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My Thoughts and Prayers are With Japan

11 Mar

I woke up to the news of Japan’s earthquake and tsunami, and to warnings of (smaller) tsunamis en route to Hawaii (now hit, not bad) and California (still waiting, but hopefully much weaker impact by the time it hits there). My heart sank. My thoughts are with the people of Japan, and also with those currently evacuating and making other preparations in many parts of the world.

The BBC is my go-to for major news stories. Here’s their special report on the crisis in Japan.

Tokyo Disneyland? Don’t get all worked up about what you might see on twitter. Yes it’s been affected but check some live coverage here, and chill. (Hat tip to my good friend Trace for the link.)


Tokyo Disneyland Pan Galactic Pizza Port Cosplay For the Win!

6 Feb

I do not know who these people are. All I know is they just made my day a little better.

Not familiar with Tokyo Disneyland’s Pan Galactic Pizza Port? Start here:

Superstar Cast Members

3 Oct

In this week’s Jentasmic! column, I reminisce about some of the kind things Cast Members have done to make my Disney trips more, well, magical. Here’s one, as a teaser:

Mickey Mouse Rescue Operation: Tokyo Disneyland is unparalleled when it comes to the friendliness and helpfulness of its Cast Members. As my then-five-year-old son and I were carrying our meals to a table in the Pan Galactic Pizza Port, he dropped his Mickey Mouse souvenir cup. Before we’d even had a chance to finish picking up the pieces, a Cast Member had appeared to ask if something was wrong. When I explained that my kid had just dropped his cup, the Cast Member nodded and scurried off, then returned with a freshly-filled replacement. I don’t think I even have to tell you that another Cast Member had already arrived with cleaning supplies, or that everybody was cheerful about the whole thing.

Captain Jack Salami at Tokyo Disneyland

28 Jul

From BoingBoing:

Tokyo Disneyland offers many charms, but none so, um, suggestive, as this Johnny Depp branded sausage.

Tokyo Disneyland Trip Report at AllEarsNet

3 May

JeanineY, a guest blogger at AllEarsNet, wrote recently about her trip to Tokyo Disneyland Resort. She’s got great pictures and descriptions of DisneySea, which I especially enjoyed since I missed that park when I was at Tokyo Disneyland.

I laughed out loud reading her description of the flight to Japan (presumably from somewhere in the continental US):

On a 12+ hour flight in coach, the evolution of attitude goes like this:

Hour 1: Well this isn’t bad! We left on time and everything! The grand adventure has begun!
Hour 2: There isn’t much space in these seats, is there? Well at least the meal was…included.
Hour 6: If this guy in back of me shakes my chair one more time, I am turning my vent full blast towards him. Also, I can’t feel my feet anymore.
Hour 10: We will grow old and die on this plane.

For some reason, one of my fondest memories of the flights to and from Japan was the Cup of Noodles that the flight attendants brought around for breakfast. (The worst memory, on the other hand, was hitting 3 hours worth of severe turbulence on the flight home, and watching the horizon disappear above and below my window as we rocked back and forth. The more experienced trans-Pacific travelers seated around me snored all the way through.)

I was totally envious reading JeanineY’s description of the DisneySea show, The Legend of Mythica, which clearly must be seen:

The only thing you can imagine is that someone decided to throw everything anyone might like to see in a show together into one glorious spectacular. There’s singing, dancing, characters, floats, fire effect, water effects, drumming, jet skis, kites, fireworks, and more. There must be a phenomenal number of CMs working on this one show, and it all goes to form an extravaganza that’s unlikely to be matched in any US park.

I did read recently in Blue Sky Disney that there’s a super-cool show planned for Disney’s California Adventure, in Anaheim. I doubt it’ll be quite as cool as The Legend of Mythica, but it sounds pretty nifty nonetheless:

Did you know how much of the Pier will actually be used for these fountains [for the new show]? Most have said that it will just be in front of Mickey’s Fun Wheel. No, no…

Try the entire water area of the Pier. That big. Really. When the PP goes down next year to be drained so that construction can begin on the new extended area and the placement of the water and lighting system is put in it will be extensive. This will have some form of fountain display all across the whole of the area. It’s no wonder that the area around Ariel’s Grotto is talked about being enclosed. Guest will get drenched sitting out under those exposed canopies. The WOC show will be very intimate for audiences. As well as that, when the displays and water jets are shooting up into the air, expect to see a very familiar Disney character floating in the Pier as he’ll be part of the festivities. Mickey Mouse? Nope. Donald Duck? Nooooo. Ariel? No, but technically she’ll be there(more on that in a minute).


A giant Variation of the demon from “Night On Bald Mountain” will inhabit the PP show if everything goes as planed.

Back to Tokyo . . . I have to wholeheartedly agree with JeanineY about how fabulous the Winnie the Pooh attraction is at Tokyo Disneyland. I’m not a big Pooh fan, so I could have easily just walked by this one, but I’m glad I didn’t.

Pooh is deservedly one of the most popular rides in Tokyo Disneyland because of its unique trackless ride system which has you skittering around in honeypots seemingly at random–first spinning around in circles, next appearing to crash into other pots, then zooming up to a woozle (or a hefflelump?) to get smoke blown at you. It’s a great ride and puts the Anaheim Disneyland version to shame.

I desperately want to get back to Tokyo, and not just for Disneyland! I want to wander the streets of Harajuku again, maybe pick up a few copies of the Gothic and Lolita Bible. I want to hop on the Shinkansen down to Kyoto, go back to Arashiyama Monkey Park. I want to see some of the Tokyo neighborhoods I missed, like Akihabara, where the electronics stores reign supreme and you can have lunch served to you by cosplay wait staff. And yes of course, I want another spin on that Winnie the Pooh ride, another picture of my dear son in front of the Castle, another chance to hear Rex pilot the Star Speeder 3000 in Japanese.

Tales of the Oriental Land Co., From Blue Sky Disney

29 Jan

Curious to hear more about the Oriental Land Company, owners and operators of Tokyo Disneyland? Blue Sky Disney’s got you covered. A brief snippet from their excellent post:

Back in the late 1970’s Walt Disney Productions(now known as the Walt Disney Company) was building a little theme park we like to call EPCOT. Now, even though Walt had passed from this world for over a decade and there was, at times and in areas of the company, a lack of direction, some areas of the company still focused on a great deal of attention, detail and quality to the parks. EPCOT was costing the company millions and millions of dollars in cost overruns as it moved toward completion(the final bill would be over a billion dollars in 1982 dollars, friends). Now around this time a company known as the Keisei Electric Railway Company was also having financial difficulties in Japan. Through their real estate holding company, known as The Oriental Land Company they just happened to own a piece of land near Tokyo’s harbor and came up with the idea of getting Walt Disney Productions to build a park there. Knowing the Japanese love of Disney characters, the company thought it would be a great way to get out of debt and what better way than getting the Mouse to build a park in the land of the rising sun.

But why didn’t Disney just build it themselves? Read on at BlueSky for the rest of the story . . .

Tokyo Disneyland Resumes Parades

13 Jan

Just saw the news in the Houston Chronicle, of all places:

The park’s operator, Oriental Land Co., said in a statement Friday it has inspected the floats and will resume the parade Saturday afternoon.

The company said the cause of the accident is still under investigation.

Tokyo Disneyland Suspends Parades

9 Jan

Parades at Tokyo Disneyland have been suspended indefinitely. AFP has details:

A 300-kilogramme (660 pound) ornament fell off the float during a parade on Tuesday, said Oriental Land Co., which operates the park.

After the accident, the park suspended parades while it conducts an investigation and does not know when they will resume, Oriental Land said. Amusement rides were functioning as normal.

During the parade, the float featuring Toy Story’s Buzz Lightyear character broke on a pole which supported a number of balls designed like planets.

“It slowly bent and fell off,” said Oriental Land spokesman Hiroshi Suzuki. “It landed right in front of some guests.”

No one was injured.

Would You Love a Disney 3G iPhone?

4 Jan

Pink Tentacle has a summary of a recent DIME magazine article about upcoming events and products expected for Japan in 2008, including this section on Apple and Disney tapping into the Japanese mobile phone market:

Of the countless new electronic products to be unveiled in Japan this year, few are likely to generate the amount of buzz that will accompany the Japanese launch of the yet-to-be-announced 3G iPhone. For the time being, would-be iPhone fans are holding their collective breath for all the gory details and specs, which may or may not come out at MacWorld 2008 (January 14-18).

Disney is also expected to make a splash with its entry into the mobile phone service market in spring. Working with Softbank, Disney will deliver mobile content to subscribers and help to develop new handsets — which means we can probably look forward to an explosion of character-themed phones as the year progresses. (On a separate but related note, Tokyo Disneyland will be holding a year-long celebration to mark its 25th anniversary. Festivities will include the grand opening of the 705-room Victorian-style Tokyo Disneyland Hotel this summer.)

Tangentially, Blue Sky Disney this week spoke of a rumored appearance by Disney at the upcoming MacWorld conference January 14-18:

It’s long been known that the Mouse has been having a closer and closer relationship with the Fruit company. There has been speculation that in the next year or so Apple could possibly come out with a version of Disney Mobile or Disney “branded” iPhone/iPod but no tangible proof is available yet. Mr. Reality-Distortion-Field has been making his presence known in the Boardroom.

I recently picked up a Crackberry, in the hopes that I can converge both my iPod mini and Palm Pilot into my phone, and therefore have two fewer devices to carry, charge, etc. (While I have at this point completely given up my iPod the overall convergence is still a work in progress, one of the results of which was a long rambling email sent last night at about 2AM to one of my podcasting buddies, ranting about the inconsistent and sometimes strange use of ID3 tags among podcasters in general, not that I’m a geek or anything.) Would I give up my Crackberry sometime down the line if a Disney iPhone became available? Maybe. Even I have limits.

Disruptive Power Failure at Tokyo Disneyland

10 Dec

From Bloomberg:

Tokyo Disneyland had a power system failure yesterday at around 6:10 p.m., disrupting the operation of 25 of its 41 rides, the Yomiuri newspaper said, citing Oriental Land Co., which operates the theme park.

Oriental Land said nobody was injured, Yomiuri reported on its Web site, without giving details on what caused the outage. Most of the rides eventually resumed operation, the report said.

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