I am a big Disney fan, having been on trips to Disney World and Disneyland multiple times! So when I finally had the chance this time to visit the one-of-a-kind Tokyo DisneySea – I couldn’t wait. I knew it would be special and there would be lots of Japanese twists on everything at the resort.
The theme park is inspired by legends of the sea with different water themed ‘lands’ making up the park. It is unlike any other Disney park I’ve been to, but I did see similarities between a few rides and attractions. However, it was totally still worth going!
Getting There – From Hotel Niwa, my subway ride took about 50 minutes before I arrived at the JR Maihama Station. From there, I followed the crowd towards the Disney Resort Line which is a paid monorail system that connects you to all the park. It costs about $2 each way and deposits you right at the front gates.
I was confused about this part because the monorail at Disney World is free, so make sure you buy a ticket. The trains run every 4-13 minutes and are whimsical Mickey-themed trains with furry handles and plush seats. Each car is a different colour and theme.
When You Arrive – You’ll see this gorgeous European-inspired piazza known as Mediterranean Harbor. It’s a great place to grab a snack, people-watch or see a show. There are lots of great restaurants and cafes here, it’s right by the park entrance – so it’s easy to return to later or to set a meeting place with friends.
The facades are stunning. I took the time to explore a few stores, peeked in a the gift shops before turning right and heading towards Mysterious Island.
DisneySea Food – One of the coolest things about the park is all the incredible Japanese and Asian-inspired drinks, meals and snacks! Here’s a sampling of what I found including a Mickey red bean bun, Mickey danishes, cute little ice cream desserts, iced coffee and tea from all the little stand throughout the resort. I also spotted smoked chicken legs, a gyoza sausage bun and shrimp bun.
It definitely was a nice departure from the typical funnel cake and fried foods you see at most theme parks. However I did spot a classic Disney churro stand! Check out this post for more cool foods at Tokyo Disneyland.
Dim Sum – I love that I could get dim sum at a theme park! I chose this dim sum sampler from Vulcania Restaurant for around $5. It included two homemade shrimp dumplings and a bun. This restaurant also served Chinese food like fried rice and noodles.
Curry Popcorn – The next thing you must-try is the curry popcorn! It smells amazing and I quickly joined the line to get myself a small box. It tastes just like Japanese curry. Flavoured popcorn is a big deal at DisneySea and there are different flavours in all the different lands spread throughout the park.
I saw many people purchasing the souvenir popcorn case and wearing it around their neck for the day. It was super kawaii!
The Rides – One thing to keep in mind are the long wait times to get on some of the bigger attractions. The Tower of Terror ran out of FastPasses for the day and the standby line was almost three hours! Keeping all that in mind, your best bet is to arrive early – when the park opens and go on a weekday.
I went on a nice, hot sunny day in the middle of the week that showed a rainy forecast. I guess everybody had the same idea as me, because the park was very busy. Set your expectations, it is likely you could wait 2-3 hours to get on a ride on a busy day.
Journey to the Centre of the Earth – The Ride
Single Rider Line – There are a two rides that have single rider lines, which you should definitely take advantage of if you’re not stuck on the idea of having to ride together. Inquire with a cast member at the entrance. Single rider lines exist only for Indian Jones and Raging Spirits at DisneySea.
(Clockwise) Ariel’s Playground, Indiana Jones, Aquatopia and Flying Carpets
Duffy Bear – There’s an entire area dedicated to a Japanese bear named Duffy, which is interesting because it’s not a Disney character that is as well-known to me. Look for Duffy in the American Waterfront section of DisneySea.
The Cape Cod Cook-Off is a great place to grab a burger and fries on the patio and to rest your feet from all the walking.
A little bit of Italy – complete with gondoliers in Japan!
The S.S. Columbia is a restaurant located in the American Waterfront
Shopping – If you’re not completely exhausted, save a bit of time to explore Ikspiari Shopping Mall. It’s practically attached to the monorail exit and features 140 shops and restaurants along with a 16-screen movie theatre. Unlike busy Tokyo shopping, this mall was not overly crowded and you could move through it at a leisurely pace. It’s similar to a ‘Downtown Disney’ type of concept.
Overall, I had a really fun time at DisneySea and recommend it if you have a free day during your trip to Tokyo. I recommend going on a weekday, avoiding any major holidays and getting there as early as possible to beat the crowds. You can even buy your tickets online to save time.
To learn more visit DisneySea online.