Say the word “Disney” around kids who are familiar with the brand and the concept, and you’ll most probably get looks of excitement. Being a label that instigates memories of entertainment, happiness, and fun, Disneyland has successfully opened theme parks all over the world for kids of all ages to enjoy – the first one of them to open outside United States boundaries was Tokyo Disneyland.
A Little More About Tokyo Disneyland
Pronounced “Tokyo Dizunirando” by the Japanese, this theme park, located in Urayasu, Chuba, boasts of being 115 acres big. There’s a station dedicated just to it, named Tokyo Disneyland Station, which is also right beside another station; Maihama Station.
Tokyo Disneyland is only a fragment of a bigger Disney-themed feature, which is Tokyo Disney Resort. The resort itself is made up of two theme parks; Tokyo Disneyland, and Tokyo DisneySea, three hotels; Disney Ambassador Hotel, Tokyo Disneyland Hotel, and Tokyo DisneySea Hotel MiraCosta. It also has a souvenir shop called “Bon Voyage!” And a combination of entertainment, dining, and shopping complex named “Ikspiari”.
Within Disneyland are segregated areas based on their motifs; there’s Westernland, Fantasyland, Adventureland, and Tomorrowland. Smaller areas are dedicated to “mini-lands”, such as Mickey’s Toontown and Critter Country. Lastly, there’s World Bazaar, which is made up of a conservatory holding several restaurants and attractions.
A Brief History of This Well-Loved Theme Park
Tokyo Disneyland opened on April 15, 1983, under the ownership of The Oriental Land Company, built by Walt Disney Imagineering. The contract to start working on developing this theme park was signed as far back as April 1979, with the actual construction process beginning a year later. The entire project cost 180 billion yen, 80 billion over their projected expenditure.
Although it’s not entirely or even partially owned by the Walt Disney Company (and is the only one in the world to hold this status), the Walt Disney company still has a say on directing creativity of their programs, rides, and features. To this day, it continues to be a highly-acclaimed tourist destination.
Score Tickets to Tokyo Disneyland
When you buy a ticket to Tokyo Disneyland, they issue you a “passport”. This passport determines the hours you’re allowed in the park, as well as what you have access to. There are six kinds of passports; the Multi-Day Passport, the 1-Day Passport, the Starlight Passport, the After 6 Passport, and the Group Passport. Depending on which ticket you want to purchase, there are several ways to acquire them.
Which Passport to Buy and Where
For the Multi-Day Passport, 1-Day Passport, and Senior Passport, you may buy these at the Main Entrance Information and Ticket Booths, which are, of course, located in the Main Entrance, outside the park. Here, you may buy tickets you will use on the same day, claim your same-day tickets that come from travel vouchers, and change your ticket types – if you bought them for that day. This ticket booth usually opens an hour before Disneyland does, and closes two hours before Disneyland closes, except during the days between April 17 to May 18, 2017, where it opens 30 minutes later.
You may also purchase these passports at The East Gate Guest Reception. This part sells advance tickets, lets you change your ticket type as well, issues Annual Passports, as well as vouchers for those Annual Passports. The East Gate Guest Reception opens an hour before Disneyland opens, and 30 minutes before it closes.
For the tech-savvy and hassle-free option, you may buy the park tickets online, so you don’t have to wait in line at the ticket booths, and your admission on the day you prefer is guaranteed. Simply go to Tokyo Disney resort’s website, find their e-ticket sales page, and enter the date you want to go, fill in your details, and pay with a credit card.
Book a hotel in Tokyo Disneyland
To complete your stay at Tokyo Disneyland, it’s a convenient and worthwhile idea to book a night’s stay at Tokyo Disneyland Hotel. This way you’ll be able to enjoy the amusement park through and through, from morning ‘til night time, and relax in their intricately decorated Disney-themed rooms.
There is a total of 706 rooms altogether, divided into four classifications; Standard Rooms, Character Rooms, Concierge Rooms, and Suites. When it comes to your room, there are two view choices – Park view, or the highly sought-after Grand Park View. Check in time for this hotel is at 3 P.M., while checkout is at 12 P.M. Prices are charged per head. As for standard rooms, 457 of them are of the Standard category, which usually has 1 – 2 beds, and can house around 2 – 3 people per room.
Hotel Room Themes
Character rooms are like the standard rooms, though they have clear Disney movie themes, such as the Alice in Wonderland room, Cinderella room, and Beauty and the Beast room, to name a few. On the other hand, booking a Concierge room gives you extra bonuses, such as breakfast at the Dreamer’s lounge, benefits from the Marceline Salon, and having a top-quality view. Lastly, the ninth and eighth floors are reserved for the luxurious suites, with maximum privileges and room service.
Prices of these rooms vary from 45,200 yen a night to a whopping 500,000 yen a night. These prices are subject to change depending on which room you book when you book, and how many people you’re planning to stay with inside that room.
Prepare Yourself Before Going to Tokyo Disneyland: Study and Buy a Map
Thanks to technology, you can pre-plan your route before even stepping foot in the amusement park or even Japan. How? Simply go to Tokyo Disney Resort’s website and download the map. It’s in PDF form so it’s easy for you to save and print. This way, you have a guide, and you don’t waste any time walking around such a large amusement park, not knowing where to start.
The map clearly illustrates details all the features of the amusement park that you may not want to miss in four categories; attractions, entertainment venues, shops, and restaurants & refreshments. Before heading there, get that sharpie out and start encircling and noting which places you want to see the most. From there, you may form a route, so your trip is fully maximized.
The Food Served at Tokyo Disneyland
There are 48 places that serve food in Tokyo Disneyland, from full-fledged restaurants to stands with snacks. Depending on where you go in the amusement park, the food choices will follow the pattern of that theme. In the World Bazaar, for example, you have a 40’s vibe that sells mostly western cuisine, mickey shaped waffles, and ice cream, but there’s also Restaurant Hokusai for a Japanese touch.
In Adventureland, they sell mostly snacks that you can bring around with you, such as crepes, churros, and fresh fruit. If you want a sit-down meal, you can opt for the Blue Bayou Restaurant, which goes for about 2,000 to 5,000 yen, where you pick your meal course. Same goes for Polynesian Terrace Restaurant – but this has fun mascots kids may want to play with. However, in this restaurant, you must reserve seats in advance.
Westernland has cowboy feel to it, so some servers are dressed as people from that era. As with other parts of Disneyland, they have options of both snacks in The Canteen and sit-down meals in places like The Diamond Horseshoe and Plaza Pavilion Restaurant. In Fantasyland, they serve pizza at Captain Hook’s gallery, and Ice Cream at Troubadour Tavern. Toontown’s got a lot of snacks, sweet drinks, toon-themed popcorn, and Tomorrowland’s futuristic menus include tasty orders of curry.
Scattered within Disneyland are shops that offer souvenirs and memorabilia to bring home from your fun trip to Tokyo Disneyland. If you want to use your souvenir while you’re walking around the amusement park (umbrella, headwear, apparel, accessories) or if you want some stamps and stationery material, Grand Emporium and Town Center Fashions at World Bazaar is a good choice. For a more personal touch in your souvenir, you can display at home, you can have a cut-out of your silhouette taken at the Silhouette Studio, also in the World Bazaar.
In Adventureland, Cristal Arts offers Disney-themed glassware, while La Petite Parfumerie lets you freshen up with the amusement park’s signature scents. Frontier Woodcraft in Westernland fashions bracelets just for you. Treasure Comet in Tomorrowland sells collectible capsule toys. Those are only a few of so much more.
How Packed Will It Be? Here’s A Crowd Calendar Idea for Tokyo Disneyland
In terms of predictions from now until October, packed days are almost always on weekends. During June, crowd loads lessen during weekends. This begins to change once summer begins, as during July, as attraction wait times get longer because of a number of people visiting. Mondays and Fridays start getting full during this month, specifically on July 17 and 28. Not as many people go during colder months, such as January and February.
August is a very busy month, with large crowds forecasted to visit during the entire week of August 11 to 17, nonstop. September cools down the surge of customers, with most days in the green, except Saturdays, and September 17 and 18. October is mostly free of crowds, except October 7 and 8.
The Cinderella Castle: A Necessary Staple of Tokyo Disneyland
Often associated with as the symbol of Disneyland, the Cinderella Castle in Tokyo Disneyland is found in Fantasyland. It is automatically what is associated with the theme park and is a copy of the original castle in the Magic Kingdom, located in Walt Disney World Resort. The architecture of this building was based off actual castles in Europe, some of them being the Alcazar in Segovia, and Bavaria’s Castle Neuschwanstein. The Cinderella Castle has since been repainted and has held many different attractions involving the story of Cinderella.
What Are the Rides in Tokyo Disneyland?
There are dozens of rides Disneyland, some of them offering little to no thrill, others giving enough to spike your adrenaline. In the World Bazaar, there’s the Omnibus, which takes you around the park. This ride is usually good for grandparents and those who don’t want to walk so much. For more intense rides, there's the Pirates of the Caribbean ride in Adventureland, where you get a good scare and zoom through a dark, enchanted setting.
Next up on the list for thrill-seekers is Westernland’s Big Thunder Mountain, where you must be at least 102 cm to ride. It’s such a rush to ride, expectant mothers are not allowed on. Same goes for Critter Country’s Splash Mountain, where you plunge into a river from a steep hill and go through a dark tunnel. Toontown’s Gadgets Go Coaster is also a heart-stopper, along with Tomorrowland’s Space Mountain.
In Fantasyland, you have rides that are a little calmer, and safer to ride for those who are for the faint of heart. Alice’s Tea Party is fun to go for a spin, and the Castle Carrousel is a decent introduction for toddlers to the world of rides. Dumbo The Flying Elephant is fun for those who want to go for a mid-level thrill, and Haunted Mansion has amazing visual effects that you won’t want to miss.
The Exact Coordinates of Tokyo Disneyland
The GPS coordinates of Tokyo Disneyland are 35.6329° N, 139.8804° E. You can type this into any GPS reader, and you’re sure to be led to this destination. If you still can’t find your way, there are many maps and instructions on how to get to Tokyo Disneyland available online.
Open Hours of Tokyo Disneyland
During weekdays, Tokyo Disneyland is open from 9 AM to 10 PM, but on weekends (and some Mondays), it starts earlier, at 8 AM, and ends at the same time. Sometimes, it starts at 8:30 AM on Mondays. Then again, their site states that their opening and closing hours may change without any prior notice, so one must take that into account when paying a visit.
Worth A Day’s Stay
While it’s beneficial to learn about Japan’s culture by visiting its shrines and thousands of historical treasures, Tokyo Disneyland is a great option to have if you're just looking for a good time. Best visited during cool months such as March or September, its attractions beat most amusement park standards, and are worth visiting – even for only a day to bring your little kid (or explorer) with you.