One of my first thoughts when we secured our (what would later be moot) visas for Japan was, “I’m introducing my baby to the happiest place on earth!”
I mentioned this early on to Bryce, the anti-Disney member of our family. “But, she won’t remember anything,” was one of his first responses to my idea.
“But, I will!” I kept replying back.
Even my parents didn’t think it was a great idea. Both of them kept saying how much walking is involved from the train station to the theme park. “There’s just so much walking!” they kept saying.
“I love walking!” I kept replying back.
(Note, the last time my parents had been to Tokyo Disneyland was ~20+ years ago and now the walk from the station to the park is not bad at all. Yes, spoiler: we went!)
Bryce and I discussed maybe just he and I could go to Disney for the day and leave baby back at the house to hangout with her grandparents and great-grandma. I never even considered this as a real option because the thought of not bringing baby with us seemed sad and not fun. Sure, I’d be able to do way more in terms of actually going on all the rides I haven’t gone on in “forever” but I wanted to share one of my favorite places with her! If that meant not being able to ride any rollercoasters, then fine.
I can’t remember how I eventually convinced Bryce to agree. Maybe it was the fact that since baby’s under 3, her admission to the park is free. (Our family loves a good deal and how can it get any cheaper than that?!) Also, with the yen to US dollar exchange rate at the time, our adult tickets would come out to about $68 each, which is quite the steal compared to what tickets cost these days for OG Disneyland in Anaheim.
The Anaheim Disneyland is what I would consider my “home base Disneyland.” I have been to this park the most. My cousin and I have been numerous times together with other family and friends as adults. My parents took my brother and I a fair amount of times as kids, too. Being a west coaster, I have never been to Disney World. (Also, I just realized that Disneyland is one word while Disney World is two … why is that?)
All this being said, Tokyo Disney still holds a special place in my heart. It’s my first memory of Disneyland! Well, I think it’s my first memory.
We have a lot of my childhood documented in old home videos and one I used to watch all the time was a summer visit to Tokyo Disney when I was about 4 or 5. I don’t actually know if I am remembering the actual “raw footage” memory or if I just remember what I watched in the videos so many times during my childhood. (Did anyone else watch home videos of the good ‘ol fun times when they were home sick from school? Just me?) Either way, I remember watching the parade of Disney characters dressed in very brightly-colored flamenco-type outfits. I remember the teacup ride and how it was under a covered roof area and twice the size of the ride in Anaheim. (The cups were not twice the size. I just mean the footprint/space was twice the size.) I remember standing in front of a small stage where Mickey and friends danced and sang while wearing college letter-type sweaters. Now thinking back on this, I’m not sure why they were wearing sweaters in the middle of blistering hot Tokyo summer. Maybe they were T-shirts and I am not remembering correctly?
As you can see, there are just many good memories of my childhood (and adulthood) connected with Disneyland. I may or may have have had my bachelorette party at Disneyland.
A few weeks before our departure to Japan, which was in October. My dad secured park tickets for the three of us. You can purchase Tokyo Disney tickets a few ways, one being at your local 7Eleven, which is what my dad did. (Yes, I convinced him to come with us but could not get my mom to budge. She admitted she does not like Disneyland. She says they only took my brother and I because it would be fun for us as kids. What good parents!)
With a specific date set, I now just had to pray to Buddha for no rain! And, you know, study the park map 🙂