Here we have an attraction that is completely reliant on domestic tourism, and most kids and teenagers consider going through that attraction as a rite of passage. Add to this mix a healthy dose of complete adoration of the central characters, and you have a sure fire success on your hands.
I am of course, talking about the Tokyo Disneyland Resort, which comprises of Disneyland, DisneySea, three themed hotels and 6 partner hotels. There is also the Disney Resort line monorail which circles the whole resort so you can easily get from one place to another (for a small price).
I spoke with Keiko Namikoshi, from Oriental Land Corporation (the company that runs Tokyo Disneyland). One of the biggest surprise for me after speaking with her was that Tokyo Disneyland visitors are overwhelmingly from Japan itself, unlike other Disney properties that rely heavily on foreign tourists. The Tokyo Disneyland is totally unique in this respect and sets itself apart. Besides this, it is quite unique in several other ways:
* It was the first Disneyland built outside the United States, in 1983.
* 97% of visitors are from within Japan.
* It is the largest Disneyland.
* It is the only place in the world where you will get to see a unique property: the DisneySea (I will cover DisneySea in Part 2)!
Tokyo Disneyland is divided into six themed areas: AdventureLand, WesternLand, Critter Country, FantasyLand, TomorrowLand and Toontown. Toontown and Critter Country are perfect for little ones, from 3 years to 7 year olds, while the rest will fit the older kids (and adults). I will go through these areas quickly, as I really want to talk about DisneySea (in Part 2). These themed areas are not much different from the other ones found in the rest of the Disneylands. At the end of this post, I will however, give you some tips and tricks to make the most of your day in Tokyo Disneyland.
TomorrowLand is a bit dated. It needs new attractions to keep up with the times, and perhaps make it more worthy of the TomorrowLand status. We had fun in the BuzzLightYear attraction, and the Grand Circuit Raceway. We wanted to try the Space Mountain ride, but it was closed for our entire stay there. There is also the Captain EO 3D movie (featuring Michael Jackson), which was re-opened after Michael Jackson’s death. We took the kids to it, but had to walk out as it wasn’t suitable for little ones.
We spent the most time in Toontown as it was most little kid friendly (our kids are 2 and 4). The Chip and Dale Treehouse, Donald’s boat, Minnie’s house and the Gadget’s Go Coaster.
Ours kids favourite ride however, It’s a small world, is in FantasyLand. We went through Peter Pan’s flight, Pinnochio’s Daring Journey, Alice’s Tea Party, and Snowwhite’s Adventures as well. These are well worth the wait to get into, as they will thrill the little ones.
Unfortunately, on the two days that we went to Tokyo Disneyland, AdventureLand, Critter Country, and Westernland attractions were either closed down or full of so many people that it was impossible to wait in queues with two little ones.
Tips and Tricks for Tokyo Disneyland (these apply for Tokyo DisneySea as well):
* Arrive early and get the fast pass immediately for the rides that you want to go on. By the time we arrived (an hour after the park had opened), all the rides had run out of Fast Pass for the day.
* Do not go on the following days: Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday, unless you like to wait in queues that stretch for 3 hours. Yes, 3 hours.
* Make use of the free water fountains.
* Take a lot of pictures. It will help you later remembering all that you did.
* Avoid the shows and the parades if you have been to other Disneyland properties. They are essentially the same but in Japanese.
* At the entrance, ask for an English park map.
* If you only have a few days in Tokyo, avoid going to Disneyland, but instead go to DisneySea (I explain in Part 2).
In Part 2, I will discuss Tokyo DisneySea. And in Part 3, I will provide what I think are areas in which Tokyo Disneyland Resort could do much better.
* Disclouse: CraftGossip received complimentary admission to Tokyo Disneyland for one day.