Land of the Rising Mickey - Aug 9, 2001

Land of the Rising Mickey
Page 2 of 13

Tokyo DisneySea Park - The Ports and Attractions

There's so much to DisneySea... This article covers its ports and attractions. Look for similar articles here at over the the next few weeks, detailing literally every aspect of this wonderful park.

Much background information, the "Facts at a Glance", the backstories, and the descriptions of Fortress Explorations' chambers and Ariel's Playground was provided by DisneySea's exceptionally well done (and exceptionally large - it's a book, really) press information kit.

It should be noted that my personal impressions in this article are, of course, my personal impressions. Another person's feelings are bound to be different, perhaps very different.

Warning - The Surgeon Admiral (sorry) has determined that the links in this article entitled "Backstory" and "Spoilers" are ride details and/or technical information which give away many secrets that could adversely effect your fun at the park.

Mysterious Island

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It's 1870 and you're on a volcanic island in an uncharted part of the Pacific Ocean. But it's not the real 1870, it's Jules Verne's.  It's not even a real island... It's an eye-poppingly massive monument to exactly what Walt Disney Imagineering can do.

The startlingly realistic 167 foot tall (it looks much taller) Mount Prometheus, with its billowing smoke and sudden thunderous eruptions of fire... its face which subtly changes to better suit the land it can be seen from (a mountain that looks like it's about to explode doesn't lend itself well to a relaxing afternoon at Cape Cod)... The Caldera! So realistic, yet so other-worldly at the same time. A bizarre environment of geothermal activity which envelops one in its walls and is made even more strange by the threatening devices of a mad genius.  Those devices include a large scale exterior mock-up of the Nautilus submarine, a research submarine base, and an automated drilling device in the process of boring into the side of the live volcano. (What is he thinking!)

The feeling of total immersion I get when standing in the Caldera is unlike anything I've experience in an outdoor environment. The attention to detail, the hallmark of the park, is taken to an even greater level of realism in this place. It's Captain Nemo's home and I feel that I'm intruding on it... and it's about to explode. Why would he chose this place for his base?! He's so mad!!

Tip: Find out what time the fireworks are scheduled for at Tokyo Disneyland. The shells are launched from between the two parks, in an area not far from the Caldera. From the Journey to the Center of the Earth side of the crater you'll see virtually every part of the show and the sound of the explosions echoing off its walls is a powerful experience.

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

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Oh my goodness... This attraction succeeds on so many levels. More than any other ride I've experienced (anywhere), it transported me away from this world. It doesn't feel like a ride. It tricked me into feeling as if I was there. After all the attractions I've experienced, all the times I've been on them, and the analytical way in which I pick them apart, I didn't think that was possible anymore. I felt a sense of real wonder, real danger, real mystery, real suspense, real surprise... I'll admit it - real fear.

And this attraction played with me like that in the subtlest and most ingenious of ways... Something seen out of the corner of my eye... (What the heck was that!) a perfectly timed creak... (Are we depressurizing!), a sudden lurch... (Umm, I think we hit something.), an unexpected deceleration... (I don't want to die here.) All those things and much more click together in an undersea environment so detailed, with so much movement, that the only words for it are - utterly convincing.

This attraction creates its thrills without reaching any sort of real speed. On the contrary - virtually everything seems to happen in slow motion... the sort of near death slow motion in which time dilates and the seconds seem like minutes.

I rode 20K several times and its effectiveness didn't wear off. Instead, I just appreciate it more. I'm sad to leave its world. I want to spend months, or perhaps even years, uncovering its mysteries.

I feel 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea deserves a place among the classics attractions which time will never leave behind.

Facts at a Glance

Attraction Time: Approx. 5 minutes (it seems longer)
Capacity: 6 passengers per sub

Backstory and Spoilers