I’m not a huge fan of Disney. As an American who grew up in the 80’s and 90’s, I was basically taught that Disney is supremely ‘uncool’ after the age of 14. I’ll stand by that statement until the end, although I do really love *actual* fairy tales and the original stories that Disney went and Disney-fied for American audiences. I LOVE the original Hans Christian Andersen story of the Little Mermaid.
That being said, when in Rome. I’m living in a country that makes my stepsister’s love of Disney look almost amateur. These people buy season passes just so they can go shopping once each season and buy the new merch that is released. Like Disney clothing. I’m pretty sure they basically ONLY wear that clothing when they go BACK to Disney, but whatever.
We went to Tokyo Disneyland last year (and brought children), and we went to Tokyo DisneySea this year (also brought children). It’s hard for us to fathom actually going in by ourselves.
When you ask adults who like Disney which park they prefer, the men will say ‘DisneySea, because it has alcohol’. I’m not even joking, this, apparently, is the only difference between them, if you’re not a huge fan. I guess.
Regular Tokyo Disney is a LOT like the originals in LA and Florida. Like, it was scary how similar the layout and design was, right down to the rides.
DisneySea, however, is different. Named for the fact that it is ‘sea themed’ and happens to have a body of water in the center, this one is actually, I thought, a lot nicer. But that might have been because of what was there. Not because of the beer, which I didn’t drink, by the way.
They have an entire section devoted to Ariel and the Little Mermaid, and if I were a child, I’d probably want to spend all of my time there. It’s almost completely indoors with a soft floor and tons of rides and places for children to just run around and play. It’s wonderful.
Although we went on a weekday afternoon, the place was kind of crowded. It was crowded, but actually pretty quiet. Regular Tokyo Disney is like a torrent of people and sounds, like a carnival. DisneySea is like the relaxed older sister. But as we were walking around, I realized what the difference was: the average age of the guests at the park was probably 25-30. It was quiet because it was adults roaming around the park, waiting quietly in line, and taking pictures. There were definitely a ton of kids there, but there wasn’t a lot of the screaming we’re used to. Interesting.
And in every part of the park, a different flavor of popcorn. In the Aladdin section, for instance, it was curry-flavored.
We didn’t try it.
Although we knew we were going to Disney, and they can generally make some kind of exception on their food for anyone with a food allergy, we never had to ask. Our friend found and made a reservation at the one restaurant that offered more than one vegetarian option (it was Italian, of course) and then we had pizza at another stand for dinner.
We actually survived the day and were never hungry, since there was always something to eat or snack on.
This feels really odd to say, but I actually liked it there. They had an American steamboat section, a Venetian canal and gondola section, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, and of course, the Tower of Terror. I seem to remember THAT ride being at normal Disney World, but maybe they moved it over, since Tokyo Disney really doesn’t have ‘scary rides’.
Obviously, I trust the man with my life, and he always makes decisions with me in mind first. I know he’ll always be there to support me, and he usually feels the same as me when it comes to most things. But I was being a real baby about the rides.
Ever since I got sick at the end of 2013 while we were living in England, I’ve had a fear of falling, or losing my balance. I know why it happened, and what it did has been really damaging: my balance is bad now, and it’s hard to gain it back, since it means pushing myself to deal with that fear. It’s coming back slowly. Slowly.
I used to LOVE roller-coasters. I used to LOVE going on the scary rides. But since that sickness, going on them has been too much for me. It made me feel ill, and I just didn’t want to deal with it.
So at the park, Mark got me to partially agree to maybe go on the Tower of Terror, even though this was a ride that even at the age of 16, I wouldn’t go near. Inside, I knew it was time to get over this fear and get on with my life, but I was afraid of that feeling.
Before I loved roller-coasters, I was deathly afraid of them. I have an over-active imagination, to put it nicely, and I had constant images in my head of THIS TIME being the time that the roller coaster went off the tracks, or crashed into another car on the track, etc. At least once a day, the thought of someone close to me dying pops into my head.
And here I was, considering going on the Tower of Terror. If this was the day it broke down, it would be a shit way to die. And I was afraid of the feeling. This was literally what I’d been feeling while I was sick: like there wasn’t a floor below me, and I’d fall at any moment. And here’s a ride dedicated to that.
After much convincing, Mark got me to go on the ride. I was terrified, even though I knew, as he rightly pointed out, that this was effing DISNEY, and nothing has ever happened on one of their rides. Today wasn’t going to be the day. I knew it, I understood it, but I was still afraid. And that first part, where you get up to the top and they open the windows so you can see just how high above the park you are, that was a heart attack.
And then it was fine. And then after that, we went on the Indiana Jones ride. And it was fine. And the Storm Cruiser ride. All fine.
It. Was all. Fine.
Of course it was. And now I feel better. And I know that Mark would never take me into something dangerous, and that we were at a Disney resort, for fuck’s sake. What in the world was ever going to happen to me there?
This doesn’t mean I’ll be going on any inverted roller-coasters anytime in the near future, but I might consider some other rides next time. Baby steps.