Visit to Tokyo Disneyland: the Second Day
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After our Evening at Tokyo Disneyland, we awoke the next morning to find this view from the hotel window....

Hints of Magic an empty parking lot -- Hyatt Hotel at Tokyo Disneyland -- Urayasu, Chiba, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 VR @ 130 mm — 1/1600 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Hints of Magic
an empty parking lot

After checking out of the hotel, we headed over to Disneyland to see it for the first time in the daylight. Fumie and Anthony got ear-head-things, Fumie's with a Minny bow, and Anthony's with a Wizard's hat (from Fantasia, the first film my folks ever took me to)....

Pair of Mice -- Tokyo Disneyland -- Urayasu, Chiba, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 VR @ 34 mm — 1/250 sec, f/13, ISO 900 — map & image datanearby photos
Pair of Mice
The Adventure Begins -- Tokyo Disneyland -- Urayasu, Chiba, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 VR @ 38 mm — 1/320 sec, f/5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
The Adventure Begins

Lines early on had hour-long wait times, but we'd read about the “fastpass” system that allows you to get a ticket that reserves a spot for later to an expedited line. It doesn't get you in any more quickly, but allows you to spend the wait doing other things beside standing in line.... or so I thought.

The wait for the Space Mountain in-the-dark roller coaster was an hour when we first got there. Having done it the previous night (waiting only 45 minutes!) and really enjoyed it, Anthony wanted to do it again, so, we got the fastpass thing..... only to find out we could actually use it after about three hours, and couldn't use any fastpass again until then. (Fast-forward to then, by the time we could use it again, the reservations were for 9pm, long after we had to leave, so for us it turned out to be a one-time-only thing.)

Wait for the Autotopia was only 20 minutes, so we did that, allowing me to try to get some photos in the presence of actual light this time....

Pedal to the Metal at 3.7mph -- Tokyo Disneyland -- Urayasu, Chiba, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 VR @ 18 mm — 1/250 sec, f/5, ISO 250 — map & image datanearby photos
Pedal to the Metal
at 3.7mph
Vigilant of the Competition -- Tokyo Disneyland -- Urayasu, Chiba, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 VR @ 18 mm — 1/400 sec, f/5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Vigilant of the Competition
Way Cool Dude, Dude -- Tokyo Disneyland -- Urayasu, Chiba, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 VR @ 120 mm — 1/320 sec, f/5.3, ISO 280 — map & image datanearby photos
Way Cool Dude, Dude

While eating lunch, this guy was at the facing table with his family, and I was struck by how mainstream normal his wife and kids looked compared to his 60s hippy motif. I was really perplexed by the wide gap until after a long while it dawned on me: he was dressed up as a pirate, like Johnny Depp in Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean franchise (for which Depp was paid on the order of $50,000,000 so far, but I digress).

A lot of people, kids and adults, get the clip-on ears like Fumie and Anthony (magnitudes more than I remember in the California Disneyland 10 years ago), but because this was Halloween season, customers were allowed to dress up in full costume, so long as it was a character from a Disney film or park attraction. And boy, did they ever!

Typical Park Visitors -- Tokyo Disneyland -- Urayasu, Chiba, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 VR @ 90 mm — 1/1000 sec, f/5.3, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Typical Park Visitors

When we first arrived the previous night, I didn't make the connection to Halloween and thought that perhaps Disneyland was just a magnet for folks who liked to dress up all fancy and frilly, like this polite couple I met on a train. I was somewhat relieved to realize the Halloween connection.... somewhat.

Most people who dressed up did so way over the top, so the relatively subtle costume of the pirate guy totally caught me off guard, and for 20 minutes I thought it was really his style.

Here are a few more park visitors....

King Mickey and his Pages -- Tokyo Disneyland -- Urayasu, Chiba, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 VR @ 150 mm — 1/640 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
King Mickey and his Pages
Yellow Idunno Taking Photo of White Idunno -- Tokyo Disneyland -- Urayasu, Chiba, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 VR @ 82 mm — 1/320 sec, f/5, ISO 220 — map & image datanearby photos
Yellow Idunno Taking Photo of White Idunno
Regal -- Tokyo Disneyland -- Urayasu, Chiba, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 VR @ 200 mm — 1/400 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Regal
Incontinent Duck? Pirate in the background is just a bonus -- Tokyo Disneyland -- Urayasu, Chiba, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 VR @ 52 mm — 1/320 sec, f/5, ISO 1250 — map & image datanearby photos
Incontinent Duck?
Pirate in the background is just a bonus
Blue Idunno -- Tokyo Disneyland -- Urayasu, Chiba, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 VR @ 200 mm — 1/320 sec, f/5.6, ISO 2000 — map & image datanearby photos
Blue Idunno
Hawaiian Mickey? -- Tokyo Disneyland -- Urayasu, Chiba, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 VR @ 95 mm — 1/320 sec, f/5.3, ISO 2200 — map & image datanearby photos
Hawaiian Mickey?

Dressed-up park patrons exceeded dressed-up staff by several orders of magnitude in number, and often in complexity and ornateness. It was often difficult at first glance to tell whether a well-done costume was park patron or park staff, but we soon figured out that those carrying cameras or anything else out of character were customers.

As it got later, lines got longer, stretching past two hours, so we ended up trying whatever seemed to have a shorter line, almost regardless of what it was. We saw one building whose attraction was big enough that it was among those with an electronic sign indicating the wait, and that the wait was a shockingly scant 10 minutes, so having no idea what it was, we entered.

It was wonderful. It turns out that it was the 3D movie experience “Honey, I Shrunk the Audience” (related to the 1989 movie Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, which I saw back then and recall it as being funny and cute). This Disney attraction was the first 3D movie I'd ever seen, and it was fantastic. Fumie and Anthony also enjoyed it very much. Highly recommend.

(Now that I think about it, while doing my undergraduate at Kent, for some kind of class on presentations or media or something, I presented a 3D slideshow. I mounted two cameras next to each other on a board, loaded them with slide film, and took various shots around the campus. For the presentation I placed polarizing filters in front of the projector lenses, and give the class members polarized-lens glasses. Hmmm, I seem to remember getting the glasses from my high-school physics teacher, so maybe this was for a high-school class. I overlapped the two for several years, so now I get confused about what was what. Anyway, I don't remember much about the slideshow, so I'll manufacture the memory that the 3D effect was really cool. 🙂 )

The line for the Dumbo ride was “only” 45 minutes, and Anthony wanted to try it, so he got in line with Fumie. The wait was excruciatingly slow because while the ride lasted for only 1½ minutes, it took a full four minutes to get people set up between rides, so the lack of activity made glaciers feel dynamic and exciting.

Finally Boarding The Dumbo Jet -- Tokyo Disneyland -- Urayasu, Chiba, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 VR @ 18 mm — 1/320 sec, f/3.5, ISO 3200 — map & image datanearby photos
Finally Boarding The Dumbo Jet
Worth the Wait perhaps -- Tokyo Disneyland -- Urayasu, Chiba, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 VR @ 170 mm — 1/320 sec, f/5.6, ISO 1400 — map & image datanearby photos
Worth the Wait
perhaps

As the deadline approached for our return to Kyoto, the possibilities dwindled to almost nothing, but we eventually found one attraction devoid of all customers due to an impending parade of some kind: Country Bear Jamboree. Its overwhelming appeal was that the wait was only 15 minutes (when the next show would start), so we sat alone for 14 minutes in the waiting room. Just before it started, a mother showed up with her toddler, and together the five of us filed into the theater designed for hundreds.

Animatronic Singing Bears -- Tokyo Disneyland -- Urayasu, Chiba, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Sigma 30mm f/1.4 — 1/160 sec, f/1.4, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Animatronic Singing Bears

Seven-year-old Anthony was on the older edge of the target audience, I think. Fumie and I took the opportunity to rest.

Then we made our way out to train station and headed home...

One of the Many Underground Passageways at Tokyo Station -- Tokyo, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Sigma 30mm f/1.4 — 1/100 sec, f/1.4, ISO 280 — map & image datanearby photos
One of the Many Underground Passageways at
Tokyo Station
Snoozing at 254kph on a bullet train 30 minutes out of Tokyo -- On the bullet train -- Odawara, Kanagawa, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Sigma 30mm f/1.4 — 1/100 sec, f/3.2, ISO 500 — map & image datanearby photos
Snoozing at 254kph
on a bullet train 30 minutes out of Tokyo

The lines were long and the crowds, er, crowded, but it could have been much, much worse. Consider the view of the parking lot from our hotel window in the morning, showing overflow parking #5 or the like:

No Overflow October 30, 2009 -- Hyatt Hotel at Tokyo Disneyland -- Urayasu, Chiba, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 VR @ 36 mm — 1/250 sec, f/13, ISO 320 — map & image datanearby photos
No Overflow
October 30, 2009

Now consider the same location as seen on Google Maps on Dec 31, 2007:


Overflow!
From Google Maps, December 31, 2007

Yikes. Visit the map and pan over to the park, and judging from the ant-like groups of people one can see, the crowds that day seemed comparable to what we experienced, though part of that might be some creative editing of the satellite photos (they're clearly edited, as this Photoshop disaster illustrates).

We'd chosen to go when we did — a Thursday evening and Friday day — because Anthony's school was out for something school specific that Friday, and so most other kids across the country would still be in school (and, the point being, not in line in front of us at Disneyland).

I just couldn't imagine going on a weekend or holiday. If you use the “Historical Imagery” feature of Google Earth, you'll find views with shockingly more people.

It was a good trip and I'm glad to have it under my belt, but the next time Anthony has a day off from school that most other kids don't, we'll likely head to the much-closer KidZania instead.


All 4 comments so far, oldest first...

Honey I Shrunk the Audience has been in MGM studios FOREVER. That’s in Disney World, the true Disney to me since I grew up in Florida.

It’s neat that all the patrons were dressed up. This year my wife and I were Alice and The Mad Hatter.

— comment by Eric Mesa on November 10th, 2009 at 12:58pm JST (8 years, 1 month ago) comment permalink

You are a good dad. I absolutely dread the day when I will have to perform my fatherly duties and take my kids to Disneyland, Universal Studios, Jidai Matsuri, or Gion Matsuri. I just loathe all that stuff. My parents took me, though, so I’m resigned to paying my dues and taking my own kids…..

— comment by Zak on November 10th, 2009 at 6:20pm JST (8 years, 1 month ago) comment permalink

good info all around. my favorite line was ‘…the lack of activity made glaciers feel dynamic and exciting.’
i will (mentally) prepare accordingly for my hatsu TDR w/ kids. that event has fortunately been postponed to a warmer season and a weekday! (insert appropriate happy-dance smiley face here)

— comment by kp on January 27th, 2010 at 10:19am JST (7 years, 11 months ago) comment permalink

My husband had to go (I think twice) to Paris Disneyland with clients for his job, but my son and I never. But we went once to a similar park called “Wallabi” and my husband and son went twice to “Hirakata”-Park.

— comment by Anne on September 18th, 2012 at 8:24pm JST (5 years, 3 months ago) comment permalink
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