A tour of Tokyo DisneySea: Port Discovery
Published: December 31, 2011 at 12:26 PM
You'll find the same retro-futuristic look here, but - fitting an aquatic park, I guess - it's bathed in splashes of color.
That's the home of StormRider, a simulator ride that takes you inside a massive hurricane (typhoon) that you're supposed to destroy.
Here's the backstory: Scientists have developed a "storm diffuser" - a giant missile that can cause typhoons to dissipate harmlessly instead of slamming the port. You'll be flying in a StormRider airship, escorting the one carrying the storm diffuser. There will be a massive explosion when the diffuser fires, but "you'll be miles away by then." What possibly could go wrong?
Enter our pilot, Captain Davies, who appears to have graduated the same flight school as Star Tours's old Captain Rex. The very American-looking Capt. Davies appears on screen in the pre-show, chomping a sandwich instead of inspecting his plane - allowing the Japanese crowd to chuckle at the obvious buffoon. (As the only other caucasian in the room, I gotta admit I winced a little at the stereotype. Fuel for someone's sociology dissertation, I suppose.)
We enter our
theater StormRider and take off, skimming the water and buzzing boats and dolphins before pulling up to fly into the gathering storm. Sure enough, plenty then goes terribly wrong. Lightning hits the main StormRider, wind blows everyone off course, and we end up getting a much more "up-close" look at that missile than anyone had planned. Put away your camera and cell phone - you'll even get a little wet.
And that's not just from crying because you just rode yet another fun, thrilling Disney attraction that most American theme park fans will never get to see.
Your boats spin here and there as they meander forward and backward around the Port Discovery lagoon, dodging fountains and whirlpools along the way.
It's a fun little ride, a bit like a bumper car where you don't actually hit anything.
We've gone too long without talking about popcorn, so I should note that Port Discovery is home to what turned out to be my favorite flavor of Tokyo Disney popcorn - strawberry.
Imagine a box of warm, fluffy popcorn, sprinkled in sugary strawberry Nesquik powder that had melted into a glaze. (I will now stop to wipe the drool off my keyboard as I remember the taste.) Give me the curry popcorn as the best of the savory flavors, and I'll take the strawberry as the best of the sweet options. For the most part, though, you won't go wrong with any of the flavors.
Except for milk tea (found at Duffy's popcorn stand in the American Waterfront). Milk tea popcorn tasted disgusting to me - it was the only flavor where I didn't want even a second bite.
Speaking of the American Waterfront, that's the final land on our tour of Tokyo DisneySea, so let's head over there now. We'll take the DisneySea Electric Railway, which travels back and forth between American Waterfront and Port Discovery.
Come aboard with me for the trip!