Welcome to Theme Park Insider! Join the community or log in
Theme Park Insider
Facebook Twitter YouTube Email Newsletter

Attraction of the week: Sindbad's Storybook Voyage at Tokyo DisneySea

Written by
Published: October 8, 2012 at 4:07 PM

Now this is what I love in a theme park attraction: Great storytelling, a lively, original musical score I'll be humming for the rest of the day, and 10+ minutes riding through in a dark, air-conditioned show building. Why can't theme park companies build rides like that anymore?

Well, they can, and they do. You just have to fly to Asia to ride them. :^(

The Giant in Sindbad's Storybook Voyage

Our Attraction of the Week this week is Sindbad's Storybook Voyage, from Tokyo DisneySea. You'll follow Sindbad the sailor and his tiger cub, Chandu, as they sail from their home port to Mermaid Rocks, then on to Rukh Island, the Cave of the Giant, the Palace of the Sultan, the Land of the Monkeys, and finally to Whale Straits, before returning home. Along the way, you'll find some of the largest animatronic figures anywhere, creating an awe-inspiring scale that's unmatched in any other dark ride, including Pirates of the Caribbean.

Like Pirates, Sindbad's Storybook Voyage is built around an original song, this time by Alan Menken. The ride's "The Compass of Your Heart" will burrow into your ear and stick there long after the flight home. Have a listen:

Sindbad's Storybook Voyage debuted in Spring 2007, replacing the original Sindbad's Seven Voyages ride that opened with the park in 2001. (The song premiered in the 2007 revamp.) Found in the Arabian Coast land of Tokyo DisneySea, Sindbad's Storybook Voyage does not appear at any other Disney theme park, and along with other unique attractions such as Journey to the Center of the Earth and Aquatopia, has helped push Tokyo DisneySea to the title of World's Best Theme Park in this year's Theme Park Insider Awards.

While that shows Sindbad's got some fans, I don't think this ride yet has enough. I know it's based on a public-domain character, and not a trademarked Disney princess, but I wish that Disney could find a home for Sindbad at Walt Disney World. Or, at least, for a ride of the same scale and ambition.

Readers' Opinions

From Brandon Mendoza on October 8, 2012 at 4:13 PM
Attraction of the week looks like a fun weekly article! I love it!
From Tim Chatlos on October 8, 2012 at 4:49 PM
Sindbad's Storybook Voyage fills me with a mix of hope (that such an attraction can still be produced by WDI) and sadness (that such an attraction will likely never surface in the American parks). Why can't Disney trust that American audiences will respond to this sort of thing?
From 24.54.192.58 on October 8, 2012 at 4:52 PM
I couldn't agree more with that last paragraph, Robert. Little less Princesses little more something else...

Those larger animatronic figures look nice and pretty interesting. I'm sure they do impact positively the scale as you mention. But my favorites are the previous to last scene, what looks like a "Dancing, Harem". Ha,ha! It's also nice that is named "Simbad", while not unheard of, at least is not like some of the other repetitive names around.

So Robert, that would be a pretty welcomed addition, it doesn't even have to be Simbad. It could be a new character, with his/her own new music! Why do you think they don't do that? Merchandising purposes, trademarks? Maybe something like, the American crowd/visitors won't really identify with a "No" name (compare to Disney's famous princesses), like Simbad?

-Francisco

From Daniel Etcheberry on October 8, 2012 at 5:26 PM
Lets face it, Asia is the next America, and America is getting cheaper by the day.

They get DisneySea, and we get meet and greets.

I'm Daniel Etcheberry and I approve this message.

From Mike Gallagher on October 8, 2012 at 5:37 PM
Silly question..is this based on Sinbad the Sailor? If yes, then why the extra "d?" Or was this just a misprint throughout the article? Maybe the name "Sinbad" is trademarked by the comedian of the same name, necessitating the alteration? This is not a joke post, I'm seriously asking.
From 24.54.192.58 on October 8, 2012 at 5:37 PM
Daniel that's funny, and true. But like Tim says, it's also sad...

-Francisco

From Jay R. on October 8, 2012 at 5:41 PM
I think the perception is that American audiences most likely WON'T accept a non Disney property like Sinbad, but I don't think that's true.

If a detailed attraction like Sinbad came to the parks, I think most (general) theme park guest would welcome it.

I think though when you have groups that are against any sort of change.....they simply are more vocal & it's assumed that's the consensus.

Look at the alcohol debate about the new fantasyland.....not saying either party is right or wrong, but it just comes across as that any new move that is made, that might not be traditional, may cause controversy......i.e bringing something like Sinbad here, when you have plenty of disney properties to use!! How could they!

Something like the disney princesses is simply a franchise that makes a ton of money & the target demo for that will buy the merchandise regardless of an attraction. A couple of meet n greets and their demo is fine.

From 24.54.192.58 on October 8, 2012 at 5:43 PM
Mike I don't think that is a silly question. I assumed the same thing! I honestly didn't pay that much attention to the name. Now I'm curious too...

-Francisco

From Robert Niles on October 8, 2012 at 5:44 PM
The Sinbad/Sindbad thing is straight outta copy-editing hell. Some use one way; some use the other. TDS uses the extra D.
From 24.54.192.58 on October 8, 2012 at 5:51 PM
In Spanish it's: Simbad el marino.

-Francisco

From 206.29.182.241 on October 8, 2012 at 6:45 PM
Well Asia is a continent and America is a country so that comment is extremely vague. Japan is the worlds 3rd largest economy with high per capita income compared to the west, and a population that embraces American and Disney culture overwhelmingly and thats why they have an ecxellent disneyland. Thats an assertion based on fact. Now about the sinbad ride, looks like an excellent attraction however I prefer the realism of pirates of the Caribbean to the cartoony look of sinbad any day. In my opinion the original POTC in Disneyland has still to this day not been surpassed in terms of story, immersion, and rerideability even after 43 years!
From Dominick D on October 8, 2012 at 8:48 PM
Why must flight tickets be so expensive?!?! :(
From Tony Perkins on October 8, 2012 at 9:30 PM
An amazing attraction and exactly the kind of ride they should be building at WDW to get rid of its staleness. Why doesn't Disney make an animated film of Sinbad? They already have a song and a ride. If Disney doesn't believe American audiences would react well to a non-Disney character ride, then give us a dark ride of this caliber themed to Aladdin or Beauty and the Beast. No more spinners, 3D movies or meet 'n greets.
From Mike Gallagher on October 9, 2012 at 2:37 AM
In English, it's Sinbad The Annoying Comedian.

Somewhere on the annoying scale behind Gallagher (the watermelon smashing one, not the TPI one.)

From Dominick D on October 9, 2012 at 4:58 AM
I could imagine Sinbad's Storybook Voyage...
From Mark Kausch on October 9, 2012 at 9:58 AM
I couldn't really tell the scale in the video, but it seems to me like it has a Mary Blair/small world (sic) look to it. As far as any other Disney park getting a ride like this, or at least of this quality, I wouldn't hold my breath. Disney holds the Oriental Land Co. to a standard that Disney doesn't hold themselves to.
From AJ Hummel on October 9, 2012 at 10:26 AM
It's attractions like this that are the main reason I want to visit the Tokyo parks. I couldn't care less about riding cloned rides (one of the main reasons I haven't visited WDW yet), but the Tokyo parks seem to have a number of unique attractions that aren't found anywhere else. One day, hopefully, I'll get over there, but not likely within this decade.

This article has been archived and is no longer accepting comments.

Previous article: Developers look east of London for new theme park plan



Planning a trip to Orlando?

Walt Disney World

Insider's Pick: Get all the best advice from ThemeParkInsider.com in one convenient book! Theme Park Insider Orlando 2014 offers you the insight, background, and how-to skills that will help you enjoy Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando like, well, a theme park insider. Save yourself time and money by learning how to visit the Orlando-area theme parks the insiders' way.

Get it! In paperback | For Kindle | For iBooks