I am covered in spots.
At first I thought I a was just breaking out from the upheaval of travelling, then I thought it might be a heat rash from this constant humidity, but now it is clear that I have been bitten by something, and reacted badly, all over my face and neck.
Suffice it to say, between this, struggling with the language, and the JAWHM no longer existing, I've been feeling a little sorry for myself over the last day or so. To combat this feeling, I decided to rearrange some of my plans, and take a day doing Disney, Tokyo style.
Now I just want to start by saying, I have never been to a Disney theme park before. I had heard of the over commercial nature of the parks, the nightmare queues for rides, the ridiculous pricing and wondered 'why on Earth would people willingly subject themselves to this?'. I was a bit curious, and had been saving the experience as something to lighten my mood when I was feeling homesick, but I figure spotty qualifies too. So I went.
I hit the gates and bought my passport for Tokyo Disneyland Resort at just after opening at 9am. Now Disneyland in Japan is split into 2 parks, this one, and Tokyo Disney Sea, I decided to save the second park for another day. I donned a pair of Minnie ears, the most sensible pair I could find, now there is an oxymoron, a sensible pair of Minnie ears, quite slick with a leopard print bow, and set off into the park.
Feel free to call me cynical, but the first thing I notice walking in, is not the giant castle in the forecourt, or the painstakingly manicured gardens, but the sheer volume of shops. I double check the map, quick sum up in my head, there are almost twice the number of shopping outlets, than there are actual attractions. 'Come along, and sing the song, and join the jamboree, S... E... L... L... O... U...T... M... O... U... S... E...'! Having said that though, one outlet that really is amazing, is the Glass Slipper under the castle itself. Where I stood mesmerised, watching a craftsman hand blowing glass figurines, which were of course, later for sale.
So having discovered the commercial nature of the park, I decided to move on to the nightmare queues. I went to check out Captain EO, a 3D featurette staring Michael Jackson and Angelica Houston filmed in 1987, which due the recurrence of the 3D fad is enjoying a second run. I did have the option to Fastpass this attraction, which is where essentially your passport waits in line for you, and tells you what time to come back, but the return time for this was 7pm, so I chose to wait. Now generally speaking a 70 minute wait for an attraction, could be a lot worse, but add to it, nagging children in the queue next to you, blistering heat, smothering humidity, and no one to talk to, and it is torture.
Just when I was getting ready to commit justifiable homicide on the nearby children, preparing to plead 'battered queue-er up-er' syndrome as my defence, we reached the front of the line. The movie was short but really sweet, and it is thought provoking, that with all the computer generated technology we have these days, Disney chose to re-show this flick, with its stop-film clay-mation sequences. It is simply because it is still very entertaining.
From here, opting not to join another queue like that, I use my Fastpass to save me a spot in the Space Mountain line and return at 11am. I set out to Toon Town, which is cute but really overrated unless you enjoy photo opportunities with people dressed up in suits. I have no intention of lining up to view the fibreglass house of a cartoon. I avoid the lunch rush by eating early at the Queen of Hearts Banquet Hall, with heart-themed food and comic garden setting. The time for my Fastpass nears, so I meander back in the direction of Space Mountain, passing It's a Small World on the way. My curiosity gets the better of me, and as it only has a 1o minute wait, I go in.
Christian groups all over the world have wasted time and protesting power, in attempts to ban the music of entertainers Kiss, Marilyn Manson, and the like, as they are believe they are advocates of the devil. If ever there was a song that was truly Satanic, it is 'Its a Small World'. The concerned citizens of the world should lobby to have it banned. After only brief seconds in that queue, I was suicidal. The ride itself that followed, was terrifying. Crazy little Chuckie dolls, singing their little Satan song, I not only feared for my life, but my eternal soul.
Seriously though, I don't think there is a culture on Earth that would not be insulted by that ride. It promises to be the 'happiest cruise that ever sailed' on which you are serenaded by the cliches, I mean 'children' of the world. My curiosity was sated however, and I will never be tempted to board that particular cruise again. Never. Ever. Again.
Space Mountain was next, and it was awesome. It was the first proper ride I had been on that day. After It's a Small World had sapped my will to live, Space Mountain had restored it, and added a bit of much required adrenaline to boot.
I spent much of the rest of the day bouncing around the animatronic rides, which were a bit tame. The surprisingly notable exception being Pirates of the Caribbean. Which appears to have had an upgrade since the movie release, and features very convincing Johnny Depp robots roaming about, that I'm sure would not have been there before. It was interesting to note also that all the minor female characters in the movies share the names of the boats in which you voyage.
At about 4pm, I stop for a while to watch one of the parades, and it starts to rain. Now most people would view this as a problem. I, on the other hand, realise what it really means; no more queues. Perfect.
I am a little bit damp, having watched the parade, and a good portion of the crowd go by. So once again I eat early to avoid the dinner rush, and head out back into park. In the meantime, the rain has been getting heavier, and the queues much lighter, as the droves of people seek shelter in the restaurants. Most of the rides, now have only a 5 minute wait. I jump on all the most popular, Big Thunder 'Storm' Mountain and 'What do you really think one more Splash is going to achieve?' Mountain because at this stage there is no chance of me getting any wetter. I also spin myself silly in the teacups and totter off in a bit of a zigzag.
The rain falls heavily, but it doesn't bother me, as I trudge around, splashing puddles, still sporting my Minnie ears. It comes time for the last parade, but it is cancelled due to the weather. So I head home, directly to bed, do not pass Go, do not collect $200.
So all in all, Disneyland? It is commercial, there are nightmare queues, and with what ended up converting to about a $200AUD day, it is expensive, but it is fun. I was saturated, exhausted, spotty, and alone, but I had a great day.