Many a steampunk is familiar with the sights of not only Nautilus in Tokyo DisneySea, but the entire scenery of Mysterious Island. While many Disney parks have a castle at the center of the park, Mysterious Island boasts Mount Prometheus of Mysterious Island. Literally, but I’ll get to that in a bit.
Is this all there is that makes Tokyo DisneySea so worth it for ‘punks? Or is there more to the park than meets the initial eye?
Let me start by saying, yes, there is absolutely more than meets the eye to Tokyo DisneySea. Not just for steampunks, but also for dieselpunks and clockpunks.
While Mysterious Island is the undisputed steampunk crown jewel — a beautiful rebuild of parts of several Jules Verne novels: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Mysterious Island and Journey to the Center of the Earth — there is much more to it.
Plus, Mysterious Island isn’t even the beginning anyway.
Things start with Mediterranean Harbor. You may wondering what’s so special about this when you enter the park and gaze upon the beautiful old Southern European-style architecture, reminiscent of Spanish and Italian port cities from a few centuries ago. I have three words for you: Fortress of Exploration.
The Fortress is an entire complex within Mediterranean Harbor. The kind of structure that would make Da Vinci proud. It is nothing but clockpunk science, not just a pretty galley and castle to explore. There is an entire astronomical room, letting you gaze at planets and stars in a way that Da Vinci and his kin would have. Clair obscure, camera obscura, a Da Vinci flyer, a puzzle to solve, and, Oh my God, so much more.
Then there’s Magellan’s, the clockpunk restaurant, which has as a centerpiece the most enormous globe I’ve ever come across. Don’t worry, you don’t have to eat there to be able to admire this piece. Tokyo DisneySea is a very well-organized and clever place, so you can get in a sort of visiting area to take photos.
There’s apparently also a “secret” library room you can request to be seated in, so if you visit, make sure to ask about this. I only found out from a good friend after I had gotten back from my trip, so alas no pictures.
The American Waterfront is dieselpunk gallore. Imagine a cross between turn-of-the-centure New York Harbor and a quaint coastal town port (Cape Cod), walking from the one to the other, and you get the Waterfront. Beautiful murals, oldtimer cars and a stop of one of TDS’s crown pieces: the electric railway! Yes, they have a dieselpunk tram going through the park. As if getting there by monorail wasn’t awesome enough!
Port Discovery is one piece of almost futuristic steampunk design stacked on top of the other. It’s not surprising that the sixteenth anniversary imagery of the park features Mickey, Goofy and Minnie in mad scientist garb with this part of the park as backdrop.
This also where you can dine at Horizon Bay, one of the two steampunk restaurants of the park, and enjoy Aquatopia, the steampunk boat version of Autopia.
Lost River Delta
Indiana Jones-style exploration at its best. If you like that sort of thing, make sure to stop by.
And last, but certainly not least, the place everyone knows and loves: Mysterious Island.
Mysterious Island is nothing but steampunk. Nearly the entire area looks like stepped right off the pages of a Jules Verne novel. All the rides are Jules Verne-themed. I can especially recommend 20,000 Leagues under the Sea, as it is absolutely amazing. If you think it is comparible to Les Mystères du Nautilus in Disneyland Paris, you are sorely mistaken, the rides couldn’t be more different if they tried.
All the restaurants and even the consession stands are steampunk-themed, as are the gift shop and info stands.
Vulcania is the other steampunk restaurant of the park. If you ever wondered what the Nautilus dining area would look like, make sure to have a meal there.
There’s also a distinctive Art Nouveau feel to the entire place, which only adds to its wonders.
Oh, and throughout the park there are paddle steamer stops, so you can not only hop from area to area by electric railway, but also by dieselpunk boat!
Of course, there is more to the park, but as this is a piece about the steampunk in TDS, that’s what I’m focusing on. The rest is also very much worth it, though.
Tokyo DisneySea is a top destination if you are into clockpunk, dieselpunk or steampunk. It is not as in-your-face Disney as you can expect from other parks and that only contributes to it’s ‘punk appeal, in my opinion.
If you’re visiting Tokyo, stop by for a day (or several), you won’t regret it.
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