Musings from Mt. Prometheus

Camping Out At Tokyo DisneySea

posted 2017/03/22, by tofu

on my way to catch the very first train to DisneySea
on my way to catch the very first train to DisneySea

I was recently invited along to what can only be described as a campout at Tokyo DisneySea. If you've ever been to Tokyo Disney Resort, you've seen them. The hardcore fans with their leisure sheets, cushions, mini camping chairs, UV umbrellas and countless other camping party tricks, seemingly permanent fixtures in the Tokyo Disney scenery. You look at them and can't help but wonder, are they here every day? How long have they prepared for this parade? What kind of person does this?

I was about to find out, and it filled me with excitement and dread. Excitement, because I was about to spend a day at Disney with other hardcore fans. Dread, because I had never done anything even remotely like this before. I had no idea what to expect.

When accepting the invitation, I figured we would meet up when the park opened and go find a spot to watch the show from. We were going to see Crystal Wishes Journey -Shine On!-, Tokyo DisneySea's 15th Anniversary show. We all had annual passes, we'd all seen the show before. I was preparing for a laid back outing. But then messages started ticking in the day before we were set to go.

"We should meet up at 6AM outside the gates"


Really? To give you some perspective, the park doesn't open until 8AM. The first show doesn't start until 2PM. That meant we were going to sit still and wait for two hours before even getting inside the park? Before our six hour wait? Okay, when in Rome, and all that. I agreed and started preparing. I sheepishly asked what I should bring, feeling a little lost. This was starting to feel more like a girl scout outing than a trip to Disney. The reply I got was that I should bring heat pads, a blanket, and snacks. It is late winter-early spring in Tokyo, and while the temperatures aren't particularly low compared to other parts of the world, there is a wind chill. Also taking into consideration that we'd be sitting down on the ground for most of the day, I decided I'd rather be safe than sorry. This is what I ended up packing.

Not pictured: wallet, camera, a sandwich, a chocolate, a pack of crisps.

I have never brought this much stuff with me to Disney before. In fact, it's probably more stuff than I usually pack when I go on short overnight trips.

This is what I ended up actually needing:

Not pictured: wallet, camera.

First lesson learnt, be prepared, but pack for Disney. You will want to go on rides at some point.

Before going, the girls I met up with told me that they usually spend their time chatting, playing games, snacking, and napping! This last option would have been a great idea, I got up at 4AM to make our 6AM appointment, but for some reason we were all too wired to be able to go to sleep.
When you're waiting for a show at DisneySea in a group, you can take turns leaving the area to go grab FastPasses or buy food or drinks. I also learnt that if you're by yourself, you can leave your stuff and wander off for a bit, as long as you tell a Cast Member and point out to them where you're sitting. Cast Members will clear away abandoned bags and leisure sheets, so it's important that you either have someone there to watch your stuff, or that you let the Cast Member know that you'll be back soon.

I'm not sure what it is about Disney, but I always feel like time moves way too fast there. And this was no exception. Once we'd made it inside and plunked down at a pretty decent spot in front of the main stage in Mediterranean Harbor (this was a mad dash, completely terrifying and exhilarating), one of the other girls ran off to grab us FastPasses for Toy Story Mania. She wasn't back until around an hour later.
We decided to get breakfast from the bakery at the park. The line was ridiculous, so this took another hour or so of our time.

Second lesson learnt, don't bother bringing snacks, the food at the park will lure you in no matter how hard you resist. It is also a good time waster.

And this is how time was spent. We grabbed yet another FastPass (Indiana Jones), and some snacks, and soon enough the one hour call before showtime rang out. I couldn't believe it. Had it really been five hours?

The show started, and we didn't say a word to each other. Shutter sounds rang out. We sang and danced along to the show. This was what we had waited for. It was bliss, and being able to share the experience with new friends made it feel even better.

Half an hour later, and it was all over. We packed up our stuff as if we had just arrived, and went off to enjoy the park. I saw the new crowd of fans run over to grab spots for the evening shows. It was their turn to wait. And I knew they'd have a blast.