Tokyo Disneyland. It’s funny that they call it Tokyo Disney when actually it’s located in Chiba. Minor details anyways.
Disneyland is a place where you can ride character themed rides and meet the characters in person. Have you ever seen Mickey face to face? Well if you have then it was probably at Disneyland, nothing short of a child’s fantasy. Christmas is even better with all the adjustments that are made. Disneyland during Christmas time has extra attractions and other themes that draw in visitors from all over the country. There are two parades aimed towards Christmas, a Christmas parade during the day, followed by a parade of floats covered in Christmas lights. Some of the rides even change their themes slightly to add to the Christmas spirit. Souvenirs have their own special changes by adding Christmas hats to characters or a Santa like beard. Chocolates are put into Christmas tree shaped packages and tins and decorations all around the park are altered to fit into the idea of Christmas.
The entrance alone was extravagant. Structures and buildings surround the path to the main gate. We arrived at 8:00 a.m. and despite our promptness there was already a line of a thousand plus people waiting to enter the park. Upon passing through the gate we were greeted with more crowds and characters scattered throughout the entrance.
Amongst the characters was Eeyore. Most of the characters had a long line to have their picture taken, but Eeyore on the other hand was not so popular. In order to have your picture taken with a character, you need to gain their attention and a park employee will come take your camera in order to snap a photo for you. In my opinion, Eeyore is pretty awesome, so I quickly seized the opportunity.
Proceeding on from the initial chaos and excitement, we went through the next standing gate to be welcomed by a small shopping district and a massive Christmas tree. The crowd was too much for us so we made our way to the next area to find some open space. Upon escaping we came upon all kinds of decorations and views.
The views are great and all, however our main goal of getting to the park early was to ride some rides without too much of a wait. Contrary to our goals, our first ride, Splash Mountain, took two hours of our time. Although, we were able to get two fast pass tickets each to other rides. Fast pass tickets allow you to wait in a line for approximately 10-20 minutes depending on how many other people have the tickets. You can get a new Fast Pass every few hours but you have to use it between a given time period. Back to the ride, it was great and filled with colors. I wasn’t so excited to get wet with how cold it was, but how I do love roller coasters. Other rides we experienced included rides such as the 3D Movie Theater which included smells, wind effects, water effects, and of course amazing 3D animations(all in Japanese). Afterwards we went on the Monsters Inc. ride and the Haunted Mansion which was inspired by The Nightmare Before Christmas.
From here on, I hope you’re ready to see some pictures, because it’s difficult to narrow down the choices. There were four parades throughout the day. We missed the first one, the second one was an all Disney character standard parade, the third being a Christmas theme, and the last one was a spectacle of lights. Each parade was filled with colors and excitement. Music played as the characters waved, sang, and danced. The size and design of the floats were something you could only see at a place like this. My favorite part was the dancers with their unique costumes. Their mood was euphoric and quite contagious.
During the Christmas parade we didn’t have time to get a seat so we walked around the perimeter and took pictures. The only problem is the park employees don’t want people to take pictures in the walkway, so instead they urge you to continue walking. Lucky for me, I look as if I don’t understand any Japanese. We found a spot and a bit of a crowd gathered around us as we took pictures. The staff pushed the other people away while Yuuki and I continued to take pictures. Eventually, they realized that their hand motions are easily understood internationally, but had they taken the effort to ask me in Japanese they would’ve been surprised to see that I understood them just fine.
The last parade we saw we made sure to find a proper seat. People began sitting in the best spots 3 hours before the parade began. An hour before the parade we had barely any options for seats. However we managed to find a seat in a great spot only two rows back from the front.
After the parade we were pretty beat. A day full of parades, rides, shopping, and fighting for a table to eat at. It was my first time in Disneyland, anywhere in the world, so it was quite a surprise seeing everything. Before we left we had our picture taken in front of the central gate. There is a system set up at the most popular photo spots. People form a line a proper distance away to take the picture. The people having their picture taken give their camera to the people behind them. Those people take their picture, give the camera back and repeat the process. I found it to be interesting since in America it would always be a money making scheme. Maybe it was only because Disneyland wants to be disassociated from that idea. Anyway, we had our picture taken, waved goodbye to Disney Hotel, and called it a night. With special thanks to someone, my first time in Disneyland was a memorable one.