If you’re planning a trip to Tokyo and you consider yourself a Disney fan, ‘you’d be missing out if you didn’t find a way to fit Tokyo Disneyland into your itinerary. The first Disney park to be built off of American soil, it features plenty of Disney favorites with a flair you’ll only find in Japan, and Disney fans will have a blast getting to experience Disneyland or DisneySea – or, ideally, both!
Whether you have a single day to spend between the parks or you’ve booked a few days to leisurely enjoy all they have to offer, there are some steps you can take to make the most of your trip while you’re there. After all, visiting Tokyo Disneyland is a once-in-a-lifetime trip – you don’t want to miss out!
Not sure what you should do to maximize the amount of fun your family has at Disneyland Tokyo? Without further ado, here are some tips and tricks to help you make the most of your trip:
STAY ON DISNEY PROPERTY IF YOU CAN SWING IT
Staying at one of the official Disney resorts is definitely a splurge, but if you’re really trying to optimize your Disney vacation, it’s well worth the experience. These hotels are themed from top to bottom with Disney details, offer fun extras like character breakfasts, and provide monorails or shuttles to make it easy for guests to travel between the parks and their guest rooms.
An added benefit of staying on property? You can take advantage of Happy 15 entry privileges, which grant hotel guests early access to the parks each morning. It may not seem like a huge perk, but getting to beat the crowds to get in line for some of the park’s biggest attractions is definitely something to take advantage of!
DON’T MISS THE TOKYO DISNEYLAND ELECTRICAL PARADE DREAMLIGHTS
This is currently considered the best parade at Tokyo Disneyland, and arguably the best parade across all of the Disney parks! The level of detail that goes into each illuminated float is seriously impressive, and your whole family will enjoy watching their favorite characters literally parade from Toontown to Fantasyland. See what time the parade is scheduled to begin while you’re there and stake out a good spot to watch the show before it starts an hour early, if you’re determined to get a prime viewing place.
TRY TO TIME YOUR VISIT WISELY
If you’ll only have one day to spend in the park, try to make it a weekday – ideally, Tuesday through Friday. These are generally the best days to visit, and you’ll find smaller crowds and shorter lines.
Of course, you’ll also want to factor in any holidays. Holidays in Japan don’t necessarily line up with holidays in North America, so don’t let yourself get caught off guard by the unbelievable crowds. Instead, review a Japanese holiday calendar to make sure your dates don’t overlap with any national holidays.
TRY THE POPCORN
It might sound trivial, but trust me – it’s worth it! Popcorn is a hugely popular treat at Disneyland and Disneysea Tokyo, and there are tons of different varieties to try. You’ve got regular flavors, like soy sauce, black pepper, and curry – and then you’ve got off-the-wall limited edition flavors, like strawberry, milk tea, and coconut. Whether you’re looking for a sweet treat, a savory snack, or something that’s really the best of both worlds, the popcorn at Disney won’t disappoint!
KEEP AN EYE ON RIDE WAIT TIMES
As long as you won’t be penalized by your phone provider for using your mobile phone abroad, you can check out this website for up-to-date wait times for rides throughout the park. It’s a good idea to check periodically, especially if you’re hoping to ride some of the bigger attractions in the parks. Waiting in line can be a real bummer, but by planning ahead and watching for breaks in the crowds, you’ll be able to squeeze in more attractions than you’d think!
MAKE DISNEYSEA A PRIORITY
If you’re faced with limited time, or you can only visit one park, try to visit DisneySea. Unlike Disneyland Tokyo, which borrows heavily from other Disney parks and incorporates lots of favorite rides and familiar characters, DisneySea is a destination entirely unique to Tokyo. You’ll find unique worlds, fun new characters, and rides you can’t enjoy anywhere else. Geared toward slightly older guests than its counterpart, DisneySea is a treat for Disney lovers and a great time for guests who might not be so thrilled to spend their Japanese vacation in a Disney theme park.
BUY YOUR TICKETS ONLINE IN ADVANCE
Don’t waste your time standing in line when you could be enjoying the Disney parks! You’ll have plenty of opportunities to stand in line all day, so take advantage of your one opportunity to eliminate some wait time and buy your tickets electronically before you go. Once you’re committed to visiting Disneyland while you’re in Tokyo, you should purchase tickets for the park – or parks, if you’re visiting both – online.
While you could buy your tickets from a third-party seller online, I recommend purchasing them straight through the Tokyo Disney Resort website.
FAMILIARIZE YOURSELF WITH THE PARKS BEFORE YOU GO
You can find digital maps of Disneyland and DisneySea online. Instead of first looking at a map when you arrive at the park, get acquainted with everything beforehand. Understand where the different lands sit in relation to each other, know where your favorite rides are, and pinpoint potential opportunities for bathroom breaks, afternoon snacks, and souvenir shopping breaks. Doing so will save you valuable time when you’re actually at the parks, trying to remember how to get to Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters from the Mark Twain Riverboat.
Chances are you’ve traveled a long way and paid a good amount of money to treat yourself and your family to a trip to Tokyo Disneyland. These tips will help you make the most of this once-in-a-lifetime vacation, so keep them in mind as you plan and enjoy your trip!