One of Tokyo Disneyland’s most beloved attractions is Pooh’s Hunny Hunt. Taking the form of a giant storybook that guests may walk “into”, the ride brings the young (and young-at-heart) through a magical journey in Hundred Acre Wood.
Pooh’s Hunny Hunt is a very popular attraction at Tokyo Disneyland, for many reasons. Apart from being (rather) broadly appealing, it has a surprising level of technical and aesthetic polish for a “family friendly” ride.
Long wait times at this ride could be attributed to its popularity, low capacity and Fastpass. Although Fastpass is designed to reduce wait time for attractions, actually the way it is executed in Tokyo Disneyland (and DisneySea) causes Standby wait times to be very long.
Fastpass is available for Pooh’s Hunny Hunt and for many years, this has made the park opening moment rather hectic. People would run from the park gates all the way into Fantasyland (there’s even an “optimal” route for sprinters) to grab Fastpasses. Long lines would form and latecomers would actually queue from Tomorrowland. Given the nature of Fastpass ticketing, even being in line doesn’t guarantee anything.
Well, with Monsters, Inc. Ride and Go Seek! open, this has become less of a problem now and Fastpasses can still be obtainable by normal means – we managed to get it as our second Fastpass. During peak season you might have to decide between the two. I would recommend getting a Fastpass for Monsters, Inc. for two reasons: The queue there is bare-bones compared to Pooh’s; It’s an easier dash to Monsters, Inc.
Very clever of the park to place a popcorn cart near the Fastpass Ticketing stations! As you wait, the aroma of Honey Popcorn is sure to sink in.
There’s even a backup popcorn cart!
We went back to the ride one evening. Standby wait time was 45 minutes.
The outdoor queue winds around beautiful gardens, which certainly makes waiting pleasant.
Fastpass and Standby merges at this point of the queue, which resembles a conservatory. It gently blends in with other parts of Fantasyland.
The path then leads into a garden shed filled with tools and toys. And a blue balloon.
And poof – suddenly we’re in a giant storybook!
You could look out and wave at the other people (who just joined the line), although at night it’s more of a dazzling ensemble of lights.
The last queue area is a simple space with lots of giant curled pages.
This by the way, is very different from the other Winnie the Pooh rides where the pages are actually “flat” and painted to look 3D.
And finally, the loading platform. As a nod to classic Fantasyland ride: a giant, backlit mural of Hundred Acre Wood runs along the entire platform.
Three ride vehicles are loaded and dispatched every time. Each “honey pot” has two rows of seating (2-3 guests per row).
The moment honey pots leave the ride platform, a pixie dust sound effect is heard, followed by a flurry of energetic goodbyes from cast members. The ride vehicles rearrange themselves, each facing a giant page from the book. Everyone has a “front row” view of the scene.
The page of the book literally comes alive – the illustration starts moving like a cartoon. We see Christopher Robin handing Pooh his blue balloon.
The illustration on the adjacent page breaks away, revealing Hundred Acre Wood in real… 3D.
Immediately we see Pooh floating away with his balloon, missing the first bee hive hidden in the tree.
The first scene of the ride is a very expansive representation of the forest. It’s big and has several things happening everywhere, and too much to see!
Pooh’s Hunny Hunt uses a trackless ride vehicle technology. Similar ride technology is used at Mystic Manor. To me, even though the honey pots are more than a decade older, it seems like Mystic Manor’s Mystic Magneto-Electric Carriages do not travel with the same grace and swiftness as the honey pots in Pooh’s. Also, apart from being far smoother when moving and stopping, Pooh’s honey pots have extra features such as the ability to “bounce”.
The ride begins as three honey pots are dispatched, with each vehicle having its own route. The trio of vehicles would then weave about the scenes in the ride, each visiting a particular part of the scene. So the ride experience isn’t really random – well, the randomness is decided by the cast member at loading. Mystic Manor does the same thing (but they do with four vehicles).
It’s a Blustery Day at the forest. Winnie the Pooh and friends are all over this scene and each honey pot will pass by most of them. The characters are presented as soft plush toys (which looks adorable, and not robotic!) that move VERY fluidly. This will surprise theme park guests who are accustomed to plastic animated figures: both in movement and in form.
The centerpiece at this scene is Owl’s Tree House, which tips about due to strong winds.
Eeyore and his house of sticks (which Pooh eventually floats by and knocks over).
We then meet Tigger, who brings us to a dark section of the Forest, filled with bees. This is the ride’s most famous scene. In the form of a cartoon, Tigger bounces and sings “The Wonderful Thing About Tiggers” (in Japanese), the entire room appears to bounce along.
Actually I’m not completely sure if the floor is a moving platform, or the ride vehicles behaved like other versions of the Winnie The Pooh ride. The scene’s layered backdrop and projection screens work together to create the illusion that the whole world is jumping about like Tigger.
The honey pots drift backwards into an even darker section of the forest, and we soon see Pooh falling asleep in his house. As it happens, he repeats “ハチミツ泥棒” [Hachimitsu dorobō, "Honey Thief"]. His blue balloon sprouts eyes, ears and a nose, while stars slowly fill Pooh’s House.
Pooh floats out of his body and we enter his dream world – filled with Heffalumps and Woozles.
Like a psychedelic dance floor, the dream world is flooded with colours and lights.
This is where the ride vehicles will start “dancing” – rotating among each other, or spinning wildly on its own. There is also another honey pot with a heffalump.
Pooh, in his own dream, is floating around the room from a small pot of honey.
Eventually the voice of Christopher Robin calls out to Pooh…
…who ends up in the Honey Tree – finally having his wish of all the honey he could eat! The scene smells of honey, too!
Without going into writing an essay: Pooh’s Hunny Hunt is definitely one of Tokyo Disneyland’s top attractions and a definite must-see. This is not like any other The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh attractions. The difference in budget (of apparently US$100 million more in Tokyo Disneyland) allowed Disney’s creative team to build an incredible attraction. That is, one that encompasses imaginative design, superior ride technology, fluid and realistic animated figures, plus a lush queue area that feels right at home in Fantasyland.
Even the post-ride experience is memorable:
The decor transits into a “cottage” in Fantasyland. Apparently hidden here is a nursery photo spot which I’ve always missed.
The ride-exit store is called Pooh Corner. It’s a very cute store selling cute (but rather expensive) souvenirs. Still, the store is beautifully themed and adorned with many quotes from Pooh & Friends.
The most poisonous (at least for me) section of the store. These tiny keychains! Why are they so cute!
The sound-activated Pooh toys which we had much fun playing. One clap and all of them will start nodding.
This is a cute store with adorable merchandise, so we spent quite some time taking photos here. I wish y’all could’ve seen the face of the little girl who kept watching us. My sister wore the Pooh hat and I took this photo:
She kept staring at my sister. Apparently she’s waiting for the Piglet toy because it was the last piece in the store at that time.
Then, my sister created a new character: Piglet-Pooh. After we placed the Piglet-Pooh on the shelf, she immediately snatched it and hastily removed the Pooh hat. Then, she copied my sister’s earlier ensemble and got her parents to snap a photo.
Ah, fun times.
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