First, we stopped by to see Farley in Frontierland, and he's a friendly guy so we started talking about our Japan trip, and he asked if we went to the special water park (everyone asks if DisneySea is a water park; there's a lot of water, but it's not a water park) and saw the Nautilus. Well, as a matter of fact, we did get a picture of the Nautilus, so I pulled out my camera and started showing him pictures. So for his whole set, he's huddled next to me looking at my camera and talking and playing the fiddle all at the same time. And still interrupting himself to play Happy Birthday whenever someone walked by wearing a birthday button. We were impressed.
Second, the Lunar New Year stuff was fun, but the same as last year so requires no new report. Third, they switched up the show in the Golden Horseshoe again, so it's about the bank robbery as usual (lately, they always call on Gaston to be in the show; this time he was the bank teller), but instead of Sally Mae trying to flirt with Clem Clodhopper, Miss Rose is trying to parry the advances of Mayor Macgillicuddy (or however it's spelled), while at the same time getting a little handsy with whoever gets called up to be the bank teller ("You know, Gaston is my favorite name."). And finally, they brought the Tangled show back to the Royal Theatre, and we were especially happy because the girl playing Rapunzel (who we're pretty sure we saw as Anna the day before) was a fairly decent actress.
But now! it's time to rewind and get back to Tokyo Disneyland! Where were we again? That's right, we had just gone on It's A Small World, the commentary on which can also be found in this post. Somebody had told us that the Japanese Small World had added the Disney movie characters just like the California one had, only they said that they didn't bother to change the style to look like the other Small World characters. We weren't sure this source was credible, so we weren't really surprised to find out that this information was false. Our guess is that they saw pictures that had digital stickers on them or had been doctored in some other way. Also, it didn't seem quite as short this time around, but it did feel a little bit like the Small World in Epic Mickey, which led to a dreamy sort of feeling akin to the Bizarro Disneyland of my dreams. I suspect the Epic Mickey one, as well as this one, were based on the one in Florida.
And speaking of the Bizarro Disneyland of my dreams, next we went on the Haunted Mansion. From a certain point, the ride is almost exactly like the one in California (only they haven't changed the bride in the attic to an ax murderer, or added the Hatbox Ghost, and when the ghosts are banging on the doors to get through (when they're still having trouble, before you see Madam Leota), some scary creatures have succeeded in getting fingers between the door and the door frame), but before you get to that point, there are some additions. Oh, but first, the landing where you board the Doom Buggies is a little sad, because in the California version, it feels like they're coming from some strange, ethereal dimension, while in Japan it really just seems like they came from the next room. But anyway, the most important difference is the portrait gallery. Why is this significant? Because it's a long hall down a gentle incline. And why is that significant? Because since we got back from Japan the first time, I've had stress dreams with the Haunted Mansion, and a lot of them have involved going down a slight incline. It never made sense to me, because the Haunted Mansion never had an incline like that! Obviously, I didn't remember the one in Japan. (This post has our first memories of that ride, and as you can see, I didn't even remember they added a library. I remember it now, of course; it's where they keep all the busts that stare at you.)
Cecille really enjoyed the ride, and especially felt like her mom, who loves Halloween and stuff, would love it. Maybe it's the key to getting a Disney non-enthusiast interested in Disney... Not that we need any more Disney love these days.
Anyway, after we left the Haunted Mansion...I think we headed over to Winnie the Pooh's Hunny Hunt...and chose not to go on it, because the line was really long. Instead, we got fastpasses and then bought some honey popcorn, which was delicious. And the girl who sold it to us counted our change back in English, and she was really good at it!
From there, we wandered back to the other side of the Haunted Mansion. We saw the sign to Critter Country and it called to me, but we already knew they no longer sold maple churros and even if Splash Mountain hadn't been closed (they close Splash Mountain in January; go figure), no one would have wanted to go on it (regardless of temperature), so we went to Westernland. First, we went to see the Country Bears! Just like last time, the show was half in English and half in Japanese, and this is where Athena realized that it's harder to take everything in when you're interpreting. But we'd seen it before, so we weren't too broken up about it. After the show, we made sure to take pictures with our "I had fun with Farley" sticker by the Country Bears' dressing rooms.
And then we went to Tom Sawyer's Island. We were pretty sure we didn't go there last time we went to Japan, but then we went to Fort Samuel Clemens, and we remembered going inside a fort on Tom Sawyer's island recently-ish, and they haven't allowed guests inside Fort Wilderness on California's Tom Sawyer's island for years, so we had a weird little memory overlap thing or something. But looking back at our Japan report from last time, it doesn't look like we did...either that, or we forgot to mention it. But it was really cool--a lot like the California version, of course, but cleaner (the paths are paved, unlike in CA), and I feel like the caves are prettier, but that might just be my Japan bias talking. We made sure to explore everywhere on the island, but we felt a little bad because Cecille didn't have Heattech like we did, and she was very cold.
So after we went across the barrel bridge (you HAVE to go across the barrel bridge), we went back to Westernland to their version of the Hungry Bear restaurant, so we could sit inside and warm up for a little while, as well as eat. Normally, we never would have chosen Japan's Hungry Bear restaurant, even though it's a really cool restaurant that takes up several wild west-style buildings, including the sheriff's office (you can eat in prison!), because all the posters advertising the place say, "Try our exotic spices!" Which translates to, "We serve curry!" But Cecille had expressed her undying love for Japanese curry and we wanted to make sure she got some. And equally importantly, this particular restaurant is where you can get a souvenir mug representing Dear Danny, the Little Black Sheep.
Now let me explain about Dear Danny. I seem to remember (although sometimes I'm good at implanting memories that don't really exist into my head) that the last time we went to Tokyo Disneyland, we saw all this Danny business and thought, "What the heck? Who is this Danny of which you speak?" And we were annoyed at the idea of this character that apparently is super popular and yet we'd never heard of him. But we weren't that annoyed, because we promptly forgot all about it (assuming we ever really noticed to begin with). A few years later, something prompted us to start buying a bunch of old live action Disney movies, and one of the ones that caught our attention (possibly because it was mentioned in a biography of Walt Disney that I borrowed and read) was So Dear to My Heart. We bought it, watched it, and loved it!
And now, here we were at Tokyo Disneyland, with a restaurant that sells souvenir mugs of none other than the black sheep from this extremely obscure but very delightful and heartwarming old Disney movie. Of course we had to procure a mug or two for ourselves. The best part of all is that the mugs were sold with little chocolate chiffon cakes inside them. (Well, technically the cakes were in paper cups (significantly shorter than the mugs) that the cast members put inside the mugs, but the effect is the same, only without cake crumbs stuck to the mug when you're done eating.) So we got delicious little cakes topped with a berry mousse, and adorable Danny mugs. And the super awesome thing is the cast member getting our food put the mugs on the tray, and then she put two bubble wrap pockets on the tray to put the mugs in when we were done. Japan thinks of everything!
And Cecille loved the curry, too, so it was a good experience all around. By the time we were done eating, it was just about time to sit down and watch the "Happiness Is Here" parade! I seem to remember not loving the parade, but it had some really cool stuff in it. The not-loving it part may have had something to do with the fact that it clearly shared some elements with the Soundsational parade here in California, which was fun once or twice, but we got over it fairly quickly. The main element it shared was carousel horses. The big finale for Soundsational was a Mary Poppins float, which was preceded by Mary and Bert on their carousel horses from the movie. For this parade, every float was preceded by a bunch of characters, but always one on a carousel horse. The first was Goofy on a horse that looked a lot like Cyril Proudbottom from The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad. ...And as I remember the parade, I remember a lot of really cool stuff, so I'm not sure why I didn't like it, but my guess would be the music. Anyway, I think the main commentary on that is going to have to wait until I can post some pictures.
When the parade was over, we continued on our way until we came to Adventureland. But first, we stopped at the Trading Post, which was a store in Westernland dedicated entirely to Dear Danny! What! We looked around and made mental notes, but we didn't want to buy anything just yet, so we moved on...after taking pictures with the statue of Danny outside!
Our next stop was the Enchanted Stitch Room. This attraction was why we couldn't go to the Tiki Room the first time we went to Japan--they were building the Stitch Room right when we were there! We have been wanting to see it ever since, and now was finally our chance! It was also excellently warm, so we were reluctant to leave. But anyway, let me see if I can remember how the show goes...
The first thing we noticed was that this Tiki Room has big windows looking out over the beaches of what I assume is supposed to be Hawaii. Other than that, the layout is pretty much the same, but the lead parrots were different. First, one of them was female, and second, they all had Hawaiian names. And I wanted to look up the Hawaiian names, and that's how I learned that the name of the attraction is technically "The Enchanted Tiki Room: Stitch Presents Aloha e Komo Mai!" We just call it the Enchanted Stitch Room because the boards around the attraction when they were doing the refurb had signs that said "The Enchanted Tiki Room", but Stitch had painted over the word "tiki" and written in "Stitch".
But anyway, the parrots introduce the show and start singing, and...and it looks like the Wikipedia article on this attraction summarizes it better than my memories do, but in a less fun way, and I'm still pretty sure the one parrot was not named Hanoli, but Hau'oli. So now that I've read the article, let's see what I can do (I mostly read the summary as a reminder about the songs). According to the article, the birds are singing "Hawaiian Roller Coaster Ride", and then all the lights go out and everybody freaks out for a second. When the lights come on, the fancy windows have been painted with a picture of some kind of monster and the words "aloha e komo mai". One of the parrots thinks it's the Big Kahuna, and now they're worried about making him mad. But they go on with the show anyway, and ask the flowers to come down and sing their song...which gets interrupted by strange blue arms coming out of the flowerbeds and honking horns and otherwise making noise. That happens for the first chorus, and the parrots discuss it briefly, then for the second chorus, one of the parrots catches the mischief maker before he/she/it can honk any horns or anything, so you see the arm come up, but the parrot says, "Hey! None of that!" (or something along those lines) and the arm goes back down dejectedly.
According to Wikipedia, the mystery creature honks a loud foghorn at the end, and I really did not remember that, but I believe it. Next, one of the parrots suggests bringing the showgirls down (come to think of it, I may not have been the best at listening to and understanding what the parrots were saying, because when I read Wikipedia, I think, "Oh, is that what happened?"), and the big mobile with all the cockatoos comes down...and they're all wearing blue ears. Upon questioning, they irritably respond that a strange blue creature put the ears on them. Then something happened (Wikipedia says the bird said, "It could be worse--you could have turned blue!", and then they did turn blue because of paint that was actually a blue light) and they all got very upset and left, stating the equivalent of, "I'll be in my trailer!" until the blue creature was gone.
Then the Big Kahuna comes out of the fountain in the middle of the room, and tadah! It's Stitch! And all of his mischief was because he wanted to be in the show, too. So the Birds of Paradise say, "Dude, you should have just told us!" And then they all reprise "Aloha e Komo Mai" with Stitch being all Elvis and whatnot, and it was very cute. I also remember at some point one of the birds (or Stitch) asked a question and the cast member (there's always a cast member overseeing the show in the Tiki Room) was on hand to answer it in case nobody said anything. I also remember thinking, "That's okay; we gotcha covered," and answering the question, but I can't for the life of me remember what the question or the answer was. We'll just have to go see it again someday...if they don't take it out first. (Wikipedia tells us there was a different show that wasn't the original Tiki Room show in that Tiki Room from '99 to '08.)
After that, we found ourselves in one of the Adventureland stores, probably because it was warmer inside than outside. We shopped around and bought some pins, and wondered where to find Minnie! Oh, Minnie!, which was a show that we knew was a thing from the first time we went to Tokyo Disneyland, and then because they mentioned it in the first Koe no Ouji-sama CD, and then because they sang the theme song on the third Koe no Ouji-sama CD, and since we didn't see it last time, we wanted to fix that. So, like I said, we were wondering what to do about it...and then we heard music. The show was starting, right next door! So we rushed over and fortunately there was enough room for the three of us on a bench near the back. We sat right behind a few little kids who kept turning back to look at us, and I really couldn't say exactly what it was that had them so curious. Was it that we were American? That we're so tall? That we look so much alike? I don't know.
As for the show, it can be summed up pretty easily by saying it was a series of Latin-style songs sung in English and Japanese and Spanish, and the singers and dancers and characters would come out in very shiny costumes--a different style for each song! (This was the show that had us going, "You see that, Mickey and the Magical Map? Costume changes! It can be a thing!" The lead female singer was in every song and she had a different costume for each one!) For one song, they divided the audience up into teams to clap the rhythm and pose (there was a different rhythm and pose for each section). And we happened to be in the Chip and Dale group! Woohoo! And it was a lot of fun and the costumes were beautiful, but I don't think it was my favorite Tokyo Disney Parks show. I think I tend to prefer the ones that are all in Japanese, but I don't know if that's because I have some sort of bias against speaking English (it's not as "cool", because I do it all the time), or if, in addition to having English lyrics/dialogue, there's some other different element about them. It is a mystery.
And now it is a dinner time, so off we go!
Today I'm thankful for getting to see the Enchanted Stitch Room (one of two things we wanted to see since the first time we went to Tokyo Disneyland), getting to see Minnie! Oh Minnie! (the second thing), lovely souvenir mugs, the tasty cake that came with the mugs, and Gaston giving us drinking chocolate mix.