Indeed, the Disney parks in Tokyo are very popular with adult customers. It is not uncommon to see couples in date at Tokyo Disneyland. There are also many young teenagers who go to parks as outings with friends. In short, everyone loves Disney!
There are two different parks and it is advisable to visit them both!
- Classic Experience
- Perfect for young children
- More spectacular and extravagant parades and shows
- Unique Disney Park around the world
- Rides that target older children
- A little more spooky atmosphere that might scare young children.
Buy your ticket in advance
To take advantage of this strategy to maximize your day, it is important to get your tickets before the day itself. Lines at counters can be massive.
It is possible to buy them:
- the many Disney stores in town (Ikebukuro, Shinjuku, Harajuku, Shibuya, Odaiba, Tokyo SkyTree)
- with a Disney hotel reservation (online and at the front desk)
- convenience stores (7/Eleven, Lawson, Family Mart)
- online on their website
The price of one-day admission tickets is approximately ¥8,500. 2,3,4 day tickets are also available as well as the option of park hopper. It should be noted, however, that the two parks are located 30 mins from each other by monorail.
Arriving at the park in advance
The lines to ENTER the parks are very long and I suggest you arrive at least 60-90 mins before opening on a weekday. If you have planned to visit Disney on a holiday or weekend, which is not recommended, it is recommended that you arrive at least 2 hours in advance.
This advice might seem excessive, but it is very important!
Busy periods to avoid
- New Year (late December-early January)
- School break (March-early April)
- Golden Week (late April-early May)
- Obon Week (mid-August)
- Special events
Download a waiting time application
The most popular applications are TDR Alert and Wait Times for Tokyo Disney.
They provide information on the actual waiting time for
- attractions and rides
- the schedule of meetings with the characters
- schedule of shows and parades
If you can read Japanese, the official Disney application, available on the App Store Japan, will give more precise information on waiting times.
Disney Premier Access
Since its reopening after the pandemic, Fast Passes have disappeared. The park now offers Disney Premier Access; in other words, it’s a paid Fast Pass.
The cost of each pass is on average ¥2,000, or about $20. Customers can purchase one pass at a time and must wait 60 minutes before purchasing another.
Disney Premier Access purchases must be made from the official Tokyo Disney Resort app and quantities are limited.
All the steps to obtain Disney Premier Access passes are described on the official website here and are only available for the following rides and shows:
- Enchanted Tale of Beauty and the Beast (¥2,000)
- Splash Mountain (¥1,500)
- The Happy Ride with Baymax (¥1,500)
- Believe! Sea of Dreams (¥2,500)
- Soaring: Fantastic Flight (¥2,000)
- Toy Story Mania! (¥2,000)
- Tower of Terror (¥1,500)
- Center of the Earth (¥1,500)
The most popular rides
- Pooh Honey’s Hunt
- Monster Inc Ride & Go Seek
- Buzz Lightyear Astro Blaster
- Toy Story Mania
- Journey to the Center of the Earth
- Indiana Jones Adventure
- Tower of Terror
It should be noted that the Japanese prefer the “theatrical” rides versus the “thrill” type. Roller-coaster-type attractions are not as popular as Disney in the USA.
There is a lottery service to get reserved tickets for shows and parades. It is possible to participate in these lotteries for free on the official Japanese Disney application as well as at the following locations:
- Tomorrow Land Hall (Disneyland)
- Biglietteria (Disneysea)
The Big Bang Beat Show and One Man’s Dream II are the most popular shows.
There is always the opportunity to line up for these shows on a “first come, first served” basis and there are several performances a day.
All the shows are in Japanese, but I assure you that they are entertaining even if you don’t master the language!
There’s plenty of places to eat in the park. Meal prices are very affordable and comparable to other Disney around the world. There is a buffet restaurant in each of the parks as well as hotels on site.
It is suggested to eat off peak, for example:
- between 10:00 and 11:00 a.m.
- between 3:00 and 4:00 p.m.
Secondly, some restaurants offer table service and require reservations as stand-by lines are usually very long. If you are unable to book online, the best time to do so is when these restaurants open at 10:00. These culinary experiences stand out more at DisneySea.
- Magellan’s Restaurantfine dining experience (kaiseki) in an exceptional atmosphere
- Sakura Restaurant Japanese theme
- Horizon’s Bay Restaurant : possibility to eat with characters
Near Maihama station, you can also find a multitude of restaurants cheaper than in the park as well as several convenience stores. A picnic area is at your disposal near the entrance. It is possible to leave the park to eat; don’t forget to get stamped to return.
The Ikspiari complex is an unofficial Japanese version of Downtown Disney. There is a grouping of more than 150 different restaurants and a multitude of shops for shopping.
Access from Tokyo
The train station that deserts Tokyo Disney is Maihama on the Keiyo line. The travel time from Tokyo Station to Maihama Station is about 30 mins; however, the transfer from platform to Tokyo Station can be very long and take 30 mins on its own!
Depending on the location of your hotel in Tokyo, the total journey could take more than 60-90 mins through heavy rush hour congestion. Then you can take the Disney Monorail to the park you wish to visit.
If you leave from the west of the city, there is a bus that connects Shinjuku (Expressway Bus Terminal) and the park entrance in 60 mins. This bus also passes through Tokyo Station, but I find the train more convenient in general.
Disney Tokyo - Hotels
If your budget allows it, I advise you to book a room in a hotel on the site. You’ll be able to get to the park faster and, most importantly, arrive before the crowd.
Then there is a selection of hotels in the vicinity of the site. These guarantee the availability of park admission tickets.
- Tokyo Bay Maihama Hotel First Resort
- Sheraton Grande Tokyo Bay Hotel
- Tokyo Bay Maihama Hotel
- Hilton Tokyo Bay
- Hotel Okura Bay
Nearby there are several other modest but ordinary hotels. The difference lies in the priority access, the possibility to reserve restaurants and the guarantee to have admission tickets available for their customers. There are many seasonal and special events in Disney parks and Tokyo is no exception; the parks are sometimes sold out.
You will still gain in time with an ordinary hotel nearby, but the cost is not justified if you don’t have access to the other benefits, in my opinion. Nothing prevents you from getting up in the wee hours of the morning with a cheaper hotel in Tokyo! The trains in Tokyo start running at about 05:00.