The language of wonder has no words – Just Joy

“To All Who Come To This Happy Place


Here you will discover enchanted lands of Fantasy and Adventure, Yesterday and Tomorrow. May Tokyo Disneyland be an eternal source of Joy, Laughter, Inspiration and Imagination to the people of the world…”

My Disney adventures began when I was two – the moment I could sing, my sister and I would be kept occupied repeatedly watching Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and not to forget, Mickey Mouse and friends.

On my maiden outing to a cinema as a five-year-old, my father took my older sister and me to watch the premiere of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast back in 1991 – and this has remained my favourite Disney movie ever since. It also inspired my performance and recording of the “Belle” soundtrack – one of the toughest musical pieces I’ve ever played – for a school concert at the then Sekolah Sri Inai (now known as Beaconhouse Sri Inai). It’s one of my most accomplished musical pieces to-date, although sadly, the audiotape that captured it has been lost.

Despite being a Disney kid all my life (yes, I still watch all things Disney at my age, and there’s no good reason for me to stop), it never crossed my mind to visit a Disneyland, oddly enough.

So, when I was assigned to manage the media trip taking Malaysian journalists to the 35th anniversary celebrations at Tokyo Disney Resort, it didn’t quite strike me that I was heading to a place of my childhood dreams until I slid into my seat on the plane in the early morning of 12 April 2018. It might sound clichéd to say the feeling was surreal, but truly, it was. I was still reeling from disbelief that I was on a Boeing 787 Dreamliner to Tokyo. In my prayers right up to that point, I asked, like a child, “Why Disneyland? Why Tokyo?” The answer wasn’t clear to me – until I got there.

My Disneyland experience began on the second day in Tokyo, the first day being just a day of rest once I checked in our Malaysian media entourage into Urayasu Brighton Tokyo Bay Hotel. The hotel was indeed classy, and this added to the magic right from the start of my stay in Tokyo. Knowing that my itinerary was going to be full that day, I loaded up with a classy but hearty breakfast before our group was due to set off on our tour.

Our first stop of the day was at Tokyo DisneySea. The air was crisp and clean, with a brisk and chilly wind that felt almost like winter without snow. We had the company of media from other Asia-Pacific countries – Indonesia, Singapore, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Australia and more. The members of the media were efficiently grouped according to their country for the tour. Our tour guide, a staff representative from Oriental Land Co Ltd (owners of the Tokyo Disney Resort) was Miki Fujiwara. Seemingly reserved at first, she was easy to warm up to later on, despite the language barrier, and was ever patient with us as we stopped numerous times at various places for the obvious touristy thing – taking photos. This time spent was indeed crucial for the media to capture just the right images they needed to complement their storytelling.


A pit stop to say hello to Mickey Mouse

The first show we watched was “Disney’s Happiest Celebration on the Sea”, specially produced for the anniversary celebrations. Mickey Mouse and his friends – Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy, Pluto and the rest of the gang – greeted us from aboard a golden ship cruising around the lake, decked out in all its glory. I was just tickled that Mickey Mouse and his friends spoke in Japanese! I have never heard Disney characters speaking in any language other than English so that was simply amusing. This show lasted about 10 minutes, then we proceeded to walk through the other areas of DisneySea.

Four hours was certainly not enough to cover the 175-acre DisneySea, but we had to move on to Tokyo Disneyland, which itself covers about 115 acres. That said, one of the perks of wearing the “press” pass meant that we got priority access to catch selected performances or parades, or go on the rides ahead of the public. The sight of throngs of visitors at both Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea is certainly testimony that the 494-acre Tokyo Disney Resort is rightfully one of the top three Disneyland destinations in the world.

Allow me to share with you some of my experiences at Disney and immerse yourself in a little Disney magic ☺ (because words can’t describe all of this, you’ll see!)


Little Hawaiian figurines dancing to “It’s a Small World”

Caption: Dreaming Up Parade – the main highlight of Disneyland, where you meet all Disney characters!


Disney Princesses: Snow White and Rapunzel

If there was one place that truly makes you feel like a child again, this was it – Disneyland. The “adult me” struggled to behave (for lack of a better word) while managing both the media and the client. However, inside, my heart was skipping around like Bambi! Oh, the music all around just made me melt and I couldn’t help but sing along to all the familiar Disney tunes I knew by heart! And boy was I glad to find a singing partner in my Japanese counterpart, Miho, who sang along to the tunes, too. So, I wasn’t the only crazy one who knew all the Disney songs by heart ☺


Miho and I sharing a self-absorbed but totally cute bunny moment!

By the end of the full day at Tokyo Disney Resort, we were all beat. But my heart was full, and I’m pretty sure it was the same for the members of my group too.

Pic5Our team, including Miki (second from left) and Miho (front) – exhausted, but all smiles ☺

The entire Disneyland experience is a pretty spectacular affair. What I found truly impressive is how every element – music and acoustics, character livery, monuments and fabrications adorned and decorated with finesse, garden after garden filled with beautiful flowers in a myriad of colours, parades, performances and attractions that make your heart go wild – was well thought out and close to perfection, and truly brought Walt Disney’s imagination of happiness to life. If you want to feel enchantment, look no further than Tokyo Disney Resort. People find it so enchanting that they even have Disney-themed weddings here, and we were lucky to witness one!


While it is a Japanese thing to provide top-notch value-for-money attractive service and hospitality, it is a Disney trademark to consistently deliver an all-encompassing childhood experience of creativity, imagination and enchantment that can’t be matched, ever since Walt Disney created Mickey Mouse in 1928.

But, here's the catch.

For a truly immersive experience, you have to allow yourself to look through the eyes of a child. That is exactly what this trip was about for me, personally – humbling myself to see beauty and wonder as a little boy or girl would, and to feel what no person, adult or child, should ever be deprived of – true happiness.

As adults, we often forget to look up and around, to be in awe of the beauty present all around us. We’re probably too caught up on the road to success or living in the moment in a fast-paced lifestyle full of challenges, which tends to make us disconnect from the childlike nature within us that wants to experience true joy. I believe this is what Walt Disney wanted to achieve from the beginning – to put a smile on every face in the world, a smile that is priceless and radiates joy.


The joy that filled me during this trip was indescribable, and it’s an indelible experience etched in my heart and memory – a truly magical experience. Beyond Disney, the remaining days of my adventure in Tokyo were spent discovering more of this city that took me away from the buzzing life of KL for a week in the land of the Rising Sun, a place I wouldn’t in my wildest dreams plan visiting, but nevertheless may be one very special stop on my way to other dreams. ☺


“Disneyland will never be completed. It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world.” – Walt Disney

(And I hear that the Tokyo Disney Resort will be expanding by 30% in the early 2020s. Imagination has no limits!)


   Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse – immortalised