When visiting Tokyo, the main city in Japan, to spend 1-2 days to enjoy Tokyo Disney Resort (Tokyo Disney Land & Tokyo Disney Sea) is certainly one of the best choices because the joyfulness that is promised.
Although it is fun enough to just go there without a plan, but it will be much more fun by doing a little more research and knowing more information so that you can plan your wonderful day at the “Magic Kingdom”.
In this article, we are going to focus on providing you with 7 tips on how to enjoy the best out of both Tokyo Disney Land and Tokyo Disney Sea.
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Table of contents
- General information of Tokyo Disney Resort
- Tip ① Plan early
- Tip ② Get dressed up & get bae-ed (映え)
- Tip ③ The “FAST PASS”
- Tip ④ Queue up for the popular attractions
- Tip ⑤ Be more entertained
- Tip ⑥ Enjoy the “Delicatessen”
- Tip ⑦ Extend your Magic Kingdom experience the Disney hotels
General information of Tokyo Disney Resort
Tokyo Disney Resort is located in CHIBA prefecture, and the nearest station is MAIHAMA station. Depending on your accommodation location, different type of transport is recommended, and below are the pros and cons for each transportation.
At the busiest season, more than 50 DIRECT buses are arriving at Tokyo Disney Resort EVERY MORNING due to its popularity. It takes you directly to the Tokyo Disney Resort from major stations (Shinjuku, Akihabara, Yokohama) as well as airports (Narita, Haneda). Taking bus is recommended for its simplicity (you can even take a nap while on the bus), but since it only departure and arrival time is fixed, it is not recommended if you would like to avoid crowds.
This is the most popular way for Disney visitors. Taking train is recommended for its flexibility (no reservation and no fixed schedule) and affordability, but transit is usually needed. Depending the train line and the time, you might end up with getting on a packed train full of mid-age white collar.
DO NOT EVER try to transit at Tokyo station. Walking from platform to platform will literally feel like going through a dungeon, and if you are lucky, you will reach the gate of “Keiyo line” in about 10 minutes. If you traveling from Ikebukuro area, then you should always take “Yurakucho line” and transit at “Shinkiba” station.
This method is certainly more expensive than others, but it is actually recommended in some situations. For example, traveling with an elderly with wheelchair or baby that needs a stroller, and of course for those with some spare money.
However, you can make it a little cost-effective by ordering it in advance (roughly 7,000 JPY from Shinjuku, Shibuya, and Ikebukuro area).
Below are 2 Taxi companies with English support and offers fixed fee.
This option is a little unrealistic for first-time Japan visitors, but for Japan traveling experts, or those have friends in Japan, it might be a good choice. It is also recommended if you are staying near to Tokyo Disney Resort because you do not need to worry about what to do with your luggage.
Park hour & ticket type
The usual park hour is 8:00 – 22:00, but it is different now due to the COVID situation.
For detail, please visit Tokyo Disney Resort official website.
The park usually allows visitors to enter the park 10-30 minutes earlier than the official announcement, so arriving early to take position at the very front of the queue will usually allow you to have 20-30 minutes more time than others who arrives on time.
You may wonder what other types of tickets are available apart from the standard “1-Day Passport”, but there are actually some special entry passports that you can consider depending on your needs. Below are a few major types.
Fixed Date and Time Passport (10:30 or 12:00)
This is a few hundred YEN cheaper than the standard ticket. Entry is only permitted after the time stated. It is recommended for visitors who are not so interested in attractions but simply wants to enjoy the Disney atmosphere by dining, photographing, enjoying the parades & shows, and of course for those who can not wake up early enough in the morning.
After 6 Passport
This is a few thousand yen cheaper than the standard ticket, and it is strongly recommended for those who are staying near the park area and would like to have a little taste of the park in the evening. Another reason for purchasing this is that the queue time for attractions is on average half or below in the evening, and you also get to enjoy the “Disney Light the Night” (fireworks).
This type of ticket will allow you to enter the park within the valid year, for a fixed rate. For Disney lovers, it is a MUST item.
Tip ① Plan early
If possible, it is always recommended to plan early and schedule your day.
You can assure yourself is prepared by going through the check list below.
Decide your Disney day
If possible, it is always good to avoid a crowd day. Please remember that Japan has its own national holiday (just like any other countries) as well as school calendar (Summer vacation: mid-July ~ end-August; Winter vacation: end-December ~ mid-January).
Please see below websites to get a rough idea of crowdedness.
Tokyo Disney Land? Tokyo Disney Sea?
This is a tough question since both are fun. Tokyo Disney Land will give you more Disney atmosphere, whereas Tokyo Disney Sea provide you with more exciting attractions. Nevertheless, no matter which park you go, there will be enough materials to keep you entertained.
Who to go with & where to meet
This is important as this answer have enough power to make your day or to ruin your day.
Also, you need to decide a place to meet up before entering the park. This place needs to be easy to find, especially if you are going with someone who has poor sense of direction.
How & when to get there
In the beginning, transportation analysis was provided to help you with your decision on this. Just a little more information for you, Japanese people are willing to queue up for hours to just enter the theme park, especially Disney. Therefore, if you would like to be at the front part of the queue, then you will have to arrive early.
Availability of attraction, show, and dining
Attractions can sometime be in maintenance, which is the same for show and dining. You certainly do not want to arrive at the park and be depressed due to the unavailability.
Moreover, unless you know the secret method, otherwise there is no way to enjoy all the attractions in 1 day. Therefore, to decide which attraction, show, dining to prioritize is also an important thing to decide before you go.
Seasonal event (Christmas, Easter, etc…) or special year event (Disney Sea 20 years anniversary, etc…) is constantly taking place for both Tokyo Disney Land and Tokyo Disney Sea.
During these events, you can enjoy the event version of show, character costume, dining menu, shop souvenir, etc…
Park hours & Ticket availability
These can be different during season, event period, special holiday.
This is probably the most unpredictable part to deal with. Disney area (Chiba prefecture) on average rains 90 days annually, and it is concentrated in certain period, so make sure you keep track of the weather forecast, and change plan if necessary.
Knowing your limit
If you are fit as in physical stamina fit, then there should be nothing to worry about. However, for normal people (especially traveling with kids), it is very unlikely that your stamina will last for the whole day (8:00 – 22:00).
Tip ② Get dressed up & get bae-ed (映え)
In this special occasion of visiting Disney, most visitors will get themselves prepared for many photos. Although everyone has their preferred own fashion, but in this part, we would like to introduce you a few examples of current trend of “being Japanese”.
High school squads
This is most commonly seen outfit for teenagers.
Twin outfit (group outfit)
This basically means everyone in the same outfit.
Show off your relationship status.
Prince & Princess
Being proud of your cute kids to fulfill your self-satisfaction.
Apart from getting dressed up, there are also many photo spots inside the park can get you “Bae-ed(映え)”. “Bae-ed(映え)” is a fashion term that is used in the recent years by the young generations in Japan, which has a similar meaning as photogenic.
Tip ③ The “FAST PASS”
Did you know that some Disney attractions have 2 separate lanes when queuing up?
Did you know that the difference in waiting time for the lanes can be up to 2 hours?
Apart from the park entry ticket, you can get these special “Fast Pass” for some attractions inside the park. “Fast Pass” is a system by Disney to ensure visitors can enjoy their favorite attraction without too much hassle.
This system has different names and variations such as Lightning Lane, MaxPass, stand-by pass, etc…, but in Tokyo Disney Resort, it is usually referred as the “Fast Pass”. However, during the COVID period, this system has been changed to “stand-by pass”.
To take this advantage, you can download the official Tokyo Disney Resort application.
Downloading this application and register for an account is highly recommended. You can also use this application to purchase ticket, check maps, check attractions waiting time, request lottery draw to enter shows, restaurant reservation, but the most important function is to get your “Fast Pass” (Stand-By pass during COVID period) to reduce the queuing time for attractions.
To enjoy as many attractions as possible, use the application to get the “Fast Pass” for your favorite attraction while you are heading toward the 2nd favorite attraction. After this, if you can do the same for 3rd and 4th attraction, you will be able to complete 4 attractions just afternoon.
Tip ④ Queue up for the popular attractions
Depending on many factors, people may enjoy a certain attraction more than another. However, in this section, we will pick up and introduce you a few MUST ride attractions for both Tokyo Disney Land and Tokyo Disney Sea.
Tokyo Disney Land
- Enchanted Tale of Beauty and the Beast (NEW/Slow ride): Be impressed by the rhythm and delicate designs.
- Pooh’s Hunny Hunt (NEW/Slow ride): The realistic structure brings you into Pooh’s world.
- Splash Mountain (Roller-Coster): Over 90cm of height. Classic Roller-Coster ride at Disney Land.
- Mickey’s Philhar Magic (Theatre): 3D version of Disney films.
- Cinderella’s Fairy Tale Hall (Experiential): Fit your feet into Cinderella’s Glass Slipper.
- Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters (Shooting): Shoot and defeat the evil Emperor Zurg.
Tokyo Disney Sea
- Soaring Fantastic Flight (NEW/Theatre): Currently, most popular attraction. Over 102cm of height.
- Venetian Gondolas (Boat ride): Italian-like atmosphere. A Very Romantic ride especially in the evening.
- Tower of Terror (Freefall attraction): Most thrilling attraction at Disney Resort.
- Toy Story Mania! (Shooting) : Compete with your friends to see who gets the highest points.
- Journey to the Center of the Earth (Roller-Coster): Over 117cm of height. Classic Roller-Coster ride.
Disney Character Greeting
The Character greeting will take place at both Tokyo Disney Land and Tokyo Disney Sea, where each Disney friends will be stationed in different locations. If you can find their home, then you can have your memorial snap taken.
Depending on the attraction, seating at some particular position will allow you to have a better experience of the attraction.
For example, if you enjoy thrilling and you are queuing up for “Splash Mountain (Roller-Coster)”, then you may want to take the 1st-row seats.
Another example that the seating position brings dramatic difference is the “Soaring Fantastic Flight (Theatre)”, which is like fighting for center seats at the cinema. Just to provide more information on this attraction, people will be randomly guided into waiting room A, B, or C, and in each waiting room, people will be divided again into lane 1, 2, or 3. If you are in waiting room B lane 1, then you will be able to enjoy the best among other. If not, you would at least like to be guided into room B.
Actually, if you talk to the staff and ask them kindly for a particular seat or lane, they will usually make it happen for you “on the next ride” instead. However, please do not take this for granted.
Tip ⑤ Be More Entertained
At Disney Land or Disney Sea, it is not just about the attractions. There are so much more things to enjoy. You should at least join a few of them in between attraction intervals so that your stamina will last until the evening. In this part, we will introduce you what other types of entertainments are available.
Find the Hidden Mickey
Inside Mickey’s territory, if you look carefully enough, you will be able to find Mickey’s footprints almost everywhere. You can do this when you are walking towards the next location, queuing for the attraction, or simply play this game (100% recommended if you are visiting with your kids) to see who can find it first.
Photo by きうこ
Mickey and his Disney Friends will dress up in special costumes and will greet every single visitor along the parade route. This is one of the most popular events because you do not get too much chance to see almost all of them at once. Usually, nighttime parades are a little more crowded than the daytime ones.
Photo by Kyla Duhamel
Shows and musicals are available throughout the day, at both indoor and outdoor. Some needs reservation, some needs to secure position before it starts. In general, all of them are recommended since they all have different content or taste, and new performances are released after a certain period of time.
Everyone likes fireworks!! Especially, when you have been having fun for the whole day, and would just like to finish it with something romantic and healing. This is only available once a day in the evening and will depend on the weather condition as well. There are certainly good spots to enjoy the this, but you can still see this in most of places inside the park.
During popular events above such as parades and fireworks, the waiting time for ALL other attractions will be much shorter. Therefore, if you have seen it before or are willing to exchange the opportunity with getting on one more attraction, this is the best time to do it.
Tip ⑥ Enjoy the “Delicatessen”
Although spending your precious time for attractions and shows are important, but it is just as important to charge yourself and enjoy the food.
In both Disney Land and Disney Sea, different area provides you with different food selections, range from Light meal (Hot Dog, Pastry, Pizza, Curry) to formal course (with variety of wine selection) to sweet (Churro, Popcorn).
There is certainly no doubt about the taste, but the cuteness of the food is something that you should not miss. Especially 2 things that are recommended.
Not only you can try different flavor of Popcorns that is tasty, to go with it, you can also have the limited version of popcorn case. Yes, some popcorn cases are limited!
First of all, churro is in a Mickey-shape, and that is a good enough reason to have it. Moreover, seasonal flavor Churros is available during different period of time and infinity new flavors are kept been released.
For more details on available restaurant and menu, please see official home page.
It is normal and does make sense to dine inside the park, especially for those who wishes to ride as many attractions as possible. However, for mature adults, sometimes it is more about the quality of each event, not the quantity. In this case, below is a few recommended places.
Bella Vista Lounge
This is located at Tokyo Disney Sea Hotel MiraCosta, which is literally a part of Disney Sea.
You have the privilege to be served by professional hotel staff, with variety of 5-Star quality food and drink selections, and a panoramic view of Disney Sea Parades and Fireworks at the “Mediterranean Harbor” while dining.
Casual Dining: Chef Mickey
This is located at Disney Ambassador Hotel, which is located between Disney Land and Disney Sea (10 minutes walk). At here, Mickey and his Disney friends will come to greet you at your table, and you will have the chance to have this wonderful moment on recorded on photo.
Tip ⑦ Extend your Magic Kingdom experience at the Official Disney Hotels
When it comes to the time walking reversely through the entry gate at the end of the day, the emotion of sadness and loneliness will gradually appear. It will finally explode, either before or on your way back to the real world. To prevent this Cinderella-type tragedy from happening, it is very much recommended to stay at one of the “Disney Official Hotels” and extend your Magic Kingdom experience.
Around the Disney Resort area, there are so many hotels that is lining up waiting for Disney visitors to spend their night there and get healed before their next adventure. Although each hotel has its pros and cons, and we would really like to make a detailed analysis on it, but we will leave this to the future article and just introduce you 2 most recommended hotel in specific.
Tokyo Disney Land Hotel (Official Disney Hotel)
This is located right in front of Tokyo Disney Land’s entrance. From your room, if you listen carefully, you can hear the park BGM and announcement. If you are staying at a higher floor, you can even see the “Cinderella Castle” (icon of Tokyo Disney Land) and the Firework in the evening.
Tokyo Disney Sea Hotel Miracosta (Official Disney Hotel)
To spend a night here has always been the dream of every Japanese Disney fan. One of the reasons is that the hotel is not next to, but it is inside Tokyo Disney Sea, in which accommodation guest does not feel they are “entering” the Magic Kingdom, but literally lives there. Even more, if you managed to reserve a room on the Porto Paradiso side, there is a big chance that you will have a clear view of the Mediterranean Harbor, meaning you have the privilege to enjoy the parades IN YOUR ROOM.
Apart from the location and the view, you also have the following benefits.
- Park entry guaranteed: When high capacity is expected during a certain day, available ticket is usually limited. In this case, you have to whether purchase the park ticket very early in advance, or you will have to hope for resell of tickets. Nevertheless, if you are staying at one of the five Official Disney Hotels (including Disney Ambassador Hotel, Tokyo Disney Celebration Hotel, and the newly open Tokyo Disney Resort Toy Story Hotel), the admission will be guaranteed. This means each staying guest can purchase 1 ticket each day (check-in & check-out date included), no matter the crowdedness.
- Early Entry: This benefit is also available if you staying at one of the five Official Disney Hotels. Although you must pay an extra 3,000 JPY per ticket (Yes, it’s worth it), but you can enter the park 1 hour earlier than other Disney visitors (at least 2 extra popular attractions more than others).
Room reservation is only available up to 2 months in advance. For example, if you would like to reserve a room on 3/1, then 1/1 is the earliest date that you can make a reservation. Since there are so many benefits to stay at the five Official Disney Hotels (especially Tokyo Disney Land Hotel has over 80% and Tokyo Disney Sea Hotel Miracosta has over 90% of occupancy rate), it sometimes can be difficult to make a reservation for the desired room, if not for just for any room. If you happen to know yourself in this situation, the following 3 points are recommended.
- The reservation process will be a lot smooth if you can create and log in to the account 15 minutes before the reservation starting time. This may sound exaggerating, but this is the fact.
- Simulate the reservation. Since you have to go through a few pages before the reservation can be confirmed, it is recommended to simulate all the way until the end before the payment, so that you know which page will come up next button to click next.
- Usually, ranking Top 3 Popular room types will be gone the second reservation starts, so sometimes compromise is needed.
In this article, we have provided you with 7 tips that can helps you to enjoy your day even more at the park, as well as some “Expert’s comments” by experienced Tokyo Disney fans that we have interviewed. We hope this article is fun to read and helpful in planning your Tokyo Disney trip. Please also share this with your friends and families so that everyone can enjoy the best out of Tokyo Disney Land / Disney Sea.