How to Make the Most of Your Visit to Tokyo Disneyland
Tokyo Disneyland is a juggernaut of a place, spanning across 47 hectares of unbelievable fun amidst horrendous crowds! For most visitors, they don’t have the luxury of numerous days to enjoy the theme park and families usually try to cram as much as possible in 1 day. Here are some tips on how to make the most of your time in the happiest place on earth.
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Avoid Busy Periods. This would include weekends, public holidays and Golden Week (usually end of April and early May but check exact dates each year). The next 2 busiest days would be the Monday and Friday. If possible, try going mid-week. You can also check out the Disneyland Crowd Calendar to help make your decision for the best time to go.
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Pre-purchase Tickets. This means you can avoid having to queue on the day. Buy a multi-pass to include Tokyo DisneySea to save on costs.
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Get There Early. Unfortunately, buying your ticket online doesn’t mean you avoid the queues. You still have to queue to get through the turnstiles so get there 30-60 minutes before the park opens, as it certainly gets busy! This is a great time to feed the kids some breakfast or snacks whilst you wait. You don’t have to do this but you have to be prepared for the long queues for rides if you enter later.
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Stay Overnight. If purchasing a 2-day pass for both the theme parks, consider staying at the resort. You can either do so at the start or end of your Tokyo holiday and it will be the best decision you’ll ever make! Transportation to and from the airport is easy to navigate. This is particularly handy if you have young children, as you are always able to go back to the hotel for a rest half way through the day. There is no way a young toddler would be able to start the day at 08.00am and stay up until 10.00pm when the park closes.
Arrive early via train and head straight to the Welcome centre where you can check in and dump your bags. That way you can head to the theme park without having to go to the hotel itself. When you’re done, you’ll find your luggage in your room. You can do the same when you check out the next day.
You may also purchase theme park tickets directly from the official Disney hotels, which gives you 15 minutes access to Tokyo Disneyland before the public gates open. This priority access not only means you don’t have to queue for too long, you can get your FastPass immediately and enjoy your first ride in comfort!
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Plan the Day. It is important to plan your day before going to the park. The park is renowned for excessive crowds and it’s difficult to be able to meander through the park at your leisure and hope to complete every single ride during the day. Plan out the must do rides and aim to do those first. If you have kids of different ages with different interests, it may pay to split up so no one gets disappointed.
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Restrictions. Some attractions have age and height restrictions so be sure to check that out so you don’t waste precious time and to also avoid unnecessary disappointment. Many young children who are born adrenalin junkies sometimes do have to miss out.
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Resort Schedule. Here you can find the park calendar, list of events and any temporary facility closures. If you’re lucky, they may have an event on that you may be interested in and therefore you can plan your day to include that activity or show.
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Disney’s FASTPASS. Everyone can get a FASTPASS, which allows you to return to that ride and join the shorter queue. You just slot your admission ticket into the machine for that ride. You are only permitted to have one FASTPASS at a time and even then, some FASTPASS are no longer available as early at 10.00am. For the seriously popular rides, you may even get a FASTPASS at 09.30am and you are asked to return to that ride at 08.30pm!
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Wait Times + Map for Tokyo Disneyland App. Get it! It’s free! This app displays the wait times and facilities maps for Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea. You can immediately check the attractions, shops, and restaurants nearest to your location. You can also jump to maps directly from that list.
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Pocket WiFi Device. Tokyo Disneyland does not have public WiFi. So, if you’re not roaming, we recommend you rent a couple of pocket WiFi devices. This is particularly important if you are going split up and need to stay in communication. Also useful when dad is doing all the queuing whilst mum and kids only jump in at the last minute!
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Hire a Stroller. If you have young children, hire a pram. It’s cheap and so handy! This will also save you from lugging around nappy bags, cameras, snacks and of course, shopping! For most of the rides, they allow you to queue with the stroller and only dump them closer to the ride.
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Dress Appropriately. During the Japanese winters and summers, you would be experiencing extreme weather conditions. Make sure the family are dressed well to suit the climate. Wear comfortable shoes that don’t fall off easily. You wouldn’t want to lose them on the thrill rides. When it rains, wear a poncho. Don’t bother with the umbrella as you’ll still get wet anyway and its just one extra thing to carry around.
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Balloons. Tokyo Disneyland has the coolest balloons of all shapes and sizes. Please don’t get them at the start of the day. It is so cumbersome lugging it around. Lesson learnt by observation when the parent decides to let it go and the child goes into meltdown!
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BYO Food and Snacks. You are permitted to bring your own food, drinks and snacks. Great for those on a budget or have fussy eaters who may not appreciate a green Monsters Inc. mochi ball. There are also dedicated picnic areas for the family to enjoy.
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Popcorn. Tokyo Disneyland has the most awesome selection of not only popcorn flavours (such as curry or soy sauce and butter) but the greatest array of popcorn buckets! They come in all shapes and sizes and they are seasonal so they are collectables. Best of all, you can buy refills and you can bring your buckets for all your visits if you are lucky enough to enjoy the park over a few days. The kids will love these and carrying is easy as it comes with a strap and a super tight lid. Our tip: get one!
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Splash Mountain Single Rider. Splash Mountain has a single rider queue that doesn’t get much patronage. The queues are only about 5-10 minutes so perfect way for mum or dad to sneak off for a quick thrill!
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Shopping. It’s pretty hard to leave the happiest place on earth without some sort of merchandise. The soft toys are hard to resist and if you are a shopper, avoid the last hour of the night. As everyone doesn’t want to lug around their purchases, the shops are incredibly congested. Perhaps aim to go just before the night parade commences.
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Night Parade. The night parade is an absolute must do. It truly is spectacular and even adults thoroughly enjoy it. If you are staying the night at one of the resorts and you have young children, head back for a rest in the middle of the afternoon. Come back before the parade starts and that way they are also up and about until the park closes.
You would need to get a spot about 45 minutes before it starts. Invest in a mat because those concrete floors do hurt. Whilst waiting, get take away dinner and kill two birds with one stone. Try getting a spot at the beginning of the parade so when’s it’s done, you can enjoy the rest of the park whilst everyone is still watching.
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The Park at Night. Right after the parade rush off for more rides. The park empties out fairly quickly and in the last hour and a half, you can get more rides in than in the first 4 hours of the day. Queues are short and in the warmer months, the nights become cooler and makes for the perfect way to end the day.
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Take Photos. This park is like no other Disneyland as it is infused in perfect Japanese style. It is energetic, quirky and just plain fun. Take photos and take lots of them. You’ll look back at them with the fondest of memories!
Enjoy your family holiday and have a wonderful time with your children. This is one place where there truly is something for kids of all ages.
Do you have any useful Tokyo Disneyland tips to add to the list? Tell us in the comments below!
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