The last post in my Tokyo Disney Resort series, just might be the most important.
As mentioned in my earlier overview of Tokyo Disney, the resort is actually made up of two parks: Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea. With no current option for a park hopper ticket, a day trip means you will have to choose only one park to visit.
So just which park is better?
Here is my review of Disneyland vs. DisneySea, including what not to miss in both.
Tokyo Disneyland is a “Magic Kingdom” style park. Other “Magic Kingdom” parks are found in Florida, California and Hong Kong. With that being said, there is not much unique about Tokyo Disneyland– at least not in terms of rides or appearance.
There are seven themed lands in Tokyo Disneyland that circle around Cinderella’s Castle, which I might add, is an exact replica of the one found in Florida. These lands are World Bazaar (basically Main Street U.S.A.), Tomorrowland, Toontown, Fantasyland, Critter County, Westernland and Adventureland.
Although Tokyo Disneyland sounds no different from other Disney parks across the world, there are still many reasons you might want to consider it over DisneySea.
5 Reasons to Visit Tokyo Disneyland
1. It has Cinderella’s Castle
If you can’t picture visiting a Disney park without taking pictures in front of an iconic castle, DisneySea might leave you disappointed. With no castle in the park, guests are forced to visit Disneyland if they want the magical castle experience.
2. More family and kid oriented
Disneyland has way more attractions geared towards younger children. One of these areas is Toontown, where kids can explore the homes of Mickey and the gang. In general, the park was filled with more children and large families when compared to DisneySea.
3. More attractions and rides
Besides having more rides geared toward children, Disneyland has more rides overall than its younger DisneySea counterpart. It is almost impossible to explore all of Disneyland in one day, especially because of the long lines, whereas DisneySea is doable in a single day.
4. Has the Disney feel
Disneyland looks and feels just like other Disney resorts around the world. DisneySea on the other hand, doesn’t exactly feel like a Disney theme park until you see the costume characters.
5. The parade and fireworks spectacular are only here.
We were a little disappointed to learn that DisneySea does not do anything special at closing time, especially when you could hear the fireworks going off next door. Therefore, if you want to see night parades or fireworks, you’ll need to stick to Disneyland.
Pooh’s Hunny Hunt
Although there are many Pooh themed rides around the world, this version is unlike any other. Its uniqueness makes it a favorite amongst visitors, and is well worth the long waiting times.
Monster’s Inc. Ride and Go Seek
This ride involves a game of “flashlight tag”, where various characters appear and actions take place upon shining your flashlight on them. It’s a fun ride because it’s interactive, and in the dark it’s often hard to explore everything in one go.
Big Thunder Mountain
There isn’t anything particularly special about this version of Big Thunder Mountain. The premise and story are basically the same as all the others- mine cars that run loose through caverns, however, it is probably the most thrilling ride on the Disneyland side.
Electrical Parade: DreamLights
The DreamLights Parade is probably the coolest parade I’ve seen at Disneyland. It features LED-lit floats inspired by favorite Disney movies, including some that often seem forgotten at other parks like Aladdin, Pete’s Dragon, Pinocchio and Finding Nemo.
This attraction featuring Michael Jackson was once very popular, although it shut down before I had ever set foot in a Disney park. In 2010 the attraction reopened, and while it may be a nice tribute to Michael Jackson, that doesn’t save it from being dated and not worth a 30 minute wait.
It’s a Small World
It’s a Small World is a classic ride that everyone loves. It was one of the original rides to open at Tokyo Disneyland, but at 30 years old, it shows its age. While I would never tell anyone flat out not to ride it, there are much better, more modern versions of this ride in other parks.
Tokyo DisneySea is an ocean-themed park, unique to Japan.
There is no castle at DisneySea, although the Mermaid Lagoon is close enough to Ariel’s castle for me! Instead, the center piece of the park is Mount Prometheus, a volcano which randomly “erupts” throughout the day.
It features seven “ports of call”, as opposed to “lands”, and these include: Mediterranean Harbor, American Waterfront, Port Discovery, Lost River Delta, Arabian Coast, Mermaid Lagoon, and the Mysterious Island.
5 Reasons to Visit Tokyo DisneySea
1. The various ports give it an “Epcot” feel
All of the themed areas are decorated so well, you feel as though you’ve been transported to that country. Walking along the streets of Agrabah, for all I know I could’ve been in the Middle East. If you loved Epcot in Walt Disney World, you’ll love exploring DisneySea.
2. More thrilling rides
DisneySea seemed to have way more thrilling rides, and very few rides for small children. From the Tower of Terror to the Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Crystal Skull, I enjoyed almost every ride at DisneySea. And if those didn’t get your adrenaline pumping, be sure to ride the Raging Spirits roller coaster or the famous Journey to the Center of the Earth ride.
3. More adult and couple oriented
We didn’t see nearly the amount of families in this park as we did in Disneyland. Everywhere we looked in DisneySea we saw couples on dates or groups of college-age students.
4. Duffy the Bear
Duffy the Bear is extremely popular in Japan, and his home is none other than DisneySea. You’ll find Duffy shows, Duffy merchandise, Duffy restaurants, and Duffy himself all inside the park. There are even plenty of Duffy designated picture spots, for you to place your Duffy stuffed toy on to get the perfect picture. What do you mean you don’t have a Duffy plushy?
5. It’s unique
I know I’ve mentioned this again and again by now, but really, DisneySea is so unique. It’s a Disney park unlike any other, and that makes it a really special place for those who are Disney fans.
Toy Story Mania
Easily the best Disney ride ever, Toy Story Mania is a ride we almost missed out on. We picked up a fast pass for the ride maybe 30 minutes after the park opening, and we were allotted the last time slot of the night. Even the normal queue got shut down in the evening because those waiting in line wouldn’t have made it on the ride before park closing. The ride is just that good.
I have always wanted to ride in a gondola and was happy to have that experience at DisneySea. While it might not exactly be comparable to an authentic Venice experience, we still got serenaded and it at least didn’t have the hefty Venice price tag.
Mermaid Lagoon Theater
When asked who my favorite princess is, I’ll immediately blurt out Ariel before you can probably finish your sentence. With that being said I was really excited to explore the Mermaid Lagoon area and to watch the show at the theater. You unfortunately can’t take photos or videos during the show, but it’s one of the greatest shows I’ve seen at any Disney.
Journey to the Center of the Earth
I had high hopes for this ride. After returning from my first trip to Tokyo Disney all my Japanese friends continually asked if I got to ride on Journey to the Center of the Earth, which I hadn’t since we only went to Disneyland. So this time around, I made sure to ride. Although it didn’t quite live up to all the hype, I still think it’s a ride worth riding. Besides, where else can you get erupted out of a volcano?
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
Another Jules Verne classic, this ride was a bit too slow and a bit too claustrophobic for me. They used to have a version at other Disney parks, although they all shut down in the early 90s– I think that says it all.
StormRider is a simulation ride that demonstrates flying into the eye of a storm. It’s a cool concept for a simulation, except unlike other simulation rides that run around 5 minutes, StormRider lasts a whopping 15 minutes, which was just too long for my attention span (and stomach).
Upon experiencing both parks, we quickly came to the conclusion that we liked DisneySea. While Disneyland was great too, it was just too similar to other Disneyland parks, including Hong Kong’s Disneyland, which we frequently visit.
From the detailed port themes to the awesome Toy Story Mania ride, we constantly find ourselves talking about DisneySea, and are already planning our return![toggle title=” Know Before You Go” state=”close”]
Getting to Tokyo Disney Resort: From Tokyo Station (東京駅) you will want to take the JR Keiyo Line (京葉線) to Maihama Station (舞浜駅). There will be 4 types of trains on the line, so pay attention to which train you are getting on! Only take the Local (普通) or Rapid (快速) train, as the Commuter Rapid (通勤快速) and Limited Express (特急) will skip the Maihama stop!
Opening Hours: The hours vary by day but typical hours are from 9:00 until 22:00. On weekends and holidays the park will open at 8:00. Be sure to check the park calendar for exact hours of particular dates.
Price: A one-day passport is ¥6,200, and a two-day passport is ¥10,700. You can only visit one park per day on these tickets.
Address: Japan, 〒279-0031 千葉県浦安市舞浜1−1
(Japan, 〒279-0031 Chiba-ken, Urayasu-shi, Maihama 1-1)
Phone: +81 45-330-5211[/toggle]
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