Tokyo Disneyland


With an upcoming birthday and the impending farewell to Tokyo, I decided to treat myself to a lavish two-day escapade at Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea.

– After crafting that opening sentence above, I must admit, I find myself at a bit of a crossroads. Should I delve into crafting a guide for Disneyland? Share my emotional journey? Or maybe regale you with the comical exploits of a timid soul who wouldn’t even brave a ride on a pirate ship in the theme park?

There’s probably an abundance of guides online, and given the frequent changes in rules, by the time you stumble upon this piece, they might be outdated, right?

In my little corner of the internet, I’ve opted for a more laid-back approach, offering a casual account of my adventure.

Fear of the Pirate Ship

It wasn’t until my mid-twenties that I gradually cultivated the confidence to say, “I just don’t want to do this.” In my early teens, I cared a lot about saving face, so I braved everything—free fall rides, pirate ships, Space Mountain, you name it.

During my first visit to Tokyo Disneyland, thanks to a friend who was a Disneyland expert, the schedule went exceptionally smoothly. Because of this, I remember getting on every available ride. I thought, “I’ve worked so hard to get these “priority passes”, not using them would be a waste.” So, I bravely hopped on everything, and the memories are still delightful.

note: In the past, around three to five years ago, the process was quite different. You had to physically go to each ride, scan the QR code on the hardcopy ticket, and then exchange it for the “priority pass.” Nowadays, thanks to technological advancements, everything can be seamlessly handled through a mobile app without the need to visit each ride in person.

Strictly speaking, I did dare to ride, but it was only after a few rounds that I realized how much I despised the sensation of weightlessness. After one particular ride on the pirate ship, I silently declared that no matter the threat or temptation, I would never board that ship again. It was only later that I discovered the feeling of weightlessness I often described as my heart dropping was actually the sensation of my stomach and intestines floating in the air. I wondered if eating a bit more before boarding would make it more bearable?

The mechanism of going to Disneyland in person to swipe the ticket card and obtain fast passes has been abolished. This spared us from walking an extra ten thousand steps. While it’s convenient to draw fast passes on the mobile, it’s also too easily obtained, making it less cherished.

When it came time for the second round of drawing what they called the “40th-anniversary Priority Pass,” I was momentarily lost in thought and ended up with a pass for Space Mountain—I had no idea what else I could have drawn.

Space Mountain

Space Mountain was the amusement ride that lingered most in my childhood memories, but I’m not referring to the one at Disneyland; it’s the one at Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village in Taiwan. I used to tell people that among all amusement rides, the pinnacle of excitement for me was Space Mountain.

However, after many years, all I could recall was that Space Mountain was a high-speed indoor roller coaster with the pitch-black surroundings illuminated by cosmic galaxy lights. It was fast, and with eyes closed, it was over in a flash. Now, at this point, I should be sharing my thoughts on this recent experience, but the truth is, as the time for the Priority Pass VIP access approached, I found myself opening a browser and searching:

“Is Space Mountain scary?”

Almost for all the most popular rides, the most frequently searched keyword is not “Is it fun?” but rather “Is it scary?” Clearly, everyone wants to know whether to make a quick escape when a friend suggests, “Let’s get on this ride!” As someone who once watched the opening video in the famous Disneyland ride - Tower of Terror Elevator Drop and still made a last-minute escape, I would say it’s wiser to abandon ship before entering the queue area, because you’ll preserve more cells that way.

According to Philip, Space Mountain is just fast, with no significant drops causing a feeling of weightlessness. Yet, despite this information, I had no regrets about bypassing this ride.

Based on my reading of numerous online information, if you’re afraid of getting dizzy, fear high speeds, or are scared of the dark, it might be wise to reconsider. Even if you venture into the queue, there are three exits inside for a quick escape.

Space Mountain with lights on:

Big Thunder Mountain

In the same article comparing the scariness of Disneyland rides, someone mentioned that Big Thunder Mountain is outdoors, and even five-year-old kids enjoy it. Since I had abandoned Space Mountain, I thought I should at least experience one amusement ride. Money isn’t easy to come by, and was I really just here to stroll around?

A strange sense of mission led me to draw a ticket for Big Thunder Mountain, and I actually snagged the time slot of 20:20-21:00 just before the park closed. From the afternoon when I drew the ticket, my mind became restless, thinking about heading to Big Thunder Mountain later. My stomach began to ache, and I watched the evening parade absentmindedly.

The benefits of the Priority Pass, coupled with the fact that if I were to endure a 120-minute wait, it meant facing the soul-searching question of “to ride or not to ride” repeatedly.

By 20:29, the queue had already stopped moving. Passing through the winding line both indoors and outdoors, I reached the entrance before even settling into the seat.

My stomach didn’t drop, and the worst didn’t happen. The vehicle darted through the darkness, entered a cave, then emerged again. As we raced toward the peak, fireworks burst in the sky, seemingly synchronized with meticulously adjusted timing and sound effects.

It wasn’t until the next moment, being swiftly pulled back into the darkness, that I realized—yes, Disneyland always has fireworks at 8:30 PM. Amidst my apprehensions about Big Thunder Mountain, I was too preoccupied to think about the fireworks show.

When leaving the park, the internet finally connected. I received several messages waiting for me, revealing the starting point of the next chapter.

Everyone says Disneyland is where dreams come true, and these ordinary daily moments miraculously began to approach me once again.

Hard to compare Utrecht centraal and Disney Sea:

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