Thursday, August 6, 2009

Japan 2: Tokyo Disney Sea

So, what is so special about Tokyo Disney Sea? (other that most people never see it because it is in Japan ;-) Near Tokyo they have two Disney parks next to each other: Tokyo DisneyLand with all the well-known attraction and Tokyo DisneySea, a park with a unique zone layout and zones like Mysterious Island (a Jules Verne zone) and the Lost River Delta - the Indiana Jones zone.

Take a look at the park layout. DisneySea consists of seven zones. The backside of the Disney hotel at the entrance shows Venice, the zone is called Mediterranean Harbor. To the left you have American Waterfront and Port Discovery. To the right are the more childish Mermaid Lagoon and Arabian Coast. In the center of the park is Mysterious Island (with the volcano Mount Prometheus that breaks out regularly). And on the far side from the entrance is the best theme park zone you can imagine: The Lost River Delta.

All the zones are connected to some body of water. In case of the Lost River Delta the water is a river running through the South American Yucatan area. You can even arrive at the zone using the Transit Steamer Line. On both sides of the river you can find Indy related attractions and you can cross between the river sides using three bridges. Two of the bridges are regular solid bridges, one is a rope bridge for some Indy fun :-) Keep in mind that the whole area is themed. It's like the usual eye candy you get while in queue for a ride - but is is everywhere. There are excavations, camps, trucks, and you can even find Jock's biplane on the river.

On the side far from the Mysterious Island you will find two major Indiana Jones Rides: Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Crystal Skull (a ride in the same style as the Temple of the Forbidden Eye from California) and Raging Spirits (a roller coaster in the style the Temple of Peril in Disneyland Paris). Between the rides you find the Yucatan Base Camp Grill, a nice restaurant for hungry adventurers, and two small Indy gift shops. On the other side of the river is the Hangar Stage for performances, another cantina, and the Lost River Outfitters, the big Indy gift shop.

The Disney map gives a quite good picture of the layout of the whole zone.

To get to the Disney parks you have to take the JR Keiyo Line from Tokyo Station. The parks are at Maihama station. There you can board the Disney monorail that circles both parks and the hotels. Been there six times now I know two ways to maximize your fun:
- Be there in the early morning. Expect a big crowd. Beat them to the fast pass counter and get a fast pass for your preferred Indy ride. Dash through the whole park and queue yourself for the other Indy ride. This way you get a good start with both rides. Be aware that on holidays/weekends the regular queues are longer that 2.5 hours per ride!
- Save money and get extra fun with an After-6 passport. This is valid for a weekday after 6 pm and costs only 3100 Yen (a regular 1-day passport is 5800 Yen). Pick a rainy day. With this setting you will get a nearly empty park with only 5 minute queues. We could ride *all* major attractions multiple times in less than 2 hours, yeah!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Japan 1: Holiday greetings

This years holidays lead me again to the incredible islands of Japan. It's not that I plan to go there again and again, circumstances just force me ;-) This time we have attended the wedding of close friends (best wished to them!). While in Japan we traveled around to interesting spots including the lovely Iriomote island, a nearly sub-tropical island 3000 km south of Tokyo with rain forests, lots of mangrove trees and funny colored local animals.

Iriomote is famous for the 'Iriomote Yamaneko', the local wildcat. Only 100 of those are still around and the chances to see those is slim. Nevertheless they have lots of signs telling you to slow down to avoid roadkills. We did not spot any cats, not even while trekking trough the jungle to see some waterfalls.

Maybe the best feature of the place (from my point of view) is that there so few tourists, that all the beaches are empty, hehe :-)

Coming next: The latest infos from Tokyo DisneySea, the worlds best Indiana Jones theme park.