Anyway, we were talking about our trip. We were just about to go to the Arabian Coast, but first! it was vitally important that we purchase and consume some sea salt ice cream. Turns out, they're selling it at all the ice cream carts in DisneySea these days, but we didn't realize that until after we'd already bought some at Mermaid Lagoon, the original (or 2008, anyway) go-to spot for sea salt ice cream. Before, it came in a plastic seashell-shaped souvenir case with a picture of Ariel on it. Now, it comes in a pink seashell-shaped...shell, I guess, called a monaka, which is basically a wafer. The texture and flavor were pretty much just like a regular ice cream cone (not the sugar cone kind). And the added bonus of having it in the monaka is that it got to fill the whole monaka (instead of just being in a cup inside the souvenir case), and it had a strawberry jam-like layer to go with it. This may be because they switched it from an Ariel theme to a Minnie Mouse theme, but whatever the reason, it was tasty.
And then we went to the Arabian Coast, where the first thing we did was buy curry flavored popcorn, because we love the idea of different flavored popcorns and Cecille loves Japanese curry. To be completely accurate, Athena and I didn't buy any--Cecille did. And we didn't really eat any, either, but we did taste it! ...And we didn't really like it, which is why we didn't eat any more.
But then there was a brass band! I mean, we went through the fancy palace gate-like thing and down the stairs to the fancy palace courtyard-like place (this is what happens when I try harder to give my audience detailed descriptions; it's okay, we took pictures, which you might see someday! (we have a lot of manga titles ending; we might have a little free time coming up)), and then there was a brass band. Last time we went to DisneySea, the brass band was dressed in Arabian costumes. This time, possibly due to the influence of Up, which came out after our first trip to Japan, they were dressed as Wilderness Explorers. Or similarly to Wilderness Explorers; we never caught the beginning of their set, so we don't know how they introduced themselves. The point is, we went over to watch them, because they were playing really fun songs, like "I Wanna Be Like You" and "Hakuna Matata".
At one point during their set (soon after we arrived in the audience), they started recruiting audience members to dance with them. I thought, "Aww, that's so cute. They'll probably leave us alone because they don't know we understand Japanese." But then! the saxophone player lady came right to us and said, "Onee-san, let's dance!" Awwwww♥ Even in Japan, they know we love to be good audience members. We must have some kind of "willing to do silly things for fun" aura. So the band leader taught everybody the dance steps, and we all danced around in a circle and it was a lot of fun!
Unfortunately, we didn't get any pictures of that because how am I supposed to take pictures of myself dancing? Also, Cecille (who was not dancing) was distracted because off in the distance she saw two familiar figures running toward the Caravan Carousel. It was Aladdin and Jasmine! What! And, huge Aladdin fan that she is, she had to run off after them. (We don't blame her for ditching us at all, because we noticed them, too, and our first instinct was to try to get Cecille's attention so we could gesture at her to go after them.) But it was too late; they were gone on their break. So we said goodbye to the brass band and went on the Caravan Carousel. Athena rode a griffin and I rode a camel. Cecille rode the Genie, of course.
And then we walked up just in time for the next show at the Magic Lamp Theater. I would tell you all about it, but I already did at the end of this post, so you can read about it there. I will say, though, that this time, when Asim was asking the audience if they'd seen a key, someone said they did have a key! And Asim was like, "Oh, really? Let me see it!" so they showed him the key and Asim said that wasn't it, the one he was looking for was bigger and gold. It was super cute.
After the show, we went to the bazaar where they had midway games. Cecille wanted to get a unique pin for her Disney-parks-loving friend, and since pins are the consolation prize for not succeeding in the games and one of them was our beloved Chandu and we were like we have to get that pin!, we decided we'd all play. I don't think either of us was trying to lose, but we all did anyway, so we each got a Chandu pin! Woohoo! (The other pins were super cute, too. They had Mickey, Minnie, Chip, and Dale in Arabian Coast outfits. But Chandu.) We let Cecille have two of the pins (she insisted on paying the game fee to make up for it) so she could have one and give the other to her friend, and we share the other one. (We also plan on going back soon...in the Mythical Time.)
Of course, Cecille had yet to discover how great Chandu is, because we hadn't yet gone on the best Disney attraction of all time: Sindbad's Storybook Voyage. But now our path had taken us close enough to the entrance of that ride that Athena and I could contain ourselves no longer and it was time to get in line! We were so excited, we were literally jumping up and down in the line. I wondered what the cast members thought of the crazy Americans and why in the world they were so excited.
Once again, I describe the ride in this post, so I won't do it again (I'm pretty sure I did a better job then than I would have now anyway), but I will describe reactions. ...Actually, the first time we went on it, I thought, "Is it really as good as I remembered?" I was worried that I had just been disillusioned. Fortunately, the newness of it had cast its spell on Cecille, so it wasn't long before we found ourselves in line again. It was so soon, in fact, that the cast member at the front of the line recognized us and asked to confirm if this was our second time.
This time, we paid more attention or something, and it was magical all over again. It's such an amazing ride. The animatronics are so alive! And there's so much attention to detail! For example, when Sindbad is playing music and singing with the giant, you can hear his mandolin, but only when you see his hands strumming it! And his left hand moves just like it would if he were pressing the strings to play chords...only his fingers didn't all move individually, but still. And in the finale room, with the fireworks, whenever a firework goes off (and a firework is pretty much a pattern (a really nice pattern) of LEDs in the wall), then the whole room glows that color, just like with real fireworks! Now I want to go on The Little Mermaid ride here to see if they do that in the fireworks finale room of that ride. I don't remember them doing it, but I'm not sure, so I have to check. Athena doesn't think they do it, either, but it's a smaller space, and the fireworks are smaller so they might be farther off in the distance.
I think it was between Sindbad rides that we went on Princess Jasmine's Flying Carpets. We didn't remember this ride from the last time we went to DisneySea, because, as our research confirms, they didn't have it. Apparently it opened in 2011. This made us feel a little bit better about when the ride showed up in a certain volume of manga that we translated, and when we went on it, we couldn't help thinking, "We're really flying!" The ride basically consists of vehicles that are dressed up to look like magic carpets piled high with cushions, and they're all attached to a central hub that looks like the fountain from Jasmine's courtyard (the one you see after her suitor storms off). When the ride starts, they all go around in a circle like a carousel, and the front row has a control lever that makes it go higher or lower. (In other words, for Disneyland enthusiasts, it's like the Dumbo ride, only with flying carpets.)
We also went to the Open Sesame stand, which sadly no longer has sesame flavored churros. We can't comprehend it. There are fewer flavors of popcorn and fewer flavors of churros, and it has us really bummed out. They did have Mickey Mouse shaped churros, which was kind of fun, and they still cost less than churros at Disneyland, California, but more than the regular-shaped ones. Sad day.
But it wasn't all a sad day (duh, what kind of ingrate would I be to say that?) because we noticed some crowds gathering. Why? Well, the Disney photographer costume suggested there were some characters to be seen. In fact, Stitch, Angel, and Daisy all came out in some beautiful Arabian Coast costumes. But more importantly, that made us think that perhaps Aladdin and Jasmine had also returned from their break, so we went back to the bazaar, and sure enough, there they were! (Okay, so I don't remember the chain of events exactly, so it's possible that we didn't think to check for Aladdin and Jasmine but we went back to the bazaar to look at Chandu merchandise.)
When we got there, they were greeting guests together, but soon the crowd got to be big enough that they decided to split up, so Aladdin went across the way and started hiding behind a pillar, pretending to be Abu. It was clear that Aladdin and Jasmine had come from the extremely exotic Arabian port of the United States of America (okay, that was my attempt at "valuing the magic" by not just calling them American actors, but I'm pretty sure it's not going to come across great either way, so whatever), partly because of their accents, but mostly because they kept speaking English. It was super cute, though, because Aladdin was really outgoing and not about to let the language barrier stand in his way. He had learned some key Japanese phrases (what's your name?, where are you from?, let's do a magic carpet pose!), but when those didn't cover what he wanted to say, he just said it anyway. In a way, it's an admirable way to be, but in another way, it's like, "Do these people have any idea what he's saying?"
I was highly amused by the whole thing, so when it finally came our turn to say hello, I decided to say, "Sumimasen, eigo wakarimasen (Sorry, I don't know English)." He rolled with it and asked what my name was in Japanese. I told him, then he turned to Athena and said in English, "And you?" He asked Cecille where she was from, and when she said California, he asked if she rode a magic carpet to get there. It was fun. All the pictures from that are on Cecille's phone, but he posed with her like they were riding the magic carpet, and with us he held out his arms like a gentleman escorting a couple of ladies. Then we went back across the street to take a picture with Jasmine and we all posed like we were pretending to be the Genie (nothing too wacky, just an arms-crossed "I'm awesome" pose). I think it's great that the characters in Japan have stock poses to suggest to the guests. They might do that here, too, but we don't talk to characters very often...and from the times we did, I can only think of once when they did it, and that was when we saw Belle as Gaston and the Silly Girls. But we did hear a story about Cruella de Vil coaching a girl to stand farther away...farther...farther...good.
We had now accomplished everything we hoped to accomplish at the Arabian Coast (except for a million more rides on Sindbad's Storybook Voyage, but there will never be enough Sindbad), so it was off to the Lost River Delta. The Lost River Delta has two big rides: Raging Spirits and the Indiana Jones Adventure. Raging Spirits is a super cool looking roller coaster that's designed after a Mayan pyramid with an awesome water feature that also happens to be ON FIRE...but it also has a loop, so the answer to that one is Nope. (Turns out Cecille is even more trepidatious about roller coasters than we are. More on that later.) And the wait time for Indy Jones was forty-five minutes.
So we picked up some fastpasses and headed off to Port Discovery, where we discovered that they hadn't closed StormRider yet! We read somewhere (I think the Disney Parks Blog) that they were going to close it and replace it with a Finding Nemo attraction, news which we found to be more than a little infuriating. So we were relieved to get to go on it again, and we briefly entertained the hope that maybe the Finding Nemo thing was an illusion, and we had imagined the whole thing, or maybe it wasn't an illusion but they decided not to do it after all. Unfortunately, our research tells us that the ride will be closing in May, so now we really wish we'd made more of an effort to go on it again, but we did go on it once. The description of that ride can be found at the end of this post. This time, the explainer person was a man (there were a lot more male cast members this time), and I don't remember him saying anything about Captain Davis before we went into the simulator, but maybe I just missed it because we were so close to the front of the line.
Well, goodbye, Captain Davis. It was fun. We'll miss you dearly!
And I think that's enough reporting for now. Today I'm thankful for getting to go on StormRider one last time, getting to go on Sindbad's Storybook Voyage several more times, having shiny Chandu pins, having fun with character meet and greets, and that volume of Chaika being very cooperative.