Hawaiians taking on Japan and TDR 11/18-11/28 - Trip Report. UPDATED 12/5

Discussion in 'Tokyo Disneyland' started by disneyobsessed808, Nov 17, 2018.

  1. disneyobsessed808

    disneyobsessed808 DIS Veteran

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    My mom, older brother, and I are about to leave on our trip to Japan. We leave this Sunday.

    I'm Anderson. If you want to learn more about me, you can see my short bio in my last trip report. This is my first trip to Japan without my ex (and now, he truly is my ex).

    My mom is coming with me to TDR for three days at the end of the trip, while my brother, Paul, will join us at DisneySea for one day.

    To be honest, I'm sort of worried about this trip. My brother did most of the planning without conferring with me. I'm still a little annoyed that he didn't let me make any suggestions really, except for TDR. It's my first trip without someone who speaks Japanese. Also, my mom can be a slow walker so it may be tough for her to travel. I'm trying to be positive and I know it will be great, but I'm worried we're not maximizing the time.

    Anyway, here is our plans

    11/18-19. Travel day. Arrive in Tokyo
    11/20. Tokyo to Osaka to Fukuoka.
    11/21. Fukuoka.
    11/22. Fukuoka to Sapporo.
    11/23. Sapporo to Tokyo
    11/24. Tokyo
    11/25. Tokyo Disneyland
    11/26. Tokyo DisneySea
    11/27. Tokyo DisneySea
    11/28. Tokyo. Depart Tokyo.

    I'll be reporting live if I have time. To be continued...
     
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  2. Leilanie94

    Leilanie94 Mouseketeer

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    Aloha Anderson! I'm a local gal from Honolulu. Looking forward to your upcoming Japan trip report and photos!
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2018
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  4. Haley R

    Haley R With all the strength of a raging fire

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    Hope you have a fun trip!
     
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  5. disneyobsessed808

    disneyobsessed808 DIS Veteran

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    Aloha! I’ve been home on Oahu the past few days and having a relaxing time (though I live in Cali now). Thanks for following along
     
  6. disneyobsessed808

    disneyobsessed808 DIS Veteran

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    11/18-20. Travel Days. By Air and Train

    On Sunday, the three of us packed up and left Honolulu for Tokyo by way of Kona. The flight from Kona to Haneda was so empty that we all got a 4 seat middle section to ourselves. It was awesome.

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    We arrived in Tokyo on 11/19 around 10 pm, and got through customs/immigration really easily, then headed to our hotel on the shuttle. We were hungry so after settling into the hotel, we found a ramen shop that was open pretty much next door to the hotel. The ramen was really good! I do consider myself to be somewhat of a ramen junkie. So I am hoping to try one of the two michelin-starred ramen places in Tokyo later in the trip. This ramen reminded me somewhat of my favorite place in Long Beach, and Hawaii-style ramen.

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    After stopping by the Family Mart, we headed back to the room and went to bed. The hotel room was pretty nice. Hard beds, but the bathroom was pretty spacious. The next morning we woke up and caught the shuttle back to Haneda to get our rail passes. My brother was already getting on my nerves, because I really don't like how he planned out this trip. We waited about an hour for our passes and then went to Shinagawa station to catch the shinkansen to Osaka. We didn't have seats reserved, but there was plenty of space on the non-reserved cars.

    We got to Shin-Osaka station around 2 and our reservation for the train to Fukuoka was at 6 pm. All this time we had been lugging around our six pieces of luggage, so we went to find coin lockers, only to realize they wouldn't fit. Again, fortunately, I looked up where the baggage room was and we were able to take the bags there.

    My brother wanted to try kushikatsu, but he didn't know where we were going or how to get there. He just knew we were going to Namba. Thanks to Google Maps we finally found a place he was looking for.

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    It was delicious, but it's basically fried food on a stick. I don't eat fish/seafood (I'll eat it in ramen broth if I don't find out for sure there's fish in it - I know I'm weird) and my brother doesn't eat eggs, so there was somewhat of a guessing game as to what to avoid since the food was camouflaged in batter. We headed back to the station via the subway. We were about an hour early for our reserved train, but we jumped onto an earlier train with seats available.

    We got to Fukuoka around 8 pm, and settled into our rooms by 8:30. These rooms were okay - pretty dated decor, and very tiny plastic bathroom, but the beds were soft and very comfortable.

    I decided I wanted food. My brother and mom wanted to stay in, so I ventured out on my own to go to Ichiran Ramen. It's supposed to be famous for their Hakata pork-ramen. Google maps said it was a 20 minute walk to the restaurant, but it ended up being more like 30 minutes. Usually Google maps is good about estimating time so I don't know if it thinks we walk faster in Japan. Anywho, it was a really nice walk to the place.

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    I was really happy to try a ramen place on my own, as last time I was in Japan, I felt intimidated when I was alone. This time I figured that because it was a popular spot and had a vending machine for the tickets that I'd be able to handle the ordering process. This location is the original flagship and has two floors. The first floor is a traditional restaurant.

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    However, the second floor of the restaurant is famous for their personal ramen cubicles/stalls. They say that it allows the customer to enjoy the flavor of the ramen without distractions and very little interaction with other people or even the staff. You order your ramen from the vending machine outside, and then sit at one of the cubbies. There are cubicle partitions between each diner, making it ideal for the solo diner like me. In front of you there is a half window. Once you fill out your customization form, the staff takes it, processes your order, and then brings back your order to you. The entire time, you don't see the face of your staff, and once they bring it to you, they close a curtain so it's pretty much completely private.

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    It was a pretty fun experience and I'm so glad I went.

    NEXT DAY 11/21 - FUKUOKA
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2018
  7. wanderlust7

    wanderlust7 DIS Veteran

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    Mmm...ramen. :love: Food pics always make me want to go back.

    Have a great trip!
     
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  8. Haley R

    Haley R With all the strength of a raging fire

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    It’ll be one of the only things I’ll eat there lol. I love noodles but no seafood for me and I’m pretty picky on most things.
     
  9. disneyobsessed808

    disneyobsessed808 DIS Veteran

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    The ramen has been delicious! Definitely my favorite foods so far.

    I’m the same way. I’ve stuck to mostly ramen, and a lot of convenience store food, like chicken karaage and non seafood onigiri
     
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  10. shoppgirl

    shoppgirl DIS Veteran

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    Great start so far!!! Thank you for doing this. We are travelling to Japan next summer and there aren’t many trip reports here so I’m loving this one!
     
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  11. Haley R

    Haley R With all the strength of a raging fire

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    When are you going? We are going, too.
     
  12. disneyobsessed808

    disneyobsessed808 DIS Veteran

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    Well I’m on the train to Tokyo by myself, so I might as well update the past two days. I will add in pictures later for those following live.

    11/21 - Fukuoka

    For those wondering, we stayed at the Hotel Nissei Fukuoka. The rooms were quite small and dated, however it was cheap and did the job. They had a very sad continental breakfast that consisted of bread, butter, jam, and soft boiled eggs. The eggs were delicious though and I was able to eat enough to fill me up.

    We went to get a Fukuoka subway pass but we didn’t end up using it very much. As my mom was having trouble walking far. We took a subway to Canal City, which is basically a big shopping mall. The subway stop was kinda far from the Canal City, so my poor mom was struggling.

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    Nothing about the mall was that remarkable except they did have a water show (mini-Bellagio). I did like visiting Muji, a home ware store. The Disney store there was really sad to my disappointment. My mom and brother decided to eat at an oyster/fish restaurant so I went to the buffet restaurant next door. I wish I had gone to the beef tongue place but ordering there seemed daunting.

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    We started taking cabs after the trek to get to canal city. Much better way to travel. We took a cab to the Kokusai center where the sumo tournament was being held. I was looking forward to it because it really was the highlight of my previous trips, aside from Disney.

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    One of my favorite things were the awesome omiyage available! So many cool items, including cookies, chopsticks and even toilet paper.

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    This experience was great, except for our seats. I don’t remember the seating being so small at the last tournament, then again, I wasn’t with two other large people. The seats were not made with sumo sized people in mind. We were able to sit there at first, but when it became full only two of us could sit. We still had a good time, and my brother somehow follow sumo so he knew more about everything and he told us who to cheer for. His favorite is Takakeisho and he ended up winning the entire basho.

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    After leaving the arena, we caught a cab to Ippudo ramen, as my mom was craving it. I was not really wanting that but I decided to go along anyway. It was good, but not as good as the previous two nights.

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    We walked back to the hotel, slowly. My mom was really having a hard time getting a pretty short distance. Next time I would look into renting a wheelchair for the entire stay.

    NEXT DAY 11/22 - TRAVEL DAY. FUKUOKA TO SAPPORO
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2018
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  13. disneyobsessed808

    disneyobsessed808 DIS Veteran

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    11/22 - Travel day. Fukuoka to Sapporo

    We woke up around 8 to get our sad continental breakfast and then headed back on the subway to the airport. It was incredibly convenient as it went directly there.

    We were quite early so we couldn’t even check in until 90 minutes before the flight. We went to the restaurant floor to find a place for lunch and went to a steak place. I didn’t get a set but wanted to try the wagyu and chicken wings. The wagyu was about six thin slices of cold, rare meat. I really couldn’t tell that it was any different than regular steak. The wings were good though.

    We finally checked in to the flight to Chitose. It was really interesting to see the differences between domestic flying in the US and Japan. With the seats at the tournament I was worried we wouldn’t fit, but it was actually quite roomy. Peach is a pretty cheap airline so there are no free beverages or food, but they do bring a snack cart. I got a risotto.

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    I fell asleep and woke up when we landed about an hour and a half later. My brother made a joke about how they made the runway all white. I looked out the window and said “Is that snow?!” It was. I was pretty much in awe. I haven’t seen snow in a few years and it really looks beautiful. Though once we got outside and on the train, I was freezing.

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    The train ride to Sapporo took about an hour, and we then caught a cab to the Sapporo Park Hotel. I have never been to a hotel with such great service. They took us to our room, explained everything. The rooms were better than our previous ones, but dated.

    After a short rest, we hopped in a cab to the Sapporo Beer Museum. During the ride, it started snowing so when we got there, it was coming down pretty hard. But it was absolutely beautiful

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    The museum itself was pretty small, with 12 or so stations that they explain the history of Sapporo beer. You have to guide yourself. There’s a guided tour but only in Japanese. The end of the tour was the tasting room - obviously the main event. I’m not a huge drinker but I partook in the sampler (600 yen), along with my mom and Paul. I enjoyed the black label the best.

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    My brother had planned to eat there where they have AYCE sushi, crab, and Genghis Khan, a lamb dish Sapporo is known for. I wasn’t sure about eating there (as I don’t like seafood or lamb) but I was curious. However, my brothers friend was coming and I got the sense he didn’t want us around so mom and I ended up just going to the hotel.

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    I was starving so I headed on my own to the area near the station. By this time the snow was really falling. And after all that, I ended up just getting Yoshinoya and taking back a beef tongue rice bowl for my mom. It is much better than Yoshinoya back home. Walking out to the street, I almost slipped a few times, but fortunately hailed a cab quickly and went back.

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    NEXT DAY 11/23 - TRAVEL DAY. SAPPORO TO TOKYO
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2018
  14. Leilanie94

    Leilanie94 Mouseketeer

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    Happy Thanksgiving! Enjoying your trip report so far. Wow! You guys saw snow in Sapporo. Looking forward to more photos.

    My family and I ate at Ichiran Ramen twice during our July 2018 Japan trip. We tried the Osaka and Tokyo locations. We love the Osaka location the best!

    Muji - such a cool store - they have clothing too! I bought long wide breezy pants, it was perfect for the summer heat weather.
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2018
  15. shoppgirl

    shoppgirl DIS Veteran

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    We will be there July 2019!! It’s our first trip to Japan. How about you?
     
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  16. Haley R

    Haley R With all the strength of a raging fire

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    We’re going the end of May/beginning of June 2019. Our first time to Japan too!
     
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  17. disneyobsessed808

    disneyobsessed808 DIS Veteran

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    Well so much for reporting live. I forgot Japan has only two prong outlets and my laptop cord is three prongs, so I wasn't able to use that to update. I'm back in Hawaii now.

    I did update my two previous posts with pictures today though.
     
  18. disneyobsessed808

    disneyobsessed808 DIS Veteran

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    11/23 - Travel Day. Sapporo to Tokyo

    We woke up that morning and headed down to breakfast at the hotel. The breakfast was our first real breakfast of the trip. We had been eating mostly onigiri and fried chicken from convenience stores (which, as a side note, are completely awesome - I love the beef onigiri). Once we got to the restaurant, the view was beautiful.

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    After packing up our things, we headed to the station to store our bags, and then we walked to Daiso, a 100 yen shop that was next to the station. We had gone to a Daiso earlier in the trip; however that one pretty much sucked. This one had way more cute stuff, including Disney stuff. My mom ended up buying about 100 pairs of chopsticks for omiyage.

    The city looked beautiful blanketed in the snow, and the sun was out.

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    We took a cab to the lunch place that Paul had wanted to go to, and I was pretty excited about. Hokkaido, the northermost island of Japan where Sapporo is located, is known for their milk and diary. So the place we were going to go to was a bakery with dessert buffet featuring some creamy desserts. When we got there however, they told us that we had have reservations. (Of course, he didn't plan this well). Instead, we headed upstairs to find a place to eat on the restaurant floor. A lot of buildings/department stores have floors of restaurants on their top floors for those who don't know. We decided to eat a Japanese restaurant, where I got a katsudon rice bowl along with soba. It was pretty good.

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    My brother didn't want to go back to the bakery because they were rude but I felt like we had to try soft serve ice cream.

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    Was it good? Yes. But was it the best soft serve I've had? No. I do like that they seem to add a good amount of salt to their ice cream, not so it's salty but it brings out the flavor of the cream.

    My mom and brother were going to Lake Toya that night and staying at a ryokan. I didn't really have any interest in Lake Toya or eating the seafood heavy foods that they served at the ryokan, so I decided to head down to Tokyo early so that I could get some things done before they came down. So I caught the train to Shin-Hakodate, and then the shinkansen from there to Tokyo. The ride to Shin-Hakodate was beautiful. Most of it ran along the coast, so it was so cool to see the water lapping up against the snowy shores. I had lived in snowy areas before, but it was in the mountains.

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    By the time I got on the Shinkansen it was really dark so I was just playing games on my phone. Once I got to Tokyo, I headed to my hostel and went to bed.

    NEXT DAY 11/24 - TOKYO
     
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  19. disneyobsessed808

    disneyobsessed808 DIS Veteran

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    11/24 - Tokyo Part 1

    My hostel was near Ueno station, so I woke up around 6:30 and headed out. I had a lot that I had wanted to do that day.

    In planning my trip I knew one thing I wanted to do was try some Michelin-starred ramen. There are two Michelin starred spots I believe, but the first one to get one was Tsuta. I am somewhat addicted to ramen. I think over the course of this trip, I had 10 bowls of noodles, and even in California, I have had ramen for 5 dinners in one week. I feel like I am pretty discerning and wanted to try some of the best in the world. Since Tsuta received its Michelin star, they started a ticketing system to reserve a seating. They start giving out tickets at 7 am and you pay 1000 yen, which they give back to you when you return. I arrived at the Sugamo station a little after 7 and got my ticket for Noon.

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    I rode back to Ueno station and walked around Ueno park. I didn't really plan ahead of time to go there, but the things I wanted to do didn't open until 9 am. It was really nice to stroll through the park on a crisp morning. There was actually a lot to discover, though I didn't know exactly what I was seeing

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    Never went to the fushimi inari shrine in Kyoto, so this is as close I've been so far.

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    Next, I headed to Tokyo station to go to a store that probably carries the biggest variety of kitkats of any place I've seen in Japan. It's not that I love kitkats, but I love the variety. I ended up getting plum wine, mochi cake, Tokyo banana, and fancy strawberry flavors. Then hopped back on the train to go to Shibuya station so I could go to the Disney store. I know I go every time to Shibuya crossing, but every time I am in awe of it. My brother had no plans to go, but I felt like my mom needed to see it, so we also went through there later that night.

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    TBH the Disney store sucked there was nothing really cute, except some woodblock toys that were way more than I was willing to pay. So I went to the Tokyu Food Show. I just love these department basement food halls. Again, I took pictures of the expensive fruit there. I wish I could try the melon, but I'm not a really big fan anyway.

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    I did get some grapes - about six grapes for 400 yen. They were really good, but not great.
     
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  20. disneyobsessed808

    disneyobsessed808 DIS Veteran

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    11/24 - Tokyo Part 2

    After exploring Shibuya, my time for my ramen reservation was quickly approaching. I arrived at the restaurant 15 minutes early, and lined up. The staff then greeted me, and gave me back my 1000 yen, and took me in to order. Of course, I accidentally ordered the dipping ramen, but the staff double checked if that's what I really wanted. Shortly after ordering from the vending machine, the staff seated me and this was put in front of me.

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    I was really worried about how fishy the broth would be; however, it wasn't too fishy for me at all. The broth was really complex, and the added truffle cream really elevated the entire thing. My main critique was that the noodles were too soft for my liking, but overall, probably the best bowl of ramen I've ever had.

    With my bowl finished, I went to Nakano Broadway. Its basically a big nerd mall, with lots of toys. In previous visits, they had a lot of Disney stuff, which is what I was after. But really there was not much there for me. The few things I did see were way overpriced.

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    Without any good merchandise, I decided to head to our hotel for the night, where I would be meeting my brother and mom. I arrived before them to the Henn Na Hotel Akasaka, aka the robot hotel. Instead of front desk staff, they have robots behind the counter and kiosks. The robots don't do anything it seems, aside from greet you. They were weird and creepy. It turned out that we couldn't even check in just using the kiosks, and so we had to call the actual human staff.

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    Of all the hotels my brother booked, this was the nicest. Clean rooms, big tv, non-plastic bath. They even had a phone that we could use for free, including internet, international calls and local calls. We used it to call my dad and my mom's friend. My mom and brother arrived, and after resting for a bit, we headed out to Shibuya again so we could go to a cat cafe. My mom was really amazed at Shibuya crossing and the sheer number of people there. Once we got to the cat cafe mocha, we were given slippers to wear, and told that it was 200 yen/10 minutes plus you had to get the drink bar. AYC drink soda - I'm all for that.

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    My mom absolutely loved it. She is kinda a crazy cat lady now that she's in retirement; feeding the feral cats in our neighborhood, and taking them in to get fixed. I, on the other hand, was meh about the experience. The cats were aggressive with the treats. I would have rather gone to the shiba inu cafe.

    For dinner that night, we had made reservations at Ginza Steak. I found out about this place from a youtuber called strictly dumpling. He was saying this was AYCE A5 wagyu and said, this steak was life-changing, so we had to go. We got to the restaurant and were seated around a large Teppanyaki table. Before they get to the steaks, you are given four courses. They were good -a foie gras dish, soup, and a mini burger, but we were dying to get the meat!

    They finally brought out the steaks, and they looked beautiful.

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    There were two cuts they offered, and they cooked the steak right in front of you. Just look at that marbling.

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    The steak was absolutely amazing - not life changing but pretty darn close. I really wanted to eat as much as possible - however, it definitely is not AYCE. You get extra steak from your first serving, but they only offer it maybe 3 times, and you can only get 1 piece per reorder. The steaks were about 2-4 ounces each, so they were more like medallions than steaks to be honest. By the end of the meal, I was satisfied hunger wise, but I didn't feel like it was an experience that I would want to have again for the value.

    We headed back to the hotel, and got ready for our next day at Tokyo Disneyland!
     
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  21. disneyobsessed808

    disneyobsessed808 DIS Veteran

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    11/25 - Tokyo Disneyland!

    It's crazy to think this was pretty much just a week ago. I'm back in California and it seems miles away already :(

    We woke up at our hotel and walked to the subway station around 6:45. I wanted to get to the park by opening, so I was kinda pressuring my mom to get ready fast. Having a pocket wifi makes touring Japan so much easier than the first times I went. I easily used google maps for the trains and getting around. We arrived at Maihama station a little before 8 am and headed to the Tokyo Disney Resort Welcome Center, so we could check in to the Sheraton Grande. We were staying there three nights. The line to check in for Sheraton was pretty long - longer than any of the other lines. We finally got to check in and they took our luggage. We got out of there around 8:50 and headed to the park.

    I already purchased our tickets online directly from TDR, so we had the printout tickets that we just folded in eighths. US sized paper is slightly different than the paper they ask you to use, but it worked just fine when they scanned us in and when I was getting fastpasses.

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    Since I was worried my mom might have trouble getting around and standing/walking for long lines or times, I had put in a request for a Guest Assistance Card about a month ahead of time. I believe you can do this 30 days in advance directly through the TDR website. The first thing we did was head to the Main Street House to pick up the GAC. They already had it there and waiting, after I showed them the email confirmation. I didn't have to explain what was needed - I assumed it was already printed on the card, but I don't know.

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    They didn't really give us instructions but I figured it wouldn't be that difficult.

    Once we got that I headed to Monsters Inc to see if they had any fastpasses. They did! So we got them for around 7 pm. Then I headed back to main street where my mom waited so we could get a wheelchair rental. It was actually a good deal - 1000 yen for 2 day rental, and it allowed us to take the wheelchair back to the hotel overnight. They really are trusting as they didn't keep any sort of deposit or information on me. Since I was pushing my mom the entire Disney trip, I didn't get to take as many pictures as I would have liked to actually.

    The first thing we did was head to Pooh's Hunny Hunt to reserve a time with the GAC. It took a while to figure out what was going on or how to get the time. At first the CM saw the card, and sent us to the return line. But then we saw a short line of people, talking to cast members to get a return time. The cast members ask if they are familiar with the ride, if they can walk or climb stairs, if they are ok with dark, close spaces and so on, before they give you a return time. For us, since we are ignorant English-only gaijin, we sometimes had to wait for an English speaking CM or at Pooh, they used an iPhone with Google translate. I find it kind of odd to ask these things, just because someone is in a wheelchair doesn't mean that they would be claustrophobic or afraid of the dark any more so than the people in the "regular" standby line. Anywho, we got our return time, which was pretty much equal to the time listed on the standby wait time. One nice thing is that the CMs usually factored in how long you had been waiting to get ther reservation time. So I think we got in line around 10, but it took about 15 minutes to get our reservation time, and the wait was about 100 minutes I believe, but rather than 100 minutes from 10:15, they put the time from 10 am, so that our reservation time was 11:40.

    In the meantime, we decided to walk around and get some food. We headed to China Voyager, a place I had always wanted to eat at but never was able to since I was traveling with an annoying proselytizing vegan. The line took about 10 minutes and was pretty long, but it moved quickly.

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    My mom ordered a Ma Po Tofu Noodle special set, and I got the Black Pepper Pork Noodle and Nikuman steamed buns.

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    OMG this was soooooooooooooooooooo good. I cannot believe I have been missing out on this every visit. And it's a great value - less than $40 for all this food. I wish theme park food like this was available at our Disneyland (which admittedly does have good stuff).

    We finished our food, and continue walking around adventureland. Then I realized - ooh, I can find the popcorn bucket I've been wanting! So I pulled out my map and pulled up TDR Explorer to find where the popcorn bucket was being sold. It was right at the end of World Bazaar. We got to the line and the awesome CM told us it would be a 50 minute wait. So wait we did! As we waited, the parade was passing by.

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    After an hour of waiting, we finally got it!

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    I love it! The popcorn flavor was caramel - which mas meh. I had seen this bucket online and knew I had to get it.

    It was 11:40 by the time we got the bucket, so we walked over to Pooh to use our reservation time.

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    We just had to go through the fastpass line, and I was able to push my mom until we got to the ride loading area. My mom got out and the CM took the wheelchair to the ride unloading area. The ride as always was amazing! I think my mom loved it as well. Before she went to TDR, she asked, "How can the Winnie the Pooh ride be the best ride?" But now she knows!

    Upon exiting we spent some time in the gift shop, and got some adorable things - more on that later.
     
    Shock13 likes this.

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