Today we are off for Tokyo Disneyland!
It’s a lovely sunrise overlooking the bay out our Disney Celebration Hotel patio. The weather is Goldilocks perfect — not too hot, not too cold — just right. We want to get there early since staying at a Disney hotel offers that perk to bypass the long lines to get in and enjoy 30 minutes of this Magic Kingdom ahead of the crowds.
The shuttle bus takes about 15 minutes to get us to our destination with a first stop at the other Disney park nearby — Disney Sea. We will be spending a day there next week but today it is all about Tokyo Disneyland.
Stepping out of the bus, I am looking for the iconic Cinderella Castle of this park but it’s out of eyesight, we need to figure out where we are going and we don’t know the language. Fortunately the wonderful Disney greeters are there to steer us in the right direction and immediately make us feel welcome. I’ll likely keep coming back to this because the treatment from and interactions with the Disney park greeters and hosts was such a defining characteristic of our memorable experience.
The colossal Tokyo Disneyland Hotel borders our pathway on our right to the outer entrance to the courtyard ahead. The massive, bright golden yellow Disneyland hotel spans out, from what we can tell, in several expansive wings from the main lobby/hub. It is almost like another entire land given its scope.
Soon we arrive at the first of two gateways we go through to enter the park. This one leads to a spacious courtyard where hundreds of guests to our left are already in line waiting a half hour ahead of time to get in early. Another friendly and helpful greeter points the way for us. We happily bypass many more park visitors camped out on the ground to our right as we proceed to the few gates reserved for early opening guests.
Now once we are through the actual ticket gate, immediately we know we have left the real world behind (yes, I know Walt claimed Disneyland actually IS the real world as it could and should be) and entered this all new, yet familiar land of Disney magic, music, and memories.
“Ain’t it a glorious day? Ripe as a morning in May. I feel like I could fly. Have you ever seen the grass so green? Or a bluer sky? Oh it’s a jolly holiday…”
Yes, this is the actual music that greeted us when we passed through the ticket gate into the smaller, interior courtyard. It couldn’t have been more fitting. A glorious day, beautiful green grass, deep blue sky. What a beautiful morning!
The courtyard feeds into a passageway that opens up into Tokyo Disneyland’s version of Main Street, U.S.A. It is called the World Bazaar. Oh for the time to peruse through these happy stores but we have only one day and three children in tow whose only interest is getting to the rides. But for us adults, even strolling through this marketplace is like a good morning kiss of Disney magic with the magnificent Cinderella Castle artistically framed just ahead in its archway.
Down to business. Where’s our first stop? Turns out the most popular — and among the newest — attractions in the park is the Enchanted Tale of Beauty and the Beast. We will head there to beat the crowd since this attraction can command as much as a two-hour wait later in the day. We will skirt right from the World Bazaar — ah wait! There is the iconic, familiar statue of Walt and Mickey together with the castle in the background. Now we have to stop for photos here!
Now it is off to the Beauty and and Beast attraction by way of Tomorrowland. Here’s our route…
Oh, the fun things to see along the way! There’s Star Tours. Up ahead can’t miss Space Mountain. Oh, a Monsters, Inc. ride over to our right! That’s new. So much to see but have to keep moving. The kids see the new Baymax ride to our left — we definitely will have to do that.
But now we are at the Beauty and the Beast attraction and there is NO LINE!! Oh… because it doesn’t open for another half hour.
So reverse course and we’ll start the day with Baymax after all. The day and the Disney fun is about to begin!
(Next story: Our Toyko Disneyland morning rides, attractions and highlights)…