One of the best things about living in Asia is not just the close proximity to Hong Kong Disneyland, but that all three Asian Disney Parks are only a short flight away. Thus, I was lucky enough to be able to hop on a plane last week and have a long weekend in Tokyo. To be more precise, I was able to have a long weekend at Tokyo Disney Resort.
Many people have waxed lyrical about the positives of Tokyo Disney Resort (and it’s something I plan on analyzing in a future article), but today, I have decided to focus on a key attraction that I think can be defined as “can’t miss,” that attraction is Pooh’s Hunny Hunt.
For those of you who might not be familiar with the attraction, you may be rolling your eyes at what I just said. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh is an attraction that has slight variations throughout the Disney Parks, and they aren’t often attractions that heralded for being “must ride.” We have a version of the attraction here at Hong Kong Disneyland, and although the attraction gets reasonably long lines, I would not put it in for consideration as one of the “best” attractions we have at HKDL.
That is not the case at Tokyo Disneyland. I’m pretty confident in saying that I would consider Pooh’s Hunny Hunt one of the best attractions in the whole Tokyo Disney Resort.
The History and Backstory
Although similar in concept to the other Winnie the Pooh attractions across the globe, Pooh’s Hunny Hunt is uniquely different for reasons we will get to a little later. Pooh’s Hunny Hunt debuted on September 4, 2000, at one end of Tokyo Disneyland’s Fantasyland. The attraction was the first to debut ‘trackless’ ride technology and has been one of Tokyo Disneyland’s most popular attractions ever since.
The backstory for Pooh’s Hunny Hunt is similar to those in other Disney Parks in the sense that guests venture in to a giant storybook to enter the world of Winnie the Pooh. The clue is in the title in a sense; due to the fact that Pooh’s objective (isn’t it always) is to obtain some Hunny. Yet, the story in practice is a little more ambiguous than that with guests entering various famous Winnie the Pooh scenes in their Hunny Pot ride vehicles.
The exterior of Pooh’s Hunny Hunt is simple yet effective. A giant book protrudes up at one end of Fantasyland. This book acts as the entrance to the ride, but it also sets the story for what’s to come. Etched on the book itself is an introduction to the ride and an accompanying picture that foreshadows some of the events that await us.
The book is impressive to look at. Yet, the coolest thing about the entrance to Pooh’s Hunny Hunt is that the book itself is hollow, providing guests not only a sense of where they are going, but also complimenting the “entering through a book” element to the story.
Before I get into the actual queue of Pooh’s Hunny Hunt, a note of caution: this attraction gets busy. A lot of attractions at Tokyo Disney Resort are busy, but this attraction gets especially busy. Luckily, Tokyo Disney Resort still utilizes the old FastPass system, meaning that as long as you are there for rope drop (I would suggest getting to the park at least an hour before park opening) you should be able to get a FastPass.
The queue for Pooh’s Hunny Hunt is a little simple itself with guests zig-zagging through over-and-backs in the exterior queue before joining the interior queue. Once you enter inside Pooh’s Hunny Hunt, Guests enter Rabbit’s Howse which is littered with trinkets and objects from the Pooh tales. After Rabbit’s Howse, Guests go through several more pages of the book until they reach the loading bay for the attraction where more book pages litter the surrounding area.
Simple yet effective, the queue for Pooh’s Hunny Hunt is as charming in execution as the title character of the attraction. If you are in the stand by queue, there will be a long while until you get into the interior queue of the attraction, but once in there, the magic of the attraction starts to take hold.
The Ride Vehicles
Pooh’s Hunny Hunt utilizes a “trackless” ride system where the ride vehicles move through the attraction seemingly on their own, providing a mobility and fluidity to the attraction that is unparalleled throughout the different Disney parks. The ride vehicles for Pooh’s Hunny Hunt are giant Hunny Pots that begin the attraction in sets of three at a time.
I could wax lyrical for hours on end about how much I love the “trackless” ride system and Pooh’s Hunny Hunt is kind-of the founding father of this ride system. It just offers up so many possibilities for attraction experiences and adds an extra dimension.
Once Guests are in their Hunny Pots, their ride vehicles make their way over to another storybook, a short video plays of Christopher Robin gifting Winnie the Pooh a balloon. Then, the storybook opens up and Guests precede into the world of Winnie the Pooh.
As always, I don’t want to give too much of the attraction away (mainly because I don’t think my words can do the it justice) but, once through the storybook, Guests are thrust into the expansive world of Winnie the Pooh; to the Hundred Acre Wood, to meeting Tigger, to the infamous Heffalump and Woozles dream sequence. All of this happens before Guests travel backwards out of the dream sequence and the attraction ends with Pooh surrounded by a cave of Hunny, content as can be (or bee, if you will).
Each scene is set out to look vast and fully explorable due to the fact there is no visible track. This makes the attraction feel more like an experience of exploration than an actual attraction.
I cannot say enough good things about Pooh’s Hunny Hunt. Once I had experienced this attraction, I was truly blown away. Not only does it harness true ingenuity, it is a display of Imagineering at its finest. It also takes an existing IP and brings it to life in a fresh new way.
If I was making a list of things for Guests to experience at Tokyo Disney Resort, Pooh’s Hunny Hunt would be at the top of the list. What’s more, Pooh’s Hunny Hunt is an attraction that can be enjoyed by the whole family, young guests will love the magic and older guests will be flooded with waves of nostalgia. This is certainly an attraction you do not want to miss!
What do you think? Have you ridden Pooh’s Hunny Hunt? Did you enjoy it? What are your opinions on the other Winnie the Pooh themed attractions?
(All photos are from the personal library of Daniel Morris)
To learn more about Daniel and read his recent posts for WDW Radio, visit his author page by clicking the link on his name at the top of this post.