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A tour of Tokyo Disneyland: Fantasyland

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Published: December 15, 2011 at 12:39 PM

We're continuing Tokyo Disneyland week with an in-depth look at the heart of any Magic Kingdom park: Fantasyland.

Fantasyland

And today we come to the biggest disappointment of my Tokyo trip: Pooh's Hunny Hunt.

Pooh's down for refurbishment

Every theme park trip involves some trade-offs. It's hard to find a time of year when no rides are down for refurbishment - unless you want to visit in the middle of the high season, when the huge crowds will keep you from visiting everything, anyway. So while I was disappointed that Pooh - which uses an innovative "trackless" ride system where vehicles are sent on unique ride paths in real time - would be closed during the time when I could visit, I had plenty remaining on my to-do list for the two days I would be at the Tokyo Disney Resort.

And the honey popcorn stand was open, too.

Honey popcorn

On top of my Fantasyland to-do list was lunch at Queen of Hearts Banquet Hall, an elaborately themed buffeteria featuring the characters from the animated Alice in Wonderland.

Queen of Hearts Banquet Hall

Like most Tokyo Disneyland restaurants, you have to wait outside before you even get into the building. But once inside, wow!

Inside the hall

You can see samples of the available entrees here in the Banquet Hall kitchen, but those rotisserie chickens in the back caught my eye.

The kitchen

Then again, I think the real appeal of the Queen of Hearts Banquet Hall might be the desserts.

Desserts

By the way, buffeteria lines are the best when you don't speak the language. Just point at what you want, and smile. Once I made my selections, a helpful host lead me into the elaborately-themed seating area. No need to camp out for seats, or to wander around, tray in hand, looking for a place to sit. Tokyo's cast members eliminate those hassles.

Seating area

Here's my lunch: The rotisserie chicken with garlic sauce (1,340 yen - about $17.20). I inhaled every morsel of the chicken, though I was looking for a little more kick of garlic, which I wouldn't have noticed had Disney not labeled it on the menu.

Chicken plate

And here's a close-up of my dessert, the blueberry roll cake, with souvenir plate (600 yen - about $7.70). The plate's wrapped up and on its way to my five-year-old niece as a Christmas present. (Don't tell!) The blueberry cream and sponge cake roll was delightful, a sweet finish to the meal without being too heavy.

Blueberry roll

On my way over to the Banquet Hall from Westernland, the Haunted Mansion caught my eye.

Haunted Mansion

Wait a minute, the Haunted Mansion? In Fantasyland? Yep, that's its home in Tokyo. Not only that, while this Mansion looks like its Florida sibling, it's got California's "Nightmare Before Christmas" holiday overlay:

Holiday Nightmare

So if you ever wanted to know what Florida's Mansion would look like with the Haunted Mansion Holiday treatment, all you have to do is hop a flight to Tokyo to find out. (Short answer: It is spectacular!)

Haunted Mansion Holiday Tokyo

The rest of Fantasyland includes the line-up of attractions that will be familiar to U.S. Disney theme park fans, in their same versions as in the states (click through for photos and reader ratings):

Alice's Tea Party

The one difference? Cinderella's Fairy Tale Hall, a walkthrough attraction in the castle, featuring art and artifacts telling the story of Cinderella. But the posted hour-plus wait was way too long for a walk-through, so I skipped it.

Cinderella's Fairy Tale Hall

FWIW, the other restaurant in Fantasyland is Captain Hook's Galley, which you might miss since it's around the corner from Peter Pan, facing Westernland.

Captain Hook's Galley

The Galley features a popular option I found again and again in Tokyo and Singapore: Seafood pizza. Captain Hook's is available in a "set," with a beverage and cup of mini cream puffs.

Menu selections at Captain Hook's

Tomorrow: We visit Toontown.

Other lands on our tour: World Bazaar, Adventureland, Westernland & Critter Country, Tomorrowland.

Readers' Opinions

From Brandon Mendoza on December 15, 2011 at 2:19 PM
If I recall correctly, ghosts fit in the fantasy realm in Japanese culture? I could be mixing up things.

But once again, wonderful update! It's great to see the differences and similarities.

From Robert Niles on December 15, 2011 at 2:45 PM
There's also the element of... where else ya gonna put it? It doesn't fit thematically into Westernland without a retheme (which Disney did in Paris), so Fantasyland's the next best option.

Perhaps TDL could have created a full-fledged New Orleans Square where Pirates is, but there's not enough physical space in the development for a Mansion show building down there. (That also would have required going with the Disneyland facade.)

From James Rao on December 15, 2011 at 3:25 PM
The pictures you have been posting are much appreciated, Robert. One thing that stands out in those pictures is just how amazing everything looks. Even the food looks fantastic. Presentation and maintanience in Tokyo just seems to blow the US parks away. I look forward to a future article in which you have promised to elaborate on that topic...
From Brandon Mendoza on December 15, 2011 at 3:31 PM
Agreed James! The maintenance is unmatched in Tokyo! Can't wait for DisneySea!
From Stevo B on December 15, 2011 at 5:04 PM
I like that the mansion goes from land to land at the different parks. Didn't Walt originally want to put it on Main Street? Seems like I heard that somewhere along the way.
From Tom Rigg on December 15, 2011 at 8:00 PM
The mansion was indeed placed in Fantasyland in Tokyo Disneyland because ghost stories are considered to be part of the fairy tale genre. They specifically talk about that in the Haunted Mansion book that was put out a few years back right around the time of the wretched movie. And in the same book it talks about how Walt did want a Haunted House on a side street from Main Street, but in the sketches it's not directly on it, and honestly it looks like conceptually it was a departure from main street.

Robert,

As far as cast members, what seems to be the demographic? I remember as a kid noticing how many people of different ages and walks of life worked at WDW unlike the local teenage lot that manned King's Dominion and Busch Gardens. But over the years it seems that the cast, at least in the parks, has become a little less diverse. I definitely still see a lot of diversity compared to most other parks, but I would say the look and feel of your typical cast member has gotten a little more pedestrian state side. I know that can be a training and management problem as well, but I just wondered if the diversity of age and station in life was high in the cast at Tokyo Disneyland.

From Robert Niles on December 15, 2011 at 10:23 PM
The cast looked overwhelmingly young and Asian to me. Not kids, but almost everyone in what looked to me to be the 20s and 30s. And almost all Japanese, too, with a few that I thought might be Korean. What additional diversity I saw was limited to the creative cast - musical and show performers.
From TROY DAVIDSON on December 16, 2011 at 9:00 AM
Is it just me or does the iron work on the Haunted Mansion's roof look different then the Orlando version? Great photo's Robert!
From Andre Somma on December 16, 2011 at 7:46 PM
OK, so why can't Disney World do the TNMBC overlay on the haunted mansion? I want it!

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