Last autumn, one of my bestest friends flew all the way from Davao to go on a week-long holiday in Japan which was just right in time for my birthday! It being her first time here, I had a rager of emotions doing cartwheels in different parts of my anatomy. To say I was ecstatic doesn't even measure up to a quarter of what it was like for me to host and show around one of my favourite people in the place I consider my second home.
During the weeks leading up to her arrival, I couldn't have been more keen (annoying) on Whatsapp-ing her about building an itinerary. ONE WEEK IN JAPAN IS JUST NOT ENOUGH FOR YOU TO DEAL. It may be a small country but there is just TOO MUCH. So working with limited time (but with unlimited enthusiasm), I was able to come up with a pretty ambitious, yet sensible itinerary for her week-long stay. Long story short, we were able to cover Osaka, Kyoto, Tokyo and my turf, Nagoya. But more on those places later into the future.
Now this is just my two cents here, but before you travel to Tokyo, I suggest you find it deep within your soul to understand what it is you're truly looking for. Is it a historical throwback? A gastronomic adventure? A shopping excursion? Or an easy time rubbing elbows with fictional characters? If it happens to be the last, Tokyo Disney Resorts are perfect for you.
I've been twice to both Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea so I guess that qualifies me to assume that I know what I'm talking about. If you're traveling with kids aged 12 below, Disneyland is the place to be! I just deem it necessary for any kid to have a photo with Mickey and Minnie before they grow old enough to realize that they are mice and that mice are dirty and carry diseases. However, for tweens and adults, I think DisneySea might just be their cuppa' tea.
|Taken in 2005, I think this was from my mum's disposable camera, too!|
|ZERO SHAME, Y'ALL.|
LOST RIVER DELTA
As soon as the gates opened at 9:00, people started racing in like crazy and it honestly gave Minin and I a great deal of SHOCK. Anyway, I think we found ourselves here first because it was the furthest in.
Points of Interest (POI):
- Indiana Jones Adventure - just like the film franchise, it's not really good but it's worth the effort lol
- Raging Spirits - the only "jet coaster" in the park, as the Japanese would say, that has a 360 loop. A baby 360 loop.
- The food kiosks around this area! Keep your eyes peeled for the smoked chicken leg and the cheesecake brownie!
|Pardon my thinning head of hair|
|The Agrabah bit of the park is my favourite. Detailed down to every nook and cranny!|
|THE BEST POPCORN FLAVOUR IN THE WORLD (OF DISNEY)|
This port of call was always the most amusing for me! I remember the shopping there wasn't bad either. Try to hang around for an Aladdin and Genie sighting though I'm honestly all about Princess Jasmine.
- Sinbad's Storybook Voyage - basically the Sinbad version of Disneyland's It's A Small World
- Agrabah Market Place
- Curry popcorn - DON'T YOU DARE LEAVE WITHOUT TRYING IT.
Don't fight it. We all get sentimental and burst into song whenever A Whole New World plays in the background. It's a moment. Take it in.
- Triton's Kingdom - not really much to do for adults in this port of call as most attractions are for kids however it's hard to not take photos of the place. Make sure you go in the evening. The kingdom when all lit up is spectacular, not to mention trippy!
- Journey to the Center of the Earth - we didn't get to go on this one but I remember this attraction from my first DisneySea trip. It's one of the best and most thrilling rides at the park so get a Fast Pass for this one ASAP! It'll be hard to miss as it'll be in your face the whole time you're there. It's the volcano.
It's quite fascinating just walking around this port of call. It's like being transported to a dystopian novel. That being said however, not much to do here but to take in the scenery.
- Aquatopia - photo on the bottom right
- Storm Rider - sounds appealing enough already, hey
- Meat pie!
|Haiii, baby boys. It was hard to not take their photo. I mean, really.|
We were so glad to have made this port of call our last destination! It wasn't intentional though because we got the Fast Pass for Tower of Terror late in the afternoon so our return time was around 9pm. Gosh, those lights alone were enough to throw us back to our first memory of Toy Story. #NiagaraFalls
- Tower of Terror - BEST RIDE EVER (save this for last as the experience is better after sunset)
- Toy Story Mania - try to catch Mr. Potato Head's show, too! Quite the performer that piece of carb is.
- Apple Cinnamon popcorn - second best flavour at the park
- The Venetian Gondolas - we didn't get a Fast Pass ticket for this one anymore as we had some time to kill and thought that queueing for an hour was enough for leveraging to get our feed on again. Try to get on the gondolas at sunset if the photos are causing you to be a bit green with envy. We've never been to Venice but I suppose this was the next best thing! It was also cute how the gondoliers tried to sing albeit in Japanese. And while on the gondola, this happened:
|Thoughts in my head were a bit more animated than this, though.|
|We easily destroyed ALL of that before 10am|
|1. cream cheese fudge brownie 2. sausage roll 3. sea salt ice cream 4. meat pie in phyllo pastry|
5. cinnamon sugar maple churro 6. chocolate stick 7. spicy smoked chicken leg
1) Grab a copy of the map ahead of time.
If you're pressed for time, planning ahead will allow you to strategise which attractions to see, shows to watch and even food to eat. Moreover, if you're not as spatially challenged as I am, you could get acquainted with the park before even getting there. You'd be surprised at how much time you waste on going around in circles. You can get a copy of the map as soon as you purchase your tickets or download it off the official website.
2) Get FAST PASS tickets!
This will allow you better use of your time instead of queueing at least a couple of hours. Although be aware that not all attractions have the Fast Pass so check ahead of time by perusing the map. Look out for the ones with FP (obvi).
3) Shop later, regret never!
Ha I actually just made that one up hence the gravity of its stupidity but it actually means what it says. When I was younger, I shopped like a deprived child (third world problems) as soon as I saw something I thought would've made my life. Well, not only did it NOT make my life but also burned a hole in my wallet and weighed me down from going around the park. So it'd be best to save all the shopping after you've been to your desired attractions. I would advice hitting the shops around dinnertime ('sides, you won't have room for food if you eat like we did) or just before the fireworks because it'll be a race against eager Japanese shoppers once everything's over.
4) Bring a jacket.
Regardless of the season you're traveling to Japan, you're gonna need something that'll offer enough warmth. The Disney Resorts are close to the sea hence the breeze which gets batshitcrazy at night!
5) Bring lots of dough.
You probably already know this since you're traveling to Japan but this is only for the sake of writing down a fifth tip because I have unresolved OCD issues. It's shocking how in between the smiles and the squeals throughout the day, you realise you've just spent a ridiculous amount of moolah on Disney cookies, keychains and pens. Set meals at the restaurants are around ¥1,500~ while food and drinks from the kiosks start at ¥350. So either be ghetto-economical and pack your lunch or be prepared to be forced to swipe away.
There's no place that can be any less judgmental than Japan so don't be shy! Elbow your way through the sea of Japs and get that photo with Aladdin! Pop in those peace signs and say CHIZU!
I wouldn't exactly rank the Disney Resorts in my top places to see in Tokyo but neither do I question anyone who does. It lives up to its claim of being the Happiest Place on Earth and you'll have your ass shooting rainbows, unicorns, fairy lights and all sorts of popcorn flavours at the end of the day and really, who doesn't want that?