We had just gotten off of StormRider...and I forgot to mention that in line to StormRider, we saw Mr. and Mrs. Incredible out and about. Mrs. Incredible seemed to like leaning on the guardrail and gazing wistfully out toward the ocean...or at the Center for Weather Control, but either way, she insisted on doing it even when guests would tap on her shoulder and ask for a picture. I don't know why...maybe it has something to do with The Incredibles, but it's been years since we've seen that movie.
We also saw another brass band, and this time they were dressed up in brightly colored steampunk costumes (which seems like an oxymoron, but that's what they were wearing). We would have stopped to listen, but when we saw that StormRider was still StormRider, we panicked and had to get in line. When we got off of StormRider, the Incredibles had traded places with Chip, Dale, and Goofy, who were wearing mad scientist costumes, and Goofy's son Max, who was dressed normally. I didn't take pictures, though, which I think is because there were so many people milling about that I couldn't get a clear shot without waiting for a turn. Instead, we went on Aquatopia, which is a nice little boat ride that's different every time because of trackless technology woooOOOOoooo.
It's a good thing I took so many pictures, because now I can use the digital camera for reference about what order we did stuff in. So much happened at the Disney parks that it's hard to keep it all straight! But anyway, according to the camera, our next stop was dinner. Well, lunch/dinner. Lunner? Supper? I don't know, but we hadn't had a real meal, like, all day, so it was about time to get some decent food. We had determined that the Mediterranean Harbor had a place that sold pizza that looked relatively harmless, so that's where we went! And we had tomato and mozzarella pizza that had some kind of greenness on it (we have reason to believe it's "pesto sauce", but what do we know about food? Nothing, that's what) which made it a little less appetizing, but we had told ourselves that we really need to actually eat this time (as opposed to the last time we went to Japan), so we steeled ourselves and we ate it! Tadah! And we didn't like it that much, but the gag reflex didn't activate, so we considered it a success. (The mozzarella was really good. It's just the tomatoes and green stuff we had problems with.)
And now that we were well fed, it was time for a real adventure: Journey to the Center of the Earth. Of course we had seen the drop again during our journeys around the south side of the park, and after our experience on the log ride at Knott's Berry Farm, we thought we had a better handle on judging the terrifying factor of drops. This one looked like it might be manageable, partly because it didn't seem all that steep, and partly because we noticed that the track was neither a log flume nor a roller coaster track. In fact, it matched the track type for the Indiana Jones ride, which relies more on hydraulics to move the vehicle around in an off-road sort of way to provide the thrills. And the drop on the Indiana Jones ride is nothing. It's like not even a drop.
So we were sure it would be fine. Our confidence was bolstered once again when we saw the safety warning, which was exactly like the safety warning for Indiana Jones, word for word and in English and everything.
On the other hand, Cecille hadn't been on Indiana Jones before, and as I mentioned before, she was even iffier about thrill rides than we are. The line was only 35 minutes long, which is pretty darn good for a ride we had somehow been led to believe is one of the more popular attractions, so we decided to go ahead and not get fastpasses...a decision I later realized might have been a little bit cruel to Cecille, who now had to anticipate her doom that much longer. But we were already in line and I really wanted to go on the ride, so I cruelly maintained course. It was kind of a surreal experience, because usually we're the ones being all, "I don't think I want to do this..." while our friends are the ones who are all, "Oh come on, it'll be fine!" But we couldn't be like that, either, because we'd never been on the ride ourselves.
Finally we got to...the elevators. It looked like a loading dock, because they were separating guests and sending them off in groups, but it was just for elevators. When you get off the elevators, there's more line to wait in! I think this line is a little bit sadistic. But eventually we did get on the ride, and it was time for unknown adventures!
Now, we've never read the book or seen any of the movies, but I imagine this ride was a little bit similar to them. You're in this machine that's got a giant drill in front so it can bore through the rock (the easier to get to the center of the Earth). So they send you off and...and it was kind of fast and I had a lot on my mind, so I may not remember it all that well, but you see a place with lots of crystals, and a place with strange insect-like creatures, and a giant mushroom forest. And sometimes there will be a ZAP! of some kind of electricity, or a FWOOM! with a big flame RIGHT NEXT TO YOU! I may have screamed. (Who are we kidding? I totally did.) And finally, you're in this room with a giant antlion type thing (I call it an antlion because it's like all the antlions in Final Fantasy; the point is it was gigantic and insect-like), and I guess the vehicle got scared, because that's when it speeds up and starts going through the dark in a spiral, up and up and up! And that's when we got alarmed, because the higher the climb, the longer the fall. So after a few seconds of deep concern, we burst out of the mountain! And down, down, down! Just a little bit longer than I was comfortable with, but unlike with Jurassic Park, which seemed to go on forever, it was just after I started to think, "Can we be done yet please!!!?" that we leveled out, and rode mostly horizontally around the crater lake of Mysterious Island and off to the exit.
So except for the very end, I really liked it. Cecille said the drop wasn't nearly as bad as she thought it might be, so I didn't feel so bad for forcing her to go on it, but later I started to wonder if she wasn't entirely honest. I found it very interesting later, when we happened to see a commercial for the company that sponsors the ride, thus learning that it's a life insurance company.
Anyway, despite the drop, I felt compelled to go on the ride again. But we didn't yet, because we had fastpasses for Indiana Jones and we didn't want them to go to waste! The description of that (with California comparison!) can be found in this post! I will add that everything felt a lot creepier than the American Indiana Jones ride. This might have been thanks to the tone set by a certain area of the queue where you look down and see a pool full of skeletons. Somehow that seems a lot scarier than the room full of spikes and skeletons that you go through in the California queue. I would also like to point out how glad I am that we wrote up such detailed descriptions of the rides back when we did, because I feel like we weren't quite so observant this time. I think this might be because we were mindful of our friend as well as everything around us.
Now that we'd been on Indiana Jones, it was time to go to the other side of the park and see what there was to see at the American Water Front. ...Not much, it turns out. They had Tower of Terror (big fat Nope) and Toy Story Midway Mania (which we might have gone on if the line had been any shorter--or actually a lot shorter; it was ridiculously long, and we have that ride in California). But we did get some milk chocolate popcorn, and we looked in the Duffy shop. We wanted to see about watching Big Band Beat, but we got there just as they closed the doors on the last show of the day. Aw, shucks.
But we did pass by the SS Columbia cruise ship just as a cast member was shouting about seating for a different show, A Table Is Waiting. I asked him what kind of show it was, and he told me it has Mickey Mouse, and I love Japanese shows with Mickey Mouse, so we thought that could be fun, but it wasn't starting for like an hour, so we decided not to sit down just yet. Instead, we looked around the American Water Front, where we discovered McDuck's Department Store. It doesn't matter what they sell there, the point is it's called McDuck's, and the pillars are made of money. It's hilarious. There are portraits of Scrooge McDuck and his lucky dime, and everything. (For what it's worth, I think they mostly had more Duffy stuff.)
Then we decided, for the benefit of those who weren't used to walking around theme parks all day, especially so soon after an eleven hour plane ride, which was so soon after a three-day hospital stay, maybe we should go sit and wait for the show after all. That's when we pulled out StreetPass and discovered just how awesome a place Japanese Disney parks are for meeting people from different regions. Especially if you want regions of Japan. Athena got at least half the regions of Japan by the end of the trip. And she passed by someone from Spain!
Periodically as we waited for the show, cast members would come along and give instructions--instructions that I really wish they'd give at American parks, namely, to take off your headbands and hats that might obstruct the view of people behind you. They also ask that if you take pictures, you turn off the flash (of course) and make sure not to hold your camera above your head. I love that they ask everyone to be considerate of the people behind them!
As for the show itself, oh my gosh, it was so much fun. It starts with Mickey Mouse coming to invite you to dinner, and then Lumiere comes out to host the meal. There are two other candle-ish characters that are like his assistants I guess, and they fight with each other for reasons I forgot. But the main premise of the show is the dinner. The first course is Mexican tacos, so Chip and Dale come out wearing serapes and fake mustaches, with some dancers who are dressed like...tacos! Oh my goodness, it's so great. And the greatest part about it is they're like legit costumes, not just taco suits. I was supposed to have a policy of not taking pictures during shows because it would distract me, but the costumes were so great I couldn't resist taking pictures to share (later). Later, Donald came out with a couple of guys dressed as the ingredient they forgot: chili peppers. Then they kept feeding Donald the peppers, and then Donald turned around and when we saw him again, his beak was gigantic and red! (I thought he might breathe fire, but this version is funny, too, and much safer.)
When that number was done, they were all, "If you want spicy..." and then some ladies came out in Bollywood type costumes and introduced themselves as Paprika, Saffron, Cardamom, and...and...one more that we can't forget! Sorry, forgotten spice! And then they danced with Daisy to a couple of Spice Girls songs. It was kind of hilarious. And what made it even better is that there was a guy wearing naan pants. (The dish was Indian curry.)
Next on the menu was American cheeseburger, so Pluto came out and coached couple of buns, a meat patty, and two slices of cheese to make a cheeseburger. (And by "coach", we mean "he blew a whistle at them.") At least one of them was wearing a french fry hat. And there were cheerleaders with shredded lettuce pompoms! It was the best! And they had a ketchup vaulting horse! (You know, that thing in all the anime and manga that traumatizes the characters in PE.) And it squirted ketchup streamers!
The last entree was a Japanese harumaki bento, so Goofy came out with a bunch of characters dressed as sushi and they put on a little festival where we all shouted wasshoi (with Goofy leading of course). It was a lot of fun. I think they had a mikoshi, too, but I don't remember. I may or may not have a picture. (I'm actually remembering this show based on memory without checking the camera!)
Finally, it was time for dessert, which was from France and represented by everyone's sweetheart, Minnie Mouse dressed as a cupcake, who was surrounded by all kinds of other desserts but was very lonely without Mickey. Or that was the feeling Athena got anyway. But it was all okay, because Mickey showed up (in a chocolate brown suit!) and she was very happy to see him.
Then the candelabras came out and started the big Be Our Guest finale, and it was so much fun! When they got to the final chorus with the big buildup, and they were about to get into a chorus line and start doing kicks (I assume)...something went wrong! The candelabras started arguing again (much to Lumiere's dismay), and then a big food fight broke out. All the foods from all the dishes were running around and pies were being thrown everywhere! (Not people dressed as pies; prop pies.) They even pulled up a guy from the audience to throw a pie! But it went awry and he ended up with pie in his face, so we suspect he was a plant, but if he was they don't make the plants obvious like they do in the States. I don't remember how it got resolved, but Lumiere felt really bad about it. I think Mickey or someone told him it was okay, because look at how many people are smiling! and the assistant candelabras said yeah we're even not fighting anymore! And then they did the real finale which was, of course, "A Table Is Waiting".
And I was smiling so big at the end of it! Oh man, it was so much fun.
Then it was getting close to Time. Time...for Fantasmic!. Okay, so actually we had an hour and a half, but people were sitting and waiting for it. They weren't the same people from that morning, though, because in Japan they have a rule: you can sit somewhere at any time for as long as you want, but you can't put blankets or backpacks or anything down to save seats for non-present people until an hour before the show. And that is one of the many awesome things about how they do things in Japan.
But I have been typing for an hour, and I'm going to have to sit and think about this to remember it, so the Fantasmic! report will have to wait until tomorrow.
Today I'm thankful for getting to experience Journey to the Center of the Earth for the first time, the drop not being too terrible, A Table Is Waiting, our choice to stop and watch A Table Is Waiting, and managing to keep ourselves reasonably well fed in Japan (or close enough anyway).