Well so much for daily posts.
I wrote last on Wednesday night, the day before “real work” started. Thursday I was in the office at 10a and out around 8p. After dinner (what was it…?) I did some more work in the hotel. Friday looked pretty similar. I really wish I could remember what I ended up eating… it’ll come to me, I’m sure.
Saturday was a little more time in the office – amusingly I was there after the building officially closed at 3p, so when I came down the elevator, everything was locked up. I don’t mean with a gate or the front door, I mean the elevator lobby was shuttered. The elevator door opened and it was dark… I was confused until I took a step out and saw the shutter. I called John B, explained the situation and he told me just to go to the basement and walk out – a simple solution.
After work I grabbed some salmon and noodles from Marche Roppongi (a 3 story grocery store – not big, just vertically arranged), ate and headed out to Tokyo Disney Sea. It was a train ride like most any other I’ve been on, a few swaps between trains, etc. The train station dumps right out into the Disney property and actually has a fair amount of Disney advertising in it. (“Welcome to Tokyo Disneyland” and the like) I bought a ticket (!) to ride the Disney Resort Line (their monorail) and headed to the platform. The turnstiles there were exactly the same as those in the public train stations.
The monorail, however, was significantly different from those in the states. First off it’s big – the cars are pretty close to the size of the standard train cars, if not slightly roomier. The seating was comfortable and nice looking and the hand holds were shaped like Mickeys. Each monorail car was open into the next, unlike ours that are solidly separated. The train is driven from the rear, like those in the public system, so you can sit in the very, very front, which I eventually did.
I headed to Disney Sea because it’s a globally unique park. I bought a “Starlight Passport” because it was after 3p and that’s 1000Y cheaper. Once in the park I was immediately disoriented because it’s a completely unique park! It doesn’t quite use the hub-and-spoke system of navigation, so I was a little thrown off. With my English language map in hand, though, I finally got sorted and headed to the “Journey to the Center of the Earth” ride near the volcano at the center of the park.
Upon arrival I found the Fastpasses to be out and the standby at 130 minutes. “That’s okay,” I thought, “if this is long and it’s the ‘must-do’ ride, perhaps the others will be better.” Yeah right.
I moved about the park, from land to land, looking at 120+ minute wait times on absolutely every ride that I might consider. The one ride I did get on was Sinbad’s adventures. This ride is similar to “It’s a Small World” without the repetitive song. You’re in a boat with the same style of animatronic characters, but these characters look awesome. (Probably because they are only 9 years old) The whole time Sinbad was singing his story of, well… I don’t know – it was in Japanese!
The park looked great – I took a fair number of pictures. Sorry they are blurry, but the flash just wasn’t worth it and I didn’t have a tripod. I really hate that I didn’t get on anything, but I started in the park at 5p with a closing time of 10p. I could have done perhaps one big ride and that entire 2 hour period of time would have been in a queue alone with a bunch of people speaking a different language – it just didn’t have an attractive ring to it.
I also intended to eat in the park, but the lines for food were just as horrible as the lines for the rides! I saw lines for kiosk food that stretched for at least a 20 minute wait, if not longer. You can just forget about the table service lines…
I did some shopping – an experience in claustrophobia. The stores were packed with people. Remember the Harajuku shopping photo with the shoulder-to-shoulder people? Yeah, that… inside a Disney store. I looked for trading pins with no luck. I looked for items that said something about Tokyo, yet were tasteful. No real luck. I did, however, grab a few things which I think are pretty unique to this park:
* A keychain type thingy with Sinbad’s little tiger friend. It’s the tiger’s tail with a charm of the tiger on it. I did notice it has Tokyo Disney Sea engraved on the back.
* A “Duffy” bear – “The Disney Bear”… whatever that means. I think he’s from Japan only…?
* A Daisy Cape – it’s a cape with “built-in” gloves
I probably spent a small fortune, given the price in Yen and the current exchange rate, but hey… it’s gifts.
After shopping I visited the hotel Miracosta just outside of Disney Sea. There I found a massive selection of pins – 6. I bought 2. They are pins about the fireworks celebration here… at least I think it was fireworks, maybe it’s a parade? After Miracosta I got on the monorail and went to the Tokyo Disneyland Hotel. It’s immediately outside of the Disneyland park. It reminds me of the hotels at the US Disneyland that allow you to walk from the Hotel into the park.
The hotel, like everything else on the resort, was decorated for Christmas. I took plenty of photos, outside and in, then headed out of the park to my train. I couldn’t get a seat for any of my trains all the way back to the hotel so by the time I arrived I was wiped out. I’d done my workout in the morning, worked in the office, walked around Disney, then stood in the train for an hour or so. I stopped at the supermarket next to the hotel, grabbed smoked salmon and noodles, ate and slept.
Sunday was a lazy day for the first half – breakfast, back to the room to watch “An Idiot Abroad” and then sleep for a few hours. I ran up to the office to turn on a computer I need, then ate a sushi lunch and finally off to meet Brian to go for out workout with Patrick. A few trains later we were in Yokohama. The workout was great (read about it here).
Dinner was the buffet at the hotel – I was disappointed… not at all worth it.
Monday was back to work and dinner at a Korean BBQ place. They cook the meat, basically bacon, at your table on a “crystal” plate over a gas burner. It was good food – way off my diet, but good food.