Tag Archives: Tower of Terror

Japan – Day 12: Tokyo – Day 6

Wednesday – April 19, 2017

Knowing me and knowing that I like to get to things early, I woke up a little before 6 so I could leave by 6:30. The train ride was supposed to take about an hour and though the park wasn’t set to open until 8:30, I wanted time to scope out what I could (such as their “Downtown Disney” section) before they opened.

Despite the fact that Google had other plans for me, I listened to my app which took me exactly where I needed to go. I took two subway trains and one JR train. Before making the transfer to the JR I grabbed a quick bite to eat. Then, two stops later… I was there.

Tokyo DisneySea

I arrived at 7:33. When I got off the train I was instantly giddy. I ran back and forth taking pictures of EVERYTHING. I had no idea the JR would take me, basically right to the entrance. After getting pictures of the gift shop and the entrance to the Magic Kingdom, I made my way to Ikspeari (their version of “Downtown Disney”). Unfortunately however, that section did not open until 10.

IMG_6525Mediterranean Harbor at Tokyo DisneySea

After running around for a bit longer I eventually made my way to the Monorail station where I figured out that I needed to take it from where I was in order to get to the entrance of DisneySea. Weirdly, rather than being free, you had to pay to ride it. Fortunately, it accepted Pasmo.

Their monorails are fully autonomous; because of that I was able to sit right up front and pretend I was driving. The monorail made two stops, one at each hotel, before arriving at DisneySea.

I got out, ran down the stairs and immediately got in line to get a ticket. This was strange because I’m so used to already having my ticket before I ever arrive at the park. Regardless, the line moved quickly and I actually ended up paying with cash rather than putting it on my card (I actually have more than enough Yen to sustain me).

After getting my ticket, I got in line to wait for the park to open. While waiting I put on suntan lotion and looked at the park map. Before you knew it the park was open and I was ready to start my Disney day.

Tower of Terror

The first ride I went on was the Tower of Terror; it is one of my favorite attractions at Disney World in Florida. Also, because it is one of the closest attractions to the front of the park it was a natural fit to start my day. Also, because no one was in the park yet there was only a 10 minute wait. The 10 minutes was mostly due to the pre-ride show you watch.

IMG_6545Tower of Terror

Unlike the one in Florida which is Twilight Zone and Hollywood themed, this one is New York and African god themed. Basically this explorer guy Hightower-san, stole this tiki god thing and now he’s cursed. At least that was the gist I got from the pre-ride show; naturally it was all in Japanese.

The ride itself was pretty good, not as good as the one in Florida for 3 reasons, 1) it is not as tall, 2) it doesn’t do as much, ie. move forward through the “The Twilight Zone,” and 3) and it doesn’t drop as much in terms of, not height, but how many times it goes up and down. Nevertheless, Tower is always a good ride.

Aquatopia

After Tower of Terror I made my way towards the back of the park. Along the way I passed a ride called Aquatopia. I was going to pass it since it was a family ride, but there was barely any line and I knew I was gonna be there all day so screw it.

It ended up being as lame as I expected but who cares. I was trying to do the opposite of what I usually do and actually smell the roses, rather than pass them by.

Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Crystal Skull

Eventually I made my way to the back of the park where I found and rode the Indiana Jones ride.

IMG_6563Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Crystal Skull

When I got to the front of the 45 minute line, I met a guy named Russ who told me there was a single rider line. I told him I didn’t mind the queue because it was well themed but that that was good to know. We got to chatting before the ride set off and it turned out that he was from Attleboro, MA; small world.

The ride was basically a version Countdown to Extinction (aka Dinosaur) in Animal Kingdom. You drive a jeep through a temple and, rather than being chased by dinosaurs, you are chased by evil spirits. Also, you get to see Indiana Jones speak Japanese. Fun.

Raging Spirits

Right next to that ride is another Indiana Jones themed ride called Raging Spirits. It is a compact little roller coaster with a loop in it. The cars look like mine trains and there are two cars per train. They were running about 6 at a time so the line had a steady flow. Though short, it was fun.

IMG_6567Raging Spirits

When I got off the ride, I checked my email and finally I had something from Dan. Because I had told him I was going to leave so early and I knew he wanted to sleep in, he decided he’d meet me there. However, since he had gone out late the night before, I thought he might bail. To my pleasant surprise, he was writing to say he was on his way and would be at the park soon.

After reading the message, I figured out a game-plan; ride one more ride then slowly make my way to the front of the park.

Journey of Sinbad

The next land over was Aladdin themed. There I came across the Journey of Sinbad ride. I had no idea what it was but I figured I’d try it. There was virtually no wait and it ended up being, essentially a Sinbad themed It’s a Small World -slow boat- ride. It was very childish and again, all in Japanese but the message, from what I could understand was to follow your heart.

After that I strolled through the Little Mermaid section before heading to Mount Prometheus, the main feature (Cinderella’s Castle) of the park. This section, because it was steam punk themed was by far my favorite.

IMG_6583The Mysterious Island section of the park

One of my favorite movies growing up was 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea. This section had a 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea ride so I was pumped. I hadn’t been on it since before it closed at the Magic Kingdom in Florida, so probably since 1994.

Knowing I didn’t have time, I decided to hold off and save this section for Dan.

Cut to me at the front of the park checking my email. Dan had written that he did not need to ride the monorail to get to the entrance of the park. This made me nervous that he was entering The Magic Kingdom despite the fact that I had warned him that he’d need to take the monorail to get here.

He then wrote back saying he was looking at a big volcano and not a castle so clearly he was in the right place. I walked over to the lagoon and sure enough, there he was. I later found out that rather than take the JR, Google had made him take a bus which must have dropped him off right at Disney Sea, rather than where I had been dropped off.

Journey to the Center of the Earth

Since I had just come from the Mysterious Island section of the park and had wanted to save Journey to the Center of the Earth to ride with Dan, that was where we went. When we got to the ride there was a 70 minute wait. I immediately grabbed Dan’s ticket and had him hold our place in line. I then went to the FastPass machine and came back with two FastPasses, that way we would be able to come back between 17:00 and 18:00 and skip the line.

IMG_6587Entrance to Journey to the Center of the Earth

Because Dan is not a Disney pro like I am, he was completely blown away by this concept. Despite the relatively long wait time, the line moved right along. Not only does Disney do lines better than anybody else, because they are themed, but having someone to talk to makes things go faster.

The ride was pretty cool. The ride vehicle was a sort of digging machine and you bore through the “center of the earth” until you reach the conclusion where you speed up a hill and erupt from the top of Mt. Prometheus.

Immediately following the ride, we were both starving, so we ate at Vulcania Restaurant. The place was really cool and the food was great. They had a sampler, which we both got, that had dumplings, rice, and other stuff I’m forgetting but all of which was great. After getting sufficiently filled up, we made our way to the nearby 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea ride.

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

I had been on the original 20,000 Leagues ride when it was at Disney World back in 1994. It has since closed down and so I was excited to ride it again. However, when we got to the ride vehicle, I knew something was a miss. The ride was more akin to the Peter Pan ride at the Magic Kingdom than a submarine ride that actually goes underwater. Regardless, the ride was kind of fun and was cool to check off the list.

IMG_6582 Queue for 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

Next we made our way to the back of the park to ride Raging Spirits. Since it was to be my second time riding it and Dan didn’t want to wait 45 minutes, we decided to do the single rider line. It probably ended up taking about 25 minutes so still a win. After we got off the ride, Dan went to the bathroom while I grabbed us FastPasses so we could come back to ride it later.

We chased Raging Spirits with a ride on Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Crystal Skull. Again we did single rider and again it worked to our advantage. After that we made our way to the front of the park to ride Toy Story. The line however was super long and for whatever reason we were unwilling to wait. Instead Dan got an ice cream and we sat and chilled for a bit.

Following that we explored a few of the shops at the front of the park. Naturally we took an infamous picture of us in Mickey ears hats. We then slowly made our way back to the the back of the park, along the way stopping to check out this DaVinci castle thing before getting back to the Mysterious Island section.

IMG_6621Blurry selfie of me and Dan in Mickey hats

There I grabbed an ice cream sandwich before we got back in line for Journey to the Center of the Earth, using our FastPasses of course. We chased Journey with Raging Spirits again (also with the help of FastPass) before grabbing food at the Arabian Coast Section of the park.

Again we both grabbed the sampler meal which was pretty good before making a game plan for the rest of the day using the park map and a Sharpie. Because we had seen it earlier and not gone in, we decided to go to the show at the Magic Lamp Theater. It wasn’t until the line started moving that Dan realized/pointed out that the show was probably all in Japanese. Sure enough, it was.

The show, as expected, was sort of childish, but a nice excuse to sit for a while. From there we took the electric railway from the back of the park to the front of the park and waited in line for the Teddy Rosevelt bar. The cool thing about this bar was/is that it is located on the SS Cloumbia, a “steamship” they have in the American Waterfront section of the park.

IMG_6647SS Cloumbia which houses the Teddy Rosevelt Bar

The bar seemed cool and I was craving a beer and a cheesecake. However, we were also pressed for time as the Fantasmic show was set to start at 20:00 and it was already 19:20. On top of that there was a line to get into the bar. While Dan held our spot, I explored a little bit of the boat. More that just a prop they had actually built out some of the decks where I got to have my Jack and Rose moment.

When I got back to the line we had barely moved. Since time was running out we decided to go to the lagoon only to find out from a cast-member on the way that, due to the wind, the show was not happening. We were bummed two fold, one because we had waited in line and bailed for nothing but also, because it meant we skipped the bar.

Toy Story Midway Mania

We once again rerouted and found ourselves in a 70 minute wait for the Toy Story Midway Mania ride. Once inside the building, the line was cool and a little bit lifted our spirits. The ride, as usual, was a lot of fun. Dan kicked my ass and the girl in the other car kicked both our asses. We chatted with her and her friends for a bit after the ride before doing one last thing each.

IMG_6646Toy Story Midway Mania

I wanted to ride the Tower of Terror one more time (this time at night) and I knew Dan still wanted to do the bar. I sped through the line for Tower. When it got to the part half way up where they fake you out by turning off the lights (knowing this was a fake out) I let out a blood-curdling scream.

What I forgot is that after the lights go off, they turn them back on. When the lights came back on I had an entire elevator of Asian people staring at me. Half started laughing and the other half started clapping; mission accomplished. After the ride I exited through the gift shop to find Dan waiting for me. Apparently, the bar was closed by the time he got there.

I was bummed that he had missed Fantasmic and the Teddy Rosevelt Bar. Oh well. For the most part the day was a good one and it gives us a reason to one day come back.

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MGM/Fiction/MGM – Day 6

Thursday 8/14/14

Today was going to be different from every other day because I had plans to venture into real Florida and thus was going to have a good chunk of the day to myself. The first thing I did was to go to MGM studios. I was supposed to meet my friend James there but he never texted me back so I ended up going by myself. This worked out for the best because I was supposed to be at Fiction by 2:30pm and by the time I got to the park it was 10:30am or so. I new it was going to take a couple hours to get to Winter Park, so my time was limited. All I did was ride Tower of Terror and Rockin’ Roller Coaster before heading back to the buses.

TowerOfTerrorTower of Terror.

I had to get to Downtown Disney which is only accessible via the hotels. So I waited for the first bus that showed up for a hotel and took it. The bus I ended up taking was going to the Old Key West resort. Luckily this was one of the closest hotels to Downtown Disney. I got dropped off at the first stop at Old Key West and waited for a bus to DTD. Being on a schedule, it of course felt like it was taking forever. While I was waiting, the inevitable ominous clouds rolled in and it began to pour. Soon after, a bus for DTD pulled up. Little did I know, Old Key West is a huge resort and has about five other stops it has to go to before it leaves the property.

Eventually we did get to DTD and after a bit of second guessing I found my way to the nearby Lynx bus stop. I’m not sure now what time I got to the bus stop, but it seemed like a long time, 30 to 45 minutes before the bus came. Eventually I got on the #50 bus which took me to the Lynx Central Station. From there I made a transfer to the 102 to Winter Park. The stop I got off at was the Winter Park Sun Rail station. I knew that Fiction was located super close to the station but when I got there, I couldn’t find my bearings. Eventually, after looking up and reorienting myself, I found my way.

FictionThanks to everyone at Fiction for the tour and the free merch.

I met with the receptionist, Megan, who gave me a solid tour of the building. She brought me into the studio where they shoot some of their projects. Before we left the room, she asked me what size I was and gave me zip-up hoodie. Back at the reception desk she reached into the drawer and she pulled out some stickers. I hit the jackpot; it was super unexpected. I really just went there because I wanted to check out there place, I was totally not expecting free merch.

After that I went back to the bus stop and started making my way back to DTD. While on the 102, I was tempted to stop off to check out Mama’s Sauce, but I was just in the mind of wanting to get back. I felt like I had missed a big chunk of the day and I wanted to recoup it. When we got to the LCS it felt like there was a decent wait for the 50 to come. Eventually one showed up but we weren’t allowed on. A minute later another showed up and double parked next to it. The last person to get off was a drunk dude who stumbled around, walked into the bike rack of the bus parked near the curb, then tripped on the curb and took one right to the face. When he got up his face was bleeding and somehow hit arm was too. “Welcome to the real Florida,” I thought to myself.

WaffleHouseOn the way back to Downtown Disney we passed a Waffle House.

We then boarded the 50 back to DTD. Along the way we passed a place called Holy Land Experience. It seemed like Medieval Times, only for Jesus. I thought to myself, “Only in the south.” Eventually, we made it back to DTD where I took a bus to my hotel to drop off my hoodie before venturing back out to MGM. While on the bus I got a text from Mom asking when she thought I’d get to the park. I predicted 6:40pm. When I eventually got to MGM, it was 6:41pm.

Sci-FiSignShot this while walking around after getting off Star Tours.

The first thing I did was to meet up with everyone on “Sunset Blvd.” I briefly told them about my day before we split up. Kyra and Dad went on Tower and Rockin’ and Mom and I got food… well I got food and Mom watched me eat it. After I was finished eating, and Kyra and Dad were back, Kyra and I used our FastPass for Star Tours. The line was so short that we didn’t really need it and so once we were done, I rode it again. I then met back up with everyone and Kyra and I rode Tower. By the time we were done, it was time to get in line for Fantasmic.

This was one of the main goals for the day. It is one of the only Fireworks/end of the night shows that I actually enjoy watching. As usual it was really impressive. On the way out saw a woman wearing a Boba Fett dress and got to talking with her and her family about Star Wars for a bit. After that it was back to to hotel and straight to bed.

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MGM Studios/Epcot/Downtown Disney – Day 2

Sunday 8/10/14

Kyra and I started our morning by meeting our Mom and Dad in line for Toy Story Midway Mania. The wait was 55 minutes but the ride is, in my opinion, one of the best family attractions at any of the Disney parks. It is super interactive and literally anyone can ride it. Just as was the case with Buzz Lightyear, I dominated with a score of ~88,000 points. After riding that, we made our way over to Tower of Terror. The wait was only 40 minutes or so, so me, my sister, and my Dad got in line. My Mom went off and did other stuff as this would get her sick, or rather, give her a headache for sure.

HollywoodTowerHotelThe Hollywood Tower Hotel aka Twilight Zone Tower of Terror as seen from the queue.

Tower of Terror is another one of my favorite attractions. Not only is the ride fun, but the theming is Disney at its best. Theming is one the things Disney is known for. The sign is weathered and at night you can see the words “Twilight Zone Tower of Terror” appear glowing in front of the embossed Hollywood Tower Hotel. The queue leading up to the hotel plays eerie jazz-era music and there’s a thick mist on the grounds.

The deserted and cobwebbed lobby combined with the Rod Serling intro leading into the basement level of the hotel really helps to sell the whole atmosphere of the ride. You can go on drop rides anywhere, but I guarantee you none are as intricate as this. Rather than relying on our innate fear of heights, T of T really tries to impact guests on a psychological level. The ride as usual never fails to thrill and after it was over and we rejoined with Mom, we went across the way to Rockin’ Roller Coaster.

RocknRollerCoasterTheming outside the Rockn’ Roller Coaster ride building.

While we rode that, Mom rode another family favorite, The Great Movie Ride. Probably one of my favorite parts about Rockin’ is, again, the theming. Sure the launch makes your stomach drop and the loops are great, but the loading area is one of the best they have ever done. Set up on the night of an Aerosmith concert, guests are sent a “super-stretch” Cadillac limo. You board the limo in an LA parking garage then turn the corner into a deserted back alley before launching into the night.

I don’t know what it is, but something about emulating reality in a physical environment makes me really happy. Every time I go step into the LA alley and it’s “night time” and I see the first train launch, I’m a kid again. For that alone, the ride is worth it. After riding, we met up with Mom and decide to split up. Kyra and Mom go to the Back-Lot Tour, a ride I could care less about at this point, and Dad and I go on The Great Movie Ride.

Though the whole ride is fun, for a slow family ride, the part I was looking forward to the most was, ironically, the part that used to scare me as a child… Alien. Alien is undoubtedly in my top 50 favorite movies and before leaving for the trip I even had a craving to watch it that sadly went unfulfilled. What I love about this section of the ride is that you get put in the middle of one of the most tense parts of the movie, even if it is just briefly. My plan was to try and get a picture of the creature when it pops out from the ceiling, but I messed up my timing and didn’t get the shot. I could have tried again but the ride is kind of long and not really worth riding a second time just to try and accomplish this.

Starspeeder1000The Starspeeder 1000 inside the queue for Star Tours.

After getting off, Dad and I went to yet another favorite attraction of mine, Star Tours. Not only am I a Star Wars nerd, but the ride has been updated since last I was there and so I was excited to ride it. The queue was filled with even more nerdy details, like an arrivals and departures chart that displays in both the English alphabet as well as in galactic “basic”. The two other updates to the ride are that it is now in 3D, and travels to multiple destinations. This means that, in theory, every time you ride it, it could be different.

SingingInTheRainComparisonSingin In the Rain comparison.

As expected, the ride was good and after getting off we rejoined with Kyra and Mom. Next we made our way over to the Singin’ In the Rain umbrella. One of the small goals I had for this trip was to pose like Gene Kelly does in the movie. It was a dumb goal, but I was glad to accomplish it.

Sci-FiSnackBarSign for the “snack bar” at the rear of the drive-in.

After this we made our way over to the Sci-Fi Dine In Theatre. This is my favorite restaurant in any of the parks. I remember going to this one of the first times we went to Disney. The concept is a drive in theater with classic monster movies and old advertisements. I’m pretty sure we hadn’t eaten there since the only other time we’d eaten there, so it’d been a while. I had tried making a reservation using the Disney App but it didn’t let me.

So I walked up to the desk and asked if they had space for four and how long the wait would be. To my pleasant surprise they weren’t fully booked and, on top of that, the wait was only twenty minutes. The only down side was that instead of seating us in a “car” they were going to have to put us in a round table with an umbrella. Though not ideal, I was glad just to be able to eat there, and, as luck would have it, our wait was closer to five minutes than twenty. Also, when we were seated, they brought us to a car! I guess a group had just left.

Sci-FiDineInTheaterThe view from our car; kinda reminds me of Jack Rabbit Slims.

This worked out about as good if not better than I expected. The restaurant, though indoor is themed to look like it’s out doors at a drive in movie theatre. Again, I don’t know what it is about these false realities, but something about them makes me happy every time. We enjoyed the shows and the meal, and when the check came, Kyra and I paid the bill. We felt it was the least we could do seeing that our parents had paid for basically everything else.

—Hotel

After eating we promptly left MGM and took our parents back to check out our hotel. We showed them our room and took them on a tour of the grounds before making our way over to Epcot.

—EPCOT

SpaceshipEarthSpaceship Earth aka the Epcot ball, nothing you haven’t seen before.

The first thing we tried to do at the park was to see the movie Captain EO starring Michael Jackson. It had ran for a few years in the late 80s and early 90’s but was replaced with Honey I Shrunk the Audience shortly after Honey I Shrunk the Kids came out. However, after MJ’s death, they brought Captain EO back and out of the four of us, I was the only one to have seen it. Unfortunately we got to the park at around 7pm and that night it was closing at 9. Because of this, by the time we got to EO it was closed for the night.

WorldOfTomorrowI found this image on one of the walls while making my way into the park. I couldn’t believe I’d never seen it before, though I’m sure it’s been there since the park’s inception. It looks to me, like concept art for this Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow.

Since there was nothing much else we could do, we did the go to attraction, Spaceship Earth. SE is the ride contained within Epcot’s iconic “golf ball” or geodesic sphere as it is technically called. Spaceship Earth, though not very thrilling, is a staple of any Disney trip, and, unlike most who can’t be bothered to learn a thing or two on their vacation, I actually enjoy the ride and learning about the evolution of communication. Because this was basically the only thing the four of us could do, and none of us were interested in seeing Illuminations, the fireworks show we’ve seen a million times, we left the park.

—Downtown Disney

The next stop on the list was Downtown Disney as Kyra and I wanted to show Mom and Dad the Marketplace Co-Op. However, after a quick tour, I only had one thing in mind, beer. Ever since my trip to Celebration V in 2010, my first time in the Orlando area when I was over 21, I wanted to go to the Raglan Road Pub. So, after getting the green light, I bolted to it.

KilkennyIrishAleLiquid diet.

Raglan Road is an Irish pub that has live entertainment, step dancing or music, every 10 to 15 minutes. I really was just looking for some time to myself with my thoughts and with a couple of Irish friends. The two in question were twins named Kilkenny Irish Cream Ale. I enjoyed them and the entertainment a lot. Eventually, a duo went up and performed some songs.

I asked the bartender if they took requests and he said they did, handing me a turned over coaster and a pen. I wrote my request, Drunken Lullabies, on it and brought it up to the stage with a couple bucks. Unfortunately that song was not part of their repertoire. They instead played a different Flogging Molly song for me, but, being that I only know the one, this was of no use.

Hashtag#hashtag

After finishing my second beer and snagging the coaster I’d written on, that they would have probably thrown away anyway, I rejoined my family before we each went back to our respective hotels for the night.

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