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Welcome to Tokyo

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Published: December 4, 2011 at 3:00 PM

TOKYO - I've done back-to-back theme park visits on consecutive days before.

But never in different countries.

A rainbow over Far, Far Away in Universal Studios Singapore
Saturday at Universal Studios Singapore

Cinderella's Castle at Tokyo Disneyland
Sunday at Tokyo Disneyland

After spending Friday and Saturday at Universal Studios Singapore, I hopped on a Singapore Airlines red-eye flight and slept while flying to Tokyo's Narita Airport. (A neck pillow is a must, I've found, to sleep on an airplane.) With literally less than a minute to spare, I cleared immigration and caught the 8am bus from Narita to Tokyo Disney Resort, where I spent Sunday at Tokyo Disneyland.

Robert at Tokyo Disneyland

I'll have a week's worth of in-depth looks at the lands of Tokyo Disneyland later in December, but for now, I'll say this: Visiting Tokyo Disneyland is like being at Disneyland and Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom at the same time: You see Cinderella's Castle. And New Orleans Square. The Magic Kingdom-style Haunted Mansion. With the Haunted Mansion Holiday overlay. Pirates starts with the Blue Bayou. And ends with the exit before the lift ramp. It goes on, and on, the ways that Tokyo Disneyland blends elements from both parks.

Visiting here also is like going back in time, to visit a Magic Kingdom before maintenance labor cutbacks. Fort Sam Clemens is open! So are the canoes. At every attraction, not only are there still cast members working greeter and queue positions, often you'll find three or more. At Mansion, I counted nine cast members working greeter! Popcorn couldn't fall to the ground before someone snatched it up and threw it away.

Oh, and popcorn. People are obsessed with that here. Again, I'll have more detail to post later, but for now, it's time to head over to Tokyo DisneySea!

Readers' Opinions

From Dominick D on December 4, 2011 at 4:11 PM
Hey, where's that Micheal bay interview?
From José María Sandoval on December 4, 2011 at 6:36 PM
Ok!!
From James Rao on December 4, 2011 at 8:06 PM
I hate u, I hate u, I hate u!

[Relax, James. Deep breaths... breathe in... breathe out... ahhh... better.]

I am very much looking forward to details on all your adventures!

From Joshua Counsil on December 4, 2011 at 8:24 PM
You took a picture of yourself in Tokyo without throwing up a peace sign?
From Scott B on December 5, 2011 at 5:46 AM
Haha @Joshua. That's awesome.
From James Koehl on December 5, 2011 at 6:33 AM
Robert, I'd love to see a video of you doing the dance that the parade watchers do with the cast of the Santa Village Parade. The parade video I saw looks incredible- I just wonder if you can dance as well as the locals there!
From Tim Hillman on December 5, 2011 at 9:11 AM
I think Robert is going to come back with the strong impression that the folks at the Tokyo Land Company are doing Disney far better than the folks at the Disney Corporation. I certainly felt that way after visiting Tokyo DisneySea a few years ago.

It is a damning indictment of the cheapness of the Disney Corporation when TLC can build an awesome park like DisneySea, and Universal can build an incredible park like Islands of Adventure and then improve it with the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and Disney builds half day parks like California Adventure and Animal Kingdom.

Hopefully the Iger regime can continue with their efforts to upgrade and improve all of the Disney parks and remedy the mistakes of the Eisner era.

From Brandon Mendoza on December 5, 2011 at 10:50 AM
Can't wait to see and read about the Amazing Adventures of Robert in Japan!
From Robert Niles on December 5, 2011 at 4:27 PM
Yeah, what is up with the peace sign thing?

And, as I mentioned on Twitter yesterday, visiting DisneySea left me awed, then a bit mad. You mean we could have had that park in Long Beach? (Screams)

From 72.171.0.147 on December 5, 2011 at 7:50 PM
I went to my first trip to California ever in September and hit eight theme parks in 10 days. (Which is a record for me.) It wasn't different countries, but it was a long tiring vacation and I can't wait to come back to spend more time at the ones we really liked. (ie.. Disneyland/California Adventure, Knotts Berry Farm, Six Flags Magic Mountain and Discovery Kingdom.)
From Brandon Mendoza on December 6, 2011 at 11:09 AM
As for the Peace Sign in Japan, I've heard multiple reasons for why it's done in photographs.

One is that an American Figure Skater fell during her routine in the '72 Olympics. She was on the ice but still had a smile and threw up the "V" or Peace Sign before she got up. This persistence and diligence made her popular with the Japanese youth.

Another is that according to Japanese youth, the Peace Sign makes your face seem smaller. Or that it signifies being ready for a photo.

By now, culturally, it has just become the norm.

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