Tokyo Disneyland

“It’s a small world”, “Mary Poppins” and “Yoda’s Theme.” Yoda’s Theme???  Nooooooooo! A reminder, as we followed the crowd towards the entrance of Tokyo Disneyland, of how Disney now owns my favourite movie franchise.

As you can tell, I’m not a huge fan of Disney. Mickey Mouse and friends entertain me only in thinking up new methods of cartoon dismemberment (lightsaber, anyone?). Bambi versus Godzilla, now that’s my kind of movie. But here we were at Disneyland. The things we do for our children.

We had caught the Chuo Rapid line to Tokyo station and the Keiyo Line out to Maihama and Tokyo Disneyland. The day was clear and from the latter train I could see snow capped Mt Fuji rising like a cloud above the horizon.

From Maihama station we walked to the main Disneyland entrance rather than catch the big Disney Line monorail, a two and half minute ride.

It is fortunate that we had prepurchased tickets as we could bypass the long queues at the entrance.

Immediately, B was in pose for photos mode, wanting to stop for characters and dress up in every wearable item in the shops that surrounded the entrance. Us boys just wanted to get in on the action.

The Pirates of the Caribbean ride already had a 45 minute queue, but the management of the lines was very good and you always felt like you were progressing. We sat on guided boats as we passed through tunnels with realistically animated mannequins burned, pillage and shot each other. We would have given an Oscar to the robots for realistically portraying Johnny Depp portraying Keith Williams as a pirate.

There weren’t many thrill rides at Disneyland. Thankfully (for me, but not B) those that were fast had three hour long queues. The majority were either sedate passages around a indoor or outdoor course or fairground attractions.

We rode on:


  • Jungle Cruise – boats around a jungle river with animated animals and natives.
  • Western River Railroad – real steam train with good views around Adventureland and Westernland.  
  • Swiss Family Treehouse – not a ride, but a climb up a shipwrecked family’s fake treehouse, which Alex enjoyed.
  • Tom Sawyer Island Rafts – Alex enjoyed playing hide and seek on the island cave and bouncing over the barrel bridge.
  • Mark Twain Riverboat – A circle around in a paddlesteamer.
Big Thunder Mountain, a “runaway train” rollercoaster ride had a three hour queue and was left until later…
We the watched the lunchtime parade of floats before resuming rides on:
  • Dumbo the Flying Elephant – Alex and B had a spin on this simple ride
  • It’s a Small World – Alex sang the song as we took a cruise through a puppet representation of the nations of the world.
  • Alice’s Tea Party – spinning tea cups!
  • Snow White’s Adventures – the sign warns of kids being frightened of the wicked queen in this car ride through a dark version of Snow White’s story. Bit of fun.
  • Mickey’s PhilharMagic – there was only a short queue for this short 3D film with musical pieces from different Disney movies. I was having microsleeps, but the other two enjoyed it.
  • Castle Carrousel – Alex insisted and we all took a ride.

Alex was ready to go home, but we had to stop to view the night parade, which really was spectacular. Many, many colourfully lit floats, after which we raced to the Haunted Mansion, managing to beat what quickly became a very long queue again. None of us were scared, but the visual effects were superb.
As we were heading back we all flinched when a loud bang sounded. It was the fireworks show! Magnificent display of fireworks with some great effects.
We stopped by Toontown to purchase a funny hat and enjoy the weird cartoon town architecture, then passed through Tomorrowland. Unfortunately, Star Tours, a Star Wars based ride doesn’t reopen until May of this year. There was another George Lucas connection: he produced (and Francis Ford Coppola directed) Captain EO, a “4D” movie with Michael Jackson. At 40 minutes in length, even a lack of a queue didn’t entice. Alex and I had a ride around the Grand Circuit Raceway, where the only driving skill required is pressing a peddle. Unfortunately for Alex, he was too short to qualify for that job.

The park was closing as we walked with the crowd back to Maihama station. It was 10pm and we had spent almost a full day at Disneyland. Was it worth the steep entry fee? Not if you are a thrill ride lover, but we had a fantastic time. Plus we never got a photo with Mickey. Yay!
Alex slept on my shoulder the whole long ride back to the hotel, which we reached at a quarter past eleven. A truly massive day. 
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