Tokyo Disney Resort is wildly popular. Its two theme parks, Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea are perennially among the top five most-visited theme parks in the world. Both parks are open year-round, seven days a week.
They get crowded on weekends so, if you can, try to visit during the week.
Overview of Tokyo Disney Resort
Tokyo Disney Resort opened in 1983 as a single theme park, Tokyo Disneyland, in the Tokyo suburb of Urayasu. It is easily accessible from Tokyo via Japan Rail to Maihama Station, which is serviced by frequent local and rapid trains along the JR Keiyo and JR Musashino Lines. A one-way trip takes less than 25 minutes.
While designed by the famed Walt Disney Imagineers in the style of the original Disneyland in California, Tokyo Disney Resort is the only Disney park that is not owned by the Walt Disney Company. In the early 2000s, a second park was added. called Tokyo DisneySea, as well as a shopping and entertainment district called Ikspiari, which is the Japanese equivalent to Disney Springs and Downtown Disney at the U.S. parks.
Tokyo Disneyland features seven themed areas, including four classic "lands" from the original Disneyland in California: Fantasyland, Tomorrowland, Adventureland, and Westernland (a copy of Frontierland).
Many of these areas are familiar to those who love the original Disneyland. For example, the Tokyo version of Fantasyland includes Peter Pan's Flight, Snow White's Scary Adventures, and Dumbo the Flying Elephant, based on classic Disney films and characters. A monorail moves people around the resort and guests can use FastPasses to bypass the regular line at many attractions
Tokyo DisneySea is a theme park with a nautical theme. Like Tokyo Disneyland, it is not owned by Walt Disney Parks but instead licenses Disney characters and themes. It features seven areas, called "ports of call." The entrance area, called Mediterranean Harbor, resembles an Italian port city with Venetian-style gondolas. It opens up to six other themed ports: American Waterfront, Lost River Delta, Port Discovery, Mermaid Lagoon, Arabian Coast, and Mysterious Island.
Where to Stay at Tokyo Disney Resort
Thanks to its easy access from Tokyo, many families will visit for the day and not feel obliged to stay on-site at Tokyo Disney Resort. There are some benefits, however, to staying at one of the three on-site hotels at Tokyo Disney Resort. Guests are entitled to certain perks, including:
- Happy 15 Entry: An exclusive privilege for Disney Hotel guests, Happy 15 Entry lets guests staying at the on-site Disney properties to be admitted into certain areas of Tokyo Disneyland Park or Tokyo DisneySea 15 minutes before the regular park opening time. (This is similar to Extra Magic Hours at Disney World.)
- Multi-Day Passport Special: Guests staying at the official Disney Hotels can buy this add-on park, which allows them to visit both parks any day during their ticket. This option is not available to regular ticket holders. (This is similar to the park hopper option at Disney World.)
- Guaranteed Admission: Disney Hotel Guests who have valid Park Passports are guaranteed admission to the Disney Parks even during periods of restricted admission and peak visiting days.
Where to Eat at Tokyo Disney Resort
The on-site hotels and both theme parks offer an array of sit-down restaurants and food stands. Some of these eateries offer character dining similar to what you find in the U.S. Disney parks. In addition, you will find additional dining venues in Ikspiari, Tokyo Disney's dining and shopping district.
More Tokyo Vacations with Kids
Tokyo offers a huge array of interesting attractions for families and could easily keep a family happily engaged for a week or more.
Beyond Tokyo Disney Resort, highlights include the National Museum of Science and Nature, Ueno Zoo, and Tokyo Tower.
- Edited by Suzanne Rowan Kelleher