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Tokyo Disneyland

Disney Tokyo: Tips and Tricks for a Family Trip

To the point Here are my tips to maximize your day at Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea and save on your hotels.

The Japanese versions of Disney’s parks are a must-see for children and adults alike when visiting Tokyo!

Tokyo Disneyland

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!

Tokyo Disneyland
Tokyo Disneyland

There are two different parks and it is advisable to visit them both!

Tokyo Disneyland

  • Classic Experience
  • Perfect for young children
  • More spectacular and extravagant parades and shows
It S A Small World Disneyland
It S A Small World Disneyland

Tokyo Disneysea

  • Unique Disney Park around the world
  • Rides that target older children
  • A little more spooky atmosphere that might scare young children.
The Little Mermaid Disney Sea
The Little Mermaid Disney Sea

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

This is probably the most important piece of advice other than buying your ticket 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!

White Rabbit
White Rabbit

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.

Applications
Applications

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.

Tokyo Disney Official Application
Tokyo Disney Official Application

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:

Tokyo Disneyland

  • Enchanted Tale of Beauty and the Beast (¥2,000)
  • Splash Mountain (¥1,500)
  • The Happy Ride with Baymax (¥1,500)

Tokyo DisneySea

  • 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)
Mysterious Island
Mysterious Island

The most popular rides

Disneyland

  • Pooh Honey’s Hunt
  • Monster Inc Ride & Go Seek
  • Buzz Lightyear Astro Blaster

 

DisneySea

  • 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.

Arabian Coast
Arabian Coast

The shows

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)
Show
Show

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!

Dining

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.

Queen Of Hearts Banquet Hall
Queen Of Hearts Banquet Hall
Meal Plate
Meal Plate

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.

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 the 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.

Disney Monorail
Disney Monorail

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.

Tokyo Disneyland Hotel
Tokyo Disneyland Hotel

It is possible to access the park 15 mins before the opening depending on the benefits of a room in an official Disney hotel:

Happy Entry
Happy Entry

Then there is a selection of hotels in the vicinity of the site. These guarantee the availability of park admission tickets.

The Sheraton Grande Tokyo Bay Hotel,Sheraton Grande Tokyo Bay Hotel, a Marriott Class 7 establishment, is located right next to the park. The cost of a room in points varies between 60,000 and 70,000 points Marriott Bonvoy.

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 waking up in the early hours of the morning with a less expensive hotel in Tokyo! Trains from Tokyo start running around 05:00.

Disney Tokyo - Flights

A very complete and dedicated article on the different methods to get to Japan and Disney Tokyo can be found here:

Shop Window Decorations
Shop Window Decorations
Other little tips and tricks
  • There is a public wifi network at Tokyo Disney
  • Bring a portable charger for your phone.
  • Paying lockers (locker area) are available in the park.

If you want to follow my adventures on Instagram, my account is @wanderingaline

Come to discuss that topic in our Facebook Group!

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