For Disney fans, there is an overwhelming urge to go to Disney theme parks around the world. However, actually visiting the parks can be a bit overwhelming by itself if you do not have an idea of what to do first. This guide will help you to make the most out of your trip to Tokyo Disneyland.
There are multiple ways to reach Tokyo Disneyland. There are bus services leaving from Narita and Haneda Airport as well as Tokyo Station and many hotels. If you want to add a little more Disney flavor to your trip, you can take the Disney Resort Line to the park. The inside is decorated with Mickey shapes from the handles to the windows. It is a 2-minute ride from JR Maihama Station to Tokyo Disneyland Station. The first monorail departs at 6:03 a.m. from the Resort Gateway Station and the last is at 12:04 a.m. from the Tokyo DisneySea Station.
So, you have just entered the park and you are wondering what you should do first. Well, if you are the type to go on as many rides as possible then your first stop should be to a FastPass ticketing terminal. These ticketing machines are located near the attraction. The really popular rides have FastPass available, while others do not have one at all. Unique attractions to Tokyo Disneyland that are a must include Pooh’s Hunny Hunt in Fantasyland and Monsters, Inc. Ride & Go Seek in Tomorrowland. Both of these attractions have FastPass and should be your goal. If you are more interested in roller coaster rides, then head for Big Thunder Mountain or Space Mountain. Other attractions that have FastPass ticketing are Splash Mountain, the Haunted Mansion, Star Tours: The Adventure Continues, and Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters.
In order to get a FastPass you would place the QR code over the scanner to receive a ticket with a time. When you go to the attraction at the assigned timeslot, know that there is a separate line for FastPass holders. The FastPass system in Tokyo Disneyland allows you to get another pass after a certain amount of time from when the previous ticket was issued. On the bottom of the ticket the time will be posted of when you can get another FastPass. There is a limited amount of FastPass tickets distributed per day. It will be no surprise if you arrive at a later time to the park and the times for your pass is at night or there are no more.
After getting your FastPass you will have time before you have to use it. Take this time to go on some other attractions with short wait times. There are apps available in English that will give you the wait times. Try finding attractions where the wait time is less than 60 minutes. Depending on the season, one attraction may be more popular during that particular time. For example, Haunted Mansion has a Nightmare Before Christmas theme in December. Another attraction to visit is Cinderella’s Fairy Tale Hall, which is a nice exhibit where it retells the story of Cinderella through dioramas and large artwork. This attraction is located inside the castle and makes for a good story to tell people that you went inside.
In between rides you can enjoy a couple of parades. These parades are usually scheduled with one in the morning and one in the afternoon. There are seasonal special parades that are a must see. For example, in 2018 they had the Frozen Fantasy Parade. Keep in mind that weather conditions can affect a parade to the point of cancellation. You can sit anywhere along the parade route ahead of time to get a good spot. The rules of the park states that you are allowed to reserve a spot only 1 hour before the start time. Depending on how many people are in the park you can get a decent spot 20 minutes before the parade starts. If you do not know where to sit, look for the reserved seating area, which has a view of Cinderella’s Castle, and set up camp in front. There is also a map available showing the parade route for you to use as reference.
All around the park there are performances and shows available. Let’s say you finished watching the parade, but you are not quite ready to jump on another ride, there are a few choices available. However, if you wish to see One Man’s Dream II – The Magic Lives On or Minnie Oh! Minnie, there is a lottery for the reserved seats. By queuing your seat will definitely be on the side areas, although the first show of the day has no lottery and the seats will be a first come first serve basis. The shows with a lottery change after a period of time. Tomorrowland Hall, which is located next to Space Mountain, is where you can enter into the lottery system. If you are not able to make it to either of those performances, Mickey’s Philhar Magic or Country Bear Jamboree are great alternatives.
Restaurants and snacks are optional because the parks allow you to bring outside food into Disneyland and DisneySea. If you did not feel the need to spend on meals inside the park and opted to bring your own food then you can just skip over this area.
There are a variety of restaurants available in Tokyo Disneyland catering to different taste buds. A couple restaurants require an advance reservation, such as Polynesian Terrace Restaurant or The Diamond Horseshoe. The reason for the advance reservation is that these places include a show with your meal. Both restaurants have a lunch and dinner sets in which the prices vary based on where you wish to be seated. If you do not want to wait at restaurants and want a quick meal then there are a few places to try. Toon Town’s Good Time Café or Tomorrowland’s Pan Galactic Pizza Port are a couple of good places to get food, but it really comes down to preference.
Now if you are looking to just satisfy a snack level type of hunger then try some of the unique popcorn flavors in the park. The guide map has a list of where you can find certain flavors of popcorn. The Milk Chocolate and Curry Popcorn are highly recommended as “very Japanese” flavors. For those with a sweet tooth, The Sweetheart Café and The Great Waffle Co. are great choices. The Mickey Mouse shaped waffles are a treat as they have a seasonal flavor unique to Japan which includes adzuki beans and matcha ice cream. Be warned as there is usually a line for the waffles and it may take 30 minutes or less to get it.
It is recommended that you leave the shopping for the end of the day, unless there is an area specific item you are looking for like Disney pins. For every other item, you can visit the Grand Emporium in the World Bazaar area. There is also the giant Bon Voyage store which has goods from both Disneyland and DisneySea. This shop is located near Maihama Station. There is also a pamphlet you can get where it will show the highlights of goods to buy.
If weather conditions permit it you can watch the fireworks show “Happiness on High.” This year’s projection mapping show is called “Frozen Forever” featuring the amazing soundtrack of Frozen. The scenes are then projected onto Cinderella’s Castle for all to see. The theme of the projection mapping changes with the season and Frozen will be ending on March 19, 2018.
For those that like to collect unique souvenirs, there are souvenir medallions. These are very similar to the pressed penny souvenirs you find throughout the U.S. including Anaheim Disneyland but are slightly bigger since Japan does not have coins that could be pressed. Instead, there is a piece of metal that drops in place of the 100-yen coin used to pay for the medallion. These machines can be found in various places around Tokyo Disneyland. Luckily the guide map provides the necessary information for you. Inside the Bon Voyage store, they have a few medallion machines which are exclusive to the location.
There a multiple mail boxes located in different parts of Tokyo Disneyland. You can send a postcard from there as long as the postage is present. The letters sent from the mailboxes will receive a special stamp from the park. As with many things in the park, the stamp is subject to change with the season. If you are a huge Frozen fan, then know the Frozen Fantasy stamp ends on March 19, 2018. With spring around the corner, you can look forward to beautiful cherry blossom themed postcards that would make for a great souvenir.
Though it may be “just a theme park”, these parks are definitely Japanese. From the unique-to-Japan flavors to the rides, you can definitely tell this park is not like the others you’ll find around the world. Whether your goal is to visit every Disney park in the world or have a good time, Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea are definitely a must-see!