Although, over the years, as a father I’ve taken my children to theme parks in England and other parts of the world, I’ve never actually been to a Disney resort. So, just two weeks short of my 65th birthday, and with a coupon for a free night at a Hilton Hotel, it was time to put that to rights and to head out to Tokyo Bay on a cool and drizzly evening for a very pleasant night at the Hilton on the Bay. I must confess to being rather apprehensive about my first Disney experience expecting it all to be rather garish and over the top, but my son’s partner who is rather a Disney expert had suggested that DisneySea was probably more suitable for someone of advancing years compared to DisneyWorld.
Not only were we celebrating my own birthday in advance but it was also DisneySea’s 20th Anniversary. The sun was shining and the skies were blue so we had an early start and armed with an all-day passport got in to join in the 20th Anniversary celebrations which were branded as ‘Time to Shine’. And so it was and time to find our way around the venue.
Top of the agenda was to meet the stars, so we oriented ourselves through the centre to do just that. In accordance with Covid protocols were asked not to get too close to Mickey and Minnie; we were wearing masks but they weren’t. Soon after that they emerged from their protective environment with some of their pals for a jaunt around the waterfront.
The culture vulture in me enjoyed the attractions related to popular entertainment and I ‘held on to my potato’ in an exciting ride around Indiana Jones’ Temple of Doom.
A more sedate circuit with Sinbad took me back to watching videos with my kids years ago,
We even went to ‘Infinity and Beyond’ in the Toy Story’s shooting gallery – my wife scored more hits than me but I had a better accuracy rate! No pictures as I was shooting targets rather than photos.
A couple of shows (no photos allowed) with Mickey & friends singing and dancing to the American Big Band Beat sound got us inside for an hour, and then we hit the water with a gondola tour of Venice.
Followed by a trip on a paddle steamer to see the ‘Sea’.
I thoroughly enjoyed my first visit to Tokyo Disney Resort, and it did bring out the big kid in me. However, I’m no stranger to Tokyo Bay as very close by is Kasai Rinkai Koen (Marine Park). As well as being a popular spot for Tokyoites to visit and to enjoy the oceanfront of Tokyo Bay, and also the venue for the 2020 Tokyo Games’ canoe slalom events, it is a very important area of nature conservation. The Wild Bird Society of Japan (WBSJ), of which I am a member, holds regular gatherings there to observe and enjoy some of the 126 species of birds, including many migratory shore birds and waders which can be seen from the hides and on the ponds and waterfront. Just four years ago, the WBSJ was successful, at COP13 in the United Arab Emirates, in having Kasai Marine Park designated as the First Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance Site in Tokyo. A very proud moment for my Japanese birding friends.
So, this weekend, it’s time to put away the fake Mickey ears and get out my binoculars to enjoy yet another aspect of the rich cultural heritage of Tokyo.