The happiest place in Japan…

July 8, 2009

The happiest place in Japan, and quite possibly the whole world, is Tokyo Disney Sea. What sounds like a water park is in actuality a hip-hop-happen-in Disney theme park based on areas from Disney movies that are set in or nearby water, such as the Arabian Coast (Aladdin), and Mermaid Lagoon (Little Mermaid).  Tokyo also has a Tokyo Disney in the same resort area, but Jennie and I chose to take the road less traveled and go for the sea version. We were very glad we did.

It was really interesting to be at a Disney resort in a country that does not speak English. All of those instructions and things that you take for granted were suddenly a mystery! What should I do with this big red button on the roller coaster seat? What are they singing in Sinbad’s storybook adventure? Why are 100+ people lined up along a fence for hours? And when did Mickey and Minnie learn Japanese?

Unlike American theme parks, where story/rides have happy endings, Tokyo Disney Sea chose to give it’s patrons a dose of reality. For example – one ride in particular, storm riders, simulates flying into the eye of a wind storm. At the end, it appeared that we were going to ‘make it’, and the sun was setting in the distance… the plane was about to land – when it took a nose dive into the water and ‘crashed’. The ride even misted us with water (‘rain’) to complete the effect. Jennie and I were very amused by this and came up with a variety of scenarios as to why they chose to end the ride in such a fashion. Another interesting tidbit about Tokyo Disney Sea – the shows were incredible. Cousin Jennie and I attended two shows, one called “Big Band Beat”, which consisted of great live music and dancing, and the other called “Mystic Rhythms”, which reminded me of Ulalena on Maui, if anyone’s ever seen that. I was on sensory overload after seeing this show, as the acrobatics were amazing and there was so much going on, I didn’t know where to look.

Jennie and I were also mistaken for supermodels today, as two Japanese boys wanted not for us to take their picture, but to be in a picture with us! We didn’t bother correcting their assumption, but did take several photos with them! I didn’t think the day could get much better after that, but then I started seeing women and children (and a few guys even) exploring the park in kiminos. Are they employees, or ‘cast members’? No, they’re just regular people going to a theme park in traditional Japanese apparel. Yes, we asked to take a picture with two of them… and they loved it!

It was a very happy day, probably the most fun I’ve had thus far in Japan, and was well worth the long train ride. Enjoy the pictures, they will tell the story of our day far better than I can…for now, Oyasuminasai!

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