Twice charmed: Return to DisneySea

Twice charmed: Return to DisneySea
Twice charmed: Return to DisneySea

My sister adores classic Disney even more than I do, which propelled the Tokyo theme parks to the top of our sightseeing wishlist. Expecting massive crowds for the national holidays later in the week, we arranged tickets for Monday and Tuesday — including a stay at the exquisite, art nouveau style Disneyland Hotel.

As I enthused extensively about DisneySea last year, I’ll recap only briefly before focusing on our maiden voyage to DisneyLand: a vintage park celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. The first morning of our adventure, we rose early to savor a surprisingly gourmet buffet — never before has a breakfast menu offered me sashimi! We splurged on a taxi to the park, where the staff conducted us through the well-oiled machinery of depositing luggage and purchasing passes.

Emerging at last into the Renaissance harbor that so beguiled me, my sister and I plunged into the park’s kaleidoscope of imagined worlds.

Jules Verne, the Little Mermaid, even Agrabah … every time my ear caught the melody of a childhood favorite, a grin would follow. Stephanie gave me more reason to smile: she amended my typically ascetic approach by insisting on sampling the snack vendors’ wares. This innovation won me over immediately when we discovered that our cache of alien green “dumplings” concealed neapolitan mochi creams.

To our delight, DisneySea had reinstated its spectaculac night shows. Floats — literal floats — bearing sparklers, screens, and dancers spun around the harbor, melding clips from classics like Aladdin and the Little Mermaid with the new vanguard: Coco, Moana, and (inevitably) Frozen. We longed for binoculars as the actors waved from their waterborne stages.

We whiled away the final forty minutes with a stroll to the American waterfront, discovering a Cape Cod lighthouse perched not far from Nemo’s futuristic haunt (the clownfish, not the captain). At last, my sister and I retired with bated breath to our dearly bought abode for the evening: a bedroom decorated for Belle and her Beast.

It did not disappoint.

Stay tuned for DisneyLand…

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