Toyko Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea Are One of the Most Fun Family Attractions in the World. Here Are Some Tokyo DisneySea and Tokyo Disneyland Tips and Hacks to Make the Most of Your Visit.
Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea are a juggernaut of a place. The Disney parks spans across 200 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 or 2 days. Here are some Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea tips on how to make the most of your time in the happiest place on earth.
TRAVEL TIPS YOU WILL FIND:
- #01 – AVOID BUSY PERIODS
- #02 – PRE-PURCHASE TICKETS
- #03 – GET THERE EARLY
- #04 – STAY OVERNIGHT
- #05 – PLAN THE DAY
- #06 – KNOW YOUR RESTRICTIONS
- #07 – RESORT SCHEDULE
- #08 – HOW TO USE THE DISNEY FASTPASS
- #09 – FREE WAIT TIME + MAP APP
- #10 – POCKET WIFI DEVICE
- #11 – WHAT’S APP LIVE LOCATION
- #12 – HIRE A STROLLER
- #13 – DRESS FOR THE WEATHER
- #14 – BYO FOOD AND SNACKS
- #15 – BEST POPCORN IN THE WORLD!
- #16 – SINGLE RIDER QUEUES
- #17 – DISNEY SHOPPING
- #18 – NIGHT PARADE AND/OR LIGHT SHOW
- #19 – SHORTER QUEUES AT NIGHT
- #20 – TAKE PHOTOS
- BONUS TIP #01 – RELATED ARTICLES
- BONUS TIP #02 – WHERE TO STAY IN TOKYO DISNEY PARKS
#01 – AVOID BUSY PERIODS
This may sound like an obvious thing to do but you’d be surprised how many people don’t heed this advice. This would include weekends, public holidays and Golden Week (usually end of April and early May but check exact dates each year). Ensure you check for Japanese school holidays and any other public holidays that may make the crowds unbearable.
The next 2 busiest days in the Disney parks are Monday and Friday. If possible, try going mid-week. You can also check out the Disney Crowd Calendar to help make your decision for the best time to go.
#02 – PRE-PURCHASE TICKETS
One of my top Tokyo DisneySea and Tokyo Disneyland tip would be to get your tickets before you arrive. This means you can avoid having to queue even longer on the day. Buy a multi-pass for both the Disney parks to save on costs.
If you’re staying in any of the official Disney hotels, you can purchase your tickets there. We stayed at the Hilton and we bought our tickets at the bell desk. Only thing we didn’t anticipate was that it was cash only but luckily we had a Duty Manager who was in a good mood and allowed us to pay by credit card.
The 2 day pass however meant that one ticket was for both parks for both days. So don’t lose it as it’ll certainly be an expensive exercise!
#03 – GET THERE EARLY
Unfortunately, buying your ticket online or from the hotel doesn’t mean you avoid the queues. You still have to queue to get through the bag checks and then the turnstiles so get there approximately 45 minutes before the either of the Disney parks opens, as it certainly gets busy!
And the only reason you’d want to get there early is so you can avoid the queues for the first couple of rides. The later you go, the longer the queues and the longer you have to wait for your FastPass. If this doesn’t bother you, then have a good sleep in!
Note that DisneySea opens at 08.00am whilst Disneyland opens at 09.00am.
#04 – STAY OVERNIGHT
If you are 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. It is only a shuttle bus ride away without worrying about the hassles of taking the train to Narita or Haneda airport.
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 07.00am and stay up until 10.00pm when the park closes. On our second trip back to the Disney parks, despite having older kids, we still went back for a rest as we managed to fit so much in during the day. It was also summertime in Japan and it was so hot. It was really nice to get some respite from the heat and go back when it was cooler.
You don’t have to stay in an official Tokyo Disneyland hotel as they are expensive but you can certainly stay in some of the nearby hotels which also provide transfers each day.
Arrive early from Tokyo or the airport via train and head straight to the Welcome centre (turn left when you get out of Maihama station) 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.
#05 – PLAN THE DAY
It is important to plan your day before going to the Disney parks. The parks are 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 Tokyo Disneyland rides and Tokyo DisneySea attractions 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.
The most popular ride at Tokyo DisneySea is Toy Story and I recommend you head there first. We didn’t do too badly as we only had a 40 minute wait.
The most popular ride in Tokyo Disneyland is Monsters Inc. so you might like to head there first to get it out of the way.
#06 – KNOW YOUR RESTRICTIONS
Some attractions have 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.
#07 – 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.
#08 – HOW TO USE THE DISNEY FASTPASS
Everyone can get a Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea FastPass, which allows you to return to that ride and join the faster, shorter queue. Please be advised however that not all rides in the Disney parks have FastPass options so it’s important to know which ones do. They are indicated on the park map.
When you get to the ride, the FastPass section is a different area and sometimes, there is a seperate queue from the Standby queue (the normal queue for the ride). At the FastPass section, they will always display when the FastPass is available for so you can decide if you want to use up your FastPass.
On approach, you just need to scan the QR code on your entrance ticket. It will then provide you with a reminder ticket of when you need to return. When you go on the ride, they will scan your entrance ticket again so it frees you up for the next FastPass ride.
At the bottom of the FastPass ticket, it tells you when you are allowed to get your next FastPass. It is typically at the time of the start of your FastPass time slot. For example as per below, our time slot was from 12.30pm to 13.30pm. We were allowed to get our next FastPass at 12.30pm, even BEFORE we went on the ride.
So strategically, that is what you would want to do. Get the next FastPass before you go on your ride.
Our FastPass strategy was all the mums and kids would line up in the Standby queue for a ride. The Dads would run off to get the FastPasses and then join us in the queue. Saved so much time! But a good Disney FastPass strategy is only as good as you plan it. The parks are big so its best to try and stick to one section at a time. No point queueing up in one section only for the Dads to run off to another section on the other side of the park and then missing the Standby entry because it took so long.
So, if it’s 11.00am in the morning and the next FastPass time slot for example, Star Tours is not until 17.00pm, you have to decide whether you want to take the risk because it means you can’t get another FastPass until 17.00pm. It also does mean that you run the risk of NOT getting one for that ride and instead have to go in the 120 minute Standby queue.
Hence the importance of going early to ensure your FastPass strategy is maximised!
#09 – FREE WAIT TIME + MAP 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. The parks are huge so this will save your legs from unnecessary walking.
#10 – POCKET WIFI DEVICE
Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea do 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! Well, that’s what we did anyway. LOL!
#11 – WHAT’S APP LIVE LOCATION
On our second trip to the Disney parks, we went with 5 families which meant there were 19 of us! We were all on What’s App and What’s App have the ability to allow you to share your live location for a certain period of time. So on our group chat, we would share our live locations so at any given time, we always knew where everyone was. So handy!
#12 – 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 Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea rides, they allow you to queue with the stroller and only dump them closer to the ride at designated stroller parking spots.
#13 – DRESS FOR THE WEATHER
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.
On our second visit, we went in summer. And it was HOT! Hats and sunglasses are a must. Don’t forget sunscreen and plenty of water.
#14 – 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. But in saying that, Tokyo Disney ice cream and chicken nuggets are so cute!
#15 – BEST POPCORN IN THE WORLD!
Tokyo DisneySea and Tokyo Disneyland have 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!
On the map, look at the bottom. There is a section that tells you exactly where to find specific popcorns flavours within the park. Curry is hands down, the yummmiest flavour of them all!
#16 – SINGLE RIDER QUEUES
Some of the thrill rides in the Disney parks have queues for single riders. So if you don’t care who you’re sitting with, jump in that queue and watch the people in the 140 minute Standby queue watch you in envy as you zoom past them! These queues can be as short as 5-10 minutes!
#17 – DISNEY 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 or light show commences or if you’re retuning to your hotel in the afternoon, do a round of shopping so you can take them back to your hotel.
#18 – NIGHT PARADE AND/OR LIGHT SHOW
The Tokyo Disneyland night parade and the Tokyo DisneySea Light Show are absolute must dos. It truly is spectacular and even the adults will 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 or light show 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 at Tokyo Disneyland so when’s it’s done, you can enjoy the rest of the park whilst everyone is still watching.
The Light Show at DisneySea is located on Mediterranean Harbor. Get there early as once it gets a few rows deep, park officials won’t let you sit anymore and you have to stand. And standing room is not great for the kids as they won’t be able to see anything. It sure gets packed!
#19 – SHORTER QUEUES AT NIGHT
One of the best times to go on rides is after the parade or light show. 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.
#20 – TAKE PHOTOS
These parks are like no other Disney theme parks 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 and I hope these Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea tips and tricks will help you with your planning.
BONUS TIP #01 – RELATED ARTICLES
BONUS TIP #02 – WHERE TO STAY IN TOKYO DISNEY PARKS
Official Hotel: Hilton Tokyo Bay
We loved our stay at the Hilton without forking out the hefty costs of a Disney Resort. Only a short monorail ride away is the theme park and the spacious rooms either have an ocean view or a Disney Resort view. The room came with 2 queen sized beds do its perfect for a family of 4. We absolutely loved our penguin themed room and also loved the huge array of Eastern and Western breakfast items at the buffet. We loved it so much we stayed a second time 3 years later!
Book Now Pay Later – Check Prices Here
Super Family Friendly: Mitsui Garden Hotel Prana Tokyo Bay
This property is only 4km from the theme park and the hotel offers a free shuttle to and from Tokyo Disneyland. This is a good option if you don’t wish to travel in and out of Tokyo but don’t wish to spend too much on accommodation, especially if you’re only really there to sleep! The property boasts a spacious public bath on the highest floor, which features scenic views. This hotel features family rooms which have 5 twin beds! How cool is that?
Book Now Pay Later – Check Prices Here
Budget: FLEXSTAY INN Shinurayasu
Flexstay Inn Shin-Urayasu offers self-catering accommodation with air conditioning. Apartments at Shin-Urayasu Flexstay Inn feature a flat-screen TV with pay-per-view, a kitchen with a stovetop, a microwave and a refrigerator. Featuring a shower, the private bathroom also comes with a bath and a hairdryer. You will however have to find your own way to the theme park which is a 7 min taxi ride away. But if you’re on a budget, check this this place out.
Book Now Pay Later – Check Prices Here
Official Hotel: Sheraton Grande Tokyo Bay Hotel
Yea another official Tokyo Disneyland hotel, the Sheraton is an exquisite 5 star property in the same compound as the Hilton. Each room at Sheraton Grande Tokyo Bay Hotel has a seating area and an LCD TV with satellite and cable channels. From the balcony, most rooms have views of the Disney Resort or Tokyo Bay. Whilst it is of any Sheraton standard, everything to do with Disney is always on the expensive side so you’ll have to expect that but with the advantage of being so close to the theme park.
Book Now Pay Later – Check Prices Here
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