• Shona McCarthy

FLY: A Bus To Disneyland Tokyo

(A view from the bus window on the way to Tokyo Disneyland.) My last trip to Japan was littered with serendipitous discoveries. Not the least of these was accidentally taking the special bus to Disneyland Tokyo.

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I had intentionally chosen to stay in place close to Tokyo Disneyland for that leg of my journey. The problem was, I didn't book my ticket to Disneyland till last minute since I wanted to be sure I had the time, energy and resources when I made the decision. I did this through the Klook app in my phone. But what I found was that buying tickets to Tokyo Disneyland even through Klook wasn't a straight forward process, since the only places you could pick up the tickets would be at Haneda Airport. I didn't want to have to go to Haneda Airport unless it was really necessary. So I chose instead to go for the bus and ticket package.

(Things I saw as I made my way to the meeting point for the bus.)

There are a few places where you can catch the bus to Disneyland. I chose the stop off point closest to my hotel. I feel the need to tell you, reader, that finding the stop wasn't easy, since the instructions Klook gives you on how to find the place don't tell you that you need to go inside the building. Also, Google Maps didn't take me to the correct side of the building. Hotels are large, so this is understandable. But the point is that the part you're looking for is further down the road than the first part of the hotel you'll see, and it pays to get up a little early to give you a better chance at finding it before pickup.

For me, the clue that I had found the right place was seeing various people squatting and idling around the hallway, many of them holding pieces of paper, or holding their phone apps open for scanning time. It turns out that the ladies who run the business are actually from China and they manage to speak Chinese, Japanese and English. This is helpful since the bus service attracts tourists that speak those languages. The bus itself was of a kind that would probably be illegal in Australia. I forget how made seats wide the aisles were, but it was cramped and many, though it was very clean and cosy. But what really shocked me was when extra seats were folded out from behind some of the other seats so that they filled the aisle and then more passengers were sat in these chairs. The view outside the window was absolutely beautiful. I had been feeling anxious, frustrated and agitated about being in Tokyo. But when I saw it through the windows of that bus, I felt my heart soften. I fell in love with it.

(Photos I took out the bus window. Tokyo 2019.)

Since the bus travelled over bridges for most of the trip, I felt as though we were flying over the beautiful parks, rivers and then the sea. There was something about the blues of the sky, the sea and the distant buildings. these photos are only a pale representation of that experience. I was having a blissful awakening; a realization of why people love Tokyo so much. I understand now how a tender soul like Makoto Shinkai could be inspired by it. I'd feel a similar feeling again later watching his newest film, Weathering With You, 2019. It's worth it to get the bus between Tokyo proper and Disneyland. Not simply because it's a great way to get between the two with minimal fuss. But also because the bus journey itself is magical.

Little tip: When the bus finally stopped at the Disneyland park, the bus driver didn't think to tell us passengers that we had arrived, so many of the passengers sat loyally in their seats while I was dying to go to the bathroom. I suggest going to the bathroom before you get onto the bus and not having too much to drink. You can't get off the bus till the people in the aisle seats get off.

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