On August 14th, we knew that we wanted to beat the crowds as much as possible by arriving at DisneySea when it opened at 8am, so we got up relatively early. We set out and got on the train at Ikebukuro as planned. However, when we were pulling into Tokyo Station, we were surprised to hear an announcement that all connections to the line to which we needed to transfer were stopped due to a blackout.
We were at a loss as to what we should do. The announcements made it sound like the blackout only affected Tokyo Station itself, so we made our way to a line that went in the direction of Chiba. It would intersect with the line we needed, though it would take us pretty far out of our way. While we were waiting for a train, we remembered that there was also a subway line that would take us to a connecting station much closer. We hurried to the subway and made our connection that way, but we still lost quite a bit of time.
We arrived at the DisneySea station just as the trains that had been stopped at Tokyo began arriving, so we were engulfed in a huge crowd. By this time, it was nearly 10am, and the park had been open for quite a while. That means that anyone who arrived without going through Tokyo Station (for example, by car or tour bus) had first dibs on all the rides and fast passes. We took the monorail to the DisneySea ticket entrance and walked alllll the way to the back of the line. There we waited for over an hour in the blazing hot sun.
By the time we got into the park, we were already starting to get hungry for lunch. We decided to rush to one of the popular rides to get fast passes while we still could. One of the first sights that greeted us on the way was the newly-completed Tower of Terror...with ominous storm clouds building up behind it. We managed to get our fast passes, which by that time were scheduled for late afternoon. We decided to wait in line for one ride before breaking for lunch, since we happened to come at a time when the wait was only about 50 minutes.
Just when we got out of the ride and started heading toward the place we intended to eat, it began storming. We ducked into a nearby gift shop and hung around there until the rain let up. Unfortunately, we discovered that the lovely restaurant that had offered vegetarian sandwiches last year had revamped their menu to eliminate them in favor of meat-based selections. (BOOOO!) Instead, we went to an Italian-themed place for pizza. They don't exactly have vegetarian pizza on the menu, but it's possible to special-order some with the regular toppings left off, you just have to wait longer for the special order to be ready.
After lunch, we lined up to watch the big event of the afternoon, a new show called The Legend of Mythica. It revolves around large boats in the shapes of mythological creatures, such as dragons, phoenixes, flying unicorns...and did I mention the dragons? After the boats chug around for awhile, they let off some costumed dancers, also supposed to represent mythological creatures.
Since this year is the 5th anniversary of the park's opening, there were special signs posted everywhere to commemorate the occasion. After we finished watching the show, we wandered around seeing the sights and trying to catch a few more rides. By this time, the fast passes were pretty much all taken, and most of the wait times were ridiculously long. We did get to catch a couple more rides and do a bit of shopping in the Little Mermaid section.
By the time the evening show rolled around, we were ready for a break. We got somewhat okay seats for the show, though because there are large poles positioned all around the perimeter of the lake, no matter where you sit there's probably going to be something blocking your view, even if you're one of the lucky few not stuck behind three or four rows of other people. The lack of adequate viewing conditions is the one really big flaw in all the shows. (And it's not just us foreigners who believe this...I could hear the Japanese people around me discussing that there ought to be stadium seating.)
After the show and the fireworks, when many of the people with young children left the park, we wandered around a bit more. We took a stroll through the Aladdin section, but most of the shops were shutting down, plus we didn't have much energy remaining. We wound up simply plopping down on a bench to rest for a while before heading out.
Fortunately, we had no problems on the ride back to Ikebukuro, and we had nothing planned for the next day other than returning to Moriyama, so we knew we finally had a chance to relax.
~ To Be Continued ~