Disneyland Tokyo and My Top Tips to Enjoy Your Visit …

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I guess when most people hear the word Disneyland, they automatically think of the Disneyland at Anaheim in America but if you’re considering venturing to the “Happiest Place on Earth” then consider a trip to Tokyo.  We travelled to Japan in 2007 and then again in 2010 and both times took the kids to Disneyland.  You can catch the train and buses from various parts of Tokyo to get there, however, we chose to stay in Urayasu, Chiba where the resort is located.  A day at Disneyland is a long day with the Park closing at 10.00 pm, so we didn’t want to add commuting to that but the main reason for staying in the area was to completely immerse ourselves in the whole “Disney” experience.  And what an experience it is!

 

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Opening in 1983, it was the first Disneyland to be built outside of America and, once inside the gates, it has seven themed lands:

  • Adventureland
  • Westernland
  • Fantasyland
  • Tommorowland
  • World Bazaar
  • Critter Country
  • Mickey’s Toontown

Tokyo Disneyland is essentially the same as the American Disneyland with the exception of one additional ride:  Pooh’s Hunny Hunt, which can be found in Fantasyland.  Although it’s probably meant for younger kids, this was one of our favourite rides and plenty of others must agree as this ride has some of the longest waiting times for any attraction in the park.  Some of our other favourite rides were Splash Mountain, Pirates of the Carribean, The Haunted Mansion, the Jungle Cruise, It’s a Small World, Monsters Inc. Ride and Go Seek, Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters and, of course, Space Mountain (love that ride).  We were also incredibly lucky with our timing.  On our first trip, Disneyland was decorated for Halloween and on the second trip it was decorated for Christmas and no-one decorates quite like Disney.

 

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Compared to a day at Seaworld or Movieworld on the Gold Coast I think Disneyland is excellent value when you consider the size of the park and the number of attractions available.  Current pricing is approximately:

$65.00 AUS (6200 Yen) Adults for a single day

$56.00 AUS (5300 Yen) for Juniors (aged 12 -17)

$43.00 AUS (4100 Yen) for children (aged 4 – 11)

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So, what are my top tips if visiting Tokyo Disneyland?

  • Stay close to Disneyland Theme Park.  You will start the day with a lot less stress if you can walk to the front gate or be dropped there by bus from your hotel.
  • Don’t have a late night the day before your visit.  Make sure everyone has a good night sleep because a full day (and night) at Disneyland can be very tiring.  Being well rested will also discourage you from reaching for sugary snacks for an energy hit.
  • “The early bird catches the worm” so arrive early (well before opening time) to avoid massive queues because the lines can be huge.  Once inside the gates, I’ve heard stories of people waiting 1 ½ – 2 hours to get on some of the most popular rides at peak times.
  • Avoid visiting Disneyland on the weekend as it will be more popular and definitely busier.
  • Plan your trip for low season or off-peak months, again to avoid huge crowds.  If you choose carefully when you go, there is no reason why you can’t see every attraction and go on every ride in a single day.  Choose your visiting time poorly and you may only make it onto a handful of rides.
    • Consider visiting Disney Sea … it’s another Disney theme park located right next door and my kids loved it even more than Disneyland.  By choosing to visit both parks you can save money on a single day entry by purchasing a Two-day Pass.

 

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  • Plan your day.  Either print off a Park map from the internet or grab one as soon as you arrive.  When you’re standing in the queue at your first ride, take 5 minutes to get a rough idea of how your going to tackle the day.  Find out the top rides and attractions that appeal to your group and work out how to fit them into your day.  My advice is to work in a methodical pattern and keep going in the same direction.  If you spend your day running from one side of the Park to the other, you will only wear yourself out, waste time and risk missing out on something you really want to do.
  • If you or anyone travelling with you has special dietary requirements, do some research online before you go so you know which food outlets will be suitable.
  • Use the Fastpass system.  This was introduced a few years ago.  It allows visitors to go to a Fastpass machine, select a ticket for a popular ride like Space Mountain or Buzz Lightyear and then return at the time on the ticket to enjoy the ride with very little waiting time.  So what’s the catch?  You can only grab one fast pass at a time and, for some super popular rides, the Fastpasses for the entire day can run out early which means you’ll have to line up.  We used this system and it was great.
    • Pace yourself!  A day at Disneyland is huge and you still want to be standing at the end of the day!  Have regular breaks for drinks and snacks and make an effort to sit down.  If you’re staying at a nearby hotel you might even want to return to your hotel for lunch and a nap.  Trust me when I say, the day is truly exhausting!

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  • Lunchtime (between about 12.00 and 2.00) is the best time to get on some popular rides.  Everybody heads to cafes, restaurants and food outlets for lunch meaning a lot of the queues get smaller.  We had an early lunch at 11.00 and then another meal break around 4.00.  It meant we missed the queues for food and we squeezed in some fantastic rides without standing in long queues.
  • Take a couple of packaged snacks like muesli bars or something similar in your bag so you’re not spending a fortune on food.  Some little vegetable packs with sticks of celery, carrots and cherry tomatoes are a great idea.
  • Some of the shows at Disney are in air-conditioned venues so you might want to consider doing these in the middle of the day when it’s the hottest.
  • If your visiting when the park stays open into the evening, make sure you give yourself time to watch the night time parade … it is truly magical and the fireworks are a must see.
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  • The crowds at Disneyland are huge (I know I’ve mentioned that already) so make sure you organise a central meeting place that everyone knows how to get to in the event that a friend or family member gets separated from the group.  Make sure you give your kids clear instructions what you expect them to do if they get lost and reinforce this throughout the day.
  • If you’re planning on taking mobile phones and cameras make sure all the batteries (including spares are fully charged) … you don’t want to miss those magical shots because of a flat battery.
  • Now for the “Mum” advice!  Make sure everyone has water and drinks frequently.  Make sure you take plenty of sunblock and everyone should wear a hat and sunnies.  Comfortable shoes are a must because you will spend the entire day on your feet and comfortable clothing, that’s suitable for the weather conditions, is essential.  Try to limit the number of bags and how much stuff you bring with you.  You won’t be able to take it on a lot of rides anyway.  Leave at the hotel anything that’s not absolutely essential for the day and put as much in your pockets as possible.  Leave your souvenir shopping for the end of the day so you’re not carrying shopping bags everywhere.

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So if you want the “Disney” experience, I would definitely consider Tokyo Disney.  In my experience, Japan does not deserve its reputation for being so expensive and if you can grab a cheap airfare with Jetstar, it’s a very affordable holiday.  Soon I’ll be sharing my top tips for picking up 5 star accommodation for a budget price, so stay tuned …

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So tell me, have you visited Disneyland (the Happiest Place on Earth … it really is) and what’s your favourite memory?  If you haven’t been, is it on your “To Do” List?

 

Comments

  1. Madeleine says:

    Wish I’d seen this before my trip there. Great advice!

    • Hi Madeleine, so nice of you to visit! Glad you like the advice. If you’ve only visited Tokyo Disneyland recently, do you have any other tips you could add? Also, what was your favourite ride?

  2. So glad I stumbled across your blog!! How AMAZING is Tokyo Disney Resort?? I visited last year, and must say I enjoyed both parks more so than the Disney World parks in their own unique way :) Slowly crossing all the Disney Parks/Resorts of the bucket list…

    • Hello Brooke and welcome! Tokyo Disney is definitely one of our favourites and it really lives up to it’s name of being “the happiest place on earth”! We’re hoping to take the kids to Disney World next year in Florida, so we’re busy saving our pennies! Thanks again for stopping by!

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