The Happiest Place On Earth
Tokyo Disney Resort has a character all its own. Here, the people-watching is just as much fun as the rides themselves. It was the first Disney park to open outside of the United States in 1983, but this 'Kingom of Dreams and Magic' is now part of a totally integrated entertainment precinct.
It's called Tokyo Disney Resort, which also includes Tokyo DisneySea Park, Ikspiari (a shopping and cinema complex with over 140 outlets) and several acres of hotels and resorts. Like its Anaheim cousin, Disneyland Park is divided into seven distinct themed lands including Adventureland, Westernland and Fantasyland, and the first thing to greet you is the iconic Sleeping Beauty’s Castle.
Next-door, water-themed DisneySea Park is more popular with tweens and teens with adrenalin-pumping rides like the Tower of Terror and StormRider. This year, DisneySea Park will celebrate its 15th Anniversary with the ‘Year of Wishes’ event, which runs from April 2016 to March 2017, with sparkling crystals decorating the park, 15th Anniversary shows, special merchandise and menus.
- Country: Japan
- Currency: Japanese Yen
- Visas: Australia and New Zealand have Reciprocal Visa Exemption Arrangements for stays of 90 days or less, so those travelling on an Australian or New Zealand passport will be granted a Temporary Visitor entry status on arrival, which allows you to stay in the country for 90 days.
|Temperature (avg °C)||Rainfall (max mm)|
|J - 20||J - 52.3|
|F - 10||F - 56.1|
|M - 13||M - 117.5|
|A - 18||A - 124.5|
|M - 23||M - 137.8|
|J - 25||J - 167.7|
|J - 29||J - 153.5|
|A - 31||A - 168.2|
|S - 27||S - 209.9|
|O - 22||O - 197.8|
|N - 17||N - 92.5|
|D - 12||D - 51|
Tokyo is becoming increasingly accessible from Australia, with daily flights from Sydney, Brisbane Melbourne, the Gold Coast and Cairns to both Haneda and Narita Airports. Haneda Airport is closer to the city centre, a 30-minute journey on the JR Line, while Narita Airport is located 65km from downtown Tokyo. That's a 53-minute trip on the Narita Express.
If you’re travelling direct from the airport to Tokyo Disney Resort, you may also want to consider the Airport Limousine Bus Service which travels at regular intervals. The service from Narita costs 2,450 Yen ($AUS29) for adults and 1230 Yen ($AUS14.60) for kids. The service from Haneda costs 830 Yen ($AUS9.90) for adults and 420 Yen ($AUS5.00) for kids.
To get to Tokyo Disney Resort from the city centre, hop on the Keiyo Line at Tokyo Station for the 16-minute journey to Maihama Station (it’s well sign-posted at Tokyo Station). From Maihama Station transfer to the Disney Resort Line monorail system, which connects the various resort facilities.
- Average flight time: 9h 30m to Haneda, 9h 50m to Narita
- Daily flights from: Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Gold Coast and Cairns.
- Major airlines: Qantas, JAL, Jetstar, ANA, Air New Zealand.
Tokyo Disneyland Park, the Ikspiari Shopping Mall, the Ambassador Hotel and the Disneyland Hotel are easily accessible by foot from Maihama Station, but Tokyo DisneySea, the Hotel MiraCosta and the other Official Hotels are more conveniently accessed by monorail.
Both Disneyland Park and DisneySea Park are easy to navigate on foot, but the parks each cover areas around 50 hectares, so be sure to wear comfortable footwear. Plan your route around the park before you set off, working out where you might want to stop along the way to catch a show or have some lunch.
The Disney Resort Line monorail circles Tokyo Disney Resort, connecting you from Maihama Station and the Ikspiari shopping centre to both parks and Bayside, where all the Official Hotels are located.
A single ticket allows you to ride up to one full loop per day and costs 260 Yen (About $3.00) with kids under 11 free. Day Passes, 2-Day, 3-Day and 4-Day Passes are also available, which you can use multiple times throughout the day, and start at 650 Yen ($AUS 7.70).
Where To Stay
There are nine hotels located within Tokyo Disney Resort, including three Disney Hotels, six ‘Official Hotels’, with a further five ‘Partner Hotels’ located nearby. All hotels within the Resort have onsite ticket sales and guests are guaranteed admission to the parks. In addition to these, a selection of Tokyo Disney Resort ‘Good Neighbour Hotels’, located in and around Tokyo, all provide a shuttle bus service to and from the Parks.
Disney Ambassador Hotel was the first Disney Hotel in Japan and blends rather elegant art deco design with touches of Disney fun. Mickey and Minnie Mouse can be found throughout the hotel and make a point of visiting guests while they dine at Chef Mickey and Disney’s Fairytale Weddings.
Our top picks
Sunroute Plaza Hotel Tokyo Bay
Sunroute Plaza Hotel Tokyo Bay is a 3.5-star family hotel, with themed rooms including a Castle Room, Frontier Room and Cruising Cabin. The hotel is a 15-min walk to Disneyland park and 10- minute walk to Bayside Station. A shuttle bus service is also available.
Hilton Tokyo Bay
The 4-star Hilton Tokyo Bay’s distinctive crescent-shaped building offers great views of the parks on one side and the Bay from the other. The rooms are spacious and stylish and there’s also a range of themed Happy Magic Suites. The hotel is directly opposite Bayside Station.
Sheraton Grand Tokyo Bay
At the top of the range, the 5-star Sheraton Grand Tokyo Bay has a wide range of room types, from Standard through to Sheraton Club Rooms and the Presidential Suite. The hotel’s mascot, Penton the Penguin features in the kid-friendly Treasures Rooms, which include a free Penton Pouch for the kids.
Did you know...? Tokyo’s Disneyland Park was the first Disneyland to be built outside the United States and remains the only Disneyland not wholly owned by the Walt Disney Company. The resort complex is owned by the Oriental Land Company, the original developers of the Maihama precinct, an area created through land reclamation.
There are currently five restaurants throughout the resort that offer themed character dining opportunities, some of which you can reserve on the day, and others so popular you’ll need to reserve a table online.
Crystal Palace Restaurant
At the Crystal Palace Restaurant in the Adventureland area of Disneyland Park, Character breakfast is available from the time the park opens at 10am, and is available until they reach capacity, so you need to get in quick.
Polynesian Terrace Restaurant
Also in Adventureland, the Polynesian Terrace Restaurant stages Lilo’s Luaua and Fun at lunchtime, and Mickey and Minnie’s Polynesian Paradise show at dinnertime, which you’ll need to reserve online.
The Diamond Horseshoe
Over in Westernland, enjoy a western-themed meal with the Horseshoe Roundup at lunchtime, and the Mickey & Co dinner show. These also need to be reserved online.
At Chef Mickey restaurant in the Disney Ambassador Hotel, you can enjoy a buffet-style meal for lunch or dinner, while Disney characters greet you at your table. Hotel guests are also able to join Mickey here for breakfast.
There are also plenty of opportunities for Disney selfies throughout Tokyo Disney Resort, as characters make guest appearances to pose for photos at designated Character Greeting Points. Some characters are more popular than others, and you’ll find some of the longest queues here are for Winnie the Pooh and Stitch, the lovable alien from Lilo & Stitch.
Where To Eat & Drink
Throughout the parks and in the Disney hotels, there are a hundreds of unique dining experiences to choose from. You’ll find suitably themed restaurants in each of the different themed lands, such as the Pecos Bill and Lucky Nugget in Westernland, the Pan Galactic Pizza Port in Tomorrowland or Sebastian’s Calypso Kitchen in Mermaid Lagoon.
Eateries range from take-away trailers and wagons, counter service cafes, table service restaurants, through to bars and fine dining at the hotels. There is an incredible range of food, from Japanese curries and teriyaki chicken, to pizza, pasta and barbeque pork ribs.
Be sure to try the flavoured popcorn during your visit, it’s a Tokyo tradition, and you’ll find some of the flavours a little unusual. There are classics like honey, curry, strawberry, or soy sauce and butter, and some combinations you may not have imagined, such as milk tea, cappuccino or jalapeno and cheese.
Our top picks
Hungry Bear Restaurant
Westernland, Disneyland Park.
This is the place to come for Japanese style curry – a national dish in Japan which you should definitely sample. It’s also a great choice for lunch because there is ample room, so you can be assured of a seat. Choose from the Hungry Bear Curry (hamburger, chicken and steamed vegetables), crumbed Katsu Pork Curry, vegetable curry or chicken and roast onion curry.
Queen of Hearts Banquet Hall
Fantasyland, Disneyland Park
If you’re a fan of Alice in Wonderland, you won’t want to miss this beautiful restaurant. Walk though the mouth of the door knob (just like Alice) into the Queen’s Castle and kitchen. Try the Cheese Hamburg, a Salisbury steak with heart-shaped cheese and a playing card cracker, and top it off with an Unbirthday Cake for dessert.
World Bazaar, Disneyland Park.
This traditional Japanese restaurant is beautifully themed and serves traditional Japanese food including a top-notch Pork Katsu with miso soup, rice and pickled vegetables.
Mediterranean Harbor, DisneySea.
Enjoy canapés and cocktails in Magellan’s Lounge before choosing a three-course meal in this rather upmarket restaurant. Don’t worry about being underdressed, as you’ll see plenty of people savouring a delightful pinot noir wearing Goofy ears. Be sure to try the crème brulée.
At the Gateway to the Resort you’ll find over 140 retail outlets. This includes at Ikspiari and inside the parks themselves, with themed outlets at each of the Parks’ different ‘Lands’ covering everything from Steamboat Mickey’s at American Waterfront to Planet M in Tomorrowland.
Our top picks
Bon Voyage is an enormous travel-themed gift shop shaped like a giant suitcase and hatbox, rather romantically symbolising the 1930s travel boom in America.
Grand Emporium, near the entrance to Disneyland, has the widest selection of memorabilia, gifts, toys and keepsakes in the Park.
The Resort hosts special events throughout the year, most notably to celebrate Halloween and Christmas, when you’ll even find themed food and merchandise such as pumpkin flavoured cookies for Halloween and white chocolate mousse in souvenir Christmas cups.
2016 marks the 15th Anniversary of DisneySea, which opened on the 4th September, 2001, so there will be major celebrations throughout the year which has been dubbed; ‘The Year of Wishes’.
All year the Park will be decorated with different coloured Crystals of Wishes, which will also be worn by Mickey and his friends. The crystal worn by Minnie Mouse is red, which symbolises her wish for love, while Donald Duck’s is blue for friendship.
A new show, ‘Crystal Wishes Journey’, premiers on 15th April, presented at Mediterranean Harbor, as well as a new version of ‘Big Band Beat’ at Broadway Theatre and a new musical show called ‘Out of Shadowland’ at the Hangar Stage in Lost River Delta.
Most of the rides found at other Disneyland Parks around the world can be found in Tokyo, including Splash Mountain, Pirates of the Caribbean, It’s Small World and Space Mountain, but there are a few unique to Tokyo.
Monsters, Inc Ride & Go Seek!
Join Boo, Sully and Mike and lots of other monsters for a game of Hide & Go Seek through Monsters, Inc offices and the streets of Monstropolis, searching for hidden monsters with a flashlight.
Pooh’s Hunny Hunt
Follow Pooh through the Hundred Acre Wood as he hunts for honey in this wonderfully decorated attraction. It’s one of the most popular rides in the park, so be sure to use your Fastpass for this one.
Journey to the Center of the Earth and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
Travel through mysterious caverns to the Earth’s core and explore the depths of the ocean aboard rather fantastic vehicles and research submarines designed by Captain Nemo on these two rides.
Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Crystal Skull and Raging Spirits
Search for the Fountain of Youth in a ‘life-or-death’ journey, and dare to face the wrath of two ancient gods as you speed through an archaeological excavation on these two Indian Jones-themed rides.
Shhh... Insider Secrets
In both Disney parks, it’s a Tokyo tradition to dress for the occasion. In Disneyland Park, expect to see families dressed up in matching Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck outfits, and at DisneySea, large groups of teenagers all wearing matching Mouse ears.
A number of attractions use the FastPass system in both parks, and based on the most popular rides here in Tokyo, here’s the best strategy at Disneyland. Arrive at the Park at least 30 minutes before opening time at 10am, grab a Monsters Inc. FastPass then standby for Pooh’s Hunny Hunt. Once you have Pooh and Monsters, grab FastPasses for Big Thunder Mountain, Space Mountain, or Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters as these attractions usually have higher wait times compared to the rest.
Other Tokyo Destinations
Tokyo is an incredible city, with so much to experience, from its ancient traditions and beautiful temples to its unique pop culture and bright neon lights.
Shinjuku and Shibuya
The bright lights of Shinjuku and Shibuya are recognisable from films such as Lost in Translation. Here you’ll find hundreds of karaoke bars, cat cafes, magical labyrinthine lanes to explore and the amazing Robot Restaurant.
Harijuku and Meiji Shrine
Harajuku is the place to come for a spot of shopping and people-watching, as the young pop-punk teenagers strut their stuff through the markets in frilly Sailor Moon skirts and impossibly chunky high heels. For a complete contrast, wander over to the other side of the station, and stroll through a tranquil forest surrounding the beautiful Meiji Shrine.
Visit so-called ‘Electric City’ for a day of gaming in its multi-level gaming arcades, or browse for the latest and greatest computer games, manga and anime figurines. Be sure to stop by an Owl Café to spend some quality time with a few fine feathered friends.
For more information regarding a Tokyo Disney Resort holiday, contact a friendly Flight Centre consultant and don't forget to ask about our great deals on hotels, tours, travel insurance, transfers and more.