The Tokyo Disney Resort is a huge complex dedicated to the Disney world, in Urayasu (Chiba prefecture), within the Tokyo metropolitan area. It was founded in 1983 when Tokyo Disneyland was inaugurated, the first to be built outside the US and still the largest in the world after the two American giants in Florida and California. It is also the only disney park in the world not managed directly by Disney. The idea, the investment, construction and management of the park are all by a Japanese company, obviously after having signed agreements with Disney. The complex includes two different and separate theme parks, Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo Disney Sea, the Ikspiari shopping mall, and several big hotels.
The Disney Curse
Visiting Tokyo Disneyland as a couple, especially if it is a "first date", will bring that couple to break up.
It is one of the most curious and popular beliefs about Disneyland among young Japanese people.
This rumor is not entirely invented, the cause seems to be the confusion and the long lines for every attraction.
This leads couples to spend several hours of the day waiting in line, ending up in embarrassing silences (especially in a first date) or arguing with each other.
Other reasons that do not help are the choice of which attractions to do and which not (because of the queues it'll be impossible to do everything, so you have to make choices), the choice of where to eat, the fact that one of the two may not love Disneyland that much and might end up complaining about something.
Tickets and other useful information
Both parks are generally open from 8 am to 10 pm.
However, these hours may vary randomly, especially the opening hour that is sometimes postponed to 8:30 or 9.
We recommend always checking the official park operation calendar the day before going.
Valid for entry to either Tokyo Disneyland or Tokyo DisneySea on one day.
Valid for entry to one park per day on two consecutive days.
Valid for entry to one park per day on the first two days and to both parks on the third day.
Valid for entry to one park per day on the first two days and entry to both parks on the third and forth day.
Valid for entry to either park after 15:00 on weekends and national holidays. If the park closes before 10 pm on that day, this ticket cannot be purchased.
After 6 Passport
Valid for entry to either park after 18:00 on regular weekdays. If the park closes before 10 pm on that day, this ticket cannot be purchased.
Free admission for children (0-3 years)
Where to buy tickets
You can simply buy tickets at the ticket office at the entrance, but in this case try to arrive much earlier than the opening time, otherwise you may find long lines.
There are several ways to avoid queues at the ticket office: you can buy tickets at one of the disney stores in Japan (for example, in Tokyo, in Shibuya , Odaiba or Ikebukuro, a complete list here), or more simply buy tickets online. In this case, once you have purchased it, just print the ticket with the QR code that will be sent to you by email.
If you are interested in a package that includes the entrance ticket and the direct bus from Shinjuku, you can buy it here.
Make good use of the FASTPASS system
Fastpasses are an opportunity to avoid queues for some attractions. They are special tickets (obtainable for free and subject to availability) with a time interval printed on them (for example 16:50-17:50).
To get a fastpass for a specific attraction you must first enter the park and then go to the entrance of that attraction. There you will find automatic machines. Scan your ticket and you will automatically receive the fastpass for that attraction with your assigned time interval. From that moment on, you can go to do whatever you want and go back to that attraction within the indicated time interval. In this way you will be able to enjoy the attraction with a very short waiting time.
You cand find several websites recommending the most optimal strategies to use fastpasses. Not all attractions have this service, more information here.
The typical Disney amusement park, but in Japanese version.
The concept is very similar to the other Disney parks in America, Paris, Hong Kong and Shanghai. Even many attractions are the same.
For those who have never been in a Disneyland, do not expect to find incredible rollercoasters or other extreme stuff. The philosophy of Disneyland is to transport and involve visitors as much as possible in its fantastic world populated by the various characters of the most famous Disney movies (both the classics and the most recent ones).
Although there are several Disney theme parks in the world, and maybe you've already been in some of them, the atmosphere in Japan is different. Not only, of course, for the language and the food you find in some restaurants, but also for the way local visitors experience these parks.
The Japanese, and in particular the Japanese girls who crowd the park, often wearing disney costumes and accessories, are in itself a unique attraction for a foreigner. The staff too is unique in the world.
the "typical girls" of Tokyo Disneyland
The 7 worlds of Tokyo Disneyland
The park is divided into 7 areas.
The world dedicated to adventure. Among the various attractions there's a tree house, a jungle cruise and an attraction in the world of Pirates of the Caribbean.
Here the theme is the far-west of the United States at the time of the "new frontier", including gunslingers, American Indians and large rivers. Here is the most popular roller coaster in the park (Big Thunder Mountain), an attraction of 4 minutes with a train in a Grand Canyon.
Two main attractions in this area, a canoe ride along a river, and the Splash Mountain, a log flume dark ride (16 meters high) after passing through the world of "Song of the South".
The world dedicated to the great classics of Disney, one of the most fabled areas of the park. Here you will find the Cinderella Castle, and other attractions dedicated to Peter Pan, Pinocchio, Dumbo, Snow White, Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck, Winnie the Pooh and more.
An area dedicated mainly to little children. Here you can ride a Roger Rabbit car, visit Minnie's house and Donald Duck's boat.
This world is dedicated to the theme of space and the future. There's a very popular attraction of Buzz Lightyear and another of Star Wars.
We could call it the world of money, or the world where visitors usually leave all the money left before going back home. It is located at the main entrance, it is a covered shopping arcade with lots of shops and restaurants, built to look like a street in an American city of the twentieth century.
parades and shows are one of the park's most fascinating attractions. And you do not even have to queue up to enjoy them!
Tokyo Disneysea is another theme park located just next to Disneyland. It was opened many years later, in 2001.
There are no other similar parks in the world, and most attractions can't be found anywhere else.
According to many theme park lovers, it is one of the most beautiful theme parks in the world.
The very general theme of this theme park is water and the sea, and it is divided into seven "harbors", all connected by water. An internal line of boats (DisneySea Transit Steamer Line) crosses all the harbours.
The 7 harbours of Tokyo Disneysea
The closest area to the entrance, built to look like an Italian seaside town. Restaurants, shops and anything else all refer to Italy in some way. You can also take a gondola ride as if you were in Venice.
This area is in turn divided into two areas, which reproduce two different facets of the United States of the early 1900s. One is the port of New York, with a reproduction of the S.S. Columbia cruise ship (a restaurant and a lounge bar inside), the other the fishing village of Cape Cod in Massachusetts. Restaurants and shops are American style. A popular attraction of Toy Story is located here. An elevated train connects this area with Port Discovery.
Described as the "tourist port of the future", the main attraction is the Nemo and Friends Searider, a 4D cinema with the characters of Finding Nemo.
Lost River Delta
An archaeological area surrounded by the jungle in Central America. A large Aztec pyramid houses an attraction of Indiana Jones. Another popular attraction in the area is a roller coaster in the mountains of Peru (Raging Spirits).
The park area dedicated to little children, with different attractions dedicated to the film The Little Mermaid.
The world of Aladdin and of the stories from "One Thousand and One Nights", built to resemble an exotic Arab city.
At the center of the park there is this mysterious island with a large volcano in the middle, dedicated to the novels of Jules Verne.
Frequently asked questions about Tokyo Disneyland and Disneysea
Is it worth visiting Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo Disneysea?
In general, if it's your first trip to Japan and you'll only stay a few days in Tokyo, maybe it's better to give priority to something else instead of "wasting" one or two full days in an American theme park. On the other hamd, you've already seen a lot in Japan, the Disney Resort can be a good idea to spend an alternative day.
Four reasons to go to Tokyo Disneyland and/or Disneysea
You are crazy fans of Disney movies and/or theme parks in general
Although there are several Disney parks in the world, and maybe you've already been in one of them, the atmosphere in Japan is different. It's a perfect place for people watching
If you are traveling with children, promising a day at Disneyland could be a good compromise to make them behave themselves while visiting temples and other "boring" stuff
You have never been to a Disneyland in your life and/or you live in a country away from other Disney parks in the world (USA, China, France)
Four reasons not to go to Tokyo Disneyland and/or Disneysea
You hate theme parks
The crowd and the queues for any attraction
You have already been to other Disneylands in the world, especially the US ones. Many attractions are the same. At Tokyo Disneysea, however, most of the attractions are unique in the world
You don't have much time left in Tokyo and you still have to visit a lot of 100% japanese places there
Are they really as crowded as they say?
The answer is simply yes, especially on the most popular days (see below "Worst time to visit").
The waiting time ranges from a minimum of half an hour on a Monday of February up to more than 3 hours on a weekend of August or December.
Many people study about it and make a detailed plan on where, how and when to go before the day of the visit. There are several sites on the internet that recommend tricks and strategies to maximize the efficiency of your visit and waste as little time as possible in the queue.
Best time to go to Tokyo Disneyland and Disneysea
Weekdays. If you are on holiday in Japan you can go on any day of the week, unlike many Japanese, who have free time only on weekends. So there is absolutely no reason to go on weekends.
In addition, the theme parks are decorated and special events are held during the various festivities of the year. The periods of Halloween, Christmas, New Year's, Valentine's Day, Tanabata (non-exhaustive list), are special occasions to visit the Disney Resort, but on the other hand they might be crazily crowded too.
Worst time to go to Tokyo Disneyland and Disneysea
At weekends and on any national holiday in Japan, you'd better never go there. Among the off-limits days there is of course the japanese holiday week between the end of April and the beginning of May known as Golden Week. Even the Christmas period and the days around the New Year's can be terrible depending on the days. Furthermore, during the last week of march and the first week of april, public schools are closed, so the number of visitors is higher than average.
Last but not least, we recommend to completely avoid the months of July and August, both because of the crazy crowds and the heat. Spending hours and hours in the queue under the hot sun with a 80% humidity level is not an experience to recommend to anyone.
Which is better? Tokyo Disneyland or Tokyo Disneysea?
Tokyo Disneyland is Disney's typical "dream world" park, with many similar attractions to other Disney parks in the world. Tokyo Disneysea is a unique park and considered by some to be the most beautiful Disney park in the world. But Disneysea lacks that "magical atmosphere" typical of Disneylands. It is a park that is perhaps objectively more interesting, but the concept is very different, and you won't find many of those iconic sights and landmarks typical of Disneyland.
Furthermore, the common opinion is that children like Disneyland more, and adults like Disneysea more. Do you feel more like an adult or like a child?
Where to stay near Tokyo Disneyland and Disneysea
The Tokyo Disney Resort area is packed with giant hotels. Some of these are owned by the park, others belong to major international chains and are located on the waterfront next to the Disney Resort. These hotels are very popular with families who come to Tokyo from all over Japan to spend a few days in the world of Disney. The hotels along the waterfront are also very popular with couples looking for a romantic room with a sea view, whether they want to visit Disney parks or not.
Official hotels owned by Tokyo Disney Resort
With the exception of the Tokyo Celebration hotel, where you can stay even for less than 200 dollars per night, the other three hotels cost at least 400 dolars per night for a double room with the possibility of a third bed for small children. These hotels are not bookable on sites such as booking.com, but only on the official Disney Resort website.
The prices of the hotels on the waterfront are generally much more affordable, and they offer a free shuttle service to the park if you are interested. As already mentioned, you can also consider these hotels for a simple romantic night with ocean view rooms (prices from 140-160 dollars per night for a double). All hotels can be booked on booking.com
typical sunset sea views from waterfront hotels next to Tokyo Disney Resort
How to get to Tokyo Disney Resort from central Tokyo
Tokyo Disney Resort overlooks Tokyo Bay, and is located in Urayasu, about 15 km east of the central areas of the city.
The closest station is the JR Maihama station (Musashino line e Keiyo line). The Keiyo line is the main access line for tourists, connecting Tokyo station and Maihama in just 15 minutes.
From Maihama Station, you can get to the entrance of Disneyland and Disney Sea on foot (respectively 600 meters and 1.2 km away), or by taking the Tokyo Resort line.
Tokyo Resort Line
An automated circular monorail line, built and managed by the same company that owns the Disney parks. The line is 5 km long and takes 13 minutes to make one circuit.
A single ride costs 260¥, but it is possible to buy some day passes (further information here). It is also possible to use the common prepaid IC cards (suica, pasmo, etc.).
There are four stations in all:
Resort Gateway Station, just outside Maihama station, near the station there is the Ikspiari shopping mall;
Tokyo Disneyland Station, close to the ticket office and the entrance to Tokyo Disneyland;
Bayside Station, the nearest station to the sea, where there are some large hotels overlooking the Tokyo Bay;
Tokyo DisneySea Station, close to the ticket office and the entrance to Tokyo DisneySea.
From different areas of Tokyo and other cities (Yokohama, Narita airport) ther are bus lines that take you directly to the entrance of Tokyo Disneyland and Disneysea. Generally they cost a few hundred yen more than taking trains.
More information on the official website.
Tokyo Disney Resort map
Guided tours, activities and other things to do
If you are planning a trip to Japan and you want to do something more than just visiting famous places and monuments, we suggest you to use Rakuten Travel Experiences.
How to use Rakuten Travel Experiences
Rakuten Travel is a very useful website to enrich your travel experience, especially if you are going solo or it's your first time in Japan.
Because of the language barrier (and more), in Japan it is very difficult to interact with the locals and to get off the tourist track.
Thanks to Rakuten Travel you can find a lot of interesting and sometimes unique guided tours and activities all over Japan (and not only in Japan), that you would otherwise never be able to enjoy.
But there's more: on Rakuten Travel you can also buy tickets for several famous attractions, events, transportation and other useful services for tourists. Last but not least, you can reserve a table in hundreds of restaurants.
You can reserve your table in a lot of cafes and restaurants, for example one of the legendary 3-star Michelin restaurants in Japan, or crazy cafes like a unique Owl Cafe in Tokyo or one of the many and nowadays worldwide famous maid cafes