We’ve been to DisneySea! (And the reason for the rather awkward name is that it’s the opposite of DisneyLAND. Surprised it took us until today to figure that one out.) This deserves a much bigger post than I have energy for at the moment — been up since 6am, just got back a half-hour ago at 10pm, on the move the whole time — but I do want to note a few differences from Disney in California:
1. Everything at Tokyo Disney is in Japanese (except for the signage and some recorded announcements, which are bilingual). This shouldn’t have been a surprise but I kept getting tripped up by it, especially in familiar surroundings such as the “New York” and “Cape Cod” sections of the park. All non-recorded announcements and most non-safety-related announcements, including the soundtracks of all rides, are in Japanese only (though one stage show had hand-held subtitle devices available in Japanese, English, Chinese, and Korean). Cast members have about as much English as the average Japanese person, which is to say that some have none, many have some, and some have a lot. On the other hand, my little head exploded when the Japanese cast member at the Indiana Jones ride waved us aboard with a cheery “Adios, Amigos!”
2. Themed fire extinguisher cubbies in every ride and area.
3. I was wondering what they would do with Rod Serling at the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. Answer: no Rod Serling at all. The DisneySea Tower of Terror has a completely different backstory.
4. They have squashed-penny machines, but no pennies. They use copper blanks the same size as a US penny, right there in the machine. It’s not as much fun to just stick in a 100 yen coin and get the squashed penny out. Squashed pennies should cost 26 cents (or 101 cents, or whatever the price is these days).
5. The 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and Journey to the Center of the Earth rides are unique and very cool. The Aquatopia ride is also unique but just plain strange.
6. The railway between “America” and “Tomorrow” is a tiny little two-car trolley that squeals and rumbles like a full-sized Chicago El. Not quite sure how they managed that.
7. They have a full-sized ocean liner, which contains two very good restaurants and a deck you can promenade on. I wonder how many people they lose every year trying to lean out over the prow (with a real sixty-foot drop to real water and nothing preventing you from doing so) and shout “Top of the world!” in Japanese.
8. Flavored popcorn. We spotted strawberry, cappuccino, chocolate, and black pepper.
9. Daikon and jellyfish salad. We didn’t order that.
10. Potato and burdock danish. We didn’t order that either.