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May 15, 2023 - Day 4:

Woke up again before 5am and checked the weather.  The percent chance of heavy rain had gone away and it said off and on showers throughout the day.  We concluded this was worth moving our park reservations back to today (from Friday) and venturing out.   At 7am headed down to the lounge for breakfast and then back to the room to prepare for the day.  Left for Disneyland just a bit before 8:30am.  Took the bus over to the Resort Line and a Monorail to the Disneyland Station.  They had already started letting guests in so a minimal wait at security and no wait to enter the park.   We strolled up World Bazaar and out to Beauty and Beast.  The posted wait had not popped up on the app yet as it was only a few minutes after 9 (park opening).  Since this was our primary objective for the day we bit the bullet and waited in line.  Posted wait was 100-110 minutes.  We waited 90.  Next up tried my luck at the lottery for two of the shows and failed on both counts.  We wandered through Fantasyland and into Frontierland.  Continued to Adventureland and went for a ride on the train.  Once back at the station finished our loop by returning to World Bazaar.  Stopped to get a waffle then listen to the Tokyo Disneyland Band.  Spent some time in the shops and ended up grabbing some food at Pan Galactic Pizza Port.  After eating walked through some more shops before making our way through Fantasyland again and out to Froniterland.  Found a quiet spot to rest for a few minutes then watched the Harmony in Color parade.  After the parade walked quickly through Fantasyland and out to Toontown to catch an encore of the finale groups.  Walked back to Fantasyland and found the rest of my group.  It started to rain so we hung out in World Bazaar for a while and caught the band again.   Decided to stop by Tomorrowland Terrace for a bite to eat (the others went back to the room for a few hours).  Then walked through Fantasyland to check the queues.  Doubled back to Adventureland and walked onto Pirates followed by Haunted Mansion before returning to Toontown to take a look around now that the rain had let up.   The rest of my group returned and we all went for a cruise on it’s a small world then visited the Country Bears as the rain started again.   The rain was still falling as we exited the show.  Dreamlights was cancelled and Nightfall Glow was about to begin so found a spot to see the parade.  Then ventured out to Enchanted Tale of Beauty and the Beast.  It was posted at 50 but was moving so got in line. Turned out to be only 25.   It was even shorter once I exited so I immediately got bac in line, this time only 5 minutes.   By the time I exited the park was closed so walked by Cinderella Castle then headed for the Resort Line back to Bayside Station.  Opted to walk back to the Hilton to wrap up my day. 

Thoughts & Observations
  • The weather forecast for today was iffy.  Originally it showed rain most of the day which caused us to move our planned Disneyland day to Friday since we wanted to see the new parade and that required no rain.  As the day progressed yesterday the forecast for today shifted and the rain percentages dropped.  When I woke up this morning checked again and it showed the weather being even more favorable.  We made the decision to take a chance on the weather and head to the park today.
  • Moving the park reservation back to today from Friday was the same process and meant another round of charges and refunds on the credit card.  The process was number of clicks but worked.   Also interesting to note I noticed Friday was now showing as limited park tickets if you wanted to move to it but all were available for purchase still.
  • I was up way too early again, but at least that meant plenty of time to make a decision on the weather and move the park tickets before breakfast.
  • Breakfast was identical to the previous days. The Lounge was quiet and food selection the same.
  • We left for the park around 8:30am, about 30 minutes before park opening.   When we arrived we found a minimal security line and no line to enter the park.  They had opened the gates before we arrived.  We encountered no problem with our digital ticket. I ended up using screen shots of the tickets because the Tokyo Disney Resort app opens so slowly.
  • Since my last visit to Tokyo four new attractions opened at Tokyo Disneyland. The Enchanted Tale of Beauty and the Beast, The Happy Ride with Baymax and Minnie’s Style Studio and the Fantasyland Forest Theater featuring Mickey’s Magical Music World.   #1 on my list was to visit the Beauty and the Beast attraction and see how it was compared to the hype.
  • Since we were behind the initial rush of park guests queues had already formed and were growing.   The park had not officially opened yet so there were no wait times posted but we could see queues forming already.  My primary objective was to experience the new Beauty and the Beast attraction so we got in line and decided to wait it out.   The queue was stretching back toward the central plaza but this seemed more to do with them slowly filling the extended queue than the length of the wait.   I made the decision I was going to wait and not pay for the premiere access so I settled in.  Once the park opened the wait time popped up at 100 then 110 minutes.  The extended queue filled up and we wrapped around outside the castle gates several times.  The queue moved along in spurts.      In the end it took us about 90 minutes to reach the preshow.  I did not think this was horrible for not being there at park opening.  I rationalized it I could have saved myself a half hour or so but I would have had to be at the park 45-60 minutes earlier so it would have been a wash. 
  • The exterior of the attraction is the Beast’s Castle and grounds.  The castle itself is impressive in size and detail.  The castle stands nearly 100 feet tall, making it taller than Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland to give you a sense of scale.  The grounds of the castle feature water features and trees plus fog/mist.   It really sets the scene for the attraction.
  • You eventually snake your way into the castle forecourt then castle itself.  Once inside the stand by queue goes through several rooms where you see some of the characters and get immersed into the story.   The level of detail of these queue rooms is great and among the best Disney has done.  
  • The merge point with the premiere access is a larger waiting room with two sets of doors leading to a preshow.   The preshow features a well done projection effect of stain glass windows telling the story of Beauty and the Beast and then Belle and Beast appear on opposite balconies.  The two figures are well done and work.  The preshow itself is a tad on the dark side and 100% in Japanese.  If you know the story of the film you can tell what is going on but it would have been nice to have had a translation/captioning option, on the flip side that would have distracted from the show so it is a tough call.
  • You then proceed toward the kitchen with another queue area and a couple of scenes to occupy you while you wait.  You reach the large load area which has six stations, two sets of three.  Each ride vehicle holds 10 guests seating 4 in the front and 6 in the back.  You are assigned a row/seat, board, and buckle in.  Then you are off.  The vehicle are trackless and travel in a large group with all six dispatched at the same time.  You move through each scene as a large group and during the scene the tea cups spin and rotate around the room.  The amount of movement of the cups is much more than I had thought. There is constant motion. Your tea cup is spinning, rocking and moving around the scenes.    This was a very different use of the trackless ride system than the others I had experienced.  The others were much more linear in motion.  The closest to this would be the one scene in Pooh’s Hunny Hunt or the initial dispatch in Rise of the Resistance where you cross paths with other vehicles.    I thought this concept of having all vehicles move around the scene to extend the time in each scene was interesting and worked.   The attraction has four primary scenes, Be Our Guest, Something There, Transformation, and the Ballroom.    The dialog and vocals are all in Japanese, but since we all know the music and story you can do the translation and have no problem enjoying the attraction.
  • The Enchanted Tale of Beauty and the Beast lived up to the hype for us.  The level of detail, unique ride experience and incredible figures and effects were all top notch and what you would expect from Disney and Tokyo Disney in particular.   You walked away wanting to ride again to see more.
  • The downside to waiting so long for Beauty and the Beast was I missed the opportunity to go to either of shows via standby so I was reliant on trying the Entry Request system, which is the new name for the lottery for a ticket.  I crossed my fingers and clicked for the Entry Request and failed to secure seats for either Club Mouse Beat or Mickey’s Magical Music World.  The new system is 100% on the app.
  • Speaking of the app a couple of notes about Tokyo Disney Resort. First up the app itself loads rather slowly on all devices from what I saw.  I was watching others and they seemed to be having the same experience.   The app is similar to the domestic parks in that it has your tickets, wait times, show times, etc..   Tokyo does not post atmosphere entertainment listings so that info is not available.   Also interesting to note if you have a group you can create the group and add/assign tickets through the app, but its done on a day by day basis.  We bought 4 days of tickets and that meant four transactions to purchase and four sets of invites to get the group set up so everyone had access on their phones.    The only wi-fi available at the parks is at the entrance and that is limited to 15 minutes per session (there is no session number limit).  So if you do not have an international data plan or some other device your only option is to go to the front of the park.   My understanding is cast members at guest relations can do the early entry request, etc.. if you do not have a working cell phone/app access.
  • I spent some time walking through Belle’s Village area and I found this to be a nice improvement compared to the Walt Disney World version.  Everything is larger and more detailed.  I did find it a tad awkward how the Fantasyland expansion is. It is basically sandwiched in between Toontown and Tomorrowland. It is connected to the rest of Fantasyland by a walkway but it feels disjointed.  Also it has quite a different feel than the rest of Fantasyland which is still in an original form and not immersive at all where as this new section is highly detailed and strives for immersion.  
  • Wait times were fairly long for our patience by the time we exited Beauty and the Beast so instead spent some time roaming the park.  We did see an opportunity to ride the Western River Railroad. It turned out to be only a one train wait.  The railroad in Tokyo is a unique experience.  Boarding is in Adventureland the route circles Adventureland, Westernland, and Critter Country.  You travel through the Jungle, then around the Rivers of America, by Splash Mountain, over trestles in Westernland then through Primeval World of the Dinosaurs before returning to Adventureland. 
  • Decided to grab a waffle for a snack since the line was a moderate length.  The selection/choices were limited to a single waffle/topping combo.  The waffle was fresh, hot and hit the spot.  For lunch we ate the Pan Galactic Pizza Port.  Tokyo has not embraced mobile order but did install kiosks here so you can self order.  The process worked well and moved faster than the one register line there was.
  • Caught a performance by the Disneyland Band.  It still annoys me that they do not have times listed for them so if you are not lucky or patient you miss them.  Over the course of my visits I did catch them a number of times which was great. 
  • For the 40th Anniversary a new parade, Disney Harmony in Color, debuted in April.  The parade currently runs daily at 2pm.   Guests line up early and fill the parade route in Tokyo.   We saw guests claiming spots just after park opening for the 2pm parade. They will sit there through all weather waiting too.   A large portion of the parade viewing is designated as seating space.  In Westernland the first dozen or more rows were all seated with standing behind. This worked out great for impatient and taller folks like myself. I was able to show up closer to parade time and stand with a great view.
  • Disney Harmony in Color is another great parade.  It features a high energy theme and large number of performers and characters throughout.  Not sure where I would rank it compared to the previous Happiness is Here and Dreaming Up parades in Tokyo.  It is in the top tier of Disney Parades world wide. 
  • Throughout the day there were periods of rain and drizzle but nothing like we experienced on previous trips luckily.   It would come and go and was enough to be annoying but not enough to completely stop you or make you want to leave.  The rain did help with the wait times and we were able to visit a number of classic attractions throughout the afternoon with no substantial wait including Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion, and it’s a small world. 
  • Spent some time in Toontown and thought the sightlines were interesting there.  You could see some of the Fantasy Springs construction behind the hills and right next door is the Fantasyland expansion.  
  • Paid a visit to the Country Bears. Its great to see the full show again, even if a large portion was in Japanese. 
  • The rain continued to fall into the evening and the Electrical Parade Dreamlights was cancelled.  This meant a viewing of Nightfall Glow instead.  I think it is great Tokyo has a backup option of a few floats and characters so guests get to see something in bad weather.
  • After Nightfall Glow I decided to head out to Beauty and the Beast again. The posted wait time had fallen to 50 minutes so I thought that would be a good way to end the evening.  Turned out there were not many returning premiere access guests and that wait time was really inflated. It took only 25 minutes.  As I exited the posted wait time had fallen to 25 minutes but looked even shorter so I jumped in line again and was able to basically walk on, it took about 5 minutes only.  Unfortunately by the time I exited it was past 9pm and the attraction was now closed.  It was great to get a couple rides in with minimal waits.
  • Throughout the day I kept an eye on the Happy Ride with Baymax wait time and even in the pouring rain it was over an hour, it did dip at the end of the day but I opted to invest my time in a couple more times through Beauty and the Beast instead..  I just could  not bring myself to spend that long waiting for that type of attraction so I failed to experience it today and hoped I would have better luck on a later day.  I did walk by several times and the scene was extremely high energy with the cast as well as a number of guests in the queue all dancing along to the various songs of the attraction. It was a much more festive and engaging atmosphere than any of the other versions of the spinner I have experienced. I have ridden Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree at Disney California Adventure, Woody’s Roundup in Shanghai and the Alien Swirling Saucers at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
  • Another note as I walked around the park the number of attractions closed for renovation and other dining locations/things that have not reopened from covid seemed rather high.  During my visit Space Mountain, Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters, Mark Twain Riverboat, Swiss Family Treehouse and Dumbo were all closed.  There were over a dozen food locations and shopping locations closed as well as some guest service locations including the wait time board. 

Pedometer Stats
Miles 9.07
Steps 19,824
Minutes Walking 213

Day1 Part I: Morning Views & Arrival at Tokyo Disneyland

Morning view from our room of Tokyo Disney Resort, a visit to the Hilton Executive Lounge and arrival at Tokyo Disneyland .
Day1 Part II: Enchanted Tale of Beauty and the Beast

My first visit to the Enchanted Tale of Beauty and the Beast attraction at Tokyo Disneyland sharing some of the views from the queue, preshow and attraction itself.
Day1 Part III: Morning & Early Afternoon @ Tokyo Disneyland

The rest of my morning and early afternoon roaming around Tokyo Disneyland including a ride on the Western River Railroad and visits to Tomorrowland, World Bazaar, Fantasyland, Westernland and Adventureland.
Day 4 - Part 4 Part IV: Disney Harmony in Color Parade

The Disney Harmony in Color Parade started with the 40th Anniversary Dream-Go-Round celebration last month.
Day 4 - Part 4 Part V: Afternoon & Evening @ Tokyo Disneyland

A moist afternoon and evening at the park. I roam the park and visit several classic attractions as I try to stay out of the worst of the weather including Pirates, Haunted Mansion, it's a small world & Country Bears. Plus a visit to Toontown.
Day 4 - Part 4 Part VI: Nightfall Glow and Enchanted Tale of Beauty and the Beast

Closed out my day at Tokyo Disneyland with Nightfall Glow then back to back visits to the Enchanted Tale of Beauty and the Beast.
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2023 Tokyo Disney Trip Summary

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