101 Practical Tokyo Disneyland Travel Tips


There’s a lot to know about Tokyo Disney Resort. When to visit, what to ride, what can I eat? The questions are endless.

Stressful.

It’s all overwhelming, isn’t it? Don’t worry; we’ve made this simple cheat sheet to help you hit the ground running in your planning. Trust me.

These 101 travel tips for Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea give you excellent grounds to familiarize yourself with this beautiful resort in Japan. Are you ready? Good, let’s go!

Before You Go to Tokyo Disneyland

Tokyo Disneyland Natsu Matsuri Entrance World Bazaar
  1. Buy your tickets in advance through Voyagin; don’t buy them at the gates. Read our full guide for more information.
  2. The best days to visit on most weeks are Tuesday to Friday.
  3. The best time of the year to visit is mid-May (after Golden Week), the second week of January (everyone goes back to work/school after the New Year’s Holiday), and the beginning of September (everyone goes back to school).
  4. Avoid the busiest times of the year: Golden Week, August, and the end of March.
  5. Dress for the season. The summers are hot, and the winters are cold.
  6. Tripods are not allowed in the parks, so you can leave those in your room. Small handheld ones like GorillaPods are OK, as long as you hold them.
  7. If the weather is bad the park will be empty in the evenings, especially in the winter. If you’re staying on the property, this is the perfect time to ride everything. The rainy season is in June, and the typhoon season is in August/September.
  8. Check the crowd calendar for your specific dates.
  9. Bring your own rechargeable battery (there are no device charging stations).
  10. Free wi-fi is only in the hotels and Park entrances. Make sure you have a wi-fi device or SIM card.
  11. If it’s your birthday, tell a Cast Member, and they’ll give you a special sticker and perhaps draw something on it! You can ask to have your name in Japanese, too.

Want to plan the best trip possible to Tokyo Disneyland? Our premium travel guide goes in-depth on what you need to know about travelling to Japan. Don’t get caught off-guard when you’re at the Parks. 

Tokyo Disney Resort Hotels

Hotel MiraCosta Tokyo DisneySea
Hotel MiraCosta at Tokyo DisneySea
  1. Reservations for Disney Hotels open five months in advance.
  2. Make dining reservations through the official website 30 days in advance.
  3. The best hotel in terms of overall value (not the cheapest) is the Disney Ambassador Hotel.
  4. If you’re staying at the Disney Ambassador Hotel, make a character breakfast reservation for Chef Mickey, as breakfast is only open to Disney Ambassador Hotel Guests (and it’s delicious).
  5. Have the afternoon tea at The Dreamer’s Lounge at Tokyo Disneyland Hotel.
  6. Make a reservation for Oceano in the Hotel MiraCosta, as it is one of the best buffets. There’s a balcony to watch harbor shows at Tokyo DisneySea. If your reservation falls during the time of a show, you can use this balcony to watch.
  7. Skip the breakfast at the Tokyo Disney Celebration Hotel and get something from the convenience store inside the hotel instead. It’s not worth the price.
  8. Arrive 30 minutes before your “Happy 15” (early entry for hotel guests 15 minutes before everyone else) to ensure you’re among the first in the park!
  9. Don’t waste your “Happy 15” on Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters (the only attraction open for it) at Tokyo Disneyland. Use it to get photos with lower-crowd characters or be the first on Monsters, Inc. Ride & Go Seek! or Pooh’s Hunny Hunt when the park opens.
  10. Use your “Happy 15” at Tokyo DisneySea to get a FastPass for Soaring: Fantastic Flight or Toy Story Mania!
  11. Hilton Tokyo Bay and Sheraton Grande Tokyo Bay Hotel are the most popular non-Disney Hotels right on the property, which have flash sales a few times a year as low as $100 a night.
  12. Each Disney hotel offers its own exclusive hotel-branded merchandise (including pins at the Tokyo Disney Celebration Hotel).

Transportation at Tokyo Disney Resort

Finding Nemo SeaRider Monorail Tokyo Disney Resort
Nemo & Friends SeaRider Monorail
  1. The easiest way to Tokyo Disney Resort from Narita or Haneda Airport is by Airport Limousine.
  2. The closest train station to the resort is Maihama Station, a 15-minute train ride from Tokyo Station.
  3. If you’re staying at the Tokyo Disneyland Hotel or Hotel MiraCosta, you’re given a monorail pass to use for your stay.
  4. For each season or event, a new “day pass” design is available to buy (one for each park), which makes for a great collectible.
  5. Above the ticket machines, you’ll see different designs available. This indicates which day pass design you’ll get.
  6. The free monorail pin is no longer offered as of 2018.
  7. The themed monorails rotate, so you may have to wait to get the one you’d like to ride.
  8. The front of the monorail is the best spot to ride.
  9. There are a variety of buses that go to different stations in Tokyo. This is a good alternative if you don’t want to take the train back into the city (note: they take cash or Pasmo/Suica/IC Cards only).
  10. Use a Suica or Pasmo card instead of a ticket to pay for your train. This avoids waiting in line at the night’s end to buy tickets. You tap onto the train.
  11. The monorail also accepts Suica and Pasmo if you don’t want to buy a day pass.

Every moment counts while at Tokyo Disneyland. Don’t make these mistakes that I’ve done so many times.

Eating at Tokyo Disney Resort

Tokyo Disneyland Natsu Matsuri Shaved Ice Green Alien Mochi
Shaved Ice at Tokyo Disneyland (Summer Only)
  1. One of the most popular and well-known snacks is the infamous Green Alien Dumplings (mochi) at both parks.
  2. All restaurants have English menus, and counter service restaurants have plastic food displays.
  3. Each season brings new snacks and dishes. Grab a Japanese Today Guide at the turnstiles, as it’ll have photos of the seasonal items (and watch our monthly YouTube videos).
  4. The parks don’t offer much for breakfast (except the Center Street Coffeehouse, Crystal Palace Restaurant, or Mamma Biscotti’s Bakery). Grab something from the nearest convenience store to hold you over while you knock out the first rides of the day.
  5. Check what food each counter service restaurant offers by looking at the plastic food displays inside or outside the restaurants.
  6. There are multiple popcorn flavours (some of which are limited-time-only), so check them out. Some include Honey (Tokyo Disneyland only), Black Pepper (Tokyo DisneySea only), Salt, Caramel, Curry, Milk Chocolate, and Soy Sauce & Butter.
  7. The best counter service restaurants are Camp Woodchuck Kitchen, Queen of Hearts Banquet Hall, Pan Galactic Space Port, Captain Hook’s Galley, Hungry Bear Restaurant, China Voyager at Tokyo Disneyland, Zambini Brothers’ Ristorante, New York DeliMiguel’s El Dorado Cantina, and Vulcania Restaurant at Tokyo DisneySea.
  8. The best table service restaurants are Blue Bayou and Restaurant Hokusai at Tokyo Disneyland and Magellan’sRistorante di CanalettoTeddy Roosevelt Lounge, and Restaurant Sakura at Tokyo DisneySea.
  9. Reservations are called “Priority Seating” for table service and buffet restaurants. Make them in person at the restaurant starting at 10 AM, online 30 days in advance.
  10. If you don’t have a reservation and a restaurant is full, there is a standby line you can wait in for a table.
  11. You don’t ask for water at the counter. There are water stations with paper cups to use, and they are self-serve and available at all counter service restaurants.
  12. Vegetarian meals are found at Plazma Ray’s Diner, Blue Bayou Restaurant, Center Street Coffeehouse, Eastside Cafe at Tokyo Disneyland and Ristorante di Canaletto at Tokyo DisneySea.

Bonus Tip: Eat before 12 PM, late afternoon (3-4 PM), or late evening (after 6 PM) to avoid crowds.

Is there Diet Coke at Tokyo Disneyland?

Diet coke isn’t sold in Japan. Your only option for a diet drink is Coke Zero. It’s not at all restaurants, but most serve it.

Attractions at Tokyo Disney Resort

Haunted Mansion Tokyo Disneyland
Haunted Mansion at Tokyo Disneyland
  1. Download the Official Tokyo Disney Resort App (Japanese Only) to check wait times.
  2. Monsters, Inc. Ride & Go Seek!, Pooh’s Hunny Hunt, Splash Mountain, and Big Thunder Mountain are some of the most popular attractions at Tokyo Disneyland.
  3. Toy Story Mania!, Tower of Terror, Journey to the Centre of the Earth, Nemo & Friends SeaRider, Raging Spirits, and Indiana Jones® Adventure: Temple of the Crystal Skull are the most popular attractions at Tokyo DisneySea.
  4. Grab a FastPass for Monsters, Inc. Ride & Go Seek! first thing in the morning, then ride standby for Pooh’s Hunny Hunt.
  5. Use single rider lines for Splash Mountain, Raging Spirits, and Indiana Jones® Adventure: Temple of the Crystal Skull (In the FastPass line, say “single rider”).
  6. Decide if you want a FastPass for Toy Story Mania! or Nemo & Friends SeaRider first thing in the morning. Toy Story Mania! runs out within hours of the park opening. But if you’ve ridden it before, you can easily skip it and go right for Nemo & Friends SeaRider. Afterward, ride Journey to the Center of the Earth.
  7. Tower of Terror has its own unique storyline. While the ride is tamer than the other versions, it’s worth experiencing (there’s even a special version they do in the winter called Tower of Terror Level 13).
  8. Toontown and Fantasyland at Tokyo Disneyland and Mermaid Lagoon (think of it as indoor Fantasyland) at Tokyo DisneySea is where you’ll find most of the child-friendly attractions.
  9. Don’t miss the Venetian Gondolas at Tokyo DisneySea.
  10. Tokyo Disneyland still has seasonal versions of the Country Bear Jamboree (Vacation Jamboree in the summer & Jingle Bell Jamboree in the winter).
  11. Get “Story Cards” for select attractions at both parks by visiting their respective Guest Services. These explain the stories of various rides and attractions in English.

Shows & Entertainment at Tokyo Disney Resort

Mickey Minnie Kimono Tokyo DisneySea New Years
  1. Big Band Beat at Tokyo DisneySea and One Man’s Dream II at Tokyo Disneyland have a lottery system that determines if you can get a seat for the show or not (some days there is no lottery and every show is only standby. Check when you get to the park).
  2. However, the first performance of Big Band Beat does not need you to use the lottery. It’s on standby only. Big Band Beat does have a standby line for all shows (balcony seats), but use this only as a last resort, as you’ll need to wait (in most cases) for at least an hour to make sure you get in.
  3. You sit for parades at Tokyo Disneyland and in some areas for shows in the Mediterranean Harbor at Tokyo DisneySea. Guests use a plastic leisure sheet (picnic sheet) for sitting on the ground. They are sometimes available at the parks, or you can buy them at places such as 7-11 or Daiso.
  4. Grab a spot for a parade or show about 30 to 60 minutes before showtime.
  5. You can save a spot for only one other person. You can’t leave your stuff unattended for an extended period, or it’ll be removed. If you need a spot for 4 people, then 2 people need to wait in the spot.
  6. Tokyo Disneyland Electrical Parade Dreamlights is the best parade at Tokyo Disneyland.
  7. If it’s raining, Tokyo Disneyland Electrical Parade Dreamlights is replaced with Nightfall Glow, which only comes out when it’s raining.
  8. Check the Wait Times board at both parks for showtimes.
  9. Keep your camera at head level when recording or taking photos and don’t bother those around you.

Save Money & Budget

Tokyo Disney Celebration Hotel Discover Mickey Statue Close
Tokyo Disney Celebration Hotel Discover
  1. Each park has a picnic area outside the gates. If you bring your own meals, then you can eat them here.
  2. Buy small meals from the convenience store by Maihama station on the cheap or check the grocery store in the basement of Ikspiari.
  3. Visit the park after 6 PM on weekdays or after 3 PM on weekends and holidays to get a reduced ticket price right at the gate.
  4. Near the end of an event, some merchandise goes on sale. Keep an eye out for red price tags.
  5. Bon Voyage (outside Maihama Station) has sales on older merchandise.
  6. Book your Disney Hotel during an off-peak season to get a lower hotel rate (Late January, February, and mid-May).
  7. Most counter service restaurants have water stations. Use this to refill your water bottle instead of buying drinks.
  8. Grandma Sara’s Kitchen at Tokyo Disneyland and Miguel’s El Dorado Cantina at Tokyo DisneySea offer some of the biggest meal portions. You can split these easily between two people.
  9. Walk to Tokyo DisneySea from Maihama Station (takes about 12 minutes) to save on taking the monorail.
  10. Right under Maihama Station is a popular Italian restaurant chain called “Saizeriya.” They offer a large range of Italian dishes on the cheap and an all-you-can-drink option (non-alcoholic).

Merchandise

Tokyo Disneyland Summer 2017 Merchandise
  1. While Tokyo Disney Resort does sell pins, there is no pin trading.
  2. Merchandise focuses mostly on characters. Attraction-specific merchandise is not as common (but it does come out every so often).
  3. Bon Voyage (just outside Maihama Station) offers a lot of merchandise from both Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea.
  4. Duffy and Friends merchandise are only available inside Tokyo DisneySea.
  5. Do your shopping in the morning (after you knock out your attractions) or mid-afternoon. Avoid doing it in the evening or at park closing.
  6. Disney Hotels have their own shops with merchandise from both parks.
  7. Some items have limits on them, which are usually 3. If that is the case and you need 4-5 of the item, buy the 3 at one register then buy the other 2 at another.
  8. Event merchandise is always released before an event begins. Merchandise release days for events make for busy shops in the mornings.
  9. The day after a seasonal event ends, all its merchandise is no longer available. Check out Nakano Broadway if you’re in search of older merchandise.
  10. Merchandise changes constantly, so if you see something you want, buy it.

Character Greetings

A Table is Waiting Tokyo DisneySea Chip n Dale
  1. At the entrance to each park, you’ll find characters waiting for photo opportunities. Some are roaming while others have a dedicated spot where you line up (i.e., Mickey and Minnie).
  2. Character greeting times are inside the English park maps. This is for characters that have a set spot.
  3. Wandering characters come out in the morning and afternoons.
  4. Mickey and Minnie come out in rain outfits at Tokyo Disneyland at the park entrance if it’s raining.
  5. Photos with wandering characters are a first-come, first-serve basis. There is no queue. Just make yourself seen by the character so they interact with you.
  6. Mickey is the most popular character (aside from Duffy), so you’ll see his lines are longer than everyone else in most cases. So do his meet and greets earlier in the day.
  7. One of the best places to meet Mickey is at “Mickey’s House and Meet Mickey” in Toontown. You’ll get to meet him in 1 of 4 costumes (you’re assigned randomly). You’ll also find him at the entrance to both parks and at the “Mickey & Friends’ Greeting Trails” at Tokyo DisneySea.
  8. Face characters speak English, so feel free to interact with them.
  9. Ask a Cast Member or a guest to take your photo.
  10. They don’t offer PhotoPass (it’s called TDR Online Photo but it’s only in Japanese and items are shipped within Japan only). But if you get a keycard from a photographer Cast Member, have them scan it each time you have your photo taken (includes select attractions and anywhere a photographer takes your photo). Then, you can buy a CD or prints at the Digital Photo Express locations at Tokyo Disneyland or Tokyo DisneySea. There is no digital download option.

Crowds

  1. Arrive at the park at least 60 minutes before park opening.
  2. Arrive at least two hours early on weekends or holidays.
  3. Avoid weekends or holidays if you can.
  4. Crowds tend to thin out later in the evening.
  5. If you’re staying at a nearby hotel, stay right until park closing to benefit from the lower crowds.

There you have it: 101 of my best tips for Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea. Even if you just read this, you’re in better shape than you were 15 minutes ago.

Explorer Thoughts?

Do you have any other tips you want to add to the list? 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.

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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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7 Comments

Add yours
  1. Chrissy D

    I finally had a chance to read this article, and it’s FANTASTIC! So helpful and useful – even though I’ve already read much of the content on your site and listened to most of your podcasts. Thanks for putting this out there.

  2. OrlandoRob

    The one item I’d suggest you add to the list is the absence of Diet Coke. It came as a surprise to me when I visited.

  3. AntonyJ

    Love this info so thank you – but one thing confused me about Transport – you said “The easiest way to Tokyo Disney Resort from Narita or Haneda Airport is by the Airport Limousine”.

    Well to me (from UK) a Limousine is a big car, very expensive to rent as it comes with a driver who is just taking you and your party – sort of like an expensive taxi. Is that what you are talking about here, or is it possibly name of a coach service or ….?

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