četvrtak, 03.11.2011.



Cheap Hotels Anaheim Disneyland

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Tokyo DisneySea Review: Disney's only truly modern and complete theme park

Tokyo DisneySea Review: Disney's only truly modern and complete theme park

Cape Cod
American Waterfront
Tokyo DisneySea

[Warning: Lots of words]

Cutting to the chase: believe the hype.

The level of detail throughout is amazing. You'll find none of the blatant corner cutting that characterized early California Adventure. Each area of the park is fully realized and engrossing. Even the areas that are obviously meant to be cheaper to execute, like the kid-focused Mermaid Lagoon, are still lavish. Even better, the parts that are meant to impress do so in spades.

At the same time, there's no sense that things were left unfinished as one gets with Disney's Animal Kingdom. Make no mistake, the park is a full day park. Sure it doesn't have the sheer number of attractions that one will find at Disneyland or the Magic Kingdom, but that's hardly surprising considering those parks are building off over 55 years of momentum and refinement while Disney Sea is a spritely 10 years old. If one got lucky and came on the least crowded day and did some militant park opening to closing fastpass strategizing, then it's theoretically possible that one could experience every attraction, but even then you're unlikely to see the various shows (which will soon include Fantasmic), and you'll probably be hurrying by details and rushing through meals. The park is engrossing but tight, never feeling insurmountable yet never feeling small.

Side note: that this park chose to add Fantasmic rather than World of Color makes total sense to me now. This park is very much rooted in the distant past and is very story oriented: World of Color's technological spectacle with would have felt odd and out of place here.

Conceptually the park is a winner in that it lives up to its name. The park literally is a Disneyland that takes its thematic inspiration from bodies of water, effectively replacing the "land" with "sea." In a sense the Disneyland approach to theme parks is to represent idealized times and places, with the choice of which times and places characterizing the park as a whole. The classic Disneyland itself is hard to define in terms of an overall theme, but it somehow hits on a winning formula. Disney Sea takes this same approach but adds the overarching concept of the sea and the various incarnations it takes. In this regard one could argue that Disney Sea is a more conceptually cohesive park than Disneyland itself. I don't know if this cohesion make it better per se, but there's no denying that the message of Disney Sea is probably the strongest and clearest of any Disney Park (Animal Kingdom being a close second). Unlike California Adventure, the theme works throughout the park and you never have to jump through mental hoops to justify the presence of a particular area of the park. The sense of purpose is confident and adhesion to this purpose is total.

I didn't have a chance to eat much of the food during my not-quite-a-day visit, but I liked what I tried and was intrigued by what I didn't. Quick service meals (read: fast food) at Disneyland/Magic Kingdom parks range from okay to horrid, but Disney Sea seems to buck this trend in both variety and quality. I had quick service curry for lunch and it ended up being the best curry I ate while in Japan, and Japan is very fond of its curry. The Italian restaurant Ristorante di Canaletto seemed very nice for dinner, but it's hard for me to judge how it compares to other Italian in Japan. The other food options throughout the park certainly looked good, and that didn't even touch on the higher class food found in the hotels, an area where Disney World absolutely shines. It definitely seemed a step above Disneyland's/Magic Kingdom's less than stellar options and more akin to Epcot's culinary delights. We can't talk food without talking drink: we stopped by one bar in the American Waterfront located in a scale steam ship and themed after the life of Teddy Roosevelt. The place was opulent in a Club 33 sort of way, the drinks were solid and proper, and the ambiance perfectly fits the 20s chic style that's so popular in trendier areas right now. This place could make a killing in LA and is much nicer than the club-esque bar called Teddy's Los Angeles. In DisneySea you can go from munching popcorn to refined opulence one after the other. Disney Sea gets it: appeal to everybody and all sensibilities, from playful to refined.

The thing that probably struck me the most about Disney Sea was the quality of the rides. Each ride has that full-on Disney quality that you usually only get from specific AAA attractions in the other parks. Even when Disney Sea has a clone of an existing ride, it's better. Their Indiana Jones is more detailed, has more effects, and is just generally more impressive than the one in Anaheim. The Voyage of Sinbad is an almost Small World esque ride in theory, but the execution in terms of detail and technology makes it more akin to Pirates of the Caribbean. Stormrider is a simulator ride, a sort of hybrid of Soarin' and

Lobby of the Grand Californian

Lobby of the Grand Californian

The Grand Californian Resort, Disneyland, California. This was taken from the 4th floor, east side. It looks as if they didn't get an exact match on the carpet seam when it had to be replaced after the Christmas Day fire.

I will admit to having napped in this lobby.

NOTE: If you head on up to the 4th floor and try to replicate this picture, GOOD LUCK unless you have an 18mm or shorter lens. I took this using a 12-24mm zoom on a Nikon DSLR with a lens magnification factor of 1.5. (1.5 x 12 = 18.) Feel free to download this shot at its original size if you'd like to use it for non-commercial purposes, like scrapbooks or slideshows.

The Grand Californian, Anaheim, California, U.S.A.

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03.11.2011. u 21:41 • 0 KomentaraPrint#

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