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Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea: A Travel Guide

Disney magic is universal. Even the mystical Japan is captivated by its spell. Thus, the Tokyo Disney Resort came to be with its two theme parks – Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea.

Disneyland or DisneySea?

Disneyland castle

Ideally, visiting both Disney amusement parks is the way to go. However, If you have to choose between two of Tokyo’s best theme parks, your choice relies on which fits more with your travel goal. The tips below can help you decide which one is better.
 

When’s the best time to visit?

The wisest option would be during the off-peak season. But keep your expectations in check especially at these world-renowned attractions, long queues are the norm even on non-busy times.

Peak Seasons to Avoid:

  • New Year – December 31 to January 5
  • Golden Week – April 29 to May 5 (which can stretch to around 10 days)
  • Obon Festival – August 13 to 15

Aside from these holidays, it’s also not advisable to go on weekends from Friday to Sunday. The crowd volume spikes up with more local students visiting around.

Fortunately, you can get a data-based crowd analysis and even weather forecast using the Crowd Congestion Forecast Calendar. The calendar site, however, is in Nihongo so you need to translate it in English.

If you’re going to Tokyo during summer and cherry blossom season, Tokyo DisneySea is the much-preferred choice with its water rides and full-bloomed Sakura trees.
 

Admission Tickets

You can either line-up and buy tickets at the entrance booths with a chance of running out of tickets. Or skip the long lines and book your tickets online through Traveloka.

Book Tokyo Disneyland tickets here

You can choose from a variety of park tickets available such as 1-Day Passport, Senior Passport, Starlight Passport, After 6 Passport, and 2 to 4-Day Magic Passports.

Book Tokyo DisneySea tickets here

Once you’ve booked your ticket, don’t forget to print it out for the QR code. The code is scan at the entrance and also needed for Fast Pass and Lottery System. In case you forget to print your e-ticket, you can request a print out at the information center.
 

How do I get to Tokyo Disney Resort?

The thing is, Tokyo Disney Resort is not in Central Tokyo! The attraction is located in Urayasu City in the Chiba Prefecture.

To get to the neighboring theme parks of Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea, you can opt to take a train to Maihama Station. This is the nearest train station to the Disney Resort wherein you can walk your way or take the monorail to Disneyland or DisneySea.

Another option is to take a shuttle bus service from various locations to Tokyo Disneyland. This option is more convenient as you won’t switch trains but more expensive and a less seating capacity.
 

Skip the longer queues with Fast Pass

Fast Pass Service allows you to reserve your place in a queue for some of the rides. A Fast Pass holder can bypass the main queue and have access to the fast track queue instead.

You can have it for free after scanning the QR code of your printout ticket. However, it can only be used within the period assigned to you and available only to the most famous attractions.

Here are the available attractions for Fast Pass in Disneyland: Space Mountain, Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters, Star Tours: The Adventures Continue, Monsters Inc. Ride & Go Seek!, Pooh’s Hunny Hunt, Big Thunder Mountain, Splash Mountain, and Haunted Mansion.

Tower of Terror DisneySea

While the list for DisneySea includes Journey to the Center of the Earth, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Crystal Skull, Tower of Terror, Raging Spirits, Toy Story Mania, Mermaid Lagoon Theatre, and Magical Lamp Theatre.

The ticket can be only used in an hour and you can get another one every 1.5 to 2 hours. In case the Fast Pass queue gets long as well, you can download and use the TDR (Tokyo Disney Resort) Dash app so you can check the status of both the normal and Fast Pass queues.

Another strategy to fast track your access to shows is through the Lottery System. After scanning your ticket’s QR code, the machine will either congratulate you for winning the reserved seats or inform you that you lost and wait for the usual standby time for the show. You only have one chance to use this offer.

Themes

DisneySea old town

Each theme park has its unique atmosphere for the visitors but both have the magical charm that you can enjoy tremendously, nevertheless.

Tokyo Disneyland caters more for families or groups with children, the kids at heart, and hardcore Disney fans while Tokyo DisneySea best fits the teenager and young adults especially the adrenaline junkies.

Rides

Big Thunder Mountain Disneyland Tokyo

Several rides were mentioned earlier with Fast Pass access because of having the longest queues in the parks. When in Tokyo Disneyland, these attractions top-billed the traditional rides: Big Thunder Mountain, Space Mountain, and Splash Mountain. If you’ve got the need for speed, you can try it fast at the Grand Circuit Raceway.

Tokyo DisneySea ride

On the other hand, Tokyo DisneySea adventurous offers include the all-time favorite Toy Story Mania, Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Crystal Skull, and Tower Terror.

If you’re more of the design aficionado, don’t miss Journey to the Center of the Earth and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea with their impressive structural styles.

A pro-tip: take advantage of the Single Rider Lane to save so much time when lining up rides. Ask the attendant if this option is available on your preferred ride.

Parades and Shows

Tokyo Disneyland parade float

When in Disneyland, include the stellar Happiness is Here parade during daytime and illuminating Electrical Parade Dreamlights at night on your checklist.

When you thought you have seen the best, wait for the 20-minute projection show and the iconic finale of Once Upon a Time fireworks show at the castle.

As for DisneySea, it has a light, lasers, and sounds storytelling presentation called Fantasmic Show as a counterpart for the fireworks show. Also, the cuddly sailor bears Duffy and ShellieMay and their cat friend Gelatoni is exclusively featured in the park with a dedicated show at Cape Cod Cook-Off.

What to Eat

Tokyo Disneyland food
Image Source: @Laika Ac via Commons

Expect that themed restaurants have queues and a pricey menu so you can opt to have an early breakfast or late lunch to avoid the lunch rush.

Although bringing food is not allowed in the park rules, you can still bring handy snacks like a sandwich or onigiri basket. There are designated picnic areas inside but Tokyo DisneySea has a more welcoming set-up for this option.

Other than the classical Mickey Mouse ice cream bars, make sure to munch on old-fashioned popcorn in Disneyland and try the exclusive soy sauce and butter variants. Or help yourself with a turkey leg or two in DisneySea.

Important Reminders

  • Be sure to come early at least 30 minutes before the opening time
  • Wear comfy clothes as you’ll be exploring a massive attraction
  • Selfie sticks and pods (mono, uni, tri) are not allowed inside
  • To get a solo shot with the castle (or at least lesser photobombers), stay for 20 to 30 minutes after closing time
  • There are no branded souvenir shirts in both theme parks

 

If you’re dropping by Tokyo, don’t miss the chance to experience the magic of the happiest place on Earth. Book your tickets on Traveloka for great deals!