The Happiest Place on Earth – Tokyo Day 1.5 (2019)

“There is no way in hell I’m going to Disney in Tokyo” – That was W’s response to my request to spend anywhere from 2 hours to a half day enjoying the Halloween 2019 celebration at the park, about 30 mins away on train from our hotel. For whatever stupid biased reason, he gave me a hard time with all my “must see’s” during the vacation, making it nearly impossible to add my preferred stops to the itinerary. Luckily, W didn’t realize saying No went both ways. I persisted, rejecting all his counter offers, forcing him to capitulate and agree to spend half day at Tokyo Disneyland.

With the matter settled, we went to bed hoping Typhoon Tapah stayed clear of the area and our entire vacation.

At 6 am on Saturday September 21rst, we were blessed with a balmy, 80°F day, with 100% humidity and the distant threat of afternoon rain. The sun shone brightly through our 10th floor curtained windows, I awoke naturally feeling like Wall-E after a fast sun charge. The weather was a balmy 80°F with full humidity. Surprisingly, even with all the coughing and soreness of the walking pneumonia, W seemed in high spirits. The Japanese style buffet breakfast – shock full of fish, sushi, pickled treats and egg variants – lifted his mood even further, proving that building on small wins could make this vacation bearable. The good night’s sleep had worked wonders for our mindset; we both needed a break from the wake up/feed Zach go to work, come back/feed Zach go to bed routine.

By 9 am we were pulling into the Maihama station, which is a short walk away from the ticket counters and the park’s main entrance. The train was packed with tourists, mostly Japanese, all dressed up in their best cosplay. There were Disney princesses, couples dressed up as villains, and groups wearing costumes from popular and even obscure movies and shows. If the Mouse owned it, you’d see it there. The only princess I missed seeing was Mulan, but culturally that doesn’t surprise me.

The Halloween themed merchandise and decor were EVERYWHERE in Tokyo! 🎃 Disneyland was no exception.

As a trademark park, the Tokyo LLC has permission to use the copyrights of the company with enough contractual leeway to manage exclusive events and promotions to cater to their particular audience. Nevermind that the rides and attractions were all in Japanese, it’s hard not to have fun when Piglet, Eeyore, Scrooge McDuck and the fairy godmother welcome you into the world showcase (Main Street stateside). W was beside himself, asking me to do as the locals and clip a boo Mickey to his shoulder after riding Space Mountain and Star Tours.

Walt Disney was a branding genius. With a swoop of a Fast Pass we were not only making good time checking out the deltas from the USA parks, but we were also immersed in a cultural phenomenon that we had not expected. It September 21rst and all over the city – and Disney – Jack O Lanterns greeted us as we made our way through the crowds. The Nightmare Before Christmas Hunted House was a nice touch to an already magical time. W was genuinely happy. So was I. Win-win.

Stitch’s Alien encounter – an AI experience show that I highly recommend attending – was the unexpected highlight of the day. The Japanese are very fond, if not obsessed, with Hawaiian culture. Kids and adults loved it. We enjoyed it and we didn’t understand the language. ❤

After we left the park, boos in tow, we headed out to the Diver City Mall to hang out with a life size version of the Unicorn Gundam. Tokyo was becoming our adult Disneyland very quickly, with time passing quickly as the afternoon progressed. We had an 8pm dinner reservation we couldn’t miss, so we ran back to the hotel and took a 2 hr nap. The 20k steps had us exhausted!

Around 7pm, we headed out to Atelier XEX, an Iron Chef Morimoto restaurant in Roppongi, to celebrate our wedding anniversary (nice compromise date between the August and December weddings we had). W was skeptical of the place at first, but was pleasantly surprised by the price and quality of the food, enhanced by incredible attentive service. The teppanyaki and sushi establishment caters to a varied crowd, although people on dates were the most common element of the evening. When we finished our six course price fixed meal, they took us to the lounge to gift us with a dessert platter to honor the special occasion. They even gave us souvenir pictures!

It was one of the best vacation days we have had thus far. To next morning, to keep up with the itinerary, we hoped back on the metro and headed to Asakusa where the Senso-ji and its shrine welcomed us along the rugby crowds rooting for Ireland and Scotland. In between the kilt wearing fans, we stopped at a McDonald’s to try the Ebi burger and a Big Mac; a family tradition dating back to our Barcelona trip. (The original tradition started when my mom made my sister and me eat at the Paris establishment to save some cash in a very eventful graduation trip through Europe in 2004.) The shrimp or ebi burger was delicious! The day was really on a good roll. Woohooo! Hopefully the trip to Osaka the next day would continue to add to the fun.

Shinkansen, here we come!

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