A theme park gift under $10? Theme Park Insider: 2016 Year in Review
As the sun was setting over Tokyo, I walked up to the restaurant with about a half hour to spare, so I spent that time wandering around the Fortress Explorations exhibits that surround Magellan's.
Inside this citadel, you'll find 10 individual exhibits, from a pendulum tower…
…to an alchemy laboratory…
…to my favorite, the Chamber of Planets.
This is a cathedral to astronomy, designed with exquisite detail, in tribute to an era when science stood up superstition and showed humanity a more enlightened way. The planets surround our sun, with the heavens painted on the ceiling above. Extending from the pedestal are several arms with handles, with which you can turn the planets in orbit around the sun. Alone with the solar system, I spent several minutes literally making the Earth move.
My most sublime moment in a theme park has been those times I stood on the island-side dock of an otherwise empty Tom Sawyer Island, at sunset in the Magic Kingdom, watching the lights come on in Frontierland. Thousands of people would be in my view, but I stood alone, separated from them by the waters of the Rivers of America - alone in a very public place during that graceful moment when day slipped into night.
I thought of that while standing inside the Chamber of Planets, enjoying another sublime moment, alone with all eternity.
But it was time for dinner.
Walking into the restaurant, you realize that you're on the second floor of a rotunda, which is dominated by an immense globe.
The hostess led me from this main dining room into a second, more intimate room on one the side of the restaurant.
My hostess then presented me with the menu, which continued the story of the "Society of Explorers and Adventurers" who founded the citadel I'd just explored. (Take a moment to figure out that acronym, by the way.)
Magellan's is not an a la cate restaurant, but offers several choices of multi-course meals. Watching my yen at the end of my journey, I opted for the least expensive one, at 4500 yen (about $59 US). Remembering how much I had enjoyed my lunch at the S.S. Columbia Dining Room, I was thrilled to see that the appetizer course was another serving of scallops.
But as much as I again enjoyed the scallops, they couldn't match the salad - mesclun greens with cheese and walnuts in balsamic dressing. The peppery greens and astringent dressing balanced the rich cheddar perfectly. I noticed that the waitress didn't even ask if I wanted freshly ground pepper on my salad, which seems to be a federal regulation in America. She knew it didn't need a thing.
The entree was roasted breast of duck with orange sauce (in a familiar pattern...)
After two chewy bites of the duck, I'd wished I'd opted for the daily fish selection instead. I've only really enjoyed duck once in my life - roasted and served with a dark cherry sauce at Spago in Beverly Hills. Every now and then, when I'm in a restaurant that I think might be able to match that experience, I give duck another try. But I'm coming to realize that I just don't like duck as much as fish, or a good steak. So unless duck's the house speciality (which it's not, when it's on the least expensive menu at the restaurant), I probably should just go for another option.
Dessert made me feel much better, though, as dessert inevitably does.
As I sipped my hot tea, after finishing the last crumbs, the feeling came over me that this trip was now finished. I'd entertained thoughts of taking the train into the city the next day, before my flight was to leave in the evening. But when a trip is over, it's done. I'd felt the same way at the end of each of our summer roadtrips - when I knew that there was no longer any need for diversions and side-trips - that it's time to get going straight home.
And so, after paying my check (with no embarrassment this time), I did. I stood, zipped my jacket, pulling the collar up against my ears in meager defense against the cold Japanese winter night air, and made my way out of the restaurant and back to the front of the park.
The next morning, I slept in and started downloading the many photos that you've seen here on the site, before catching an express bus back to the airport for my flight home.
I hope that you've enjoyed traveling through Asia's top theme parks with me. Tomorrow, I'll share some final thoughts about the trip, as well as some advice on planning a Tokyo Disney Resort vacation.Tweet
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