Everyone loves Disney. Japanese people also love Disney. In fact, they love it so much they have two Disney theme parks right next to each other; DisneySea and Disneyland. Both are just a half hour train ride from Tokyo, and both are top spots for GaijinPot’s Top 5 theme parks in Japan.
More geared to adults, DisneySea is a magical place where you can get the thrill of classic rides such as Tower of Terror and Journey to the Centre of the Earth but also have your picture taken with Donald Duck and co. To top it all is the fascinating cultural insight into Japan’s obsession with all things cute and childlike – seriously, it’s a very cool thing to witness.
The first thing you’ll probably notice is how groups of people have gone to a lot of effort to coordinate their outfits and matching accessories around one character or movie. Not to mention, if you go in rainy season or are just unlucky, irresistibly cute rain ponchos with mouse ears appear out of nowhere. That’s magic.
Depending on what time of year you plan on visiting, there are themed shows (such as Halloween, Christmas, Easter etc) that are usually worth staking out a decent seat along the beautifully scenic Mediterranean Harbour. Fantasmic!, the quintessential Disney show, is on throughout the year, usually in conjunction with other shows. Don your matching Toy Story Alien hats and munch on some Toy Story Alien dumplings while watching Mickey battle Disney’s most terrifying villains. Disney buff or not, it’s great fun.
A note of caution: DisneySea is always busy. So in the immortal words of Scar from The Lion King, “Be prepared!” It’s a good idea to sort tickets in advance rather than hoping for the best on the day. That way you can turn up and get the Disney party started without having to line up at the booths.
With every ticket purchased you’ll get up to three FASTPASS entrances at no extra charge that can each be used within an allotted time period. If you know exactly which rides will have long, long queues (a.k.a Journey to the Centre of the Earth or Toy Story) and have a battle-plan in place, these help minimise your queue time immensely. All you need to do is go up to the designated ticket booths at your selected ride and hold your ticket under the reader. Then go back to the ride during the time period printed and smugly bypass the normal queuers. You can also reserve your FASTPASS entrances up to one month in advance if you book tickets online.
Next door, Tokyo Disneyland is more reserved for younger customers with less roller coasters and more child-friendly attractions. Sadly, no beer on offer here.