from the ceiling. It has all the things from Ariel's grotto and then some, including a portrait of Prince Eric. Then Ariel comes down from the ceiling, and she's played by a live actress just like in the original version of the show! And she sings "Part of That World", only this time it's in Japanese, and they adjusted her harness so now she can swim over the whole audience! It was amazing and magical and tears were pouring down my face. But it was kind of downhill from there. Not far downhill, but that was definitely the major highlight.
Flounder (a puppet, but not a cool bicycle-ceiling puppet like before, just a regular walking on the floor puppet) comes and reminds Ariel that oh yeah, she was supposed to be singing in a concert. Then Triton shows up and Ariel starts trying to make excuses like, "You know how much I love the human world!" or something, and then Triton says, "Yes, I do! That's why I invited all these humans to come hear you sing!" And she was so happy! And then they sang a new song that was completely original as far as we know, but there were a bunch of songs in the animated series that we probably don't remember, and there is a slight possibility of it coming from The Little Mermaid III, which I sincerely hope is not the case because that movie is an abomination (sorry, production team).
Of course, they also sang "Under the Sea" because how can you not? And for that one, they had all the fish from that number in the movie doing their thing (only they were CGI this time), and Ariel's sisters joining in and playing their instruments with them. That part was kind of neat. ...And I think that was the finale. We were pretty happy as we left the theater, so I shouldn't be so critical, but we did miss the giant Ursula face from the previous show. On the other hand, this show made a little more sense, story-wise.
After that, we explored Ariel's playground, which was mostly as awesome as we remembered it, but there was one part we remembered being creepier in an awesome way. We might have just chalked it up to our memories dressing it up as being more awesome than it really was, but we happened to walk through it behind a little girl who was telling her guardian, "This is different than I remember it." So we suspect changes were made, and we're a little sad, but for all we know it wasn't that great anyway. They did still have the cool thing where there's a dark room with a green glowing wall, and every so often a flash goes off and all the shadows are frozen on the wall. That was fun.
Finally, we went on Jumpin' Jellyfish, and then we got impatient to get to the Arabian Coast, so off we went!
But now it's dinnertime, so more on that later.
Today I'm thankful for getting to go back to DisneySea, making it there without getting lost, getting to see the new Little Mermaid show, being fortunate to run into a little girl who helped confirm that our memories weren't playing quite so many tricks on us, and having lots of pictures that I will certainly have to post in the not too distant future (now if only I can find the time...).