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November 11-12, 2016 - Day 1:
Travel to Tokyo, Ikspiari & Hotel Visit

Started off the day with a pre-dawn wake up call to head for LAX. Arrived at the airport and checked in at Delta One. Arrived at the Delta Sky Club with several hours to spare. Grabbed some breakfast and got caught up on emails before hiking to the gate. Boarded on time and the plane pushed back on time. But due to runway construction there was a delay of almost 30 minutes on the taxiway. Eventually we were able to take off and head for Tokyo. Flight time was about 11 hours today thanks to favorable winds. Arrived in Tokyo about 15 minutes early. Did the long hike to customs and then purchased bus tickets and had about half an hour to wait for our ride. The bus arrived on time and we were off to the Tokyo Disney Resort. Got the scenic tour of the resort from the bus and eventually arrived at the Sheraton, how hotel this time around. Checked in, dropped our bags then headed for Bayside station to purchased our monorail tickets head for dinner at Ikspiari. Decided on a safe choice, TGI Fridays. After dinner walked around Iksparia and then the Ambassador hotel. The rest of the group returned to the room and I paid a visit to the Disneyland Hotel then joined them to call it a night and get unpacked a bit.

Thoughts & Observations
  • Our flight was scheduled to leave LAX just before 10am, which sounds reasonable, but with morning traffic, long term parking, and an international flight it meant leaving the house just after 5am. If you are interesting in airport math that put me to the parking lot just after 6am, at check-in at 6:30, the Sky Club at 7am. No delays of course so had a couple hours to wait before boarding at 9am.

  • This trip we splurged on airline and went business class to try and ease the jetlag since it was a quick trip, Friday to Friday. That meant we were able to take advantage of the Delta One check-in at LAX and the Sky Club. The checkin is great. You sit in a lounge and they do everything and come to talk to you vs you waiting in line. While you wait there are drinks and snacks. Then a different entrance to the TSA checkpoint. In typical LAX fashion we left on time only to drive to the far runway and sit. So we were almost 30 minutes late getting into the air.

  • Delta One/Business Class is nice, but it lags behind other airlines. We had our own lay flat bed and video screen, but everything felt a bit data and not nearly and modern as the Air France flights we took last year. The screen was relatively small and did not have that much freedom of motion. The food selection was odd to. We were served lunch/dinner just after takeoff. So it was before noon California time and 5am in Tokyo. Then just before landing, say around 1pm in Tokyo they served breakfast. The food itself was not to my liking so I basically ate the dinner rolls and ice cream. Then for breakfast the croissant.

  • The flight was uneventful. If you are curious it was just over 11 hours flying time from LAX to Tokyo and the return flight was just over 9 hours. Thanks to favorable winds we arrived a few minutes early even. Flying into Tokyo we were able to see Mt. Fuji as well as the city and a glimpse of Disney.

  • We flew into Haneda airport in Tokyo because the flight times and prices lined up better for us. There were no delays or problems. We touched down around 2:35pm and after taxing, hiking the mile to arrivals, and purchasing a bus ticket we were waiting for the ride to Disney at 3:20pm for the 3:50pm bus. Arrived at the Sheraton, checked in, and stepped foot in our room around 5:20pm. So total travel time was about 19 hours door to door.

  • Opened our bags, surveyed the room, and then headed out for dinner within half an hour since we were all hungry. They upgraded our room to a higher floor than we had reserved. We were on the 7th floor looking toward the parks. Straight out our window was Cinderella Castle and off to the right was DisneySea. Our room was large. It featured 2 double beds and 2 twin beds with space to move around. Overall we liked the Sheraton better than the Hilton. The room seemed cleaner and the staff a little more friendly. The walk was slightly shorter to the Resort Line station. It took literally 2-3 minutes to walk, you just had to cross the street.

  • The Disney Resort Line passes have 5 options currently. Three for the 15th Anniversary and two for Christmas. Monorails featured either a Christmas or DisneySea 15th Anniversary theme to them. The Resort Line features Christmas photo ops at each station and some of the trains feature Santa hats on the hand holds.

  • Since we are not adventurous eaters, we went to a comfort option.. TGI Fridays. All was the same as the last time we were there. One note, there is a Welcome Card available at Ikspiari now. You have to go to the information kiosk on the 2nd floor and show your passport. They will issue you a card. This card is one time use and only good on the day, you can always go back and get more though. The cards are good for discounts throughout. At TGI Fridays it was 10% off the bill. So be sure to look into the card if you are going. Nothing interesting to report on the meal. The service was great and the order was right as expected. One change I noticed is Fridays had Free Wi-Fi available. The only other Wi-Fi outside the hotel that I used was at the JR station.

  • It was a Saturday evening and as expected there were a lot of people moving about Ikspiari. There was a concert going on in the courtyard by the Disney Store. Because of this Santa was not out.

  • After dinner stopped by the Disney Ambassador Hotel to check out their Christmas decorations. In the lobby and restaurant area there are decorations up. Out front of the hotel are quite a few lights set up. Overall the decorations seemed tasteful and fit the theme. Interesting to note no centerpiece tree though.

  • Next up a short monorail ride to the Disneyland Station to visit the Disneyland Hotel. There were some lights up outside and again understated decorations up in the lobby. It worked and looked nice, just no large focus like the resorts in the states do.

    I had great timing and as I reached the steps of the Disneyland Station for the Resort Line the 8:30 fireworks started. So I was able to watch the show then board the monorail to call it a day. I wanted to unpack and rest up as some busy days lie ahead.


Pedometer Stats
Miles



3.2

Steps 8,691
Moderate Steps 4,958
Moderate Steps/Time 45
   

Pictures

Pictures from Day 1 (which really was two days thanks to the time change) covers the journey to Tokyo and then a quick trip to the Disney Ambassador Hotel and Tokyo Disneyland Hotel.



 


 

Related Links From This Trip

2016 Tokyo Disney Trip Summary

Links from today: