We have been looking forward to our year-end vacation in Japan, specifically to Tokyo Disneyland for E. I am currently 7 weeks pregnant, and morning sickness had just started to reel in its gut-wrenching powers. It is amusing to note that I was also 7 weeks pregnant with E back then in January 2013 when we travelled to Tokyo for transit en-route to Calgary AB, Canada!
We did thought of canceling this trip but since we had planned this way in advance, and the pregnancy news came just 1+ week ago and was only confirmed 3 days ago, we decided to brave it through, keeping our fingers crossed that this pregnancy won’t summon the morning sickness syndrome as bad as the previous one.
From the airport, we boarded a limousine coach and arrived at the 5-star Sheraton Grande Tokyo Bay Hotel after sunset, famished and all ready to feast on a well-deserved Christmas buffet dinner! Check-in was prompt, and we were very happy with the room we were assigned to, because we could see the fireworks from Disneyland from our balcony every single night.
The Christmas dinner buffet served at the hotel’s Grand Café is incomparable. Let’s just say we were really spoilt for choice and the quality of the food was superb! Despite my mild nausea, I really enjoyed topping up my plate for seconds, and even thirds…
I loved how generous they were in providing such a huge range of Haagen Dazs ice-cream and condiments to complement them. What a treat!
We turned in early and were all excited about visiting Tokyo Disneyland for the following 3 days (20 – 23 Dec). Our collative experiences in the “Kingdom of Magic and Dreams” (as known to its Japanese guests for Tokyo Disneyland) are condensed and encapsulated within this one long blogpost below:
Getting to Tokyo Disneyland
It was a short 5-min walk from Sheraton Grande Tokyo Bay Hotel to the nearest shuttle-train station, Bayside Station, to board the Disney Resort Line Monorail that is operated by Disneyland. There was also a complimentary hotel shuttle bus that takes us to the monorail station, but we mostly preferred to walk, because the fresh breath of clean and crisp air along with some activity seemed to help with my morning sickness.
The Christmas-theme decorated monorail was delightful and everything was Mickey-inspired. Many passengers also had their own Mickey and Minnie adornment of various kinds and sizes. We felt very special merely being on board the monorail and definitely the atmosphere was simply mood-lifting and anticipative of what we would be experiencing at Disneyland itself.
When we reached the Resort Gateway Station, we were greeted by this huge fairytale-inspired, expansive shopping and entertainment “town” located near the gateway to Tokyo Disney Resort®, the Ikspiari.
We grabbed some light bites to stave off hunger (and morning sickness), so as to enjoy Disneyland with vim and vigour!
The cloudless sky in its beautiful cerulean veneer was flawlessly brilliant and marvellous. We thanked God for the great weather and were definitely snugly dressed in warm clothes to beat the chilly air, since expected long queues for the rides were our postulated conjecture.
Surely a WOW experience for both children and adults alike, to be in the cream of the crop amongst all Disneylands worldwide. Tokyo Disneyland has consistently be rated as the best Disneyland in the whole world.
There was no hesitation when we decided to visit this jewel for the sake of our precious E, even though we had just visited Hong Kong Disneyland in April, and celebrated J’s birthday then.
Throughout the 3 days of exploring Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea, we really loved the lively parades that brimmed with sheer exuberance. From the upbeat music, professional performers, fascinating chariots and the entire captivating atmosphere, right down to the fellow visitors (mainly the Japanese) who were beside and around us, were ever so polite and rule-abiding, who never once stood up to hinder another’s view or dampened another’s experience.
The evening parade, though not as vibrant as the afternoon parade, was excellent as well, with the newest characters from the Frozen movie making their debut appearances in Disneyland this year. We were so blessed to catch it live, right before our very own eyes.
As we waited for the parade to commence, J went to the patisserie and bought such delightful treats for us, his thoughtful gestures lessened the dull pangs of anticipation as we sat near the parade ground waiting eagerly for chariots carrying Disney characters to appear.
As night draws nigh, I was exhausted and preferred to rest in bed, while J and E went on to enjoy the night parade and to catch the fireworks!
Fascinating Rides – It’s a Small World
Besides the exhilarating parades, we loved most of the rides too! One of our favourites is definitely the whimsical boat ride through the “Small World”! Throughout the 10-min ride, we were encompassed by vibrant, multi-coloured backdrops that are exquisitely crafted out of papier-mâché, glitter and fabric. It was spellbinding, because the cast of countless traditionally-dressed dolls enthralls our attention as they sang and danced.
We love that the tour sails us across all 7 continents, allowing us to experience a rainbow of diverse cultures, all while listening to the classic anthem of world peace – “It’s a Small World”, lovingly sung by children from nearly every corner of the globe, in their native languages – including French, Italian, Mandarin, Japanese, Spanish, English and Arabic.
Despite the change in languages as we sailed from one continent to the other, one acknowledges that a single musical theme could rivet populations of various ethinicity, uniting people of cultural diversity and thereby reinforcing universal harmony. By the end of the voyage, all could see for ourselves that it truly is a small world after all. This one song quickly became an earworm even after we departed from the Small World. Our hearts were reminded of how this world is indeed that small, for the common bonds of friendship, laughter and happiness could be shared amongst all.
Another of our favourites was undoubtedly the Dumbo Elephant ride! Who wouldn’t want to take to the sky with everybody’s favourite flying elephant for a breathtaking view of the magic below?! I seriously know no one who doesn’t like it! The ride is always placed in a strategic central location in the Disneylands across the world, it is simply too hard to miss! That is why it is always spotted with long snaking queues that do not seem to end!
Cinderella Fairy Tale Hall
We also entered the real castle of Cinderella, where E had the opportunity to be Princess of the Day as she sat in the throne room with all eyes on her, and even tried on the glass slipper that Cinderella dropped while running home when the clock struck twelve!
Western River Railroad
Then we climbed aboard an authentic steam train for a round trip through Adventureland, Critter Country, and Westernland. We went on a journey that took us through a tropical jungle and on to the American Old West.
From Adventureland to Fantasyland, we boarded and alighted miscellaneous rides that included: Alice’s Tea Party, Castle Carrousel, Snow White’s Adventures, Pooh’s Hunny Hunt, etc., it was jollification at its best!
At the sight of larger-than-life-sized Disney mascots, E had her thrill of touching them and waving at them, even I couldn’t resist hugging them!
And that was all on Tokyo Disneyland alone! The following post will cover Tokyo DisneySea and the rest of our trip in Japan. Stay tuned!