Japan 2019 – Day 4

(This post is part of a series, you can start here or the view the previous post. You can also checkout the Google Photos album, which has all the pictures I took, as well as those of Mikel and Jesse.)

I once again woke up early, at 5am. Ugh. I tried to go to back to sleep and intermittently did until 8am, but I think that just made me groggy for some of the day. When I got up, Jesse and Mikel were trying to figure out Tokyo Disney stuff.

I forget what prompted things, but we preferred to purchase tickets online before arriving, just to be sure the hour-long trip (only about three and a half dollars) to get there was not a waste. Imagine how much it would suck if we got there and the park was already at capacity. For a Tuesday I thought that unlikely, but some people in the US are on spring break right now so maybe it’s a thing here too.

Jesse made another call to his concierge service because the Tokyo Disney website said you had to made an appointment for English. The concierge said they would call back, and after some talking between the three us, we decided we did not want to wait, so we headed out at 9am knowing we were balancing the risk of each possibility of wasting time. We also found out that you had to print tickets for online anyway, which would have been a journey itself.

When we were basically at the train station, Jesse realized he had forgotten his train card. We immediately decided to head back, but Jesse volunteered to run back while we just waited. In retrospect, he probably could have gotten a replacement card at the station by providing his name and birthday and stuff but that thought didn’t occur to us until later. He made it back to us huffing and puffing.

While we were walking for our transfer (we had to walk to a different station), I ran into this view I enjoyed:

Jesse looking up in awe

We had a hard time with the transfer. Google Maps was confidently but incorrectly giving us our location and it was throwing us off. Fortunately Mikel noticed what looked like the entrance to an underground train, even though it had very little traffic compared to all the other ones we’d seen. It turned out he was right, and we were on our way.

When we got to the park we realized (though we suspected from the website) that they don’t have a “park hopper” pass to visit the main place and the sea one, which was a bummer. It would have cost about double (~$150 total) to purchase both tickets so we decided to just stick to the main park. Here’s Jesse making a funny face as we arrive:

Jesse making a funny face

Here was our view right after we got through the ticket gate:

One of my first impressions at the park was there was less English than I expected. It was totally fine and just about all (if not all-all) of the big signs of names of things were in English though.

Jesse used to work at Disneyland in California and apparently the park layouts are similar so we had our own expert leading us around. In the first line we stood in, Jesse told us a sweet story of when he worked at Disneyland where he made a little girl so happy.

I learned how Fastpass works today too. I thought you paid to skip the line, which I think is morally dubious, but I would have done it since we have limited time while on vacation (as nice this trip has been, it’ll be a while before I come back). But apparently you just go to the ride you want, get a Fastpass for free, and come back at an allotted time (about an hour window). You cannot get another Fastpass right away, and the Fastpass ticket you have says exactly when you can get the next one. I love it and feel zero guilt, which is also great. You can also see how long the wait is with Fastpass if you physically go to the ride:

There was a one or two person line to get the Fastpass (totally fine)

The first ride we went on was the Star Wars one. It was an indoor roller coaster with a digital screen at the front, which you watched with 3D glasses. I expected to enjoy it but it exceeded my expectations, the visuals were really cool and synchronized very well with the movement. Here’s a robot:

AND IT MOVES

After that we went to lunch. That was pretty uneventful, other than me almost saying “gracias” to the hostess, and this plaque that makes me resent what Disney apparently thinks real men are:

Apparently I’m not a real man because I don’t wear a top hat

Next up we got to go to Space Mountain, from our Fastpass. It was loads of fun, and my favorite part was all of Jesse’s screaming. I think Mikel enjoyed that too. Worth the wait (especially since it wasn’t in a line).

One of my favorite moments at the park was when Jesse saw some people struggling to take a picture and very awkwardly offered to take it for them. They seemed to speak no English so Mikel and I stood off to the side and cringed while they were trying to figure out what was going on. Ultimately Jesse did help them, they were thankful, and it was awesome. Kudos to Jesse for being a stand-up guy, setting a good example for the socially-anxious of us.

Here was a big castle:

We got to go through the bottom part. This view was more interesting.

The next ride we went on was the Buzz Lightyear one. It was a game as much of a ride, where you shot things with lasers, and I beat Mikel by nearly 10x. I don’t have an interesting picture of this one so you get this instead:

An uninteresting picture

My favorite ride (other than the roller coasters) was the Haunted Mansion. I tried to take pictures, but it was too dark, so you just get text unfortunately. To be honest I thought it was mostly meh but there were two effects that made it worth the line. The first was there was a room with a bunch of tables and the most realistic looking ghosts I have ever seen. I was seriously awe-struck. Jesse explained later that they have a transparent glass display and that’s how they do it. It seemed to work at multiple angles and I don’t know how they did it, but it was seriously impressive. The next part was less impressive but still really fun. At the very end they have your car move sideways while you face mirrors. Those mirrors had an effect that made it look like a ghost was sitting with you in your car, between the two people sitting there. I love that kinda creepy stuff. A+.

Here was a pretty thing in a gift shop:

It didn’t even have a price tag

We really wanted churros because even though they tend to be ridiculously overpriced at home, they are churros after all. We eventually found somewhere that sold them and we got four (two for Mikel). They were only about $3 each which we were thrilled about. Alas, they were lower quality than we expected. You get what you pay for I guess.

The last ride we went on was Big Thunder Mountain. It was fun but definitely felt short relative to the wait. At least the view for the wait was pretty:

I seriously dig water features

We left around 4:15pm, having decided we had seen as much as we wanted to see and did not care to stand in a long line (or wait forever – three hours – for a Fastpass). We considered waiting until later for the fireworks but it wasn’t worth it.

The first platform on the train ride back was intimidating, I was afraid we were going to get caught in rush-hour train traffic but it turned out to be fine and uneventful. We made it back to the place at 5:15pm.

In the elevator there was an Asian man. He asked us in English where we were from and after a moment I realized it was not an Asian accent. It turned out he was from New York, at an Airbnb across the hall from us (our only neighbor on the floor). That was nice.

For dinner, Jesse found a good looking sushi place. He sent me the link so I could try to figure out if they allowed smoking but I couldn’t find anything. So we started our fifteen minute walk, got there, and after two breathes of stale smoke I had to walk out.

So Jesse, being a good sport, found a second sushi place and we set out on another fifteen minute walk. It was on the seventh floor and we had a little bit of a hard time finding the elevator, but we ultimately did. Immediately upon getting into the elevator, it reeked of smoke, which wasn’t encouraging. We got to the seventh floor and were confused, we couldn’t find the place. There was a sign near one of the doors and Mikel used Google Translate on it – turns out the place closed, even though there had been a review from three weeks prior. Ugh.

So, we decided to go back to the ramen place we liked. We were tired and hungry and we decided we would rather have the same thing and not have to worry about stuff than do an indeterminate number of let’s-try-another-places. So another fifteen minutes later, we were there. There was a smoker out front when we got there, which was ok, but definitely spiked my stress briefly before I realize everything was fine. We ended up waiting in the cold for long enough to be decently uncomfortable, especially for how tired we were, but before long we made it in and everything was great. I was disappointed to have not had sushi every day, but what can you expect when do you do close to zero planning?

I went to sleep as soon as we got home, which is a big part of why this post is two days late 🙂

Fitbit step count for the day: 28,800

Next: Day 5

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