Yesterday was the last day for ‘A Table is Waiting’ at Tokyo DisneySea. After its contemporaries ended their runs, with the park losing the brilliant Legend of Mythica, Mystic Rhythms, and BraviSEAmo, this is like an end of an entertainment era at Tokyo DisneySea.
For those unfamiliar with it, A Table is Waiting was a show held multiple times each day at dinner show held daily at American Waterfront’s Dockside Stage. It was introduced in 2008 as part of the seasonal Disney A La Carte event, during which Tokyo DisneySea hosted a celebration of the palate and the eyes (it sounds a little like Food & Wine Festival). A Table is Waiting returned as a permanent show in 2011.
Honestly, A Table is Waiting was not a perfect fit for Tokyo DisneySea. Thematically, it didn’t have anything to do with the park as a whole or American Waterfront, specifically, and it also featured characters. Beyond a tenuous connection to the captain of the S.S. Columbia inviting guests to dine at his table (and the show being the resulting meal, I guess?), it did not fit. Yet, it was a hit among guests who were willing to overlook this for a variety of different reasons…
For me, a big part of the appeal was the ‘perfectly absurd’ nature of the show. It’s something that sounds like it could be a complete train-wreck on paper, yet was so, so good. Even watching it, I always remembered thinking “how does this exist?” and “this is crazy!” Along with both sentiments, came an unbridled sense of joy and fun. Somehow, all of the elements of A Table is Waiting coalesced, making for an inexplicably good and undeniably fun show.
In addition to the quirky fun, A Table is Waiting featured beautiful and lavish costuming, incredibly catchy songs, and high energy dancing. It also lightly poked fun at cultural stereotypes–and I’m not sure if this was by design or just an unintentional byproduct of featuring stereotypes–but it clumsily fell somewhere between tongue-in-cheek jabs and politically incorrect humor.
A Table is Waiting started with Captain Mickey Mouse greeting guests from high above on the deck of the S.S. Columbia…
Lumiere is also there to introduce the show and perform the opening number (A Table is Waiting).
Next up was the Mexico number. During this scene, Chip and Dale sang a duo as tacos were served to mariachi music. (My Tacos is Wonderful, Hot Hot Hot)
Following that is the Indian scene. Daisy is revealed from inside a flower, and a variety of performers and belly dancers prepare a curry dish. (Spice Up Your Life)
This scene featured the most ornate and beautiful costuming of the entire show, I think.
The USA section of A Table is Waiting is where the tongue in cheek humor was most pronounced. It really felt like Japan was trolling America.
Pluto loudly blew a whistle, as others chanted “U.S.A!” and a cheeseburger clumsily tried to assemble itself, failing multiple times before getting it right. None of this is a joke–that’s an actual description of America’s musical number.
In fairness, all of the numbers are caricatures of the cultures they represent, and all are good-natured, even if there’s a subtle cultural critique just under the surface. (Our Japanese friends told us they feel the same way about the Japan number.)
You’d need incredibly thin skin to actually be offended by Pluto mocking ‘Murica, meaning the end result is something that’s easy to laugh along with.
The good times keep rolling with Japan. This segment featured a bento meal being served to traditional Japanese music in something of a quasi-march. (Zui Zui Zukkorobashi, Abukutatta)
Even though the lyrics were in Japanese, these songs were incredibly catchy, making these numbers an absolute hoot. The costuming was also really well done, with a number of foods incorporated into Goofy’s kimono.
For the France number, Minnie and Mickey Mouse are dressed as sweets, paying homage to their memories together in Paris. These costumes were awesome (nothing subtle about them!) and remind me a bit of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Of course, no show about Disney and food would be complete without Be Our Guest, so that and a reprise of A Table is Waiting were performed for the grand finale.
As with several Tokyo shows, there was a Christmas “tag,” which basically consisted of Christmas carols being performed after the grand finale. We saw this a couple of times, and while it was a cute touch, it wasn’t as good as the Big Band Beat Christmas tag.
In the end, we’ll really miss A Table is Waiting, but it had a good 6-year run, and it’s time for something new. The team behind A Table is Waiting captured lightning in a bottle with this show, producing something with the perfect mix of absurdity, quality, and catchiness that is a recipe for A Table is Waiting to be remembered as a cult favorite among Tokyo DisneySea fans for decades to come. I’d probably be a bit more excited for the change if there were instances of shows being replaced by successors that are as good or better…but that has not been the case in the last few years at Tokyo DisneySea. Hopefully whatever follows A Table is Waiting breaks that “curse” as the park could use a boost in terms of entertainment.
If you’re thinking of visiting Japan for the first time and are overwhelmed with planning, definitely check out our Tokyo Disney Resort Planning Guide. It covers much more than the parks, from getting there to WiFi to currency and much, much more. For more photos and an idea of what we did day-by-day during our first visit, read our Tokyo Disney Resort Trip Report.
Did you ever see A Table is Waiting? What did you think of the show? Did you have a favorite musical number? Share any memories or additional thoughts you have in the comments!