I was half excited to go to Disneyland, and more excited to go to Disney Sea. Unfortunately, our one full day was for Disneyland, so I didn’t get see as much of Disney Sea as I wanted. Luckily, Tokyo Disneyland outdoes itself everyday, and coming here is still an experience, even if you’ve been to the original. Tokyo’s is smaller than the original Disneyland in Anaheim, and it was much easier to traverse through the park, to the delight of my feet. Most of all the fun stuff from Anaheim’s Disneyland was recreated in Tokyo, such as Space Mountain, Big Thunder, Splash Mountain, the Haunted Mansion, even the Buzz Lightyear game. They still do the Electric Light Parade at night, which was especially nostalgic to see. And Cinderella’s castle is so much better than Sleeping Beauty’s! It’s bigger, looks less like a facade, and you can even sit on a royal chair. However, I do like Sleeping Beauty’s artful telling of the story better than Cinderella’s exhibition of scenes recreated with mixed media. We decided not to ride Jungle Adventure, so I can’t say whether it had Japanese comedy or not. I imagine it would be pretty boring for us, but not so much for homogenous Japan.
Also, popcorn carts everywhere! I really wanted a popcorn bin, but couldn’t find one I wanted, except the ones on other people’s shoulders. I’ve found that I have a fascination for egg-shaped things, at one point even thinking that an Egg-Cube version of the Nintendo GameCube was a great idea. So, naturally, I coveted the egg-shaped bowtie Mickey buckets, and restrained myself from grabbing them off kids’ backs. Ah, materialism.
At some point, it hit me that when I first went to Disneyland in America, it was like the movies come to life. There was definitely a sense of wonder, but also, I grew up with a lot of the Disney classics, and Western sensibilities gave context and familiarity to the environment. After living in the Japanese countryside for more than half a year, and wrapping my head around non-cosmopolitan Japanese society, landscapes, and cultural symbols, coming to Tokyo Disneyland felt like I had gone back to California, and it was Asian American day for anime fans because while there were lots of normal looking families, high school and junior high students in uniform were also visiting the park. It made me wonder if Japanese visitors who come to Disneyland for the first time felt as if they were in a strange new land, as if it were a dream. For instance, turkey legs had long lines; people were really curious about trying it. It was being sold in Adventureland, rather than at DisneySea’s Mediterranean Harbor, which features Italy during the Renaissance, which is really weird, because back home, it’s something you would relate to with Renaissance Faires. Now that I think about it, this is doubly cultural appropriated turkey legs!!
Entering DisneySea for the first time was incredible. It was much bigger, and the environment makes you feel like you’ve really stepped into a movie set. The park was made to be more adult oriented, with exciting roller coaster rides, open bottle/cup alcoholic drinks everywhere, but it was majestic. Maybe it’s the awe of coming to the park for the first time. But we were so tired from the day before that we only hit the best rides at Disney Sea. Exploring all the other attractions will be for another day.