A tour of Tokyo Disneyland: Adventureland

December 13, 2011, 11:51 AM · Yeah, go ahead, make fun of me. I traveled halfway across the world to a Disney theme park I'd never seen before - the most popular Disney theme park outside the United States - and what was the first attraction I visited?

We're visiting Adventureland on Day Two of Tokyo Disneyland week at ThemeParkInsider.com.

The Tiki Room.

Enchanted Tiki Room

Hey, it's not what you think. Tokyo Disneyland doesn't have the same old Tiki Room show we know from Disneyland, and now, Walt Disney World. It's a new show, which stars a popular Disney animated movie character who takes over the classic Tiki show.

Uh, I'm not making things any better, am I?

My big goal for the day while visiting Tokyo Disneyland was to see the unique attractions in the park - the ones that either didn't exist in the United States or that were enough unlike their stateside counterparts to be interesting to a Disney veteran (like me, and, I suspect, many of you). So my to-do list included The Enchanted Tiki Room: Stitch Presents 'Aloha E Komo Mai!'.

That's right. This version of the Tiki Room isn't the dreadful "Under New Management" version with Iago and crew. While I continue to prefer Disneyland's original version of the Tiki Room, if Disney's going to add a cartoon character to the mix, let it be Stitch, whose Hawaiian backstory actually fits the Tiki Room theme.

In this version, Stitch is trying to force his way into the Tiki Room show, like Lucy trying to weasel her way into one of Ricky's Tropicana Club shows. But the birds think it's the Big Kahuna that's interrupting their show. They ultimately discover that it's Stitch, whom they let in the show if he agrees to behave. Which he does... just before he spits on the audience. Here's a sample - though, as with all Tokyo Disneyland shows, the narration is in Japanese:

Tokyo Disneyland's Adventureland feels two me like two lands mashed together. On the upper (south) side of the land stands the Tiki Room, with the Swiss Family Treehouse to the right and the Western River Railroad and Jungle Cruise to the left.

Jungle Cruise and Western River Railroad

Walk back toward the park's entrance (to the north) and you enter what will look to any Southern Californian like New Orleans Square, though Tokyo Disneyland doesn't call it that.

New Orleans section of Tokyo Disneyland's Adventureland

Here's where you will find Pirates of the Caribbean, the Blue Bayou and Cafe Orleans. Pirates here is much the same ride as you'd find back in Anaheim, with a few tweaks. First, the ride's queue is almost entirely inside Laffite's Manor. And there's only one drop into the grotto after you leave the Blue Bayou. But the biggest difference is at the end. Instead of riding the lift back up to the loading area, as you do in Anaheim, you disembark immediately after the final treasure scene, as in Anaheim, and ride a speedramp back up to the street level.

Captain Jack Sparrow

That allows Pirates to end with a bang, rather than the slow return of the original version. My only quibble with this version of the ride was the sound mix. I started hearing X Atencio's "Yo Ho" theme from the Burning City as early as the dunk scene, muddling the audio for the middle scenes of the ride. Still, Pirates is Pirates, and I'm happy to check off one more version of this classic that I've had the good fortune to enjoy.

Since my knowledge of Japanese is limited to overhearing my wife teaching Suzuki violin lessons ("Konnichiwa," "Sayonara," "Arigato"), I decided to skip the Jungle Cruise, figuring the jokes would be lost on me. (Sorry, TH.) But I chose to hop aboard the Western River Railroad instead. And I'm glad I did.

As I mentioned yesterday, Tokyo Disneyland doesn't have a railroad chugging around the park, as the other Magic Kingdoms do. Its railroad travels only around the Adventureland and Westernland sections of the park. But the Western River Railroad offers some wonderful views of Tokyo's Rivers of America and Big Thunder Mountain, and includes the Primeval World dinosaur scenes so popular at Disneyland. Here's a video tour of the train ride:

(Keep your eyes open for the burning settler's cabin that's actually burning! I'll write more tomorrow about Tokyo Disneyland's superior maintenance and service, compared with Disney's US theme parks.)

Tokyo Disneyland's Adventureland offers more food options than any other land in the park. While I chose to have lunch at the Queen of Hearts Banquet Hall in Fantasyland (coming Thursday!), I did have a light dinner at The Gazebo in the "New Orleans Square" half of Adventureland.

Scallop chowder at The Gazebo in Tokyo Disneyland

The Scallop Chowder was excellent - creamy, with moist bits of scallop and a salty sea flavor, accompanied by what might have been the best piece of bread I've ever eaten. I'd never imagine Japan would have outstanding bread, but this qualified - a warm, airy, yeasty interior with a rich crust so crisp it crackled when I bit into it. But if bread and soup aren't what you're craving, Adventureland offers other options:

Tomorrow, we visit Critter Country and Westernland (aka Frontierland).

Also: World Bazaar, Westernland and Critter Country, Fantasyland, Tomorrowland

Replies (8)

December 13, 2011 at 1:15 PM · Robert, grew up in Japan as an Air Force brat and remember how awesome their breads, pastries, and cakes were. Their cakes were especially tasty...light as air and deliciously sweet...mmmmm!
December 13, 2011 at 2:31 PM · YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS!!!!!
December 13, 2011 at 4:00 PM · Hi. Really enjoying the detailed articles about Tokyo Disneyland. Keep them coming. I plan on going at the end of next year. Now I'm getting excited!
December 13, 2011 at 5:14 PM · Scallop Chowder... YUM!! Why in the world don't we have that delectable sounding soup here in the states???

BTW, you just gained a wealth of credibility by skipping the Jungle Snooze. Kudos on your superior foresight and park planning.

December 13, 2011 at 5:47 PM · Now Rao has fried my cheese in two different countries! And Mr. Niles blew the chance to learn how to say "the backside of water, in two different languages.
December 14, 2011 at 4:29 AM · Yay. A useful Stitch ride.
December 14, 2011 at 8:51 AM · Why would Tokyo's ending be considered a "bang"? It would just be the end, a premature end.

Disneyland's lift hill has stuff to see like Johnny Depp's final animatronic and the eyes in the tunnel, which fascinated me when I was a kid and still does today. I loved the final loop. I liked waving to the crowd to those waiting for the ride. From the crowd point of view, seeing people on the boat is more interesting than seeing empty boats.

December 15, 2011 at 1:15 PM · You've still got the final Depp animatronic in Tokyo (that's it pictured earlier in the article), but you get out right after that moment, rather than floating around waiting for unload like in Anaheim.

I wish that Disney would throw in a fog effect as you come up the lift in the Anaheim pirates, to create a "coming to consciousness" moment that would delineate between the pirate world and the "real" world in the ride - like the drop does at the beginning. Just coming up that lift chain just seems so unfinished to me.

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