I’ve been interested in visiting DisneySea ever since I saw pictures from the park a few years ago, and I was able to finally make that happen on my second trip to Tokyo. With this trip, I have officially been to all the Disney resorts. Granted, I haven’t visited every park in every resort, but I have been to Disneyland in California, Disneyworld in Florida, Disneyland Paris, Disneyland Hong Kong, and now Disneyland Tokyo Resort. I didn’t go to the Disneyland Tokyo park, but elected to go to DisneySea. This park is not just a mere miniature replica of Disneyland, like the other Disneyland parks. DisneySea is a park unique to Tokyo and it has several different theme areas inspired by ocean legends and other myths. The installations are actually very well done, and if you like theme parks, it is certainly worth your time.
I had originally planned to go to DisneySea on Sunday of my visit, but I made a change to go to Nikko instead after my Saturday trip had to be canceled due to excessive snow. However, when I got to Nikko and realized the bus service was canceled, and it would be a pain in the ass to stumble in the piles of snow and ice to visit the shrines, I made the decision to return to Tokyo and go visit DisneySea. It was like the universe was telling me I should be there rather than fighting the elements, especially since that Sunday the weather in Tokyo was gorgeous, sunny, clear and cold.
I got to DisneySea around 1300 which left me around nine hours to visit the park. In truth that is more than enough time to walk around and enjoy everything, but it made it a bit tight to ride all the rides I wanted to. I took advantage of the Fast Pass system to visit as many rides as I could, but since the times for Fast Passes were staggered, I ended up having to wait until the very end of the evening to visit some of the most popular rides like Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull and Journey to the Center of the Earth. I really do like the Fast Pass system, since it enables you to not have to wait in line if you don’t want to, and if I had been at DisneySea when it opened rather than midday, it would not have been an issue.
The details of the installations were very beautiful and intricate and didn’t feel cheesy at all. The rides were actually pretty fun too, and give you as much thrill bang for your buck as you would expect from Disney rides. I wished the rides had a line for single riders like Disneyland Hong Kong, but you can’t have everything in life. The wait times for the most popular rides topped out at about 90 minutes, and even when it was an hour to closing time, one of the most popular rides (Journey to the Center of the Earth) was still 60 minutes.
There was also a wide variety of food to eat, and unlike other Disneyland parks, some of the restaurants at DisneySea serve alcohol. The shopping was pretty decent, though strangely light on T shirts for adults. Once you have seen the absolute capitalist mecca that is Disneyworld shops, all the other Disneyland resorts have a very high bar to reach.
There was a light show and fireworks scheduled, but had to be canceled due to gusty winds. While I do love me some fireworks, the cancellations enabled me to fit in all the rides towards the end. It also gave me more time to enjoy the park at night, because it looked especially beautiful with all the colored lights.
My absolute favorite place, a place I could have just camped out forever in if it wasn’t for the hordes of young children, was Ariel’s Grotto, or as I preferred to call it, Ariel’s Acid Trip. Seriously, I can only imagine what this place would be like if you were high on hallucinogens, because the imagery itself in real life was fantastical enough. Whoever were the art designers for this place should be commended, because I adored the crazy colors and outlandish decorations. I kept going back, because I wanted to take it all in and sear it to my permanent memory. The grotto is definitely geared more toward young children in terms of rides and play areas, but it is a place anyone who loves crazy colors can enjoy for themselves.
DisneySea is part of the larger Disneyland Tokyo resort, and both are linked by the Disneyland resort monorail. It is also extremely easy to get to Disneyland resorts from Tokyo proper. The JR station is Maihama Station located on the JR Keiyo Line, which can be accessed from a variety of popular stations that connect with the Tokyo metro, like Tokyo Station and Hatchobori. It’s a roughly 30 minute train ride to Maihama, and then you transfer to the Disneyland monorail line to get to the park you want. I do have to say that it’s kind of crappy that you actually have to pay for the Disneyland train ride, but I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised.
DisneySea is open year round, though I deliberately chose to visit in the winter time, because I know the crowds are even MORE massive in the summertime. The winter hours were actually quite good, open from 0800 to 2200 on weekends. I seriously recommend this place if you like Disneyland, and if you want to visit a unique park you won’t find in any other Disneyland resort around the world. It’s definitely worth your time.
This batch of photos were in the first batch that I edited with Adobe Lightroom 5. I couldn’t push the limits of what the editing software can do, because I shot these photos in JPEG rather than RAW. But even then, it was still pretty cool to see how I far I could enhance and sharpen the photos. I particularly had fun punching up the colors to almost border on hyper realism (though I didn’t actually change any of the colors- they really do look like that in reality), particularly the photos taken in Ariel’s Grotto. Low light photography can be hit for miss for me (though I am getting better), so I was very pleased with how all of these turned out.