You know the old phrase, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” With respect to Aristotle, that’s not usually true when it comes to theme parks although I’m pretty sure that’s not what he was philosophizing about. All theme parks are made up of sub-sections, generally called lands. Since you’re reading a theme parks blog then I’m guessing you probably know that. Many of these lands are spectacular, some are far from it. In our new series, we’re going to take individual lands one post at a time and answer some questions about them.
While this isn’t quite the deep dive into lands that we’ve done before, I’ll provide the bare bones information about the land as well as my overall opinion. We’ll also use these posts to talk about theme both throughout the area and within the park. Throughout the series, all of the posts will use close to the same questions. Let us know in the comments if there are questions that we should add!
Mysterious Island is where we’ll start the series. Tokyo DisneySea calls their lands port-of-calls so I guess I’m already wrong about the name of the post! To the questions!
What is your (short-ish) review of Mysterious Island?
Mysterious Island acts as Tokyo DisneySea’s flagship port-of-call and is located in the middle of the park. It’s earned that right, being perfectly themed and absolutely inspiring. The attractions and restaurants live up to the imaginative spirit, giving a sense of exploration and mystery. At the very least, Mysterious Island is beautiful to look at. If taken in fully, the land is a hallmark of Imagineering.
What’s in the land?
Mysterious Island is a relatively small land in square footage but packs quite a punch. Here’s what’s inside of it:
- Journey to the Center of the Earth – An E-ticket attraction that takes guests deep into DisneySea’s Mount Prometheus. Part roller coaster, part dark ride, the attraction is the showcase attraction of this great park.
- 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea – A creative take on the classic (and now extinct) Magic Kingdom and Disneyland submarine attraction. This ride puts guests in pods that go on an underwater exploratory adventure inspired by the Jules Verne novel.
- Vulcania Restaurant – A counter-service restaurant inside of Mount Prometheus. The restaurant serves excellent Chinese food and the theme is top notch, with the restaurant rumbling inside of the mountain.
- Nautilus Galley – This snack stand sits right down on the water and offers a few unique options. It’s a wonderful place to sit and enjoy the ambiance.
- Nautilus Gifts – The prettiest gift shop I’ve ever been in, Nautilus Gifts has a beautiful domed, glass roof. It fits in seamlessly with the rest of the land.
What is Mysterious Island’s backstory and theme?
Mysterious Island is themed to Jules Verne works, specifically three novels – Mysterious Island, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, and Journey to the Center of the Earth. When entering the port-of-call guests have entered Captain Nemo’s secret lair. This base has the Nautilus, his submarine, docked and has a lab inside of Mount Prometheus. All of these areas are dedicated to adventure and exploring the land and sea’s depths.
Within that sense of exploration and steampunk design is some subtext about exploitation. DisneySea is nothing if not thoughtful and its best lands clearly, but not overtly, state the follies of man’s greed. It’s a high concept for a theme park to take on but it’s done nobly here. Mysterious Island gracefully walks the line of subtlety and purpose, making for one of the most beautifully themed lands in the world.
What is your favorite part of the land? What’s the most memorable aspect of it?
Sometimes this question will have the same answer but Mysterious Island gets two different answers. The most memorable aspect of the land to experience is Journey to the Center of the Earth. From the phenomenal queue to the outstanding ride, the park’s thesis attraction is likely what you and yours will be talking about at the end of the day.
It’s hard for me to pinpoint a favorite part of the land but I’m going to go with how it looks at night. The colors are beautiful any time of the day but the rockwork, greens and golds are so striking at night against the water. There’s not a bad place to spend an evening in DisneySea but Mysterious Island has one of the best lighting packages I’ve ever seen in a theme park. As someone who spends their nights in Disney Parks running around and taking photos, this is the best spot for it. For lack of a better word, night is when the port-of-call feels the most mysterious.
Were there parts of the land you didn’t like?
No, not really. I guess I wasn’t a big fan of the hot dog thing (sorry for not remembering the name) I had at Nautilus Galley but even that was at least interesting.
How does the land coincide and transition with the rest of the park? Does it make the overall park better or worse?
We’ll start with the latter, since it’s the easy answer. Mysterious Island makes DisneySea better. I may have took some unwarranted shots at Aristotle earlier but this park really is more than just a sum of its parts thanks to all of the lands coexisting seamlessly. That leads us to the first question.
The transitions into Mysterious Island are seamless, my favorite of which being the entry from Mermaid Lagoon. The rockwork and bridges are absolutely beautiful while setting up enough of a filter in between ports-of-call that there’s a sort of palate cleanser. Walking in from Mediterranean Harbor, the most common way to the land, is also beautiful with Fortress Explorations acting as an in between for both lands. It is not hard for port-of-calls to fit in at DisneySea since the park’s thesis is built around how water connects us. Not only does Mysterious Island fit in with that idea, it furthers the story and gives guests even more to think about.
Where would you rank the land in relation to the others in the park?
This is an incredibly tough question for DisneySea. There are four lands that could all make a case at being number one on the list – Mysterious Island, American Waterfront, Arabian Coast and Mediterranean Harbor. From a numbers perspective, Mysterious Island has less to do than any of those other lands. But on the other hand, the theme is so unique and well executed. Having a land inspired by the works of a French novelist from the 19th century is something so outside the realm of what Disney has done in the last ten years. I do not see the land ever losing its novelty and it being the center of DisneySea has me ranking it first out of the park’s seven lands. That is until I do a few other exit surveys from this park!
What do you think of Mysterious Island? Do you like our Land Exit Surveys? Would you add anything? Let us know, along with any questions you might have, in the comments below. Interested in a trip to Tokyo Disney Resort? Check out our Planning Guide to help you along the way! If you enjoy what you are reading here on Wandering in Disney please share this post with your friends, as well as like our social media pages. You can also subscribe to the blog via WordPress or email. All of those links are on the right side of this page. Thank you for reading, we really appreciate it!