11 Things You Can’t Do at Tokyo Disneyland
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.
Table of Contents
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
Tokyo Disney Resort does have the Disney Premier Access, Standby Pass, and Entry Request available in the app, but you don’t have to worry about Genie+ or Lightning Lane. It doesn’t exist in Japan.
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!
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You can get your food ‘customised’ to a certain extent if you ask a nearby cast member for an allergy checklist sheet. On this small paper sheet you can mark removable ingredients you may be allergic to such as cheese in a burger (dairy intolerance) before you get to the counter to order your food. It is more time consuming and seldom done but it is possible.
I learned something new! Is this relatively recent? I’ve asked for customizations before (albeit a few years ago), and the Cast Member I was told no. Maybe it’s changed in the last while? I’m not entirely sure.
Pinning this for whenever we can finally travel there! I’m vegan, so that part will be challenging, but I’ll make it work.
You can order Pasta without cheese on top at the Eastside Cafe. I’ve done it many times over the years.
You can get your sandwich toppings customized at McDonald’s as long as you’re just *removing* something that *already comes* on it.
Double cheeseburger, plain; only cheese -OK.
Double cheeseburger, add lettuce. – NO, because lettuce doesn’t come on a cheeseburger.
(I go to McDonald’s here every week as it’s my comfort food.) 🙂
Also, no dining plans like the Walt Disney world!
If you’re curious about reading the actual fine print, here it is: https://www.tokyodisneyresort.jp/en/tdr/resort/forguest.html
I have to say, I was an Annual Passholder at Tokyo Disney from 2017-2019 and am now a Magic Key member at the Disneyland resort and the pins offered in Tokyo FAR exceed the ones we have here in California! The ones they release for events are far more basic and the supply is to insufficient where you can only get them near the beginning of release.
To be honest, the Tokyo Disney Resort is just so much better in every way, from the friendliness of cast members, selection of food and snacks, quality of parades, the decency they treat their guests as a whole by not trying to nickel and dime you. There’s no there place I’d rather be and I wish I could move back to Japan!