Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, Alice in Wonderland – we all grew up fantasizing about turning into one of those mesmerizing characters. But have you ever imagined how it would be like if Disney’s classics were reborn in the motherland of anime and cosplay, Japan?
Located in Chiba, Tokyo, the two parks (Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea) are owned by The Oriental Land Company. It is worth to mention that Tokyo Disneyland was the first Disney theme park to open outside the United States and it was designed after California’s Disneyland and Orlando’s Magic Kingdom. Since it’s opening on April 15, 1983, Tokyo Disneyland was recognized on different occasions. One of its most notable recognitions was in 2013 when it placed as the world’s second-most visited theme park behind the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort after accommodating 17.2 million visitors. On 2002, just a year after its grand opening, Tokyo DisneySea was recognized by the non-profit association Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) for the concept and design behind the park.
Thank your lucky stars because Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea are two of the most reputable Walt Disney Parks and Resorts all over the world. The annual number of visitors put Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea at the 3rd and 5th rank, respectively, in the world’s most visited amusement parks for the year of 2015. Today, we are introducing 12 tips to help you make the best memories during your next visit to the Tokyo Disney Parks. So let’s get it started!
Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea are very popular destinations for many. But before you decide which park to visit, we recommend taking note of the differences between both parks.
Tokyo Disneyland has seven themed areas: World Bazaar, Adventureland, Westernland, Fantasyland, Tomorrowland, Critter Country, and Mickey’s Toontown. Because of the wide variety of rides for young children and its cutesy Disney characters, Tokyo Disneyland is more popular among family groups and elementary school student trips. The park has a lot of open spaces to accommodate large groups so it can get very crowded.
On the other hand, Tokyo DisneySea is more popular among adults, couples, and high school students for its exploration theme. The park has seven nautically themed areas or “ports of call” as they are called: Mediterranean Harbor, American Waterfront, Lost River Delta, Port Discovery, Mermaid Lagoon, Arabian Coast, and Mysterious Island. A big positive point for Tokyo DisneySea is that many of their shows are held on the lake (the main focus of the park) which can be enjoyed from many areas without wasting waiting time for your next ride.
It’s possible to buy your ticket at the park gate, but that means waking up early to get there before the park opens and waiting in a long queue to finally buy your ticket. For someone on a holiday, this process can be very time-consuming so we recommend taking a look at the Tokyo Disney Resort Official Website and choose the ticket that fits your schedule.
Tickets come at many prices depending on the period and age, a one-day passport can cost up to 7,400 yen and the two-day passport can cost up to 13,200 yen. Or you can go for the “After 6 Passport” and enjoy the park after 6 PM on weekdays (excluding National Holidays) for only 4,200 yen.
Tokyo Disneyland or DisneySea are most likely very busy all year long, but there are specific times of the year when the parks get notably crowded and the lines get too time-consuming. Although it’s very fun with all the special themes and shows on special occasions, avoiding visiting the park on weekends, public holidays, special events (e.g. Valentine’s Day, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, Golden Week) is something you need to consider, most especially if you are on a short trip to Japan.
Save time and enjoy the convenience of Japanese trains with a sense of cuteness with the Tokyo Disney Resort Line – a monorail that runs around Tokyo Disney Resort, providing transportation between JR Maihama Station (Resort Gateway Station) and major destinations within the Resort such as the Disneyland Station, DisneySea Station, and the Bayside Station. Just like the parks, if you are visiting on special occasions such as Easter or Christmas, you might be lucky to enjoy the original Disney decorations inside the monorail.
The ticket prices start at as low as 260 yen for adults and 130 yen for children (11 years old and under) for a trip around the marvelous Tokyo Disney Parks. They also have day passes if you are planning to use the line more than twice which can help you save a bit of money.
A day in a Disney Park can be very long and very exhausting. You definitely don’t want to spend 12 hours in uncomfortable shoes (e.g. high heels) or get your luxurious branded outfit worn out! You will definitely see some overly fashionable couples in the park, but remember, not everyone can rock the look and keep their cool like them. Perhaps wearing your most comfortable pair of sneakers will allow you to visit more attractions and have more fun.
Nonetheless, you can, of course, don your Mickey Mouse t-shirt and ears or those Cinderella earrings without standing out.
If you can read Japanese, this can be a lifesaver! All it takes is a few minutes to download and install the official Tokyo Disney Resort application on your smartphone that is available for free (Japanese only). However, note that the application can only be downloaded after you set the location of your app store to Japan. Once installed, you will be able to check the schedules of shows and apply for the seat lottery. (Seats at some parades and shows in Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea are only available through random picking or “lottery.”) With the help of this app, you can plan your visit accordingly.
Kill time while waiting in a long attraction queue by snacking on Disney’s special popcorn flavors! Popcorn kiosks of basic flavors such as caramel, honey, and salt are largely available in the park. You can also decide to be a bit adventurous and go for the soy sauce & butter or the curry flavor.
Tokyo Disney shops offer a wide range of souvenirs for every age and occasion! You will be mesmerized by the variety of choices from Disney themed mobile straps to chocolates, teacups, and even blankets! Many prefer to buy souvenirs before leaving the park as it’s easier to carry. However, if you are into small souvenirs (such as but not limited to earrings, phone protectors, purses, etc.), we recommend shopping for them earlier in your visit for a better shopping experience with almost no jamming.
See the complete list of shops here.
Dining at a Disney restaurant is a thrilling new experience with all those crazy Disney themed dishes and cute decorations BUT it can be very time-consuming and not wallet-friendly. Switching to snacks instead of dining at restaurants can save you both money and time. You would still be able to try a lot of Disney snacks such as the Gyoza Dog or the Mike Wazowski Melon Bread without missing your next ride. If you are visiting the park on a special occasion like Christmas, you will surely love the specially designed Disney wrapping paper that goes with your snacks!
Make your photos at the Tokyo Disney Parks even more special with the smartphone application HAPPINESS CAM. The app allows you to customize photos and decorate them with special Disney filters. Even if you are not in Japan, you can still download and use this application for free (Japanese only). After the installation, make sure to turn on your GPS settings so you can benefit from all the effects in the app while at Tokyo Disneyland or DisneySea.
Similar to a priority system, a FASTPASS is a convenient free service at the Tokyo Disney Parks to save visitors time and give them the priority to “pass faster” than other guests at many of the popular attractions.
How does it work?
The service is totally free for all visitors but is not available for all attractions. If it is available, you start by scanning your ticket at the special FASTPASS machine available in many shapes near the entrance of the attraction. You will then receive a FASTPASS ticket with the time period reserved for you (and your group). Instead of waiting in line for that attraction, you can enjoy other attractions, eat, or buy souvenirs until your designated riding time. Once it’s time, head back to the attraction you reserved for and show your FASTPASS ticket at the entrance. The staff will then allow you to enter the special FASTPASS lane which allows you to cut through the long waiting time and enjoy your ride sooner.
Know more about Disney’s FASTPASS here.
If you are a hardcore Disney fan, Tokyo Disney Resort has a variety of hotel options for you! All rooms, restaurants, halls, and even elevators are decorated with Walt Disney characters. The hotel has rooms to accommodate everyone from couples to families and even seniors.
Tokyo Disney Resort offers you two different types of accommodation at the Disney hotels: the Value Type (Tokyo Disney Celebration Hotel) and the Deluxe Type (Tokyo Disneyland Hotel, Tokyo DisneySea Hotel MiraCosta, Disney Ambassador Hotel) to make your visit even more exciting. Or you can also opt to stay at one of the Tokyo Disney Resort Official Hotels, Partner Hotels, or Good Neighbor Hotels for a convenient and a relatively cheaper stay.
Want to surprise your girlfriend with a memorable fairy tale proposal? There is a wide variety of engagement and wedding rings available through different brands such as 4°C (Japanese only), CITIZEN JEWELRY (Japanese only), K.Uno (automatic translation available), and of course Disney (Japanese only).
Aside from that, Tokyo Disneyland has the ultimate service for you. Located at Cinderella’s Castle, The Glass Slipper shop in Fantasyland provides an original Cinderella glass slipper to make your proposal more pleasant. The glass slippers are available in different sizes and colors and you can make them even more special by asking to have the name of the love of your life engraved on it.
With all these useful tips, we hope that you have a splendid and magical time at the Tokyo Disney Parks with your loved ones!