Disney is always a happy place where it’s alright to be a kid again. Its magic works on the hearts of even the most serious of people. Its charm transports us to a whole new world.
Having said that, I put together a list of things that can help you have a splendid visit. I want to make sure you will experience Disney to its fullest.
1. Check the weather before your visit.
Obviously, Tokyo DisneySea and Tokyo Disneyland are outdoor theme parks. The weather can be your best friend or your worst enemy. I think parades can actually be cancelled if the weather is bad. Therefore, it is very important not to miss this basic information.
My visit to DisneySea was mostly cloudy. It rained during the morning but it stopped at around 9:00 so I enjoyed the cool weather the whole day. For Disneyland, I think the weather was perfect. It was mostly cloudy with a little bit of sun. It was neither too hot nor too cold.
2. If you plan to visit the 2 parks, don’t visit on consecutive days.
Admittedly, this was one of my mistakes. A full day of excitement can actually drain one’s energy. I can barely walk towards the train on my way back to my hostel after a day in DisneySea. I ended up disembarking at the wrong station because I was too tired to keep track of where I am. Thankfully, the people were so helpful that they ensured I reached Maihama station, which was my aim.
I had to go to Disneyland the following day. I wanted to kill my alarm clock because I was dead tired and just wanted to sleep. I used up all my energy left just to get me to Disneyland. Thankfully, all my weariness disappeared simply because it’s Disney. It’s just too magical for me not to feel hyper again.
3. Do a quick lapse around the whole park first before concentrating on each sections.
You can do a quick round around Disney for 1 hour to ensure that you get to see everything in broad daylight. Just take your initial set of photos while you are walking since you will go back to these sections later on.
The reason I’m suggesting this is because it gets dark too early in Japan sometimes. I was used to daylight at around 18:00 so imagine the surprise I got when it was already getting dark at 16:30. I wasn’t able to see the whole DisneySea in broad daylight and a part of me is still sad because of that. Sure, the lights were beautiful at night, but the details of the surroundings can be fully appreciated only during the day. This is why I made sure that I will able to see the whole Disneyland in broad daylight on my 2nd day.
4. Go before the park opens. Leave after the park closes.
In other words, spend the whole day in Disney. Make the most of your experience. There will be higher chances of meeting your favorite Disney characters and trying out more rides.
5. Get fastpass ticket if applicable. Don’t waste your time on waiting in lines.
Oh my goodness! The lines were horribly long. Take note that I visited DisneySea on a Monday but I still have to wait 2 freakin’ hours just for 1 ride! That was 2 hours of my time wasted. I could have explored the park more or watched shows and parades.
The staff will always advise you on the estimated waiting time per ride. If the line is too long and fastpass is available, get a fastpass ticket and just come back at the specific time indicated on it. Do other things and don’t waste time.
6. Avoid going on weekends
This is connected to my previous point. There were so many people during the weekdays already, what more during weekends. It can get really crowded so choose a day when you think it will be less crowded.
7. Don’t expect to ride everything. You will only end up being disappointed.
Trying out every ride in one day is not feasible in either of the two Disney resorts. Let’s simply put that a day is too short for a full experience.
Therefore, download a map of the parks before your visit, research every rides, and decide on what you will prioritize. So that on the day itself, you won’t regret not being able to try what you really want to ride because you put other rides first.
8. Bring water bottle and snacks
There are multiple drinking fountains inside both parks so bring a water bottle with you. It’s always a good idea to stay hydrated.
You can also bring snacks to eat in case you get hungry while you’re waiting in line. There are plenty of food stalls and restaurants inside, but you can’t abandon your spot in the line just to eat. It would be better if you have something ready to munch on anytime your stomach grumbles.
9. Be prepared for minimal English
I’ve been to Hong Kong Disneyland and Universal Studios Singapore before. Chinese is language being spoken in Hong Kong but everything inside Disneyland were in English – the shows, the rides, the staffs’ instructions. In the same way, Chinese, Bahasa, and Hindi are the predominant spoken languages in Singapore, but everything inside Universal Studies were in English.
I want to emphasize this point because I want you to be prepared. I went to Tokyo DisneySea and Tokyo Disneyland with the same expectation that the medium will be English. Also, Disney and Universal Studios are both global franchise that originated in the USA so this strengthen my idea all the more.
Boy was I surprised! Almost everything was in Japanese. The shows were in Japanese. The songs (most of them) were in Japanese. The stories in rides were in Japanese. The staffs would even talked to me in Japanese. I’m not sure if this is the same case for other foreigners, but for me, I think the assumption was that I should be able to understand them. They were surprised when I showed them an English map and asked them where I am currently at. Someone even pointed it out loud, “Oh! You’re carrying an English map.” Was it too weird that I was using English?
Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love Japanese language. I love listening to it and learning it. However, I just wanted to understand the shows and the rides. I was just completely out of my element that I felt overwhelmed and lost.
I actually hid a tear or two because this was the first time in my whole Japan trip that I felt like an outsider. I couldn’t connect even when I wanted to connect.
The whole gondola ride in DisneySea was painful. Everyone on the boat were laughing at our driver’s jokes except me. I wasn’t able to connect to other rides and shows as well. So if you are like me who enjoys a good story and not is not just there for the special effects, then you might have a hard time.
It was my fault for not actually foreseeing it. I based my expectation to my previous experiences which are not valid points of references. Yes, Disney is an international franchise, but it is their country and it is their language. No one should take that away from them, not even Disney. That’s why I was so grateful when some staffs took their time to orient me in English when I really needed it.
10. Don’t be shy to ask the staffs to take your picture
They are more than willing to take a picture of you when you asked them to. This is really helpful especially selfie sticks are not allowed inside the premises.
11. Buy a souvenir
You should take some of Disney’s magic with you wherever you go so buy a souvenir. It doesn’t have to be grand. It could be as simple as a keychain. Just make sure that you’ll have something to remember Tokyo Disney Resort. I chose a hoodie jacket because it will remind me of Disney and Japan.