Those Tokyo Disney Shows: One More Reason to Love Tokyo Disney -
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Those Tokyo Disney Shows: One More Reason to Love Tokyo Disney

by Cheryl Pendry, PassPorter Featured Columnist
Last modified 04-21-2011 > Articles > International Travel > Touring  

Of all the Disney parks in the world, it’s Tokyo Disney that really captured our hearts.

If it was as easy – and cheap! – for us to get to as Orlando, then trust me, we’d be returning there every year, like we already do with Walt Disney World. Sadly, it’s not, so our return visit there is still some time off.

In the meantime, I wanted to share with you one of the reasons why we fell in love with this place so much. There were so many reasons, although one of the top ones was the uniqueness of the brilliant Tokyo DisneySea, with so many attractions that you’ll only find in this park, combined with some of the best theming I’ve ever seen from Disney. However, there were many other reasons, too, and one of them was the parades and shows we enjoyed at the two parks.

Before I go any further, I think it’s only fair to say that there is a downside to the entertainment at Tokyo Disney, and that’s their fireworks. I was looking forward to seeing them, if only to discover if all the reports I’d heard, saying that they’re pretty poor when compared to their American cousins, were true. However, we weren’t in luck, as they were cancelled on the two nights we were hoping to see them. From what I could gather, this wasn’t exactly a rare occurrence either, so not only may they be a poor relation, but if it’s at all windy, then you may be in for disappointment. We’ve certainly see the fireworks go ahead at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World in much windier weather than we experienced.

Sadly, one of the shows that was so unique to Tokyo has also now concluded its run. To me, one of the beauties of Tokyo DisneySea is the fact that you find things here that aren’t at any other theme park in the world. So, for me, the fact that they are stopping the wonderful BraviSEAmo to replace it with Fantasmic! that already plays at the American parks came as a real disappointment. BraviSEAmo was a truly unique night-time show, set on the waters of Mediterranean Harbor, and was essentially a love story between fire, represented by a fire breathing dragon, and water, with water moulded into the shape of a woman. It was a very beautiful story, and incorporated elements that I’ve never seen Disney use before. Sure, we’ve all seen the images of famous Disney movies projected on to water, as part of Fantasmic!, but using water to appear in specific shapes was something else.

Tokyo DisneySea - BraviSEAmo photo
Tokyo DisneySea - BraviSEAmo

BraviSEAmo is Tokyo DisneySea's night-time show, highlighting the meeting of a spirit of water and a spirit of fire. - photo by chezp

At least Tokyo DisneySea’s daytime show, the Legend of Mythica, remains, at least for the moment. Also located on the main lagoon as you enter the park, Mediterranean Harbor, it’s the park’s main afternoon show, and lasts 25 minutes. The Tokyo Disney website bills it as telling “the fantastic tale of friendship and sorrow between humans and the legendary creatures,” but that’s only a tiny part of what you experience.

Sadly, like many things at Tokyo Disney, it’s hard to follow the storyline unless you’re fluent in Japanese, but the basic idea is that fantasy creatures, like unicorns, dragons, phoenix, and sea hydra, really did exist in an ancient world. The idea is that drumming is the key that opens up this mythical world, and five colourful boats, depicting mythical creatures, arrive at the start of the show. Each has Disney characters on board, and performers all dressed in brilliant colours and holding aerial puppets, such as birds, and Mickey directs things from the centre of the lagoon. They all bring different attributes to encourage the return of the mythical creatures.

And when they appear, another four huge floats enter the lagoon, with each of the mythical creatures on them. The boats are superbly detailed, with horses decorating the unicorn boat, the phoenix blasting fire high into the air, and the sea hydra spraying water as it moves. What is then before you on the lagoon is a real feast for the eyes, particularly the colours you see everywhere in front of you. To be honest, you really don’t need to understand any of the story to appreciate this, as it’s a visual masterpiece. I dread to think how much this cost to produce, but I’d love to see other Disney parks around the world adding this show into their repertoire.

Over at Tokyo Disneyland, the parades are more what you’re used to in other parks. There’s an afternoon parade, Jubilation!, which features colourful floats of your favourite characters, although here, you can immediately see that you’re in a different culture. The Japanese love things like Monsters Inc. and Stitch, so those float got the biggest responses on the day we saw the parade! Once again, all the floats were very colourful and fun, with brilliant red and pink roses filling the princesses’ float, a Hawaiian colour theme for Lilo and Stitch, and deep greens for Brer Rabbit and his 100 Acre Woodland friends. It really does what it says on the tin and leaves you feeling jubilant once you’ve seen it. I’d challenge anyone to watch this and not have a smile on their face by the end of it!

The evening parade is the Tokyo Disney Electrical Parade: Dreamlights, which sounds just like the old favourite, the Main Street Electrical Parade. Although the concept is certainly the same, and there are some familiar floats, there are also many differences. For example, the parade is led by the Blue Fairy from Pinocchio, followed by medieval knights on horses, all of which look spectacular. But more amazing is to come, with Alice in Wonderland riding on board a giant grinning Cheshire Cat, and a giant Sully from Monsters Inc. (I said they were popular in Japan!) with Mike Wazowski riding on the float, just in front.

Perhaps my favourite, unsurprisingly, was the tree from the Hundred Acre Wood, full of lights, with a blue balloon floating above, which was home to Pooh, Tigger and my beloved Eeyore. I have to say though that a very close second was the Nemo float, with Nemo swimming by, followed by Crush on top of a float, covered with coral, shells and starfish. Absolutely unique, which is the great thing about Tokyo Disney. And no-one could fail to be wowed by Lumiere, on top of his own massive illuminated cake.

Not only are the parades, and shows at Tokyo Disney out of this world, but the way the Japanese wait for them makes them a complete joy to watch. They are so polite, laying out rugs and sheets on the floor to sit on, with no-one going near a piece of someone else’s sheet. If only it could be like that at every Disney park in the world, then we may watch more parades. If you’re ever lucky enough to head out to Tokyo Disney, do make sure to plan in the daily parades, and shows, as they’re well worth catching and just add to the unique atmosphere of the place.

Tokyo DisneySea - Legend of Mythica photo
Tokyo DisneySea - Legend of Mythica

The Legend of Mythica, the afternoon show at Tokyo DisneySea, held on the huge lake in Mediterranean Harbour. - photo by chezp

About the Author:
Cheryl and husband Mark live in England and love to travel, particularly to Disney, and they have made numerous visits to destinations across America and Europe. They recently completed their tour of every Disney theme park around the world, which culminated in their visit to Japan, including the Tokyo Disney Resort. Click here to view more of Cheryl's articles!

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Updated 04-21-2011 - Article #629 

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