So it’s on our bucket list to visit every Disney park in the world.
So when God blessed us with a chance to go to Disneyland Tokyo.
We were counting down the days.
Tips for Tokyo Disney
1. Buy your tickets online beforehand
2. Learn (or have readily available printouts of) basic Japanese phrases
We were told cast members are fluent in English in Tokyo Disney.
That wasn’t true for us.
The minute we walked to the Tokyo Disneyland train station and asked how to get to our hotel – our cast member looked apologetically lost. Thank God we had a backup plan to learn some basics in Japanese.
This site (The 100 Most Important Japanese Words You Should Know) had the best list that took us the farthest around Japan.
3. Arrive early
We were told by friends they often arrive at 5:30AM.
We happened to go during late May which was the LEAST crowded time of the year so we made sure to show up 30 minutes prior to opening and we were fine. You’ll notice a lot of the other guests already have their own special blankets/mats they sit on as they wait in anticipation for its opening.
Keep in mind to give yourself at least 10 minutes for travel time just within the Disneyland train station to get to the park.
4. Wear comfy shoes
It’s like Disneyworld – LOTS more space and walking than Disneyland.
5. FASTPASS the most popular rides first
Tokyo Disney can have crazy long waits. Most rides we were told have 2-3 hour long waits, even during our off-season time we visited.
So rush over to your MUST SEE rides/shows first to get a Fastpass.
5. Plan your trip beforehand
There’s lots to see and, unless you plan on staying many days to check it all out, one day for each park will require you to be very strategic in order to see everything. Some tips:
- Go off-season | End of May is the best time but you can check out other times with the Tokyo Disneyland Crowd Calendar available here.
- Start back and work front | Everyone goes for the stuff in the front first so run for your fastpasses then head to the stuff at the back of the parks first and move forward.
- Try a VIP tour | If you stay at a Disneyland hotel, you can book at the concierge for a VIP tour which allows you fastpass access to all rides/shows while you’re on it. CAVEAT: You need to have someone speaking Japanese in your group – they can’t guarantee an English speaking one. Plus, you have to stay at their hotel and wait ’til you’re there to book it so this can be a gamble.
There are LOTS of hotels to choose from like the classic Disneyland Hotel
or the fanciest one of them all – Tokyo DisneySea Hotel MiraCosta which is attached right next to Tokyo Disney Sea. A few nights before we flew out, we actually started considering to stay at Hotel MiraCosta ’til we saw the price tag ($2000+ for one night during Memorial Day weekend).
6. Expect to spend a LOT
Because Disney Tokyo is not OFFICIALLY owned by Disney (they just give Disney a part of their profits), they’ve got stuff at this park that no one else has in the world.
Given the creative license to create their own Disney merchandise, you’ll find some absolutely adorable items for purchase. Our favorite place to shop in the end was in Main Street at Tokyo Disneyland.
And, yes, everywhere they accepted credit.
When you enter in, it’s massive – by far Main Street or as they call it the World Bazaar was my favorite Main Street of all the Disney resorts around the world.
the Tokyo Disneyland castle
It was said that Cinderella’s duty and work ethic appealed to the Japanese culture more than Sleeping Beauty so Tokyo Disney decided to use Cinderella’s castle for their resort. It is a copy of the Cinderella Castle at Walt Disney World with few changes here and there.
Yes, these schoolgirls found our posing romantically in front of the castle amusing.
Love the entrance into the castle – more grand castle like to me.
Beautiful attention to detail even in the back
our favorite Tokyo Disneyland rides
While they’ve got the classic rides and places you’re familiar with,
there are some new ones you don’t have back home.
And some familiar rides with new Tokyo-only twists
Splash Mountain had more drops – my favorite version of the other parks
our favorite Tokyo Disneyland eats
Hands down, it’s worth making a reservation or waiting in line to check out the Queen of Hearts Banquet Hall. Why can’t Disneyland have this kind of movie inspired dining experience?!
The food is decent but it’s the experience/atmosphere that’s absolutely lovely.
A Happy Unbirthday cake for dessert?
This dessert was yummy
Tokyo Disney Sea
Now THIS was the park we could not wait for!
…and cast members held up signs EVERYWHERE at the park’s opening for everyone to walk because, apparently, everyone else couldn’t wait to get in either.
Glimpse of a Tokyo Disney Sea wedding morning photoshoot
Tokyo Disney Sea is comprised, not of lands, but of ports:
Lost River Delta
and Mediterranean Harbor
The cast members are incredibly friendly (probably the friendliest we’ve ever seen).
Tokyo Disney Sea is just absolutely grand: its scale and attention to detail.
But my personal #1 favorite was this place.
As we stepped into the Mermaid Lagoon – our jaws dropped to the floor.
It was absolutely breathtaking.
our favorite Tokyo Disney Sea rides
Journey to the Center of the Earth was a breathtaking ride with its decor and details (the only disappointment to us was we felt the ending was missing its final oomph).
Tower of Terror had more drops and a fun different storyline involving a voodoo doll and Egyptian artifacts.
Despite the fact that Disney never made a Sinbad movie, the Sinbad ride was actually enjoyable and beautiful to look around (much like Small World it is also a good-dang-I’m-tired-need-to-rest-my-feet or take-a-nap kind of ride).
our favorite Tokyo Disney Sea eats
This park had so many fun nomnoms for everyone to enjoy!
The biggest hit were these uniquely flavored popcorns you’d find all around the park. Our personal favorites were milk tea and curry (there’s also caramel, black pepper, jalapeno & cheese, white chocolate, salt and cappuccino).
They’ve got Japanese inspired dishes to enjoy as well.
Our favorites were the Toy Story Alien mochis. These were absolutely delicious. Should’ve ordered more.
Casbah Food Court had yummy curries and a surprisingly delicious flan dessert
Mickey Mouse shaped churros! Why don’t they have this at Disneyland?!
Their best fine dining restaurant in the park: Magellan’s
And, true to all the other Disney resorts, at night this place just comes to live with its beautiful lighting.
Ultimately, our most favorite moment from Tokyo Disney was bringing all its goodies home and seeing our little boy’s face light up like Christmas morning.
Here was our favorite website to help us plan our trip to Tokyo Disney: Disney Tourist Blog
- Tokyo Disney Photographers | D. Park Photography
- Venue | Tokyo Disney Resort |1-1 Maihama, Urayasu, Chiba Prefecture 279-0031, Japan
Read more about our adventures in Kyoto and Tokyo, Japan here.
Check out our exclusive In Love in Tokyo couples photoshoot here.