Magic kingdom: Tokyo DisneySea

Magic kingdom: Tokyo DisneySea

After ten days of wrestling with ticket vendors — online, over the phone, via app, at the train station, in merchandise stores, even at the convenience stores where Japan typically buys its event tickets — I gambled a last-ditch effort on asking at the park gate.

Though every other employee swore they would deny me same-day entrance (COVID regulations, naturally), when I presented my sob story in person, sanity prevailed. The beneficent attendants conducted me at once to a backstage office, where a smiling lady issued my ticket to the world of Disney.

Minutes after entering the park, I realized Disney deserves every accolade its global reputation has ever won it. The two other amusement parks I visited earlier this week couldn’t touch it — the exquisite detail, the atmosphere of contentment, the unfolding conviction that a twelve hour day there would hardly suffice.

Though I opted for DisneySea only because DisneyLand had sold out of full day passes, the park redeemed itself immediately by exhibiting both of my childhood favorites: The Little Mermaid and Aladdin.

The lavish shows that normally attract guests still languished under suspended operations, but it couldn’t escape my notice that the creators had conceived of the entire park as a stage. A wide waterway linked the park’s many districts, each unfolding the marine interpretation with increasing creativity.

Late in the afternoon I paused long enough to treat myself to an elaborate lunch/dinner at Magellan. The set menu earned its hefty price tag with ravishing flavors on every plate.

As I wandered through the park in quest of last minute rides, lost in admiration for the night lighting, I decided it reminded me most of stepping into a life-size dollhouse — the magnificent kind, where realism mingles with perfect fantasy to startle the senses and enchant the imagination.

Disney provided the perfect finale to a wonderful week in Japan’s capital — all the more precious because it left me guessing until the last moment.

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