A place of dreams. But be warned: you wont want to face the real world ever again.
Get this. The people who design and build Disney theme parks aren’t called architects – they’re called Imagineers: a swanky portmanteau combining “imagination” and “engineering”. Clever, eh? Not sold on it? OK, how about this: all employees who work at Disney Resorts are referred to as cast members. That means the guy who cleans the toilet can write ‘cast member’ on his CV and have a decent chance of landing a role in the next Adam Sandler movie.
Tokyo is actually home to not one, but two, Disney resorts: Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo Disney Sea. Disneyland is sort of like Florida’s Magic Kingdom; lots of character stuff and cute things. Disney Sea is unique to Tokyo, and has more adult-friendly rides, like roller coasters and high speed stuff. Plus you can booze in it. BECAUSE WE ALL KNOW HOW GOOD AN IDEA THEME PARKS AND BOOZE IS.
I took a trip to Disney Sea a few weeks back with my wretched pals, Tom & Cate. We beat the queues using Tom’s questionably sad insider Disney knowledge, ate cake for lunch and drank straight vodka as the sun came down. I never wanted to leave.
YES, YES WE KNOW ALL ABOUT THAT, JUSTIN. BUT WHAT ABOUT THE RIDES?
WHAT ABOUT THE RIDES?
OK, I’ll tell you about the rides – complete with ultra-cheesy Japanese promotional videos for good measure. Satisfied?
INDIANA JONES ADVENTURE: TEMPLE OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL
THE BLURB: Paco, friend of Dr. Indiana Jones, has organized temple tours in search of the “Fountain of Youth” – unbeknownst to Dr. Jones! Now’s your chance, so hurry up and take the tour before he finds out! But wait. The temple’s vengeful guardian spirit, the Crystal Skull, is not happy about this at all. When the spirit’s anger is unleashed, will you get out alive!?
Yes, we got out alive. Enough to go on a second time around too. This was the first ride we went on and because we didn’t have any fast passes yet we had to queue for an hour. An hour! I passed the time by eating a large apple much to the amusement of the Japanese people around me. (They can’t fathom eating an apple whole with your hands, it must be cut up into little pieces or you are deemed a savage.) This ride is kind of a cross between a ghost train and a rollercoaster. It’s great! Better than the new Indiana Jones movie any way. 5 KALIMAS OUT OF 5
THE BLURB: This is a high-speed rollercoaster attraction racing through the excavated ruins of an ancient stone ceremonial site. In their anger, the gods have twisted the rails into a 360-degree loop. What fate awaits you!? This thrilling ride will turn your world upside down.
Firstly, I’m sure the copywriter sold his soul to the devil to write that last line. I’m sure his his career has had lots of “ups and downs”. Anyway, this was great too, if a little short. Cate swore a lot so that’s bonus points right there, plus there was a good bit of speed before the loop. 4 PUNS OUT OF 5
THE BLURB: Buon giorno! In this canal-lined town, people often travel by gondola. When you pass through, try riding one, too. The cheerful gondoliers will be happy to show you around Palazzo Canals.
Dear god, the gondolas. Just a 15-minute wait on this one. This was good for the comedy factor more than anything else. When you think of gondolas you think of Venice, romance, the love of your life. What you don’t think of is two little Japanese men dressed up in ill-fitting outfits and shouting things like mamma-mia while they steer your ship. When we went under the tunnel we all had to shut up while they serenaded us. One of the gondoliers had a weird look on his face. I DON’T TRUST HIM. 3 QUINCES OUT OF 5.
TOWER OF TERROR
THE BLURB: In New York, 1912, stands the hotel known as the “Tower of Terror,” so called after the mysterious disappearance of its owner in 1899. Now, the New York City Preservation Society has finished restoring the infamous hotel, and started giving tours to the public. But what happens when you take the elevator to the top floor…?
The premise for this one then is that some bloke went to Africa and brought back some cursed artefact to his hotel. When he got in the elevator the artefact went mental or something and caused a shitload of havoc. BEST PLOT EVER! You go up all the floors and then it drops you at super high speed, kinda like the feeling you’d get if the elevator in a building suddenly broke like in a Die Hard film. The girl beside me held on to my hand for dear life. 5 FLIRTS OUT OF 5.
THE BLURB: The Centre for Weather Control has invented the “Storm Diffusion Device,” which can diffuse storms when detonated inside the powerful center of a storm. There just happens to be a huge storm approaching! Board a StormRider, buckle up, and ride into the centre of the storm!
Cate doesn’t like flying. So the best thing Tom felt he should do was take her to a ride that simulates a plane crash. This was one of those immersive cinematic jobs, with your seat vibrating and moving about as the plane takes a nosedive on the screen in front of you. When you are in the centre of the storm fake rain starts splashing around you and then some big thing crashes through the ceiling. I should really give this ride 2 but the chick who presented it had a very annoying voice so I’ll give it 3 HIGH-PITCHED VOICES OUT OF 5
THE BLURB: Aquatopia is a research facility created to test new ocean navigation systems. The experimental watercraft travel through a pool specially designed with whirlpools, spouting water, and rock formations. Usually closed to the public, this is your special chance to whirl around on an experimental watercraft.
Ahhh Aquatopia. The most pointless ride on the planet. In the same way that Northern Ireland is divided by religion, our group was divided by love or hate for this ‘ride’. Tom loves it and proclaimed it to be “the best ride in all of Disney Sea.” Basically you sit in a wee seat and it automatically moves you about in the water – water which is only like 2cm deep. Highlight was Tom and Cate freestyle rapping in a video which I accidentally deleted – and an old married couple having the time of their lives in the mobile next to us. They loved it. Tom loved it. I think Cate loved it. I give it 1 AQUATOPIA OUT OF 5
JOURNEY TO THE CENTRE OF THE EARTH
THE BLURB: The enigmatic genius Captain Nemo has unearthed a heretofore unknown world deep underground. Let a fantastic vehicle, designed by the Captain himself, take you on a journey of mystery and surprise. See a deep cavern full of blinding crystals, a forest of giant mushrooms, and strange creatures who dwell deep inside the earth. But wait, is the earth shaking…?
This ride starts off slow with you starting to think “Is this it? This is a bit crap” but before you know it you are flying round and round in a circle before being spewed out the top of a mountain. That’s all I have to say about it really. It’s good. 5 ENIGMATIC CAPTAIN NEMOS OUT OF 5
I BELIEVE I CAN FLY