Sindbad’s Storybook Voyage: Still Awesome.
In breaking news out of Japan, Sindbad’s Storybook Voyage is still awesome. Yep. Stop the presses. I hype this attraction up a lot, and for good reason: it is epic in scale with a ton of Audio Animatronics…and unfortunately feels like the kind of original, non-IP attraction we are unlikely get in the US parks.
I already have a huge post that goes into excruciating detail as to why I think Sindbad’s Storybook Voyage is one of the best modern Disney dark rides anywhere, so I won’t rehash that. What I do want to reiterate is general “awareness” that something of this caliber exists.
So, for anyone who has gone on the Little Mermaid dark ride and thought it was “good enough,” here’s the type of dark ride Walt Disney Imagineering could create if given the budget and creative latitude. Even if you’ll never visit any park besides the ones in Florida for whatever reason, I think basic awareness of what else is out there is a good thing.
Unfortunately, none of the ride-through videos I’ve seen really do justice to the scale and scope of the attraction–understandably so given the sheer number of Audio Animatronics on both sides of the boat in many scenes. So, to draw the attention of more Disney fans to the excellence of this attraction, I decided to do a 180-degree fisheye ride-through video. Shooting video is absolutely not my thing so the quality and camera work is a bit suspect in places, but I hope it is at least a little more demonstrative of what this attraction has to offer.
It’s tough to convey the full experience of any attraction via video (hence why we all go to the parks instead of just sitting on YouTube), but I hope that at least gives you an idea of what makes this attraction special.
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. To save money on a visit to Japan, read our Tokyo Disney on a Budget article. For more photos and an idea of what we did day-by-day during our first visit, read our Tokyo Disney Resort Trip Report.
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Regardless of whether you’ve had the chance to experience Sindbad’s Storybook Voyage, what do you think of it? Would you like to see unique, original attractions like this in Walt Disney World or Disneyland? Hearing from readers is half the fun, so share your take in the comments!
It looks for a updated dark/river ride. But there’s one that just bothers me; the scenes around 3min and 5min. It’s daylight in the backdrop paintings and there’s a very visable wall there…with a obvious molding between the ‘wall paper’ and the ceiling.
It’s jarring. Day time on the wall scene..and above night time clouds and above it’s nighttime..with more clouds in the same room and the trim molding separating the two elements.
That kills some of the magic for me because it throws you out of experience and into—oh…trim molding on a wall; it’s like paying attention to visible wiring or can lights in a attraction.
I think that might be something that’s more pronounced on video than it is in person? It’s never really bugged me…
You are right Tom in that no video can do this ride justice. The detail is amazing. If one ride was cloned from Tokyo I would choose this one, even over Honey Hunt and Journey to the Center of the Earth.
Same here. I doubt that will ever happen, though.
In my opinion, the first version (without the Menken song) was much better. The song (which isÂ´nt even great, imo) plays from beginning to end. The first version had a real soundtrack, that worked like a good movie soundtrack – now it feels more like Small World…
IÂ´m also not a big fan of the other changes made. (And why they moved the most incredible animatronics, the female dancers on the bridge, to the background is still beyond my comprehension.)
DonÂ´t get me wrong, it is still an absolutely great attraction that blows The Little Mermaid out of – oops, almost violated my “no cheap puns” rule… – that is in a completely different league than that ride with the 5 fish on a stick moving back and forth… I just donÂ´t get why they tampered with it – that there are no long lines was never the attractions fault, it had always more to do with its location, and that it is almost hidden. (But then again, i think this is part of its appeal – there is no huge sign, no billboards along the streets of tokyo – when you walk in, it almost feels as if you have discovered sth hidden, you expect a modest, old-fashioned boat tide – and what you get is one of the best attractions of the entire resort.)
A couple of friends and I have gone back and forth on this, and, while I never experienced it in person, I disagree. The old incarnation definitely had a more ‘adult’ tone, but in retrospect, it feels incomplete. I think the Menken song gives it a grandiose, almost epic feel to the story being told, and Chandu works well as a kawaii sidekick who broadens the appeal of the attraction.
It definitely wasn’t (and isn’t) the attraction’s fault that it doesn’t draw huge lines, but that doesn’t matter. An attraction with that many AAs to maintain drawing small crowds is just begging to be replaced. I only hope that the new ‘Frozen’ additions will draw more people to the back part of the park, and give Sindbad an even greater boost. It would be awful to lose this attraction.
I went on this ride 4 times in my recent TDL trip. I knew i would love it after reading your posts but my mum who was with me loved it as well. She had no idea what to expect which is testament to how good this ride is.
As always – thanks for the blog, love it, keep it up!
Totally agree with you! This ride is just pure awesomeness. It is beyond me that there are hardly any lines for this ride. It is one of my favorites in the Disneyverse. I am just fascinated by the fluid movements of those mini-animatronics. Last May me and my wife rode Little Mermaid for the first time in MK but I have to say that we loved it. We have no problems with that ride, but that is our opinion. Hope to be in Tokyo again soon!!
The little bounce that Chandu does on the drum is one of those subtly perfect bits of Imagineering where music, sound design, and character come together for perfect moment of charm and cuteness.
Planning a trip this November. Hotel is booked! Your trip reports are fantastic! Keep up the great work!!
That was awesome. Hopefully someday I can see it in person.