Thursday, July 23, 2015

Japan 2015 Day 15: Tokyo Disneyland

I was up early today- 6:45 am- before the guys were even up, so I could meet Momo & Aoi-chan at Shinjuku station at 8:00 am for our trip to Disney. Charlie got up & ate breakfast with me, & when Brendan woke up he turned the tv on to NHK (kind of like PBS) to see the kids shows. We love Pitagora Suichie (Pythagoras Switch), with their amazing Rube Goldbergs & Algorithm Marches. Today we saw Asimo, the famous robot (& clones) doing the Algorithm March!

The Japanese says "Do your best Asimo!"

When I met Momo, I found out that Hiroko-san, who was supposed to join us with Nozomu-kun, had caught the cold that her son & husband had had in Kyoto, so they didn't join us after all. She did send some suggestions of things to do at Disneyland, which we appreciated very much.

In general, we have learned to avoid Shinjuku station before 9:00 am like the plague, because this is the busiest train station in the world, & folks are packed into trains like sardines during morning rush hour. But it was going to take nearly an hour & 2 trains to get where we wanted to go, & we wanted an early start. Soooo... we got packed like sardines into our first train! It took about 3 stops before I could get a seat, but the train was so packed I wasn't in danger of falling over (my balance it pretty bad on trains...). Momo finally picked Aoi-chan up because she was getting kind of crowded. By the time we changed trains it was nearly empty- whew! The next train was no big deal. And then, we were there.

It was a shortish walk from the station to the entrance. It was also lightly raining, but if that kept the crowds away, we were up for it.

Just like in the US, there's a bag check before you can enter. They ask you to have all your bags open & ready, but we'd forgotten about Aoi-chan's backpack. The big burly guard addressed Aoi-chan very politely as "Minnie-san" (she was wearing Minnie Mouse ears) & asked to look in her bag. He was so funny that she just laughed & let him. And so the Disney experience began :)

Hiroko suggested we get fast passes to "Pooh-san", the Winnie the Pooh ride, so we did that first, after consulting the map. The passes were for 11:30-12:30, & it was 9:30 when we got them, so we had some time to wait in a few lines, I mean rides :) We went to the "Small World" ride first, which I've been on at Disney World, but instead of being the trite & tacky ride I remembered, it was uplifting. I don't know, maybe it was being there with a little girl who was just so fascinated with it all, & maybe it was because I was seeing it in Japan, where I have discovered just how small (& wonderful) the world really is.

Then we moved on to one of the main events, from Aoi-chan's point of view. We went to meet "Miki", which is what Mickey Mouse is called in Japanese. Aoi-chan has been talking about visiting "Mickey's house with Lisa" since Momo told her we were going to Disneyland, & so we got into the 40-minute-long-wait line to see him. Most of the time was spent inside, with things to do & see.

And then, finally, we were there! You could, of course, have their photographer take a photo of you with Miki, which you could then purchase, but they also allowed 1 photo on your smart phone, so we opted for this.

After the photos were taken, Miki gave me a big hug & gestured to the photographer to take another photo. I told Miki (in Japanese) that I'd come see him again & he hugged me again :) I guess Miki likes me!

We wandered around Toon Town for a bit, visiting Minnie's house (no Minnie, but interactive stuff) & Daisy Duck's boat, & riding the Roger Rabbit car ride, which was very loud & dark at times. It didn't bother Aoi-chan at all. Amazingly, the rain had stopped, the sky was blue, & there was a lovely breeze when we came out.

Then we did Pooh-san''s Honey Hunt. No photos were allowed, sadly (dunno why), but it was cute & fun. At the end there was the smell of honey, I guess we found it!

Then we got in line for lunch at the Red Queen's Banquet (Alice in Wonderland). It was another long wait, but Aoi-chan was really amazing, considering that she was hungry & tired.

When we finally got there, it was a cafeteria with assistants to help you get the food you wanted.

It was lovely to get seated & start eating!

Heart-shaped fish!

After lunch Aoi-chan wanted to ride the carousel. I stayed outside & took pictures.

Then we decided to visit Cinderella's Castle. On the way we had our photo taken by the castle. They had folks stationed around various placed to take your photo for you, on your camera.

There was a line, of course, but it wasn't too long before we were in & looking at the Cinderella story told in illustrations & little dioramas. In the final room you could pose with the glass slipper & on Cinderella's throne.

I had told Momo that I wanted to get a princess dress for Aoi-chan while we were there, since she loves dress-up, so we went looking for a shop. On the way, there was another photo-op, a statue of Donald & Daisy Duck in Japanese matsuri costume.

And then we ran into a small brass band, also in matsuri dress, playing Disney songs. They invited children from the crowd to come up & help them do a dance, & Aoi-chan ran right up to join them. Momo was really surprised, because she's always been shy about this kind of thing before. After a rehearsal of the dance moves, they danced with the band. It was so cute!!

Then back to the dress search. We found the shop, & when we asked Aoi-chan, she said she wanted an Elsa dress, so we found one & she could change into it right there, in a dressing room. Meet Elsa (with Minnie ears :)

Then I did a little omiyage shopping, & we walked back to the train with Princess Elsa :)

Who fell asleep within 10 minutes of boarding the train.

Say what you like about Disney commercialism, but we had a wonderful time there. Aoi-chan & Momo seemed to have a great time & I know I did. I couldn't stop smiling :)

The ride back to Shinjuku was about 45 minutes, & due to some fast train app searching by Momo we only had to take 2 trains again. She & Aoi-chan stayed on the train to get to Ikebukuro, near where Momo's mom lives, & where they're staying for the weekend. The train left me at the exit right by the hotel- win! We are planning to see Momo, Aoi-chan, & Hiroko & her family again on Sunday, our last full day in Japan. Thank goodness!!! It's going to be awfully hard to say goodbye to them!!

Charlie & Brendan had a laid-back day visiting sights nearby in Shinjuku that Charlie found in a guidebook & online. They visited the museum that has Van Gogh's "Sunflowers" which was very cool to see. And they also visited the Shinjuku NS Building, which houses the largest pendulum clock in the world in its courtyard.

It's powered by water!

They very sweetly went out & got dinner to bring back to the hotel, since my feet were kind of sore from all the walking today. Then we read some Terry Pratchett & laughed a lot.

Tomorrow- shopping? Rest? We shall see...

1 comment:

  1. I bet Disney with a little girl is a totally different experience!