We spent two days in Tokyo, Japan doing Disney. We have been to Disneyland and Disney California Adventure (DCA) in Los Angles, California many times, we have been to DisneyWorld in Florida and we have even been to EuroDisney in Paris (but we were both too little to remember it now). Below are the kids impressions and tips as well as a few closing observations on this wonderful Park.
John says: I loved Disney Sea because there were lots of different rides that were new to me, like Journey to the Center of the Earth, Nemo and Friends SeaRider and The Raging Spirits Rollercoaster.
SeaRider was a lot like Star Tours back home. You go into a ship-thing that jerks around a lot and you watch a video that takes you under the sea. It doesn’t use 3D glasses. Raging Spirits has a loop where you go upside down like California Screamin’ in DCA. It was pretty short but still really fun. Journey to the Center of the Earth had really good graphics and was my favorite Disney Sea ride. There is a lightening bolt that scares me every time. It starts in a car like the Indiana Jones ride but after a big fireball, it takes off like the Cars Racer Ride in DCA and you go fast and then drop once like a rollercoaster.
I found the perfect thing to buy there – a Genie Neck Pillow for traveling. The Genie was in the Aladdin area and he loved seeing my pillow. My sister was just sitting on the side while he played with me. He was just doing a lot of really funny things with me. It was one of my favorite parts of the adventure.
Near this really cool pirate ship there is a super fancy place to eat (Magellan’s – need to get reservations for the Wine Cellar right at 10:00 – dad / editor’s note). We walked through the dining room where there were places where I thought we would eat but we kept walking. At a bookcase I got to push a secret button that opened the secret door to where we got to eat. I went to the bathrooms lots of times so that I could go in and out of the secret door.
Kate says: The rides were not as good as at other Parks. The Indian Jones ride was almost exactly the same as at home. The Raging Spirits ride was a pretty short roller coaster ride. The Tower of Terror ride also didn’t have as many drops as the one at home (but we are looking forward to the reboot of the ride in DCA as Guardian’s of the Galaxy ride). The Fantasmic Show was really good though. The entire Park seemed more comfortable and easy to get around than the parks at home. After just one afternoon I could find my way around. I also like the water everywhere and the European area themes.
The Adventure Land section seemed pretty small. The prices for merchandise seemed cheaper than Disney stuff at home which surprised me. In the Mermaid Lagoon area it is mostly parents and toddlers but John and I enjoyed the area and played hide-and-go-seek.
The lunch was really cool at Magellan’s – the food was great and the hidden room was amazing.
As we walked in to the Park, and at the food stands, every Disney person was waving to all the people coming in.
I liked the Nemo and Friends SeaRider ride a lot, better than Star Tours at home. It is cool and really a long ride. The colors were vibrant and the otters you see in the ride were really funny. I loved the Pooh ride, the way the cars would zip around and when Tigger comes the car bounces. I have never seen anything else like it, with lots of cars zipping around at the same time.
Disneyland Tokyo (Space Mountain and Small World were both closed:
John says: My favorite rides were: Pooh’s Hunny Hunt, Monsters Inc., Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin and Haunted Mansion. Monster’s Inc. at home is where you just sit is a car and watch but in Tokyo Disneyland you get a flashlight to shine on hats and when you do something pops up – which is why they call it “Light and Go Seek”. There are no scores on it but it is really fun.
My second favorite ride was Pooh’s Hunny Hunt. Again, at home this ride is really boring and there is nothing to do and it is not that interesting, you just go around with the story. But here your car bounces with Tigger and zips along without a track. While in a big room, lots of cars zoom around all at once without crashing. You don’t control it but it feels like you are floating within the story.
The Car Toon Spin ride is in Toontown where we had lunch. The food was basically fast food pizza. It was ok, it had corn on it. My sister and I went on this ride and it was a really long wait – they said 15 or 20 but it was really 30 or 35. We were pretty much the only kids on the ride. It is where you get in the car and you go into different rooms and you can control how much you spin by steering it. We switched off spinning our car in each room.
I loved Haunted Mansion, even though it was all in Japanese. It was fun because it was different than ours at home. The dining room in Tokyo has a messed up table and no hidden Mickey. The ride felt longer. It was darker and the story of the ride was different.
Kate says: I thought it was a lot better than Disneyland at home. Big Thunder Mountain was longer and had bigger drops. It was my favorite. Smash Mountain also had an extra drop and there is almost no time outside (it is also interesting that the “log” you ride in is wider to seat two people in each spot and has a waist bar to hold you in place – ed. note).
Pirates of the Caribbean was just ok because there is only one drop on the ride. I enjoyed this Haunted Mansion – it was darker, longer and a bit more scary.
Two day consecutive “Passport” which does not allow park hopping but just one park per day was $458 total (two adults, one teen and one child). It took us about 40 minutes to go from our subway stop (Tsukishima -Y21) fairly close actually to Shin-kiba (Y24) where we transfer to the JR train line to go two stops to Maihama. From there you can pay and ride the Disney Tram line to Disney Sea (about a mile away) or just walk to Tokyo Disneyland.
We found it to be (on two week days in late May) to be not crowded by Disney standards. Both parks have lots of open spaces, the walking avenues are amazingly wide and well planned compared to the LA parks. At both parks there are rides that run out of FastPasses and by the end of the day have 90 minute wait times so, as usual, you have to start early if you want to hit everything. At Disney Sea was managed to ride Journey to the Center of the Earth three times, road Indiana Jones twice and did everything we wanted, including watch a bit of Fantasmic, but didn’t bother to stay for the fireworks.
Food was priced with the usual Disney premiums as in LA. But merchandise, we felt, was less expensive. Disney Sea is home to Duffy. It is a stuffed generic looking bear and it is huge here. It seems like everyone is carrying a stuffed Duffy (or the companion merchandised StellaLou rabbit), Duffy coin purse or Duffy ears (which Kate bought). Most of the merchandise stores in the Park are nothing but Duffy – and each one was full of shoppers.
The other interesting thing that we saw was that people here love to dress a like. Not just family reunion shirts or ‘neon color so we can always find you in a crowd’ shirts, but really intentionally dressing alike. We saw dozens and dozens of groups of friends dressed the same and families wearing the same outfits. This was on top of hundreds of school kids who are all dressed in their school uniforms.
Easter is still alive and well in Tokyo. This is an interesting occurrence since it is not really celebrated here, as we understand it, but here in May at Disney Easter in still in full bloom. Not sure why other than it is cute marketing spurring the sale of StellaLou and lots of bunny ears rather than Mickey Ears (which do not seem to be a huge deal here).
Lastly, the Electric Parade was fantastic. We have never been that impressed with other versions we have seen but this was pretty stunning. The coolness of it all plus such a big parade route with wide areas made it possible for us to have a seat on a planter bench (Disney employee sanctioned – unlike at Disneyland LA where anytime you sit you feel you are breaking a rule somehow).