Most of us grew up loving the wonderful movies of Walt Disney, and visiting one of the Disney parks to have a magical day is on many kids’ and adults’ wish list. Whether you have gone to a Disney park already or if it is your very first time, the two Tokyo Disney parks are sure to delight young and old. The rides are so impressive, whole worlds from the Disney movies you love the best have been faithfully recreated, the shows are of Broadway-quality, and every little detail in the park and everyone who works in the park will make your trip to a Disney park unforgettable.
Tokyo Disney Resort History
The Tokyo Disney Resort is made up of two separate parks: Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea. Tokyo Disneyland opened in 1983 and is operated by the Japanese company Oriental Land, who obtained the necessary license from The Walt Disney Company. At that time, Tokyo Disneyland was the only Disney park outside the US. It is also the only Disney park that was not invested in by the American company. The Tokyo Disney Resort is located in Maihama in Chiba Prefecture, which is not Tokyo city itself, but it is only a short 16-minute train ride away from the centrally located Tokyo Station.
Besides the official Tokyo Disneyland Hotels, there are many other hotels in the area that are a perfect starting point for a trip to one or both of the parks. We can help you find the best deals for these hotels.
Tokyo Disneyland’s Seven Areas
The structure and attractions of the park are almost the same as the park in the US, with seven different areas that feel like they are different countries. These are the 7 areas:
World Bazaar: This area is a recreation of a typical local city of the US in the early 20th century. It is called Main Street USA in the parks of the US. There are many souvenir shops and service facilities here, and the area is covered with a glass roof.
Adventureland: The theme of this area is exploring undiscovered lands and adventures in a region where pirates are active. Pirates of the Caribbean and Jungle Cruise are the most popular attractions in this area.
Westernland: This is a recreation of a Western town during the pioneer time, it is called Frontier Land in the US. There is a big river with Tom Sawyer Island in the middle, and you can ride on steamboat ‘Mark Twain’. Big Thunder Mountain is also a popular attraction in Westernland.
Critter Country: This is the hometown of a bunch of small animals. You can find water attractions Splash Mountain and Beaver Brothers Explore Canoe here. The canoe is the only attraction in which riders need to use their own physical strength.
Fantasyland: The theme of this area is the world of dreams and magic. The Cinderella Castle is the symbol of this area. There are many attractions that have classic characters in their theme such as Pinocchio, Snow White, and Alice in Wonderland. The Haunted Mansion is also in this area.
Toon Town: This is where Mickey and his friends live. In this part, there are attractions that are mainly for families with small children. You can see Mickey Mouse at Mickey’s House and the Meet Mickey attraction.
Tomorrowland: The theme of the area is the future world as it was imagined before humans landed on the moon. Space Mountain and Star Tours are the most popular attractions. Because the concept is to use the newest technology, they change the attractions in Tomorrowland more frequently than in other areas. It is similar to the Epcot Center in America’s Disney World.
There are two rides that are unique to the park in Japan, so you should make sure to have these on your to-do list:
Monsters, Inc. Ride & Go Seek: There is a Monster, Inc. attraction in other parks, but the one in Japan is the only attraction using a ride-form. Riders play a hide and seek game while enjoying the cart ride. Rocky is a character that can only be found in the Japanese ride.
The Enchanted Tiki Room: You find this attraction in the US as well, but character Stitch appears only in Japan.
Tokyo Disneyland Visit Tips and Tricks
When you visit Tokyo Disneyland, watching a parade at least once is an experience you should definitely include. It is a good idea to check the parade schedule when you enter the park, as the schedule is subject to change. If you want to make sure that you will not miss the parade, you need to calculate the waiting time of the ride you do before heading to a good viewing spot for the parade.
Dreaming Up!: This is a parade during the daytime (currently suspended)
Electrical Parade Dreamlights: This is an evening parade with a lot of illuminations (currently suspended)
Disney Light the Night: This is a firework display (from 8 pm)
In order to minimize the waiting time, using the free fast passes will be very helpful. With a fast pass, you can enter from the fast pass entrance without standing in a long queue. There are three ways to get it, and it is a very good idea to familiarize yourself with the process beforehand so you will not have to waste any valuable time while in the park. There are 3 ways to obtain fast passes:
Hotel plan with fast passes: If you apply for certain plans of official hotels that are part of the Tokyo Disney Resort, you will get several fast pass tickets with your hotel plan. The number of tickets depends on the plan you choose. These tickets are very convenient because you can use them at any time without having to make a reservation using an app or the machines in the park. It is a special perk for those who stay in a Disney hotel.
With the app: In order to use the app, you have to download and register for the Tokyo Disney Resort App first. Then, once you entered the park, you can choose the attraction that you want to have the pass for. It will show the time you can enter. It is good to be aware that you have to wait for two hours before you can get your next fast pass.
From the ticket dispensers in the park: This method of getting a fast pass takes some planning. You will first have to decide which attraction is the most important for you to be able to ride, and head to that attraction first thing after you enter the park. You will find a ticket dispenser machine somewhere near the entrance of the ride, that will indicate the time you can enter with a fast pass. The machine will issue the fast pass when you put your entrance ticket to the card reader, so keep your entrance ticket for the park safe! In order to get your next fast pass, you will need to wait for at least two hours or until the time you will use your first fast pass, whichever comes first.
Tokyo Disney Hotels
There are many hotels around the park’s area. There are four official hotels of Tokyo Disney Resort, Tokyo Disneyland Hotel, Disney Ambassador Hotel Ambassador, Tokyo DisneySea Hotel Miracosta, and Tokyo Disney Celebration Hotel. These hotels are completely in the style of Disney characters and movies, making them especially interesting for families. Some rooms even have special themes such as Cinderella, Beauty and Beast, and Mickey Mouse. A great benefit of staying in one of these hotels is you can choose a plan with special benefits such as getting fast passes and show tickets.
There are more hotels in the area, many of which are very comfortable to stay at. For example, Grand Nikko Tokyo Bay Maihama, Hotel Okura Tokyo Bay, Hilton Tokyo Bay, Sheraton Grande Tokyo Bay, and many more. You can use the free shuttle bus service between the hotel and the monorail Bayside Station that stops at the entrance gate of Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea.
Tokyo Disney Resort Numbers
About 780 million guests in total have already visited Disneyland and DisneySea as of December 2020, this is how successful the parks are. It is said that Michael Eisner, the CEO of the Walt Disney Company, mentioned it was a big mistake that the company hasn’t managed Tokyo Disneyland directly after seeing its great success. The number of guests per year is over 30 million for both parks together. This means that about 82,000 guests per day go to Disneyland or DisneySea, and that there are always queues for popular attractions. It is good to know that you may have to line up for two hours in the peak season for the popular attractions.
Your Japan Tour
As seasoned Japan experts, we can help you create your perfect Japan tour including a visit to Tokyo Disneyland. Contact us to start planning your unforgettable holiday to this fascinating country full of once-in-a-lifetime experiences, culture, history, nature, and delicious food!
Access: 5 minutes walk from Maihama Station of the Keio Line.
Entrance fee: 8,200 yen for adult / 6,900 yen for junior and senior high school student / 4,900 yen for 4 to elementary school student. There are discount tickets available depending on the time you enter. There are also discount tickets for multiple-day passes.
Hours: 9:00 – 21:00
*Please note that at this moment you need to make a reservation to enter to park because of COVID-19. They limit the number of guests to about 20,000 people per day, which also means that the lines are much shorter than usual.