Pooh's Hunny Hunt

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Pooh's Hunny Hunt

Fantasyland is probably best associated with its "dark rides." These are a category of attraction where you sit in a two- or four-person vehicle and ride through an indoor venue viewing scenes from whatever Disney movie that particular attraction represents. Snow White's Adventures is a classic example of this type of attraction. Although each has its own unique variations (most notably Peter Pan's Flight, in which your ride vehicle is suspended from a track above you) they are all very similar in look and feel. They are a staple of all three Disney Magic Kingdoms, and although they have received cosmetic facelifts over the years the basic presentation is unchanged from when Disneyland first opened almost 50 years ago.

Enter Pooh's Hunny Hunt, an attraction based on the adventures of Winnie the Pooh. Pooh's Hunny Hunt could be referred to as "Fantasyland: The Next Generation," and although its core definition is the same as previous Fantasyland dark rides the execution is entirely new.

Pooh's Hunny HuntWhat sets Pooh's Hunny Hunt apart from previous attractions of this genre are the ride vehicles. Fashioned to resemble honey pots, each holds up to 5 people (although 4 is the norm). Previous dark-ride vehicles are guided along an easily-visible track, moving at a constant speed. The Pooh's Hunny Hunt vehicles have no visible (or even perceptible) means of guidance and appear to move through the attraction independently, starting, stopping, reversing direction, spinning, and generally acting as through they have a mind of their own.

As you leave the boarding area you are in a group of three cars, deceptively moving together as though they were linked like a train. After rounding the first bend you find yourself stopped and watching the attraction's introductory scene, a short video of Christopher Robin giving Winnie the Pooh a balloon. The other two cars are now parked beside you, and everyone has a front row seat. The scene ends, and one by one the cars peel off into the first major room of the attraction, the Blustery Day. This is a large room with lots going on. Don't worry about cranking your head around to see the whole room, your honey pot will take you around to see everything one bit at a time. There are several other cars in this area with you, all choreographed to visit various parts of the room independently, stopping, starting, changing directions, and somehow magically avoiding each other.

The ride progresses through several more delightful and amazing sequences. In one scene you see Tigger bouncing by, and you're bouncing along with him—literally. In another sequence you are inside Winnie the Pooh's dream, surrounded by giant Heffalumps and Woozles and spinning seemingly out of control.

The technology that makes the Pooh's Hunny Hunt ride vehicles so great also makes the attraction superior as a whole. One of the problems with the traditional Fantasyland dark rides is that you are whisked by each scene so quickly there is no time to really enjoy it. Not so with Pooh's Hunny Hunt. The individual scenes are presented on a much larger scale, and because of the vehicles' independence of movement you are able to get an eyeful of all of the elements of each scene as the vehicle gives you something of a guided tour, moving you around and pausing briefly at key moments. Unlike traditional dark rides where the vehicle is simply a means of moving you through the attraction, in Pooh's Hunny Hunt the ride vehicles are a major part of what makes the attraction the wonderful experience that it is.

Pooh's Hunny Hunt has been Tokyo Disneyland's most popular attraction since the day it opened. It is so popular that its reach extends to other parts of the park, with Winnie the Pooh souvenirs to be found in every land. You'll even find themed food items like honey flavored popcorn. Because of its popularity you need to plan your visit carefully. Your best bet is to make your first stop of the day the Pooh's Hunny Hunt FastPass line. These FastPasses go quickly, and if you're not there in the very early part of the day to get one you won't get one at all, and you will be relegated to having to wait in the standby line; on a busy day this can mean a wait of two hours. Here's a tip though, the standby lines are their shortest during the evening parade—if you can't get a FastPass, this is the time to go. Don't think you can sneak on 5 minutes before Park closing like you can with most other attractions. If the standby line is 90 minutes long and the park closes at 10 PM, they will close the entrance to this attraction at 8:30 PM to accommodate everyone by park closing.

Another thing that makes Pooh's Hunny Hunt a must-see is that it is exclusive to Tokyo Disneyland. Although Disney World and Disneyland have opened up Pooh-themed rides of their own, both use more traditional ride vehicles and neither has the magic or excitement of Tokyo Disneyland's Pooh ride. It doesn't matter how many other theme parks you've been to, you haven't ridden anything like Pooh's Hunny Hunt.

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