Thursday, November 18, 2010

Captain EO-Land - Tokyo Disneyland

When Captain EO returned to Disneyland back in February of this year, I did a post that I called "Captain EO-Land" which covered Disneyland's Magic Eye Theater and everything that had resided in it's spot dating all the way back to the Flying Saucers attraction. Well, Captain EO has also returned to Tokyo Disneyland, so for today's post we will be taking a look at the history of that attraction space in Tokyo's Magic Kingdom.


Let's begin at the entrance to Tokyo's Tomorrowland, which still resembles Walt Disney World's original Tomorrowland entrance (and I hope Tokyo never alters theirs!) The theater that features Captain EO can be found on the left/north side of Tomorrowland, just inside the entrance way.

When Tokyo Disneyland first opened in April of 1983, the debut attraction in this theater was a film titled, "The Eternal Sea."


This film was shown in a 120° format and explored man's relationship with the sea. "The Eternal Sea" was an attraction that was unique to Tokyo Disneyland.


In January of 1985, "The Eternal Sea" was replaced with the 3-D film, "Magic Journeys."


This film had made it's debut at EPCOT Center on opening day in 1982 and was also shown at night on the Space Stage at Disneyland.


As with Disneyland and EPCOT Center, Magic Journeys at Tokyo Disneyland was replaced by Captain EO. Captain EO opened at TDL in March 1987 and ran until September 1996.


Eventually, all four Disney parks that featured Captain EO (Paris included) replaced it with the very unfunny "Honey I Shrunk The Audience." In Tokyo, this film was given the title, "MICRO ADVENTURE!"


Don't let the change in name or that exclamation point at the end of the title fool you. It was just as boring in Japan as it was here in the U.S. I have never been a fan of this attraction, but because TDL has better versions of many other familiar Disney attractions (like Winnie the Pooh, Monsters Inc., and Indiana Jones, just to name a few), I thought I would check the film out just to see if they had somehow improved upon it. Well, they didn't! It was just as painful as ever to sit through. The film was dubbed in Japanese, but there were phones installed at the seats towards the back of the theater so that guests could listen to the film translated into English or Korean.

Here's the cover of the TDL guidebook from 1997 touting MicroAdventure! as their newest attraction.


More info from inside the guidebook:


Tokyo Disneyland retained their individual ticket system for their attractions much longer than Disneyland or Walt Disney World. The Tomorrowland attraction listing below, shows that MicroAdventure actually required an "E" ticket!


Once individual tickets were elimated, "Fastpass" was added to the attraction. The very first time I visited TDL, Fastpasses were available for MicroAdventure, but I remember being able to just walk right in without one. I probably should have gotten a Fastpass anyway, just to retain as a souvenir because by the next time I visited the park, the Fastpass machines were all covered up. The photo below shows the covers over the machines.....and look, two people are actually entering the attraction. Hey, I recommend using those next 23 minutes of your life to do something else! Go see Country Bear Jamboree or The Mickey Mouse Revue!


This close-up shows the Fastpass sign with the return time turned off.


And now we come to the happy part of this post. MicroAdventure was removed from Tokyo Disneyland earlier this year and replaced with Captain EO! (Actually, they are claiming that MicroAdventure is "on hiatus" right now, but hopefully it won't be coming back.)

Before:


After:


Here's what the queue for MicroAdventure looked like in it's last years. The first photo shows the "extended" portion of the queue.....EMPTY! Note the Fastpass sign with the canvas cover over it.


Here's the main part of the queue.....EMPTY!


Now here's a photo that was taken just three weeks ago showing the same section of queue with people waiting to see Captain EO.....and yes, the line did curve around at the end of the building and filled up the "extended" queue area.


The covers are now off of the Fastpass signs!




The covers are also off of the Fastpass machines.


The digital reading on the Fastpass sign doesn't register in the photograph, but I can tell you that the Standby wait time was 80 minutes when I took this picture!


This Captain EO Fastpass was obtained at 1:50 p.m. and the return time was for 6:20 p.m.


Now let's venture on into the waiting area and take a look around.


These four signs feature "three dimensional" images of the cast.





These next two signs contain the lyrics to "Another Part Of Me" and "We Are Here To Change The World" both in English and Japanese.



A row of inverted triangles hangs over the waiting area. The pre-show film is the same "making of" film that is shown at Disneyland in Anaheim.


When the pre-show film concludes, the triangles all change to the colors of the rainbow.


Now it's time to enter the theater....


The film is presented in English and it's pretty much the same as it is here in the U.S. As for the theater "motion" in Tokyo, there was one big difference. The theater did not move as dramtically, or as often as it does at Disneyland. Since Captain EO did not reopen in Tokyo until July and it had already made it's return to Anaheim in February, I am wondering if they listened to the guest complaints about the continuous "thumping" of the theater being annoying.

Anaheim's Captain EO does not have this message at the end of their film.


We'll end with just a few miscellaneous photos. Here's a slightly blurry shot of the theater's exterior at night. The neon triangles in the waiting area can be seen through the windows.


The Captain EO employees all wear this special embroidered patch that hangs from their namebadges. I want one of those!


Planet M, which is the main souvenir store in Tomorrowland, has a variety of Captain EO merchandise....including post cards, stickers, key chains, T-shirts and attraction posters. None of Tokyo's Captain EO merchandise.....or their attraction signage for that matter, includes the word "Tribute" below the title as it does in Anaheim.


That concludes this tour of Tokyo's Captain EO-Land!

9 comments:

Tom said...

Ok. I have two stupid questions.

1. Why is the film even dubbed in English in Tokyo? All the signs are in English.

2. Why didn't they just make new films every year or so, instead of showing that lame Rick Moranis film for 15 years?

TokyoMagic! said...

Tom, HISTA was dubbed in Japanese, to hear the English version, you had to sit in the back of the theater and listen to the soundtrack through one of the phones. I'm not sure why HISTA was dubbed in Japanese and Captain EO is not. Most of the signs in the park (including food menus) are in English and Japanese, but the English title is usually listed first and is larger. (Not sure if that answered your first question.)

As for your second question, I would like an answer to that myself! I remember when Star Tours opened at DL, there was a news story on TV about how it and Captain EO were the "next generation" of theme park attractions where the theater could remain in place for years and they could just keep swaping out the software every few years. Well "every few years" turned into twenty four and a half years for Star Tours. I think the answer to your question is "money." They are just too cheap to give us something new every few years. I would love to see a new film go into "Soarin Over California." Then in a few years, they could even bring back the original film and there would be a renewed interest in it just as there is now with Captain EO. Oh well, that probably won't happen for at least another fourteen and a half years!

Dan Alexander said...

Somehow I never managed to see Honey, I Shrunk the Audience--even when given a "bonus" FastPass for it at Epcot back in 2004.

I remember seeing Magic Journeys on my first visit to EPCOT (very trippy).

I have fond memories of seeing Captain EO at EPCOT when it was still new and very busy. Having never experienced the motion in the theaters (added for HISTA) I'm curious about that.

Nice to see EO merchandise, too--I remember a line of plush toys and PVC figures at EPCOT. Anything like that in Tokyo? Seems like that would do well there!

I've never been to Disneyland Paris, but I remember seeing a picture of their EO facade--it looked nice, with spiffy decor featuring images of a flying Fuzzball (EO's alien butterfly monkey).

TokyoMagic! said...

Dan, You aren't missing anything...trust me! I usually prefer attractions that are actual "rides" over attractions that are basically just "movies", but I liked Magic Journeys and Captain EO a hundred times better than HISTA. The word "painful" keeps coming to mind when I think of the times that I've sat through it.

The only merchandise available this time around for Captain EO is shown in that photo. I really was hoping for more than what they had. I'm not sure what merchandise they had available when it was there originally. I saw three adults in the park dressed as Captain EO for Halloween (I plan to post those pics eventually) and one of them had "plush" versions of Hooter and Fuzzball, but I think they were "vintage" items.

Funny...when I went to Paris, HISTA was there but I had learned my lesson from Tokyo and avoided it completely! I never got to see the signage for Paris' Captain EO.

Davelandweb said...

Since there were no repercussions to returning Captain EO, seems like the "temporary" and "limited" status about it sticking around are no longer mentioned. Great post!

Major Pepperidge said...

I wish they would update "Soarin' Over California" so that it just went over Oxnard.

TokyoMagic! said...

Dave, since there were no repercussions, maybe now someone can rebuild the amusement park that used to be at the Neverland Ranch and open it to the public.....I'd go!

Major, "Soarin' Over Oxnard"....hmmmmmm, that title has has a certain ring to it.

A Snow White Sanctum said...

Tokyo-- My compliments to you. This is a VERY thorough and well done post. It sounds as if you might be located in the US. If this is so, how often do you actually get over to TDL?

TokyoMagic! said...

Thank you, Robert! I was born and raised....and still live very close to DL in Anaheim. I fell in love with the Tokyo parks after visiting just once. I try to get over there at least once a year...twice if I can!