Tokyo Disney Resort: Land vs. Sea

Tokyo Disney Resort: Land vs. Sea

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

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.

Tokyo Disney
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.

Tokyo Disney

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.

Tokyo Disney

Don’t Miss:

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.

Tokyo Disney

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.

Tokyo Disney

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.

Tokyo Disney

Can Skip:

Captain EO

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 Disney

Tokyo DisneySea

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.

Tokyo Disney

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.

Tokyo Disney

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?

Tokyo Disney

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.

Don’t Miss:

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.

Tokyo Disney

Venetian Gondolas

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.

Tokyo Disney

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.

Tokyo 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?

Can Skip:

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.

Tokyo Disney

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



Let’s Pin It!




Which do you prefer, Disneyland or DisneySea?



  1. Karmela
    September 25, 2016 / 1:16 am

    Nice article! This really helped me decide on where I’ll go. Which is Tokyo DisneySea! It looks fun!

  2. Elizabeth
    June 18, 2016 / 2:31 pm

    Hello!! I want to ask about Disney Sea. It will be fun for my 9 year old kid or it’s more recommended from teenagers ??

  3. Kelly
    May 11, 2016 / 8:09 am

    Is 2 days enough to explore both Tokyo Disneysea and Tokyo Disneyland. Planning on staying at a onsite hotel.

  4. Anonymous
    April 20, 2016 / 10:49 pm

    Thank you so much

  5. April 15, 2016 / 10:27 am

    I love this article, I am definitely going to Disney Sea! Is there a popular ride that you would recommend going to first? And for fast passes, are these available at each ride we queue at?

    Thank you!

  6. Charlie Khanna
    April 9, 2016 / 11:02 am

    This is a great article! I’m buying my disney ticket online and needed help on which park to visit- I think I will be visiting Disney Sea!
    How does one get fast passes and when do you recommend to get them? Thank you for your help.

    • Beth Williams
      June 14, 2016 / 11:05 am

      You get your fast passes at each ride. Make sure to collect them as soon as you get in the park because they run out quickly!

  7. April 9, 2016 / 12:40 am

    I’ve just come across your site and this article and loved it! I got back a week ago from Japan and Tokyo Disney was my first Disney park ever – my childhood dream come true! It was spectacular. Wasn’t planning on DisneySea but boyfie and I decided to have a day each to ourselves whilst in Tokyo and I opted to go back to DisneySea on my own and LOVED it. Better than DisneyLand in some ways but as it was my first time it’ll always be special. Hong Kong Disney is next, there in a week!

  8. February 11, 2016 / 10:38 pm

    Wow, this is extremely informative. My partner and I couldn’t decide what to choose as we will spend one day at Disney at the end of February. I have never been to a Disneyland before although I have thought about going to Paris. (I’m orginally from London). I wanted to experience disney but DisneySea sounds better for couple, rides and other things.

    If it still feels full of disney magic and has all of the great food and souvenirs etc, it would make sense. But how dissapointed will I be not to be able to see the parade and fireworks? Is the parade and fireworks something I could just witness elsewhere like Paris?
    Also can I ask how fast passes work in Disneysea? You getone at a time straight away and pay to beat the long lines?

    Thank you for this article. Was a great find.

    • Beth Williams
      February 15, 2016 / 9:22 am

      The parade and fireworks are basically the same at all parks, with slight differences. Since you’re able to see them in Paris, I wouldn’t miss them too much!

      For the fast passes, yes, you take a ticket from the machine when you arrive and it’ll give you a time to come back to enjoy the ride without having to wait in line. They’re free, but they do sell out once all the time slots are gone, so be sure to grab them early!

  9. January 4, 2016 / 7:35 pm

    Thanks so much for the helpful review! I loved that you listed the pros & cons of both and listed the must do’s! Planning to go to Japan (1st time!) in April 2016 and I’m definitely a Disney fan! Definitely going to both parks once but want to go either land/sea once more. Is it better to buy the tickets beforehand or is it just easier to buy it there after visiting each park once? Hope to hear from you, thanks so much! :)

    P.S. walking around the streets of Agrabah?! OMG I die. Aladdin is my all time favorite <3

  10. Liana M.
    October 4, 2015 / 11:23 am

    Thank you for a great article. My fiance and I are planning our honeymoon in Tokyo and since we are Disney freaks, we of course couldn’t miss Tokyo Disney. We weren’t sure about Disney Sea but now we will definitely do both parks. We live in Los Angeles and had passes to Disneyland and California Adventure. We went to Disneyworld in Florida last year and can’t wait for Tokyo Disney and Disney Sea! :)

    • Beth Williams
      October 5, 2015 / 5:14 pm

      Def don’t skip out DisneySea! It’s my favorite park in the world!!
      Jealous that you live in LA, I was there last week and went to Disneyland and California Adventure for the first time. Hoping to move to the SoCal area next year and get passes!

  11. Jasmine
    September 30, 2015 / 8:33 am

    I’m not sure what time of year you went, but when we went in Nov last year, Disneysea had a water “parade” on the lake in the middle of the park in the evening. Lots of brightly lit boats cruising around with the characters in them. It was much bigger than the 5 floats at TDL lol. I love Tokyo and I love TDR. Looking forward to my third visit and taking my kids next year. :)

  12. Alireza Rashedian
    September 26, 2015 / 3:12 pm

    I visit this place 2 week ago it was magic place and so beautiful park.

  13. Callie
    May 29, 2015 / 1:45 pm

    I am going to Japan in September and we were planning on going to both parks.. after reading this I think we will skip Disney and go to DisneySea. It seems right up our alley, since we have no kids. I was wondering though.. does DisneySea have all the cute and creative foods that Tokyo Disney has? I would HATE to miss out on those Toy Story mochi and Mickey churros. :) Great post!

    • Beth Williams
      May 29, 2015 / 2:25 pm

      Oh they absolutely do! And they have all of the awesome different popcorn flavors– I highly recommend the soy sauce one or cinnamon apple! ;)

  14. March 5, 2015 / 5:59 am

    OMG I really wish I will be able to go there in the future – it is a super beautiful and magickal place to be in!

    • Beth Williams
      March 5, 2015 / 12:59 pm

      The most magical place on earth ;)

  15. March 2, 2015 / 2:28 pm

    I have never been to Disney, I’m very sad to say. This looks like an incredible trip and I cannot wait to go for my honeymoon.

    • Beth Williams
      March 4, 2015 / 10:27 am

      That would make a really fun honeymoon! :)

  16. Eliz Frank
    March 2, 2015 / 12:05 pm

    What a fun place to visit. It would be great for groups of kids to visit it and compare notes.

    • Beth Williams
      March 4, 2015 / 10:26 am

      Definitely! I’d love to see how they like it compared to other parks.

  17. March 2, 2015 / 9:39 am

    Visiting Disney is definitely in our to-do list. The closest is the one in Orlando. I would love to visit the one in Tokyo too. Someday. :) Gorgeous photos, by the way.

    • Beth Williams
      March 4, 2015 / 10:25 am

      Someday! I’m hoping to go to the Orlando one myself soon!

  18. March 1, 2015 / 10:54 pm

    I’m a sucker for fireworks, so Disneyland Tokyo is right up my alley. Plus, who can resist a visit to Cinderella’s castle? The DreamLights Parade also looks amazing. I do like the more adult attractions at DisneySea though.

    • Beth Williams
      March 4, 2015 / 10:24 am

      If you love fireworks, the best show I’ve seen was actually at Hong Kong Disneyland! ;)

  19. March 1, 2015 / 10:30 pm

    I had no clue what Tokyo Disney was like…amazing and I hope I make it one day

    • Beth Williams
      March 4, 2015 / 10:23 am

      I hope you do too Sharon. It’s a great place!

  20. March 1, 2015 / 12:32 pm

    I don’t know who would like this more, me or my kids! I had no idea there was one of these in Tokyo.

    • Beth Williams
      March 4, 2015 / 10:23 am

      Pretty sure you’d both love it! All the more reason to someday take a family vacation there ;)

  21. Bonnie @ wemake7
    March 1, 2015 / 6:27 am

    That looks like so much fun for the family! My little guy would love that Monsters Inc. ride.

    • Beth Williams
      March 4, 2015 / 10:22 am

      Aw, I’m sure they’d love a lot of the rides!

  22. February 28, 2015 / 11:18 pm

    Wow! This looks just like California! What a fine time! I want to check out those gondolas!

    • Beth Williams
      March 4, 2015 / 10:21 am

      The gondolas were super cute… and probably the only gondolas I’ll ever get to ride! haha

  23. valerie g
    February 28, 2015 / 8:11 pm

    wow that looks awesome!!! my kids would love to visit Tokyo’s Disney, i mean who wouldn’t right?

    • Beth Williams
      March 4, 2015 / 10:20 am

      Exactly! Such a magical place.

  24. February 28, 2015 / 6:02 pm

    Oh gosh. Look at all that fabulous fun. I grew up loving Disney movies and now that i am older, there are so many more to enjoy. But, I have never been overly excited to go to Disney. I am not sure why that is, but it really not an interest of mine. Since I live in the US, it would be FL or CA. Since I am in MI the flights can get pricey during the season. I would rather spend that money and go to Ireland, Scotland or Europe.

    • Beth Williams
      March 4, 2015 / 10:20 am

      Totally get that. It’s amazing how expensive the flights are in the US, just within the domestic regions. Might as well go abroad for the price!

  25. February 28, 2015 / 4:53 pm

    I didn’t know Tokyo had Disney theme parks! I would love to visit either of these, although the Sea park looks like it is more fun :)

    • Beth Williams
      March 4, 2015 / 10:19 am

      DisneySea might just be my favorite park in the entire world!

  26. February 28, 2015 / 12:02 pm

    I’d love to go there. I’d love to go to the one in California too.

    • Beth Williams
      March 4, 2015 / 10:18 am

      I need to get to the Cali one! It’s the only park I haven’t been to!

  27. Ann Bacciaglia
    February 28, 2015 / 11:21 am

    Tokyo Disneyland looks like an amazing place to visit. I would love to go there. I will have to add it to mu bucket list.

    • Beth Williams
      March 4, 2015 / 10:17 am

      It’s a really cool place!

  28. February 28, 2015 / 10:09 am

    One of my dreams is to visit every Disney park in the world. So far, I’ve only been to Disneyland and Disney World in Florida.

    • Beth Williams
      March 4, 2015 / 10:17 am

      That’s my dream too!! I haven’t been to Disneyland yet though. That’s the one park I’m missing!

  29. Jess Scull
    February 28, 2015 / 10:03 am

    This looks like SO much fun! I haven’t been to Disney in forever, but I would love to go here someday!

    • Beth Williams
      March 4, 2015 / 10:15 am

      I haven’t been to the US Disney’s in forever (or ever to the Cali one). Hoping to make it to both later this year!

  30. February 28, 2015 / 7:41 am

    Tokyo Disney looks really cool! My family loves Disney to begin with but I love all the things unique to the one in Tokyo!

    • Beth Williams
      March 4, 2015 / 10:15 am

      We’re huge on Disney, so of course we had to visit the one in Tokyo while we were there!

  31. February 27, 2015 / 11:04 pm

    I had no idea there was a Disneyland in Tokyo. That would be the trip of a lifetime for my family and I.

    • Beth Williams
      March 4, 2015 / 10:14 am

      It would be! I’m sure you’d love it there.

  32. Kathy
    February 27, 2015 / 10:35 pm

    Beautiful photos! I have never been to Disney before. I want to take my kids sometime but we haven’t been able to afford to go yet. By the looks of all your wonderful photos, I know we’d have a wonderful time.

    • Beth Williams
      March 4, 2015 / 10:14 am

      Your kids will love it when you finally get to go!! And love you for it!

  33. February 27, 2015 / 9:00 pm

    Would you believe that I didn’t even know there was a Disney in Tokyo?! lol! This place looks great though!!

    • Beth Williams
      March 4, 2015 / 10:13 am

      I’m sure a lot of people don’t! But there are Disney parks all over the world :)

  34. February 27, 2015 / 6:54 pm

    I didn’t know Tokyo had a Disney but then again I probably shouldn’t be surprised. It looks like a magical place.

    • Beth Williams
      March 3, 2015 / 8:25 pm

      It was magical!

  35. February 27, 2015 / 6:32 pm

    I have always dreamed of going to such a beautiful country like Japan, I would love to visit Tokyo Disney!

    • Beth Williams
      March 3, 2015 / 8:24 pm

      You should! It was SO fun.

  36. February 27, 2015 / 6:17 pm

    I have a lot of relatives and friends who have already been to Tokyo Disney! I’m curious myself, but if I do go back to Tokyo it’ll be most likely to visit the other attractions as my travel interests have changed through the years. :)

    • Beth Williams
      March 3, 2015 / 8:23 pm

      I try to do both whenever I go to Tokyo :)

  37. February 27, 2015 / 5:43 pm

    Wow! I had no idea there was a Disney in Tokyo! How awesome. Both look very cool, and like something I’d love to visit!

    • Beth Williams
      March 3, 2015 / 8:23 pm

      They were tons of fun to visit!

  38. February 27, 2015 / 4:17 pm

    How fun! I have never been to Disneyland or Disney World in the United States, but I think it would be even more awesome to visit one of the Disney theme parks out of the country.

    • Beth Williams
      March 3, 2015 / 8:21 pm

      It is! I’ve been to all the Disney parks outside of the US, but now I need to get to the ones IN the US ;)

  39. February 27, 2015 / 1:39 pm

    I did not even know there was a Disney in Tokyo! I love that there is an Epcot feel to the sea side as that was a favorite part when I visited Disney World in Orlando.

    • Beth Williams
      March 3, 2015 / 8:21 pm

      It does have sort of an Epcot feel to it!

  40. February 27, 2015 / 1:22 pm

    So pretty! I really want to visit Disney when my daughter gets a little bigger. I think everyone in the family would enjoy it.

    • Beth Williams
      March 3, 2015 / 8:20 pm

      Do wait until she gets bigger. I was taken a bit too young and don’t remember the trip at all!

  41. February 27, 2015 / 11:07 am

    That’s gorgeous! Tokyo Disney looks just as incredible is the ones in the states!

    • Beth Williams
      March 3, 2015 / 8:19 pm

      It is! It’s one of my favorite parks.

  42. March 18, 2014 / 9:18 pm

    Wow, such a great blog I stumbled upon.. very detailed :)

    • Beth Williams
      March 25, 2014 / 3:45 pm

      Thanks Harine, I appreciate you took the time to comment :)

  43. March 2, 2014 / 10:11 am

    DisneySea looks cool, especially since we’re water-lovers by nature. I love DisneyWorld, but the “It’s A Small World” ride is the stuff my nightmares are made of. Just thinking about that song makes me crazy…

    • Beth Williams
      March 4, 2014 / 9:54 am

      Haha! After your experience, I’m not sure I could fathom hearing that song ever again ;)

  44. February 28, 2014 / 11:15 am

    Great post, thanks Beth! Tokyo was actually my first ever trip overseas, and as a 13 yr old student traveling with my friends on a school trip, Disneyland was the highlight! Thanks for bringing back memories!!

    • Beth Williams
      February 28, 2014 / 1:00 pm

      Super jealous that you got to go to Japan on a school trip– my school never had anything that cool. We rarely had trips that left the US, most were for visiting DC or other state capitals.

      Japan was my first overseas trip though, and I will always have fond memories because of it! Glad I could help bring back some of your memories as well :)

  45. February 28, 2014 / 10:57 am

    No matter where you go or what your age is, Disney Land is still Disney Land. Love it!! :-D

    • Beth Williams
      February 28, 2014 / 12:59 pm

      Very true! Somehow I always feel like a kid whenever we go :)

  46. February 27, 2014 / 12:17 pm

    Ariel has always been my favorite too! :) I think I would love DisneySea–Epcot has always been my favorite!

    • Beth Williams
      February 28, 2014 / 12:52 pm

      Epcot is my favorite part of Walt Disney World for sure! I only went when I was 5, but I’m excited to revisit it as an adult.

  47. Marysia @ My Travel Affairs
    February 24, 2014 / 11:20 pm

    Sea for me please!

    • Beth Williams
      February 25, 2014 / 8:17 pm

      TokyoSea is my favorite as well :)

  48. September 16, 2013 / 10:46 pm

    We’ve been to the Disneyland in Paris and we loved it. Will have to check out this Disneyland when we go to Japan – hopefully in 2014!

    • Beth Williams
      September 17, 2013 / 12:33 pm

      I hope you guys get the chance to visit. If you go before April, you can still enjoy the Happiness Year celebrations. We’re trying to make it back before then as well :)

      Pretty jealous you went to Disneyland in Paris. That’s also high on my list (and just Paris in general!).