Robert H. (Bob) Jackson, Jr.
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Bob's Tokyo Disneyland Visits
  1. November 2010 - 4 days

  2. May, 2013 for 3 days

Disneyland Resort

What's Here?

Quick Tips for English-speaking visitors to the Tokyo Disneyland Resort

 

Getting Oriented

The Tokyo Disney Resort opened in 1983 sits on 494 acres beside the Tokyo Harbor just east of Tokyo, Japan.  The resort contains three Disney-style hotels, a central shopping/entertainment area (similar to Downtown Disney in Anaheim and Orlando), and two theme parks: Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea. The area also hosts several non-Disney hotel chains accessible by the resorts dedicated monorail system. A blend of Japanese and English is spoken at the resort, though I have found that good English is sometimes hard to find in the parks. Attraction narration is generally in Japanese (sometimes English is available on held held translation devices giving text subtitles), though many songs are sung in English. Cast members are friendly and will try very hard to assist English-speaking guests.

Tokyo Disneyland is regularly ranked as one of the most visited theme parks in the world and was deliberately designed with large open walkways to accommodate 14+ million visitors annually. It can be very crowded at peak season and on weekends. It is well designed and contains attractions mostly similar to Anaheim Disneyland and Orlando's Magic Kingdom parks.

Tokyo Disneyland was the first non-US Disney Park. Unlike its Disney theme park siblings, Tokyo's Disneyland Resort isn't owned by the Walt Disney Company; rather it is fully owned by the Tokyo-based Oriental Land Company which licensed the Disney materials an design work. That said, Tokyo Disneyland Resort is very much a Disney-feeling resort.

 

How To Get There

bulletBy Plane: Two nearby airports. The nearest is Haneda (Airport code: HND), just a few minutes from the resort. But due to better international connections and more airline diversity, most people fly in through Narita (airport code: NRT). Narita is about 80 minutes by bus from the Disney Resort. I took the Happy Limousine Service (which in spite of the "limousine" name is really a bus). You can buy tickets in the Narita Terminal and departures occur every few hours throughout the day.

 

Where To Stay

Offsite Brand Name hotels Within Walking Distance

Within walking distance of the Disneyland Resort Monorail's Bayside Station, these non-Disney hotels line Tokyo Bay's shoreline:

bulletStarwood’s Sheraton Grand Hotel – Balconies for each room
bulletHilton Tokyo Bay - relatively few balconies
bulletOther hotels not familiar to American customers

Three On-Site Disney hotels

Official Disney Resorts offer the following perks: early Disneyland Park admission (though sometimes its only 15 minutes early) and free transportation to both parks.

bullet Ambassador Hotel – smallest of the three on-site Disney hotels, this art deco hotel (renovated in 2013)  is mid 1930’s Los Angeles-themed and situated somewhat further from either park than its two sister Disney hotels. It is unique in that its transportation to the Parks is via retro-styled buses. It is adjacent/within walking distance of the Expria shopping and entertainment complex, which has its own monorail stop.

Tokyo Disney Resort Ambassador Hotel Front of Tokyo Disney Resort Ambassador Hotel Ambassador Hotel Shuttle Bus

bulletMiracosta Hotel – Physically attached to the entrance to Tokyo DisneySea, the Miracosta is an Mediterranean-influenced hotel strikingly similar in design and layout to Universal’s Portofino Bay Hotel in Orlando, Florida featuring a U-shaped harbor with boat launches and balconied windows overlooking the Mediterranean-themed waterway. Tip: Special viewing of DisneySea's evening water show may be arranged as part of selected restraint dining experiences in the Miracoasta hotel. Ask about dining times and viewing arrangements.
bullet Disneyland Hotel – The third and largest of Tokyo Disney’s “on-property” hotels, it features dramatic Victorian architecture with blue rooflines and gold trim. Interior public spaces are similar in elegance to its US cousins, Anaheim's Grand Californian and Orlando's Grand Floridian. Situated immediately outside the gates to the Tokyo Disneyland park, it is probably the most desirable of the three on-property resorts for both its location and elegance. The Tokyo Disneyland Hotel is served by the Disneyland Resort Monorail.

Tokyo Disneyland Hotel from the Monorail
 

What to Do

In Tokyo DisneyLand Park

Tokyo Disneyland Park contains 7 themed lands with most attractions similar to those at Disneyland Anaheim. The lands include: Adventureland (which includes a version of New Orleans Square as found in Disneyland Anaheim) , Westernland, Fantasyland, Tomorrowland, Toontown, Critter Country and an three story high, canopy-covered entry area called World Bazaar which serves as culturally sensitive replacement for Anaheim's Main Street USA .

Tokyo Disneyland's “Hub” – unlike the central “hub” found in Magic Kingdom and Anaheim Disneyland, Tokyo Disneyland has a large manicured lawn and broad walkways leading to its Cinderella's Castle (a near twin of Orlando Magic Kingdom's castle). The bronze statue of Walt Disney holding Mickey Mouse’s hand (referred to as the “Partners” statue) which is found at the center of both Orlando and Anaheim hubs, appears in its own area on grassy lawns before the Castle. The Roy Disney statue is tucked to one side of the Disneyland entrance to its main shopping area. The large multi-level forecourt of Cinderella's Castle is reserved for stage shows.

Disneyland Tokyo Hub Rear view - Tokyo Disneyland Cinderella Castle Tokyo Disneyland Cinderella Castle approach

Some observations on Disneyland Tokyo attractions:

bullet Pirates of The Caribbean – Very similar experience to the California Disneyland version. Dioramas and song lyrics are in English. Includes the Captain Jack Sparrow additions. Only the introduction by the talking pirate head is in Japanese.
bullet Space Mountain: Similar to the 2 abreast seating Anaheim Disneyland Space Mountain version, this ride differs from its California counterpart mainly by the lack of a soundtrack during the ride.

 In DisneySea Park

Tokyo DisneySea is unique in the world of Disney theme parks. It is by far the most expensive Disney park built to date, costing an estimated $4 billion US when it opened just days before 9/11/2001. Many of its attractions are unique to this park and found nowhere else in the world. Its nautical theme covers harbors - real and fictitious - of the world placed around a large fake, rumbling volcano which serves as the hub of the park. Seven "ports of call" include a

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Mediterranean Harbor entryway, with a selection of shops and restaurants

Mediterranean Harbor from the DisneySea entrance Another view of the Entry Harbor

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American Waterfront complete with a large docked passenger ship and a Tokyo-custom version of Tower of Terror

American Waterfront Steamer Dining Room in the SS Columbia Restauraunt

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Mermaid Lagoon, a kiddie playland focused on The Little Mermaid

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Arabian Coast, themed to Disney's Alladan

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Lost River Delta, featuring Indiana Jones Crystal Skull Adventure - the best of Disney's vehicle-with-motion-simulator-augmentation rides, in my humble opinion. Orlando DisneyWorld's Dinosaur ride is similar technology but not nearly as interesting thematically.

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Port Discovery - a futuristic harbor with a weather simulator and water rides

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 and a Jules Verne-themed Mysterious Island in the middle of the park's grumbling volcano

Mysterious Island's hidden lagoon Captain Nemo's Nautilis Submarine in the Mysterious Island Lagoon

In Ikspiari

Ikspiari  is Disney Resort's Dining and Entertainment Complex and the terminus of public transportation - similar to Downtown Disney areas at Disney’s California and Orlando complexes,  Ikspiari  includes:

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Bon Voyage – Resort’s Logo merchandise store - building designed to resemble a piece of luggage

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Disney Store – typical Disney store, not much resort-specific merchandise

 Other Park Tips:
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Favorite Snacks: Flavored Popcorn, including honey flavors (in the Winnie the Pooh section), Currie flavors, and my personal favorite Black Pepper (with more than a little dash of salt).

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Favorite Characters at Tokyo’s Disney Parks

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Stitch, or for that matter anything Hawaiian. The Disneyland Park features both the Tiki Room standard in the US parks and a in-park Hawaiian Luau Show

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Chip and Dale

 

Where to Eat

 

Top Tips and Friendly Advice

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Ticket Prices: While Tokyo Disney Park ticket prices are noticeably cheaper than US Disney park tickets, they have significant restrictions. Regular one and two day tickets do not allow park hopping, must be used on consecutive days, and are issued for specific dates of use. Three and four day tickets allow park hopping only on the third and 4th days, unless you buy a special version of the 3 or 4 day ticket as a Disney hotel guest which may offer park hopping each day.

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The Monorail - Tokyo Disneyland's monorail operates entirely outside the parks and is in fact part of the public transportation system linking Disneyland Resort to Tokyo's mass transit system. Guests staying in the Disneyland and Miracosta Hotels get free access to the Monorail, all others must pay. in 2013, cost for a trip on the monorail was 250 yen (about $2.50 US). It travels in a continuous loop and makes 4 stops:
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Entrance to Tokyo Disneyland

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Entrance to Tokyo DisneySea

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Bayside Station – access to non-Disney hotels and parking  

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Ikspiari – shopping and restaurants

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Cultural Tip: Although both Tokyo Disney parks are clean – perhaps even cleaner than their American counterparts - you will see significantly fewer trash cans in Tokyo Disney parks. The Japanese convention is to eat at the serving locations for food rather than buy-and-walk. Thus while trash cans are plentiful around food vending locations, they are less so in other locations.

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Cultural Tip: when Disney Cast members are announcing (rather than conversing with you), they tend to draw out the last syllable of their sentences. To the American ear, this may sound like a nasal whine, but appears to simply be characteristic.

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If you look particularly American (especially tall white males with beards), don’t be surprised if children come up to you and ask for pictures with you or for you to sign their autograph books. In Japan, simple American looks may qualify you for near-celebrity status.

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Tipping for service? – don’t do it. Seriously. At best, tipping is considered a borderline rude American oddity; at worst it can be considered an insult.

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Be prepared to pay for swimming pool access and fitness center access.

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Perhaps because of driving on the left side of the road, the convention for escalators and moving sidewalks is opposite that of the American convention: in Japan, you stand on the left, walk on the right.

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Most ATMS in the Tokyo Disney Resort do not take US ATM cards, though a select few in the Ikspiari shopping area do. Gift shops may not accept Visa/Mastercards from US banks. Take plenty of Japanese Yen.

What you may want to buy/take home with you

bulletCookies or baked goods are popular and found in great variety and volume at each park.
bulletUS visitors may want to consider
bulletMickey-themed chopsticks
bulletMickey-imprinted folding Japanese style paper fans (it is not unusual to see males carrying such during the hot summer months)
bulletor the unusually popular Duffy teddy bear (reintroduced at Walt Disney World EPCOT in late 2010).
bulletMedallion collection – similar to the “pressed penny” collection at US Disney parks, the Japan versions stamp onto a metal blank rather than coin currency. As with the US, some designs are found in multiple locations, some designs are unique to only one or two locations. So popular are the pressed medallions that their locations are noted on both Disney Park maps.
bulletDisney Pins – Pin collecting is not “officially supported” by the owners of Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea. While a few stores on property sell a very small collection of pins, most are selected from pins available in Disney's USA parks.  Very few “unique to Tokyo” pins are available.

More Tokyo Disney Resort Information

Mousesavers.Com - Cost conscious Disney travel

 

This Unofficial website is NOT affiliated with The Walt Disney Company or Tokyo Disneyland Resort in any way. For official information on the Tokyo DisneyLand Resort, please visit their website 

Disclaimer
This Unofficial website is NOT affiliated with The Walt Disney Company or Tokyo Disneyland Resort in any way.
For official information on the Tokyo DisneyLand Resort, please visit their website