Tokyo guzzler: Days 113 -119 – Tokyo Disneyland

Yesterday we went to Tokyo Disneyland….a place where “dreams come true”….or in my case, nightmares!

It’s around this time of year where I’d normally be preparing for the office Christmas party. Dusting off my tuxedo that’s now too big for me for its annual outing. A traditionally lavish affair that would have Stratton Oakmont gushing with envy (minus the midget tossing or goldfish munching). Salesmen swinging from the chandeliers, narcotics-fueled binges and, if it’s a lucky year, a police raid to finish the night. Yes, this year has undoubtedly felt a little empty with no office party to attend. However, Tokyo Disney was suggested as a place where “dreams come true”. And despite being a seriously miserable bastard 95% of the time, I didn’t need a second invite to tag along and see if this promise had any substance.

As a side note, a few years back I was dragged to Epcot in Orlando. It was a god-awful place that I hated from the moment I arrived. But, its one redeeming feature was a phony British pub that sold Strongbow. So I merrily drank the afternoon away, slowly drifting into a rambling stupor, befriending several other randoms who too couldn’t handle the Epcot experience. Come to think of it, the pub was packed that afternoon with many fathers who clearly needed a bit of “space”. Anyway, I thought to myself that if Tokyo Disney was not really for me, then at least there’d be some kind of refreshment entertainment for adults in the form of biiru. How wrong could I have been……

So, after an early start to the day we arrived in the park at around 10.30am. We managed to get into Disney in no time at all, filling me with false encouragement that maybe the anticipated crowds had in fact stayed away. However, the queues inside the park went as far as the eye could see. 50m queues for a tub of popcorn. Mile long queues for food, for toilets, for everything. At one point I even thought there was a queue to get into the queue! And towards the end of the day, when the girls merrily trotted into a queue for the biggest ride in the park – a mere 160 minute wait in the perishing cold shade – I had to be the party pooper and put an end to the merriment.

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Good morning Goofy!

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It was gone 11am by now, and despite the queue to get some pastries, our spirits were high! Mmmmm…pastries!

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This was our second “ride” of the day. The teacups. A bit tame, you may say. But when you spin the shit out of them having not long finished breakfast, they can leave you feeling pretty sick. In fact, I felt a bit ill for the rest of the day!

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The Disney parade, culminating in this float containing Micky and Minnie. I thoroughly enjoyed the parade, even if frostbite was close to setting in near the end.

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However, this security guard didn’t look too enthusiastic. It left me wondering how long it’d take me to look like this if I worked at Disneyland. Days, weeks, months? I concluded about 3 hours. There’s only so much happiness in the world, and her share had definitely ran out for the day. She was looking for a dust up. “D’ya know Stanley?”

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The Disneyland Castle, resplendent in the afternoon sun.

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This poor couple had had so much fun, they could clearly take no more. Flat out they were, despite the freezing wind chill and incessant happy music booming out from every direction.

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Another poor soul who’d seen enough fun for one day. He sent his missus to queue for food over 3 hours ago.

The light projection onto the magnificent Disneyland Castle rounded off our day (the fireworks were still 3 hours away and by now I’d had so much fun I could hardly take any more). One woman in front of me in the packed crowd decided that, instead of watching and enjoying the spectacular light show in front of her, she’d spend the whole 15 minutes trying to film it on her phone. I never quite understand why people do that. It’s the same when you go to a gig – someone always wants to stand there filming the band. Seriously, unless it’s a unique one-off event, what’s the point? I would love to know. Do these people not realise there’s already hundreds of videos on YouTube showing exactly the same thing, most of which probably from a better angle and in higher quality? Just enjoy the moment surely, rather than try to capture it on a crappy phone with a video that you’ll watch never again!!! And the annoying thing is, you can’t help but watch the coverage unravel on these peoples phones!!

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The giant Disney Christmas tree

On a separate note, today is general election day in Japan. I’ve been studying Japanese politics and the economy in quite fine detail in recent weeks. The current prime minister, Mr. Abe, called a snap election 2 years ahead of schedule in a bid to boost his mandate for his fledgling “Abenomics”, his solution to fix Japan’s miserable economic situation. He will no doubt win today, but I can’t help but feel sorry for the Japanese people. 60 hour weeks are the norm here, to be expected by many employers. So how demoralised must they feel now they have slipped back into recession, with the Yen so weak it makes travelling abroad cost a small fortune? An ageing population, a decreasing workforce, and a butter shortage spells bleak times ahead I fear for the natives….

We are travelling to Thailand via Hong Kong tomorrow. It’ll be a very different Christmas this year and I have never been in a summer climate over the festive period before. Christmas Day normally revolves around a hearty Christmas dinner, an argument about which game nobody wants to play and a competition to see who can most tunefully fart the Eastenders theme tune. I shall miss all that this year. I don’t think it’ll feel remotely festive where we’re going, but I can’t complain too much as it’s over 30 degrees currently in Bangkok.

Merry Christmas everyone!

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