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A First Timer’s Guide to Tokyo Disneyland

A First Timer’s Guide to Tokyo Disneyland

A trip to Tokyo Disneyland would not be complete throughout our travels within Japan. Read on to learn more about this magical Disney Park in Japan.

Tokyo Disneyland

Credit: Marisol

Tokyo Disneyland is a popular theme park in Urayasu, Chiba Prefecture, Japan. It is one of the two Disney parks in Tokyo Disney Resort, the other being Tokyo DisneySea. Tokyo Disneyland is owned and operated by The Oriental Land Company under license from The Walt Disney Company. CLICK HERE to read about Tokyo DisneySea.

The park opened on April 15, 1983, quickly becoming one of Japan’s most visited tourist attractions. Tokyo Disneyland is modeled after the original Disneyland in California. Unique attractions and elements are home to this specific park.

Each themed land offers a variety of rides, shows, shops, and dining options to entertain guests of all ages. The park’s iconic attractions include Pirates of the Caribbean, Splash Mountain, it’s a Small World, The Haunted Mansion, Big Thunder Mountain, and Cinderella Castle.

Themed Areas

Credit: Marisol

Tokyo Disneyland is divided into seven themed areas. These include World Bazaar, Adventureland, Westernland, Fantasyland, Tomorrowland, Critter Country, and Toontown.

World Bazaar is the park’s main entrance, inspired by early 20th-century American towns. It features a covered shopping street with shops, boutiques, and restaurants. It resembles a charming turn-of-the-century Main Street with Victorian-style architecture and horse-drawn trolleys. This is a shopping mecca for Disney fans who love to purchase merchandise!

Adventureland gives a sense of exploration and discovery. Guests can enjoy attractions like Pirates of the Caribbean, Jungle Cruise, and The Enchanted Tiki Room: Stitch Presents “Aloha E Komo Mai,” which features Stitch! Westernland is themed after the American Old West, immersing guests in a frontier town atmosphere. Popular attractions include Big Thunder Mountain, Country Bear Theater, and Tom Sawyer Island.

Credit: Marisol

Fantasyland is a magical realm where fairy tales come to life. Whimsical attractions feature Cinderella’s Castle, Peter Pan’s Flight, it’s a Small World, and Dumbo the Flying Elephant. Tomorrowland offers a futuristic and space-themed experience, and Critter Country is a charming area inspired by the adventures of Splash Mountain.The only other attraction in this area is Beaver Brothers Explorer Canoes operated by the creators of the burst dam that flooded Splash Mountain.

Lastly, there is Towntown. It is based on the fictional neighborhood where many Disney characters live.

Each themed land in Tokyo Disneyland is carefully crafted to provide a unique and immersive experience, allowing guests to enter different worlds and stories within the park.

Attractions

Credit: Marisol

Tokyo Disneyland offers a wide range of attractions across its themed areas. Here are some of the popular attractions you can find at the park:

Adventureland is home to Jungle Cruise: Wildlife Expeditions, Pirates of the Caribbean, and The Enchanted Tiki Room: Stitch Presents “Aloha E Komo Mai!” All three attractions are narrated in Japanese. It is feasible to understand storyline plots. The jokes must have been funny on the Jungle Cruise as the Jungle Skippers kept our boat giggling throughout our journey!

The placement of The Haunted Mansion attraction in Fantasyland at Tokyo Disneyland deviates from the original Disneyland in California, where it is situated in New Orleans Square. The Japanese culture views ghosts as examples of fairy tales. Therefore, it is ideal for its placement within Fantasyland.

Credit: Marisol

Located inside Critter Country is the only Splash Mountain attraction that features the log flume ride with gentle floats and the thrilling drop, based on the animated film Song of the South featuring Br’er Rabbit. It is the only Splash Mountain attraction that remains among all its worldly theme parks, as it will not be reimagined into the upcoming Tiana’s Bayou Adventure attraction.

Situated within Fantasyland, guests will find Pooh’s Hunny Hunt. The attraction is a whimsical dark ride based on the adventures of Winnie the Pooh, featuring innovative ride vehicles and interactive elements. This was the first attraction to use the ‘trackless’ system, which became integrated into many new attractions in the United States.

Credit: Marisol

The two newest attractions at Tokyo Disneyland include Enchanted Tale of Beauty and the Beast and The Happy Ride with Baymax inside Tomorrowland. Both attractions are ones not to miss! I will highlight both attractions in a future article!

Entertainment

Credit: Marisol

Tokyo Disneyland offers a variety of entertainment options to enhance the guest experience and provide additional forms of Disney magic. Here are some examples of the entertainment you can find at Tokyo Disneyland:

The newest parade, “Disney in Harmony in Color,” debuted in April 2023 to commemorate Tokyo Disney’s 40th Anniversary celebration. It features Mickey Mouse and his friends showcasing colorful floats and dance performers.

There is only one fireworks show at night. “Sky Full of Colors” can be seen in both parks simultaneously! Currently, the fireworks playlist includes a variety of Disney songs and the 40th-anniversary theme song and is about five minutes long. The fireworks show occurs every night except when canceled due to bad weather conditions.

Credit: Marisol

Tokyo Disneyland is home to live shows and theatrical performances. These include: “Jamboree, Mickey! Let’s Dance!” a dance program for kids. There are four shows throughout the day. “Mickey’s Magical Music World” is an original show featuring Mickey Mouse and his friends in a live performance of music and dance. There are five shows throughout the day.  “Club Mouse Beat” is a dynamic and upbeat performance featuring many Disney friends. There are five shows throughout the day.

As mentioned in my previous article featuring DisneySea, all live shows utilize a lottery system which will be covered in a future article.

More Entertainment

Credit: Marisol

Meeting beloved Disney characters is a highlight for many visitors to Tokyo Disneyland. Guests can find designated areas where guests can interact and take photos with their favorite characters throughout the park. These meet-and-greet opportunities allow for memorable encounters with iconic Disney personalities.    

The Electrical Parade Dreamlights features over 20 floats covered in millions of LED lights. The parade includes floats from many modern Disney and Pixar films, such as FrozenTangled, Toy Story, Alice in Wonderland, and Peter Pan, to name a few. The parade ends with floats inspired by the “it’s a small world” attraction.

One thing to keep in mind is that if the parade is canceled due to weather, a replacement takes its place. “Nightfall Glow”  is a four float parade where all of the characters speak in English.

Dining

Credit: Marisol

Tokyo Disneyland offers various dining options, from quick service to fine dining experiences. The themed restaurants are immersive, adding to the overall experience. Whether looking for a quick bite or a memorable meal, you’ll find plenty of choices at this particular theme park.

Quick-Service establishments provide convenient and fast dining options, allowing guests to grab a quick bite while enjoying their time in the park. They typically offer a variety of cuisines, including Japanese, Western, and international dishes. Examples of quick-service restaurants include Tomorrowland Terrace, Plaza Pavilion Restaurant, and Queen of Hearts Banquet Hall.

Credit: Marisol

Queen of Hearts Banquet Hall is a counter service restaurant in Fantasyland themed to the Queen of Hearts’ Castle from Alice in Wonderland. It is the most popular restaurant at the park, with long queues during prime dining hours. The theming inside the restaurant, alongside the theming of the food, is quite exquisite!

Table-service restaurants in Tokyo Disneyland offer a more relaxed dining experience, where guests can sit and enjoy a full-service meal. These restaurants often require reservations due to their popularity. Examples include Crystal Palace Restaurant and the Blue Bayou Restaurant.

As mentioned in my previous article, The Tokyo Disney Resort caters primarily to local Japanese guests; therefore, it is essential to remember that all menus on the Tokyo Disney app are in Japanese.  Google Translate is very helpful when looking at menus.

Dietary Limitations

Credit: Marisol

I have had readers ask about food allergies and sugar-free options. My daughter is a vegetarian, and most of her meals at the parks were french fries, popcorn, churros, and rice. One afternoon before arriving at the parks, we stopped at a convenience store where she picked up a couple of onigiris, Japanese rice balls made of steamed rice that you compress into a triangular, ball, or cylinder shape. She brought them into the park.

Japan does not modify or handle special diets like the United States. It is also not customary to ask for modifications at the Tokyo Disney parks and throughout Japan. For guests visiting Japan, I caution them to take extra care in knowing what goes in their food, especially asking the servers about the ingredients. However, this may be difficult, especially with the language barrier.

Per the Tokyo Disneyland website: Only Guests with dietary limitations may bring their meals into the restaurants. For Guests with dietary limitations, certain restaurants in the Park have microwave ovens and other equipment for Guest use. If you wish to use the equipment, please get in touch with a Cast Member at the restaurant. Vegetarian meals and a “Special Dietary Menu” that does not contain the five main allergens are also available.

Credit: Marisol

Many restaurants throughout the park will accommodate heating food in pouches, microwaving guest-prepared meals, equipped for pureeing, and restaurants. There are also many special dietary menu restaurants. “Special Dietary Menu” refers to meals that do not contain the five major allergens: wheat, dairy products, eggs, buckwheat, and peanuts. For more information, guests can contact a Cast Member at the restaurant.

Regarding sugar-free options, a guest’s best option would be to enjoy snacks such as popcorn as nowhere in the parks did I see a dessert that indicated that it was sugar-free. This reminds me that there are also no sugar-free options for soft drinks. Diet sodas are not the norm in Japan. I only drank one diet soda the entire trip! Most soft drinks are highly sugary such as melon soda.

Disneyland, Anaheim v. Tokyo Disneyland

Credit: Marisol

While planning for this trip, knowing that I would spend three days at the park, it wasn’t easy to choose which park I would visit once and which one I would visit twice. Ultimately, through all my research, many suggested visiting Tokyo Disneyland once and revisiting Tokyo DisneySea multiple times. This is due to Tokyo Disneyland closely resembling Disneyland Park in Anaheim.

There are many similarities between these two parks in terms of content and rides with the exception of many attractions and shows that are in Japanese. However, there are some differences that one feels when he gets a chance to visit both the parks. Tokyo Disneyland is bigger in size (115 acres) than California Disneyland (85 acres). Disneyland California has Sleeping Beauty Castle whereas Disneyland Tokyo has Cinderella Castle.

Credit: Marisol

Another difference in the layout is that the main street entrance into Tokyo Disneyland is covered, which is pleasant especially when it is raining. But the downside is that guests get a different feeling than in Disneyland, when they first walk onto Main Street.

However, another difference between Disneyland Parks is that the attention to detail in attractions seemed more pristine at Disneyland Tokyo. Technological advancements, such as Enchanted Tale of Beauty and the Beast, were jaw-dropping – from the complete immersion upon entering the Beast’s castle to enchanted trackless vehicle which is a serving dish that dances in rhythm to the film’s well-known music.

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Each attraction, live show, and parade left us shaking our heads in unison as my family and I were continuously speechless from what we had just witnessed. Disney magic is truly alive and thriving at Tokyo Disneyland.

For my next Tokyo Disneyland article, I will focus on my favorite rides at the park and provide information regarding the lottery system and Disney Premier Access which is closely related to Genie+ and Lightening Lane, which we have here in the stateside parks. I would appreciate you sharing this article with a friend who would love to learn more about the Tokyo Disney parks!


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