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Tokyo Disney for a WDW Veteran

Animaniac93-98

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
This is less of a trip report, than a collection of thoughts from myself who has been visiting WDW on an annual basis for many years, but finally had the chance to visit TDR this past week. I've also been to DLR and DLP so I'll be making some comparisons to those as well.

First, regarding Tokyo Disneyland itself:

More so than the other ones I've visited, Tokyo Disneyland feels like Florida. Obviously this is in part because some of the buildings like the castle are the same, but it goes beyond that. The park's proximity to water, the choice of building materials and the more humid/damp climate all contribute to this. It's uncanny how despite knowing the specific differences and the fact that you're not in the USA, it still seems like you're back in Orlando. This is not a knock against the park, because I actually prefer the scale and style of WDW's Magic Kingdom, and it's wonderful to see that recreated, and more importantly, preserved overseas.

This isn't suprising because in the late 70s there were only two Disney theme parks, and Orlando had the newer, beter one. It's not odd to think that Oriental Land would have wanted as much of their park to have the same DNA as WDW of the time, while still having some California touches like New Orleans Square.

It's bigger, but that's more to do with how the layout is spread out a bit. There's no Town Square at the foot of World Bazaar (their Main Street), and the moat around the hub is thinner and more shallow, so it looks bigger, but doesn't change the scale of the buildings that much. For the most part, walking around the park is no more difficult or different than MK. The rides are in more or less the same place, with only Haunted Mansion being the obvious outlier so close to Dumbo and the center of Fantasyland. The best feature of TDL is having the better versions of the American rides in the same park. Disneyland's Pirates and Toontown, Florida's Haunted Mansion and Jungle Cruise etc. If there's one thing that's missing it's the equivalent to the historical attractions like HoP or Mr. Lincoln. The park used to have a show like that called "Meet the World", but it closed in 2002 and is now a Monsters Inc. ride. Proof that TDL is not immune to the character/IP invasion that has spread across the other parks, along with having two Stitch attractions in the same park (!).

Tokyo Disneyland opened just 6 months after EPCOT Center, which makes it the last Disney theme park designed by WED and before Eisner's leadership. It's why the park feels like "old school" Disney, despite being only 6 years older than MGM Studios. It's a mix of both older blueprints and older sensibilities and expectations. Tokyo Disneyland did not set out to reinvent the wheel, but to present its best aspects and it very much succeeds at doing so. It helps that, for example, smaller attractions like the Penny Arcade, Magic Shop are still there, along with having serving trays at the QS eateries each being restaurant specific and not just "Disney Parks" or plain.

Contrast this with Disneyland Paris, a park designed by the second generation of Disney Imagineers who grew up with the original Disneyland and wanted to design a park that would appeal both to them and an audience less familiar with the Disney park product. That resort was also built during the same time as WDW's major expansion and shares some of the architects for projects like Newport Bay Club and Hotel New York, which explains the familiar look to certain areas, but also why the park does not resemble the older WED-era designs.
 
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Animaniac93-98

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
I'll just say quickly that I did not have the chance to visit Ikspiari (their DTD) or the hotels, so this will just be about the two parks for now.
 

BrerJon

Well-Known Member
Thanks for this, I love TDL trip reports as even nowadays when travel to Japan is so cheap and easy it amazes me more people don't go even once, yet will spend way more money on repeat trips to WDW where they do the same things every year. Can't wait to hear your thoughts on DisneySea!
 

Animaniac93-98

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
DisneySea is fantastic. It puts all other Disney second gates to shame, which may not be saying much given the current state of DHS, WDSP, DCA, or Epcot, but it's the truth.

Imagine a park 50% bigger than The Magic Kingdom, but every land is as large and detailed as either Cars Land or Diagon Alley. The sense of scale and immersion can't be imagined in pictures or video alone. Standing in line for 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea at the base of Mysterious Island makes the park's central icon look like it's 300 ft tall.

And the park is not lacking for rides. It currently has 20, with #21 opening this July, and more on the way. This does not include the various shows or walk-through attractions that also exist. It would take two days to see it all, especially with the crowds. Rides like Sindbad and Journey to the Center of the Earth are the kind of rides many here have been wishing would come to WDW. Even the rides that also exist in other Disney parks like Indiana Jones, Jasmine's Flying Carpets or Tower of Terror also look better here.

Big Band Beat is worth the price of admission alone, no other Disney park show compares, except for maybe Mickey and the Magician at DLP. It's like something you'd pay $50-$100 to see in Vegas, but it's included in park admission (though shorter at 30 min). The Broadway Theater its held in is also beautiful, as is the giant (full-sized?) steam ship nearby.

I think anyone who likes Epcot would really enjoy this park. It has a similar approach where you're exploring different regions of the world, but there's the added layer of sci-fi or fantasy that works because each area is its own self-contained world and the park is like the Magic Kingdom where the "fantasy" (fantasea?) is in the interpretation of periods of history and broad cultural concepts and not just recreating Disney-IP. This is how you build a modern Disney park that re-invents older concepts, and adds new ideas and established characters in a satisfying way.
 

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