Tokyo Disneyland park is somewhat similar to Disneyland or the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World in that there are lands arranged in a spoke pattern around a castle and in those lands are some of the same attractions. All Disney parks around the world have a version of Pirates of the Caribbean, it’s a small world, Space Mountain and Dumbo the Flying Elephant. Other than some signs in Japanese, you might think you were in another Disney park…..until you take a look at the guests.
The first thing that stands out is their love of merchandise. It’s not just that they shop (and boy do they shop) but it’s what they buy and what they bring back with them on future visits. Shopping is part of the experience. They line up to do it and sometimes the lines for special merchandise are so long you think they’re for an attraction.
At the U.S. parks, you’ll see a bunch of people wearing Mickey ears or other character hats. In Japan, you feel out of place if you’re not wearing one! They wear giant stuffed heads and headbands.
They travel in groups in which everyone, guy or girl, wears the same hat. You’ll often see guys wearing Minnie ears.
Couples tend to co-ordinate their hats and sometimes the guy wears the female character (like Daisy Duck) while the girl wears the male (like Donald). Often the rest of their outfit will coordinate in some way. We saw a couple who had Donald and Daisy tote bags with small stuffed ducks hanging from them.
I think one of the strangest things I saw was a man carrying a tote bag full of stuff Minnie Mouses. (This isn’t him but his bag was just like this. In fact, I saw more than one guy with a bag full of Minnies.)
They don’t sell a lot of “normal” clothing like sweatshirts and t-shirts. Guests seem to really like these character ponchos.
Other than hats and ponchos and tote bags, one of the things you'll see many people wearing are popcorn buckets. Yes, I said "wearing". They buy buckets that range from about $15 to $30 Canadian that have straps on them so they can wear them like purses. They come filled with popcorn but buckets can be refilled for 500¥ (whereas a small box of popcorn is 300¥). We saw people with buckets that were five years old and from all times of the year including Easter, Halloween and Christmas. Various popcorn flavours are available and each park's map shows where you can find a particular flavour. In addition to "normal" flavours like salt and caramel, they have things like soy sauce and butter, curry, apple cinnamon and black pepper. We tried corn potage (corn soup) and chocolate. When I lined up for the chocolate at Disneyland, there were seven Cast Members operating the cart, including one who marked the end of the line which wrapped around the cart twice!
More quirks later when I cover the obsession with Duffy the Disney Bear and, exclusive to Tokyo, his girlfriend ShellieMay!