For the most part, Tokyo Disney Resort does things on its terms. Oriental Land Company Ltd. owns and operates the Disney Parks in Japan, and the company does things uniquely.
What does that mean for you? Well, there is a lot of confusion if you’ve visited the Disney Parks in the US numerous times. Tokyo Disney Resort comes as a shock when some things you’d expect work differently in Japan.
I’ll explain the most common things you can’t do at Tokyo Disneyland.
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Disney Pin Trading
One of the most asked questions is, “Does Tokoyo Disneyland do Pin Trading?” Sadly, the Parks don’t have Pin Trading anymore after it ended in the early 00s.
Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea still sell pins, but it pales compared to the variety at other Disney Parks. Typically there’s a seasonal event or anniversary pin, and that’s it. Sometimes you’ll find random pins, but they’re few and far between.
Food customization is the biggest culture shock when visiting Tokyo Disney Resort because you cannot customize your food. Asking for your Mickey burger without ketchup or substitutions, nope, it will not happen in most cases.
You may be able to ask for something removed like onions, but substitutions are almost always a no.
That does sound a bit harsh. The reason for this rule is efficiency, and if you ask for customization, it becomes an entire scene that’s not worth the hassle, and the answer is no 99% of the time.
Sometimes you may be able to customize your meal, but this depends on the restaurant and type of dish. Many Cast Members may not speak English, so you’ll also have a language barrier. It’s not a standard in other countries such as the US. You can ask, but don’t get upset if you’re told no.
However, this isn’t unique to Tokyo Disney Resort; it’s almost everywhere in Japan. More specifically, chain restaurants like McDonald’s. Sometimes you can customize it if you ask, but as I already mentioned, it can be a hassle.
Smaller restaurants may be more forgiving, but your mileage may vary.
What about if you have an allergy or need gluten-free? Well, that’s a good question, and the answer is you’ll have to order from the allergen-free menu. I have a guide that explains this in detail for you, and here is a list of Japanese words to help you.
Easily Find Vegan Food Options
Tokyo Disney Resort doesn’t advertise vegan options, making dining a challenge. Be aware that if you ask a Cast Member about vegan food, there’s a good chance they won’t know if a dish is vegan-friendly.
Compared to other countries, vegan is still relatively uncommon in Japan. Even though more restaurants and places are advertising vegan options, Tokyo Disney Resort isn’t one of those places. We have a list of potential vegan-friendly dishes at Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea.
My best advice is to buy food from the Seijo Ishii grocery store on the first floor of Ikspiari at Tokyo Disney Resort. It’s an entire grocery store with plenty of fresh food. I recommend the websites Happy Cow and “Is it Vegan” to help you.
Keep in mind that you won’t be able to bring full meals into the Park. You’ll need to eat them at the picnic areas outside Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea.
As for vegetarian options, the Parks sometimes have advertised vegetarian options. But, in the last year since the pandemic, these are few and far between now.
Use Magic Bands
Unlike Walt Disney World, Tokyo Disney Resort doesn’t use the Magic Band system.
In the last few years, the Resort has finally begun moving things to the Official Tokyo Disney Resort App, which is the best place for making restaurant reservations and getting a Standby Pass.
Genie+ or Lightning Lane
The Disney Parks in Japan don’t have FastPass anymore, and I don’t think it’ll come back.
Starbucks in the Parks
Sadly, you cannot get your Starbucks inside Tokyo Disneyland or Tokyo DisneySea. This also means the “Been There” Disney mugs don’t exist in Japan.
That said, two Starbucks are inside Ikspiari at Tokyo Disney Resort. Ikspiari is Japan’s version of Disney Springs or Downtown Disney.
Stay Past 10 PM Inside the Parks
Trains in Japan don’t run all night, and the last train from Tokyo Disney is around midnight. This means the Parks almost always close at 10 PM. Many guests take the train, making sense to close the Parks earlier so Cast Members can get home.
The parks are only open later for private events and the New Year’s Eve ticketed event.
Christmas or Halloween Parties
Speaking of ticketed events, Tokyo Disney Resort doesn’t have Christmas or Halloween parties, unlike Walt Disney World and Disneyland in California. Your day ticket includes whatever seasonal event is on at the Parks during your visit; this includes Christmas and Halloween!
The seasonal events throughout the year have limited-time entertainment, merchandise, food, and decorations.
Photos or Video on All Rides
Japan is a country of rigorous rules, and this includes Disney Parks. You cannot take photos or video on all rides or attractions, which I’ll admit is confusing and convoluted. I recommend checking the attractions page on the Tokyo Disney Resort website; it’ll say if photos are allowed or not.
“it’s a small world” allows photos and video while Pooh’s Hunny Hunt doesn’t. At the same time, pictures and videos are fine on Enchanted Tale of Beauty and the Beast. As I said, it’s confusing.
Is it seemingly arbitrary? Absolutely. But, ask anyone who’s lived in Japan long enough, and I guarantee they’ll have a story about rules and policies.
The best thing to do is listen to the Cast Members with hand gestures. As a courtesy to everyone else, if you decide to take photos or videos, don’t bother those around you with flash, being loud (while vlogging), or your illuminated screen from your phone.
Get Free Buttons
One of my favourite things when I first went to Walt Disney World was getting the free button. Sadly, that’s not a thing at Tokyo Disney Resort. While there are celebration buttons, you have to buy them.
You can ask a Cast Member for a birthday sticker if it’s your birthday. It’s free, and they’ll even draw on it for you! Depending on the Cast Member, they may also be able to write your name in Japanese.
Use US Disney Gift Cards
Does Tokyo Disneyland accept Disney Gift Cards from the US? The short answer is no. The Resort does have gift cards, but they are in Japanese yen, and you can buy them from Guest Relations.
You can use your credit card from your home country, but I recommend having a backup credit card just in case. Sometimes systems at Tokyo Disney and throughout Japan may reject your credit card, so it’s good to have a spare and some Japanese yen on hand.
I hope that list was helpful to you, gives a bit more clarity, and calms the nerves when planning your trip to Tokyo Disney Resort! Did anything on this list surprise you?
Let me know in the comments!
More Things to Do in Tokyo
My recommendations for things to do in and around Tokyo! Plan a day at the Hello Kitty theme park, Sanrio Puroland, and an afternoon at the popular TeamLab Planets TOKYO. Take a tour around Tokyo with the convenient hop-on and-off bus. Spend a rainy afternoon inside Japan’s largest indoor theme park, Tokyo Joyoplis, near Tokyo Disney!
More on Tokyo Disney Resort
Tokyo Disney Resort Guidebook
Are you planning a trip to Tokyo Disney Resort? If so, you need our digital guidebook! Our guidebook is the most comprehensive resource available, covering everything you need to know about the park, including tickets, hotels, restaurants, attractions, shows, seasonal events, and more! With our guidebook, you’ll be an expert on Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea before you even set foot in the Parks. You’ll know what to expect, where to go, and what to do. You’ll also be able to avoid the crowds and make the most of your time.
Get tickets for Tokyo Disney Resort
Buying your tickets for Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea ahead of time is vital. Read our comprehensive guide on tickets to learn how to purchase tickets. For recommendations on SIM cards, portable Wi-Fi devices, travel insurance, cheap flights, and hotel bookings, read our travel resources page.
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