Our oldest daughter Alexis is now a senior and the years have flown by. For her senior year, Judy and I decided to each take her on trips – father/daughter and mother/daughter trips respectively. Sharing experiences and creating memories has always been a priority for our family and we thought this would be another wonderful way to have one-on-one time with our daughter before she went off to college.
For our father/daughter trip, I offered Alexis the choice of destination anywhere she wanted to go and she chose to visit the Tokyo Disney Resort in Japan. Our whole family had just visited Tokyo earlier in the year but she wanted to go back. With the trip being relatively last minute, the travel arrangements were more complex than normal but we managed to get decent flights along with a stay at the Hilton right next to Tokyo Disney Resort.
Our plan was to fly out of Las Vegas on a Thursday, have a whirlwind 48 hours in Japan and then catch our return flight back to the US. It was definitely the shortest international trip we have ever taken but that really was part of the excitement. We viewed the entire quick trip as an adventure and Alexis handled the entire experience, including jet lag, like a seasoned traveler.
After landing at Narita Airport in Japan, we quickly bought tickets for the bus and went directly to the Tokyo Disney Resort, luggage and all. It was surreal to think that we were standing in Las Vegas one day earlier and now we were in Japan.
After grabbing a bite at a ramen shop, we wandered around a bit just soaking up the atmosphere. Then we took the short monorail over to our hotel – Hilton Tokyo Bay. Our room at the Hilton had a very Japanese minimalist asctetic along with the standard high-tech Japanese toilet in the bathroom.
The next morning, after a great night’s sleep and feeling no jet lag effects, we headed out to the parks. The Tokyo Disney Resort consists of two parks – Tokyo Disneyland that is similar (but still with many differences) to Disneyland in California and Tokyo DisneySea, which is a unique park only found in Japan. We had already decided to go to DisneySea the first day and the weather was perfect.
The theming at Disney parks in general has always been impressive but DisneySea takes the standard to a higher level. The Mediterranean Harbor “land” of DisneySea is very immersive and we really enjoyed just strolling around taking in the sights.
Another favorite “land” of ours was the Arabian Coast with it’s Middle Eastern architecture.
We were hungry and decided to eat while we were at the Arabian Coast. As you can tell below, Alexis and I went in different directions for our respective lunches….
One of the well-known and most popular snacks at the Tokyo Disney Resort is the many varieties of popcorn that are available for sale at the various carts throughout both parks. I would like to say that we showed self-restraint but that would not be entirely accurate.
After a fantastic day at DisneySea, we headed back to our hotel to sleep and get ready for our second day. The next day was going to be very busy, with a visit to Tokyo Disneyland during the day and then hopping onto our flight home in the evening.
Unfortunately, when we woke up the next day, the weather was the opposite of the day before. It was much colder and pouring rain but we had brought umbrella’s and jackets so we were prepared. This was an adventure, after all, and the weather couldn’t dampen our spirits.
One of the interesting things about Tokyo Disneyland compared to the “Disneyland” parks in California, Florida, Hong Kong, Paris, and Shanghai is that the Main Street “land” is completely covered. With all of the rain, that ended up being a fortunate decision for us that the park builders decided to build the canopy. On a related note, this was the third time we had been to Tokyo Disneyland and each time it was pouring rain, not sure what the deal is with that…
After a soggy but fun visit to Tokyo Disneyland, our evening flight home was approaching so we headed out of the park and to the hotel to catch our bus to the airport.
We received some great news earlier in the day – our upgrades to Business Class for our return flight had gone through. This would make a huge difference on minimizing our jet lag for the return home, especially since we had work & school the next day.
After a 45 minute bus trip to Narita Airport, we checked in and made our way through security. I had heard that they served made-to-order sushi in the Japan Airlines First Class lounge so that’s where we headed. I’m sad to say, the sushi was good in the lounge and that ended up being the first of three “dinners” I ended up eating over the next 4 hour. What can I say, self-restraint is not one of my top qualities.
The lounge itself was well-appointed and comfortable. We ended up staying there for over an hour.
About 45 minutes before our flight, we left the lounge and heading over to our boarding gate. After an efficient boarding process, we were in our seats and ready for the flight back to the good ole USA. Alexis immediately went into full recline mode once we were in the air and stayed that way for the next 10 hours.
We were served dinner and breakfast on the flight. Generally I have low expectations for US-based airlines regarding their meals but these meals were pretty decent. Kudos American Airlines!
Our concerns with jet lag and the quick turn-around on this trip ended up being for nothing. We felt great throughout the trip and with a solid amount of sleep on the return flight, we got back on Sunday night and hit the ground running Monday morning with minimal ill effects.
This trip was very memorable and was a great father/daughter experience that we will always remember and cherish. It was great to spend one-on-one time with my daughter and seeing the strong young lady she has become. I think that many people would think it’s crazy to fly that far for such as short visit but we had a blast and would do it again in a heartbeat. Who knew that taking an extended weekend trip to another country could be so much fun?