When we planned our day at Tokyo Disneyland, I tried to contain my own excitement. Disneyland at Halloween! It couldn’t get any better than that! I had no idea how Ellie would do though. She might love it, or it might just be too much for her. I figured we’d take things slow and do a lot of looking, walking around, and not too many of the rides. But when Ellie woke up cranky on Disney day, I really had no idea what to expect.

Tokyo Disneyland was literally about 45 minutes away from door step to door step, which was awesome. Ellie did great on the train all the way there too. But just after we entered the park, I think she got over stimulated and didn’t know what to do with herself. Aya gets the same way too, so I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised. Ellie wanted to be held, but then she wanted to dance in the street to the music. Then she wanted to be held. Then she wanted a cracker, then she wanted water, then she wanted mama, then she wanted down again. She just didn’t know what she wanted and started bawling. Aww, it just broke my heart to see Ellie, my kid, crying at Disneyland. No kid should have to cry at Disneyland! With it being close to lunch time, we decided the best thing for her would be to eat.

But before we could find a place to eat, a parade broke out. The Halloween Welcome to Spookyville parade. This made Ellie stop crying, and start smiling. There’s the Disney spirit! The songs were half in English and half in Japanese. And it totally caught me off guard to hear Mickey and Minnie speak Japanese but it made me forget how fussy Ellie was and enjoy the excitement of being there.

We enjoyed our lunch of burgers, fries, Mickey Mouse shaped chicken nuggets, and a teriyaki chicken sandwich at the Tomorrowland Terrace. When we first walked in to order, just the smell of the place took me back to my childhood trip to Disney World with my family. I could remember how I felt being there. I was in 2nd grade and just so overwhelmed with amazement. And now, I was here as a dad feeling some of those same feelings, but through Ellie’s eyes. I found myself watching her face and reactions more than I was paying attention to the things we were looking at. It made me want to see Disneyland for the first time again.

After lunch, Ellie fell asleep quickly for a much needed nap. And while she napped, Aya’s mom let us go on the Haunted Mansion ride solo. It was almost a two hour wait. Kids do this? I did this as a kid? Ugh, that was rough but all worth it. The haunted mansion is one of my favorites. And with it being close to Halloween, it was a must no matter how long the wait.

We came out feeling excited and ready to explore the rest of the park. But that excitement quickly turned to worry when we heard that Ellie only slept for 30 minutes. And that worry quickly turned to concern when Ellie was still acting cranky. Oh no, it’s Disneyland! But knowing how Ellie is so young, and tired, and how just being here is a lot to take in, we didn’t want to push her, so we just took it slow.

We went over to Toon Town where Ellie walked around and played for a bit. And then we took her on the It’s a Small World ride. This would be her first boat ride and she loved it. Her face of wonderment was precious. She was looking left and then to the right with her fingers fixed in an excited point. “Woah! Woah! Look at that! Wow! Look! Woah!” It was great! But pretty soon after the ride ended, she had another meltdown.

We tried just strolling her around for a bit so she would dose off again, but it just wasn’t working. We decided to try another ride so we went on the Tom Sawyer Island walk that had another short boat ride. Yay, she liked it! But soon after that came meltdown number three. (All that reminiscing I was doing earlier in the day? Yeah, that all stopped after meltdown number 2). Yikes, no kid should cry this much at Disneyland.

Finally at about 5:30pm, she passed out in her stroller. I was really hoping to go on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, but we knew we’d be pushing it. We wanted her to sleep before we had to jostle her around again for the train ride so we just walked around. And we used this time to raid the gift shops.

There is something about a gift shop that sucks you in. Well, it sucks me in. I love gift shops. I don’t know why, I just do. And the gift shops at Tokyo Disneyland at Halloween is a feast for the eyes. One, it’s Disneyland. Two, it’s Japanese Disneyland stuff. And three, it’s Japanese Halloween Disneyland stuff. I don’t really want, or need, any of this stuff, but I felt like I just had to buy it all. And I wanted to buy it all for everybody I knew! I couldn’t decide what to get for myself, so I didn’t get anything. I passed up buying matching Mickey and Minnie Tokyo Disneyland skull coffee cups, but now it’s all I can think about.

The food gifts are the best and most amusing to me though. Mickey shaped rice and seaweed crackers. The Japanese sweet bean cookies and sweets pressed into shapes of the Disney characters. (This is common at many tourist spots. I bought cookies shaped like Buddha when we visited the giant Buddha statue in Kamakura for one of my trips). And all the Halloween cookies with Mickey Mouse pumpkins, or Minnie skulls on them. I wanted to buy them all! But I didn’t. What was I thinking!? Maybe for the next trip.

We really wanted to stick around for the Electric Light Parade, but we knew Ellie had enough for the day. Although it was a difficult time with Ellie and we didn’t do all that much, I’m still glad we went. And with Aya’s parents living so close, I’m pretty sure there will be another trip in Ellie’s future when she’s older. I’m sure by then I can tell Ellie about her first time coming to Disneyland and how much she cried and she’d probably respond, “ME!? Cry at Disneyland? Why would anybody cry at Disneyland?”

You’re telling me, kid.

Only time will tell. But until then, it was time to say sayonara to Tokyo Disneyland until our next visit.

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