Thursday, 5 January 2012

Louise & Rob: Day Seven

We both wake up really excited this morning – we’re going to Disneyland! It’s been a dream of Louise’s to go for a long time, so she’s making herself dizzy with anticipation. We decide to eat breakfast and calm ourselves down with a quick play on Animal Crossing. We set off for the train station and take the Chuo line to Tokyo Station where we’ll catch our connecting train to Maihama. We take escalator after escalator following the Japanese rule of keeping to your own side, before realising how far we’ve gone down. Louise has a headache so we duck into a chemist and spend a while pointing at our heads and trying to master the Japanese words for my head hurts. Zutsu desu!

On the train we meet a fellow Brit who tells us about a Moomin Cafe in Koraku-en. Louise almost explodes with excitement – high tea with Moominmama sounds like a great way to pass the time!

When we arrive at Disneyland we cross a huge bridge, of which each of the knobs are a Disney character. It already feels quite magical. It’s October so the park is all decked out in Halloween splendour – Halloween is huge business in Japan it seems, with shops and buildings covered in spider garlands and pumpkin-related stuff. It’s also the park’s 25th birthday, so there are lots of Halloween-coloured 25s everywhere.

On our way in we notice fancy headgear on pretty much everyone we pass, Tiggers, Pirates and Stitches – oh my! It would be rude not to join in, so we head to the conveniently placed shop and Louise picks a Stitch hat, while Rob rejects the Cheshire Cat and Tigger before settling on a pirate bandana (but not before Louise snaps an incriminating picture!)

Rob tries to tear Louise away from the shop, but she manages to buy Stitch chopsticks before leaving. We’re so excited to be here that we wander around in awe for a while, viewing Cinderella’s castle, a collage made entirely out of thousands of smiles, and a peaceful corner where Snow White was hiding out by a waterfall, singing.

We join the queue for a Nightmare Before Christmas haunted mansion ride, just as it starts to rain – great big fat rain. We shelter under Louise’s umbrella and wait with anticipation...

After 40 minutes of non-stop queuing – Louise’s feet are hurting and Rob keeps saying “we’re almost there, I can see it! Oh wait, there’s another bend....”

After an hour and 15 minutes of queuing we’re mildly entertained by a parade, glowing lights and Daisy Duck in a raincoat.

After an hour and 40 minutes of queuing we finally pass our final pumpkin spiral and get to the front – whey!

The ride itself turns out, amazingly, to be more than worth the wait! We start out in a big, dark, scary room packed with people, where we are treated to Nightmare Before Christmas clips, before we move on to the ride proper – in creepy carriages flanked with giant claws, which take us past re-enacted scenes from the film, before we see a room of ghosts. Not your average sheets-on-robots ghosts – no, not here. These are actual, proper ghosts! Well, they seem like it: spectral, translucent figures drifting through a haunted ballroom with no strings, wires or video screens to be seen. Amazing,

Upon exiting the ride, we see the rain’s not eased up. We buy some disposable raincoats, which have to be among the least comfortable (and tiny) clothes in the world. They’re soon ditched in favour of Rob’s hoodie and Stitch’s waterproof properties.

We go and buy tortilla hotdogs, oolong tea and churro – all that queuing’s hungry work! We shelter in a tunnel lined with shops and huddled masses while we finish our meal, and go on our way.

Next stop – Splash Mountain! Well, it’s not like it can make us any wetter than we already are... What’s a nice fun ride for most children is actually a white-knuckle affair for Rob, so he’s apprehensive – but Louise convinces him, and he faces his fears... We’re once again fooled by the bendy queue (We’re nearly there! Oh no, there’s another bit...), and we’re once again in for a very long wait – but once again it’s worth it, and Splash Mountain lives up to all expectations! As always with these things, Rob spends the whole time terrified and clutching the safety bar, while Louise is unfazed and enjoys the whole thing – and yet somehow the photo at the end shows a cool-as-a-cucumber Rob and a scaredy-cat Louise. Just like always...

We head to Western Land, where we demonstrate our shooting skills. Rob gets 9/10 and can’t believe he missed one... Consarn it pardner!

We set a course for the illuminated Disney Castle, like moths to a giant, castle-shaped light, where we take the obligatory peace-sign pictures.

Hello Adventure Land! We queue for a River Cruise, and feel pleased when we’re on the ride in under half an hour! The cruise is great fun despite being narrated in Japanese, the hammy tour guide makes up for it with amazing facial expressions, gunfire and intermittent WAH!s

We head back to cafe where we saw a pumpkin-themed menu, but surprise surprise – there’s a mahoosive queue. We shun the queue and head over to Captain Hooks for a giant wedge of pizza and honey dessert.

We wander around, not wanting the day to end quite yet, and visit Pooh’s house, before buying a huge tub of chocolate popcorn – yummy!

As the rain is getting heavier yet, and Louise’s shoes have started to leak we decide to leave, but just as we are we spot a huge illuminated parade, all decked out in cute crayon-coloured macs and umbrellas.

After the parade we leave via the shops, where Louise picks up some dry socks (Stitch of course...), a couple of drinks glasses (guess who...) and a few other bits and pieces, prompting the sales girl to shout “Stitch!, you like Stitch!”

Louise’s secret is out! After a quick mop up and a change of shoes, we take the train back to Shinjuku, and curl up in the hotel with a few beers and munched on chocolate popcorn. 


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