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Old 05-02-2009, 06:11 AM   #1
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Satisfying my Yen for travel: A Tokyo Disneyland Trip Report New 5/13

Well I've gone and done it. I've started another trip report. One that I actually plan on finishing. Not because it will be humorous, or entertaining, or full of Schoolhouse Rock references. But because there just isn't much info out there about Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea. People need to read something about it. And I am going to write something about it for them to read. I'm a giver.

That and the fact that it was only three days long should actually provide me with the ability to successfully succeed.

My last TR didn't go so well. I lost my entire hard drive in the middle (actually the beginning) of writing it, and therefore lost a lot of good material. And now I am writing with this new crap they put on my computer and why the heck is there only TextEdit and not a real program for this? I don't like it.

Anyway, as I was saying, we went to Tokyo a couple of weeks ago. It's a pretty fun time. No, that doesn't do it justice....it's a fantastically wonderful place that I think everyone should visit. I don't want to oversell Japan, but it's up there with Switzerland and Italy as my favorite places I've had the good fortune to visit. And while I hate to make sweeping generalizations about anything, I'll probably do it a great deal here.

Are you rightly confused yet? Good.

Let's introduce the cast and get that out of the way, shall we?

Me (Briarmom) ~ the one who introduced Disney to our family. The one who loves it so. The one who thought 'HEY! Wouldn't it be FAN-FREAKIN-TASTIC if we flew from Belgium to Japan? And while we're there, wouldn't it be great to go to Tokyo Disneyland? I mean, I know Disneyland Paris is only 2 1/2 hours away by car, but heck, doesn't everyone want to visit Japan?!?!'

Dh (Briardad)~ the one who thought 'CRAP. My wife wants to visit Japan. I'm well over 6 feet tall and we can't afford first class. This is going to suck.' He also muttered 'This better be worth it' under his breath about fifty eleven times in the months before this trip. In a move that is entirely against his character, he was a doubting Thomas about the whole trip. And now he is eating crow, because that's how awesome Japan is.

Ds10 ~ the one who thought 'Ugh. I don't want to go anywhere. My legos are here. Just leave me here. I'll be fine.'

Dd5 ~ the one who thought 'Great! A new Small World to go on!' She also was very concerned about the crowds. And I don't mean in Disney. She (for some reason unbeknownst to me) kept saying 'We have to stick together, because Tokyo is crowded!!' Now, I am pretty sure she did not watch Lost in Translation in the last few months, so I don't know where she got that idea. She's right, Tokyo is very populous, but she's 5. She should be concerned about whether or not our hotel has a pool, not massive crowds of people.

The seed for this trip was planted about a year ago. We'd gone to WDW for our 10th Anniversary, and while we were planning for it, I seriously considered scrapping the whole thing in favor of a Tokyo Disneyland trip instead. We (I) decided to just go to WDW and have a great time (which we did, and you would have read about in my unfinished TR had I finished it). After we came home from that trip, I asked the dh to book The New Sanno (a military hotel right in Tokyo) for a year later. I knew you had to book it far in advance, and I was right. Here we were, booking April 17-27 almost a year in advance, and we couldn't get all the dates. But no matter, we (I) wanted to have it booked Just In Case we actually made our (my) dream to visit Japan come true.

Fast Forward to November. It had been a rather crappy few months. My Grandmother was diagnosed with terminal cancer. She was only 70 years old and was my stay at home mom while my single mother worked. I, in a move that was extremely fortuitous, had decided to homeschool ds and dd for the year. Which meant I was able to go home for a few weeks in November/December and celebrate Thanksgiving and spend some time with my Grandmother. But before I did that, I actually booked our flight. As most of you know, life is short. And that fact was being thrust in my face full force. So, on Election Day 2008, I booked 4 tickets from Brussels to Tokyo.

The trip began to take shape. And that shape was a blob, kind of like when you pour oil in water, but it was a shape nonetheless.
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Old 05-02-2009, 06:18 AM   #2
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I am so excited for this trip report! You are right, there is so little information out there on these parks so thank you so much for writing this report.

I'm really hoping to take a trip to Japan in a few years time and you can bet that I am going to make time to visit these parks.
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Old 05-02-2009, 08:11 AM   #3
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Glad you decided to write another trip report. Can't wait to see all about Tokyo.
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Old 05-04-2009, 06:33 AM   #4
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So, as I was saying, our trip was absolutely going to happen. We'd purchased tickets for April 16-27. We had a hotel in Tokyo. We were going to Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea.

And normally here I'd say that I started the search for information. And I did. But there were so many other things I had going on, that my research was very limited. November brought us to Prague, Krakow, Budapest, and Vienna before going off to the States to spend Thanksgiving with my family. December (as it tends to do) brought Christmas, and then on to New Years and a last minute trip to (freezing cold) Paris and Disneyland Paris. January provided ample time to prepare for my 2 week trip around Italy with my cousin, which I took in February along with a few days in London and a few days in Valencia, Spain.

Which brings us all the way to the beginning of March. And if you're doing the math, you know that's awfully close to our departure date. I needed to get ready for this trip. I mean, really. I had a lot to do.

But as someone once said 'Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans.'

And on March 4th my mother emailed and told me that if I wanted to be there when my Grandmother passed, I'd better get on a plane. Now.

The kids and I left March 6th.

My Grandmother died March 11th at the age of 71 from cancer.

March passed by in a blur, and I did not get back to Belgium until March 27th. Which was one month from the date we'd be returning from our trip.

Are you panicking?

I wasn't. It wasn't supposed to be that kind of trip, and (spoiler alert!) it wasn't.

I didn't have to make ADRs. Heck, I don't know how to make ADRs as my Japanese is non-existant.

I cancelled two of our nights at The New Sanno in Tokyo in favor of The Sheraton Grande Tokyo Bay Hotel that is right there on the monorail line.

We packed the day before.

And then we woke up at 3 am (10 am Tokyo time) on April 16th and drove to the airport.

And we flew.

And flew.

And flew.

And 24 hours after we'd awakened, we landed at Narita.

* A note about the flying: We flew just under 2 hours to Rome, had a 6 hour layover (barf) and then 12 1/2 to Tokyo. On Alitalia. Groan. The video machines didn't work. Thank goodness my kids travel pretty regularly and were not so bothered. Alitalia was a pretty crappy airline to fly, but it got us there and back, and that is what's important.*

After picking up our backpacks (much easier to move around) we hopped on a bus for a hotel.*

* Note that I didn't say OUR hotel. No, the next bus to OUR hotel was not for 4 hours. So we went to one that was close. And then took a taxi. And I'm lying when I say we hopped on a bus. First we had to take out Yen from an ATM (I'd read many many times that it was hard to get money in Japan with a foreign debit card, so we had to be prepared. I don't know if that was true, as our military hotel had an ATM and that is the one we used. Second, we had to buy tickets for the bus to A hotel. Third, we purchased tickets for the train to Kyoto for a later date.*

Ok. Where was I? Oh yes, the bus.

Upon sitting down, we were asked (first in Japanese and then in English) to turn off our cell phones, as talking on them would bother other passengers. That startling request set the stage for every encounter we had with the Japanese people from there on. Each and every encounter was polite. I don't know if you can call an encounter polite, but nice just doesn't cut the mustard. The politeness of the people was jaw dropping. Coming from the US or Europe where even the smallest showing of decorum has gone by the wayside, this was one of our favorite things about Japan.


The bus to A hotel took us about 1 1/2 hours. Apparently, we passed right by TDL and I didn't even notice.

I was tired.

We arrived at The New Sanno and our room was not yet ready. This ended up being a blessing, as we were so tired (remember, we'd been up over 24 hours at this point) we would have gone straight to bed, and it wasn't even 1 pm yet. We ate at the restaurant at the hotel, and then decided to make our way to The Disney Store to buy our TDL tickets. I know you can buy them at the gate, and I know there are other places to buy them, but we needed to do something for a bit.

So off we went to The Disney Store. We took the subway and got to see the famous statue of Hachiko the dog. It was on the Amazing Race once, and ds remembered that.

The Disney Store was adorable, and we bought our tickets with no problems. The girl behind the counter spoke no English, and as I've said I speak no Japanese, and yet we understood each other perfectly. It was all a part of that politeness I spoke of earlier.

Tokyo Disneyland tickets aren't like WDW or DL or even DLRP tickets. You buy a ticket for certain parks on certain days. For example, we bought 3 day tickets. That meant that the first two days (April 21st and 22nd in our case) we had to pick the park we'd be going to (DisneySea and Disneyland, respectively). Only once you've gone for two days can you park hop. Making these appointments guarantees that you will be able to enter the park. And I did notice on the calendar that there was a day in May (I actually think it was today, May 4) was already SOLD OUT.

So, tickets in hand, we went back to the hotel and SLEPT.

And for the next three days we saw some extraordinary sights in Tokyo and the Tokyo area.

We saw beautiful things like this:



*A note about this photo. Japan got some unseasonably warm weather in the weeks before we arrived and it seemed as though we'd miss the cherry blossoms entirely. I'd booked our trip for April specifically to see the Sakura (cherry blossoms). We did miss a lot of them, but not all. WOW.*

We saw awe inspiring things like this:



And we saw things for which there are no words like this:



And we were happy.

Japan had far exceeded my expectations so far. Would Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea do the same?
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Old 05-04-2009, 07:06 AM   #5
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Hi! Just marking my place so I can come home and read. I have to go to work now. Stupid work. Hate when it gets in the way of my DIS'ing. Anyway, I doubt Tokyo Disney is anything I'll ever see in person so I'm really looking forward to living vicariously through you!!
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Old 05-04-2009, 07:29 AM   #6
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Lovely photos. I very much look forward to the culture in Japan, I love how polite they are and I have also heard that they are very accommodating to tourists who do not know the language or who need help in locating something.
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Old 05-04-2009, 08:14 AM   #7
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Hey, Briarmom, I'm here! I'm sure everyone else will be here as soon as they stagger away from the bar...

This sounds like an awesome report and I'm really enjoying it so far. And I'm so sorry about your grandmother; I don't know if you posted about that in the other thread, but I missed it.




P.S. I almost forgot--so what did you eat on the plane??? Because you know we have to know.
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Old 05-04-2009, 03:35 PM   #8
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Those pictures are gorgeous.
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Old 05-05-2009, 05:45 AM   #9
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I'm in Bring on the saki
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Old 05-05-2009, 06:33 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2xcited2sleep View Post
Hi! Just marking my place so I can come home and read. I have to go to work now. Stupid work. Hate when it gets in the way of my DIS'ing. Anyway, I doubt Tokyo Disney is anything I'll ever see in person so I'm really looking forward to living vicariously through you!!
Welcome! You never know, you might go to Japan some day!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lifelong_Dreamer View Post
Lovely photos. I very much look forward to the culture in Japan, I love how polite they are and I have also heard that they are very accommodating to tourists who do not know the language or who need help in locating something.
You will love Japan. It is wonderful.

Quote:
Originally Posted by whogirl'smom View Post
Hey, Briarmom, I'm here! I'm sure everyone else will be here as soon as they stagger away from the bar...

This sounds like an awesome report and I'm really enjoying it so far. And I'm so sorry about your grandmother; I don't know if you posted about that in the other thread, but I missed it.
P.S. I almost forgot--so what did you eat on the plane??? Because you know we have to know.
Thanks.
On the plane...I ordered the Japanese meal. Dh had the Italian.
They were both disgusting.
Food won't be playing much of a role on this thread....sorry. I can add some booze to compensate, but it won't have anything to do with TDL.!

Quote:
Originally Posted by reelmom View Post
Those pictures are gorgeous.
Thank you!

Quote:
Originally Posted by jeminni View Post
I'm in Bring on the saki
Mmmm, saki.
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Old 05-05-2009, 04:35 PM   #11
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Subbing

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Old 05-05-2009, 06:14 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whogirl'smom View Post
Hey, Briarmom, I'm here! I'm sure everyone else will be here as soon as they stagger away from the bar...

P.S. I almost forgot--so what did you eat on the plane??? Because you know we have to know.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Briarmom View Post
Thanks.
On the plane...I ordered the Japanese meal. Dh had the Italian.
They were both disgusting.
Food won't be playing much of a role on this thread....sorry. I can add some booze to compensate, but it won't have anything to do with TDL.!


Mmmm, saki.
You know we're perfectly happy to hear about the booze

Also wanted to say so sorry about your grandmother cancer sucks

Anyways....great start on the report! Looking forward to the next installment
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Old 05-05-2009, 10:24 PM   #13
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I love Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea. I was so sad we left Japan. I lived there for six years. 4 in the Tokyo area and 2 way up in Northern Japan. I would plan a visit as many times as I could. I went every year for the 4 years I was in Tokyo area that was before DisneySea and then I went at least 4 times when I moved up north for two years.

Everything about DisneySea is out of this world it's more adult themed and I think more fun than HS but that's just what I think. I hope we get to go back someday. My favorite ride was Journey into the Center of the Earth. It was sooooo much fun. Indy is the same as the one in DL but Raging Spirits is also a cool coaster.

It's always great! All the Characters are usually American so they get super excited when they talk to you. Because of the huge language barrier with the Japanese. I ate it up! The Mad Hatter caught us as we were leaving The Red Queen's Restaurant in Fantasyland. He talked to us for 20 minutes! It was great!

I hope your trip was great! I love New Sanno! They treat you like royalty! The food at the restaurant is great and if you can take the train to Maihama station to get to Disney it's really great! Just don't do it at Rush hour you'll be packed in there like a sardine! We made that mistake the first time we went as a couple.
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Old 05-12-2009, 12:16 PM   #14
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I can't wait to hear the rest!!
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Old 05-12-2009, 12:22 PM   #15
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i am IN!!! loving it so far!
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