Attractions

Shanghai Disneyland in Calgary? A visit to F & D Scene Changes

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This weekend I was lucky enough to take a tour of F & D Scene Changes  as part of Doors Open Calgary, an annual event that gives the public access to places around the city they normally would not be allowed to visit. What is F & D Scene Changes you ask?  They are a company that creates “projects that range from scenery for theatre, television and film to theme park elements, museum exhibits, and trade show and retail displays.” They’re located right here in Calgary, behind the Stampede grounds in a gorgeous historical building and I had no idea they existed!

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Imagine my excitement to find out in my very own backyard that they work on set pieces, parade floats and other amazing projects for Disney Parks, Universal, Cirque Du Soleil and more. Everything from design, lighting, welding, sculpting, prototyping, the list goes on. Talk about a hidden gem in Calgary.

During our visit, our tour guide was not allowed give us many details or even mention the name of some of their clients, including their Florida Client. We figured out pretty quickly that was Disney. We got some insider access and saw them working on projects for what I assume was Shanghai Disneyland Resort, as well as a new mall called Tsawwassen Mills (very similar concept as Vaughan Mills or CrossIron Mills .

Based on all the Shanghai Disneyland concept art I’ve seen, I could pick out a few things that were clearly headed overseas to the park. One was a smaller parade vehicle that had hidden Mickey heads printed all over it, another was the giant tree (we’re talking 40-50 feet high) that I assume will be the centrepiece for the Tarzan Show.Tarzan Call of the Jungle Show

They were even working on some concepts for a project based on a very popular “cold & icy” movie…..I’ll let you figure out which one.
It was really interesting learning about how they take the idea and have to figure out a way to engineer it so it looks good, is safe and can survive in any situation possible. They consult with engineers on many projects to ensure people are safe when climb, ride, carry, hold and interact in any way with their pieces. An example was that if a performer passes out in the middle of the show on a tree branch, will the weight of two additional people be okay to climb out to assist them. In addition, are there enough hand holds for three people to safely climb out and back.

Due to the nature of the projects they work on, we were not allowed to take photos of anything in the works. I did however take a bunch of pictures of completed projects they had laid out in their main office. They helped with the Little Mermaid rides at Disneyland & Walt Disney World, Transformers at Universal Studios, tons of other Tokyo & Hong Kong Disney projects, Broadway. Calgary Stampede…The list goest on. It was an awesome tour and highly recommended if you ever have the chance.

Here are some pictures of past projects they have worked on, very impressive!

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The Simple Life

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Spending the past four days on a non-tourism based island has completely changed my perspective of Thailand. Most people arrive to the hustle and hustle of Bangkok, filled with very western shops and food all mixed with Thai culture. The same can be said for many of the well known islands. It’s like this for one main reason: people like familiar.
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I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t the same, until now. I’ve usually been on the hunt for the local McDonalds just in case I don’t like the food. Well, no longer! This island has nothing familiar, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. No 7-11, McDonald’s, shopping or anything related to tourism. The handful of resorts of course have motorbike rentals and will help you arrange boat tours, but it takes some effort and that’s OK. Off the beaten path and worth the journey.

For example, today I woke up to the sounds of the jungle and waves crashing. No pumping EDM or motorbikes. It was glorious! I sauntered down to the beach and had pancakes with pineapple, along with some terrible instant coffee I enjoyed far too much. Then lazed around, backed up all my pictures and headed to a local festival in the middle of a boat race. It was filled with food, drink, and even some carnival games. I attempted to win a prize by shooting plastic caps at the toys, all while local kids watched and laughed at how terrible I was. I had so much fun!
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Just a laid back Saturday, with no rush or plan for anything. Failing to plan is….awesome. It may not work in the “real” world, except if you’re quick on your feet and come up with Plan B.
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Before we headed off again for the evening, Gallame (the bungalow owners daughter) and I explored the beach and drew pictures in the sand. Later that evening we headed up as a group to the festival again, grabbed some food and drink and sat on the beach. I had some sort of dim sum, plus a chicken and rice dish which was fantastic.
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I also rode the super sketchy Ferris wheel, which I thought may break due to me being a giant compared to these people. I’m happy to say I survived!
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We then listened to the live band, danced and had some drinks before heading home. Another day filled with so many cool things, and falling aleep this time with the windows wide open to hear the sounds of the jungle and sea for another amazing night of slumber.

Islands of Adventure

This islands is truly a gem. Off the beaten path enough to be quiet, yet with enough people to not get lonely. After my adventure yesterday, I had headed back up the beach to the Dugong Bar for dinner.

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FYI a dugong is an animal similar to a manatee. Apparently way back they were thought to be mermaids. The more you know!

Our Christmas dinner was on the beach, full of fresh prawns, chicken, salad, duck, Chang, good conversation and the best pina colada I have ever had. The freshly harvested coconut and pineapple help. It was so nice to spend Christmas with a random group of people that were so gracious.
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This trip has reinforced my faith in humanity, and washed away any doubts I ever had about people being friendly and helpful in this world.

During dinner I met a couple from Barcelona, well actually the guy is from there and his wife is originally from Russia. They are around the same age as me and were staying at the same resort. They were planning on doing an island boat tour on Boxing Day and asked if I wanted to come along. Of course I said yes.

After breakfast on Boxing Day we set sail on our own private adventure, and had no idea the awesome that was in store. Just the three of us and the two boat drivers.
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The first stop was an island meant for snorkeling. We weren’t allowed to get onto the island, which would have been impossible anyway as it was all cliffs. We hopped in the water but the current was way too strong. After a minute we were about 20 feet away from the boat and swimming proved to be pointless so we moved on to the next island.

This island was perfect and had a fantastic, untouched beach and great snorkeling. We wandered around the beach and collected shells. After about an hour we headed to my favourite spot of the trip.
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I’m going to call it the secret island, because there were no other people there except for a guy who lived in a hut. We wandered along the pristine white beach, making sure not to step on the broken glass. The one unfortunate thing about a lot of Thailand is there is garbage everywhere. People just don’t seem to care about keeping everything clean. Despite this, the incredible cliffs that rose from the beach added to the majestic feeling this place gave us. I kept saying how much the islands in Thailand remind me of the movie “Avatar”. Must be seen in person, pictures don’t do it justice.
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After what seemed like a short time, we headed over to another island for lunch and a beer. This island had people camping on it and was a little more populated. As we ate fried rice and fresh fruit, these giant wasps took notice and started to buzz around. We just kept moving, but I would not like to be stung by one of those guys!
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We swam, explored and lay in the sun until it was time to go back. As we had a one hour journey to the island, I looked up into the clouds, daydreaming and reflecting on all the amazing things I’ve seen so far.

Once I checked out of my resort, I got a motorcycle ride to the guest house I was going to be staying in. It’s absolutely gorgeous and the beds are so comfy.
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I have the place to myself, and it’s a quick walk to the Dugong Bar on the beach. I grabbed a quick bite and had a couple pina coladas but could feel I had way too much sun on the boat trip. I looked like a lobster and the sea breeze was making me shiver! I decided to head up early, drink water and pop some Advil while I watched TV. There was a documentary on about the tsunami, as it was exactly ten years to the day it happened. It was so upsetting, I actually cried a bit. Can’t believe such a crazy thing happened in this magical place, and yet they rebounded so quickly. Yet another humbling experience, making me even more gracious for everything I have.

After a bit more TV, I went to bed while listening to the sounds of the jungle, mixed with the super loud music from the festival happening up the beach. A minor annoyance but I passed out anyway and had the best sleep ever! More adventures await.

Beaches, Longboats & Glowing Plankton

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The last four days have been a whirlwind tour of so many amazing things, I’ve hardly had time to write anything down.

I had only booked one night at Slumber Party on the Beach hostel online in Ao Nang, which is a beach area right near Krabi. It ended up being so chill that I stayed four nights! Once I checked in, I met a bunch of people and we all played beer pong, then went out to the local bar area and had an awesome time. It’s all a blur.
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The next day was not as awesome, and I wanted to die. Too much fun, so it was basically a write off. Luckily I didn’t have any plans so I didn’t miss out on anything.
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Monday turned into an incredible day that made up for Sunday. Although I slept in until about 10am, I had a full day of adventure planned. I booked a 4 Island Awesomeness tour with my hostel, but unfortunately not enough people signed up. They were super helpful and offered to book me on the 7 Island tour run by another company. Super sweet right?
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The tour took us to a bunch of islands, including Railay and Chicken Islands.
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We snorkeled, did deep water solo (cliff jumping), watched a fire show after we had a BBQ on the beach and ended with swimming at night among glowing plankton. It was like being in the movie “Avatar”…. Like seriously cool. I also thought about sharks for half a second, but couldn’t care less!
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It was an incredible day, which ended up with a pub crawl from the hostel. Even though I didn’t get home until 4am again, the next day was not nearly as bed as I took it much easier!
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I puttered around the hostel then sent a message to Jen, this amazing UK girl I’d met the other day (see marriage proposal pic). We made quick plans to head to Railay to explore. What a day it became. Not only did we run into a pack of monkeys, we explored the amazing Diamond Cave and climbed up into the jungle to the viewpoint and get close to the secret lagoon. The entire place is breathtaking, like everything else I’ve seen! By the end of the day I was covered in sweat, red mud, dirt and countless scrapes, cuts and bruises. This is the life!
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After we watched the sunset on the beach and took our longboat back to Ao Nang, we wandered up to some outdoor food vendors and stuffed our faces. I had a chicken shawarma, watermelon fruit shake, chicken skewer and potato chips on a stick. All for around $4.

I headed back to the hostel and was so exhausted I just read in my bunk for a while and went to bed. Our plans were to meet up again, but we were too wiped out to do anything that night.

As I wrote this post I was on a bus to Trang Town in the south, where the plan was to hop on a longboat to take a tuk tuk to my beach paradise for Christmas. It was an interesting day, I’d been on 2 different buses, and we kept stopping in random places and I had no idea where I was. It’s pretty cool to just go with it and see what happens! #soloyolo right?!?

To be continued…..
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Temples, Tigers and Waterfalls

Day 2 in Chiang Mai turned out to be super awesome. I headed for breakfast around the corner from my hostel with no plan in mind. I ended up running into a girl named Regina from Holland I’d met the night before, and after breakfast we set off to visit some temples around the city.
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After checking out a couple of temples, we decided we both wanted to get out of the city and head up the mountain see the jungle, temple and waterfall. We ended up hiding a taxi for the afternoon to drive us around.

It’s so cheap to hire someone to drive you anywhere you need go, and then they will wait for you so you don’t have to worry about how to get back. It’s absolutely fantastic!

The ride up the mountain took about 45 minutes and was a twisting, bumpy adventure that was a lot of fun. I didn’t even think about the fact we had no seatbelts and the back door is open so you could fall out!

First stop was a viewing are that allows you to see the entire city of Chiang Mai. It was much larger then I expected, and there was a lot of smog which is sad.

Next up was Wat Phra That Doi Suthep which is famous for it’s giant staircase. We opted to take the little tram up the hill, and walk down after we were finished. The view from the top of the mountain was breathtaking, and the grounds covered with lush vegetation. Although I later discovered that a lot of the orchids and other flowers were fake!
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Next up was a quick stop at a waterfall on the way down the hill, just at the entrance to Do I Suthep National Park.
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Such a tranquil place, in the middle of the jungle. Exactly what I wanted to see.

Afterwards we headed back to town and grabbed a bite to eat. I had a chicken and rice dish, along with iced tea. I sure love my iced tea!
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We decided we wanted to get massages, so Regina got a full body while I got a foot massage. That’s two foot massages and one full body so far….gotta take advantage! After that we just chilled out with some other people from the hostel, then headed out for some food on the streets. We almost ended up going out to the bar, but most of us were almost falling asleep at this point we went to bed. Smart decision!
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Saturday was my last day in Chiang Mai and I left it up to chance what I would do. I’ve learned keeping an open schedule Jere always works out for the best. I woke up and waited for Ed, Dallas, Stef and Josh to get ready. They were planning to head to Tiger Temple but I didn’t have a scooter to get there, and didn’t want to get one yet. I also wasn’t sure if I had to me as my flight was at 5:35pm. Well, they suggested I hire a taxi to take me there while they followed on their scooters, and I could just head the airport from there. Excellent plan, so I did.
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I grabbed my stuff and we took the 35 minutes drive out there. Once we arrived, bought our tickets see a big tiger and wandered around a bit.
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I wasn’t 100% sold on the idea, but it looked like the tigers are taken care of really well so I convinced myself it’s OK. I’m glad I did it, because getting up close to these majestic cats was so awesome!
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We got tons of photos and video, then decided we should stop at the waterfalls nearby. Hey, more waterfalls? Why not!

These were much more impressive than the other ones, with a huge train heading up the hill and about 10 different interconnected waterfalls. We hiked to the top (which almost killed me!) then worked our way back down.
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Not going to lie, in the back of my mind I was afraid of seeing a snake. Luckily we only saw a few small spiders, then a giant venomous looking one above us on the trail. It was pretty cool!
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Hard to see, but the spider is on this picture.

After trekking back down, I said my goodbyes to the group and hopped in the taxi to the airport. Such cool people, had an amazing time and I hope to cross paths with them again.
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After being dropped off at the airport, I checked my bag (they made me!) and grabbed some food. I flew Air Asia to Krabi and arrived at about 7:30pm. Met a couple beside me from Greece and Croatia who were also heading in my direction to Ao Nang so we split a cab. Arrived at Slumber Party Hostel, but didn’t realise their were two. I was at the wrong one, however one of the guys who works there gave me a motorcycle ride to the proper one about a 10 minute drive down the road. Checked in then headed right into a beer pong tournament. Once again met a huge group of amazing people!
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We ventured out to some local bars and I went to bed at some ungodly hour. Really enjoyed the night and can’t wait to do it again!

Chiang Mai

Yesterday was a day of random and exciting adventures. After waiting around for a while, I found the rooftop secret garden and had a nap there I til about 7:30am. I waited out front for the office to open as a bunch of other backpackers arrived and we all chatted and got to know each other. Finally after 8 the office opened, but we could only leave our bags there as actual check in wasn’t until 12pm.

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I ventured off with my new friends from the U.K. and Canada to grab some breakfast and do a bit of sightseeing.

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After a couple of hours, we all got officially checked in and they headed up to sleep for a bit as they had been up all night in a bus. I wasn’t as tired as expected, so I ventured off to get some lunch, a Thai massage and wander around the city.

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The people at the hostel also arranged a BBQ for the evening, so we all pitched in some cash. It ended up turning into an impromptu street party with around 20 people there, come places like Slovakia, Holland, England, Scotland, Portugal and a couple other countries. We ate the delicious chicken skewers, which had peppers, onions and pineapple on them.

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A few beers and whisky shots later, a large group of us headed out to the bars. It’s so easy to make friends in hostels, I don’t want to stay in normal hotels ever again!

Lost in Translation

Woke up early again today with plans to head off and explore the real Tokyo. On my way to the train to start my journey, I took a stroll through the Sens?-ji Temple and market area as everyone was setting up their shops for the day.

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Grabbed a One Day ticket for Tokyo Metro & Toei Subway so I could traverse the city.

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For 1,000 yen it let me travel around the city all day on the Tokyo Metro and Toei Subway lines. I must also mention the Tokyo Tourist Guide has been a life saver, I’ve literally used it at every turn to find my way around and also decide where I want to visit. Grab it at the airport!

My first stop was in Ginza to check out the Tsukiji Fish Market, the biggest wholesale fish and seafood market in the world. What could be better than a market visit early on a Saturday Morning? Also famous for it’s fish auctions for which people wake up at the crack of dawn to witness. Walking through the market was a voyage of discovery. Men zipped around in electric carts delivering styrofoam containers of fish in ice as fishmongers sliced up tuna and shucked oysters, all fresh from the boats. The smell of seafood permeated the air as I avoided puddles of water and navigated through the massive terminal, passing buckets of fish guts around every corner. It was definitely a cool place I would highly recommend on a trip to Tokyo.

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After traversing through the giant market and terminal, I took a quick tour of the main road in Ginza, which is basically a high-end shopping area like Bloor St. in Toronto. I then headed for Shibuya. [pe2-image src=”http://lh3.ggpht.com/-tLD9sgPXLSs/VIulVXNaNWI/AAAAAAAAMcg/B_dfOC1uxKQ/s144-c-o/IMG_20141213_113013.jpg” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/106936826608506155895/20141213?authkey=jfYRJW3iEzA#6092144707374822754″ caption=”” type=”image” alt=”IMG_20141213_113013.jpg” ]

Shibuya is most well known for its crazy scramble intersection, which can be seen in countless movies and music videos. People watching is the name of the game here, and I found the Starbucks to be a great place to get a nice view.

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After spending some time wandering through the stores here and having McDonald’s for lunch (yes I had to try it once!), I headed up the road to Harajuku. Sadly, I did not see any Harajuku girls as promised by Gwen Stefani, however I did find an amazing candy store where you can watch them make the candy right in the store. I was fascinated, so I ended up buying a couple of bags.[pe2-image src=”http://lh3.ggpht.com/-Swrsf43c9eY/VIwFqRsBCbI/AAAAAAAAMhs/DSLRGFnjkC0/s144-c-o/IMG_20141213_160424.jpg” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/106936826608506155895/20141213?authkey=jfYRJW3iEzA#6092250619786103218″ caption=”” type=”image” alt=”IMG_20141213_160424.jpg” ]

Another highlight was an amazing store called Kiddyland. It is a 6 storey toy store, filled with tons of random amazing products that I have never seen before. I wanted to buy everything, but managed to leave with nothing. The place was packed with people, so it was difficult to navigate a bit.[pe2-image src=”http://lh6.ggpht.com/-2JbvYI4CLzQ/VIv3Y9ZTZqI/AAAAAAAAMgo/mxbY6N6BsLA/s144-c-o/IMG_20141213_151754.jpg” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/106936826608506155895/20141213?authkey=jfYRJW3iEzA#6092234929118340770″ caption=”” type=”image” alt=”IMG_20141213_151754.jpg” ] [pe2-image src=”http://lh3.ggpht.com/-CQMX4sJG40E/VIwFzk20_zI/AAAAAAAAMjA/ub0k9ojxh4I/s144-c-o/IMG_20141213_150113.jpg” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/106936826608506155895/20141213?authkey=jfYRJW3iEzA#6092250779550547762″ caption=”” type=”image” alt=”IMG_20141213_150113.jpg” ] [pe2-image src=”http://lh4.ggpht.com/-HypGyMWvhTo/VIwFyN-P69I/AAAAAAAAMi0/ew9vlR7H_5I/s144-c-o/IMG_20141213_145930.jpg” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/106936826608506155895/20141213?authkey=jfYRJW3iEzA#6092250756227787730″ caption=”” type=”image” alt=”IMG_20141213_145930.jpg” ]

 After Kiddyland it was getting dark out, but I took a stroll through Yoyogi Park to take in the atmosphere before heading to my last spot for the day: the Tokyo Metropolitan Government building in Shinjuku.[pe2-image src=”http://lh5.ggpht.com/-e8gOJEPSodI/VIwEFoTezJI/AAAAAAAAMhE/VQpSi5OOJL0/s144-c-o/IMG_20141213_163102.jpg” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/106936826608506155895/20141213?authkey=jfYRJW3iEzA#6092248890690423954″ caption=”” type=”image” alt=”IMG_20141213_163102.jpg” ]

It has a free observatory on the 45th floor with views of the city in all directions. It was incredible to see how spread out Tokyo is in all directions, I just wish I had come in the day so I could see Mount Fuji.

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While I descended I remembered the Park Hyatt Tokyo was in this part of the city, and it was on my must see list of destinations. If you’ve seen the movie Lost In Translation then you are familiar with the amazing view from the bar at the hotel, where scenes from the movie were filmed. It really is a gorgeous hotel, unique in that the lobby is on the second floor of an office tower, and everything else is way up on the 42nd floor and higher. While I didn’t have a drink at the bar, if you have an extra 1800 yen I highly suggest it for the view alone. [pe2-image src=”http://lh4.ggpht.com/-7dk25KjchsE/VIwtfPxHW4I/AAAAAAAAMlU/0B8Wj5nEs10/s144-c-o/IMG_20141213_190817.jpg” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/106936826608506155895/20141213?authkey=jfYRJW3iEzA#6092294410757168002″ caption=”” type=”image” alt=”IMG_20141213_190817.jpg” ] [pe2-image src=”http://lh3.ggpht.com/-vOvzP1Prm1I/VIwN8PNedsI/AAAAAAAAMkk/MbDjssBPBiQ/s144-c-o/IMG_20141213_185906.jpg” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/106936826608506155895/20141213?authkey=jfYRJW3iEzA#6092259724451804866″ caption=”” type=”image” alt=”IMG_20141213_185906.jpg” ] [pe2-image src=”http://lh3.ggpht.com/-61brzhhqWDM/VIwNroh4wjI/AAAAAAAAMjw/eTp3NoAikGE/s144-c-o/IMG_20141213_185506.jpg” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/106936826608506155895/20141213?authkey=jfYRJW3iEzA#6092259439190524466″ caption=”” type=”image” alt=”IMG_20141213_185506.jpg” ]

 After venturing through the hotel and wishing I was staying there, I headed back to my hostel. I ended up on the wrong train so had to backtrack. I was impressed that this was the first time I got lost all week on the train. The walk home was beautiful, with everything lit up and still bustling.[pe2-image src=”http://lh5.ggpht.com/-dDbkH2wplpU/VIwttswOTXI/AAAAAAAAMl0/usTfLzTw3qE/s144-c-o/IMG_20141213_205506.jpg” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/106936826608506155895/20141213?authkey=jfYRJW3iEzA#6092294659056225650″ caption=”” type=”image” alt=”IMG_20141213_205506.jpg” ]

I needed to do laundry so I just chilled out at the hostel and got that finished. I would say it was a very successful and crazy busy day. Just the way I like it! Tomorrow is my last full day and I still have a long list of things to do. I have also decided to buy a bunch of things and ship them home. There is so much cool stuff here I just cannot leave without taking a few things!

Last Day at Tokyo Disney Resort

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Winter Shiny Tea...tastes like cider.

Today was the last day at Tokyo Disney Resort before I see the rest of Tokyo for the next couple of days. It’s been an eventful day and I started late. I managed to sleep until 6am today! That’s 7 full hours of sleep.
First thing this morning I grabbed some food on the street outside my hostel and wandered around a bit before I headed to Disney.

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Once I arrived at Disney I realized I have not seen a seen a single Cast Member that doesn’t have a smile on their face. Seriously, it’s like they are super happy people all the time…or robots. It is Japan, so it’s quite possible. Disney Parks in the United States are renowned for their level of guest service, but here it’s distinctively better in every way.

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Also, people here bring the craziest things with them, like full on luggage and giant bags with mini stuffed toys all over them. The most common thing I see are the refillable popcorn buckets that have straps so people carry them like purses. Everywhere. It’s nuts! They sure do love their popcorn. Another thing…Duffy, Duffy, Duffy. They love him so much. So, so much. Yet another thing that hasn’t really translated to the U.S. parks.

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Today’s goal was to get two very important photos: Oswald and Mickey. Oswald is only available to meet here at Disney Sea and Disney California Adventure. I strategically went over to his line while everyone else was distracted by the Colorful Holiday Greeting (yes it’s called that, ha ha) on the harbour. I only waited about 30 mins in line to get a pic with him. Next up was Mickey, over in Lost River Delta. A quick Electrical Trolley and walk through Port Discovery got me there.

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One of the coolest rides ever!

For the past 2 days I’ve been hesitant to wait in line for an hour, but I happened to get there at the right time at Disney Sea and only waited about half an hour. How could I visit Tokyo Disney without getting a pic of the boss? The whole character experience here is also interesting, as they have a dedicated photo person and cast member for each group. I’m also glad they had random characters around the park as that’s how I got pictures with Dale, Goofy and another character I can’t place from Robin Hood I think.

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Line up for Mickey!

After another tour around the park, I headed to Tokyo Disneyland to catch the Jungle Cruise, however it was totally mental, like the extended queue was longer than the normal one and was full. Needless to say I skipped it and wandered around until the Electrical Parade of Dreams and fireworks. The parade was almost a mix of Spectromagic and the Main Street Electrical Parade and was super long.

Finally ended the day with fireworks, then sprinted to to train to get home. Off to explore the real Tokyo now!

Tokyo Disneyland

Woke up at 5am today, so at least I slept a bit more than the previous day. For some reason I’m not the basket case I should be.
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Arrived just after the 8:30am opening of Disneyland and made a beeline to Monsters Inc. Hide and Go Seek. It’s one of the most popular attractions here, along with Pooh’s Hunny Hunt. I’ve learned that the cuter it is in Japan, the more crazy they go for it. This includes everything from the merchandise to the food. I mean where else can you get dumplings that look like the Green Aliens from Toy Story?
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The weather was okay until mid morning and the rain kept going from a drizzle to torrential downpour. I gave up attempting to by dry, it’s wasn’t going to happen. Of course I left my rain jacket back at the hostel because I’m a genius and didn’t even think to check the weather. Lesson learned.

The rain did stop by early afternoon so both the Happiness on High and Santa’s Village Parade happened.
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Must visit attractions here included: Haunted Mansion Holiday Nightmare, the Tokyo version of the popular Christmas overlay at the original Disneyland. Also, got a Fastpass for Pooh’s Hunny Hunt and won the “lottery” for the One Man’s Dream show.
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They love their ticket lotteries here, it’s very cool and people get super excited when they win. It’s the small things right?
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It’s also interesting to note that for all the indoor parts of Florida & California that have air conditioning that is always too cold, all the buildings here are heated and are too hot. Guess you can’t win no matter what part of the world you’re in!

Haunted Mansion is located in Fantasyland, which makes this the only part in the world that you can get Dumbo in the shot with it!
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I keep walking around the park going “that’s strange” because some of the placement of things is weird, compared to the US parks.

I waited all day to ride Pooh’s Hunny Hunt and it was well worth it. It’s a dark ride that uses trackless vehicles and is incredible. Your vehicle interacts with the other ones, zips around and you never know where you’re going to go. It’s sort of non linear to start, then you head into a big dance floor scene filled with music, lights, effects and is just brilliant. Finally you end up in the honey tree and it smells just like honey. The set design and everything is stunning, and gave me another wow moment.
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Ended the evening by watching the Once Upon A Time castle show. It’s a mix of some light pyro and amazing projection mapping.
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That’s it for now. I’ll be posting way more details on Theme Park Canuck when I’m back!