Tokyo DisneySea – Sindbad’s Storybook Voyage

Sindbad's Storybook Voyage - entrance

Sindbad’s Storybook Voyage is perhaps the most overlooked and underrated attraction at Tokyo DisneySea. Placed at a quiet corner of Arabian Coast, this dark ride portrays Sindbad’s exciting voyages with music by Alan Menken. The ride is also well known for its number of incredibly life-like (and yet cartoon) animatronics.

Sindbad's Storybook Voyage - Queue

The attraction was revamped in 2007. The first iteration opened along with Tokyo DisneySea in 2011. Known back then as Sindbad’s Seven Voyages, it wasn’t a grand celebration of Sindbad’s tour of the world in song. Instead, it was a loose adaptation of the seven voyages, which includes Sindbad slaying creatures and stealing treasure. Perhaps the overall message wasn’t well received by the Japanese audience – Sindbad always had a very short wait, rarely above 25 minutes.

The reworking of this attraction kept the general scheme of scenes and characters, but all of them turned into Sindbad’s friends; and the treasures became “gifts” instead. Sindbad was also given a makeover (which looks very odd, compared to the original look) and a tiger cub companion called Chandu.

As I’ve visited Tokyo DisneySea over a decade ago, I enjoyed the first version of this attraction very much. There was a greater sense of mystery, violence and dark humour that is subtly masked by the ride’s cartoon look. Many people said that the ride is Pirates of the Caribbean meets it’s a small world.

I still enjoy the ride now, it’s just that much of the ride’s unique concept was lost with the changes.

Sindbad's Storybook Voyage - Queue 2

The map of Sindbad’s voyage, as well as his “new friends” met along the way.

Sindbad's Storybook Voyage - Loading

Amazing amount of detail at the loading platform.

Sindbad's Storybook Voyage - The River

Looking back at the river. This is also one of those very rare slow river rides that attempts to mask the water channel. The water extends into the set design – it’s not like sitting in a boat that’s moving along a concrete canal with things on both sides. You do feel like you’re floating through the rivers and seas.

Sindbad's Storybook Voyage -Sindbad and Chandu

Sindbad and Chandu.

The catchy song that accompanied the revamp, “Compass of Your Heart” by Alan Menken, is incredibly well executed in this attraction. While different verses are looped in each scene, the transition is fluid, even shifting into perfect counterpoint at some moments. The song also pauses at some lines so that Sindbad can talk. And all of this doesn’t just happening as “background music” – the animatronic figures portray singing movements very expressively.

Sindbad's Storybook Voyage - Farewell!

Fluffy sheep – not just static decoration.

Sindbad's Storybook Voyage - The Village

Sindbad's Storybook Voyage - Monkey

Sindbad's Storybook Voyage - Dancer

It is amazing how many animatronics are in this ride (Let’s not forget that every one of them is individually programmed to work with the song). The first scene probably has over 20 figures scattered all over. There are so many figures that it’s not possible to see them all in one sitting. Some dark rides don’t even have 10 animatronics throughout the entire ride.

With new attractions increasingly relying on projection effects, I won’t be surprised if Sindbad’s Storybook Voyage has more animated figures than some entire theme parks (i.e. Universal Studios). It is even more amazing that they are smaller than the usual humanoid fare, but yet still capable of life-like, fluid movement. And that is for a ride that opened in 2001.

Sindbad's Storybook Voyage - Shadow Puppets

Shadow Puppetry – not a video projection! The animatronic puppeteer is behind the screen.

Sindbad's Storybook Voyage - Giant Eggs

After the first scene is where most of the changes took place. The mermaids did not cause the shipwreck; Sindbad rescued the Rukh (or Roc) hatchlings from bandits…

Sindbad's Storybook Voyage - Freeing the Giant

He also freed the giant with a giant feather, possibly a gift from the Rukh (not pictured, but it flies above guests in a previous scene!)

Sindbad's Storybook Voyage - Freeing the Giant 2

Sindbad's Storybook Voyage - Bandits caught

Sindbad's Storybook Voyage - Happy Giant

There is now a happy Giant in Sindbad’s voyage, who graciously gave away treasure and musical instruments.

Sindbad's Storybook Voyage - Giant's Treasure

Sindbad's Storybook Voyage - Sultan

The new Sultan, who has a new-found interest in music.

Sindbad's Storybook Voyage - Land of the Monkeys

Those who’ve seen the original ride will know that the Monkeys were not giving away baskets of bananas.

Sindbad's Storybook Voyage - Whale

Sindbad's Storybook Voyage - Whale 2

The Whale also became Sindbad’s friend, giving him and Chandu a lift around the seas.

Sindbad's Storybook Voyage - Back Home

Sindbad finally returns home!

Sindbad's Storybook Voyage - Celebrations

The last scene is a grand celebration for Sindbad’s safe return. Lots of animatronics and a really nice firework effect.

Sindbad's Storybook Voyage - Celebrations 2

Next stop in the Grand Photo Tour: A walk around the majestic and beautiful Arabian Coast.

An Introduction | Getting There and Around | Pocket Wi-Fi | Tips and Tricks

Tokyo DisneySea

Mediterranean Harbor | Mediterranean Harbor at night | Fortress Explorations
Magellan's | American Waterfront | Tower of Terror | Toy Story Mania!
Port Discovery | Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Crystal Skull
Lost River Delta & Raging Spirits | Sindbad's Storybook Voyage
Arabian Coast | Arabian Coast at night | Mermaid Lagoon
Mysterious Island | Journey to the Center of the Earth
Mysterious Island at night & 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

Tokyo Disneyland

World Bazaar | World Bazaar at night | Adventureland | Pirates of the Caribbean
Westernland & Big Thunder Mountain Railroad | Splash Mountain
Haunted Mansion | Pooh's Hunny Hunt | Fantasyland | Fantasyland at night
Cinderella's Fairy Tale Hall | Toon Town | Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin
Monsters, Inc. Ride & Go Seek | Star Tours: The Adventures Continue
Tomorrowland & Space Mountain | Happiness is Here Parade

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