When I was five years old, I had a birthday party at a kiddie’s theme park called King Cake. And when I was five years old, it felt like the most real thing in the world – the mixture of imagination and child-like wonder made me feel like I had truly entered a different world. But as I grew into my preteens and teens, I started noticing the cracks behind these places – I realized that they were obviously fake and that all the magic had disappeared completely from them. So I must admit that I was worried about going to my first Disney themed park – Disney Sea…
Now many of you may be asking “What the hell is Disney Sea?!” Well, the Japanese love Disney so much that instead of creating just one Disney theme park (Tokyo Disneyland), they also created Disney Sea – a park that highlights some more nautical themes. They have a mermaid lagoon, a 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea submarine, plenty of port-like towns, and a giant steamboat where adults can do some drinkin’. (That’s right, a Disney theme park that does allow alcohol).
I had heard many great things about Disney Sea, so I put aside my skepticism and decided to go there on a particularly blustery April holiday (at the least I could do some drinking if I were disappointed with any obvious kitschiness and fakeness). But I gotta admit, my fears were completely unfounded. The whole point of Tokyo Disney Resort is to transport you to a magical dreamland where you can completely escape all the reminders of the outside world and get lost in the magic that is Disney. And that is exactly what Disney Sea does: it honestly feels like you have left Tokyo behind and entered another world in another time.
Now one thing is for certain, I love Disney movies as much as the next guy, but I was also worried that there would be ‘too much’ Disney in Disney Sea and that this would be shoved in my face every five minutes. However, once again, my fears were completely unfounded: Disney Sea itself has many different areas for you to visit, but each of them are cleverly disguised as actual, fully-functioning towns or cities – in fact, it was the amazing attention to detail that surprised me and delighted me the most. To tell the truth, Disney Sea is so well built that you would be hard pressed to find the hidden doorways and fake plastic trickery that is so obvious in many other theme parks.
The park itself is fantastically large with areas ranging from
- The Mediterranean Harbor (for shops and souvenirs)
- The American Waterfront (for that 19th century feel)
- The Mermaid Lagoon (inspired by The Little Mermaid)
- The Port Discovery (a quaint little Steampunk area)
- The Lost Delta (for some Indiana Jones explorin’)
- The Mysterious Island (the scene of 20,000 Leagues)
- The Arabian Coast (for a hint of Aladdin)
Each area has its own unique attractions and there is so much to do that it feels like you’re a kid in a candy store: so overwhelmed by all the choices, yet aware that you have only limited options. Indeed, I reckon that if you really want to experience everything that Disney Sea has to offer, you’d better visit at least two or three times.
But let’s talk about the main attraction at any theme park – the rides. Now I’m not a big fan of roller coasters. In fact, if you have ever seen me at a theme park, you’ve probably see me wet my pants on more than one occasion. But luckily for me, there are only three rides that will genuinely cause anyone’s heartbeats to rise:
1. The Tower of Terror
To me, this was the scariest ride I’ve ever been on…. It’s just a regular run-of-the-mill free fall ride, however, I have never been on a free fall ride before, and was thus horrified to discover that my stomach did not agree with this ride. Luckily no chunks were blown, however, the feeling of falling and not knowing when you’re going to stop is simply terrifying
2. The Journey to the Center of the Earth
This was only the second scariest ride for me and definitely the most fun. The ride is a high-speed roller coaster located in the heart of the volcano on The Mysterious Island. The ride starts off pleasant enough with a relaxing tour and beautifully life-like animatronics. But then the shit hits the fan. The roller coaster speeds up and sends you on a terrifying thrill ride that will test your vocal cords and make your head spin.
3. Indiana Jones
Indiana Jones isn’t particularly terrifying, but there certainly are some terrifying twists and turns. I won’t spoil it for you all, but basically, you ride in a self-driving jeep that bounces and screeches its way through an Indiana Jones themed maze that will give you plenty of surprises.
I must admit that I was proud of myself for braving these scary rides. Mainly because I decided that this time I would take the advice of my grandmother: 1) just force yourself to get on the ride (once you’re on, you can’t turn back), and 2) scream like hell to forget your fear.
Of course there are plenty of other rides and attractions for you to spend your time on. However, because it can get easily crowded at this popular destination, it’s always a good idea to arrive at Disney Sea early in the morning and get as many fast pass tickets as possible (with no extra charge) so that you can enjoy as many of the rides as possible without standing in long queues.