Oh my goodness… where do I even begin? It had been one of my dreams to visit Japan and I still cannot believe I was able to make it happen! Getting to experience the magic at the Tokyo Disneyland Resort was such an unforgettable dream. It is very similar and yet extremely different than Disneyland in California.
Tokyo Disneyland Travel Guide
So what is there to do at the Tokyo Disney Resort?! First things first… there are two parks: Tokyo Disneyland and Disney Sea. In this post I’m going to walk you through Tokyo Disneyland, more specifically… what rides are different, where to eat, where to buy exclusive Tokyo souvenirs and… where to snap the best photos! But first a couple of general tips…. Hold on to your
hats ears, it’s gonna be a long one!
Things to know before visiting Tokyo Disneyland
PURCHASING PARK TICKETS
You need to buy your tickets ahead of time! This will save you lots of time as all of the ticket counters at the park gates get pretty packed. You can buy tickets ahead of time on their website, but if your credit cards (like ours) don’t work, your best bet is to buy them at a Disney Store in Tokyo — which is what we ended up doing!
WHERE TO STAY
There are three Disney Hotels and then a couple of normal ones but I recommend, if you can splurge a bit, stay at a Disney one! They give you the Happy 15 (which is their extra magic hours) and you get to go in the park 30min before general admission. I mean I got to have a very cool photoshoot in front of the castle (twice!) with NO people in the background… what?! I have tried, and failed to do that at both WDW and Disneyland but no matter what… you always get a crowd behind you. So if you can afford it, do it! We stayed at the Tokyo Disneyland Hotel which is a 3 min walk to Tokyo Disneyland and a 1 min walk to the free Tram that takes you to Disney Sea.
SO WHAT’S DIFFERENT?
Tokyo Disneyland is very similar in layout to Disneyland but with the Magic Kingdom castle. The way we experienced it was… it feels familiar but it is so much smaller in size but wider in streets. Meaning there is so much room to walk around in between park sections.
Main Street is also smaller but its fully covered by a very tall glass ceiling that allows plenty of light to shine through. It feels cozier and it’s less crowded but it did made me miss the hustle and bustle of Disneyland… the Firehouse with Walt Disney’s lamp lit as the Dapper Dans sing a medley of magical songs. Overall it’s a different experience — but in a good way!
Instagram-Worthy Spots in Tokyo Disneyland
Stating the obvious, the Castle is the #1 spot for photos, but everything is so much more colorful in Tokyo Disneyland that there are plenty of Insta-worthy spots for mini shoots! My favorite spot was the front of the Ice-Cream Parlor at the end of Main Street, lined with teal tables, yellow chairs and umbrellas. There are so many scattered throughout the park. Main Street is actually perfect as it has different backdrops and it’s covered by a frosted glass ceiling so you don’t get any harsh shadows. Oh, and don’t forget to stop by It’s a Small World, the only one in the world that’s colorful as opposed to all white 🙂
Tokyo Disneyland Rides + Attractions
Just as the castle is very similar to the one at Disney World, same goes for the rides. Tokyo Disneyland has all the staples from the USA parks. It’s got Space Mountain, Jungle Curise, Pirates of the Caribbean, Astro Blasters, Peter Pan… It’s all there, albeit slightly different layout. The rides that are exclusive to Tokyo are…
- Pooh’s Hunny Hunt — A trackless “kiddy” ride but with amazing effects. It’s one of the most popular.
- Monster’s Inc. Hide and Go Seek — Our personal favorite! It is similar to the one in California Adventure but way more interactive. It’s a mix between that and Buzz’s Astro Blasters.
- Jungle Cruise: Wildlife Expeditions — HILARIOUS! All the jokes are in Japanese, so we didn’t understand anything but it was amazing all the same. They also have a different section that is unique to Tokyo.
Fast passes are available throughout the park (they still do the old school paper ones), so make sure you get some at the beginning of the day. The Fast Pass kiosks are usually beside each ride.
What to Eat at Tokyo Disneyland
Oh boy… food! Let me just start by saying that Keal and I are vegetarians (and vegans at home), so food was quite hard for us. They like adding fish to almost everything — like garlic bread stuffed with shrimp and clam chowder?! But we did enjoy the flavored popcorn! While they do not have any dole whip or normal churros (theirs are potato based), they do have plenty of weirdly flavored popcorn that is actually good! They have everything from strawberry to soy sauce and curry.
We mainly survived off of pastries and iced coffee. Side Note… the only place with good iced coffee was at the Sweetheart Cafe at the end of Main Street. To get Mickey Waffles visit the Great American Waffle Co, tucked away in a corner on Main Street. If you’re a meat eater you’ll have better luck with food than we did — try the Mickey shaped burger on a bao bun at Huey, Dewey & Louie’s Good Time Cafe in Toontown!
If I’m being completley honest, I was kind of bummed about the merch at Tokyo Disney. I was expecting SO much stuff but most of the stores carry the exact same things. If you are a fan of Duffy the bear than go crazy! There are so many different Duffy themed things… it was insane! But if you’re like me and all you wanted was to pick a cool shirt that says “Tokyo Disneyland” then prepare to be slightly disappointed. As a designer, I lothe the font Comic Sans, it is a Graphic Designer’s worst nightmare… and yet most of the graphic tees used that font.
Luckily I found the most adorable collection of minimal character socks and got them all! I tried to only get things that I couldn’t find at any other park. They do have a lot of food related souvenirs that are super cute like instant ramen with mickey shaped carrots and things like that. Your best bet to get everything in one go is… you guessed it!… on Main Street!
The one thing that I found and LOVED was this Cleo bomber jacket! Keal found it while I was moping around trying to find a simple shirt that said “TOKYO” without much luck… but this jacket definitely makes up for it. It’s a jacket with a rare character that barely ever makes it onto merch and it’s the perfect shade of pinkish-red. So while I didn’t find the t-shirt I wanted, and I’m not a fan of Duffy… this definitely made up for it!
Entertainment, Parades + Fireworks!
There are a lot of different entertainment options scattered throughout the park. There’s a Lilo + Stitch Luau in Adventureland but we missed it by 5 minutes. We did get caught up in the middle of the daytime parade which was Easter themed and the crowds were going crazy over the Disney Easter Mascot “Usatama” which is basically an egg with feet and bunny ears. The night time parade “Dreamlights” in comparison is so much better, it’s the only time I really felt that Disney ~magic~. If you’re planning on doing just one thing, watch that electrical parade!
Then we have the fireworks! Which we missed the first time because it lasts all of 5 minutes. Yup it’s only 5! Compared to Disneyland in Cali which lasts a total of 16 minutes, this one felt underwhelming. We were fortunate to get a room with a Castle view and we were all ready to watch them but got caught up in talking and missed them! The next night we saw them we laughed because we only caught the last 30 seconds. Oh well!
All in all, I loved getting to experience Disney in a different way. While this park is very similar and almost feels like home, there’s so much to explore and things to find!
Have you ever been to Disney Tokyo? If you haven’t already, would you like to visit?