Trip Report: Japan 2012 – Day 3, Tokyo Disney Sea and a Journey to Nostalgia

This is going to be a quick and dirty post. Largely because, although we went to Tokyo Disney Sea, we actually didn’t do anything there. Turns out, the day we went, it was the last Friday of Japan’s Spring Break. Every single ride had a 2-3+ hour wait time; every food cart for stinking popcorn must have had an hour long wait, too. Okay, the truth is that we’re not really Disney people. You may be and can handle the lines and the mouse ears and the good cheer. So, more power to you. My one contribution to your experience – these are two links to Japan Disney Crowd Calendars: here (English) and here (Japanese). According to those calendars, we chose a day that ranked a 95 out of 100 on crowd size. I recommend choosing more wisely.

Pictures start off on the Disney Monorail. From Tokyo Station, it only takes about 15 minutes to get to Maihama Station in Chiba Prefecture (fronting Disney). From there, it’s a short walk to the Monorail.

On the Disney Monorail. Image Credit: T.

Welcome to Tokyo Disneyland. Note: your wait from this point will be 200+ minutes. Might as well just pay us your money and you can just go home now. Please exit through the gift shop, please.

Tokyo Disneyland, Walkway to Entrance. Image Credit: Ryan.

Okay, I guess a little guidance – Tokyo Disney Land is very much like the California Disneyland except in miniature. It has it’s own unique flavor, obviously, but many of the rides are similar. You’ll even find an It’s a Small World ride sung completely in Japanese. Disney Sea, however, is more of an open, ocean-themed park with seven “ports of call” to wander through. There are some cool rides, but there’s less emphasis on rides in this park.

Mediterranean Harbor and Ryan Contemplating What the Heck He’s Doing at Disney. Image Credit: T.

And lunch. Believe us, it was crowded enough that after a quick survey of the park, we went straight here to at least secure a meal. This is Magellan’s, one of Disney Sea’s fine dining restaurants.

Entrance to Magellan’s. Image Credit: Ryan.

It’s actually a pretty cool set up in here. Another Disney tip: ask for the “secret room” to be led to a hidden bookcase that reveals a private dining room in a wine cellar.

Globe and Fresco, Magellan’s. Image Credit: Ryan.

First course: deconstructed vegetable appetizer.

First Course, Magellan’s. Image Credit: Ryan.

Second Course: Butterfish on a bed of risotto with olives and tomatoes.

Second Course, Magellan’s. Image Credit: Ryan.

Third Course: Beef tenderloin served with puff pastry mushroom stuffed stars and assorted vegetable balls.

Third Course, Magellan’s. Image Credit: Ryan.

Dessert Course: fancy, schmancy. Basically, a mousse, fruits and ice cream.

Dessert Course, Magellan’s. Image Credit: Ryan.

After lunch, we went to by far the neatest part of Disney Sea that you get to experience without waiting in a 200 minute line: Ariel’s Grotto in the Mermaid’s Lagoon.

Ariel’s Grotto. Image Credit: Ryan.

The gift and apparel shop. Located in the whale’s mouth. There’s an appropriate metaphor to be applied here. But I was most disappointed in the fact that I couldn’t find a quiet niche to take a nap in.

Gift Shop, Ariel’s Grotto. Image Credit: Ryan.

And on to more crowds. This time on the Arabian Coast.

Arabian Coast (1). Image Credit: Ryan.

And here.

Arabian Coast (2). Image Credit: Ryan.

And here. Okay, we’re out. I’m sure you’ll take better pictures on your trip.

Arabian Coast (3). Image Credit: Ryan.

So, with some time to spare, we went down to Goi-Higashi, Ichihara City to visit the town I lived in for a few years. You’ll never go this far down into Chiba (unless, for some reason, you’re big fans of Vonds Ichihara and the Division 2 Japan Soccer League), but if you do there’s one highlight…

Goi Train Station. Image Credit: Ryan.

If you ever find yourself in Goi, look up Kitakata Ramen Keisui (喜多方ラーメン圭水). I’ve eaten ramen all over Japan and I still think this is one of the best bowls. But, as this shop was about a 3 minute walk from where I lived, perhaps it’s just nostalgia.

Kitakata Ramen Keisui. Image Credit: Ryan.

Regardless, this is a great bowl of ramen. (So far) unbeatable char siu.

Kitakata-Style Ramen. Image Credit: Ryan.

And that was pretty much our day.


Questions, Comments or Criticisms?