Friday, May 3, 2013

Sunday at TOKYO DISNEYLAND (part 1 of 2)

After hours and hours of research over the past couple months, I knew we were ready to jump right into the fun!  

When I tell you I researched, I'm talking I had a folder of papers and notes.  We went at this time of the year, because all of our research told us it was the least busy time.  Somehow, though, we both managed to completely miss any mention of it being Tokyo Disney's 30th Anniversary.

We were a little worried about the crowds that could possibly come for this milestone, but we also knew that Japan had a big holiday called Golden Week a couple weeks after our trip where the park is super packed and traveling is at an all time high there.  We hoped that people would stay away during our trip, just because they were having such a big chunk of time off just a couple weeks later and were probably already planning on visiting Disney then.

And guess what......That's exactly what happened!  Yes, there were a lot of people at the park, but I have to say that the longest we ever waited for a ride was 30 minutes, and on every other ride we managed to use a Fast Pass or the line was so short we walked right in.  We even rode several rides many times in a row.  We rode more rides than we thought was going to be possible, so that's pretty awesome too!  We went at the perfect time of year, and the weather was amazing (cold at night due to wind but the rest of the day was a no jacket kind of sunny day)!

So in the end, being at Tokyo Disney was fabulous enough in itself, but being there for the 30th Anniversary celebrations turned out to make our trip extra magical!  :)

We made a plan for what we wanted to do during our 2 1/2 days at the parks.  We had half of Sunday and all day Monday and Tuesday at Tokyo Disney.  After looking through the attractions and seeing that there was more for us, a family with young children, to do at Disneyland than at Disney Sea, we decided to do Disneyland on our 1/2 day on Sunday, Disneyland for the full day on Monday, and Disney Sea for the full day on Tuesday.  It really did work out perfectly like that for us, and we were able to do so many more things than we thought possible due to researching beforehand and planning out our days the night before so we could hit the ground running in the morning.

 After checking in at our hotel, Hilton Tokyo Bay, it was time to start our adventure.  You can purchase park tickets directly from our hotel, so we bought Starlight Passports (that's what they call the park tickets on Sunday that are only good from 3 pm to close) for Talton and I there.  We didn't have to buy park tickets for the boys on any day because of their age...score! 

 FYI in case you're ever wanting to go here--our hotel only accepted Japanese Yen, no credit cards, to purchase the park tickets.  Luckily, we had Yen on us already, but we also learned from research that the nearest ATM that serviced international cards was at Ikspiari, a building on the outskirts of the park accessible by the monorail (it's one of the only four stops the monorail makes) that houses tons of stores and restaurants.

To get from our hotel to the park, we took advantage of the free, quick ride (literally just a couple minutes) on the Disney Resort Cruiser.

How cute are they with their little backpacks on?!
 There is no mistaking you're at Disney.  These are the air vents on the bus!

This adorable little bus picked up from the handful of Disney Resort Hotels near ours and dropped you off at the monorail station (AKA "Disney Resort Line").  We did this the first time we left the hotel and headed to the park, but we soon realized that we could see the door of our hotel from the monorail station (picture below) and simply walked across the street to it every time from then on.

This would be a good time to mention that we took our front to back double stroller everywhere at our hotel and Disney.  It fit everywhere we went....on the Disney Resort Cruiser, on the monorail, they had stroller gates that opened at every ticket stand to enter the park, and there were parking lots for strollers at every single ride in both parks (yes, stroller parking lots...more on that later).

Before we could get on the monorail, we had to purchase tickets for that.  Instead of doing a single trip ticket, we decided to buy a 3 day pass for the monorail as it could be used as many times as we wanted over the three day period.  This was perfect for us, because we knew we'd be traveling between the park and the hotel at least a couple times a day.

This is the map that shows you the route the monorail takes.  It has 4 stops: Bayside Station (where the Tokyo Disney Resort Official Hotels are located), Disney Sea Station, Resort Gateway Station (Ikspiari is here), and Disneyland Station. It simply makes a big circle over and over again, all day long.

From the moment you step foot into the monorail station, you are greeted by the sound of glorious Disney music to get you in the mood for your short ride to the park.  They also play Disney music on the monorail itself, and because the monorail has several trains that run along it (it picks up at each station every 6 minutes), we found each train to be decorated differently on the inside.  That was fun to see, and the music totally got us even more excited to be on our way to Disneyland!

They were relaxing and waiting patiently to arrive at Disneyland for the first time.  Poor boys, we kept telling them we were going there all day, but it sounded like this: "Let's get on the plane to go to Disneyland!  Now we have to take a bus that will take us to Disneyland!  We have to check in at our hotel, and then we'll go to do fun stuff at Disneyland!"  They were so patient, and we were so proud of them for hanging in there.
 I just loved all the little details everywhere.  These were the ceiling handles you hold on to if you're standing on the monorail.

I was a little excited....okay, maybe more than a little.  :)
Don't let Connar's face fool you.  He too couldn't wait to step foot into Disneyland!  He was just tired from the plane and bus rides and having to wait until our 3 pm Starlight Passport would allow us entry into the park.  :)

 Can you see Cinderella's Castle at the very end of the World Bazaar area???  It was so cool to walk through here and see that for the first time!

The "Grand Circuit Raceway" was the first ride we went on, and then it was nonstop from that point forward for the next couple days!
 At every attraction, there is a "cast member" who is dressed to fit the part of that attraction.
 There is also a wait time posted for each ride.
 The line looks long, but it really did go pretty quickly.
  C was ready to jump right into that car and take off!  We were so thankful that they allowed him to "drive" the car.  Regardless of who drove, the car stayed on the track, only went up to a certain speed, and stopped if it got too close to the car in front of it.  To prove to you that anyone can drive....P drove our car screaming and using all his might to wiggle out of the seatbelt for me to hold him.  His hands never touched the steering wheel.  :)  I think the cars were too loud for him to enjoy this one.

When we walked by "Pooh's Hunny Hunt", the line was crazy long, so we vowed to return later to see if it had gone down.  This is one of the most popular rides, so while we wanted to ride it at some point, we were not going to subject C & P to stand in that line for 1 - 1 1/2 hours to do so....and especially because they hadn't done too many things at Disneyland yet and we owed that to them considering all the traveling and waiting they'd endured earlier in the day.

 Welcome to Minnie Mouse's house!
 her mailbox
 her living room...with a framed picture of her love, Mickey, sitting on the mantel
 her bed
 her vanity
 her refrigerator door, complete with a recipe for "Minnie's Famous Chewy Cheesy Chip Cookies" and a grocery list full of cheese related know, cheese because she's a mouse!
 the items inside her refrigerator were mostly cheese related too  :)
 She had a cake baking in her oven,
 and her dishwasher was on full blast.

Talton took Connar on his first roller coaster ride ever.  This is "Gadget's Go Coaster".
 Parker waited with me outside the gates and had a snack.  :)
 Look how excited he was!  I love this picture of the two of them.
And this was him afterwards.  He said it was too fast.  I swear, it looked innocent enough, but I guess he just wasn't quite ready for that yet.  He's a brave guy though and went on to continue trying new rides, even if he wasn't completely sure about them at first.

I took C on the tea cups at "Alice's Tea Party".
I didn't want to turn him too fast for fear of making him sick.  He loved the spinning and was not ready to get off when they stopped.

We stopped by the Lucky Nugget Cafe for dinner: chicken and fries.  The chicken was actually really good.  We placed a small order at first, thinking we wanted to be sure we liked it before we ordered enough food to fill everyone up, but when we turned from our table to go order more food, they had already closed for the night.  Boo for that, because the park was still open for at least another 2 hours.  We ended up ordering room service later in the hotel.

The Mark Twain Riverboat made its way around a circular waterway next to the place we ate at.

There are so many pictures (I took over 1000 pictures those four days, and no, I won't be posting them all!) that I'm going to have to break up each day into more than one post.  Click on the next post, "Sunday at TOKYO DISNEYLAND (part 2 of 2)", to see the rest of our Sunday night adventures at Tokyo Disneyland!  I promise it'll be worth it.  :)

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