Much of the architecture of Tokyo’s Tomorrowland is stuck in the 80’s. Actually, it’s stuck in the 70’s as it was copied after the Magic Kingdom at WDW – which was designed in the ’60’s.
In other words, there are areas here that could definitely use a face lift like they did to the Tomorrowlands in California and Florida. But even though some of the areas are a little dated, there is still a lot of fun to be had here.
Let’s start with the main entrance into Tomorrowland.
Do the spires look familiar? Remember them from the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World?
In an effort to update the spires, they have received several stylish paint jobs over the years. And by the way, water no longer cascades from these guys.
If you look closely at the above picture you’ll notice that there is no PeopleMover running down the middle of the concourse or along the side of the buildings. By the time Tokyo Disneyland was being planned, people-movers were already becoming commonplace at airports and were no longer considered a product of the future.
Let’s start with the first attraction you come to on the right, Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters.
All four of these attractions came after the Disney World version and have a different track layout than their Florida cousin. Also different from Florida is a very nice upgrade. The laser guns are not attached to the vehicle. Instead, they’re connected via a retractable cord which gives you a greater range of movement when shooting.
The queue is also a little different from Disney World. Instead of seeing a giant View-Master, here you see a large Etch-A-Sketch which continually draws new pictures.
The sights within the attraction have also been changed slightly from the Florida version, but the concept is the same. You aim and shoot at targets as you travel through Buzz’s universe and high score wins. Because of the upgraded laser guns, I have to say that all of the other Buzz Lightyear attractions are better than the Magic Kingdom’s version at Disney World.
Across the way from Buzz we find MicroAdventure.
MicroAdventure is what we call, Honey, I Shrunk the Audience. This is the exact same movie as plays in California and Florida, except that it has been dubbed into Japanese. There are several phone handsets in the back of the theater that play the English soundtrack.
This is a very popular attraction and I would suggest using FASTPASS.
Let’s take a little detour and enter Tomorrowland via Center Street from World Bazaar. Here are two pictures, one looking out from World Bazaar toward Tomorrowland and the other looking from Tomorrowland back toward World Bazaar.
Once entering Tomorrowland from World Bazaar, you will be greeted by an all new attraction in 2009, Monsters, Inc. Ride and go Seek.
Because of the construction wall, I wasn’t able to get any good pictures of the building. The photo below was taken from outside the park from the monorail station platform.
As you can see, the structure is reminiscent of the buildings seen in the movie, Monsters, Inc.
The details for this attraction are still sketchy, but from what I’ve read you play hide-and-go-seek with Boo, Mike, and Sulley in Monstropolis. The ride will be similar to the attraction “Monsters, Inc. Mike & Sulley to the Rescue!” at Disney’s California Adventure and it will incorporate 3D screen technology similar to that used in the “Toy Story Midway Mania“ attraction at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. It’s scheduled to open in 2009 at a cost of $88M.
This new ride replaces “Meet the World” which was a “Carousel of Progress” type attraction that portrayed the history of Japan.
Next to Monsters, Inc. Ride and go Seek you’ll find Star Tours. I like the exterior of this building as it looks like a futuristic space craft hanger.
The interior of the attraction is very similar to all of the other Star Tours around the world.
The dialogue for Captain Rex and the pilot seen on the TV monitor have been dubbed into Japanese, but the vocals coming from Star Command are still in English. Otherwise, the attraction is exactly the same as the American versions.
The exit for Star Tours is far more elaborate than the “hallways” you walk through in the American parks. At Tokyo, the space age architecture is continued in the exit corridors and you even come across a strange alien working feverishly in a control booth. Look closely and you might recognize him as he bears a striking resemblance to Sonny Eclipse from Cosmic Ray’s Starlight CafÃ© at WDW.
When you exit the Star Tours building, you cross an elevated walkway to an observation platform and the upper level of the Pan Galactic Pizza Port. You can also reach this platform via a large staircase.
The Pan Galactic Pizza Port is a sizeable, counter service restaurant that serves, you guessed it, pizza. Sausage & Mushroom and Chicken & Vegetable pizza is offered by the slice along with salads and a few other odds and ends.
Food is ordered and purchased on the ground floor, but there is additional seating upstairs, overlooking the greatest pizza making machine you’ve ever seen. Here, Tony Solaroni runs an outrageous contraption designed to delight children and adults. Even if you don’t eat here, I would strongly suggest taking a gander at this fun spot.
Located between Star Tours and Space Mountain is Showbase.
Showbase is a covered amphitheater where lavish Disney-character shows are presented. As with all live performances at Tokyo Disneyland, you need to arrive early to get a seat.
Next we come to Space Mountain. You enter this attraction via a long speed-ramp that takes you to the second floor of the building. Here, the line continues around the perimeter of Space Mountain for a short distance before it enters the structure.
Up until recently, the inside queue and ride were identical to the Space Mountain attraction at Disneyland, CA. Unfortunately, I was unaware of the recent refurbishment and chose not to ride Space Mountain on my latest trip. It wasn’t until I returned home that I found out that Disney has tinkered with this perennial favorite quite a bit. Even the logo has changed.
The large spaceship that once hung from the main queue area has been replaced by a much sleeker craft.
I want to thank my friend TDLFAN for the above picture and the following description.
“It’s too bad you didn’t ride Space Mountain, because Disney did a very nice job giving this ride a new look all over. Still the same track, but now it features a new show that makes it look like you are in an electrical power plant/station in outer space, complete with lightning-like special effects and other show elements unique to Tokyo. There is no ride soundtrack, but it doesn’t matter because now the TDL version has a very unique look to it. Best of all is how Disney made the main portion of the ride very dark, with some sound effects and new visual elements, like flying thru a nebula during one of the drops, plus the new star field at “re-entry” similar to the one now in use at DL and HKDL.”
Let this be a lesson to myself and all of you, ‘GO ON EVERYTHING WHEN VISITING A FOREIGN DISNEY PARK!”
Now we come to what I describe as the “boring” concourse. This is a vast expanse that runs from Space Mountain to the Star-Jets. It’s flanked by the Grand Circuit Raceway on one side and the Tomorrowland Terrace on the other. At one time, the Skyway traveled above this area, but with it gone, there really aren’t any architectural elements to excite the eye.
The Grand Circuit Raceway is Tokyo Disneyland’s version of the Autopia at Disneyland or Tomorrowland Indy Speedway at Disney World. In fact, the track layout is almost identical to the Tomorrowland Indy Speedway.
It’s interesting to note that the steering wheels are on the right side of these little cars as the Japanese drive on the left side of the road. Also, the Japanese do not consider these “bumper cars” as so many of us Americans do and it’s rare to get smacked from behind.
I have always felt that this attraction and the one in Florida are strictly for youngsters who don’t yet have a driver’s license. There really isn’t very much to see along the journey. However, the Autopia in California has been updated with some nice scenery and props that make this simple car-ride more enjoyable to adults.
Like Walt Disney World, the Grand Circuit Raceway does have a “stadium” where parents can wait and take pictures.
Across the way from the Grand Circuit Raceway is the Tomorrowland Terrace.
If you notice a resemblance between the Tomorrowland Terrace and Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe at Walt Disney World, that’s because the two restaurants are almost identical in everyway.
This is one of the few true burger joints at Tokyo Disneyland and you can order hamburgers, cheeseburgers, chicken burgers, sandwiches, chicken strips and fries. I didn’t eat here on my latest trip, but five years ago I got the cutest burger.
Sonny Eclipse does not perform at the Tomorrowland Terrace, but there is a stage in the same location as Cosmic Rays and live entertainment can sometimes be heard here.
The last attraction in Tomorrowland is the Star-Jets.
There’s not a lot I can say about this ride. You take an elevator to the loading platform, board a two-passenger “jet” and spin for something less than a minute.
Like all Disney parks, live entertainment is everywhere, and Tomorrowland is no exception.
One final curiosity I’d like to point out is the interesting trash can I saw in Tomorrowland.
If you look closely at the smaller receptacle, you’ll notice that it’s intended to be used for liquids before throwing away your paper cup.
Well, that’s it for Tokyo Disneyland. I will be writing one final blog about my trip to the Hong Kong and Tokyo Disney Resorts in an effort to sum everything up.