Ah, Tokyo Disney Resort. The Disney park of all Disney parks (or so they say). If I were to recap everything I did at Tokyo Disney in one blog post we’d be here all night (as it is, this will already be a long one). So I’m going to split my recap into two posts – one for Disneyland and one for Disney Sea.
I began and ended my trip at Tokyo Disney Sea. This was the park I was most excited for and the park I’d heard the most about. Needless to say, my expectations were extremely high.
My first day at Disney Sea I was with 2 other friends and we started the day with the “let’s split up while one person gets our FastPasses and the other gets in line” approach. I ran over to Tower of Terror to get our first FastPass of the day and my friends got in line for Journey to the Center of the Earth. When I arrived to the line for Journey, we quickly learned that this was not going to be a sustainable strategy moving forward for the rest of the day. When I tried to pass people in line to meet up with my friends it did not go over well. I was stopped in my tracks by two young girls who linked their arms and formed a physical barrier preventing me from passing by. I’ve never had an issue meeting up in line with members of my party at any other Disney park but this gave me enough anxiety not to want to try it again.
That said, we were up and running on the ride in no time and it totally lived up to the hype. I didn’t know anything about it before getting on and I’m so glad that I didn’t try to look up spoilers. I would highly recommend not reading anything before riding for the first time because it definitely benefits from an element of surprise.
After we got off Journey to the Center of the Earth, we grabbed a quick snack at the Nautilus Galley (I’d seen lots written about the infamous Gyoza sausage buns and I wanted to try one - and yes, this one lived up to the hype too). By the time we were done with our snack 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea had just opened so we waited less than 5 minutes for this ride. I thought it was super cool and unexpected, and depending on where you sit in your submarine you could have a different view each ride.
When we got off the ride it was time to use our Tower of Terror FastPasses already so we headed back over to the American Waterfront area. On our way over, the Happiest Celebration on the Sea was just starting so we hung out and danced to the music before making it over to Tower. I really loved this show. It’s hard to engage everyone around a lagoon as massive as the one in Tokyo Disney Sea but the show really tries and I appreciated the creative use of all boats and floats to bring characters closer to the action from almost every vantage point.
After this was over we finally made it to Tower of Terror. I’ve always been a huge fan of Tower of Terror and this creative reimagining of the ride was so fun. Throughout my trip I think I did this ride no less than 4 times.
After we got off the ride we walked over to the Toy Story Mania area and grabbed FastPasses for that. This ride is super popular and by the time we pulled these our return time was already 4:30-5:30pm. We also thought this was a good time to try the lottery for the Big Band Beat Show but sadly did not win. All of the shows have a select number of tickets available through a random lottery. It reminded me a lot of an online lottery for a Broadway Musical. Although I did not win this first time, when we tried to win the 2nd day, we did! And the feeling of elation was one I’ll always remember. If you don’t win you can still line up for standby seats, so there are other ways to see the shows.
After this we grabbed some seasonal warm wine and did a bit of shopping near the entrance (we needed new headwear). Then we decided to try for Raging Spirits so we walked to the back of the park. When we got there, we learned that the ride was down. That was a bit of a bummer but we did Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Crystal Skull instead. This is the only ride in the park with a single rider line so we all did that and waited less than 5 minutes to ride it. It was very similar to the ride at Disneyland but still super fun.
After this we felt like we’d done most of the big things so we really took our time around the park for the rest of the day. We did Nemo & Friends SeaRider (which is a simulator ride through the ocean with Crush and friends) and Turtle Talk with Crush. We had turkey legs and flavored popcorn and all of the buns we could find.
Then we walked over to Mermaid Lagoon and had an early dinner. We wanted to go to the Mermaid Lagoon Theater but it was closed, so instead we walked around the area and took photos. The theming of the Mermaid Lagoon is some of the best theming I have ever seen and I felt totally transported under the sea to Ariel’s home. We ended the day in the Arabian Coast where we went on the two-story Caravan Carousel and ate more snacks.
Because we all got up at 5am to get to the park from the city by open, we were all really tired by around 5pm. So instead of using our Toy Story FastPasses we all actually left the park and called it a day. (I know, I’m embarrassed to admit this). I also think we weren’t totally in the right mindset for this park. It’s really meant to be savored slowly like a fine wine and we wanted to attack it like a thrill ride park. So lessons were definitely learned on this one too.
On my last day at Tokyo Disney Sea I was with a different friend and this time I was determined to really love this park. I would say we did our best to sip it like a fine wine and that definitely added to the enjoyment. We did almost everything that I missed on the first day including the Venetian Gondolas, Aquatopia, the Magic Lamp theater, Sinbad’s Storybook Voyage, as well as Fantasmic and the Big Band Beat. We did not do any fine dining while we were here but we did do lots of QSR dining and snacks. (I would say that the food overall, was my favorite part of this park.)
As I mentioned at the start of this post, I began and ended my trip with Tokyo Disney Sea. The main reason for that choice was that everyone says this is the best Disney park in the world. But if I’m honest, I don't think it was for me. I did enjoy elements of the park, but perhaps my expectations were too high. (You know when a big blockbuster movie comes out and everyone says how good it is or that it's the best movie of the year? And then by the time you see it, you're like, "yeah it was good but I wanted it to be better". That's how I felt about this park.) Perhaps I need to go back.
Also, I know many people say this is a 2-day park, but for me (if you implement a good strategy), I'd say 1 day is plenty (depending on your interests and how you like to explore various Disney parks).
Have you been to Tokyo Disney Sea? What were your first impressions?