WEEKEND TODAY JUNE 19 - 20, 2010
TRAVEL Of mice and magic The world of Disney remains an attraction for people of all ages Choi Pei San
I’VE found my happy place. After stepping into “The Kingdom of Dreams and Magic” for the first time, I instantly forgot about the worries of my busy life back home. And I most certainly forgot my age. So I left the real world behind to immerse in a world of fun and fantasy, excitement and adventure, and to indulge in all things Disney. And it turned out to be an enthralling experience. Double Disney Tokyo Disney Resort is home to two theme parks: Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea. Opened in 1983, Tokyo Disneyland is the first Disney resort to operate outside the United States and continues to attract millions of visitors each year. There are seven themed lands — Critter Country, Westernland, Adventureland, World Bazaar, Tomorrowland, Toontown and Fantasyland — that will keep guests entertained for two whole days. When I was there, Mickey fans of all ages were wearing Disney headgear and a big smile on their faces. Everyone looked lost in his or her own utopia. Perhaps that’s why they keep comping back. Overlooking Tokyo Bay, Tokyo
Tower Of Terror, DisneySea
Photos courtesy Tokyo Disney Resort
DisneySea is the first Disney Park to be inspired by the myths and legends of the sea. It first opened in 2001 and is one of the most expensive theme parks ever built. Within the park, there are seven uniquely themed areas or “ports of call” — Lost River Delta, Port Discovery, American Waterfront, Mediterranean Harbor, Mysterious Island, Mermaid Lagoon and Arabian Coast — that offer fun and thrilling rides. Located in the middle of the theme park is Mount Prometheus, a massive artificial volcano that “erupts” intermittently. This prominent feature, along with the DisneySea Aquasphere, a globe-shaped sculpture and fountain situated at the entrance, are the symbols of Tokyo DisneySea. Top 4 must-dos Monsters, Inc. Ride & Go Seek! (Disneyland) Based on the Disney/Pixar blockbuster Monsters, Inc., this is one of Tokyo Disneyland’s latest attractions. Get on a tram and pick up the flashlight attached to the dashboard. When the lights go out, a
fun-filled interactive ride begins. As you travel through the streets of Monstropolis, try locating the hidden monsters, shine your flashlight at them and the helmets worn by the monsters will light up as the characters reveal themselves. The elaborate set and occasional surprises make this four-minute ride an entertaining one — especially for children — even if you don’t understand the commentary that’s solely in Japanese. Tower Of Terror (DisneySea) If you’re into thrill rides, this is not to
ZED at the Cirque du Soleil Theatre
be missed. It all begins with a tour of the lavishly-decorated Hightower Hotel. Then, you get on a service elevator, which is equipped with about 20 seats. Once you’re belted in, the lights go out and a slow ride to the top begins. A visual installation about the story of the hotel will distract you during the ascent, which culminates with a bird’s-eye view of the entire theme park from the top of the tower.You get about three seconds to marvel at the view before the elevator plunges in a heart-stopping freefall. This exhilarating ride is quite addictive, so you could very well find yourself heading for the queue again for another round of freefalling thrills. Meet Mickey At Mickey’s House (Disneyland) This is one of Disney’s top spots and sees a long queue of visitors each day. Start by exploring the house of the famous mouse, then meet “Mickey-san” in person on the set of one of his films. Give the ever-popular Walt Disney icon a hug, shake his hand or do a little dance with him. The queue at this attraction may be rather long, but the experience makes the wait worthwhile. Cirque du Soleil’s ZED (Cirque du Soleil Theatre) After a long day at the theme parks, relax and unwind by catching ZED at the Cirque du Soleil Theatre, the first permanent venue in Japan for the famous entertainment group. Featuring more than 70 performers from 24 countries, ZED follows the title character’s journey of adventure as he discovers the world, bringing together the people of the sky and people of the earth. Some of the awe-inspiring acts in the 90-minute show include a high-wire walk, a flying trapeze, poles and trampoline, as well as an impressive display of batontwirling by a 20-time former Japanese national champion. The Cirque du Soleil Theatre is a 10-minute walk from Disneyland. Log on to www.zed.co.jp/home_en.php for tickets and performance schedules. The writer’s trip was made possible by Tokyo Disney Resort and JAL.
WEEKEND TODAY JUNE 19 - 20, 2010
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Hold the popcorn, new thrills ahead Orlando, Florida:The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter What does butterbeer taste like? Fans of Harry Potter can now find out. Opened on Friday, the theme park that replicates JK Rowling’s fictional world sells the brew, along with Potter paraphernalia from broomsticks to
Monsters, Inc. Ride
JUMP QUEUE Disney’s Fastpass allows you to enjoy selected attractions without a long wait in line: • S imply insert your Park Passport into the ticket machine outside the attraction and get a Fastpass for free. • C heck the return time indicated on your Fastpass. • E njoy other areas of the Park until your return time. • R eturn to the attraction’s Fastpass entrance during your return time for a minimal wait. * For list of Fastpass attractions, visit www.tokyodisneyresort.co.jp/index_e.html
magic wands to Gryffindor scarves. Hogwarts Castle and the village of Hogsmeade will set the scene for visitors until they can get on Harry Potter And The Forbidden Journey, a ride which mimics the feeling of flight as it takes people through Harry life experiences. Think Quidditch and run-ins with dragons and spiders. www.universalorlando.com/harrypotter
Abu Dhabi, UAE: Ferrari World Just like the car that headlines it, you can expect this theme park to be a stunner. Ferrari World, to open on Oct 28, will be the world’s biggest indoor theme park, covering 85,000 sq m of space. It will also boast the world’s fastest roller coaster, which reportedly reaches speeds of up to 240kmh. Hey, if you can’t be Felipe Massa ...