A ticket back in May 2017 to Tokyo Disneyland or DisneySea would set you back 7,400 yen for all day access to either theme park, but not both. When you visit the Tokyo Disney Resort you will have a difficult choice between the well known Disneyland or the unique, only-in-Japan DisneySea. If I were you, I would pick DisneySea. DisneySea offers many unique opportunities and attractions.
A day in any theme park requires some preplanning. You need to decide who will be carrying the backpack, rechargeable battery, drinks, etc. Of course, the most important thing is that you should also consider which rides and attractions you want to experience. If you are early to the park, I recommend going straight to the most popular rides first and then going with the flow for the rest of the day. Some of the best rides at both the theme parks are as follows:
Disneyland: Monsters Inc. Ride and Go Seek and Space Mountain
DisneySea: Toy Story Mania and Journey to the Centre of the Earth
To get to Tokyo Disney Resort, which actually sits outside of Tokyo in neighboring Chiba, take the train to JR Maihama Station. From there, you can take the monorail, which at the time was 260 yen per ride, to one of the theme parks. The alternative is that there are buses from both Disneyland and DisneySea that go to every major area in Tokyo.
You can bring your own bottled water, which can be three times more expensive within the park than outside. If you are cost conscious, it can be quite a hassle to leave the theme park. I recommend bringing an empty bottle in case.
When you arrive at DisneySea, you can expect people already at the ticket gate even before the theme park opens. I remember on the day seeing a wave of people stretching probably thousands of people. It was crazy packed and popular. I visited back in May 2017 and this was a Thursday. I can’t imagine how much more busy it gets on a Friday or a weekend.
To get the most of your day, it is highly recommended that you download the Disneyland and DisneySea app that shows wait times for all the attractions in real time.
Unfortunately, on the day we visited, it was a pretty gloomy, rainy day. It was difficult to enjoy the theme park since we were getting drenched in rain. So it is wise to bring some light rain coats and not umbrellas since they do get in the way of things and are a nuisance when queuing. If you want, you can purchase the theme park’s light rain coats, which is blue color for Mickey and red color for Minnie.
As you enter DisneySea, you will be greeted to the Mediterranean Harbor. From here, you are free to head to any part of the park, but if you got in early and want to ride the best attraction, then I recommend heading towards Mysterious Island with the big volcano, Mount Prometheus, to ride on the attraction, Journey to the Center of the Earth. This attraction will take you through a subterranean adventure as you explore various caverns. It is a very atmospheric journey. The wait times are usually long and it’s better to experience this early then to spend the rest of the day in the queue.
If you are wanting big thriller attractions, I recommend the Indiana Jones ride in the Lost River Delta and the Tower of Terror in the American Waterfront. The Indiana Jones ride also has a single ride queue, which moves relatively quickly, so if you want to cut your waiting time in half and don’t mind being separated from your peers, you should take this queue. The Indiana Jones ride is a undercover rollercoaster. It is thrilling, but it’s not too crazy.
The most immersive locales were the Mermaid Lagoon, which is based on the Little Mermaid and had mostly kid-friendly attractions, and the Arabian Coast, based on Aladdin and had a very middle-eastern feel to it. The Mermaid Lagoon is all undercover to make it seem like you are visiting an underwater sanctuary, while the Arabian Coast really looks like you are visiting Agrabah with all its unique looking buildings.
Unlike in Universal Studios, the attractions in the Disney theme parks are geared towards a younger demographic. We joined the Nemo & Friends SeaRider where around 100 people entered a room and sat down in an underwater adventure with Nemo. There was a little bit of water splashed and some other 4D experiences. We also experienced the Toy Story Mania! attraction where we boarded a tram and competed with each other to shoot down things using the toy gun attached to the tram. (I don’t think the scores go towards anything.)
While you are at Disneyland or DisneySea, be on the lookout for a strange teddy bear called Duffy the Disney Bear. Duffy is sold at most of the merchants. I had never seen this teddy bear before, but it is a unique to the Disney theme parks and there are several shows that run throughout the day in theatre rooms where Duffy performs in front of the audience with the other well known Disney characters like Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Goofy.
As always, it never hurts to buy some souvenirs to remember your visit. For me, I brought home a blue Mickey Mouse light raincoat, which I still use from time to time, and some magnets. My wife managed to purchase a Minnie Mouse hand band, which is incredibly cute as it has a Minnie Mouse doll attached to the band from a merchant in the Port Discovery area.
If you are into photos, then DisneySea is incredibly picturesque. You will find so many opportunities to take photos in the various locales. If you stay till dusk, the lights turn on around the harbor. Around dusk it’s not pitch dark, so it is the perfect time to capture some incredible photos of the park.
Overall, theme parks are always fun and exhausting. Wait times are long, but it is the nature of theme parks. Cost of food within the park and souvenirs are expensive, but you should give yourself a day to treat yourself and enjoy it for what it is.
Tokyo DisneySea is located here at 1-13 Maihama, Urayasu, Chiba 279-8511, Japan (you will be outside of Tokyo visiting Tokyo Disney Resort):
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