If you’re a Disney fan in Japan, the quintessential place to visit is Tokyo Disneyland itself. Situated near the ocean east of Tokyo, it makes for a great day trip whether you are living in Japan or are just on vacation.
The park opens at 9 o’clock during the weekdays (8 on the weekend) and closes at 10, so my friends and I left our “country-side” city at 5 in the morning to make sure we were there early. We did not pre-purchase our tickets however, so we stood in line at the ticket booths for about 45 minutes. If you have looked at prices for Disneyland in California, you will be pleasantly surprised to know that the ticket prices are a bit cheaper, with a one day ticket being 6200 yen (about $62 USD) as compared with California where the same 1-day, 1-park ticket is $92.
Getting to Disneyland is not very difficult, even with little Japanese ability. You can use Google maps in English to find an appropriate train route there (or most anywhere in Japan, for that matter). Even inside the park you don’t need to know any Japanese. Most of the sales people and employees seem to know a fair amount of English, at least in terms of what is usually required for their work (“How many people?” “Do you want a drink?” “The ice cream is 350 yen.”).
So what did we do once we got inside the park? First, we picked up a Fast Pass to Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters, then, while we waited, we went on the Grand Circuit Raceway and Gadget’s Go Coaster in Toon Town. We also went on Haunted Mansion and Snow White’s Adventures before heading to Big Thunder Mountain and Pirates of the Caribbean. Recognize any of those attractions?
If you are familiar with Disneyland in Anaheim, California, then you will already have a very good idea of what is in this park (I was a pass-holder there for many years and can attest to the similarities). There are some differences which are definitely worth checking out though. For example, the 3D show “Mickey’s PhilharMagic” in Fantsyland was super cute and interesting. All the songs are in Japanese, but it was still a lot of fun, and I highly recommend checking it out!
Food is one of the main differences between the California and Tokyo parks. Many people have complained about the size and price of Japanese food and theme park food in separate fields, so the likelihood of them being good together might seem far-fetched, but it’s really not that bad. Maybe because I have lived in Japan for almost a year I am used to the smaller portions, but the food seemed a pretty good size to me. I had some chicken nuggets, fries, and salad for lunch, which was about 1000 yen ($10 USD) and I got a pizza set with a drink and some cream puffs for dinner for about 800 yen (about $8 USD). You can find more simple food if you are willing to order separately, but Japanese food can be a bit odd if you aren’t used to it (Shrimp/Mayo Pizza, anyone?).
All in all, if you are a Disney fan you will almost certainly enjoy your time at Tokyo Disneyland. There are a lot of cute gifts to give to your friends back home, and there are a lot of interesting things to do and see inside the park. I highly recommend going and experiencing the magic!