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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Disney's attraction

Waterfront Park (Tokyo DisneySea)Image via Wikipedia
Of mice and magic

The world of Disney remains an attraction for people of all ages

I'VE found my happy place.

After stepping into "The Kingdom of Dreams and Magic" for the first time, I instantly forgot about the worries of my busy life back home. And I most certainly forgot my age.

So I left the real world behind to immerse in a world of fun and fantasy, excitement and adventure, and to indulge in all things Disney. And it turned out to be an enthralling experience.

Double Disney

Mickey and Minnie, Tokyo Disneyland
Tokyo Disney Resort is home to two theme parks: Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea.

Opened in 1983, Tokyo Disneyland is the first Disney resort to operate outside the United States and continues to attract millions of visitors each year.

There are seven themed lands - Critter Country, Westernland, Adventureland, World Bazaar, Tomorrowland, Toontown and Fantasyland - that will keep guests entertained for two whole days.

When I was there, Mickey fans of all ages were wearing Disney headgear and a big smile on their faces. Everyone looked lost in his or her own utopia. Perhaps that's why they keep comping back.

Overlooking Tokyo Bay, Tokyo DisneySea is the first Disney Park to be inspired by the myths and legends of the sea. It first opened in 2001 and is one of the most expensive theme parks ever built. Within the park, there are seven uniquely themed areas or "ports of call" - Lost River Delta, Port Discovery, American Waterfront, Mediterranean Harbor, Mysterious Island, Mermaid Lagoon and Arabian Coast - that offer fun and thrilling rides.

Located in the middle of the theme park is Mount Prometheus, a massive artificial volcano that "erupts" intermittently. This prominent feature, along with the DisneySea Aquasphere, a globe-shaped sculpture and fountain situated at the entrance, are the symbols of Tokyo DisneySea.

Top 4 must-dos

Monsters, Inc. Ride & Go Seek! (Disneyland)

Monsters, Inc. Ride, Tokyo Disneyland
Based on the Disney/Pixar blockbuster Monsters, Inc., this is one of Tokyo Disneyland's latest attractions. Get on a tram and pick up the flashlight attached to the dashboard. When the lights go out, a fun-filled interactive ride begins. As you travel through the streets of Monstropolis, try locating the hidden monsters, shine your flashlight at them and the helmets worn by the monsters will light up as the characters reveal themselves.

The elaborate set and occasional surprises make this four-minute ride an entertaining one - especially for children - even if you don't understand the commentary that's solely in Japanese.

Tower Of Terror (DisneySea)

Tower Of Terror, Disneysea Tokyo
If you're into thrill rides, this is not to be missed. It all begins with a tour of the lavishly-decorated Hightower Hotel. Then, you get on a service elevator, which is equipped with about 20 seats. Once you're belted in, the lights go out and a slow ride to the top begins.

A visual installation about the story of the hotel will distract you during the ascent, which culminates with a bird's-eye view of the entire theme park from the top of the tower. You get about three seconds to marvel at the view before the elevator plunges in a heart-stopping freefall.

This exhilarating ride is quite addictive, so you could very well find yourself heading for the queue again for another round of freefalling thrills.

Meet Mickey At Mickey's House (Disneyland)

This is one of Disney's top spots and sees a long queue of visitors each day. Start by exploring the house of the famous mouse, then meet "Mickey-san" in person on the set of one of his films. Give the ever-popular Walt Disney icon a hug, shake his hand or do a little dance with him.

The queue at this attraction may be rather long, but the experience makes the wait worthwhile.

Cirque du Soleil's ZED (Cirque du Soleil Theatre)

Cirque du Soleil
After a long day at the theme parks, relax and unwind by catching ZED at the Cirque du Soleil Theatre, the first permanent venue in Japan for the famous entertainment group. Featuring more than 70 performers from 24 countries, ZED follows the title character's journey of adventure as he discovers the world, bringing together the people of the sky and people of the earth.

Some of the awe-inspiring acts in the 90-minute show include a high-wire walk, a flying trapeze, poles and trampoline, as well as an impressive display of baton-twirling by a 20-time former Japanese national champion. The Cirque du Soleil Theatre is a 10-minute walk from Disneyland. Log on to for tickets and performance schedules.

The writer's trip was made possible by Tokyo Disney Resort and JAL.

Jump the queue

Disney's Fastpass allows you to enjoy selected attractions without a long wait in line:





* For list of Fastpass attractions, visit

Hold the popcorn, new thrills ahead

Orlando, Florida: The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter

Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando theme park in Orlando, Fla., Wednesday, June 9, 2010.(AP Photo/John Raoux)
What does butterbeer taste like? Fans of Harry Potter can now find out. Opened on Friday, the theme park that replicates JK Rowling's fictional world sells the brew, along with Potter paraphernalia from broomsticks to magic wands to Gryffindor scarves. Hogwarts Castle and the village of Hogsmeade will set the scene for visitors until they can get on Harry Potter And The Forbidden Journey, a ride which mimics the feeling of flight as it takes people through Harry life experiences. Think Quidditch and run-ins with dragons and spiders.

Abu Dhabi, UAE: Ferrari World

Just like the car that headlines it, you can expect this theme park to be a stunner. Ferrari World, to open on Oct 28, will be the world's biggest indoor theme park, covering 85,000 sq m of space. It will also boast the world's fastest roller coaster, which reportedly reaches speeds of up to 240kmh. Hey, if you can't be Felipe Massa ...

From TODAY, Travel - Saturday, 19-June-2010
Of mice and magic

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How to dull the brain

This may be one study that proves the old, old saying:

"Better to be the rat among the cats,
than to be the cat among the rats."

Read on...

Brain patterns predict mistakes: study

CHICAGO - It turns out that dull tasks really do numb the brain. Researchers have discovered that as people perform monotonous tasks, their brain shifts towards an at-rest mode whether they like it or not.

And by monitoring that area of the brain, they were able to predict when someone was about to make a mistake before they made it, a study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found.

"There's this thing that's probably intrinsic where your brain says I do need to take a little break here and there's nothing you can do about it," said study author Tom Eichele of Norway's University of Bergen.

"Probably everyone knows that feeling that sometimes your brain is not as receptive or as well performing and you didn't do anything to actually induce that."

When that happens, blood flows into the part of the brain which is more active in states of rest.

And since this state begins about 30 seconds prior to a mistake being made, it could be possible to design an early-warning system which could alert people to be more focused or more careful, Eichele said.

That could significantly improve workplace safety and also improve performance in key tasks such as airport security screening.

"We might be able to build a device (that could be placed) on the heads of people that make these easy decisions," he told AFP.

"We can measure the signal and give feedback to the user that well, your brain is in the state where your decisions are not going to be the right one."

Eichele and his colleagues in the United States, Britain and Germany were able to detect these brain patterns with MRI scans, which are not portable.

The next step is to see if more mobile EEG devices are able to detect the phenomenon.

A prototype of a wireless, mobile, and lightweight EEG amplifier is currently in development and could be ready for the market in 10 to 15 years, he said. - AFP/ar

From; source article is below:Brain patterns predict mistakes: study

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