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Trip Report *COMPLETED* I've climbed the mountain, I've crossed the river, and I'm almost there!

bee

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Day 19, cont.

After Pooh, we reluctantly made our way to the exit.









Wait, M, I just need to take ONE MORE castle photo!



Okay, maybe ONE more...






LAST ONE, I SWEAR








We clearly weren't the only ones lingering! I think this was another "Brand New Dream" mini show.

As we walked toward the monorail M asked me, "Do you want to go look in the Disneyland Hotel?" My feet were saying NO, but my heart said LET'S GO!







Up next: Inside!
 

bee

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
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Day 19, cont.

Inside the hotel...
















(If you can't tell, this is a child-sized table and chairs)






🦁

















And the view from the monorail station again

So the Tokyo Disneyland Hotel has obvious Grand Floridian vibes, due to not only the large multi-story lobby, but also the elegant and somewhat whimsical theming. I'm sure I could never justify the cost to stay there, but if I could I totally would!

Up next: Ending the night with wine (how else?)
 

bee

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Day 19, cont.

This is going to be a short post!

We arrived back at the Sheraton.



We enjoyed the wine we'd purchased earlier at the grocery store in Ikspiari.





This was a good Zinfandel. I gave it four stars in Vivino so I must have enjoyed it! :hungry:


Very important!

We worked on packing but we didn't have an early flight the next day, so we didn't have to do everything at once.

Day 19 Stats
Distance: 9 miles
Steps: 21688
Flights: 11


Up next: We begin the journey home :cry:
 

Darstarr

Well-Known Member
In the Parks
No
Day 19, cont.

We managed to ride every ride AND see the show in Mermaid Lagoon over our two days in DisneySea! After we wrapped up the land we headed out of the park to go back to Disneyland for our Space Mountain FP.




A little Fantasmic on the way out


We used our Space FP without incident, and did NOT get stuck on the ride like we did at Disneyland!

Afterward we were hungry so we went back to Plazma Ray's for some veggie curry. We wanted to try the set meal with fries, but we only wanted to share one serving of fries, so we decided to order one curry on its own and one set meal. When we arrived at the counter to order, the CM we got was new and in training, and spoke even less English than we spoke Japanese. He seemed really nervous and had lots of laminated cards for reference, and we all did our best to communicate. We found that in lots of restaurants in Japan it was best to just say or point to what we wanted, and then say "two" and hold up two fingers. However, it was a little more complicated since we didn't want two of the exact same thing. His supervisor stepped in to help and eventually we got exactly what we wanted. The CM was super nice and we actually really enjoyed the experience. We always like ordered from CMs in training because we like to think we are a little part of their training!





It also came with soda, hence the green stuff in a cup!





After dinner we walked back to Fantasyland to see what rides had short waits. We also caught a bit of a fireworks show (though I'm not sure which one!).









Snow White's Adventures was a walk-on.







The ride was very similar to the version in Disneyland.

Up next: a bunch of thots
Who knows how they get those eggs to have Mickeys in them. Does Wonka, er Walt have special geese, er chickens???
 

fractal

Well-Known Member
Day 19, cont.

After Pooh, we reluctantly made our way to the exit.









Wait, M, I just need to take ONE MORE castle photo!



Okay, maybe ONE more...






LAST ONE, I SWEAR








We clearly weren't the only ones lingering! I think this was another "Brand New Dream" mini show.

As we walked toward the monorail M asked me, "Do you want to go look in the Disneyland Hotel?" My feet were saying NO, but my heart said LET'S GO!







Up next: Inside!
Love the nighttime pics! The fountain towers entrance to Tomorrowland is amazing.
 

bee

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Day 20: Saturday, January 5

Our departure flight was scheduled for 7:30pm, so we were in no rush to get up and leave the hotel. We slept in, had breakfast in the room, and packed throughout the morning.


Another egg salad!


Pear pastry

At checkout time we said goodbye to our beautiful, spacious room, and went downstairs.



After I checked out we needed to pay for our airport bus ride and pick up our tickets. I had reserved the ride online in advance through Airport Limousine, but they don't take payment until the day of the ride at the hotel concierge desk. At the desk I asked the concierge in Japanese if she spoke English and she said no, so I attempted to proceed in Japanese. I know that was I said was not fluid or grammatically correct but we understood each other and by the end of the conversation I had tickets in hand!



M and I found a comfy spot to sit in the lobby and enjoy the views outside.













Up next: Snack time, and I make a HUGE mistake
 

bee

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Day 20, cont.

We decided to visit one of the cafes in the hotel for some coffee and a snack. They were selling some interesting merchandise:




We shared this guy and a latte (no photo)

We sat in the nearly-empty seating area, which also overlooked a restaurant on the floor below.









Inside the penguin pastry:


After enjoying the coffee and pastry we went back to our seating area by the window.















We were running low on cash and wanted to buy a few more souvenirs before we left Japan. I found a hotel employee and asked (in broken Japanese) where the ATM was. She told me (in English) to go straight and then turn right (she meant left and pointed left but I figured it out). I found the ATM and selected the option for 5000 yen, which is about $50. Except...I actually picked 50000 yen ($500)!!! :facepalm:

I found M and told her the bad news. I felt soooo bad for getting too much cash. I knew we had enough in our checking account to not get overdraft fees or anything, but I just felt really stupid and was in a bad mood for the rest of the time we were at the hotel. M kept assuring me that it would be okay, that we could just exchange the extra either in the airport or once we got home, but I was just so upset with myself that I could barely listen. :banghead:

We decided to check out the gift shops in the hotel again for presents for our families...since we now had this giant wad of cash. :cautious: I will have pics of all the souvenirs we got for ourselves and others in a later post.

Up next: The ride to the airport
 

bee

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Day 20, cont.

As we neared our bus pickup time, we went downstairs to the bus pickup/dropoff area to check in our bags. There was ample seating for us to wait until our bus came. Several Airport Limousine buses showed up, but each time the staff assured us they were not OUR buses. Finally ours arrived about five minutes late (quite unusual for Japan!) and we boarded. We waved goodbye to our beautiful Sheraton which had been a wonderful place to stay for the last three nights of our vacation.

The bus stopped at several other hotels before getting on the highway, including the Hilton and the official Disney resorts.























Even though we made several stops, this lady was the only other passenger on our bus the whole time!





The total ride to the airport took about an hour and ten minutes. Even though we were picked up a few minutes late, in the end we arrived at the airport only one minute late, and the driver still apologized!

Up next: Tokyo Narita Airport
 

bee

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Day 20, cont.

We arrived at Narita and found the queue for bag drop for our airline.





Yes, it's an intimidating line, but it moved quickly and didn't take very long to get through.


There was some kind of performance going on in this mini theater.

At the front of the line I asked the agent if she spoke English and she did. She asked us all about our trip and asked if we enjoyed our visit to Japan. We told her we did and want to come back! She seemed pleased and seemed very concerned with making sure that her country was represented to international guests! She also confirmed our vegetarian meals and made sure we knew where to go for security and boarding.

After we dropped off our bags we needed to mail our Pocket Wifi device back via a Japanese post box. We needed a little help finding the box but we found it and dropped it. M asked me to film her putting the package in the box in case there were any issues (there weren't).

Then we had a few more souvenirs to buy. It ended up being okay that I'd gotten too much money out, because we bought a few more things for ourselves and friends/family that we wouldn't have, but we were glad we did.


Earlier I posted a photo of the Tokyo Station Pikachu. This is the Narita Pikachu and how cute is he??? I love that there are so many different location-specific Pikachus!







We got some candy and other items from this shopping area (it was HUGE!) and decided to go to another part of the airport for more gachapons! On the way we spotted this:






It's an all vegan restaurant!!! We had seen another Vege Life wayyy back in Sasebo but didn't know what it was then. We decided we would come back after our gachapon adventure and before going through security.

Up next: More gachapons than you can imagine!
 

bee

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Day 20, cont.

We had to go to a totally different area of the airport to find the gachapon machines and it was kind of a maze to get there, but eventually we found them!





















There were seriously SO. MANY. MACHINES. There were literally hundred but maybe over a thousand. And they had all kind of toys based on different characters, animals, vehicles, food/drink, countries...all kinds of stuff!! I only took photos of the ones that interested me (mostly Disney related) but there were SO! MANY!

Since we had so many coins we decided to just go for it and get whatever we wanted. I think M and I ended up with about 5-6 each just for us and we got several for family members as well.


"Don't put your trash here" 😑


My brother likes both bunnies and coffee and of COURSE there was a machine devoted to BUNNIES MAKING COFFEE

Up next: VEGE LIFE!
 

bee

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Day 20, cont.

We walked back to Vege Life in the international terminal and were quickly seated. The menus had multiple pages with SO MANY VEGGIE CHOICES!!! :joyfull:




















(We were seated by a mirror and I took the photo in the mirror, hence why it's backwards)


While we waited we were able to charge our phones!







It's been so long I don't even remember exactly what we got, but I remember it was all SOOO GOOOOOD!!! It was one of our favorite meals of the trip and we wished we'd know about the Vege Life chain earlier so we could have gone to the one in Sasebo. Oh well, next time! I can't overstate how nice it was to know for sure we weren't accidentally eating pork or fish broth and to not have to make special requests from the staff.

Up next: On the plane
 

bee

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Day 20, cont.

*This will be the last regular post of this report! I can't believe it's taken me this long (even if the trip was the longest I've ever taken!) and at the same time I can't believe it's coming to an end! I'm a little sad to be finishing it up, but at the same time I have many Disney adventures coming up. There will be at least two more posts after this with various final thoughts, plus souvenir photos that I took after we got home.*

Security wasn't too eventful. I've found that in most international airports I've visited that almost everything you want to do in the airport (restaurants, stores, etc.) is before security and there is almost nothing post-security. Hence why we ate and shopped before going through security closer to our actual flight time.


Real, working payphones in 2019.

On the way to the gate there were machines where you could exchange leftover yen for gift cards in your home currency. M had learned that our bank would accept yen and convert them to dollars for direct deposit in our account, but they only accept bills, so we needed to get rid of our coins. We put all our coins in and got an Uber gift card for about $15. Better than having a bunch of small coins lying around!

One we got to the gate area it was already pretty crowded, but miraculously we found this row of seats WITH charging outlets was free!


But...the outlets didn't work! So THAT'S why no one was there. :rolleyes::hilarious:




We moved to a different row of seats, where this sign was posted by the outlet. 😂 No shavers!


JAL ROYAL CATERING!

We boarded a took off a little bit late. This time we were in a row of three in the center column of seats, but we didn't mind as the guy in our row was quiet and slept most of the time.

Shortly after takeoff a FA came by to confirm our veggie meals and put these green stickers on our trays so the FA who served meals would know where we were:



We were served the same soy sauce crackers as on the first flight and we both took advantage of the complimentary drinks.





Our meals were served before everyone else's and we were offered another drink...so we had more!




The meal was rice, veggies, and a soy-based faux meat. It was very good and we liked it better than the first flight meal.


I guess I listened to Abba on the way! It wasn't enough to just watch a documentary on the first flight, I had to actually listen to their music this time!

I slept a little bit on and off. We passed the time by watching various shows/movies on our screens and I also played some games on my phone.


FLY PRISON (I'm imagining incarcerated insects)


SEND GRAIN

Later we were served a second meal.




This was a lasagna with a cream-based sauce, I believe.



And in case anyone was wondering how my smashed finger was doing: (I don't think it's super gross but I'm using the spoiler tag just in case)

We landed at JFK close to our scheduled time and made our way to customs and immigration. The lines were outrageous, especially for non-US citizens. I felt really bad for them because the staff were holding back the non-US line and letting US citizens go ahead. Some people were complaining they were missing their connecting flights. WHY is this part of the return such a nightmare every time I fly back to the US, but it's always so quick and easy when I arrive in other countries?? :mad:

Eventually we got through customs, which was helped by the Mobile Passport app. I highly recommend this app for anyone traveling internationally and entering the US. We got to go through a separate, much shorter line and it saved us a lot of time.

We found the rideshare area and took an Uber alllllll the way home to NJ. I'm sure the driver hated us but I did leave a very good tip.

We arrived home around 9pm local time, showered, and crashed. The next morning (a Sunday) I got up bright and early to go back to my church job, and on Monday we returned to our respective schools to get back to work.

Day 20 Stats
Distance: 2.5 miles
Steps: 5946
Flights: 1


Up next: Some final thoughts and photos!
 
Last edited:

Darstarr

Well-Known Member
In the Parks
No
A Youtuber I watch did a video about this!

Are you kidding me????
No wonder ticket prices are so high!!!
That is so labor intensive.
I love a good hidden Mickey but even I have to ask if all that work is worth it.
 
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bee

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Some final thoughts: Tokyo Disney Resort
  • CUTE and well-maintained parks and area!
  • Ticket prices much more affordable than US parks
  • Best transportation and especially monorail, BY FAR!
  • AND, loved being able to take legit public transit right to the resort!
  • CROWDS! LINES! Lines to get a FP! Lines to get popcorn! Lines to get into the park! Yes, we were there right after NYD...but I've been to WDW on and/or near every major and minor holiday, and I've never seen ANYTHING like this!!!
  • No FP+, MaxPass, MDE, etc. Smartphones just don't seem to be as big in Japan. We saw plenty of young people with them, but didn't see many middle-aged and up adults with them. I don't know if this will change over time as the young people become not-so-young.
  • Vegetarianism and vegetarian meals...not so common! This is a Japan thing too, of course.
  • Sheraton Grande Tokyo Bay
    • LOVED IT! Would DEFINITELY stay there again!
    • Beautiful hotel, spacious room, excellent staff
    • GREAT location
    • We paid something like $350/night, which was on the higher end due to the holidays and was definitely a splurge for us. I've seen it for much less at other times of year. Still, for the last three nights of vacation and for the location right by the monorail, it was worth it!
  • The Japanese tend to like characters who are cute furry animals, such as Pooh and friends, Duffy and friends, Chandu (from Sindbad's), etc.
  • The preferred princesses seem to be Rapunzel, Cinderella, Snow White, Belle, and Aurora. We didn't see much (or any!) merch for most of the others. We also saw a good amount of Wendy and Tink merch displayed with the official princesses.
  • On-ride photos...not a thing.
  • Gift shop after the ride...(mostly) not a thing.
  • MATCHING! SO. MANY. GUESTS. were in completely matching outfits. Sometimes they were just in the same color (white top, black bottoms, matching accessories, same color shoes, etc.). Sometimes they were literally wearing the EXACT. SAME. THING. HEAD. TO. TOE. We saw groups of up to SIX PEOPLE DRESSED IDENTICALLY. It almost became like a game to point them out.
  • Loved having the mall on the monorail for groceries and food alternatives.
  • I would definitely go back!! If possible I would plan NOT to be there around a major holiday!!!
Up next: a general Japan thoughts post
 

KellBelle

Well-Known Member
Thank you so much for this very detailed fun report! Besides the cats, lol what stuck with me the most is how pristinely clean the parks looked to be. I was amazed in what pride they seem to take in the daily maintenance. Looking forward to your upcoming adventures!
 
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