I’ll kick off the finale of our Tokyo Disneyland Winter Trip Report in style: by giving you another window into our dorkiness. Throughout the trip, Guy and I would play a game (I guess you could call it?) that questions whether you’d live in a certain part of the parks.
The obvious upside is being able to live in one of the parks, the downside is that these are usually cramped quarters with minimal privacy, and many of the places were outside. This was mostly a game that was just played by us–we tried to involve the women, but they kept breaking the (arbitrary) rules, so I guess they are on their own for finding places to live.
I mention this because our next stop after Happiness is Here was China Voyager, which turned out to be the ultimate jackpot for the “would you live here?” game. China Voyager has a really cool upstairs loft above the ordering counter with a deceptively large amount of space, and although getting up there would be inconvenient and the kitchen could be noisy, we believe this is the best place to live in Tokyo Disneyland. We’ve even divvied up the loft already. So, if you’re ever in line for China Voyager and think you hear someone snoring up there, well…know you now. 😉
Once again, China Voyager was worth the wait. As I wrote in our China Voyager Review, I’d put it among the top 10 noodles we’ve had in all of Japan. Pretty high praise, considering we spend an inordinate amount of time eating ramen and have even been to 2 ramen museums.
It’s also always a pleasure to spend time in Coral Landing. The Typhoon Lagoon-esque vibe here is wonderfully relaxing, and even when China Voyager is busy (which is always), there are plenty of tables both indoors and outside.
After the trip, Guy found this cool concept art for Coral Landing at an antique mall. One thing that’s notable to me is the waterfront boardwalk, which looks awesome. I know concept art is almost always more ambitious than the finished product (and cuts are part of the process), but this would’ve been a nice stress valve for crowds.
At some point after this, we headed over to Tomorrowland, where we spotted the above mural in a gift shop. Its profound statement about…life itself?…aside, this struck us as something that didn’t look like Disney. I can’t recall another mural here, but I wonder whether there was, and it was replaced by the OLC without Disney’s involvement…
Then, tragedy struck. We were hanging around in Adventureland, spanking monkeys (as one does) when we saw the Three Caballeros enter from Polynesian Terrace. As they were coming out, waving to the crowd that had gathered to play with the monkeys, Panchito ran into the back of a sign.
At first we laughed, thinking he was hamming it up (as these free-roaming characters often do) for laughs. Based on his mannerisms at first, it seemed like that it was done on purpose. Then, a character attendant came over and they kept adjusting his nose, and he went backstage for a few minutes before making a triumphant return. So, maybe not “tragedy” per se, but an odd moment. Here’s the condensed video Sarah captured:
After we had our fill of monkey-spanking shenanigans, we spent more time just wandering Adventureland, Frontierland, and doing stuff along the Rivers of America. We rode the Western River Railroad and Mark Twain, and enjoyed these lands illuminated by the golden glow of the afternoon sun.
In the last installment, I fixated on the shortcomings of Fantasyland and Tomorrowland–by contrast, Adventureland and Frontierland are nothing short of sublime.
Following this, we raced over to Minnie Oh Minnie, as I convinced the rest of the group that we should see the show. Sarah and I had only seen this once, three years ago. It had not been high on our radar since, so I think we might not have pushed it with the Selgas. However, with the show starting in 5 minutes, and given that we were already in the neighborhood, it seemed like a logical idea.
It was a smash hit. Perhaps due to the combo of low expectations (which even Sarah and I had, probably due to a fuzzy memory of the original show), the high energy nature of the music, the colorful costumes, and awkward sexuality of the dance numbers, it was a hoot. (I won’t go into detail on that last element, but it had us laughing. A lot.)
Here are some photos I shot of Minnie Oh Minnie:
By the time we were done, it was dusk. I was really wanting to capture some photos of Cinderella Castle’s color scheme for Frozen Fantasy, so I broke off from the group to do that while they found seats for Dreamlights.
For this showing of Dreamlights, we decided to camp out for a curbside spot. I suspect attendance projections missed the mark for this today (perhaps due to a slight bump in foreign attendance from Chinese New Year), but whatever the reason, we didn’t want to wait for anything else at this point. When we saw front row spots for Dreamlights, we pounced on them. While we waited, there was some time for Scrump mochi…
Here are photos from the parade:
At this point, I don’t think I need to gush over Dreamlights any more–I’ve beaten that horse well past death.
…But I will anyway. Walt Disney World, please look to this as the prototype for whatever your inevitable future night parade will be. I know it’s not going to be Dreamlights, and probably won’t be on the same scale, but please use it as inspiration, anyway. This parade is infinitely better than Paint the Night in terms of style, and something like it could be a huge, multi-generation draw for a decade-plus to come in Magic Kingdom. Out of all the Disney parks in the world, there are only two pieces of nighttime entertainment that are must-watch for me every trip (almost every night!): IllumiNations and Dreamlights. It’s so good. Okay, enough gushing. On Page 2, we will discuss the Frozen Cinderella Castle show…which isn’t quite on the same level as Dreamlights.