Tokyo Disneyland & DisneySea
This post is the ninth in a series on our honeymoon trip in Japan. My previous post in this series recounted our experience at a themed maid café. You can find all our honeymoon-related posts on my blog at #thecookeshoneymoon. ☺
I’ve embedded multiple-photo posts from Nick’s Instagram, because I didn’t feel like editing photos and posting them throughout this post. I also didn’t take many. 😀
We went to Tokyo Disneyland on our first full day in Tokyo. When we arrived on the shinkansen, it was a Thursday evening, and we bought the tickets in Shibuya from the Disney Store. The next day there was obviously a bit of travel required to get to Disneyland but we made it there at a reasonable time. Since this all happened quite some time ago I’ve already forgotten what happened in what order (shameful Georgie, I know)… also, we had such a fun time at DisneySea, the other theme park next door, that it kind of clouded whatever the hell happened at Disneyland. 😂
People who know me know that I’m not really into theme parks and rides. 🤐 But last time I went to Tokyo Disneyland I had such an awful time and was so unprepared (I didn’t know you’re supposed to have a game plan for this? Don’t judge me) that I was determined to have a better one. I was pretty sure that would happen especially because Nick knows what’s best when it comes to organising your day at a theme park like Disneyland. 🎉
I really wanted to buy and wear some Mickey/Minnie ears or some kind of hat. In Japan, people visiting the park dress up a lot and really show their love for Disney, I felt like I had to somehow look the part. 🙄 You see a lot of couples wearing matching t-shirts and hats, or some kind of matching outfits. It’s pretty cute. There are also groups of school students dressed in their school uniform but wearing huge matching hats or glasses, little posses here and there. I couldn’t really find a hat that suited me, though. Everything looked enormous and swamped me, or just didn’t fit right.
I was pretty disappointed that the Big Thunder Mountain ride was closed for maintenance, as was It’s A Small World. Both are two popular and very good rides! We did, however, pick up fast passes for some rides, including Pooh’s Hunny Hunt, which is extremely popular. It turned out to be our favourite ride.
For lunch we went to the Queen of Hearts Banquet Hall. We had to wait in line for a bit, but it was OK. The decor kept us entertained. 😜 I don’t remember too much of the food unfortunately, but I remember it being pretty good. You ordered, got your meal on a tray, and then sat yourself at a table.
In the evening we hung around to watch the electrical parade. I thought it was cool, the floats in the parade were huge and adorned with colourful dazzling lights. While a good bunch of them were static, the float of the Genie from Aladdin changed colours and styles to actually represent various other Disney characters. I can’t quite remember them all, but there was definitely one where all his lights turned orange and black, resembling Nemo.
Nick and I discussed where to go towards the end of the parade, since it’s often a good idea to go on some of the rides during the parade as most people will be watching the parade, thus the lines will be shorter. We really wanted to go on Pooh’s Hunny Hunt a second time, and we made a dash there, even though Nick pointed out that we were quite far away from it. We watched the parade from a vantage point that was quite far away, so getting through the separating crowds post-parade was a mini mission.
When we arrived there, a cast member told us that unfortunately the ride was closed for maintenance. BUMMER. He did say it might open later on, but I didn’t have high hopes since it was quite late into the night.
We came back later to find that the line was about 25 minutes wait. Excited, we jumped in. We ended up going in the same carriage in the same spot as we did the first time.
Afterwards, since it was late, we were contemplating whether or not to try another ride we hadn’t been on. But I was eager to go back in line and ride Pooh’s Hunny Hunt again. 🤪 This time the wait was around 45 minutes but I would rather have ridden it again than try for another ride. So that was our last ride of the night as it was already due for the park to close. The cast member who spoke to us previously about the ride being closed recognised us and said, “Ah, welcome back!”
Nick was amused because I had said I was so tired and didn’t want to stay around until the park closed. I guess when you think about it, spending over ten hours at a theme park sounds like a long time, but it went by pretty quickly.
We went to DisneySea the following week. It’s described as a theme park more for adults and in my opinion it was a lot more exciting. I was really impressed with the detail of the theming as well. The different themed areas of the park are referred to as ports because the whole park has an overall sea/nautical theme.
The first ride we went on was 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, as there was only a short wait (it might have been 10 minutes). I was excited at first because the details of the ride were so realistic, and I love the original book by Jules Verne. I found the ride very claustrophobic, though. You’re basically in a tight space resembling a submarine, the views through the round windows are kind of distorted, and the carriage moves quite roughly underwater. 😖
Also in the same Jules-Verne-inspired area of Mysterious Island, was a ride called Journey to the Center of the Earth. This was one of our favourite rides. Looking at it from the outside, it looked a little intense, but it turned out to be a lot of fun. As you wait in line, you pass through some some lab work, giving clues as to what the ride ahead might have in it. Then you go into an elevator which seems to go down deeper towards the centre of the earth, before you line up for a short time again and board the ride itself. When we looked at the layout of the park later, we found out that the elevator actually goes up rather than down, but it’s made to feel like it goes down.
On the ride you move slowly through some caves with colourful crystals, then come to a mushroom forest with creatures in it. As you spiral slowly downwards, there is an earthquake and you go off course, encountering a monster’s nest and a flash of lightning. At this point the ride speeds up as it goes up, clockwise, like you’re being ejected from the earth. Then you feel the breeze of air outside and the ride does a fairly big drop, which is supposed to feel like you’re riding lava from a volcano eruption. I always grit my teeth when coasters do a big drop, because if the drop is big enough, you’ll feel your stomach drop before the ride comes back up. 😧
We ended up riding it three times! The last time was towards the end of the night where there was a fifty-or-so minute wait, but we figured we may as well go on it since the park was due to close and there was no other ride we wanted to get on. 😝
While browsing some of the stalls, I was able to find a Minnie headband that I liked! I wasn’t really a fan of the purple or pink ones. The black one not only suited my outfit, but my hair, too, and it seemed more in line with my style. 💁🏻♀️
I wanted to ride a kiddie coaster, Nick was making fun of me because I wanted to line up for a boring ride. I still thought it was good even though it was tame! It was in the Mermaid Lagoon area, which was all full of children’s rides, really. All the rides were on flat ground and pretty boring so we didn’t even bother trying to ride any of them. The inside was really pretty though, and we did watch King Triton’s Concert, a little musical which takes place in the theatre inside.
The Arabian Coast area had a couple of rides that we went on – Jasmine’s Flying Carpets (nice to see it’s her carpets and not Aladdin’s I guess? Haha), which was essentially a bunch of rotating cars that also moved up and down, and Sindbad’s Storybook Voyage, which we came to realise was a bit like It’s A Small World, travelling in a boat on water. This seemed like a really long ride telling a really long story.
Although we rode Journey to the Center of the Earth three times, we went on the Indiana Jones ride (Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Crystal Skull) four times. I enjoyed this ride so much that I wanted to keep going on it and we used up a couple of fast passes on it. 🙈 I don’t know what it was about it exactly, it was the kind of ride that was fast-paced with a lot of sudden S-shaped turns. You could kinda generally see where the ride was going because it wasn’t pitch black and most of the ride was level. It was only at the end where we came across a giant boulder that looked like it was going to crush us that there was a sudden drop down that ended the ride. I had thought we were going to move backwards away from the boulder and not suddenly downwards. 😜 Such a good ride though. The camera took photos just before the drop, so I made a different face every time. Hahaha.
We watched the Fantasmic show in the evening. We got a good spot with no one in front of us (and popcorn) but it did look like we were watching the show more from the “back”. After this we were running to squeeze in more valuable time on Journey to the Center of the Earth. 😆🌋
You’ll find that a lot of people recommend going to DisneySea if you have to only choose one park. I would recommend the same. ✌
Some tips for visiting Disneyland or DisneySea
- Hit the park early to make the most of your time there. It might not sound appealing but it will be worth it.
- Go deeper into the park and don’t go on the rides too close to the front of the park when you first enter. A lot of people, especially families, will start there. Try going from the back first.
- We got fast passes for the most popular rides pretty much as soon as we arrived. It’s possible that fast passes run out for super popular rides so you don’t want to miss the opportunity. Fast passes get you into a line that moves much quicker. The pass also lets you know when you are able to pick up a new fast pass, as there is a limit to how often you can grab them.
- I would not recommend going on rides that don’t look interesting to you; it’s more fun repeat-riding the ones you enjoy.
- Take the opportunity to go on rides during the parade times because everyone will want to watch the parade. Even up to an hour before the parade, people will be camping out for a good vantage spot, so hit the rides.
- We didn’t do this, since we wanted to ride together, but some rides have single rider lines if you are going on the ride yourself. You can join with a friend but you may not necessarily be seated next to each other. These lines have very, very little wait time.
- When you take a break to eat, try to do it outside of the “normal” lunch or dinner times, when the restaurants and food services areas are less busy.
- If you aren’t travelling with children, try not to bring a bag, or bring a backpack that’s easy to carry that you don’t care much about (it might get wet on water rides, dirty, etc.). I just tried to have a jacket with secure pockets for my phone and wallet. It means you’re more comfortable moving and getting around.
- I do recommend going to the toilet whenever you have an opportunity – there are many outside rides, so just go after you finish riding – just in case. 😜
- Hit up some other resources online to find out when rides are closed (because that means the open ones will be busier than usual), when the park might be busy with school kids (usually on weekends and during holidays), and other tips I might not have mentioned. 🙌
If you have any further questions let me know in the comments and I can reply or edit this post accordingly! 💕
Photos in this post were taken by me or Nick on our iPhone 7s.
Other posts in this series:
- Seoul adventures, part 1 🇰🇷
- Seoul adventures, part 2 🇰🇷
- 🇯🇵 大阪市 (Ōsaka)
- 🇯🇵 Day trip to 広島 (Hiroshima) and 神戸市 (Kōbe)
- 🇯🇵 京都 (Kyōto)
- This is Gujo, a place in Japan you’ve probably never heard of
- Hello Hakone, home of hot springs
- 🇯🇵 Shinjuku: Golden Gai and “Piss Alley”
- 🇯🇵 Harajuku: Takeshita Street and Kawaii Monster Café
- Visiting a maid café in Akihabara