Eek! The magical wonderland of Disney strikes again – this time in Japan. Tokyo has two Disney theme parks. DisneyLand which focuses more on Disney’s magical theme and is more suited to younger children, or DisneySea, which is the only one of its kind and focuses more on rides for older children and adults.
Both are great theme parks to explore, but if you haven’t got young children with you, then DisneySea is the recommended option.
TIPS FOR DISNEYSEA TOKYO
PRE-PURCHASE TICKETS ONLINE
If you haven’t already got tickets, then pre-purchasing them online is super convenient and saves a whole lot of time. The website is in English (or Japanese, Korean, Chinese and more), so you won’t have any trouble trying to buy what you want. And it saves time on having to purchase tickets on the day.
Lines will be long at the ticket offices, and some enthusiasts will be there over an hour before hand to ensure they get the earliest entry possible. Pre-purchasing tickets can save you from standing in line for hours!
Make sure you also check out the crowd calendar. This is a useful page that tells you the percentage of online ticket purchases and guests staying at the hotels at Disney. Therefore the higher the percentage, the busier the park!
LINE UP FOR ENTRY EARLY
Now that you already have your tickets on hand, make sure you head to the park early to line up for entry. The park tends to open at 8am – 830am and plenty of people are there a couple hours prior to get into the park as soon as it opens. Mr Chu and I went about an hour before the park opened and managed to find ourselves at the back of a rather significant line.
If you head into the park early you can head straight to the best rides without having to wait for hours before you turn. Plus the earlier you go, the more you see! It’s a win, win situation really. But be prepared to stand (or sit) for that hour as staff aren’t going to open the doors before they’re supposed to!
To make things smoother, Disney has create the ‘FASTPASS’ concept that’s available to anyone with the regular 1 Day Passport. Unlike Universal Studios, you don’t need to fork out extra money for the FASTPASS; it comes with your entrance fee.
The idea is that the lines for rides can build up, causing people to wait for up to 1-2 hours. With the FASTPASS, just head to the ride you want to go on, scan your QR code against the FASTPASS machines and you’ll be given a printed ticket showing your FASTPASS session. It’s usually provides you with a 45 minute window, so during this time you can head back to the ride and go through the FASTPASS entrance. You’ll skip straight past the line!
A few things to keep in mind:
#1 The only major condition is that you can only collect a FASTPASS for each ride once. So there’s no skipping the line twice for your favourite ride.
#2 You also need to make sure that you hop into that FASTPASS line within the session time printed on your FASTPASS ticket. Otherwise, staff are not going to budge and you’ll have to join the long line out front!
#3 FASTPASS tickets can run out. Not everyone will be able to get a FASTPASS ticket. Otherwise everyone will be in the FASTPASS line and not the regular line! So don’t leave it to the last minute. Try and get your FASTPASS session times earlier in the day as once all the sessions have run out, there’s no more FASTPASS tickets for that ride.
PLAN OF ATTACK
So you know that lines for the rides can build up quickly and you’re thinking about a strategy. Well if you’ve arrived at the park super early and get in as the doors open, you have till about 10am before the lines are long enough to be a pain. Within the first hour or two, the lines usually only hover around a 10 – 15 minute wait, and some can be a quick 5 minute stop. So the best plan of attack is getting into the park and jumping on the most popular rides.
These are usually:
- Toy Story Mania!
- Tower of Terror
- Indiana Jones Adventure
- Raging Spirits
- Journey to the Centre of the Earth
Once you knock off a couple of popular rides, lines will start to form and waiting lines will lengthen. This is when you can slow down and head around the park to collect your FASTPASS tickets for the rides you haven’t been to yet and start to explore DisneySea. If you’re keen on the rides you’ve already visited in the morning, you can FASTPASS them so you can ride them again later in the day!
Between FASTPASS rides, you can enjoy shows, park activities and any other rides that don’t have the FASTPASS option.
By the end of the day, you would’ve ridden on all the main rides, had a great time checking out the park and would have wasted minimal time in waiting lines. Sounds good right?
DISNEYSEA APP: LIVE WAIT TIMES
Another tool that you can utilise whilst at the park is the DisneySea TDR Wait Time Check app. This app gives you live wait times for the rides at the park, so you don’t have to run there to find out that there’s a 2 hour line! How cool is that?
Another way to get around the long lines is utilising the ‘Single Riders Lane’. If you’re willing to have a one-(wo)man experience, then the Single Riders Lane might be the option.
These lanes are only available on some of the major rides though, so you may need to combine it with your FAST PASS for the best line-waiting experience.
THE SEASON OF DISNEY: WHEN TO VISIT
Mr Chu and I visited DisneySea during May. Spring was in the air and the weather was warm but still comfortable for a day out in the sun. Having heard about Mr Chu’s last visit during the dead of winter though, I’d not recommend choosing a colder season to visit over the warmer ones.
Apparently waiting in line outside in winter for hours on end is not a fun activity. Mr Chu and friends were frozen to bits and didn’t get to enjoy the park as much as they did during spring. So… warmer is better kids!
DISNEY SPIRIT: MERCHANDISE AT UNIQLO
If you’re looking to join into the magical fun at DisneyLand or DisneySea, check out Uniqlo for their Disney printed t-shirts. I’m not sure whether it was only a seasonal thing or the range is permanent at the stores, but during our visit we went over to Uniqlo beforehand and found some pretty sweet Mickey t-shirts.
It was definitely more exciting heading to Disney with Mickey on my shirt. And it saved me lots of dollars (or yen) to buy it at Uniqlo rather than at the park, where prices were very inflated.
For those heading to Universal Studios in Osaka, they also had a range of Universal themed t-shirts. It was Snoopy at the time when we visited, but they may have changed the featured character when you go.
This is all subjective, but the best rides that we personally loved were:
- Toy Story Mania!: This ride was super unique! Not a rollercoaster, this ride essentially is a giant shooting videogame in a moving cart. We didn’t expect much and ended the night was this ride, so maybe that’s why we loved it so much. But my competitive spirit came out and I guess it’s just a bonus I won against all my friends… 10/10 for Toy Story!
- Tower of Terror: A height and drop kind of ride, Tower of Terror is a little different as it’s all indoors. You get the feel of the drop but also have bonus animation and get to see a view of DisneySea from the top of the tower. Pretty cool!
- Indiana Jones Adventures: A ride through the tunnels of a temple, this ride is indoors and lets you experience the story of Indiana Jones. It’s pretty cool but might make some a little motion sick…
- Raging Spirits: Also in the Lost River Delta World like Indiana Jones Adventures, this is traditional roller coaster zooms you through an ancient ruin themed site.
And last but not least, make sure you stay for the fireworks at the end of the night! Disney theme parks all over the world are known for their final fireworks show and DisneySea at Tokyo, Japan is not an exception.
Mrs Chu x