Cape Cod is one of my favorite places in Tokyo DisneySea, my favorite Disney park in the world. Technically part of American Waterfront and popularized as the home to Duffy, I love this area not because of any attractions or substantive offerings (to the contrary–its restaurant is awful and we’ve never done the Duffy meet & greet), but because of its pitch perfect atmosphere.
On our recent Christmas visits to Tokyo Disney Resort, we spent more time in Cape Cod than anywhere else in either park. In this post, I wanted to share a bit of why, and try to convey what makes this area so special (it has nothing to do with Duffy!) for me. That’s not exactly easy to accomplish via text, photos, and video, but to the extent that theme park atmosphere be conveyed via a blog post, I’ll try.
For those who haven’t experienced Cape Cod at Christmas, I think it’s best described via analogy to Wilderness Lodge. Like Wilderness Lodge at Walt Disney World, Cape Cod strikes the perfect note at Christmas. It has beautiful decorations, giant strands of bulb lights, and a nice background music loop. Both are places that ooze a sense of Christmas relaxation; places you could sit with a cup of hot chocolate and people watch for hours, being totally content doing absolutely nothing…
Also like Wilderness Lodge, Cape Cod is one of those places in the parks that evokes feeling of a “real” Christmas for me. Although I’ve never been to Massachusetts in December, the vibe of Cape Cod transports me from Japan to America’s Northeast for a traditional Christmas. This area has a homey feeling; a certain charm and intimacy that evokes a sense of the holidays. For me, at least. It’s totally subjective; others might not get this vibe from Cape Cod, or might have this kind of response to other lands around the Disney universe.
Words only convey this so much, so here some photos I’ve taken in Cape Cod at Christmas:
All of the above photos are hosted on SmugMug so you can click to see them full sized or check out the EXIF data if you so desire. The ones with the exaggerated starbursts utilized a cheap-o star filter I bought before the trip. The look is totally cheesy and perhaps overdone, but I love the vintage look and warmth that I think it gives to the photos–it’s good in small doses. I took literally hundreds of other photos of Cape Cod during our visits to Tokyo DisneySea this year (including dozens–if not over one hundred) during one particularly nice sunset and dusk that I’ve yet to organize and edit. So be prepared to see those throughout next year’s Christmas season. 😉
As mentioned above, one of my favorite things to do during the Christmas season at Tokyo DisneySea is…just sit. That might seem like a dull way to spend time in a theme park, but this is the ultimate atmospheric park, and just absorbing that ambiance is a big part of the experience. (So, if you’ve ever how we manage to spend multiple days in DisneySea each trip, spending a lot of time sitting or wandering around doing nothing is a big part of why!)
My favorite place to sit in Cape Cod is normally up by the lighthouse, which is one of the few spots in the park offering views outside the park (arguably ruining the illusion–although I’m not sure seeing the Tokyo skyline or Mount Fuji on a clear day can be said to “ruin” anything). During Christmas, I prefer the outdoor seating areas adjacent to Cape Cod Confections, which is a great place to grab a delicious hot drink.
Sitting here is also great for people watching. Christmas is largely a date holiday, and you’ll spot couples posing in front of the Christmas tree in their holiday finery. Others have brought their Duffy, ShellieMay, Gelatoni, and StellaLou plushes–all also dressed in their holiday finery–to pose them for photos throughout the land. Others still return with popcorn buckets from past seasons to line up for the land’s popular milk tea popcorn.
If sitting in one spot for too long isn’t your cup of tea, you can always board the DisneySea Transit Steamer Line, which departs from near the Duffy meet & greet for Lost River Delta, passing through the heart of Cape Cod along the way (and arriving in a perfect location to visit the excellent Sindbad’s Storybook Voyage in nearby Arabian Coast).
Following our last visit to Tokyo DisneySea at Christmas several years ago, one of the things I yearned for revisiting was the atmosphere of Cape Cod. I also happen to love ‘yule log’ videos, having a rotation that I play in the background while working (if you’ve ever wanted a window into just how boring I am, there it is). I searched YouTube high and low for such a video of Cape Cod at Christmas, fumbling around via Google Translate to see what might be listed in Japanese. All to no avail.
So, I decided to spend a chunk of my time while soaking up the ambiance recording my own so I’d have something to watch. Originally, my plan was to record for about an hour from sunset through dusk to evening, but my attempts to do that were ruined. Instead, I had to settle for this video late on a very cold evening when few other guests were around.
This might appeal to exactly no one else, but I thought I’d share it with you, anyway…just in case:
Despite the end result, I put a lot of effort into making this. I think the 4K video shot with my Nikon D850 and Sigma 14mm f/1.8 lens does a good job of capturing a good job of capturing detail and dynamic range with low noise, but the audio did not fare as well due to my lack of an external microphone.
I’m almost positive this background music is used in full at Walt Disney World somewhere (I swear I actually have this loop somewhere, but I cannot locate it). If anyone can identify the background music, please let me know in the comments. I’ll try to swap out my audio for source audio of the actual loop. In the meantime, you might want to mute the video and put on your own Christmas music.
Your mileage may vary as to whether Cape Cod is the ultimate place to enjoy Christmas ambiance in a Disney park. Just as plenty of people prefer the Grand Floridian to Wilderness Lodge during the holidays, you may find other lands more festive. Also up there on our list would be Main Street anywhere (but particularly at Disneyland Paris), Germany and France in World Showcase, Grizzly Peak in Disney California Adventure, and New Orleans Square in both Anaheim and Tokyo.
Anyway…that’s a lot of rambling about Cape Cod at Christmas. Hopefully you enjoyed this look at one of my favorite places to spend time during the holidays at Tokyo DisneySea. Thank you for reading our blog and putting up with our nonsense this year; it means a lot to us, and we hope we’ve helped improve your trips a little bit, or at least provided you some (mild) entertainment over the course of the past year.
From our family to yours: Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays.
~Sarah & Tom Bricker
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.
Do you have a favorite land in the Disney Parks to spend time during the holiday season? Have you spent time in Cape Cod at Christmas? If so, do you agree or disagree with my assessment of its ambiance? Any questions? Hearing feedback about your experiences is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!