Tanabata Days is one of the shortest events at Tokyo Disney Resort, running from mid-June to the beginning of July. If you want to learn more about this traditional Japanese event, I have a full write up explaining it in great detail.
After the shenanigans over at Shanghai Disneyland for its grand opening, I finally got myself over to both Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea to make my wishes and to soak in the atmosphere that comes with Tanabata Days. Here’s my short—but sweet—report on Tanabata Days 2016. I also created a video of the highlights of this traditional Japanese event!
It isn’t an event at the resort without limited time merchandise, and Tanabata Days is no exception.
While the selection is smaller compared to other activities, having the chance to buy a plush Mickey, Minnie, or Chip N Dale in a traditional Japanese Yukata always puts a smile on my face. If that isn’t your preference, check out the beautiful stationary and wishing cards (more on this below). As part of my tradition I bought the wishing cards, which are perfect for sneaking into letters (Yes, I still send letters) or presents to add that Disney touch.
Decorations are minimal during Tanabata Days. However, a gigantic wishing tree in the shape of Mickey Mouse can be found in the World Bazaar at Tokyo Disneyland. Nearby, Cast Members handed out wishing cards to write down your wish and tie to the tree. I collected my card and headed over one of the many tables with black markers. I wrote down my first wish (I am greedy, what can I say) and used the provided string to tie it to the wishing tree.
Some guests take their time and create beautiful artwork on their wishing cards. My favourite were the “Corpse Bride” wishing cards I noticed. In addition to the stunning artwork on the cards were guests dressed in their best Yukata while enjoying the park. It’s one of the few times during the year you see an abundance of guests wearing Yukata or Kimono.
Merchandise isn’t the only thing which is limited during the festival. Some limited food menu items are offered too!
I tried the special tapioca drink at Tokyo Disneyland. While it certainly looked beautiful, the taste was bland and—frankly—disappointing. I wouldn’t get it again, nor can I recommend it. To add insult to injury it left my fingers sticky.
All was redeemed once I got a spot for the cute Tanabata Greeting along the parade route. Mickey and Minnie lead the greeting (it’s a small show mostly) while riding rickshaws and sporting their yukata. Other characters and princesses make an appearance too.
My favourite part of the greeting is the music, which is a mix of Japanese and Disney songs. The video below speaks for itself. While it’s a short show, it’s certainly worth watching.
Over at Tokyo DisneySea, things are not as elaborate as they are at Tokyo Disneyland. On the pier in the American Waterfront is the wishing tree. The area is much smaller and crowded, but is stunningly decorated with beautiful banners for the occasion. If they sold these as tapestries, the amount of money I would throw at them would be embarrassing.
Their greeting in the Mediterranean Harbour is short and sweet, but I much prefer the version at Tokyo Disneyland. Only because it feels more intimate. Not to say the version at DisneySea is bad, it feels a bit rushed as the boat hovers around the harbour for a few minutes then leaves. You do have the chance to see Ariel and Jasmine in this version.
Tanabata Days is a short event at Tokyo Disney Resort, but worth the visit. It’s a unique event to the parks in Japan, and the merchandise is elegant.
Should you plan your trip around this event? I would not recommend it, but if you time it right, you could catch it on the final day then enjoy the Summer Festival. The summer event starts a day or two after Tanabata Day ends.
My favourite portion of the entire event is making a wish and hanging it on the tree. While it may seem corny, I cannot help but feel warm inside knowing my wish is hanging there hoping for it to come true. What’s life if we cannot make wishes every once in a while?
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