The politest place on earth

Although I’ve met several great people on this trip, I’m often on my own, and I’ve been pushing my boundaries of what it’s acceptable to do solo. Going to the cinema solo? Check. Hiking solo? Check. Getting naked in public solo? Check. Eating in restaurants? Ha, that doesn’t even feel remotely unusual to me now. So what’s the strangest thing I could do without company?

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How about this?

Ah, Disney Resort, that wonderful other worldly place where it is entirely acceptable for everyone from tiny children to fully grown adults to wander around clutching teddy bears and wearing an array of spectacularly bonkers hats.

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I was sorely tempted, particularly by the Cheshire Cat, but thankfully common sense prevailed and I emerged with my wallet intact.

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Tokyo Disney Resort is divided into two parks – Disneyland, which is most likely a carbon copy of other Disneylands and their original Disney Sea, all based around a huge lake with themed harbours.

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Not counting the mental rush for the first half hour after the park opens (which I avoided by sitting outside eating breakfast after I’d bought my ticket), the weirdest thing about Disney in Japan is when you notice how quiet it is. People are still smiling and chatting and having fun, but there’s no shouting, no running, no pushing – kids even stand in orderly queues to meet the characters. Stitch and his lilac lady friend, who I assume appears in Lilo and Stitch 2, were hanging around the Arabian Coast for some reason. Maybe the Genie was on holiday.

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This isn’t exactly the place to come for extreme rides – the Tower of Terror is not bad and the Lost River Delta area has a rollercoaster with a 360 loop but that’s about it – but for theming Disney really can’t be beaten. I’m the kind of person who doesn’t mind standing in a queue for an hour if the lights are shaped like coral, but maybe that just makes me a bit weird.

(By the way, if you’re strange enough to come on your own like me – Indiana Jones and Raging Spirits both have shorter single rider queues whenever they aren’t too busy, so you can gleefully skip past all the people waiting for two hours to ride with their friends)

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Best theming obviously in the Mermaid Lagoon. Mostly little kid rides here but there’s an aerial Ariel show that’s worth seeing for the characters swimming around in the air on wires (I honestly didn’t notice the pun potential in that show until just now and now I’m so happy. Little things.) It has a bit of a strange plot diversion though. Ariel really really wants to be human, so she goes to see Ursula, so far so good. Then apparently the choreographer realised that the wires wouldn’t work if she grew legs, so she decides all her friends are under the sea and changes her mind. Huh.

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Meanwhile Eric is topside, happily flirting with all the landlubbers and blissfully unaware of the mental lovestruck fish he just narrowly avoided meeting.

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The shows are insanely popular, so even given the size of the lake people are camping out for good views hours beforehand.

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But hey, clearly that’s worth it if you get to see Donald duck dancing on the head of a giant tortoise… thing, right? Yeah, the dialogue was in Japanese so I had no idea what was supposed to be happening.

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It involved guys in sexy jumpsuits on speedboats though

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Also firebreathing dragons

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My favourite show was the barmy ‘A Table Is Waiting’, which seemed to be about the Disney characters traveling the world and bringing back their favourite food to dance, compered by Lumiere of course. Is it crazy that I kinda like the napkin dress?

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Chip’n’Dale and Donald Duck, and yes, that lucky dancer is dressed as a taco.

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Daisy went to India, brought back curry and started dancing to Spice Up Your Life. Ah, nineties nostalgia.

Wait, were the Spice Girls nineties or noughties? Ugh, that question makes me feel old.

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America was represented by slices of bread, cheese and meat trying repeatedly to vault over a bottle of ketchup to create a cheeseburger bundle

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The salad cheerleaders were very excited when they succeeded

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Um… Something Japanese. Not sure what’s going on here

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Oh, bless Minnie and the dancing crêpes for bringing back some sanity. Wait… what?

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Feeling in need of some food that want going to sing at me, I timed it while one of the big shows was on to get into a nice restaurant without much of a wait. Recognise the photo? Did you guess this was Disney food? I know right?! I had no idea decent food even existed in the theme park world!

I spent the rest of the day snacking, mostly on illicitly smuggled stuff from outside, with a few park sweets. The one thing I didn’t get round to trying though was the popcorn, which is a real shame as it’s a BIG THING here. There are 8 different flavours of popcorn available and they are so popular that the different stands are marked on the map so people can go on popcorn pilgrimages with their personalised popcorn buckets. They range from the ordinary (salt, caramel) to the more unusual (curry, milk tea), all the way to

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Corn potage popcorn. In case you missed that, crazy people of Japan, that means you are forming mile long queues for CORN FLAVOURED CORN

It takes all sorts.

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