Mike’s Tokyo & Tokyo Disney Resort Trip Report


A note from Mary: Fans of my husband Mike’s irreverent trip reports will be happy to hear that he’s written one about our visit to Tokyo in May 2004. If you’ve never read one of his reports before, just bear in mind that he has been known to, well… exaggerate a bit. Enjoy!


When Mary announced we were going to Japan I immediately went out and obtained a number of research aids. Over the course of the next three weeks I studied extensively and delved deeply into the history and culture of Japan. At that point, Mary took all of my Godzilla and samurai movies away and told me that there might be actually more to the country than robed guys decapitating each other and giant rubber monsters destroying Tokyo.

The Flight

Travel was fairly uneventful. Mary cashed in some frequent flyer miles to upgrade us to business class which is the very minimum that we’ll fly anymore for long trips. As we grow older we find we’re not quite as willing to put up with cattle car class accommodations.

The seats were quite roomy and had the flip out video displays with a wide selection of television and movies. As is usually the case, the movies on both the outbound and inbound flights were nothing we wanted to see. And again as usual, well for American Airlines anyway, the television shows on both legs were primarily Everyone Loves Raymond, a show that neither of us has ever developed even the remotest interest in.

So we read and ate a lot. Food was decent; nothing I’d be overly enthused about in a restaurant, but it had the benefit of being better then the synthetic meat products served in coach. At least I was able to score multiple Heinekens which made the trip seem to go much smoother, faster and a little blurry around the edges. After eating I napped, awoke, had a snack and napped some more. This prepared me well for the arrival in Tokyo and the trip to our hotel.

Getting through customs and such at Narita airport was as painless as such things can be. Mary was soon able to find the right counter for the airport bus while I pushed the luggage cart with our bags, books, computer equipment, and the yurt.

We had to wait around 20-30 minutes for the bus to our hotel and spent much of time pondering the ubiquitous vending machines. These would become a constant presence though out Tokyo – you literally cannot go more then 100 yards without encountering one. I eagerly sought out the famed beer vending machines I had heard so much about but was unable during our entire trip to find a single one. Mary has told me that it is not fair to describe the trip to Japan as a ‘disaster’ due to the inability to find the beer machines. She has her opinion and I have mine.

We finally boarded our bus and took seats that had obviously been designed for people several inches shorter and at least 80 pounds lighter then ourselves. We folded ourselves up into the seats where we remained for the next two hours.

Yes, we had arrived during rush hour. I’m not quite sure who was actually driving all the vehicles on the road, as from our experiences later in the week we found that the entire population of the Greater Tokyo Metropolitan area all take the subway during the same one-hour time slot every morning and evening. Possibly all the people from the country come in and drive around Tokyo during rush hour so they don’t feel left out or something.


Mary made the decision after watching Lost in Translation to make reservations at the Park Hyatt Tokyo, the hotel featured in the film. Although expensive it was definitely worth it. The service was a level above anything we’re experienced elsewhere. So much so that towards the end of the trip, I was finding acknowledging all the greetings to be onerous and wanted a little standoffish American service as a break.

Fortunately the American Airlines gave me all that and more on the way back.

The Park Hyatt rooms are quite nice, with a great view of the mighty metropolis that is Tokyo. Rooms start on the 42nd floor so you know the view from any side of the building is going to be superb. Not recommended for agoraphobics nor acrophobics (had to ask Mary for the word that means “afraid of heights”).

The slavish devotion to service started right off with several people from the hotel greeting us by name as we crawled off the bus. Our bags were collected by a little bell girl (bell woman, bellette?), who might, soaking wet and standing on a ladder, have been around half my size. I felt really guilty about this and spent the entire elevator trip to the 41st floor bowing to her continuously. Or it might have been that my spine hadn’t quite unkinked from the bus trip yet.

Check-in was very relaxing, sitting at a desk instead of standing in line at a counter and emptying our wallets into a large canvas bag. We were assured that after the credit cards were maxed out they’d return the smoking remains later.

We were shown to our room where I experienced severe hand cramps while attempting to prevent myself from tipping the bellette. Tipping is verboten in Japan but a lifetime of acculturation set up autonomic response systems that surprisingly were overcome in less then 24 hours. By our second day I was easily able to walk away without tipping our servers without a twinge of conscience whatsoever. Guess I am culturally flexible.

The room was pretty much as shown in Lost in Translation. Quite possibly we had the same size room – it looked very similar. To my dismay it didn’t come with the easy sleazy lounge singer, but Mary told me they were probably only given out to celebrities.

We did get a quite large flatscreen television and a mini-bar loaded with Kirin beer, so I commented to Mary that I thought this was a much more romantic hotel then say, the one we stayed in during our Paris trip. Mary disagreed somewhat with that opinion, but by the third or fourth day she was attempting to convince me that we ought to live at the Park Hyatt full-time. Mary’s a sucker for slavish devotion to service (whereas I am a sucker for slavish devotion to stockage of many types of cold frosty beers). To each their own.

The room came with a free buffet breakfast every morning. It was what I would call a European style breakfast with cold cuts, bread and pastries and fresh fruit and cheese. To my mind it is much better then most American breakfasts, with the notable exceptions of bagels with cream cheese and lox, or southern style breakfasts with eggs, country ham, grits, sausage gravy and biscuits (or as my family calls it – Death on a Plate). We were quite surprised by the quality of the baked goods and noticed throughout our travels around Tokyo that bakeries and patisseries have become quite popular.

Getting Around

We did take the subways most places we went. One thing we learned before we went was not to take the subway from the airport to your hotel, especially if you’re arriving during rush hour. As it turned out this was a wise decision. Although there are a fair number of escalators in the train stations there were many stairs to negotiate in almost every station. Trying to maneuver a couple of large bags through the masses of people would have been more adventure than I really felt was necessary.

We managed to schedule most of our trips around Tokyo to avoid the morning and evening rush hours by the simple expedient of sleeping in during the morning and speeding back to the hotel before the worst of the crush in the afternoon.

We did end up in the middle of the evening rush hour one time while returning from Tokyo Disneyland. Up to that point I had thought that the one trip we took on the Parisian Metro during a transit strike was the tightest packed subway car I had ever seen. That was before I experienced the Tokyo subway during a TYPICAL rush hour. I found the experience to be enlightening. It was sort of like taking a full body immersion bath with Japanese businessmen substituting for water. It was everything I’d hoped for and more.

Most of the time we were able to find our way around the city easily by using the subway system. There are usually Romanji (English text) names on maps somewhere on the platforms so we were able to figure out where to go.

One thing we did learn by the end of the trip was to do the 360 degree scan every few hundred feet inside the stations. We’d frequently be following signs to the platform we wanted and then suddenly find ourselves lost with no idea where the desired platform was. We’d backtrack a bit and see a sign off to one side of the station indicating that the platform was in that direction. This happened all the time so we started moving through stations in fits and starts, stopping every so often to see if they had hidden the sign to our platform behind a column or newsstand.

The subways were the cleanest we’ve ever seen. There was absolutely no graffiti anywhere on the trains, in the stations, in the restrooms or anywhere we could find. Heck, there wasn’t any trash that we ever saw. I think people are ritually beheaded for dropping a gum wrapper on the ground.

We did take cabs several times when we’d spent the entire day on our feet and Mary didn’t want to face the walk back to the hotel from the subway station (wimp).

We also took one the day we decided to go to visit a specific store a few miles away from the hotel. This turned out to be a mistake. The cabbie, who of course couldn’t speak English, got us to the right neighborhood with no problems but then spent almost an hour trying to find the specific address we wanted. Tokyo streets are apparently named and numbered at random and even natives take maps around to find their way. On the other hand the driver did turn off the meter every time he got out of the cab to ask someone where our destination was.

So it only ended up costing us $250 or so (not really, though Tokyo cabs are pretty expensive, all things considered). On the other hand there are lacy doilies or something like that on the seats. That explains some of the expense – must be a pain keeping them clean.

We also sampled the buses. One thing about Japanese buses: they are definitely not made for ‘big boned’ Americans. After a couple of hours in one it took a crowbar and some axle grease to get me out of the seat. Normally I enjoy crowbars and axle grease but ?.that’s another story, for later.


Before the trip, I was most concerned about Japanese cuisine. Not because the thought of smoked eel repulsed me, nor was I upset over consuming a major proportion of my seafood raw. No, the major issue for me was chopsticks. I suck mightily at wielding chopsticks. I don’t know why – I just never seemed to have gotten the knack of it.

Mary delighted in informing me multiple times that sticking a chopstick into something to lift it to your mouth was considered a major faux pas. This meant that I would probably be limited to things I could eat with my hands, or I would need to smuggle a fork into the country with me and carry it everywhere.

As it turned out I managed to maneuver enough food into my mouth that I escaped outright starvation. By the end of the trip I was actually able to manipulate chopsticks with enough dexterity that my food didn’t end up mostly on the floor, my lap, or in Mary’s hair.

Fortunately for us, as well as for many other tourists, the Japanese love to display realistic looking plastic food dishes out front of the restaurants illustrating what is served within. I especially like the frosty cold glasses of beer. One drawback though was that once we saw something out front we liked we’d then have to go inside and order from the menu which didn’t usually have convenient pictures to match the plastic samples.

Mary had to dissuade me from picking samples up and taking them inside with us so I could point at what I wanted. We ended up a couple to times not quite getting what we thought we ordered. Still we enjoyed it all.

I like Japanese food. I thought I would before we went, but I figured that there would be some things I would approach a little askance. It turned out that during our 10 days in Tokyo I never found anything that wasn’t excellent. Well, the one exception was the New York Grill in the Park Hyatt. Not bad, just not worth the money. We wouldn’t do that again.

Other than New York Grill, we did not go with any plans to eat at specific restaurants during our stay. We basically just wandered around till we found something that looked interesting. Either we were extraordinarily lucky or we have little understanding of Japanese cuisine, but either way we were the winnahs!

Let’s see – noodles. Did many bowls of noodles – all good. Watch the movie Tampopo and then go to Japan. Appreciate the noodles. Worship the noodles.

Tempura was quite nice. We ate at a small tempura restaurant where the cook would bring us a couple of pieces at a time still sizzling from the oil. We couldn’t state with authority what it was that we were eating sometimes, but it all tasted really good.

I really formed quite a fondness for miso soup, which was served with most meals we had. By the end of the trip I found myself missing it when it wasn’t included with a meal.

Plus, I got to sip it out of the bowl. I’ve told Mary that I think this is an excellent means of deriving soup-based nourishment, but she apparently thinks it is applicable only to miso soup and insists that I continue to use a spoon at home.

Sushi, as expected, was really excellent every time we had it. We did end up eating several things that we were totally clueless about, but as there were no sessions of projectile vomiting afterwards we considered ourselves lucky.

Mary did have an unfortunate experience with a tempura dish which apparently contained scallops. She has now eliminated all of the bivalve family as provender. On the other hand I had the same dish and found that scallops no longer make me sick. Thus is the way of the world – all is balanced. I’m now able to eat all the mollusks and Mary is unable to eat any. Mary found this unfair but I reminded her that there is no question of fairness in the world, it’s just the way things work, fate and all that. She was not mollified by my philosophical musings.

One thing that we didn’t sample was yakitori (various grilled, skewered meats). We’d actually planned on hitting at least one yakitori bar while we were Japan, but for some reason this never happened. Mary arrived back home and realized we hadn’t had yakitori and tried to schedule an immediate return trip. I had to disconnect the keyboard and divert her with a pint of Ben and Jerry’s till the urge went away.

Mary, as I may have mentioned before, is of the firm opinion that many foods can be improved by being served on sticks. She has strongly considered patenting her idea of ‘fish sticks on a stick’, believing that it is a snack food whose time has come. She is somewhat miffed that I have revealed her secret plan for snack food world domination. Time for another pint of Ben and Jerry’s.

Beer. What can I say? The Japanese make some darn fine beers. I sampled as many as I could find. The market is a bit more homogenous then in the US, as there are basically three major brands, Asashi, Sapporo, and Kirin. I drank all three but preferred the Kirin mainly. There was very little that we found in the way of micro-breweries.

Random Observations

One thing about Tokyo which was hard for us to get used to, at least for the first six or seven days, was the humidity. Coming from San Diego, Japan seemed like a steam bath to us, even though the temperature was relatively mild during the entire time there. We usually ended up going back to the hotel late in the afternoon to take a shower and cool off.

By the end of the trip I wasn’t sweating profusely even when just sitting in one place, though that might have been because it rained the last couple of days we were in Japan.

I caught some Japanese TV. It was some very strange stuff, made stranger of course because we couldn’t understand it — though possibly not. The Japanese seem to delight in very odd game shows. There was not a one that we could understand the rules or the purpose of, but possibly that was beside the point.

There also seem to be a lot of samurai television shows on. I’m not sure if they were regular series or what, but they appeared to be basically soap operas where everyone is wearing kimonos and brandishing swords. I think something like that would enliven American soap operas mightily.

Mary was entranced by a commercial we saw over and over again on video screens in the subways. It featured a couple of people wearing polar bear costumes while grilling a whole salmon on a grill indoors. Apparently they were making a case for buying a room air purifier or something similar. Why polar bears escapes me – must be a Japanese thing.

We visited several of the big Tokyo department stores. Think Macy’s on steroids. The level of staffing was an order of magnitude beyond that of American department stores. For instance, in an area of the store where one might be lucky to find one sales clerk in the US, there would be 5 or 6 available in Japan.

Department stores in Japan will wrap purchases for no charge if you tell them they are gifts. I had to stop Mary from telling them everything she bought was a gift. This turned out to be fortunate, because of course she was the one who was pulled aside at the airport to have her baggage searched. If she had had everything wrapped, we would still be there unwrapping them.

By the way, at the airport it seems they were trying to figure out what in Mary’s bag had set off the X-ray machine. As it turned out, it was a model of a giant fighting robot – a mainstay of the Japanese animation industry. The two constants of Japanese anime are a giant fighting robot – or kittens. The giant fighting robot model was a? gift, for a friend? yes, that’s it.

The food floors in the department stores were wonderful. Unfortunately we couldn’t bring anything back. All the things that interested us were foodstuffs that Customs in the US would never allow.

Actually we were tempted by many things, but not by the traditional sweets. Now, Japan has many fine products, but one area where they are severely behind the rest of the world is candy and sweets development. For some unfathomable reason they consider sweetened bean paste as an acceptable sweetstuff. I tried mightily to understand this outlook but after several attempts I was forced to conclude that there is no way that sweetened bean paste is ever going to compete with chocolate. Or Good and Plenty for that matter.

In a similar vein I’m afraid that the Japanese snack food industry is also a non-starter. I like rice crackers. In small quantities. Once every two or three years. But there is just no way that even the best rice cracker made is ever going to compete with a Cheeto. If we ever get in a trade war with the Japanese again, I think all we have to do is send over shiploads of See’s candy and the full gamut of Frito-Lay products and we’ll reverse the trade deficit in no time.

At one point Mary and I decided to take a day trip out of Tokyo to a famous mountain lake resort. The highlight of the trip was an aerial tram to the top of the mountain, which was followed by another down the opposite side. This turned out to be more exciting then we’d planned as the winds were very high that day and it turned out that they closed the tramway immediately after our car reached the top.

Most of the trip up the mountain was beautiful, but one of the stunning scenes from the gondola car was an open pit sulfur mine that the tramway passed over immediately below the top of the mountain. We couldn’t help thinking that there is no way a scenic area in the US would allow an open pit mine in the middle of it. But that’s Japan for you.

While most Japanese adults are extremely conservative in dress, the younger set are, well, experimenting is a good word. I especially enjoyed the two young women we saw dressed up as Little Bo Beep one day as we wandered through Harajuku. Although I suggested that it might make an interesting outfit for wearing around the house on “special occasions,” Mary seemed less than impressed with my idea.

Tokyo Disneyland

Oh, yeah – there actually was some work done while we were in Japan. Well, not by me, unless there is someone who’d like to pay me for a review of Japanese beers? Hmm. No takers? Darn. ?.oh, well.

Well, probably it’s easiest to talk about what’s different from the Disney parks elsewhere. First of all, the Main Street area is enclosed in an iron and glass mezzanine. This is pretty smart move considering how many days of rain the Tokyo area gets a year. Other than the glass cover Main Street looks pretty much the same to me. However, it’s not called Main Street… it’s called World Bazaar.

Cinderella’s Castle looks much the same on the outside. Inside there’s an extensive tour area through the dungeons and catacombs. I might be missing something here but I’m pretty sure that the Castle I remember wasn’t populated by several hell gods all seemingly bent on devouring hapless tourists.

Actually, we’re not actually sure what the tour was all about, as it was entirely in Japanese. Still everyone seemed to be quite enthusiastic about it, and no more then one or two small children were eaten, to much hilarity on the part of their parents and siblings.

Tomorrowland was just as it was before the last revamp in the US that made it look much more retro. I still prefer the Disneyland Paris Jules Verne look myself.

Critter Country was quite a bit nicer than in the other parks. They have integrated a couple of counter service and sit down restaurants into the rides so that people are eating right next to the flume for Splash Mountain. The overall look of the area is quite pleasing.

Haunted Mansion was, I thought, slightly upgraded over the American ones. Might have been my imagination though.

We did ride Pooh’s Hunny Hunt, which is wildly popular in Japan. This is one of those areas where cultural differences are a wide and unspannable gulf. Pooh’s Hunny Hunt might be quite an enjoyable experience if one were to be taking lots and lots of drugs. Cold sober, the ride is somewhat strange and more then a little odd. Mary liked it. What this says about her is anyone’s guess.

I suppose it makes sense that the ride would be somewhat hallucinatory in nature, as it supposedly depicts the inside of one of Pooh’s dreams, which revolve — as expected — around ‘hunny’. It’s unusual, but the astounding popularity it enjoys among the Japanese is still a little difficult for me to fathom.

Other wildly popular attractions at the park are the popcorn stands. Each usually has a line that is easily comparable with that found for a ride. Apparently each stand sells popcorn in different flavors and in a differently designed popcorn bucket.

Now, I’m afraid that I’m a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to popcorn. There’s butter, there’s caramel and there’s cheese. Any flavors other than these are messing with nature. The Japanese relish imbuing their popcorn with unnatural and potentially unhealthy flavors that are an abomination, such as honey, coconut and most distressingly – soda flavor.

Unfortunately for yours truly, Mary wanted to acquire one of the souvenir buckets from the soda popcorn stand for a friend. Since I was the only one standing nearby who spoke English, Mary appointed me as the official MouseSavers soda flavored popcorn taster. Words cannot describe how appalling this popcorn tasted. I would have chugged several bottles of beer to wash the loathsome taste from my mouth except that?..arggh, Tokyo Disneyland doesn’t serve suds!

For lunch we went to the Queen of Hearts Banquet Hall. Now I’m a huge fan of what Disney has managed to accomplish with theming in all of its park facilities. But it’s time to face the truth and admit that Disney’s management could take a lesson from the Japanese. I understand Disney Imagineers actually designed Tokyo Disneyland and most everything in it, but it was the Japanese park management that went ahead and implemented their ideas. Queen of Hearts was quite simply one of the best themed restaurants I’ve seen within any Disney Park.

The food at Queen of Hearts was perfectly adequate and portion sizes were decent. But the overall feel within the restaurant was well worth the money we paid and then some. We checked out several other restaurants — both counter service and sit down places — and all had better theming then comparable restaurants in American parks.

Unfortunately the shops in Tokyo Disneyland carry pretty much the same stuff as those in the US, with some notable exceptions. The problem, as is the case for the American parks, is that all of the shops carry pretty much the same merchandise throughout the park, with little variation. I still say Disney is missing a bet here by not varying the merchandise a lot more and introducing some really interesting items – especially items that don’t necessarily have Disney themes on them but are tied to the areas they are located in. As an example, movie posters in Disney’s Hollywood Studios for instance.

Overall, my impression of Tokyo Disneyland was that it was as good, if not better in most respects, as all the other Magic Kingdoms. Except that they don’t sell beer in the park. Ten points deducted for that.

Tokyo DisneySea

OK, as you may have figured out by now, I’m not the biggest Disney fan in the world. I like Disney a lot and in my full time job as Mary’s husband I get the opportunity to see the parks often, at least more then most people. But overall, going to a Disney park more than once or at most twice a year is usually enough for me, an attitude that Mary finds incomprehensible.

Yet we’ve managed to overcome our differences (though I cannot for the life of me understand her insistence that beer is not a perfectly good breakfast beverage), as is the case for any good marriage. Where was I going with this?

Oh, yeah. Not the biggest fan of Disney but like it well enough. OK, so here we are at Tokyo DisneySea. Mary tells me that the design and construction of DisneySea overlaps with that of Disney’s California Adventure park in the US. Both opened in the same relative time frame – I think within six months of each other. Now, could someone explain to me, why we, as Americans, inhabitants of the birthplace of all things Disney, get DCA and the Japanese get DisneySea?

‘Cause on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being total suckiness and 10 being totally rocks, DCA is nudging the lower end of the scale and DisneySea gets, oh, I don’t know – maybe an 11.

It’s probably fortunate that the two parks are located in totally separate parts of the world. If they were anywhere close to each other I imagine the people who went to DCA and then went to DisneySea would then return to DCA, burn it to the ground and salt the earth.

As you may have guessed I really enjoyed Tokyo DisneySea. A lot. The theming is unsurpassed in my opinion. Heck, I’d take the Nemo-themed Mysterious Island area over anything in any other Disney Park any day of the week.

Ok, brief description. DisneySea is set up in several themed areas based on different nautical or seashore-related concepts. For instance there’s the American Waterfront area which is vaguely New Englandish (new word for Mike – 10 points!). There’s an Italian Renaissance seaport area called Mediterranean Harbor. There’s the aforementioned Mysterious Island area, which is the inside of an ancient volcano that contains a futuristic seaport like something out of ‘Thunderbirds’ though cooler and less hokey and without the marionettes (shiver?).

There’s also an Arabian seaport area (Arabian Coast), and a Central American jungle river type area (Lost River Delta). Finally there’s the Mermaid Lagoon area. Any of these themed areas beat the out the very best of DCA without breaking a sweat.

My Observations

For kids the Mermaid Lagoon is by far one of the best-themed areas in any Disney park, bar none. Mickey’s Toontown is the only thing that even comes close. We saw a show at Mermaid Lagoon that made use of the types of puppets that were developed for the Lion King stage play. Even I, curmudgeonly, bitter old sort that I am, enjoyed the show.

The American Waterfront area is kinda neat. There are no real attractions in this section. It’s mostly shops, restaurants and some shows. There’s a very large steamship docked in the center, however, that is maybe 1/3 scale or so. It’s a little strange that it is so large, yet the only things on it are a restaurant and a bar.

We ate lunch at the Theodore Roosevelt Lounge on board the ship. It’s all paneled in dark mahogany and brass, with lots of exhibits devoted to Teddy’s relentless quest to kill every big game beast on the planet. I want to do our living room like this, but Mary says no.

The Port Discovery area was cool, with a couple of rides. One had little hovercraft-type boats and another, StormRider was a simulator type like Body Wars/Star Tours. Only louder. Much louder. Still quite a fun ride.

While we were standing in line for StormRider we experienced the ride attendants giving a long talk that we didn’t understand. My best guess was that it was a long and impassioned warning about possible nausea and the fact that they don’t supply airsick bags, so please lean over and vomit on the person next to you so the ride attendants won’t have to mop it up afterwards. Or something like that.

The Lost River Delta area had the Indiana Jones ride which is the same as the one in the US. We also saw a live stage show there (Mystic Rhythms) that consisted of people in costumes simulating animals and plants, jumping around the stage and spinning through the air on fake vines. The lesson of the show might be surmised as “fire is bad and water is good.” Personally, I subscribe to the belief that fire is good for grilling animals and water is fine, but beer is much better. Honestly, though, the show was pretty good although a bit long.

The Arabian Coast area was themed much like the Moroccan section of Epcot. The centerpiece is a dark ride that illustrates the story of Sinbad’s voyage, only using the same type of marionettes used in It’s a Small World, although not as kitschy and without the insanity-provoking music. Mary thought it was kind of lame but I quite liked it.

As I’ve mentioned, my favorite area by far was the Mysterious Island area. The theming is superb. Basically you enter the bowl of an extinct volcano through tunnels and find the Nautilus docked inside the caldera. There’s also a 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea ride. You get in little pods and ride through the sea, visiting the ruins of Atlantis and areas inhabited either by little sea goblins or aliens, we were unsure which. It’s kind of hokey but fun.

Also located in one of the tunnel areas is the stand that sells the single most popular snack in all of the Disney parks – more popular even then soda flavored popcorn. This is the famous gyoza sausage bun. This culinary masterpiece is a lump of very mildly flavored ground sausage incased in a steamed dough casing.

It was utterly bland. No, that doesn’t quite capture it. It was blandness squared, blandness taken to an order of magnitude beyond plain pasta, something so bland that I briefly considered licking the pavement for some flavor. Why exactly this item is so powerfully popular is a mystery that will forever elude me, I fear.

My feelings on leaving DisneySea were that we Americans got rooked, because the Japanese got a much better park then we got. If I had the opportunity I’d love to take Michael Eisner with me to DisneySea and then spend the next three or four hours kicking him in the backside as we proceeded around the park, to indicate to him how powerfully bad a decision they made with DCA. But alas, I’ll just have to dream about this.

OK, the wrap up…

Full marks for Tokyo Disneyland. The layout of the park is similar to the other Magic Kingdoms but somehow a little smarter, a little cleaner and a little fresher. With the exception of Tomorrowland which needs to be updated, preferably to the same design as Disneyland Paris, it’s an excellent park and might indeed be either number 1 or 2 on my list of parks.

Tokyo DisneySea is superb. It’s a park I’d place on par with Epcot, if not even slightly above it. It could use a few more rides, but other than that, it’s a park well worth visiting. And they serve beer there. What more could you really want?