I am not a person who, ever thinks about Disney nor would I have ever thought I would ever go to a Disney theme park as an adult if I had no kids of my own. That was until I was offered a free ticket to go to Tokyo DisneySea. I couldn’t refuse when someone offers me a free ticket into an expensive theme park. I generally find Disney to be a bit childish and hard on the body as the theme parks are usually very large. I went into everything without any real image of what to expect. I heard many bad things about Tokyo DisneySea and I wasn’t completely excited to be going. It also happened to be the day after I returned from Kansai and a day before I would depart for Kuala Lumpur. It was a rush to get things ready to go but I made it and had a lot of fun at the same time.
I have heard countless times from many people that Tokyo Disney is not somewhere I would ever want to go. For an average tourist, it is almost the same as Disneyland except you can’t communicate as well as everything is in Japanese. I would say that in general that is true. If you are a true Disney fan, you will be happy going to Disneyland or DisneySea no matter where you are in the world. Language isn’t a problem as having fun is the most important thing. People also complain that going to Disney is an expensive adventure. While I agree that Disney itself is pretty expensive, the most expensive part was the food. I found the souvenirs to be pretty reasonable for a theme park and as long as your expectations of spending lots of money on simple things to stay alive in the park are well kept, you won’t have any problems in either Tokyo Disneyland or Tokyo DisneySea.
The first thing you have to know when going to Tokyo Disney Resorts is how to get there. There are a few hotels in Tokyo that offer free shuttle buses to and from Disney Resorts but for the average person, the train is the easiest and most flexible way to go to Tokyo Disney Resorts. JR trains run regularly to Tokyo Disney Resorts which is located at Maihama Station on the JR Keiyo Line. It is very convenient to get to Tokyo Disney Resorts but the only problem is the wind. The JR Keiyo Line is infamously known for being shut down or having problems due to strong winds as the Keiyo Line and Tokyo Disney Resorts is located right on Tokyo Bay where the winds are the strongest in Tokyo. This can cause problems for people visiting the resort but there are also buses which help people get to and from Maihama Station from other stations around Tokyo. Buses aren’t the cheapest modes of transportation but they are useful for many people. Once at Tokyo Disney Resorts you have to transfer onto the Disney Resort Line. It is a single track monorail that circles the entire resort. If you have a Suica card you can bypass the long lines at the ticket machines and head straight for the monorail. Once on the monorail, you can just hop off at Tokyo Disneyland, the hotels, or Tokyo DisneySea. It is very easy to use and you can see a lot of the park just by riding on the monorail.
Once you get to either Disneyland or DisneySea, you will inevitably have to wait in line to get tickets. This is pretty easy and fairly quick. If you are heading to Disney Resorts on a weekend or holiday, you are more than likely to have a tough time getting in as the lines will be terribly long. I went on a cold weekday so the line was long but not terribly long. If you are patient and wait until an hour or so after the gates open, the lines should be shorter. In fact, if you wait until the afternoon on weekdays, the lines should be minimal if there is even a line. Once you get your tickets you just head inside and start to explore the different areas. If you can plan when you want to go to the resort you can purchase your tickets in advance. You can purchase them online but if you don’t have an address in Japan it can be a little difficult. The best way to get advance tickets is to head to one of the six Disney Stores located around central Tokyo. You can then easily head into any Disney Store and wait in a relatively short line to get a couple tickets for the date of your choice rather than waiting an hour or so outside the resort itself. When I went, the line to enter Tokyo DisneySea was roughly 30 minutes. It wasn’t as long as it could have been. The lines to get in were roughly 25% of the full capacity of the waiting area. I would hate to try entering Disney Resorts on a weekend without advance tickets.
I haven’t been to a Disney Resort since I was a child in elementary school. It was fun to see things and look at things in a completely different light. A lot of things were very similar but since I was at Tokyo DisneySea and not Tokyo Disneyland, things were obviously going to be different. DisneySea is a typical Disney theme park that has a sea theme. There are various areas such as the American area, the Little Mermaid area, and even Agrabah. In DisneySea, I didn’t ride on a lot of rides as I made use of the “FASTPASS” system rather than lining up for the various rides. My only recommendation is to be smart about how you use the FASTPASS. I heard that the FASTPASS system is the same throughout all of the Disney Resorts in the world. I would recommend heading to your favourite ride right away and getting a pass there. Then go down the list but be sure to get a few at the less popular rides as well. If you get a pass to a less popular place, you can easily get in and out and enjoy the next ride quickly. In DisneySea, the Tower of Terror and Journey to the Centre of the Earth were the most popular rides. I went to see how long a FASTPASS would be and around 2pm the wait was until 9pm for the Journey to the Cere of the Earth while the Tower of Terror was “sold” out of FASTPASSes. I’m not a fan of these thrill rides so I was never intending to go on these rides, but 7 hours is a very long time to wait just to ride on these rides. The less popular attractions such as the shows were a lot easier to get in.
Overall I found the entire park to be a lot of fun. I had a good time and even bought a large Dale hat that I wore all over Tokyo. It is very impractical hat but a lot of fun to head out and about in Tokyo trying to make people jealous. I got a lot of stares from people as I rode the trains during rush hour both to and from Tokyo Disney Resorts. Going to Tokyo Disney Resorts is something that I would do again, but I am still not sure if I’d pay for my own ticket into the resort. If I do go again, I think I’d like to go to Disneyland and see how things are there. It has been decades since I last went to Disneyland and I would like to see if I remember it as fondly as I did back then. I doubt I would enjoy the rides as much as when I was a kid but you do have to have as much fun as you can. My best advice is to not complain. We all know that you will buy a $14 churro that looks like Mickey (from the Simpsons). It is best to not even think about it and have as much fun as you can. Going to the happiest place on earth is supposed to be fun, so if you aren’t having fun, put on a brave face and hope your friends don’t catch on.
Your post made me laugh and shudder with horror at the same time! I hope my friends never invite me to Tokyo Disney, because that would test our friendship to breaking point. I guess the secret is, as you say, limitless patience + a grim determination to have fun!
PS: So … what’s your next step? Getting married at Disneyland? ^^
I know how you feel. I felt a shudder before going, but a free ticket is a free ticket. Plus, I feel you have to live life. I had no more excuses left in me to avoid it. 🙂
The next step? Disneyland is possible, but getting married? While Mickey would be cool as a priest 😛 I doubt I could ever afford it. I heard it can be really expensive depending on how many people, the date, and so on. I don’t even want to go to someone else’s wedding at Disney Resorts. 😛 Thankfully, I don’t have to anytime soon.
Awwww c’mon. It’s not that bad… xD
It’s fun being cheesy and chase cartoon characters around the park and embarass tween son once in a while. ^^
That’s a good reason to go to Disney with teens. Embarrass them. 😀
Both parks are a lot of fun. Disneysea is nice for older kids or couples, I think. Disneyland would be the traditional all things Disney for you. 😉
Can’t we rather embarrass the young ‘uns in Akihaba … Oh. No. Wait. That’s where THEY embarrass US. Well, then, the solution is obvious: we all go to Sky Tree. 🙂