What do Anaheim, Orlando, Tokyo, Paris, Hong Kong, and Shanghai have in common? If one were only thinking the powerful cities of Tokyo, Paris, Hong Kong, and Shanghai, many answers would emerge; but adding Orlando and Anaheim to the mix narrows down the options. Sure, many tourists consider Anaheim to be part of Los Angeles (just don’t tell locals unless you are prepared to hear a rant), which would only leave Orlando as the odd city in the mix. Once these two cities are added, we would only have one answer: Disney parks
And among these Disney parks, the ones in Tokyo have a fantastic reputations. Have you ever imagined how it would be like if Disney’s classics were reborn in Japan, a country so meticulous and obsessed with quality? That’s the first clue as to what makes the Tokyo Disney Resort so special
Located in Chiba, Tokyo, the two parks (Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea) are owned by The Oriental Land Company. It is worth mentioning 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, the Tokyo Disney Resort achieved many records and received several awards. One of its most notable achievements was in 2013 when it placed as the world’s second-most visited theme park, behind Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort. In 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 4th rank with 17.9 and 14.6 millions visitors respectively in the world’s most visited amusement parks for the year of 2018 (AECOM’s index for 2019 is not available yet). Today, we are introducing 12 tips to help you make the best memories during your next visit to the Tokyo Disney Resort. 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 cute Disney characters, Tokyo Disneyland is more popular among family groups and school trips. The park has a lot of open spaces to accommodate large groups, which means it can get very crowded.
On the other hand, Tokyo DisneySea is more popular among adults, couples, and high school students thanks to its exploration theme. As of 2019, 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 about 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 different prices depending on the period and age, a one-day passport cost 7,500 yen. However, prices will go up in April, 2020. Once April comes, tickets will cost 8,200 yen for a one-day passport. If you don’t plan to spend the whole day at Disney, an “After 6 Passport” will be a cheaper options. As the name suggests, you can enter the designated park after 18:00 on weekdays (excluding National Holidays).
Additionally, you can purchase tickets at Disney stores in Japan, and even at convenience stores! Have you seen those green machines at FamilyMart (one of Japan’s biggest convenience store chains) that have a big touchscreen and a phone attached next to them?
They are called FamiPorts, and you can use them to purchase many kinds of tickets, including for Disneyland and DisneySea! If you happen to reside in Japan, use FamilyMart so you can get some sweet T-Points!
Tokyo Disneyland or DisneySea are usually 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, 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 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.
Fun fact, the Tokyo Disney Resort Line is so adorable that huge Disney fans from the States often wonder why the parks in Anaheim and Orlando can’t find monorails as cute and with such a clever Disney detail.
The ticket prices start at 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.
However, one of the best things about the Tokyo Disney Resort is that locals take the Disney fever to levels so high they can’t be found in any other park around the world. You can often see groups of friends and couple wearing matching outfits that really celebrate their love for anything Disney or how much they enjoy the parks:
I mean, isn’t this amazing?:
See what I’m talking about? Going to the Tokyo Disney Resort is never complete without some amazing outfits or accessories! So buy some matching tee shirts or Mickey Mouse ears, and have some fun!
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 app that is only available in Japanese. 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.
Additionally, you can use this app to get FASTPASSES without having to walk to the attractions to get them. We will talk a bit more about FASTPASSES in a bit.
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 throughout the parks. You can also decide to be a bit adventurous and go for the soy sauce & butter or the curry flavor.
Besides, the coffee buckets you can get are absolutely adorable!
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 earrings, phone protectors, purses, etc.), we recommend shopping for them earlier in your visit since trying to buy anything right before the park closes can be a very chaotic experience.
You know how you can make a reservation at a restaurant in the Magic Kingdom and leave wondering why you spent so much on such a miserable meal? Cheaper restaurants that don’t require reservations are not better. You are basically buying McDonald’s quality food at Disney prices.
However, the Tokyo Disney Resort does not follow the typical “dine poorly and leave broke” experience of other Disney parks. In fact, food is quite good! As it’s the norm at Disney parks, both Disneyland and DinseySea have a wide selection of restaurants, including some top-notch ones with incredibly course menus.
However, for those who want to save money and time, the regular restaurants and cafes would do. And for those who don’t want to waste valuable time sitting down, switching to kiosks and snacks instead of dining at restaurants would be perfect.
However, there are times when you have to wait for your next FASTPASS to kick in, and when lines around the park are so long that lining up would be an insane option. When this occurs, you should definitely head to a restaurant or cafe to enjoy a nice meal.
And talking about FASTPASSES…
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?
All visitors can enjoy this service for free, 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 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. Trust us, you don’t want to wait three hours to ride Pooh’s Hunny Hunt or Soaring: Fantastic Flight!
If you are a hardcore Disney fan, Tokyo Disney Resort has a variety of hotel options for you! These hotels help you immerse yourself in the Disney magic, and some of the studio’s most famous characters decorate certain areas. The hotels have rooms to accommodate everyone from couples to families, and even seniors.
The 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.
The thing is that waking up early to line up in front of the gates can be exhausting, so opting to stay at a hotel within the resort can help have a good rest and avoid Tokyo’s rush hour when heading to the parks.
Want to surprise your partner 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 Resort with your loved ones!