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-Old Welsh Door Verse

Monday, November 20, 2017

Just kept...

... getting better.

Tokyo Disneyland Hotel from the Mahaima Station/Ikspiari pedestrian walkway.

This is the second installment post about my fabulous trip to Tokyo to spend time with my son, daughter-in-law and grandsons age six and two.  Because of my son's school schedule, the second week of my stay was a school vacation week for him, and he used their resident status and booked two rooms at  the glorious Tokyo Disneyland Hotel for a three-day, two-night stay at this fabulous resort.  In this post I'm going to kind of mash together Day Two and Day Three experiences.  I'll note which day if it seems significant to the story. And to make this easier on me, I'm going to refer the members of my Japan family as Dad, Mom, Six and Two.

To recap, after a week-and-a-half of delicious family time, we were bringing my visit to a close with our trip to Tokyo Disneyland and Disney Sea.  I think we were all pretty clear that the grandchildren's first visit was our focus, although they were all patient with their starry-eyed American visitor.  The end result, though, of having the littles as our focus was that we all enjoyed a very relaxed sightseeing visit with limited queue experiences.  And lots of time for Grandma to dawdle to take pictures.

We arrived on Halloween, and I'm not going to repeat the events of Day 1  (See previous post) except to say that it was a delightful shock to come back from Halloween...



We had 12:20 reserved seats for one of the shows at Disney Sea, so our plan was to pick up on some of the things Six had asked to do at Disneyland before heading to the other park.  Top of his list was to see Critter Country.  I'm not sure he was thrilled with what we found, be it was a pleasant walk and I was delighted.

I found one!  A Disneyland sparrow!  Not the same markings as ours, but definitely a sparrow!

Chrysanthemum topiaries are big in Japan.

Walking through Western Land and a tad bummed that we didn't get to stop for the Country Bear Jamboree.  I really miss it in California.

A relative?

One natural thing Tokyo Disney has that Anaheim does not is fall color.  I could not stop taking pictures of the trees in autumn color, and was impressed with how they were used as landscape art throughout the park.

LOTS of theming in this Critter Country.  LOTS of little critter houses.

Splash Mountain.  My favorite ride at Anaheim Disneyland, but we didn't try it.  This time.

Foot bridge and wishing well.  And color.
We hung out in Critter Country for a while and took pictures before heading back to Fantasyland for Grandma's second big wish.
There's a tribute to an old friend.  Didn't see any walking around characters in either Tokyo park, however.

Pooh's Hunny Hunt.  Big Thanks to thisNatasha for her high recommendation on this ride.  Absolutely delightful from queue to Pooh Corner shopping on the way out.

GASP!  Lotus.

Oh, what a thrill.!  Winnie the Pooh HIMSELF greeting guests in the queue.  Pooh says "Hi" to Two.

Of course, I was taking  pictures of everything, but on this ride (and one the next day) I was asked to put the camera away, so I did.  Such a rules person.  It may be a new rule, as I have seen POV (point-of-view) videos of the ride on youtube.  I couldn't decide my favorite scene.  The
Tigger area was a crack-up, but there is swing music in the heffalump and woozle area, which was also a crack-up.
After this ride, Six wanted to go to Tomorrowland but we were cutting it uncomfortably close for the show we had tickets for so we headed to Disney Sea and

Disney Sea pays homage - well - to the sea.  And to the famous ports of Planet Earth.  Physical and Fantasy.  Big Band Beat is an awesome stage show in the American Waterfront area of Disney Sea.  We were in the New York harbor area, but three days just wasn't enough to also take in the Cape Cod or San Francisco/Monterey areas.
But, man, did we score on this show!  When Dad and Mom researched and then purchased our vacation package, there were several shows listed and they were allowed to pick one.  Since both of my sons are jazz musicians, Big Band Beat sounded like the easy choice.  I learned closer to the trip that it is very difficult to get tickets on the day of the performance for this show.  In fact, if you wait until the day (and it's a busy day) you either stand in line for the first show or you go to a machine and put in your park ticket, which puts you into a lottery.  And many people never get the ticket!  There we were, in the perfect seats for this amazing musical performance.
I was sitting between Six and Two for this, and Two had been getting hungry/crabby.  But as soon as this show started, there was a miraculous change.  Just seconds in his face was glowing with fun and his little hands were conducting.  And then...
"Meekee Mouff!  Dra-Ma!  Meekee Mouff!"
I sure was glad I had been watching Two instead of the stage.
After the show, we went hunting for something to eat.  As we passed the station platform for the elevated train, Six let us know that a ride on the train had to go on the don't-miss-it list.
We ended up having some chicken roll-up thing next to this New York harbor, which I loved.  (I have a thing about harbors, anyway, and this was a fun depiction.)

This made me giggle.  Can you read the name?

California Disnerds know this name.  Sailing the Rivers of America we have our own Columbia, a ..." full-scale replica of Columbia Rediviva, the first American ship to circumnavigate the globe." [Wikipedia].

So, yeah, I got a giggle out of the cross-park salute in this name.

The chicken roll-ups weren't the best food we had on this trip, but not bad.  Once we were satisfied we headed right back to the elevated train and rode to the end of the line.  From there we walked to Grandma's next wish, Mermaid Lagoon.

There are simply not enough words for this place, and no way to capture the beauty of King Triton's undersea Kingdom on camera (the lighting is perfection but too hard for me to catch on my little camera.)  I loved it, and could have spent a half day exploring the incredible mosaic work of King Triton's Castle.

Under the sea.

King Triton.

Six pretty much wanted to climb everything he passed.  He was on his way higher when Mom made him come down.

You can't really see it very well, but there's a sparrow sitting on the curve of the spiral.

By the time we were satisfied with our visit with the Merfolk, the Japan Family was ready to head back to the train station and back to the hotel with tired kids.  Grandma wasn't quite ready to pack it in, though, so we separated.  I spent a little time in the Arabian Peninsula area, then decided to head back.

After Mermaid Lagoon, we had all taken out our maps to see if there was a shorter route back to the train station.  We didn't see one, as there was a volcano in the way.  Dad had even joked, how do they get back?  tunnel through the volcano? before they headed back the way we'd come.  But as I stood outside the Arabian area, I noticed a steady stream of guests walking back past Mermaid Lagoon and just kind of disappearing.  I wondered if there was, indeed, a way to the entrance in that direction.

And got a little overwhelmed when I found myself going through said tunnel into


At the top of my list for Disney Sea was to see the model of the Nautilus that I'd seen pictures of.  I thought it was in the lagoon at the entrance of the park, but it was not and I had not taken time to find it yet.

I was blown away.

I loved the Disney Jules Verne-based movies of the fifties and sixties, and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea was/is one of my top ten all-time favorite movies.  One of my desert island movies.  I never tire of it.  James Mason.  Burt Lancaster. Peter Lorre.

And the Nautilus.

The 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea  walk-through attraction in the early Anaheim Disneyland days was/is one of my favorite attractions.  The organ music piping through the sets.  The giant porthole and giant squid.

And the Nautilus.   As a kid, I was fascinated with the design and the model in the attraction.

And steampunk, also something I love, is based on the Verne canon.  And this Mysterious Island area - hidden in Mount Prometheus and using the geothermal energy of the active volcano -  is a steampunk wonder.

Gift Shop.

Geyser.  You never know when it's going to blow.


Eventually I found my way out to the park entrance via one of the tunnels, and went back to Disneyland for a little last-minute shopping before returning to my room. 
On the way out I saw this guy.  At this park, the ragtime piano player has to pedal his instrument around the Grand Bazaar.  I think our guys need to step up their game.  (Just kidding.  He did a great job, but the added effort did affect the music.)
At the Disneyland Monorail station.  Sunset over Tokyo Bay.

Christmas lights were lit.  The tree lights were colored, but I had not yet learned to do decent night shots with my camera.
And from my room.  Sigh.  I love this place.
Safe in my room, I let the family know I had arrived, and my son asked me to come next door to hear his idea for dinner.  I had suggested that instead of trying to eat in the park, we consider checking out Ikspiari for dinner, as thisNatasha had recommended some of the restaurants there.  While I was dawdling in Disney Sea, they had done just that and found a Mexican Food restaurant that is part of a chain.  He and his colleagues had eaten at the one close to his school.  Since none of us felt like going out again to eat, he volunteered to trek to get us take-out from Guzman and Gomez Mexican restaurant.
Yes. Mexican.  I never got used to this resort blowing me away.  This was FANTASTIC Mexican food.  And I'm from Southern California.  An Ag community.  With restaurants that cater to migrant workers.  From Mexico.
Tired and now sated, we all decided our day was complete and started the shower and bedtime process.  Which was MUCH easier in my room than the one next door.  As I had the night before, I enjoyed a leisurely hot shower, took a couple of ibuprofen and finished my packing, then tucked in.  I slept really well  (which surprised me as I was very tired and very sore when I tucked in) and woke up too early. 
We had a time-certain of 8:00 am for our Sherwood Garden buffet breakfast but it was only 6:00 am.  I got dressed and sat down at the desk to entertain myself on my kindle when a rational thought hit.  Here I was, with nothing worthwhile to do while the sun rose over the most beautiful hotel I've ever stayed in.  (And I've stayed at the Hotel Del Coronado in California and the Waldorf-Astoria in New York.  I'm telling you, this place takes your breath away at every turn.)  Why was I in this room?  Why was I not out taking pictures?
Best.  Idea.  Ever.
We were on the fifth floor.  This was a hub for the hallways just between our rooms and the elevator bay, which was through that opening.

Two elevators on each side of this sitting area.  The stained glass is of Pluto.

(This is the wrong elevator, but I can't figure out how to move or delete the video.  Oh, well.)

I may add another post in the future of all the hidden Mickeys we found (and we know we didn't find all of them) in the hotel.

 The lobby on the third floor.

I was so taken by the pink glass chandeliers that it took me a while to notice the stained glass skylights.

"Little" touches.  On a pedestal.  Not as large as it looks in the photo.

These motifs were used in several places...
... like the Monorail station.

From the lobby to one of the entrances.

The entrance to the carport and the Fantasia/Sorcerer Mickey fountain.

Good Morning!

Filigree elevator cage that went from third to eighth floors.
(THIS is where that elevator video should be.  Guess it won't matter if it doesn't work, huh?  They usually don't when I insert them.)

Check-in counter past the little kids' waiting area.

Child-sized seating in front of...

...this amazing doll's house.  1:12 scale.

All the rooms were Disney themed.  Unfortunately, I didn't get good pictures of the rooms.

The elevator again.  Yes, I rode it.

Incredible fountain in the porte cochere area.

I had read in the room folder that there was a little Alice in Wonderland garden somewhere (thisNatasha, if you drop by, this is for you).  I asked the doorman where it was and found my way there.  It is charming, although I would love to see it when the (white) roses are blooming.

Headed back to the lobby I noticed the iconic benches but with their own "TDH" monogram.

Porte Cochere.  Almost makes you wish you'd arrived in a nice car.  (No, not really).

Back in the lobby.  Through the window is the Monorail Station and the courtyard my room looked down on.  We had to go to the lower lobby to get out to the Monorail Station.

Fifth Floor elevator landing.

Pavilion with Monorail Station behind it.
One of the classes I had to take to get my BA in History was a class in historic preservation.  I was interested to learn that Victorian houses were NOT originally white like we tend to see today, but were in colors.  Often monochromatic, but in different values.  So it tickled me to see that so faithfully represented here.

Sherwood Garden Restaurant.  Oh. My. Gawd.  The buffets.

Pretty sure the middle two were our rooms.

Lower lobby entrance.

The mercantile.  Yeah, I spent some time - and yen - there.  And it made the switch from Halloween to Christmas overnight, too.

I rather like the dogs welcoming us at this entrance.  Pluto...

...and Goofy.

Disneyland Station.  Not free like in Anaheim, but our package included passes.

Add caption

Mosaics are used throughout the resort.  thisNatasha, this one is for you.

I don't think any of us were ready for our last morning to be our last morning, but the time had come.  It was made easier by the fact that it was our breakfast at the Sherwood Garden and, as it had not disappointed us at our dinner two nights before, it did not disappoint us this morning.  We had a time certain report at 8:00 am, and I was a little put out that we had to wait ten minutes to be seated.

Until I saw the table.

A table for eight, set for six, with this as our view.

After another leisurely, delicious meal, we headed out to do our two A-list wishes for this day.

First, Dad wanted to take his boys on the train.  It's funny how you learn what things impress your children.  Dad will be forty on his next birthday, and this was the first I realized that our traditional end of day DLRR ride had made a happy impression on him.

I admit, this gave me a thrill chill.

Familiar scenes, again kicked up a notch.

Prairie dogs!  I want prairie dogs!

Steamboat wharf, BTRR (which was closed for refurb) and canoe.  We went around the island, but I had no evidence that it is something you visit.

Backside of BTRR.

Possum family hanging from the stump.

Made me smile.
After the train ride we headed over to Tomorrowland so that Six could see it.  We didn't plan to ride anything, but made a nice stop for souvenirs at a great gift shop there.  Donald Duck plushy and Tomika vehicles.  (Wish we had the Tomika vehicles here.  SO cute.)

The last thing on Grandma's wish list was to ride 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, so we headed back to Vulcania.  What a fabulous ride.  Very clever and interesting technology.

We were closing in on our targeted departure time.  (The plan was to eat lunch and then head directly to the Mahaima Station on the Monorail from Disney Sea).  Six wanted to ride the elevated train again, and Grandma the merch addict wanted one more gift shop stop, so we decided to split up and meet at the New York Deli for lunch.  
Tokyo Bay, or a direct view of the Pacific.  I'm not sure, but I think it's just the Bay.

Christmas had arrived in New York, too.

A little entertainment while Grandma waited.
The family was a little late meeting me, but it was because they took a ride in one of these cars.  Six got a wish fulfilled, so all was good.
When we met up again in NY, the family shared that they thought instead of the deli, they wanted to eat lunch here at the Café Portofina.  Sounded like a good plan to me, as I wanted to enjoy the views.  Once we settled what I wanted to eat, I headed out to claim a table in the shade.  The views were amazing.

After we got home, Dad said that he was interested in learning more about the Hotel Mira Costa, the only hotel on/around the resort property that exists right into a park.  I watched a few youtube vlogs about it and it was the first I realized that all the buildings around this area ARE the Hotel Mira Costa.  The check-in is at the entrance to the park, and these surround the Mediterranean Harbor area.  I had wondered why this park hadn't used the scaling illusion from the Disneyland Park in Anaheim because these building loom pretty overwhelmingly.  Now I understood. 

It would take a lot to get me to stay somewhere other than the Disneyland Hotel, but this one might do it.

The Italian food at the Café Portofino was divine.

My Seafood Lasagne was to die for.  So good that I almost forgot to take a picture.

It was fitting that our last park meal would be our best park meal.

We headed back to the welcome center, picked up our luggage and took the short rides home.  Seriously, about a ten minute taxi ride and a fifteen minute (outside) train ride from where the family lives to Tokyo Disney Resort.

I had been almost packed for home before we left for Tokyo Disney.  I packed my second suitcase with my Disney haul, and we had a fairly quiet last evening together.  The next morning I finished my carry-on stuff and enjoyed a (sort of) concert presented by Six and Two.  And then the sobbing began.  Fortunately, my son knows me well, just gathered me in and patted for the long minutes it took me to calm down.  I hugged the babies and my DIL and managed to get myself out the door without stealing anyone.  My son loaded me into a taxi for the Tokyo Air Center Terminal, where I boarded a limo bus... 

...for Narita Airport.

Which looked like this when I got there.  My son and I agreed that we would rather be at an airport three hours early than stress out over getting delayed (like a traffic jam on the way there) and having to rush the process of boarding an international flight.  Turns out, I was WAY too early.  The Singapore Airlines counter wasn't even open when I got there.  I managed to self-check and tag my luggage, though, so when the counter opened, I was ready for the quick weigh-in and hand-off.

I had really been hoping to get there early enough to shop the new (since I've been there, anyway) mall, particularly the Traveler's Notebook shop.  On my hunt for the journal I wanted I also managed to pick up a couple of pins for my Masteryear quilt, as well as a Tokyo city mug.

But I managed to spend most of my extra yen here.  In delight.

And that was it.  Singapore Air is a wonderful airline to fly with.  My amazing travel agent had booked me a round trip window seat for less than $800.   The re-entry into the USA took longer and was harder than going into Tokyo in the first place (mostly because I was honest about my purchases), but the bus to the flyaway had just pulled up in front of Bradley as I wheeled my bags out.  The sun had just set when I arrived at my favorite restaurant for dinner and I was home at a reasonable hour.  Tired and sad, but safe.

The Haul

The first time I watched a haul video I thought, "WTF?  Who cares what you bought?"  but I watched it anyway and really enjoyed it.  I didn't make a video, but thought I'd share some pictures.


The Victorian Era is my favorite era - architecturally - which was, no doubt, a big reason I loved this hotel so much.  This is a 4" version of the bronze statue of Mickey that greeted us in the lobby.

Remember I dragged my tired Grandma self over to Disney Sea on Halloween night to ensure I got a commemorative Halloween pin?

And how the next day we discovered it was suddenly Christmas?

 Also from Disney Sea.  I felt lucky to find both Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo Disney Sea pins.  In English.

Then I took a chance on these.  I took them out at the hotel and said to my daughter-in-law, "I am really hoping these say 'Tokyo Disney Sea' and 'Tokyo Disneyland.'"  Her eyes were twinkling, but I think she was telling me straight that that's what they said.

I never planned to collect Dumbo stuff, but it seems over the years that's just what I've done.  I got the little Dumbo tsum tsum on the cake at the Ikspiari Disney Store.  It was issued to celebrate the 4th anniversary of tsum tsums.   I may be able to get it here, but I really wanted to get it there.  The Dumbo on my right is a candy container that I saw in a thisNatasha vlog.  I made sure I found one and was lucky I happened to walk into the right store early on.  I never saw it again.

I had particularly hoped to find something with Mickey dressed in something culturally Japanese.  And I did.  I found later that I could have bought a larger size, but the smaller one suits me fine.

This is something nice they do for you in the shops there.  The assume a lot of what you are buying is for other people, and put in extra bags whether you ask for them or not.

I had planned to buy tins, and I did, but I also collect specially decorated boxes so was thrilled to find this one.  It was the only "food" container (I gave the crackers to the family) that screamed JAPAN.

 And the tins.

My favorite.  Embellished with a tiny Jiminy Cricket and a tiny Tink.  The corner motifs are delicate and gorgeous.
OK, happy ending to a sad story.  Shortly before the trip I ran several errands.  It wasn't until I got home that I realized my house keys (which I keep separate from my car keys) had disappeared.  I called all the stores I'd shopped and the hardware store confirmed they had the keys.  I drove out the next morning, singing praises for the kindness of the human race.  When I collected the keys, however, I saw that my fob decorations - two personalized and all three irreplaceable - had been stolen off the ring.  One of them was the carabiner clip with the iconic Mickey outline in red.  The parks don't sell it anymore.  So, I was really thrilled to find these at Disney Sea.


TOMIKA.  Golly, I wish we could get this themed for our parks.  Or have I just missed them?  Similar to Hot Wheels and themed for characters and rides and shows.  Just delightful little things.

Pluto, Mickey and Pooh.

The fish is the character from Sea Rider, a ride that is (I think) like Star Tours but themed to Nemo and Dory.  We didn't go on it but it's high on my list for my next trip. 

Got the album of music from BIG BAND BEAT and the themed livery.

Christmas vehicles I bought at the hotel mercantile.

And, of course, Cars cars.

Ride vehicles.
Over the years I've collected a few Disney character plushies in Christmas garb.  I managed to spend enough at the Disney Store at Ikspiari to qualify for a purchase-with-purchase.  I opted for the Chip and Dale.

I don't usually wear yellow, but this Winnie the Pooh hoodie was too cute to pass up.  It's not fleece but some kind of double-knit polyester.  I wore it to the Anaheim Disney this past Saturday and had to peel it off within an hour.  I may not be able to wear it here - we don't get cold enough.

The cookie tin from the Mercantile at the hotel.  SO sweet.  Japan is more into the little, cute characters than the US.  For example, Huey, Dewey and Louie are on the sides of this tin.  (I don't remember them being so angelic, however.)

On most trips to our Disneyland, my mom comments that they should have at least a kiosk or wagon with stationery supplies.  (There used to be a Hallmark store where the Clothiers is, now.)  It was fun to show her there is a designated stationery store in the Grand Bazaar, although you could buy most of the offerings at the other gift shops as well.


And finally, the purchases at the Narita Terminal 1 Mall.

Lovely pins and a cool sticker from one of the locality stores. (Each province has its own store in the mall.)

My big purchase at Traveler's Factory store.  There were a half-dozen times that I wished I'd remembered to bring a travel journal (or even just a small notebook) to capture some of the cute things my grands did or some of the funny but insignificant things (like me forgetting I would have to haul my haul on the train and the 20-minute walk home from the shopping mall) in case I forgot them.  That's what all this is for.  Small enough to slip into my purse.

And lastly, I don't drink coffee but do use mugs for just about everything else.  With my essential tremor and arthritis, something with a handle is more stable.  So, I started collecting the "You Are Here" mugs from Starbucks.  Of course, Japan couldn't offer just one mug for the country, but rather had one for each major city.  And, they aren't the same style (although someone behind me mentioned that they thought Starbucks was putting out a new mug this year, so maybe this is it.)  I do like the way it's decorated.

And so, that's it.  I'm home.  Tired and more than a little sad to be away from my Japan family again.
The End.



1 comment:

Stitcher S said...

Wow! What an amazing trip you had. Thanks for sharing your Tokyo Disney details here!