Dreams Unlimited Travel Podcast | Tokyo Disneyland & Tokyo DisneySea | 11/06/17

WebmasterJackie

Senior Editor for The DIS
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In this week's episode of the Dreams Unlimited Travel Podcast, John and Kevin discuss their experience traveling to Tokyo Disneyland, Tokyo DisneySea, and Tokyo itself!

Hope you all enjoy the show!

 

TheMaxRebo

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 12, 2008
Very interesting take

I must say that this is about the first time I have heard anything other than glowing praise for Disney Sea which I often see referred to as the best Disney park people have ever been to. By no stretch am I trying to invalidate Kevin and John's opinion (I really hope I don't come off like that), I just find it interesting.

One comparison I did think of to it though was EPCOT. Kevin talked about how it didn't feel like Disney when you could be eating in Greece and see Italy .... but in EPCOT you can be eating in Morocco and see Mexico and Canada and then Future World beyond. Is it just that you are used to EPCOT so that doesn't seem jarring or was this still even more different than that? Or was it that it felt like they were trying to be super immersive, but failed and that is what was the let down?

A lot of Disney Sea reminds me of the Discovery Bay project that was planned by Tony Baxter as an expansion to Disneyland in CA - I wonder if it would feel more "Disney" if it was part of a Castle park rather than having to stand on it's own

Loved the McDonald's Story! The Teddy Roosevelt restaurant seemed interesting ... reminds me of his home - Sagamore Hill - with all the dark wood and dead animals. I think it was a good idea to take that day to see Tokyo - take advantage of being there!

Hope there are coming shows where you cover the rest of your trip. Thanks again @WebmasterJohn and @DisneyKevin!
 

Sarabi's Cubs

DIS Veteran
Joined
Apr 3, 2008
The Tokyo portion of the trip did feel a bit off to me too, and I'm not sure if it was because this was the first park we visited in Asia, and I was adjusting to that, or because it had been so hyped to me as the most beautiful and amazing of all the Disney parks and I had unrealistic expectations, or because there wasn't much time to absorb it all. I didn't really connect with the overall theme of DisneySea, but there were many individual elements that were fantastic! In addition to those John mentioned, I thoroughly enjoyed the Nemo & Friends Sea Rider and the Mermaid Lagoon area. While the latter was clearly designed for little ones with standard kiddieland rides, but the show was fun and the theming was terrific. I also really enjoyed Journey to the Center of the Earth and exploring the Fortress - so much detail in there! The Sinbad ride was charming and the entire Arabian Coast was beautifully themed. The Toy Story Mania area was a big question mark for me. I just couldn't see how it fit in with the rest of the park. I loved the Villains show on the waterfront, but the Shadowlands show with Deer Man's untimely demise was a big huh? That was the one time in Tokyo I felt completely clueless about what was going on.

In Disneyland, the big hits for me included the Haunted Mansion with the Nightmare Before Christmas overlay. I've never experienced that at Disneyland in CA. Pooh's Hunny Hunt was unlike any of the Pooh rides in other parks - it's trackless, so the experience is different each time. Loved it! And Monsters Inc Ride & Go Seek was a fun variation on Buzz Lightyear Spaceranger Spin. Seeing the detail of all of the guest costumes was mesmerizing! Some of them were so creative! I was surprised by the saturation of Duffy and his friends. Everyone seemed to have at least a plush, Duffy ID holder, and keychain if not multiples of each.

The only real disappointment for me in Tokyo was the merchandise. I looked for a tshirt and pins, but it was nearly impossible to find Tokyo specific items. I understand the lack of pins, since there's no trading in Tokyo, but the lack of clothing was surprising. If you were looking for plush or candy, however, you were in heaven! Also, the princess costumes for children were beautiful - real material and not the stiff stuff with netting like we have over here.

Laurie
 
  • rteetz

    Rumors and News Moderator
    Moderator
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    Feb 20, 2013
    A lot of Disney Sea reminds me of the Discovery Bay project that was planned by Tony Baxter as an expansion to Disneyland in CA - I wonder if it would feel more "Disney" if it was part of a Castle park rather than having to stand on it's own
    Yeah I was very surprised by their take on DisneySea. I do hope to visit that park someday but everything I have heard has says this park is simply amazing and beats any Disney park. I think I can understand the disjointed point of view though. Each section is a port area essentially and there is a lagoon in the middle. I think the orientation sort of reminds me of World Showcase. In World Showcase you can see the other countries from a country you are in.
     

    TheMaxRebo

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 12, 2008
    The Tokyo portion of the trip did feel a bit off to me too, and I'm not sure if it was because this was the first park we visited in Asia, and I was adjusting to that, or because it had been so hyped to me as the most beautiful and amazing of all the Disney parks and I had unrealistic expectations, or because there wasn't much time to absorb it all. I didn't really connect with the overall theme of DisneySea, but there were many individual elements that were fantastic! In addition to those John mentioned, I thoroughly enjoyed the Nemo & Friends Sea Rider and the Mermaid Lagoon area. While the latter was clearly designed for little ones with standard kiddieland rides, but the show was fun and the theming was terrific. I also really enjoyed Journey to the Center of the Earth and exploring the Fortress - so much detail in there! The Sinbad ride was charming and the entire Arabian Coast was beautifully themed. The Toy Story Mania area was a big question mark for me. I just couldn't see how it fit in with the rest of the park. I loved the Villains show on the waterfront, but the Shadowlands show with Deer Man's untimely demise was a big huh? That was the one time in Tokyo I felt completely clueless about what was going on.

    In Disneyland, the big hits for me included the Haunted Mansion with the Nightmare Before Christmas overlay. I've never experienced that at Disneyland in CA. Pooh's Hunny Hunt was unlike any of the Pooh rides in other parks - it's trackless, so the experience is different each time. Loved it! And Monsters Inc Ride & Go Seek was a fun variation on Buzz Lightyear Spaceranger Spin. Seeing the detail of all of the guest costumes was mesmerizing! Some of them were so creative! I was surprised by the saturation of Duffy and his friends. Everyone seemed to have at least a plush, Duffy ID holder, and keychain if not multiples of each.

    The only real disappointment for me in Tokyo was the merchandise. I looked for a tshirt and pins, but it was nearly impossible to find Tokyo specific items. I understand the lack of pins, since there's no trading in Tokyo, but the lack of clothing was surprising. If you were looking for plush or candy, however, you were in heaven! Also, the princess costumes for children were beautiful - real material and not the stiff stuff with netting like we have over here.

    Laurie
    Thank you very much for your comments ... and congratulations on you "Every Disney Park" sticker in your signature! :thumbsup2

    I think unrealistic expectations might be something that hits a lot of Disney fans at one point or another - I know for my first visit to Disneyland in CA I think I had unrealistic expectations and left a tad disappointed (just as an example) ... and like when you say that you hear this is the most amazing Disney park you probably have in your head what a Disney park is (typically, a Castle park) but then taken up several notches and when this didn't fit those expectations it could come off disappointed

    Glad you did find a number of things you liked ... I know in Micheal Bowling's review on the Connecting with Walt podcast he mentioned the surprising lake of Tokyo merchandise as well - I must admit I was surprised to hear that
     

    belle41379

    Disney is my happy place.
    Joined
    Jan 29, 2003
    We were also surprised by the lack of merch. They do a weird bag thing they’re too. You get an extra bag with every purchase (presumably to use the second bag to gift the item you bought). We joked that their bag budget must be huge!

    I also enjoyed the Toontown area, and all the Halloween decorations at each characters home.

    Hands down the best ride for me was Pooh’s Hunny Hunt. It was amazing!
     

    bryanb

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 10, 2013
    It's interesting to see the perspective of an American tourist somewhat bewildered by culture shock in a foreign land. Unfamiliar food, language, customs, and traditions. If you think you're just going to a Disney destination, it is easy to forget that it was first and foremost built for the Japanese people and tailored to them. For those looking for a real understanding of Japan, it would probably be more interesting to experience a few days in Tokyo first so that you have the perspective/context needed to understand Disneyland in that world.

    It's not surprising some things seem weird or off-putting. Like menu sets, or a lack of merchandise or food choices. It's really just that guests don't want to buy the same things that Americans buy.

    Having worked at Disneyland, I observe that the Japanese can sometimes be culture shocked at how Americans do things too. I'd be really interested in hearing a podcast about a Japanese guest's observations about an American Disney theme park. My guess is that some observations will be: our cast members are strangely direct, and some of our guests leave trash on the ground (taboo in Japan), or how we have all this weird merchandise in our stores that they are baffled that Americans buy. That some people buy two burgers with their McDonalds meals here. Or that our stores don't automatically offer bags for items we are gifting (this one I learned as a cashier... Japanese guests would say, "these two are gifts" and we don't give them bags for each). That we step on the seats with our dirty feet when we climb into a Pirates boat without thinking twice. Or that you have to give these weird payments (tips) in all sorts of places that the waiter just leaves for you to determine.
     
  • macman752

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 3, 2004
    We enjoyed both Tokyo Parks. @TheMaxRebo 's observation about Disney Sea is correct, it's an Epcot-like park. For us, the standout attractions were Journey to the Center of the Earth and the Tower or Terror. At Disneyland, Pooh's Hunny Hunt was the hands down winner. The Haunted Mansion overlay was very interesting. We always wondered what the Orlando version would look like and now we know.

    The purchase experience was much different. My wife bought a tote bag and accessories at the Tokyo Disneyland Hotel. The experience was something that we will never forget. Each item presented separately and then each was individually wrapped and placed in its own bag. Then all of the small items were placed into the tote page. Then the tote bag was placed into a plastic bag which was then sealed with a security tag. I never did get used to placing my money or credit card in the tray on the counter, I kept handing it directly to the cast member and then held my hand out for my change. Tokyo's practice of wiping the condensation/water from soda and water bottles before handing it to the customer was just amazing.

    The parks were impeccably clean (yes, we did step on the seats of the boats in Pirates). Finally, we found the cast members to very helpful, including one who saw us taking a selfie in front of the castle in the pouring rain and offered to take the picture for us.
     

    SorcererHeidi

    Sorcerer please cast forever love spell for me
    Joined
    Jul 16, 2007
    A bit behind in viewing/listening, but can't wait to watch this one. I, too, have heard about how "amazing and incredible" Tokyo Disney Sea is, so am even more curious to see this!

    Thanx to all for sharing your experiences with us!!
     

    DisneyKevin

    Kelvis
    Moderator
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    Jun 20, 2005
    Hi Folks,

    Lots of things go into forming an opinion.

    We were exhausted and jet lagged.

    It was 95 degrees.

    Our level of expectation was that Disney Seas was the BEST AND MOST INCREDIBLE.

    This was not our experience. It looked and felt like Universal / Island of Adventure.

    I think Disneyland Paris is a far more beautiful park.

    I think Shanghai Disneyland is INCREDIBLE.

    I think the Magic Kingdom at WDW is wondrous.

    I felt Disney Seas was "meh".

    It's just an opinion.
     

    WebmasterJohn

    Genius
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    Dec 17, 1999
    Laurie - thanks for 'backing up' our experience and impression of DisneySea. We are taking a beating on the youtube comments from folks who (not-so-politely) disagree with our review of that park.

    I totally respect if folks have a different opinion than we did. We very may have had some unrealistic expectations based on what we had heard from others who have visited that park - I just don't believe it is the most beautiful of all the Disney parks.

    I certainly hope that anyone who wants to see the Tokyo Parks get a chance to go and form their own opinions.
     
  • SorcererHeidi

    Sorcerer please cast forever love spell for me
    Joined
    Jul 16, 2007
    @WebmasterJohn, @DisneyKevin One of the reasons why I started, and continue, to watch ALL of the DIS podcasts/vlogs, etc. is because they ARE honest, balanced, and. And yes - they ARE opinions, but I RESPECT yours, because of all those reasons. And - as has been said many times - I can watch, or not, my choice.

    So - bravo - for continuing to remain who I thought you all were/are, and I will continue to choose to respect, and watch! Sorry,. and sad to hear you are getting bashed by others who feel otherwise. Not nice, or fair.
     

    BradChristian

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jan 6, 2015
    I see John and Kevin have responded.. I was about to share about how I was shocked at some of the YouTube comments.

    I think John and Kevin have a good travel agent sensibility that makes their reviews very sensitive to the management of expectations for future clients... I think their honest review is very beneficial and sets the stage for individuals to have expectations be met or even better... exceeded when they too experience these destinations in the future.
     

    Cousin Orville

    Inventor of Air Cooling
    Joined
    Aug 27, 2000
    Don't ever read YouTube comments! There's no time for that... nonsense.

    You guys gave an honest review. Thumbs up! I'm actually thankful. As someone who has never been to DisneySea (but wants to go) it helps bring it back down to Earth. It's just a theme park, and people have differing opinions on it. I for one would be interested if anyone on the trip felt it was more impressive than Shanghai. That would be my benchmark now.

    Shanghai = incredible
    Paris = beautiful
    WDW = home
     

    OKW Lover

    Retired and living 2 miles from The Castle.
    DIS Lifetime Sponsor
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    Shanghai = incredible
    Paris = beautiful
    WDW = home
    Exactly!

    Val & I also felt very "out of place" in Tokyo. Everywhere else on this trip as well. But it probably hit us harder in Tokyo because we were so jet-lagged from the flight and then thrust into a very foreign world. A little hard to explain and unexpected, especially since we've also done DL Paris and weren't quite affected that way.

    As far as Disney Seas goes I will say there was lots of great theming. Individual vignettes were gorgeous. Obviously the "theme" is cities that are on the oceans. But other than the ocean there really wasn't much to tie this all together. Transitions from one "location" to another were abrupt and then finding a whole toy story land without any particular ocean connection was really strange.

    Still, we did enjoy seeing the parks and loved the hotel there.
     

    WebmasterJohn

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    Shanghai = incredible
    Paris = beautiful
    WDW = home
    I agree with this 100%.

    It's a bit of toss up for me between Paris and Shanghai for which park is prettier - but I think Shanghai wins by a hair.

    We just recorded next weeks show about the ABD overall (leaving Hong Kong Disneyland and Shanghai Disneyland for future shows) and I mention that the Shanghai Disneyland Hotel might be the most beautiful Disney hotel I have ever been in. It's a toss up with Aulani but I think Aulani wins for location and views.
     

    TheMaxRebo

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 12, 2008
    Thanks for commenting Kevin and John - I certainly hope anything I said came off as respenlctful/non-YouTube commenty :D

    I definitely didn't mean to imply your opinion was wrong or anything - just trying to understand it a bit more as it is different than most takes I have read / heard - but your explanation certainly makes sense and I think expectations (with everything but especially with things you have an emotional connection to, like Disney) can really impact your final take on something
     

    TheMaxRebo

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 12, 2008
    I agree with this 100%.

    It's a bit of toss up for me between Paris and Shanghai for which park is prettier - but I think Shanghai wins by a hair.

    We just recorded next weeks show about the ABD overall (leaving Hong Kong Disneyland and Shanghai Disneyland for future shows) and I mention that the Shanghai Disneyland Hotel might be the most beautiful Disney hotel I have ever been in. It's a toss up with Aulani but I think Aulani wins for location and views.
    Looking forward to those shows! Hong Kong Disney is the only international park I have been to and I think it is a bit overlooked so looking forward to hearing your take on it (spoiler: I really liked it and found it quite charming and just fun to be in)
     

    Cousin Orville

    Inventor of Air Cooling
    Joined
    Aug 27, 2000
    I agree with this 100%.

    ...I mention that the Shanghai Disneyland Hotel might be the most beautiful Disney hotel I have ever been in. It's a toss up with Aulani but I think Aulani wins for location and views.
    Aulani is possibly my favorite hotel of all time. There are a few up there. But there's so many variables that go into that.

    SHDL Hotel has the most gorgeous lobby I've ever seen. Disney or otherwise. Admittedly, it could be hyperbole, but I just can't think of a more beautiful space that I've experienced. Not to say the best overall hotel, just the most gorgeous. I've seen lots of photos and youtube videos on it, but when I walked into the lobby that evening I quickly and involuntarily exclaimed, "holy cow!", or something less PG.

    SHDL Hotel has gorgeous public spaces. The staff at concierge and all the greeters in the lobby were top notch. The signature restaurant, Aurora, was excellent. The rooms were ok. Overall, I think SHDL is as close to a 5 star hotel as it gets in in the world of Disney.
     


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