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TokyoInsider
07-26-2001, 04:43 PM
The first Cast Previews for Tokyo DisneySea start tomorrow! Fortunately, it looks like the typhoon hovering off the coast will stay there, and the Cast Member 'Guests' will be in for some great weather.

This will mark the first time the whole park will be open for 'real' guests. The restaurants have already been put through their paces for the past 2 weeks, offering their menus at a steep discount for employees on-site. The initial word is that the food for the most part is pretty good, and the restaurant interiors are simply stunning and brimming with theming and detailing- even eclipsing Tokyo Disneyland. On the down side, some people have mentioned that food portions are (in some cases) a little on the small side.

I'll try to poke around and get some info about how the weekend goes.

Napsto
07-26-2001, 04:48 PM
try to take pictures of the park!

JRob2k1
07-26-2001, 04:49 PM
You lucky son of gun!! I would to live in Tokyo right about now. Especially as Sept. 4th rolls around. Are you going to opening day TokyoInsider??

-JRob

Mr D
07-26-2001, 07:09 PM
Lucky you! Oh how I wish I could go there this year but I made up my mind to go to WDW and its all paid for, I know now my family is going next year, no more cheap shoddy and poor theming US Disney parks for us!

JoeInJpn
08-01-2001, 10:24 AM
I'll be there on Tuesday, September 4th, 2001. Tickets go on sale this Saturday, August 4th at Tokyo DisneySea and the Tokyo Disney Resort Ticket Center in central Tokyo.

I visited Tokyo DisneySea over the weekend and have posted photos on my website: www.jtcent.com (http://www.jtcent.com) I will also visit the park during 5 more preview days this month so I will post more photos.

Thanks and enjoy.

JoeInJpn
http://www.jtcent.com

Ralph Wiggum
08-01-2001, 01:09 PM
Man i am jelous!!! Have fun...take tons of pictures of the mountain inside....:)

Ralph Wiggum
08-01-2001, 03:48 PM
Wow...i really like your site....you have done a great job with it!

Mr D
08-01-2001, 05:57 PM
Holy cow Joe thats one fine website!:) I think I may spend more time there than here at MP;) Thanks for being our source of TDS/TDL as there is hardly any news about it anywhere and I need lots of information for our family trip next year for at least a weeks stay. I hope many people can get over the fear of travel to Japan as my strongest hunch is this will be the Disney of Tomorrow of theme parks.

JRob2k1
08-01-2001, 06:00 PM
Yeah I really want to know what Journey to the Center of the Earth is like. That ride sounds amazing. I would like to hear some reviews and a couple of juicy details. Not too many though, I'll be there next spring.

I heard that the animatronic at the end is supposed to be really cool. Is it really going to be the biggest AA in the world???

Help me out guys...:)

-JRob

Mr D
08-01-2001, 07:59 PM
I just spent the last hour at two different websites that had TDS pics and the quality of this park is amazing! I wonder how different the CM's are from their American or European counterparts, also I wonder how the cuisine matches up to an Americans "Big Mack" taste philosophy. 34 days and counting until the official opening and I am getting this weird feeling and a vision of an empty street at Disneyland/DCA/WDW, ticket booths empty and shuttered with signs saying "Closed due to Lack of Interest" If I feel so strong about visiting a REAL Disney park with REAL E-Ticket rides, am I the minority that is the lone fish swimming against the current while the others head to the Eisner nets of their corporate USA made mousetrap of THEIR idea of what is quality? I guess we the american public is afraid to travel overseas, afraid to experience a REAL treat of imagineering, afraid to challenge the travesty of Walts visions that have concurred under the present empire that cares less about standards and worships the almighty dollar hoping the public never notices the burnt out light bulbs, the empty exhibits, the rides that died hard because of pennypinching and even the few good rides that could have been better but they too were victims of the money crunchers, on the other hand it just may be another DCA, What do you think?

TokyoInsider
08-01-2001, 11:44 PM
Just got out of a sneak preview of the Park, and here are a few highlights, lowlights, and things in between...

1. Walt Disney Imagineering Cast Members spotted going through the turnstiles, weeping in joy, and sharing hugs and 'congratulations', around the Aquasphere. After having seen what they designed first hand, I can understand.

2. Quite a number of confused Tokyo Disneyland guests trying to use their passports to gain entry to Tokyo DisneySea. And they were even more confused that people were getting into the park, even though the Grand Opening isn't until another month.

3. Attractions were working (for the most part) but seemingly never at the same time. Journey to the Center of the Earth seemed to be 'down' quite a bit, as well as Aquatopia, but things seemed to improve as the day went on. Of course, since these are all-new ride systems, these kind of delays are expected, and many are confident that problems will be worked out by opening day.

4. The attractions: There wasn't a particular attraction that people agreed was the best, but all agreed that every attraction had good points. Please skip to the end of this section to avoid spoilers!

TOKYO INDY SPOILERS AHEAD#############
People who rode Indy Jones in both Japan and Anaheim said that the Tokyo version is MUCH smoother than the Anaheim version. The vehicle does not lurch and jerk around nearly as violently as it's American counterpart.
However, the Tokyo interior of the ride features a lot of really neat and refined visual effects unseen in Anaheim like a 'breath of fire' before the dart scene, and a whirling smoke whirlpool extending from the ceiling to the floor in the main show area. Some people enjoyed the smoother ride, but others really wished it were a bit rougher. Also, the queue area is gorgeously detailed and provides a lot of insight into the story, but there were seemingly no 'booby-traps'.

JOURNEY SPOILERS AHEAD###############
The word is that this attraction is an intense must-visit ride, but while some people loved it, others were a little disappointed with the ending. Basically, you decend into the depths of the Earth in a 6 person ride vehicle, and pass many gorgeously detailed scenes, finally, you meet up with a huge audio-anamatronic lava monster, and your vehicle takes off- REALLY takes off- you start going faster and faster in the pitch dark up to around 45 miles an hour, spiraling up the interior of the mountain in darkness until you shoot out into daylight, only to plunge downwards again (in darkness), then slowly lose speed(in darkness), and coast back to the station. Some people were disappointed that the 'story' didn't really seem to make sense. Presumably, you are trying to run away from the lava monster, but there is no indication that the lava monster is chasing you. You just run away in darkness, and end in darkness. Others didn't give a flying tortilla about the story, and just loved the intense, unrelenting acceleration and drop of the climax.

Other spoilers to follow in a later post###########
END OF SPOILERS########################

5. No (openly) complaining guests overheard! It was unusual, because neither I nor any of the many people who I talked to about the previews overheard any complaints about the park! What was heard almost non-stop was astonishment about how much detailing there was everywhere.

6. Plenty for young children to do. Mermaid Lagoon is, in my opinion, simply the best children's play area complex I have ever seen. There are 7 kid-friendly attractions inside, in addition to a lot of play areas suited for infants and toddlers alike. Fortress Explorations is also a blast for young kids- they can explore the Fortress (which is like an interactive renaissance-era museum) and the Renaissance galleon located in front of the fortress. They can run, climb, and explore, and all play surfaces in both Mermaid's Lagoon and in Fortress Explorations has that 'soft-spongy stuff', so falls won't hurt. Tokyo Disneyland pales in comparison in this category, since really only Toontown is 100% kid-friendly.

7. Food- Generally, while the restaurants are gorgeous, and the variety wonderful (French, Mediterranean, Italian, Chinese. Japanese, US (burgers and barbecue), Mexican, and Indian foods are available) some people expressed a little disappointment with the food service (2 hour wait for entrees in a table service restaurant in one case) and food portion size (only 5 slivers of chicken, about 3 inches long and 1/4 inch thick for a chicken fajitas plate!). Food service will undoubtly improve once the Cast members get a little more practice, but the food portion size? Is OLC listening here? GIVE PEOPLE MORE FOOD. PEOPLE SHOULD NOT LEAVE THEIR RESTAURANTS FEELING HUNGRY.

8. The night-time show- DisneySea Symphony- It is a little like EPCOT's Illuminations show in that music appropriate to each port of call is featured during the fireworks and water show. Great finale- fireworks explode from the volcano (as well as copious blasts of real fire), but again, think Illuminations, not Fantasmic.

9. Taking 28 minutes to exit the parking structure, in extremely heavy traffic.

All in all though, the negatives were WAY blown away by the positives. There wasn't one person polled about Tokyo DisneySea who wasn't simply floored by some aspect of it. And remember- these are the same people who WORK in Tokyo Disneyland, so they really know what quality means!

More to follow later-

Ralph Wiggum
08-02-2001, 02:46 PM
Man...now i am excited..i was planning on going to Peru this January but I think I am going to save up to go to Tokyo next year sometime. Thanx so much for the info and I look forward to your following posts..:D

TokyoInsider
08-06-2001, 01:48 AM
Ok- More Cast Preview days (last weekend August 4-5) and more comments gathered from folks who went.

Attendance- Attendance- Attendance! Tokyo DisneySea really 'stretched' this past weekend, opening its gates a little wider to accept over 26 thousand guests on both days (OLC Cast Members and their families, and friends, etc.)

Attractions were slammed! Restaurants were slammed! Merchandise shops were slammed! (Heck- even the popcorn carts were slammed!) People in line everywhere- all the time!

This was the first time complaints could be heard. Most complaints had to do with cast members who were still very green and had a hard time working quickly and efficiently. 2 hour waits for food service, 30 minute waits to buy merchandise, 20 minute waits to buy popcorn- you get the idea. The good news is by the time you guys drop by and visit, all the cast member kinks should be worked out!

Attractions though were busy as could be expected. Believe it or not, there are reports of up to 3 hour waits to ride Indy! However, if you go to Tokyo DisneySea with a smart 'battle plan' for hitting attractions, (or even better yet- don't give a flying tortilla about following a schedule), you can avoid the 3 hour waits. Having said that though, it is clearly obvious that 1 day is not enough time to thoroughly enjoy Tokyo DisneySea. Plan for at least 2 days. 3 Days will find you having a relaxed visit with plenty of time to enjoy all the splended details of this amazingly rich park. If you are the type of person who likes to stop and soak in the environment, you will be satisfied with Tokyo DisneySea even WITHOUT riding any of the 'e-ticket' attractions!

Some people might point out that Tokyo DisneySea has relatively few attractions (23 is the official number, but they counted Transit Steamer 3 times (because it has 3 stops) and Electric Railway twice), but don't let that deter you from visit, because that count is extremely deceptive. So much of Tokyo DisneySea is not an attraction per se. The environment alone is worth a visit.

In fact, a guest told me he and his family (He and his wife are both in their 20s, his brother is 35 and his mother is 70) didn't ride ANYTHING- they just caught the Broadway show 'Encore' at the Broadway Theater (which was so good that it actually got standing ovations last weekend), had a nice lunch while watching the venetian gondolas pass by, and then spent the rest of the day walking around and exploring, and they LOVED it!

Speaking of attractions again...

##########SPOILERS AHEAD############

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

OK- for all of you who have a longing for that great Yesterland submarine ride at Disneyland, REJOICE!

In 20K, you board an elaborately themed Jules-Verne/Nemo style individual submarine unit ( I believe each unit seats 6 people), hunker down and sit on a bench and peer out a window as you see strange disturbing things. Bubbles stream by your window as you dive ever lower. Eventually, you encounter a sea monster, you zip around awhile and surface.

People who liked it: Kids, tired adults (your submarine is nicely air conditioned), and those who wax nostalgic for Disneyland's retired Submarine Adventure attraction.

People who had a hard time enjoying it: Tall people who had to REALLY hunker down to see out of the windows, as well as guests who were sitting in one of the side seats, as the view out of the side windows is not quite as good as the front.

Memorable quotes:
"It was great- very much like a new and improved version of the submarine ride at Disneyland."

"It sucked. Basically 'Peter Pan' with a bubble screen instead of real water. "

I myself liked it, and I think kids would get a kick out of it too.

###############END OF SPOILERS########

More to come...

Mr D
08-06-2001, 04:26 AM
This is unbelievable and the sad part is nonexistant coverage by CNN, FOX,NBC etc. here in the states. I am going to call my DishNetworks operator and see if I can get some kind of premium sat feed from Japan even if its not in English, I feel like a third world hostage looking across the "wall" at the things I want to experiance but cannot escape the hold of the empire that rules me. I wonder who in the Disney company is worried now? Or jumping with joy? Hey keep up the reports, I for one am willing to buck the system and not accept the current Eisner style of Disney or the vague and shallow attempts to woo me to the lackluster promise of "their" creativity. I guess "Made in Japan" has a new meaning in the Disney Corporate Offices :p

Lani
08-06-2001, 12:44 PM
Originally posted by TokyoInsider
[B]2 hour waits for food service, 30 minute waits to buy merchandise, 20 minute waits to buy popcorn- you get the idea.[B]You know, it's a good thing the Japanese are used to insufferable crowds. If you've ever seen photos of Japnese beaches in August, you know what I mean. My mom refers to them as "imo arai", which literally translated, means "washing potatoes." You know how you take a five-pound bag of potatoes and dump the whole thing into a sink filled with water so you can wash them all at once? There's no room so the potatoes just kind of roll around in place, while you poke at them and they bob up and down?

Kuzcotopia
08-06-2001, 06:29 PM
I'm going in October for two days. Well, two weeks, but DisneySea for two days. Staying at the MiraCosta.

*all envy me!*


Anyone been on Magic Lamp Theatre yet? How about Aquatopia? Sinbad?


Kuzcotopia likes the lesser-known rides....


-Kuzcotopia

Mr D
08-06-2001, 07:08 PM
I do not envy massive crowds and those gremlims that have yet to be sought out and eradicated from all that new stuff just installed, look at DCA, "Gremlims Central" but I Almost regret spending about $7000 for our family vacation this coming december at WDW. After hearing all the good news about TDS, next year I will visit unless I win another sweepstakes .

TokyoInsider
08-06-2001, 08:30 PM
Lani- Yes the Japanese are used to crowds, but the waits were bad even for Japanese people on Sunday. The thing that made it bad was the speed of the cast members in both food and merchandise locations.

The problem that needs to be ironed out is that when things get busy, seemingly cast members are actually working slower.

My theory of why this happens has to do with the rigid adherence the Japanese cast members place on following procedures exactly as outlined in training manuals. Did you know that there is actually almost a script the cast members working at counter service windows use when cautioning guests to be careful when carrying drinks? I have actually witnessed this first hand.

I ordered 4 drinks, and the cast member placed all 4 in a cardboard box- slowly and gingerly, and not after checking the receipt at least 3 times. Then, she started her little script, "Thank you for waiting. Please be careful when carrying these drinks. [long pause as she tried to recall the rest of the script], the cups are of different size, and therefore of different weight, so they might tip over [another long pause], so please use caution. [another long pause, she was still holding back the box of drinks, so I could not take them] For your ice tea, you can find lemon, [pause] sugar, and milk over by that counter over there. [pause] Please enjoy your drinks. Finally, she gave me the box. said 'Please come again' and bowed.

A total of 20 minutes had elapsed from the time I placed the order to the time I actually got my drinks. No joke. 20 minutes! Yes, the guy in front of me was buying food for a family of 5, but still- 20 minutes. So you can imagine that even though the cast member was courteous and polite, that long speech of hers was the absolute LAST thing I wanted to hear after waiting that long. A simple, 'Thank you for waiting. Lemon, sugar and milk are over there.' would have sufficied. If she was working quickly and efficiently, I would have no complaint, and would accept the delay, but this was clearly not the case.

Again though, to be fair, the park is still not officially open (and won't be for the next month), and that at some locations, things were moving more smoothly than in the previous week. However, you can see some of the challenges that still need to be addressed before real paying guests start streaming in.

JRob2k1
08-06-2001, 08:41 PM
If these are the major complaints, i can defently live with that. Those problems that were mentioned can easily be fixed and ironed out by Sept. 4th.

Next spring or summer(still in planning stages), I will experience TDS first hand...I CANT WAIT!!!!

-JRob

TokyoInsider
08-06-2001, 08:50 PM
Originally posted by Kuzcotopia
I'm going in October for two days. Well, two weeks, but DisneySea for two days. Staying at the MiraCosta.

Anyone been on Magic Lamp Theatre yet? How about Aquatopia? Sinbad?


Kuzcotopia likes the lesser-known rides....


Kuzcotopia- great to hear that you will be making a trip out to Tokyo Disney Resort! It would be great to hear what a stateside guest thinks about the park. You picked a great place to stay- the views out of the Hotel MiraCosta are unbelieveable! (and the lobby of the MiraCosta is breathtaking as well- you will have a sore neck staring at the ceiling and the intricate artwork!

Which part of MiraCosta will you be staying in? What class of room?
####MINOR AQUATOPIA SPOILER AHEAD#########
As for attractions, I have been on both Aquatopia and Sinbad. Aquatopia in particular is probably as much fun to watch as it is to ride. Basically, there are 2 large open-air fields filled with water, and the vehicles roll, spin, and turn around water jets, whirlpools, fountains and waterfalls. It is similar to Pooh's Hunny Hunt in that there is no track, and therefore your vehicle's movement is completely unpredictable. You never get truly wet- all of the jets of water shut off moments before you would get shot, and you only skirt the sides of waterfalls and fountains. But you will get a fair sprinkling of water, and it is a pleasant ride during summer or late afternoon.

####SINBAD SPOILERS AHEAD###############
Sinbad is an audio-animatronic feast- I hear that there are even more audio-animatronic figures in Sinbad than Small World, and I believe it. Everywhere you look, there is something happening- the sets are amazing and richly detailed. About the only thing that might be a problem is that all the dialog in Sinbad is in Japanese, so you might have a problem understanding the story. Also, very young children might find some of the scenes to be a bit on the scary side, so exercise caution.

Kuzcotopia
08-06-2001, 11:10 PM
Tokyo Insider Wrote:

>Which part of MiraCosta will you be staying in? What >class of room?

I don't know yet. I should get a confirmation from my travel agent tomorrow.

I've been following the construction and planning of this park since it was supposed to go into Long Beach California. I'm very excited about it, and it gives me an excuse to visit Japan that I've always needed! So I am coming for 16 days, two of which (and 3 nights) will be at Disney. I don't plan to visit the Magic Kingdom unless through some freak of nature we see all of TDS in one day!


-Kuzcotopia

Mr D
08-07-2001, 01:37 PM
I would sure like to see Al Lutz take a trip to TDS, not to bash the place but to inform us of it, also the Anaheim newspaper has an open ear from him, imagine a news article at the front door of DL advocating guests to put off their vacations and not waste their money on DCA but go to TDS instead. Either way the news will get out and I already see major changes in a lot of discussion boards. More power to MP on promoting TDS and I hope its a concern for Eisner that its time to get with the program or leave and let someone else take over From Japan maybe?

MMFan
08-07-2001, 08:58 PM
TokyoInsider wrote: Sinbad is an audio-animatronic feast
Well, well, TDS has at least ONE AA attraction. Sounds almost as good as DCA's line-up. For instance, SSL's flat-board displays and shaking mannequins are even more impressive than immersive, 3-D sets and crummy, boring AA robots. Painted boards and rubber dummies are better, after all, because they can be tossed out into the dumper more quickly! Sorry for the sarcasm, but when you're on the outside looking in, getting slim pickings, resentment starts to build up.

wtg2000
08-08-2001, 05:13 AM
The reports of the massive crowds sound similar to those of the DCA preview days. Of course, once the park opened officially, the crowds thinned out substantially. I wonder if the same thing will happen at TDS.

JoeInJpn
08-08-2001, 07:12 AM
Hello TokyoInsider....

I'd like to chat in private with you if possible. Please send me an email via my website at http://www.jtcent.com . Thanks and I look forward to hearing from you.

JoeInJpn