For many people, it may seem odd to go halfway around the world to visit a theme park. We wouldn’t expect all other travelers (especially ones without kids) to visit Disney’s international parks, but we would argue that DisneySea is the one resort worthy of a visit from everyone. So why is it so great?
It’s Made for Explorers
For anyone who loves Disney, they know it’s not just about cartoon characters. It’s also about daring adventures and exploration. DisneySea embodies this idea. As the dedication reads, “ Tokyo DisneySea is dedicated to the spirit of exploration that lives in each of us…May Tokyo DisneySea inspire the hearts and minds of all of us who share the water planet, Earth.”
While exploring the resort, keep your eyes open for an underlying theme. Hidden throughout the park, you will find references to S.E.A. This made up secret club, (which stands for Society of Explorers and Adventurers) is a storyline which was made up in order to tie together multiple attractions. You can even visit the headquarters of S.E.A at Fortress Explorations. We enjoyed dinner at Magellan’s, the renaissance themed restaurant that is supposedly a favorite of famous S.E.A members. After reading about these grand adventures, you might even feel like you are part of their elite society
To put it simply, DisneySea makes you feel as if you are inside a larger than life treasure map. You will forget that Disney was the company who brought you Fantasyland and instead remember the nostalgia of Adventureland. Although there are still elements of classic characters (most notably in the Arabian Coast and Mermaid Lagoon) the park is incredibly realistic and void of Mickey Mouse. It’s detailed theming is beyond anything we have experienced at other resorts. On top of this, the park’s location has sweeping views of Tokyo Bay. This makes it hard to distinguish where the park ends and reality begins, immersing you in a world of water.
It’s Not Just for Kids
Although there were children visiting, the environment was uniquely mature. Like most of the parks without a castle, DisneySea sells beer and other libations. Along with alcohol the rides are more thrilling and geared towards adults. Large attractions like Journey to the Center of the Earth, Indiana Jones Adventure, and Tower of Terror are located in this park.
In place of a traditional hub, DisneySea welcomes you into the Mediterranean Harbor. Instead of Main Street’s trolley cars, you will find gondolas ready to take you around the park. Because of the imagineers ornate designs, the Venetian Canals will have you questioning where it is you actually traveled to. Unlike the childlike fantasy of a princess in a castle, you will feel like you’re on a honeymoon in Italy. This sets the stage for a very grown up Disney experience.
The centerpiece of the park is Mount Prometheus, a Volcano on Mysterious Island. This steampunk styled area is inspired by the writing of Jules Verne. The victorian futurism is carried over into the design of Port Discovery. These not so subtle nods to classic writing evoke a feeling of maturity that every adult can enjoy.
It Gives you the Travel Bug
Again, we can’t overstate how immersive the ports of call (themed lands) felt. In a single day walking the park, you could visit everywhere from New York’s Harbor in the American Waterfront to Mesoamerican ruins in the Lost River Delta. It was hard not to feel a sense of wonder and awe for the world around you.
Because these Disney Theme parks were the first stop on our itinerary in Japan, we started our trip in a magical mindset. (Did I mention the airline lost our bag?) But instead of getting off an 11 hour flight and going straight into a stressful and foreign city center, we were able to renew our spirit of adventure and remind ourselves of why we even travel in the first place: to inspire our hearts and minds.