When asking one of my friends about her favorite things to do in Tokyo, without skipping a beat she said “Going to Tokyo Disney with my friends.” So, low and behold over the weekend we took on one of the 10 cousins to “The Happiest Place On Earth”– Tokyo Disney Sea!
Located in the heart of Tokyo, lies two Disney parks– Tokyo Disneyland and Disney Sea, which are designed to completely submerge guests in the Disney atmosphere. But seriously though, once you’re in the park you can’t see anything outside of it. It’s the only place you can go in Tokyo to “escape” Tokyo, but maybe that’s part of why people love it so much.
Disney Sea is described as the more “adult” park of the two, probably because of rides like the Tower of Terror, Journey to the Center of the Earth, and the Indiana Jones ride that all score a bit higher on the thrill scale with pop up scares and sharp twists and turns, but of course both parks include family friendly attractions.
For many students Tokyo Disney is the perfect day trip with friends or couples for lasting memories. But let me tell you their Disney-game is on the next level. Dressing up isn’t only for the little girls in princess costumes, but planning the outfit you wear to Tokyo Disney is just part of the fun. Literally everyone is wearing some kind of special outfit, from the signature Disney ear hats or headbands to matching outfits, to full-blown costumes.
Why would anyone want to wear their uniform when their not in school? I’m not joking when I say people really bring their Disney A-game, but it isn’t like an unspoken contest of who’s the biggest Disney fan. It’s because one of the many purposes of coming to Disney is to have a super kawaii and Instagram worthy photo shoot. And not only for you and friends or S.O., but for plushies as well! There are specially marked photo spots for plushies throughout the park just like there are for guests.
Oh, and this bear that keeps popping up? His name is Duffy, and he’s a super popular character at Tokyo Disney. He’s actually a worldwide character, but was kind of flop in other countries. Duffy was first introduced as a really miniscule side character– Mickey Mouse’s teddy bear. His popularity never really sparked in the U.S. because many he just randomly appeared. With no TV show, movie, or short film introduction many felt his appearance to be unnatural and just a Disney marketing ploy to rake in more dough. His character was later re-booted, given a background and re-introduced as an independent character. At Tokyo Disney he actually has a live show called “Spring Voyage” with Mickey Mouse (but still no TV show or films). Duffy is so popular at Tokyo Disney that you see him around more than Mickey Mouse, giving Duffy a central role in Japan’s Disney Culture.
One of the things I really enjoyed about Tokyo DisneySea is that the areas of the park covered beloved classics like Aladdin and The Little Mermaid, and more modern films like Journey to the Center of the Earth and Indiana Jones: Temple of the Crystal Skull. The actual areas in the park are Port Discovery, American Waterfront, Mediterranean Harbor, Mysterious Island, Lost River Delta, Arabian Coast, and Mermaid Lagoon. Of course, the theme bridging all these worlds together is water, but for me Tokyo DisneySea kind of felt like the aquatic version of Florida Disneyland’s Epcot.
My favorite areas in the park were Mermaid Lagoon and Mysterious Island. Within Mermaid Lagoon lies Ariel’s Castle (do I really have to explain the amazing-ness any further?), and within the castle is King Triton’s theater where you can watch the “Under the Sea” show. This show is a live action version of the concert in the beginning of the movie where Ariel doesn’t show up, but with an alternate ending where we actually get to see her perform, as well as film classics like “Under the Sea.” BUT the really amazing part is that Ariel is suspended from wires and flying through the air overhead, creating the illusion that she is swimming over you, which seriously is amazing.
Mysterious Island is where the Journey to the Center of the Earth attraction is located. This ride takes you through to the center of the Earth and back up through an erupting volcano. It’s all beautiful, creepy, and probably one of the most thrilling rides in the park.
Which brings me to the downside of this park. I am a huge roller coaster junkie and though I enjoyed a lot of these rides, they definitely weren’t the most thrilling or stomach-dropping rides I’ve ever been on. Even the attractions like Tower of Terror at Tokyo Disney seemed to be designed on a smaller and less thrilling scale than some of the rides in Orlando’s Disney.
However, Tokyo Disney has some of the best animatronics I have ever seen (it was almost creepy how smooth and lifelike the machines movements were). AND you don’t have to pay extra for Fast Passes! Instead Fast Passes are available to anyone in the park until they run out for the day (so you have to get them quick). You got to the attraction you want the pass for and insert your park ticket (so make sure not to lose it; one pass per ticket at a time). Then once you get your Fast Pass it will have a designated time for you to use it for the attraction. So even though you aren’t paying for the pass you can’t completely avoid waiting, but a way to shorten your wait time is to plan ahead. Tokyo Disney has a pretty accurate Park Congestion Estimator on their website, so you can try to go on a less busy day too.
And let’s not forget about the food!
Churros are a classic Disney snack, but in Tokyo Disney flavored popcorn is the snack that everyone craves! On the DisneySea guide map they have the locations of each popcorn flavor which includes caramel, milk chocolate, white chocolate, salt, black pepper, curry, and herb-tomato. You’ll also see people carrying around cookie-jar sized plastic character containers to get popcorn re-fills all over the park.
But the absolute must try food in the park is the gyoza hotdog. Which is exactly what it sounds like– a giant gyoza or a giant steamed potsticker with sausage filling in the shape of a hotdog. This wonder food can (ironically) be found in the food court of Mystery Island.
All in all my friends and I had a wonderful day filled with great memories, and I realized a new mission I must endeavor: to visit ALL the Disney parks in the WORLD!
And now for some extra fun pictures just because…
And let’s not forget those adorable photo expectations vs reality…..
Thanks for reading!