Tokyo Disney Resort, Halloween Season 2012




Tokyo Disney Resort


Tuesday, October 23, 2012 to Saturday, October 27, 2012


Dan and Jon

Hello everyone!

Welcome to my Tokyo Disney Resort trip report, for Halloween season 2012.
I'll tackle this report much how I did the Hong Kong one, and keep to a theme so that is stays consistent throughout.

As you probably remember, we did Tokyo in a multi-trip with Hong Kong Disneyland.
We arrived at Tokyo's Narita airport in the afternoon following a direct flight from HK earlier that day.
We had left behind the beautiful, calm Hong Kong Disneyland (and Disney's Hollywood Hotel where we had stayed), and were exchanging it for 5 days in Tokyo Disney Resort, staying on site at the Hilton Tokyo Bay.
Arriving in Japan is a fairly easy process. At least, no more complicated than anywhere else.
We had good intentions of getting the bus from the airport, which runs to different Tokyo area destinations, including Tokyo Disney Resort. However, for some reason the next bus directly to TDR wasn't for another 2 hours and to be honest we wasn't prepared to wait in the airport for that long, especially having just flown in.
Why, at a major international airport in one of the busiest cities in the world, busses to somewhere like Disney were over 2 hours apart, is mind boggling. As we had experienced in our previous trip, and were going to find out constantly in this trip, everything in Japan is a bit backwards and inefficient.
We decided to take a different transfer to Tokyo Station, which is in the heart of Tokyo. We figured we could then get the train to TDR. Not as convenient, but it would save us a good hour and a half.
The bus came, we got on. An hour or so later we were in Tokyo.
As with everything in Japan, the next step was more complicated than it needed to be though!
We were dropped off at a bus stop that was apparently Tokyo Station.
We were left a bit confused, and had to walk literally a good 10 to 15 minutes through a confusing and not very well sign posted underground network of tunnels.
Finally, after busses, tunnels, and trains, we were arriving at our Tokyo Disney Resort hotel (not before having to get to monorail from Maihama Station to Bayside Station).
We were staying on site at the Hilton Tokyo Bay, which is situated more or less behind Tokyo Disneyland's Tomorrowland, and opposite part of their vast parking area.
The hotel itself is very swish. The staff were very friendly, and it had good facilities. There was an official TDR gift shop, as well as other outside branded stores and even a very convenient 24 hour mini market. Good to know if you ever need anything, as it stocked many useful and important items.
Our room had fantastic views over Tokyo Bay, towards Tokyo. We could see the Tokyo tower, the new Skytree tower and even the majestic Mount Fuji in the distance.

In the mornings we had a free, quite substantial buffet breakfast.
With all that in mind, we had no problems with the hotel.
The biggest drawback was the complete lack of Internet. I kid you not, this major international chain hotel, in the heart of Tokyo and Tokyo Disney Resort, did not offer in room wifi. In fact, there wasn't even wifi in the lobby.
I know that when you're on vacation it isn't the most important thing, but, we do like to keep on top of things and we do have the website to maintain, even while travelling.
We had heard that other hotels around the Disney Resort hotel area had wifi, and we tried two. One was only for hotel guests, and the other had wifi but you had to pay.
I'll be honest, I find this quite ridiculous!
When we had visited TDR in 2010, we were staying with a friend, and he had wifi, so we had never come up against this issue. This time, given our Internet failure, a friend told us to try the coffee places in Ikspiari. We went to Starbucks. Great we thought. Major international coffee chain, that I knew for a fact had wifi elsewhere in the world.
But of course why was I not surprised... Not in Tokyo!
Anyway, needless to say, when we visit again, we're planning to stay at the hotel that had the free hotel guest wifi!
Anyway, enough about wifi! I just wanted to get that off my chest! Lol!

Our first evening following our arrival, after getting sorted out in our room, we went straight Tokyo DisneySea for the evening.
We met a couple of characters, and went on a few attractions, but it was a rainy evening, so we took it easy, had dinner and tried to get a feel for the park again.

The Tokyo Disney ticketing system is still odd, like before, and still awkward.
We had to buy an evening ("after 6pm passport"), for this first night in TDS.
We had to pre-decide on our days at each park for our 4 day pass.
For the first whole day, Tokyo Disneyland, for day 2 Tokyo DisneySea, and days 3 and 4 were park hopping.
Note also that the tickets are also still very expensive, compared to the rest of the parks worldwide.
We had to also buy a 4 day pass for the monorail, as at TDR, the monorail is not free.
Buying a multi-day pass works out cheaper, and saves you the hassle if having to buy a ticket each day.
You have to use the monorail around the resort, because although there are only 2 parks and the train station/Ikspiari area, they are all fairly spread out.
The monorail only runs in one direction (anticlockwise), and there are 4 stops, all on a continuous loop.

On to the monorail we go... first stop, Tokyo Disneyland!

So, after catching up on some sleep, we started the day with our free breakfast at the hotel restaurant.
The selection was good, and we made sure we filled up, as to start us in a good footing for the day.
We headed out and took the monorail to the park.
We could technically walk to TDL from our hotel, but it's a bit of a way, and we didn't want to start what would be a long day by exhausting ourselves.
So, we took the monorail to the three stops to the Tokyo Disneyland entrance, and headed for the crazy line to get in.
I'll be honest, it wasn't as insane as it could be, as we had seen in the past, or how insane it would get later in the week!!

From here on in, in this report, I'll go land-by-land, point-by-point and go through everything that we experienced, and my overall thoughts and comments. It's easier to group everything together in sections rather than go day by day.

So, on this trip we experienced the following attractions at Tokyo Disneyland Park:

  • Pooh's Hunny Hunt
  • Haunted Mansion Holiday Nightmare
  • Tom Sawyer Island (and of course the Rafts over to it. No, we didn't swim! LOL!)
  • Cinderella's Fairy Tale Hall
  • The Enchanted Tiki Room: Stitch Presents "Aloha E Komo Mai!"

We also saw the following parades and shows:

  • Dreamlights twice
  • Night High Halloween fireworks
  • Disney's Halloween Street "Welcome to Spookyville" parade at least 4 times (I can't remember how many exactly)
  • Super-Duper Jumpin' Time 

Ok, so that might not look like a lot, but we have done nearly everything else before, and most attractions are either carbon copies, or in all honesty, they are worse than their counterparts at the other parks (especially the dark rides). So, to us, the priority was to do new things, and to take our time enjoying the park.
Of course "enjoying the park" is a phrase I use lightly. Tokyo Disneyland is not the sort of park you can casually stroll around and enjoy in the normal sense of the word!

If any of you read and recall my August 2010 Trip Report for Tokyo, you'll know that we were completely bewildered at the insanity of the place. The crowds, the bizarre guest behaviour, and the overall operation of the resort. Well, nothing has changed!!
They still RUN at park open to EVERY attraction. FastPasses still go within an hour of park open, and everything attracts a LONG waiting line. And I mean EVERYTHING. E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G!!!!
There is no escaping the sheer madness of the place.
Three hours to meet Mickey in his house. Three hours for the most popular attractions. Guests waiting for the parades and shows HOURS in advance - sometimes all DAY!
To go to Tokyo Disney Resort, you HAVE to be prepared mentally for the LONG waits you'll have to get through to experience anything. Even to eat and drink. Don't even get me on how long some of the snack cart and window lines can be!!
I am sadly NOT making any of this up either. I only wish I was. If you want to visit Tokyo Disney Resort, please think about it VERY carefully before you decide to make that commitment!! And don't say I didn't warn you! LOL!!

Of course, the guests haven't changed, and therefore neither has the weird operation of the park. They still enforce the strict, short opening hours, with no EMH hours. They still enforce the completely ridiculous no photography rules inside attractions and shows. They still enforce the INFURIATING "one photo per entire party" when meeting characters. Yes, you can wait THREE hours to meet Mickey, and you will be FORCED to have ONE photo, then you are practically pushed out the door. I kid you not.
Tokyo's rules and regulations are absolutely infuriating, and for me, completely ruin the entire magical Disney experience. I could almost deal with the insane crowds, if i was allowed to take the picture I wanted to take!! ARGH!

Of course, this part was meant to be more about TDL, but all those rules and behavioural things are not a phenomenon just seen in TDL, but of course next door at Tokyo DisneySea, too. So when I come to write the TDS part of this, you can just refer back to this part.

We start our tour of the park, of course at the front, and in TDL, that is at the entrance to World Bazaar.

World Bazaar is a strange place. It is Main Street, with a big glass canopy, and a few other twists thrown in.
On my first trip, you may recall I didn't really feel the love for WB, and to be honest, I still don't, but, I do now have more an appreciation for it than I did before.

World Bazaar's main problem is that it really lacks in the theming department. Take my favourite Magic Kingdom style park - Disneyland Paris - there, the entire street (and indeed park, but let's stick to Main Street), is dripping with details, gorgeous colours, stories, depth, detail and so much of that brilliant Imagineering magic.

In WB, you have very flat facades that look very lifeless against the support struts of the canopy behind them. The canopy and supports really take away the illusion of the depth of the buildings. But the buildings themselves don't help themselves by being, well, rather bland looking. Inside, most of them aren't much better either. Most of them are vast open spaces, that are very boxy, with flat walls and minimal details.

Of course, there is a reason for this.
Visit the stores at 9am at park open when people are running like loonies for all the attractions, and you'll find exactly as I described above - large, open, flat stores. Jump ahead 12 hours to park closing, and suddenly you'll find the most insane amount of people tearing the stores apart FRANTICALLY. Every store. Every item. The Cast can't get merchandise out quick enough.
I am sure that the Japanese people are convinced that, for some reason, they have to buy everything last minute, and in the most frantic panic imaginable.

World Bazaar does have some interesting areas though. I like the Great American Waffle Co., the Sweetheart Cafe and the Home Store. There are some more modern architectural features of World Bazaar that set it apart from the other Main Streets, such as the Center Street Coffee House, which has a very 1940's feel to it. Just small things like that make it a more interesting place, but overall I am still not convinced by World Bazaar.

Having no Main Street Vehicles either, is a big setback. Having the vehicles at the other parks really makes the atmosphere and setting come to life. Central Plaza does feature the Omnibus, but it literally just goes around the circle that is Central Plaza, and that is it!
But, on saying all of that, even given the insanity of it later in the day, the lack of theming and lack of atmosphere, somehow, this time around, WB grew on me a little. Maybe just because it was so different to what we are used to? Maybe because it was a refreshing change? Who knows. DLP's Main Street is still the best, but, WB has moved up a little more since our last visit.

Once you exit the vast canopy, you find yourself in Central Plaza, which is again, a large vacuous space.
There is of course Cinderella Castle, and although it has a store inside it, and a walk-thru attraction (which I'll talk about when we get to the Fantasyland section), it isn't my favourite. That might sound odd, since it is a copy of Cinderella Castle in Florida, but the colour scheme in TDL is more, well, drab and grey, and generally not as nice.
Though I do think that Cinderella Castle in Florida could do with some upgrades also, but I digress...

World Bazaar/Central Plaza is home to the sea monster topiary that can be found in Central Plaza at WDW, and in Fantasyland at DLP. WB/CP also has some large castle turret-like structures. These kinda "frame" the Castle for want of a better word, but also hide lighting rigs, speakers and other things needed for the Castle shows. Kinda smart when you think about it!

There were some Halloween decorations too, mainly in the main front entrance to World Bazaar, and right in the middle of Central Plaza. I will go into more detail about Halloween at TDR though, later.

Characters we saw out and about in WB/CP include:

  • Mickey and friends (usual suspects! lol)
  • Pooh and friends
  • Mr Smee
  • Robin Hood and co.
  • Fairy Godmother
  • Bernard and Bianca
  • Princes and Princesses
  • and just for Halloween, in front of the Castle were Villains throughout the day, including Cruella, Hook, Frollo and The Queen (actually they were the only ones LOL)

We also saw the TDL Marching Band out and about, and they had their seasonal colours on.

Last time we were there we saw the Bicycle Piano, but this time we didn't. Although, this time the Omnibus was operating, and last time it wasn't! Guess you can't have everything!

So, we have moved on from Central Plaza, and we are going to head to our left, into Adventureland.

Adventureland in Tokyo is probably one of my favourite areas of the park; that and certain sections of Westernland (but we'll come to that later).
There are some nice little "hidden" areas, proper places to explore and wander through, and generally it feels more adventurous than the US versions (which are basically a long strip mall of stores and the odd attraction).

From Central Plaza, or indeed Center Street off of World Bazaar (the side streets in World Bazaar actually cut through to the lands on either side, instead of being dead ends line in the US and HK. Paris of course has access to the Arcades on it's side streets). Anyway, I digress... immediately to the left of Central Plaza you find yourself in an area that very much resembles New Orleans Square in Disneyland CA. In fact, for the most part, I think it is probably an exact copy. The main difference is that it is "flat", and not all up and down "hills" like in CA. For example, to access Pirates of the Caribbean, you don't go under a bridge and then back up a ramp. It's all on one level. I think in that respect, it keeps things more organised, but loses some of that intimacy of the surroundings (though in DL, as we all know, that is a HUGE problem with the crowds they attract).

In this New Orleans style area, there are a variety of stores, eateries and one main attraction, Pirates.
From this New Orleans style area, you then venture around a corner, and here the theming does something cool, and blends rather well. Sandwiched between this NOSq area, and the more jungle like part is the theatre where they have the (typically bizarre Japanese style and ridiculously over the top) Minnie! Oh Minnie show. That kind of fits with the New Orleans theme, but it also has a bit of a hispanic twist, and from there you find yourself wandering into a more tropical climate of stores and restaurants.

Then, walking further, you enter Adventureland "proper", where they have the Treehouse, Jungle Cruise, Tiki Room and.... the Western River Railroad. Yes, I know. Odd, but oh well! (Actually, as we'll find out later, it has it's advantages being located in Adventureland... mainly due to some recent, shocking news...)
We have done all these attractions before, and none of them are especially striking. The Jungle Cruise is almost identical to the US versions, the Treehouse, well, is pretty much just that, and Pirates is practically a copy of the CA one. The only attraction that has a real difference is the Tiki Room, which is Stitch themed, much to my happiness!!

There is of course the Polynesian Terrace dinner shows, too. There are two different shows that play here. One for dinner, and one for lunch. On our 2010 trip we did the lunch one, as it has Stitch. Sadly this time, due to time constraints, and the fact we already were doing multiple other character dining experiences, we skipped the dinner one. Maybe next time though.
As for characters, well, Adventureland in TDL doesn't tend to see too many for some reason (unlike DLP where there are often any number of neat characters that appear). It is odd because the Japanese LOVE anything "cute", and there are many Disney jungle characters that are cute and furry! They do have the Jungle Monkeys though, and King Louie. On our 2010 trip we saw Jack Sparrow also, but not this time (I think it was that we just didn't see him, rather than he isn't there now).

As I said above, I really like their Adventureland, as it has some depth to it, with the interesting stores, neat eateries, and a good selection of attractions. Having the live show (Minnie! Oh Minnie), and the Poly Terrace with TWO dinner shows, really adds something to the overall experience of Adventureland, too.

Now, I gather that you all have realised that Westernland, in reality is Frontierland. Just like Main Street is World Bazaar, Frontierland gets a new name too. Though, unlke the original, failed intention of the naming and concept for World Bazaar, Westernland is just a case of the word Frontier not translating well.

Westernland is a mixed bag for me. The main entrance area and the main bulk of the land is pretty flat, bland and boring. There is a massive open concourse that really is just there to eat the insane numbers of people that pass through. Then, there is the more relaxed "back water" area, that is under the Railroad track, and down by the Rivers of America, that incorporate some neat little hidden walkway areas and some small eateries and attractions.

Westernland sports quite a few stores, a number of restaurants (including a Western dinner show), and a variety of regular attractions such as Big Thunder Mountain, Country Bears, Mark Twain and Tom Sawyer Island. Splash Mountain and the Canoes are technically in Critter Country, which we'll talk about a little later.

The biggest problem with Westernland, besides the vacuous space at the front, is that it has a non-existent border with Fantasyland, that really messes things up. One of my biggest gripes from 2010 was the complete lack of transition between lands in the park. Things just "happen". It's hard to explain, but I know most of you here have been to DLP, where the blending and transition is the BEST of ALL the parks. Imagine having NO "barrier" between Frontierland and Adventureland, or NO transition between Adventureland between Fantasyland and Discoveryland. That's exactly what Tokyo Disneyland is like. And it bugs me!

Anyway, their Big Thunder was closed this time for refurb, but, we had rode it before, and no doubt will again. From my recollection, it was basically the same as the US version, but with slightly different scenes and loading area.
Their Country Bears is "on permanent vacation"... No, it isn't closed (though it should be replaced LOL!), but instead is different to the one remaining one in WDW in that the bears are on summer vacation.

The Western River Railroad circles a lot of Westernland, as you would expect (though you board in Adventureland, and therefore is an Adventureland attraction).
Then under the Railroad track that is elevated, you go down some steps and find yourself down by the Rivers of America. Here, you can walk the lovely walkway to a small corner of the Land that features the rafts to Tom Sawyer Island, and a nice riverside cafe. Along the riverside you can watch the Mark Twain go by, wave to people on TSI, laugh at people trying to paddle in the canoes, and generally get immersed in the environment.

We did actually go over to TSI this time, and we liked it. It is a bit more interesting than the US ones, and a bit more "adventurous".
Characters we saw this time were Mickey, Minnie, Chip and Dale, all in their Western wear. The only ones we got pics of though were Mickey and Minnie, as the crowds were just too insane. We had met Chip and Dale before there, so Mickey and Minnie were new to us in those outfits. I know that from other people that the Country Bears sometimes come out, but we haven't seen any on either of our trips to TDL.

There are two more things that Westernland has. Super-Duper Jumpin' Time, which is yet another bizarre Japanese show, and the Lucky Nugget, which has two dinner shows.
Super-Duper Jumpin' Time is actually a little odd not just because of what it is, but where it is. Tokyo Disneyland does this weird thing of when something faces Central Plaza, it is classified as beng in the land it backs on to! Which means, the Crystal Palace (identical to the Magic Kingdom), which is Main Street themed, is technically in Adventureland (although the ONLY way to access it is from WB/CP)... and Super-Duper suffers this same fate. It is at Plaza Pavilion (which also hosts a restaurant). Both are Main Street/World Bazaar themed, but it is in Westernland! Odd.

The Lucky Nugget has two different shows (like the Polynesian Terrace). One for lunch, and one for dinner. Before this trip we had done neither, so we opted for dinner, and I have to say we really enjoyed it. Apparently the Westernland shows are not very popular though, which is odd given the insanity of everything else in TDR!

Overall, I like Westernland, it has some neat areas, but it does have a lot of vast open space that does nothing. And I hate the non-transition from there to Fantasyland!

Now, previously I had said something sort of mysterious about the fate of Westernland (you may recall in the Adventureland section)...
According to Al Lutz from MiceAge, Oriental Land Co. made a recent trip to DCA, and LOVED Cars Land there. There has been some strong speculation that OLC want to basically rip out the Rivers of America area of Westerland and fill it with Cars Land!!
This I find quite the travesty to be honest. The one area of the park that is actually quite calm and peaceful, and really feels immersive and "Disney-fied", and they want to slap Cars Land right on top of it?! Goodbye Canoes, Tom Sawyer Island and Mark Twain!! The only thing that would remain in tact apparently would be the Railroad, which seems odd as that would restrict the space they had to build on, and wouldn't the trains pass through what would become backstage areas?... Who knows. I hope that this doesn't happen. Sure, build a Cars Land. Rip our Tomorrowland for all I care - TL in TDL is even worse than the Magic Kingdom one! LOL! But PLEASE leave the fantastic Rivers of America alone!!

So, we continue our tour of the park now, and head into TDL's Critter Country.

Critter Country in TDL is actually a bit more interesting than the one in DL. Although DL's has the Pooh attraction, Canoes and Splash Mountain, plus the restaurant and store, it really doesn't make an effort to be anything special or different. It basically feels like an extension to Frontierland.
In TDL on the other hand, CC is actually more self contained, and is definitely more interesting. Of course, Fantasyland in TDL is home to the Pooh attraction, so their CC is less one attraction, but that's not really an issue, given the great theming of the place.
CC in TDL has pathways that wind up and down, has different "levels" (higher areas than others, that require going up and down steps and ramps), and has a more "critter-ish" feel. There are cute little buildings and scenes that depict different critter residents living there, and the main restaurant, Grandma Sara's Kitchen really feels like it is underground!

Splash Mountain in CC, like the varying US versions, has it's differences, and is a fun ride. The Canoes leave from CC, and travel around the Rivers of America (mostly in Westernland). There is a small boutique that is located "underground", a photo pickup location and a small snacks window that serves excellent desserts!

All in all, I really like CC in TDL. It has a nice cosy, intimate feel to it, and has some good theming and offerings. Sadly, no chracters meet in Critter Country, which is a missed opportunity to have the Brers out, but given how small the land is, it probably wouldn't be manageable.
The biggest problem with CC, is how jam-packed it gets with the millions of Japanese all wanting Splash Mountain from open to close, forming several-hour queues that back right up... Ho hum... this is Tokyo after all!!

Now we enter the realms of make believe and fantasy, and discover Tokyo Disneyland's Fantasyland!

To be honest, if you're expecting me to say TDL's Fantasyland is the best, then you'll be sorely disappointed. Sadly, it is very far from it.
I don't like to be overly negative. I think so far in my report I have tried to give a balanced account of each land, but Fantasyland just really leaves something to be desired.

Going off in a slight tangent here, but having spent a good amount of time now taking in TDL throughout our trips there, I find it incredible that Disney started construction on DLP less than 6 years after TDL opened, and yet they are so vastly different. On the one hand you have the park that has has some of the worst theming and versions of attractions of all the parks, and the very next park built has the best of all of them!
How did that happen? Did Disney really realise their mistake so quickly after opening Tokyo?
It is amazing that DLP ended up being as amazing as it is, given the short time span between it and TDL.
I am forever thankful that DLP did turn out the way it did!!

Anyway, back to Fantasyland!
Attractions here are in abundance, but so are the lines.
They have Tea Cups, Carousel, Dumbo, Snow White, Peter Pan, Pinocchio, "it's a small world"... All of which are worse than the US versions.

Interestingly, TDL's Haunted Mansion is also in Fantasyland. This is more to do with Japanese culture and their idea of fantasy stories.
Their HM is practically identical to the US versions.
This trip though, because it was Halloween, they had turned it into Haunted Mansion Holiday Nightmare. The concept is basically the same as the California version, Haunted Mansion Holiday. It features a heavy overlay that stars Jack Skellington and all his Halloween Town friends.

Overall I liked it, and thought it was neither better or worse than the CA version.
They do of course have Mickey's PhilharMagic, which I love in any language (lol).
They also have Pooh's Hunny Hunt, which puts all other dark rides to shame. PHH uses some amazing technology, and I only hope that DLP's new Ratatouille attraction and HKDL's new Mystic Point attraction end up using the same concept.

There are a number of stores and stands around Fantasyland too, as you would expect. Nothing to write home about though, sadly. Nothing to the calibre of La Menagerie du Royaume at DLP.

Dining wise, Fantasyland had a few small window locations that feature some quick meals and snacks.
There is only one main restaurant in Fantasyland, and that is the Queen of Hearts Banquet Hall.

Queen of Hearts Banquet Hall, like most places in the park, sadly gets absurdly packed all day, everyday.
The food though is pretty good, and it is a really neatly themed restaurant.
Expect to wait up to an hour to get served though!
I think the only attraction I haven't talked about is Cinderella's Fairy Tale Hall.
CFTH is a walk-through experience that takes place inside Cinderella Castle. You enter into a lobby area much like the lobby of Cinderella's Royal Table at the Magic Kingdom.
You go up in an elevator to the next floor, where you find yourself in a hallway with pictures around the walls that start to tell the story of Cinderella.
As you proceed through the self guided tour, you follow the story through a variety of different mediums.
It is actually really well done, because the story is presented by showcasing different art forms and crafts, such as tapestries, paintings, wood carvings, models and more.
These different representations all add their own twist to the story, making it quite interesting actually. The "finale", which ends in the ball room/throne room, is pretty neat, too.
I do wonder if anyone actually takes the time to appreciate these efforts, but nonetheless, that is the case with a lot of details at Disney sadly!

Now to the characters!
Fantasyland offers quite a good range of characters, from classics to Princes and Princesses.
We've seen everyone from the Mad Hatter and Alice, Rapunzel and Flynn and Esmeralda.

Aside from HM Holiday Nightmare, there wasn't much in the way of Halloween in Fantasyland, but like I said before, I'll be talking more in depth about Halloween in a later section.

The overall feeling of Fantasyland is that it really lacks any good theming and dining locations (besides Queen of Hearts). There are plenty of characters, and Pooh's Hunny Hunt - despite it's insane popularity - is definitely very cool, but other than that, Fantasyland suffers from the 1970's renaissance faire tent style that plagued the US Fantasylands for so long (DL changed that in the mid-1980's, and MK has recently began to change all that with the New Fantasyland). Pair all that with the fact that its other attractions are dire versions of even the MK ones, makes for quite a sad land of fantasy. From my recollection, I don't even think there is a Sword in the Stone!

Toontown is accessed at the back of the park, from the walkway that sits between Fantasyland and Tomorrowland, that leads down to Central Plaza.
Toontown is the Japanese home of all the Disney stars while they are visiting Tokyo.
Toontown features a number of small window eateries, and one main store.
The window dining locations just offer small snack items and drinks. There is quite a lot of outdoor seating, and in true Japanese style, it gets very busy up there!
The store offers more generic Tokyo Disneyland merchandise. I don't recall seeing anything too special to be honest.

For anyone who has been to Disneyland in CA, you may notice that there is a sticking similarity between the two Toontowns… in fact, they are practically identical!
The main difference between them is that Tokyo's is rerversed. Overall though, I do like the theming and feel of Tokyo's Toontown (besides the insanity I'll describe below lol…). It is colourful, and has lots of stands and carts too, that are well designed.

There is a Roger Rabbit Car Toon Spin, which we haven't rode as the lines are always too long sadly, and from my understanding it is basically the same as DL's.

Then of course there are Mickey and Minnie's houses. In Tokyo Minnie does not meet at her house, as she sometimes does in DL, and is a walk-thru just the same.

Then there is Chip 'n' Dale's Treehouse, which is more substantial than the DL one, and Donald's Boat, which is basically a water play area like in DL.

Goofy has a house too, and previously it was a "bounce house" like in DL, but it recently changed, and now it is some sort of art thing, and attracts very long lines. I'll be honest and say I don't know exactly what it is about, but it didn't look too thrilling (I mean, Goofy's House is small for a start lol). So, in typical Tokyo style, it has a long line. Sigh.
Toontown in TDL also has a Gadget's Go Coaster, which again, is virtually the same as DL's.

You may had noticed I deliberately missed talking about Mickey's House above… I wanted to give it specific mention.
You may recall previously I said about the ridiculously long character lines (well, lines in general in TDR!), and also the really infuriating rules surrounding photography and meeting characters. Well, that sadly extends it's way to meeting Mickey at his Japanese House too. The lines in Toontown for Mickey can easily reach 3 hours plus. No, I am not joking. He has the alternating outfits like DL, so there is a chance you could see him wearing his Sorcerer outfit, or as Steamboat Mickey, but there is also a good chance you'll find him as regular Mickey. I wouldn't wait 3 hours for any regular character - especially Mickey since he is everywhere. Combine that with the strict "one photo!!!" rule and being thrown out the door, I simply cannot fathom what goes through the minds of people when they walk up and think "yes, let's meet Mickey here!" Mind boggling.

Finally, we come to Characters.
Toontown features some great characters all in cool outfits, including, the Three Pigs, Big Bad Wolf, Scrooge, Chip n Dale, Goofy and Max, Clarice, Daisy and Pluto. They are all free roaming, but as with elsewhere in the park, and like I mentioned before, they get MOBBED. Toontown is THE place where all the Japanese hang out to harass their favourite classic stars. It is insane.

That pretty much sums Toontown up to be honest. A good selection of characters in cool outfits, but other than that, LONG lines for things that are just mediocre - and copies of things in DL that have much shorter wait times.

Finally on our grand circle tour of the park, we come to Tomorrowland.

For me, it is a close call between whether the park's Fantasyland and Tomorrowland as to which is worse! LOL!

Tomorrowland really suffers BADLY with not just the "Today-land" feel, but even a "Yesterday-land" feeling! Everything in TDL's Tomorrowland is dated and bland.
There are quite a few attractions though, some of which are cool.
Their Space Mountain is neither better or worse than the US ones, and we like it. Buzz is, well, Buzz! Captain EO is old in any language, and the Raceway (Autopia/Speedway) is even worse than the Magic Kingdom's. The only thing TDL's Raceway has over MK's Speedway is that you can't hear or see it from the Tea Cups (you have no idea how much that irritates me!! LOL!).

They also have Star Tours, which in the Spring will reopen as the new version. The building for their ST is probably the most interesting area of Tomorrowland, but still looks very dated.
They also have a Monsters Inc ride. In all honesty, for the queues it attracts, it is no better (although a little different) to the DCA one.
Their StarJets (Orbitron/Astro Orbitor) is beyond dated, but at least it looks like a rocket, right?…

There are a couple of stores, carts and stands. All offering the usual kind of things.
Then there are three main dining locations.
Tomorrowland Terrace, Plaza Restaurant and Pan Galactic Pizza Port. The most interesting of the three is the last one. The other two suffer with more of the bland, sterile look that plagues the rest of the Land.
The food at each of them varies a little, and you can find some decent things to eat. As with everywhere else in the park, these places get mega busy, and we have been in them when people have been sitting in vast waves of people on the floor eating their food because there are no tables.

There is also a large theatre, Showbase, which plays the long running One Man's Dream II - The Magic Lives On. It is a pretty neat show, with some cool characters and neat outfits. As with everything though, and not to sound like a cracked record, you have to be there early in order to get a space. And if you want a "prime spot", you need to enter into their bizarre lottery system. Free of charge (remarkably for Tokyo!), you can go to Tomorrowland Hall, insert you group's tickets, and once per day be entered into a "lottery" to get better seats for one of the showings. Chances are slim, sadly, given the ridiculous number of people who are there. It's probably bets to just wait for the show and get "ok" seats.
The lottery system is also used for the uber popular seasonal shows that are normally held in Central Plaza, in front of the Castle. Good seating - or lottery seats - are on benches in front of the stage, and everyone else has to stand way back.

Characters in Tomorrowland are a bit sparse compared to the likes of World Bazaar, Fantasyland and Toontown. On both our trips to TDL now, we have only ever seen Stitch, Angel, Mr and Mrs Incredible and a Green Army Man (because Green Army Men are so futuristic… Lol).

Overall I can't say I feel the love at all for Tomorrowland. It really lacks any real substantial depth, feeling or theming. It's sterile white buildings paired with the either same or worse attractions, make it somewhere we actually spent very little time this trip, sadly.

So finally we come to the last part of Tokyo Disneyland, before we head into the Tokyo DisneySea leg of this epic report!

The main reason for us choosing to go in October to Tokyo Disney Resort, was of course for Halloween Season.

Halloween in Tokyo Disneyland (specifically Land, not Sea), has a good variety of offerings, but as with everything in Tokyo, it has good points and some not so good points!

They have Disney's Halloween Street "Welcome to Spookyville" Parade, which is held about three times per day. It is a pretty cool, has a good number of characters - including some more unusual ones - great character costumes, and the soundtrack is really fun.
The drawback is that it - as with everything else there - is insanely popular. People wait all day for it, and to be honest, it isn't worth THAT much. Luckily, we have a very good Japanese friend who was able to help us out a few times by waiting with her mats for a while, while we went off and did other things (she did that for quite a few different things this trip and last trip, and we are eternally grateful to her!).

The only "Halloween" Characters (if you want to call them that), that TDL have are a few Villains. We saw Hook, Cruella, The Queen and Frollo meeting in Central Plaza while we were there, and our Japanese friend told us that was all the Villains they had. There are no other characters dressed for Halloween (hence why you haven't seen any pictures of any, in case you had wondered!).

As for Halloween merchandise, there was a good amount, though sadly, when you see something you like you need to buy it there and then, otherwise it WILL be gone later - and probably won't return. The merchandise as a whole in Tokyo is different, and they have some interesting things, but I felt that it wasn't as varied this time compared to our first trip there. Also, the merchandise, as I am sure you remember me saying on many occasions, is exorbitantly priced for what it is. The stores turn to mayhem in mid afternoon, and stay that way until park closing. Shopping isn't much fun in TDR!
Staying with Halloween, they also have some decorations, but not as many cool ones as I imagined they would have. There were a lot of banners and garland things around Fantasyland, Toontown and Westernland, and then in World Bazaar and Westernland they also had some ghost statues/figures, but that was really about it. What they did have looked ok, but they needed more I think (although, on saying that, they certainly had more than the Magic Kingdom, so we'll let TDL off haha!)

They also have fireworks at TDL, and for Halloween they become "Night High Halloween" fireworks. I'll be brutally honest, and say that the fireworks in TDL are so abysmal, it's actually more an insult by having them than if they didn't! Of ALL the Disney Parks (and we have been to all of them of course), Tokyo's fireworks are the bottom of the pile.

Remember that in Fantasyland part I also said they have Haunted Mansion Holiday Nightmare, and that definitely spruces the Halloween Season up a bit.

One of the weirdest things, and the main cultural difference between Tokyo and the rest of the world is their costuming. Not the characters. The guests!!
At all the other parks, you are only allowed to wear non-too-extravagant costumes on selected party nights. In Tokyo, guests can wear costumes the whole week of Halloween, and they are allowed to only wear costumes that represent Disney Characters or performers. But boy do they go to town with it! You may recall me saying in the past how I find it bewildering how they can carry 50 plushes and 10 popcorn buckets around all day?... Well now imagine that, dressed in the most ridiculous outfits you can imagine. And I mean ridiculous. We have honestly never seen anything like it!!

If I were to rank all 5 Halloween Seasons around the world (and since 2011 - last year - we have done all of them), I would say CA's, DLP's and HKDL's are all pretty much on the same level, but for different reasons, then it would be Tokyo, and Florida would be last.

Dining and drinks in TDL is another challenge, simply because you can't get a decent sized meal any where. The food quality is good - when you're willing to wait an hour - but the sizes of the meals are tiny, and are of course massively overpriced for what they are. Also, getting a regular drink is somewhat of a mystery in TDL too! Hardly anywhere is consistent in what they sell, many big brands are NOT available, and the drinks size is TINY.
One day we found ourselves so dishevelled that we actually went to Ikspiari to see what we could find, and we ended up at the Rainforest Cafe. Now, we would never normally do that anywhere else, as it's just an international burger chain, but, true to their roots, they served a decent sized meal, refillable drinks, and it was reasonably priced compared to the rest of the Resort. I wouldn't dream of going to the RFC anywhere else, but in Tokyo we'll be doing it more often I think!! I think that probably covers everything for now, for TDL.

Ok, so before we head in Tokyo DisneySea, there are a few other things I wanted to talk about.

In my TDL part I think I forgot to mention Dreamlights. I wanted to give this a specific mention because since the last time we saw it, it has had some updates. There are several brand new floats, including Aladdin and Jasmine's Palace, a giant Genie, Tinker Bell's enchanted garden and a brand new Toy Story float.
I have to say all of these additions are very neat, and really add something to the parade. It is really how a parade update SHOULD be done (Magic Kingdom TAKE NOTE!).
A few characters were moved around, and some floats removed. Overall the effect is that you still have the same classic parade, but with a fresh new appeal. My only real sadness is that their really cool caterpillar float was one of the ones that was lost.

I also wanted to add an additional thing about World Bazaar. It occurred to me that I think I had more of an appreciation for World Bazaar this time partly because we spent more time there at night. At night, the canopy isn't illuminated, and you could almost forget it was there. I say almost with caution, because WB still has an odd feel to it, but with the buildings lit like on a traditional Main Street, the canopy becomes dark, but not forgotten!

Tokyo Disneyland is definitely one of my favourite parks, with it's great Adventureland and neat areas down by the Rivers of America that I mentioned before, but sadly of course lets itself down with Fantasyland and Tomorrowland. The mad rules and craziness get in the way of enjoyment too, and for me those two things really are the biggest issues.
TDL is a mixed bag, but I definitely like it a lot.

Now we shall head to Iksipari and some of the other resort areas.

Ikspiari is something that equates to an up-market Downtown Disney, but well, different - as with everything else in TDR! Ikspiari is owned by OLC (the operating company of TDR), and so does incorporate some of that neat theming and integration, but it is much more like a large upscale shopping mall than a Downtown Disney area. It is set over several floors, and offers a DVC centre, a Disney Store (regular, not TDR store), a Rainforest Cafe (that I mentioned before), Starbucks and a cinema amongst other things. So it does have some of those more regular Downtown Disney offerings, but has a LOT more stores that are not Disney, too.
At Ikspiari is the Resort Gateway monorail station, the Tokyo Disney Resort Ticket Center and the Tokyo Disney Resort Welcome Center.
The Welcome Center is basically like a large Guest Relations, where you can pick up maps, find out information and guests of the on-site hotels can leave their luggage to be delivered to their rooms upon arrival (not all hotels offer this, and it select times only).
The Ticket Center is pretty much just that.

Just along from Ikspiari is Maihama Station. This is where you can get the train into Tokyo (or in the other direction if you need to). There is nothing special here, except a small mini-market type store that is open until late. It sells regular convenience store type things, all Japanese style!

On the lower (ground) level, in front of Maihama Station is the bus terminal, and from here you can connect to many destinations across Tokyo, and from my understanding, across Japan too.

A little further along still, and heading towards Tokyo Disneyland there is Bon Voyage. Bon Voyage is basically the equivalent to the World of Disney Stores at both US resorts and Disneyland Paris. The theming is that of a giant suitcase, and inside there is a wide selection of merchandise from across the Resort.
Bon Voyage is normally open a little later than the parks, and is a good place to stop for shopping in the evening.

Underneath Bon Voyage on the lower ground area, and nearer the entrance to TDL are the connecting resort busses to various TDR destinations.

Last time we were at TDR we didn't get chance to explore the Disney Hotel Ambassador or the MirCosta. However we did go into the TDL Hotel. My thoughts on that were that it was nice, but expensive looking! This time we DID get time to go to Ambassador and MiraCosta.

The Ambassador is set in a 1940s art deco style, and is easily accessible from a walkway at the back of Ikspiari.
While we were there in October, we dined at Chef Mickey. Chef Mickey is a character dining buffet restaurant.
We had never eaten there before, and of course really wanted to. The characters have different costumes, and we had also heard that from January the costumes were being replaced with new ones. So, we really wanted to see the current ones before they went away, then next time, we can see the new ones!

I thought that the meal was really nice, and the characters actually spent a good amount of time with us, and even came around several times during our meal.
I was a bit concerned that the characters would be rushed through like at every over character experience in TDR (let's not mention the meet 'n' greets again!), but I was actually impressed at how relaxed it all was considering we were in Tokyo! We were in fact warned by our Japanese friend that the meal WOULD be rushed, but it didn't end up being the case! Maybe we got lucky?
The Ambassador also has a few other dining locations and a boutique.

My impression from the Ambassador is that it is a really good hotel with easy access to the rest of the resort. It is the "cheapest" of the three official Disney Hotels on site. The only real downside is of course that it faces out to nothing too exciting, which brings me to my next point before we move on to the MiraCosta...

Tokyo Disney Resort's location is a bit of an enigma. It is set right on Tokyo Bay, and while some areas of the resort offer good views over the bay, most areas have really awful views over the rundown, industrial suburbs of Tokyo.
From nearly any point along the main walk way to TDL, even from TDL itself, from some rooms at the uber expensive TDL Hotel and from the Ambassador, you can SEE the main railway line and sometimes even the highway! You can SEE the industrial areas and suburbs! Now, I know Japan is mega busy, and space is an issue, but the resort really could do with some beautification to help disguise the really grim outside world! DLR in CA is in the middle of Anaheim, but you feel completely enclosed, and the resort areas are well contained. Even when you do step outside onto Harbor Blvd, it isn't grim like in Tokyo. Of all the Disney Resorts, Tokyo has the worst setting.

While we're talking about the resort areas, we did see some quake/flood damaged floors around the resort, especially up near Ikspiari and at the entrance plaza to TDS. This isn't a criticism, as I know they have had a very hard time, but just an observation.

Ok, now finally to the MiraCosta! The Tokyo DisneySea Hotel MiraCosta is the grand hotel at the entrance to Tokyo DisneySea park. It follows the style and theming of Mediterranean Harbor, and has an entrance directly into the park.
The MiraCosta is spectacular in every sense of the word. The main lobby is nothing short of being a masterpiece, and the views over the park from most rooms and some dining locations are amazing.
While at TDR in October we dined at Oceano, which is a buffet restaurant that has views over the park.
Our Japanese friend made the reservation for us, and for a specific time for a very special reason. When you dine at Oceano if your dining time fits with any show that is currently taking place in the Harbor, you get exclusive viewing on the restaurant terrace! Our friend had deliberately selected such a time, and we were able to see A Halloween Daydream (the special TDS Halloween show) from the terrace! (I'll talk about Daydream when we actually come to that part of my TDS report). There is of course a boutique too, where I picked up a cute mini Stitch plush wearing a MiraCosta bathrobe!(It always pays to check out the hotel gift shops at the Resorts around the world, as they often feature unique merchandise)

Overall, I really liked our limited experience in the MiraCosta. The biggest drawback is that if you wanted to stay there it would cost the Earth, but you certainly would have a wonderful stay!

Next up, Mediterranean Harbor inside TDS!

You enter the park in the usual way, and find yourself in a plaza area, that has the big Earth and fountain that I am positive everyone has seen pictures of.

This entrance plaza features some stores and the usual amenities such as guest relations and lockers. It is all themed around Mediterranean buildings and architecture.
Ahead of you you see a large structure that has passageways underneath leading out to daylight on the other side. This overhanging building is of course the MiraCosta. As you pass under the hotel, you find more stores, and then at the wow point of the park. Now you really have stepped into Tokyo DisneySea, and into Mediterranean Harbor!

There is the huge lagoon and ahead of you Mount Prometheus, which actually has regular eruptions!
The rest of Mediterranean Harbor is themed around Italian style boutiques and eateries. There is a gondola attraction (which is ridiculously popular, just like everything else!), and the Fortress Explorations. The fortress is actually pretty neat, and features a substantial walk-thru attraction where you can discover the pioneers of the renaissance and their ideas.
The DisneySea Transit Steamer Line (ferry boat) also has a stop in Med Harbor.

Probably the best counter service place to eat in the park is in Med Harbor, and that is Zambini Brothers. It is an Italian restaurant, but serves really good, and well portioned food. This is important because, you may remember from my TDL report that the food overall at TDR is quite inadequate.

Med Harbor does of course feature its fair share of characters. You can meet Pinoocchio, Geppetto, Jiminy, Foulfellow and all the VIPs in special costumes.
In the past Hercules and Meg used to meet up past Zambini Bros, but we didn't see them at all this time, and so I don't know if they meet anymore.

In the morning, around park opening time, Mickey and Minnie, and the resident TDS band play for guests as they arrive in the entrance plaza. Later, Mickey and Minnie meet in the plaza. Both are separate, and have VERY long lines - and remember what I said before about the one photo thing, because that still applies!

Overall, Med Harbor is a good place to shop and eat, and to meet the VIPs in neat outfits. It is here of course that you also watch the big spectaculars that take place in the lagoon! Such as Legend of Mythica (still the same as 2 years ago... weird, non-sensical, but rather epic looking!), Fantasmic! (which I'll talk about in a later part), and the seasonal shows (such as Halloween Daydream, which again, I'll talk about in a later part).
Med Harbor is also the "best" place in TDS to watch the fireworks from, which are shared with TDL next door, and I mean literally. They are the same fireworks and same soundtrack, just seen from a different angle. Now we all know how I felt about TDL's fireworks, so I don't think we need to say any more about them here, except the view is even worse. If you're truly desperate to see them, TDL is better, because at least you have the Castle as a backdrop!

As we head left out of the very detailed and ornate Med harbor, we find ourselves standing facing an intersection of two streets that look like they came right out of a gangster story!
The look and feel of American Waterfront (AWF) is a sort of mix between New York and Chicago in the first half of the 20th century.
In fact, I have often thought that they borrowed a lot of the elements they had planned, but later scrapped for DLP's Main Street (scrapped because Michael Eisner didn't think gangster town would fit for a Disney park… yet here we are LOL!). There are a lot of places to eat in AWF, including the ever popular Cape Cod Cook-Off, which is home to the most popular bear in Japanese history, Duffy! He has a show at the restaurant. The set-up is a bit odd, as it is counter service, but you have to wait until there is a place to sit to be able to eat.
Other places include a buffet and several table services restaurants.

There are a few stores in AWF, including McDuck's Department Store, which is home to a large selection of Duffy items. The only other thing they tend to sell is seasonal items (Halloween things at Halloween etc).

There is of course a Duffy store near Cape Cod Cook-Off. We went in there, and I have to say, there really wasn't anything that you couldn't find anywhere else. Honestly, most stores in TDS sell Duffy items anyway, so this store is more of a central place to find it all, rather than anything special.

Also over in Cape Cod you have the one place in all of Tokyo Disney where you can actually meet Duffy, and his new friend, ShellieMay!
Duffy has an indoor location at the Steamer Line boat dock, and ShellieMay is right outside that in the open area.
Both have line systems, which mean both follow the ridiculous shove-and-love "one photo" rule.
When we visited they were wearing their special outfits for Halloween Season.

Be warned that the lines for these two get insanely long. We literally RAN to ShellieMay on our first DisneySea morning so that we could meet her. We were at the line just after park opening (bearing in mind it takes 15mins to get thru the turnstiles because it is so instance, then another 10mins to get to Cape Cod thru all the insanity.) We must have got in line about 9.20am, or there abouts. We had to wait about 20mins at that point. Twenty minutes later, when we had been thrown through the meet as quickly as humanly possible, the line was about 90mins long. I kid you not. They had a CM standing where the line end currently was snaking to, and they had a board with the time on it. Insane.

American Waterfront is also home to Big Band Beat, which is the broadway style show featuring a very energetic Mickey Mouse! We didn't see it this time, but we did last time. From my understanding, nothing has changed. You still need to enter into the lottery system to see the show (free, but annoying. Ticketing located in Med Harbor), and you most certainly aren't allowed to take pictures of the show. Stupid Japanese rules once again.

Attractions include Big City Vehicles, which is basically like the Main Street Vehicles, Tower of Terror, which has a completely different storyline (an explorer who recovers an ancient idol…), Turtle Talk (because the Finding Nemo characters who are from the Great Barrier Reef fit so well in American Waterfront…), a stop of the Steamer Line (ferry boat around the park), and one end of the DisneySea Electric Railway, which is an elevated railway that goes to and from Port Discovery.

The newest addition to AWF is Toy Story Mania!, which for all intents and purposes is the same as the US ones from my understanding, except the queue is quite a lot more elaborate. I think you know what I am going to say, but I will anyway... Expect absurdly long lines and for FastPass to go almost instantly.

The other latest new thing in AWF is A Table is Waiting, which is a "sequel" show to the former Over the Waves, performed ay Dockside Stage in front of the S.S. Columbia.
A Table is Waiting is about the food Mickey and friends discovered while on their world voyage in the Over the Waves show. They have returned, and want to share the menu with everyone.
Expect completely bizarre theatrics, that even for the Japanese looks really ludicrous!
Giant hamburger pieces, Mexican Chip and Dale and a whole lot of fast paced music and talking that I'm not sure even the Japanese understand!

Finally for AWF we come to the characters!
The VIPs all meet, and they wear really cute special AWF outfits, plus you can find Bernard, Bianca, Cruella, and although on our trips we've never found her, people tell us Pocahontas also.

Overall I really like America Waterfront. It has a good number of things on offer. There's a lot of stores and restaurants, and a good number of attractions and shows - the only problem is they all get really busy, and crowded very quickly.

From American Waterfront we head through Cape Cod around the bend along the waterfront to Port Discovery.
You can also arrive at Port Discovery by walking from Med Harbor towards Mount Prometheus and making a left when you're at the foot of the mountain.
Port Discovery is home to water, science and meteorology.
There are two main attractions in Port Discovery.
StormRider is a Star Tours style simulator experience through a large storm. It's ok. I wouldn't rate it as being up there with 20,000 Leagues or anything, but it is interesting.
The other main attraction is actually probably one of my favourites in the park. Aquatopia is a whimsical spin around the lagoon of Port Discovery.
It is kind of like Cars Race Rally at DLP, or the Junkyard Jamboree at DCA, but instead you are actually in a water craft, and well, it's just a ton of fun. Definitely worth giving it a go - I can assure you it is much more fun when you ride it to just standing there watching from the side!

There is only one other attraction in PD, and that's the second (and only other) stop of the Electric Railway, to and from American Waterfront.
There is one small boutique, which sadly doesn't sell anything good (more generic Disney stuff), and one main restaurant. Horizon Bay is split into two parts.

There is the regular buffet section, and then there is the character dining buffet part.
At the character buffet you can meet just three characters - Mickey, Minnie and Donald - in special PD outfits.
Be warned that as with everything else in TDR, the line is constantly long, and this is one restaurant that does not accept any sort of reservation at all.
We really wanted to eat there on this trip as we have not before, but the line was 2 hours!! I hope we can eat there next year! The regular characters at PD are Mr and Mrs Incredible, Max Goof, and then Goofy, Chip and Dale who wear fantastic PD scientist outfits!

That's basically it for PD. Overall PD is interesting to walk through, and Aquatopia is definitely fun, but the land does lack something overall, and needs a bit more.
As we head north along the path out of PD we find our surroundings becoming more tropical and rugged... We have arrived in Lost River Delta!
LRD is based on ancient South American civilisations. The two attractions are copies from other parks.
Indiana Jones is basically a carbon copy of the one from California, and the roller coaster is a direct lift from the DLP Indy coaster.
Aside from the setting and some cosmetic changes both these attractions are the same as their older versions.
There is also a stop of the park's ferry boat system, the Steamer Line, but of course this is park wide and not LRD unique.

Hangar Stage presents an acrobatic show, that often gets mixed reviews from our friends who see it. It seems to be a mixed bag. It doesn't feature any characters, which is the main drawback. But if you love acrobatics, then this is one for you!
Dining in LRD consists of a Mexican counter service place (Miguel's El Dorado Cantina), and another counter service called Yucatan Base Camp Grill. There are also the regular carts and other offerings around the land.
There is one main store that offers some traditional South American wood and hand crafts, as well as the normal Disney stuff.

There are two meet and greet areas set up in LRD. One is the greeting trails, where you can meet Mickey, Minnie and Goofy in their explorer outfits.
The other is Donald's location on the lower level down by the boat dock. He greets guests wearing his South American poncho. At both of these locations expect exceptionally lines, and the infuriating "love and shove" system where by you can take one picture, the same I have complained about in previous sections of this report!

In previous years Max had met wearing a special outfit, as well as Panchito, Jose and even Indiana Jones himself! We didn't see a single one of them this time. I am not sure if we were just unlucky, or if they have been cut (I hope not!).
From LRD you head around the path and find yourself crossing the bridge over to Arabian Coast.

Arabian Coast is probably one of my favourite areas of the park. The theming and design are really stunning, and there are some neat things here, too.
AC has four attractions. There is Jasmine's Flying Carpets (think Flying Carpets in DLP or WDW), a fascinating carousel that has two levels (!) that features weird and wonderful "horses", a unique live action/3D show at the Magic Lamp Theatre starring Genie, and Sindbad's Storybook Voyage.
Sindbad's is the best attraction in AC, and one of the best in the park. I think it is actually Jon's favourite at TDS, and for me comes a close tied second along with Aquatopia, behind 20,000 Leagues (which we'll talk about a little later).

The Sindbad attraction is basically a boat ride through the storybook world of Sindbad. Detailed sets and a catchy soundtrack make me think of an elaborate version of "it's a small world" with an Arabian twist!
Dining consists of one main counter service place, Casbah Food Court, that has different windows that serve a variety of things. The theming is really good, and the food is pretty decent too, compared to other food at the resort.
The other main place is more of a snacks and drinks place, called Sultan's Oasis.
There is only one store in AC, and it specialises very specifically in Genie/Aladdin merchandise and Chandu plushes (the cute little tiger from the Sindbad attraction).
There is various carts around AC, selling a variety of snacks, and an Arabian style band that plays.

Characters in AC are actually pretty neat.
Aladdin, Jasmine, Abu, Genie and Jafar all meet regularly, as well as Daisy, Minnie, Stitch and Angel in Arabian costumes!
Sadly, Daisy, Minnie, Stitch and Angel nearly always have a line, which as we well know means a massively long wait, one photo, and shoved out of the way the moment we have our one picture. Sigh.
In the past we had seen Donald also meeting in AC, but he wasn't around this time. I don't know if he still meets or not. From Arabian Coast we look across the river and see the shell clad spires of a magical kingdom...
We have arrived at Mermaid Lagoon, home to the Little Mermaid!

Mermaid Lagoon is probably one of the most intriguing areas of any Disney Park. It has both indoor and outdoor areas that constitute the whole land, and some neat things with it.
On the outside you'll find a spinning attraction called Scuttle's Scooters (think Slinky Dog at DLP or HKDL), and Flounder's Flying Fish Coaster (think Go Coaster/Barn Stormer).
Both are not all too thrilling, and anyone having rode the counterpart versions at the other parks will know what to expect.
You then head deep under the sea by heading down into Triton's Kingdom, through the main entrance lobby.
There is a statue of King Triton, and then a long walkway that guides you down into the underwater area. Down below the ocean, you'll find more copied attractions. Jumpin' Jellyfish (from DCA), Blowfish Balloon Race (Flik's Flyers, DCA) and the Whirlpool (shell themed tea cups).
There is also a theatre that presents a massively abridged, ariel-acrobatic retelling of The Little Mermaid.

There is one counter service place, Sebastian's Calypso Kitchen, which sells fishy themed fast food. It's pretty good overall. There are three stores, but to be honest they virtually roll all into one. They all sell Little Mermaid, DisneySea and generic Disney merchandise.

Now to the characters!
Down under the sea you can meet Goofy, Donald and Pluto in funky diving/swimming gear, which being under the sea, makes sense. For some reason Prince Eric and his dog Max also meet down here, and not up on the land part outside! Nonetheless, it is the only place you can meet his pet dog at any Disney Park, thus making for a "rare" opportunity.
Ironically, with Eric and Max down in Triton's Kingdom, Ariel herself greets her fans up on dry land! She has her own greeting grotto, and meets fans sporting her tail.
She does have a line, and thus sadly the stupid one photo rules are enforced (the under the sea characters do not form greeting lines thankfully, and roam freely).
Also up on the land part there are a number of carts and stands, with a decidedly oceanic theme.
From Mermaid Lagoon we head through the rock face and head to another mysterious world, this time Mysterious Island.

Mysterious Island is home to two of the most unique attractions in the world of Disney Parks, set in probably the most immersive environment you'll ever encounter.
Completely surrounded by the colossal Mount Prometheus, which erupts regularly, you can discover the fantastical world of the lost city of Atlantis at 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, and venture deep into the Earth's core, to come face to face with otherworldly crystal/rock creatures in Journey to the Center of the Earth.
20,000 Leagues is a submarine adventure, and is my favourite attraction at the whole of TDR. It is completely immersive and is presented in stunning detail.

Journey to the Center of the Earth is a dark ride aboard a drilling vehicle that burrows its way to the Earth's core, only to discover that there is an entire civilisation down there. Things hot up at the end as you are chased by a giant rock being! The really sad thing about Journey is that it is over all too quickly. Things just start to get going, you get chased and it just ends abruptly. For no real reason either. It is so disappointing because if they had bothered to finish telling the story properly and made the end more complete, it would undoubtedly be the best Disney attraction ever. But it falls short because it ends too quickly and abruptly. On top of that, Midway Mania at AWF aside, it is the most popular attraction in the park, and draws mega long lines from open to close.

There are two dining locations at Mysterious Island.
Vulcania is an upscale counter service place that serves a variety of meals and desserts, in an underground setting.
Nautilus Galley is on the lower level and offers quick bites and snacks.
There is only one very small store in MI, and sadly doesn't really sell anything special or unique. If I remember correctly, it sells novelty hats that the Japanese seem to go wild about!
There are no characters that have ever met in MI, sadly (imagine Steampunk Mickey, or Stitch, or even Captain Nemo himself!).

Now we come to Halloween offerings at TDS.
TDS has one main show, a mini parade of sorts, limited decorations, the dire fireworks, and just two character greetings. The fireworks I discussed previously, and all I will say is, don't waste your time!
The only two characters who have Halloween costumes are Duffy and ShellieMay. As I said previously, expect ridiculous lines for both.

Chip and Dale's Skeleton Fiesta is a mini cavalcade that passes through LRD, and features Chip, Dale and Clarice in Day of the Dead costumes. They are accompanied by some performers and musicians. It is cute to see, but nothing to get excited about.

In Med Harbor the decorations are mainly focused on banners, lamps and other small decorative items.
There are a limited number of pumpkins in AWF, along with a few garlands strung across the street.
LRD has some flags and posters representing characters in Day of the Dead costumes and a few neat "character statues" depicting the Mexican festival, with a Disney twist.

Finally we come to "A Halloween Daydream", the main Halloween show. The show takes place on the lagoon in the middle of the park/Med Harbor.
The characters have three different mini stages that they perform at, so depending on where you sit, depends on what you will see. There are also barges on the water that feature characters.
It's a cute show, but as with all TDR offerings, it seems to have no real purpose or relation to anything! It's just typical over the top Japanese performances with elaborate character costumes.

Overall Halloween at TDS is fairly tame, but enjoyable, even through the mass crowds. A few decorations, a mini cavalcade and the main show make for fair offerings.
The biggest problem with all the different shows performed on the lagoon is that everything is so far away. This is definitely true for Fantasmic! also, which is new this year at TDS.

Fantasmic! at TDS is a brand new twist on the classic US nighttime show.
There are different scenes, such as Cinderella, and Stitch and Angel, new technology and soundtrack. Somehow though, for Jon and I, it just didn't work well.
The vast distance between the viewing area and Mickey atop his giant hat really detracted from the overall feel, and the new scenes just don't gel well together like the US shows.
I think that it just lacked good continuity, and was weakened by poor scene choices.
It's enjoyable to watch I guess if you've never seen it, but we wouldn't rush to see it every night of our trip.
Dreamlights at TDL, even being a parade that has been around for a long time, would take priority for us, if we had to chose.

My final closing thoughts on TDS are still pretty much the same as our last visit two years ago.
DisneySea is excellently themed, and contains some amazing experiences, but the rules, sheer madness of the place and the hardcore guests are something to really contend with.
The park has a lot of things that are a bit weird for western Disney fans, and don't seem to sit right. The nutty shows that make no sense, odd rules, and attractions that are mostly copied from other parks, mean that TDS just doesn't quite cut it for Jon and I.

Our experience of TDR overall this time I think remained unchanged also.
I did find myself with more of an appreciation for TDL, even despite its dire Fantasyland and Tomorrowland!
We spent a lot more time in TDL than TDS, and I think that is a good overall reflection on how we feel about the two parks.

TDR still remains the busiest resort, as well as the most expensive and awkward to get to. The hassle of arriving in Tokyo compared to the ease of HK, and WDW (where they have the DME) is a massive inconvenience.
The photography rules surrounding character greetings, shows and indoor areas is infuriating.
The lack of wifi (paid or free) is beyond frustrating.
Food and drink remain an issue, due to their portion size and cost.
We of course still love to visit though, but not as frequently as the other parks, not just because it is the most expensive place on the planet, but simply because I don't think I could honestly cope with the insanity of it more than once per year!

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Pictures of Tokyo Disney Resort, Halloween Season 2012