Epic Tokyo Disneyland Trip Report, Day Two

Written by Rick Wright. Posted in Features, Tokyo Disney Resort, Weekend Update

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ChrisNJ-Opening-Image2

Published on April 06, 2013 at 4:02 am with 39 Comments

Last week, we began a series of articles about Tokyo Disneyland Resort. Here’s a link to Part One. Judging from the comments week, there are quite a few of you who are looking forward to part two of ChrisNJ’s Epic Tokyo Disneyland Trip Report. Here it is – and you won’t be disappointed! ~~Rick

Monday morning I awoke to a beautiful view of Tokyo Disneyland. The parking lot closest to my hotel was empty but I noticed in the distance some buses coming in to a lot near the entrance. I looked at the clock and it was only 6:30am. Disneyland wasn’t opening until 9 am so I assumed those buses were bringing employees to the park. Casually I got ready and planned to get to the Disneyland entrance at 8:20 am. The Hilton has a bus that goes to the Bayside station but walking is much faster and only about three city blocks along a very safe sidewalk. The monorail station was mostly empty so I sat down and felt happy that I picked a slow day to start my adventure. The monorail turned to the front of DisneySea and I saw the largest crowd I have ever seen waiting outside a Disney park. My stomach sank and I started to panic – why so many people? I looked closer and it was mostly school age kids – thousands of them waiting for DisneySea to open at 8:30 am. The monorail made its way to the Disneyland station and again I saw an incredibly large group of people waiting at the entrance. There were more people waiting to get in than I had ever seen at the gates of a Disney park. I started to panic and then resigned myself to seeing the parks without worrying about what attractions I would experience. This is how I kept my sanity.

As a bit of background, I live in the NY Metro area. I am very used to crowds. Used to crowded trains, waiting for popular restaurants, and street events that attract thousands. I have visited Disneyland (the original) several times and encountered some holiday events there that prevent moving within the park. I also experienced the long original lines for Radiator Springs Racers at DCA. I have visited and stayed at WDW over 25 times over the years. And I fortunately got to visit Disneyland Paris and stay at their Disneyland Hotel. I am not new to waiting or the Disney experience. I am a Disney fan.

I am at the entrance to Disneyland with thousands of people. By the look of it, I am the only North American in the crowd. In fact, for that day I only saw one other family that looked like they might be from North America. The lines to get in at first look seemed to be a mass of confusion, but they are actually organized by the people waiting. There was no pushing, no complaining, just waiting. When DL opened promptly at 9 am, there was no fanfare like at the other parks – but a slow acceptance of the waiting crowd. Within 10 minutes I was inside this somewhat familiar but ultimately unusual Disneyland.

After the entrance gates there is a plaza and then the start of the glass covered World Bazaar – a less detailed Main Street like section of the park. There is no train station to pass through and to be honest the World Bazaar doesn’t have the same quaint feeling the US and Paris Main Streets have. World Bazaar feels more like a stylized shopping plaza that is cross shaped so that there are streets that head from the entrance to the central hub and streets that go to Adventureland and Tomorrowland. There is a penny arcade that has old arcade machines. The Magic Shop actually sells magic tricks. The Confectionary sells only packaged sweets – none of the parks sell the confections sold at the US Disney parks. The bakery does sell bakery items but not the items you would be used to at the US parks. No large cookies to be found anywhere. Customers of the bakery help themselves with tongs and go to checkout cashiers. World Bazaar also houses a few restaurants including a mickey waffle house – but the waffles aren’t always fresh tasting despite being made on location.

Tokyo Disney restaurants do accept Priority Seating reservations. Guests staying at one of the three Disney owned resorts can book in advance. Day visitors can book on the morning of. Priority Seating spots fill fast. During my four days I was not able to get any. Standby seating is available and the lines for restaurants can be extreme.

It was 9:15 am and people were running up main street, oops I mean World Bazaar. I took up the challenge and ran towards Monsters, Inc. Go Ride & Seek in Tomorrowland. The crowds were heavy but no worse than Disneyland on a busy day. Got a FastPass for Monsters and headed towards Fantasyland. Pooh’s Honey Hut had a standby line of 40 minutes so I jumped on the line. This is one of the most popular rides in Tokyo Disneyland, so I knew it was now or never. The front of the attraction, the large open book, was covered with a construction wall, but I hoped the inside was fully functioning. It was. This ride puts all of the other Winnie the Pooh attractions to shame. The line goes through a bit of a garden and then into an area where the books pages are on display in a very large format. You can read about the ride in other places, but I will say that it reminded me of a mix of the animatronics of Pooh with some humor of Mr. Toad tossed in and the amazing trackless ride system. It was an experience unlike anything elsewhere and I cannot imagine why Disney wouldn’t use this ride technology in the state-side parks.

After Pooh I decided to head to the Haunted Mansion. The line was hours long. Hours. I had to skip it. Walking back, I checked out the Queen of Hearts Banquet Hall restaurant. It looked cute but it was too early for lunch and it didn’t open until 10:30 am. Walking towards the castle I noticed a line for what was called Cinderella’s Fairy Tale Hall which is inside the castle. Since I didn’t have a map, I couldn’t tell what the attraction was – my fingers were crossed that it wasn’t just a character meet. I remembered that there was an old castle mystery attraction that had closed previously and figured this was like that. After a 10 minute wait, I was in an elevator to the upper floors of the castle. The door opened and the space was located in about the same place that the restaurant is located at MK. The hall was filled with dioramas of Cinderella created all in different styles. Each told an aspect of the story. While interesting, I was more fascinated with being inside the castle. The exit walkway is outside and down stairs in the back of the castle with nice views of Fantasyland.

With the incredible crowds, I decided it was best to focus on shows. Time to get myself an English show schedule. Unfortunately the only place to get an English map/show guide is at Guest Relations at the entrance of the park. This is true of both parks so plan accordingly. At Guest Relations there were helpful people who spoke perfect English. I asked about Priority Seating and was informed they were all taken for the day. I asked how difficult it would be to get into Queen of Hearts and the woman said that it was a very popular restaurant so I should go there immediately. It was 10:30 am. Yes, I was being told that lunch at 10:30 am would mean a short wait. Based on the crowds, I decided to heed the warning and went to Fantasyland again.

Queen of Hearts Banquet Hall is themed to Alice in Wonderland. The theming is great. The restaurant serves a limited menu in cafeteria style. Upon arriving at 10:40 am, I waited 15 minutes to get close to the food display and menu and only a few minutes after that to select food. Since the food is right there the “point” method worked for ordering, however the servers do know the English names of items. Don’t expect be able to modify an order unless you can speak fluent Japanese. After selecting food and drinks a person will escort you to a table. I’m not sure if you can choose your own table even if you want to. I was fine being off to the side. One of the unique features of this restaurant is that they serve an Unbirthday Cake dessert that serves four or so people. It was delicious. And yes, I got a few laughs from people nearby for ordering it. Other desserts come with ceramic plate or cup souvenirs with Alice artwork. The room is nicely themed with large Card Guards near the entrance and vibrant colors. Worth seeing.

Time to use my first FP back in Tomorrowland. On the walk over I was able to see the lines for other attractions. The lines were LONG. Not wanting to think about it too much I stayed the course. As my FP allowed me to get another FP, I picked one up for Space Mountain for the evening. Back to my schedule, I entered the FP return for Monsters Inc., Ride & Go Seek. The entrance queue reminded me a bit of the line for Dinosaur at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, but more stark. Within 5 minutes I was on the ride and must admit I liked it a lot. Your goal is to ride through and use the car flashlight to find monsters, etc. When your light hits a target something happens. It’s a very basic idea. There is fortunately no scoring so you can focus on the fun. Consider it a modified Men in Black with much better animated characters in a more playful scenario. Definitely fun for the entire family.

It was near noon and the crowds were getting me down. I had expected crowds, I had planned only to experience a few must see attractions, but with the crowd level I didn’t think that plan was even realistic. The line for the Haunted Mansion was three hours. FP were gone for most rides. I sat down and tried to get over it. I have a knee problem that actually prevents me from standing in one spot for long periods of time. If I keep walking, I’m fine. Standing in line for hours for multiple rides was not going to be possible. I had to get smarter about my trip to make this all work. That is when I left the Tokyo Disney Resort for a few hours of touring in downtown Tokyo. I highly recommend seeing Tokyo as it is easy to get to from the TDR via the Maihama station. If your inner Disney won’t allow you to leave – just imagine that you are doing research for your next trip to EPCOT’s Japan pavilion.

Back at the TDL at 6 pm and I walked to the only restaurant on property that serves a vegetarian meal – pasta. Arrived at Eastside Cafe where there was a long line. Without any other real food options I waited 40 minutes to be seated. The food was ok. The service, like everywhere at TDR, was excellent. I learned long ago that my vacations must include at least one sit down meal a day so that I am forced to slow down and relax. After a hearty meal, I was back in my right mind to deal with crowds. And crowds I would indeed find.

People don’t leave the Tokyo parks early like at some of the other Disney parks you may have visited. The only time you will notice any change in crowd levels at the attractions is during a big parade/performance or during the last 30 minutes of the day. Rain can lessen the crowd but not by much. FastPasses for most attractions are gone well before noon. Standby lines are usually hours long unless you get to the attraction right when the park opens – and then it is luck or a unpopular attraction. If you have a must-see attraction, make it your first stop for standby or FP. Do not delay and do not be afraid to run as others will be doing the same thing. Always be holding as many Fast Passes as possible.

Japanese visitors to Tokyo Disneyland Resort are willing to wait for everything. They are very patient and don’t push or carry on. I did not once see anyone even looking annoyed with waiting. Most guests were under 25 and in large groups. All were dressed nicely and well-behaved. I have been to WDW when a bunch of young people from outside the US were visiting in large amounts and it was a horrible experience. The youth of Japan were fun to be waiting with in the long lines. TDR offers student discounts during certain parts of the year and you can see if they are available on your dates and that may indicate the crowd levels to some degree.

Where to next? Wandering the park looking for something to do that didn’t require standing. The Main Street Electrical Parade Dreamlights was about to begin. People lined the hub in a very orderly manner – using plastic mats to mark their spots. The parade was very nice. Before the parade was over I headed to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad only to find the line near 3 hours. I had to pass it up and headed further along to Adventureland. The Jungle Cruise line was 20 minutes – I signed up on the spot.

The Jungle Cruise is a lot like the US versions except that it is all in Japanese. The boat captain was a young woman with a lot of energy who rambled off the script with a high pitched yell that was funny. We passed the headhunters and the captain used a word that sounded like “Gringo” and the entire boat looked at me. I decided that I didn’t care and went along with the joke. Perhaps I did not hear it correctly as it really seemed odd for a guest to be made fun of. The boat landed and we all moved on.

It was an hour and a half before park closing and jet lag hit me hard. The little boy me wanted to stay – the adult said get your sleep for tomorrow. I crawled back to the hotel (with the help of the monorail) and passed out. I had missed out on using my Space Mountain FP, but at least I would be alert for day two.

We hope you enjoyed Day One of ChrisNJ’s trip report. Tune in next week for Day Two!

About Rick Wright

Rick has been a long term MiceChat author and co-founder of the Weekend Update. You will often find Rick in the position of "Greeter" at official events due to his warm and welcoming spirit. If you've got photos, news or trip reports to share, Rick would love to hear from you: [email protected]

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39 Comments

Comments for Epic Tokyo Disneyland Trip Report, Day Two are now closed.

  1. Great stuff! I’m really enjoying your TR. I’ve only been to Tokyo once (didn’t get as far as TDR or TDS), but can’t wait to get back …and see these parks for myself!

  2. THANKS so much for all of the details, Rick!

    I was also surprised how everyone in Tokyo looked Japanese and how much I stood out.
    (Unlike London, Paris, NYC, or L.A.) I also had a very high-pitched Jungle Cruise Guide. I found that and Japanese women acting like cute girls to be extremely irritating and creepy.

    I also found the TDL workers to be outstanding–the best at any Disney Resort, unless you could time travel to WDW in the early and mid-70s.

    We have one disagreement, Rick. I think people visiting should spend more than just an afternoon in Tokyo. Don’t miss that famous fish market with it’s tuna auctions early in the morning. An all-day English bus tour I took of the city was excellent and have info and pick-up points at major hotels. It’s fine if you’re not staying at the hotel. And maybe consider taking a bullet train to Kyoto.

    I hate waiting over an hour for anything (and I bring a book for long lines), so your report reduced my desire to visit Tokyo Disneyland.

    Do they still wrap all gifts nicely?

    Did you find in Tokyo Disney Sea that there are too few attractions?

    How many and where are the Japanese smoking at Tokyo Disneyland these days?

    Did you try the popcorns?

    As a foreigner did you encounter any Japanese who were afraid of you?

    I know I’ve accentuated the negative so far, but I really think that Americans who visit WDW’s expensive deluxe resorts one or more times a year should consider skipping two or three of those trips to save money and then making a more adventurous trip to Tokyo. My trip was mind-blowing in a good way and it didn’t cost me much. I had the world’s smallest hotel room which I was fine with since I don’t have claustrophobia. And back then airlines free miles were better so my air fare was free.

    • Oops! I just reread the start and should have thanked our intrepid reporter, Chris from NJ!
      Chris, I love Sinatra, Springsteen and your gov.!

    • P.S. The fact that no trackless attractions are now operating at WDW and the D.Land Resorts is enough reason to disrespect Rasulo, Iger, Staggs and Crofton (RISC–actually the risk-averse, Eisner spawned team.)

      I hope the trackless Ratatouille attraction at Disneyland Paris is even more ambitious than Tokyo’s Pooh. Maybe Universal Orlando could beat WDW & D.land to this!

    • Hi JCruise.

      For better or worse this was part of a business trip so time of year, length of stay was determined by that. How could I turn down a chance to visit Japan with someone else paying the airfare? Even if it was only for a few days – had to go for it.

      Agree that if a person is going all the way to Japan then see the rest of the country. My main trip was for Guam and Tokyo. If the crowds at TDR were a bit less than I’d certainly have spent more time seeing Tokyo. I’d probably have arranged for an English speaking guide to help with food options too – but that wasn’t possible having only a week or so to prepare for the trip.

      Some lines were difficult, but as with most Disney parks part of the fun is just being there. I could go to DisneySea and not go on an attraction and still have a great time. I can see how some would say it has too few attractions, but they were all new to me so just the right amount.

      TDR did not wrap items as I had read about. They did include lots of extra bags so expect they assumed what I bought were gifts.

      Smoking wasn’t a problem – I didn’t notice many smoking in the parks at all. There are dedicated sections for smoking and they were never very crowded. I never saw any young people smoking.

      As far as popcorn, I tried the strawberry (tasted like Strawberry Quik), and cracked pepper (tasted just like it sounds and was delicious). Both were interesting, but I got the impression that both were tinged with a flavor enhancer.

      Hmm. that last question is interesting. I don’t think anyone showed that they were afraid of me. I’d say that the cast members were all absolute professionals. So wonderful. I”m a picky person at times and could not find fault with their wonderful way of treating guests. As far as the other regular visitors – there were a lot of young people and they didn’t actually interact with me much at all. No one tried to converse but no one was also acting scared or avoiding me. I just felt like part of the crowd. I must say that as a NY Metro resident, I felt a bit bad that maybe I haven’t been as good to tourists as I should be. I learned from the people I encountered in Japan.

      • Thanks for carefully reading and responding to my post!

        Maybe Miceage will send you to Hong Kong so you can review the Disney resort there!

        Again, excellent trip report!

  3. I want to go to The Queen of Hearts Banquet Hall! So jealous!

    • Hi Gwendolyn – I’m a huge Alice fan so I had to go to Queen of Hearts. If you ever get a chance do a Disney Alice tour and visit Disneyland Paris too! the highlight of my trip there was wandering the maze and then having a crepe nearby. Sometimes it’s the little attractions that make the biggest impression. Happy Unbirthday to you!

      • The maze is awesome and wholly unique. DL Paris is my favorite (for the most part).

  4. My one question…..Were you travelling solo? I often visit the (stateside) Disney parks as a solo traveler, and feel quite comfortable with that. Would I feel any different in comfort level at TDResort as a solo traveler?

    • Hi Steve – I was actually travelling with a business associate but left that info out as it got complicated in giving out details.

      I have done Disneyland a few times on my own and felt weird only when eating. At TDR you may feel like you are being watched just because you will stand out anyway – but I think if you do the US parks on your own, you won’t feel strange at all at TDR.

      My advice is…go on your own and you’ll have a great time. Some of the rides like Pooh and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea will require you sit with others. You might have more interactions with the locals as well. The great things about travelling on your own at a Disney park (and you probably know this already)… you can get to attractions very fast, and never have to compromise on what to see.

  5. Keep in mind this trip report occurred during March (which is the Japanese Spring Break). Unlike North America they get a short 4-week break at summer, but they also get a longer 4-week break in the Spring (March). Obviously a lot of the time people are at the mercy of business trips or time off work, but for those planning trips to Japan avoid those two major holidays and the parks should be significantly more manageable.

    Anecdotally I went during May two years ago a little bit after the Japanense Earthquake. The parks were empty, they weren’t even running the fastpass system. It was great but highlighted how DisneySea still needs a few more attractions to fill it out (if there are no crowds, if everything wasn’t a walk on I wouldn’t have burnt through everything so quickly). Toy Story and less significantly Jasmine’s flying carpets have already started to fill that need.

    • Ditto!

      Went in May a few years ago… Walked on almost everything except Winnie the Pooh!

      • Lucky!

        I was at the mercy of a business trip so no choice on time to go. I had researched a little and thought it was also a slower time just before the big holiday. Even when I asked at the hotel they said it wasn’t a school holiday. I’m not sure really. What I do know is that Disney was offering student ticket prices. If a person is planning a trip, I’d definitely suggest not going when student tickets are being sold.

  6. i’ve been to TDR three times; august 2001, january 2003 and june 2008. the first time i was there, disneysea had not yet opened but i went the next two times. i agree with some of your comments, but not all.

    first, as another commenter pointed out, you were there for japanese spring break. yikes! TDR is certainly crowded but i never experienced anything like what you did. i think the most i ever waited for the haunted mansion was twenty or so minutes. fastpasses do tend to sell out before noon, but only for the crazy popular attractions like pooh, splash mountain and now monsters inc. i would thus not generalize about crowd levels. if you pick a good time to go, you’re not going to see anything more substantial than WDW. my favorite visit was january; disneysea was practically empty.

    second, perhaps the quality of food has gone down because on my visits i found it to be terrific. better than WDW by far, and perhaps better than some of anaheim’s most recent offerings in a few key places. overall, i found the food at disneysea to be better.

    if you’re interested in my detailed accounts of visiting in 2008, with lots of photos, check out my archived blog posts at themerica:

    http://themerica.org/blog/archives/72

    • Hi DaveyJones

      Certainly never intended to generalize about crowds. I submitted the article with the info that I toured the third week in March. I’m a bit neurotic when it comes to best times to visit a Disney park – research it beyond what is normal. I didn’t have a say in when to go – but those paying for their entire trip should research it carefully.

      About food. I’m a long time vegetarian as I mentioned in the article. I definitely can’t say how good any of the meat items were – or the noodles as I was told they contained fish broth. But I can say that what I did eat wasn’t that great compared to Disneyland’s vegetarian offerings. That is the only fair way I can comment on it. People without any dietary restrictions will find a variety of food. Vegetarians will find almost nothing. Believe me, I read every menu looking.

      Not sure if I wrote this in the article but… I went to a restaurant in Westernland that listed Baked Potato with Cheese. I ordered it and out came these breaded potatoes that had some cheese mixed in. Picture tater tots. They tasted ok. I did have a good laugh about it.

      Agree WDW’s food (except for EPCOT) is a bit of a disappointment. Be Our Guest is actually great and hopefully a sign of the changes happening there. Hopefully.

  7. Just echoing that your timing was bad for crowds.

    I visited for 2 days in February 2012 and crowds were not a problem at all. With fastpasses we got to ride on all the rides we wanted to multiple times and didn’t wait more than 20 minutes for anything.

    It did snow though.

  8. The upcoming Mystic Manor at Hong Kong Disneyland will be using the trackless system as well

  9. Great report, thanks.

    I agree that it’s a shame that Disney hasn’t used trackless technology in North America yet.

  10. This trip report makes me sad. I wish it was us back in Tokyo Disneyland again since we had a superb time there.
    But I’m also sad for the reporter since it appears that poor planning on his part led to a miserable day there, with skipped rides and even a “break” from the park. With all the information available on these forums, to go into this park without a plan is simply a waste of time. When we were there, it was a busy day day as well but even with two kids in tow, we still managed to see a lot of the main attractions using fastpass and even got to enjoy 3 different parades that day (Jubilation, easter parade, and Electrical). The first mistake was getting there so late in the morning. Our japanese friends (and others here) had recommended we arrived no later than one hour before park opening.. We made a point to arrive 75 minutes before opening time and still we were not the first ones in line. But were close enough that we enjoyed the character greeting and band playing before the park gates opened. Maybe being so far back is the reason why the reporter didn’t see any fanfare at opening time? Because i was told this is done daily at the Tokyo parks.
    Anyways.. I think with better planning this day had been much better and worthwhile.

    • ChrisNJ has been quite candid about the fact that due to circumstances beyond his control, this trip was not ideal from a planning standpoint. Nevertheless, the report is packed with good information about what to do (and NOT do).

      Quite a few of our MiceChatters have visited Tokyo Disneyland, but as far as I know, ChrisNJ is the only one to write a 20 page, single-spaced, photo illustrated report about his adventures.

      • Thanks Rick. I’ve been taking a lot of hits about my lack of planning on this trip. If it were an only personal trip then I’d have been able to pick the time of the visit. I’d also have had more than a 10 days to plan every detail.

        Fortunately the positive comments have made the effort of reporting it worthwhile. Keep up the great work with MiceChat. I’m sure most blog posters have thicker skin than I. :)

      • There used to be a lot of good reports from Tokyo Disney Resort on this website some time ago with lots of pictures from which I learned to plan our trip and put tips to works in order to fully take advantage of our visit, especially since we were bringing our children. I too was concerned about crowds when we visited but the tips we learned from reading these pages helped a lot and we had a blast during our 3 days there. This particular trip report is quite enjoyable and I love the pictures so NO, this is NOT a personal “hit” at the poster of this report, but the report IS the first one I’ve seen posted in over two years that contains information that others have posted here before.

        Just for the record, I’m not being critical of the poster himself. Granted, I was not awared of the facts surrounding his visit or limitations about time or day of visit. But I’m commenting on the problems he encountered.and how he was forced to skip rides one after another due to crowds. If visiting on a crowded day was the only option, considering the poster admitted to knee problems that prevent standing for long periods of time, just seems to me that he should have planned better and should have arrived much earlier at the gates. That is critical information that even I learned from reading this pages before visiting in 2011. When I said this report is an example of how not to do Tokyo Disney, I meant about the consequences of not arriving early which the poster quite eloquently explained. So for anyone who is planning to visit Tokyo Disneyland, this report is a good way to plan better and avoid the consequences of arriving too close to opening time. Sorry if my opinion has caused you grief. It was not intended that way.

  11. Very enjoyable read! Looking forward to the next installment. I sent my niece a link to the reports. She’ll be doing 2 college semesters in Japan next year and is a big Disney fan.

    • Hi David,

      thanks. Also let your niece know that Universal in Japan is doing an expansion – so it might also be worth a look while she is there. If she is a Hello Kitty fan – there is a Hello Kitty theme park – Sanrio Puroland. If I had more time I’d also do more touring. There is a site that I use often to learn about tours in other countries called Viator.com. Even if you don’t use them to book – your niece can learn about some popular side trips.

  12. I can emphasize with such a busy day at a Disney park. I went to the Magic Kingdom at WDW two years ago for my birthday in October and it was MADNESS! Madness I tell you. We rode the Disney World Railroad and the Steamboat and that was IT! Much like this report, wait times for everything in excess of an hour. We had to leave and go to another park by lunchtime. Fastpasses…all gone. Was not happy with Disney cramming so many people in where you couldn’t even walk down the aisles. As for the gringo encounter on the Jungle Cruise, I can remember such jokes being directed at “foreigners” on our our Jungle Cruise in California as well as at various attractions at Universal Studios, so I guess we are getting it back :)

    • thanks for the laugh Haven.

      I had the reverse happen to me at the Magic Kingdom for a Christmas party. I had no choice but to go on a night all of the sites said to avoid. Well, since I couldn’t change everything we went and it was actually a very quiet night. Sometimes you plan and get it right, and sometimes other sites get it wrong and you find yourself in an overwhelming crowd.

      Hope you had a great birthday once you changed parks. :)

  13. Wonderful report! Looking forward to the next installment!

  14. Thank you, Chris, for your wonderfully detailed and candid trip report. I hope to visit Japan and the TDR in the next few years, so it was so helpful to read about your experience not only about the parks themselves but about the transportation, hotels, and other tidbits that are essential to a trip. I can’t wait for the next installments! :)

    • Hi Madoka – thanks for the comment.

      Agree with you about learning as much as possible about the transportation options. Those are definitely things that I was concerned about before going. As I probably said a few times – the Japanese people I encountered were so helpful.. And public transport in Tokyo (outside of the parks) is a bit confusing to the first-timer. Just be on the lookout for maps in subway stations and you’ll be fine. Stations that I went through all had printed out maps for the taking. And in tourist areas there are map signs at street level.

      One more thing… please do post about your adventure when you return. I’m sure a lot will change in the coming years so we need to keep our fellow park fans updated.

  15. Hi, first off I would like to tell you that your trip report is really good and I really like all the little details that you have put in it. I was at Tokyo Disney in August 2012 and had a total blast so it’s cool to be able to compare things like ride experiences and food with another person. A little helpful tip, if you are looking for an English map for either parks, you can ask at the front gate when you go in and they should have them there. When I was there they had them stored in a cabinet and just pulled them out for me. It was great and then I didn’t have to make a special trip to guest services. Hope to hear more about your trip! Also be sure to try the curry popcorn, it was my favourite of all of them!

    • thanks Micayla.

      Agree that English map seekers should get the map before heading into the park especially if they are available at the entrance gate. I didn’t see them myself so went to guest services after getting a FP. I had read in advance that the gate cast members might hand one to guests that appeared to be English speaking – but that didn’t happen. Most people entering the gates already had their maps. Also, the TDR website has a decent map that can help new visitors plan.

      You and others might be interested to know that I did see that the student guests had a different map than what I had. Mine was pretty standard with the info you’d expect with attractions listed with the map, popcorn locations, restaurants with a grid to show what they offered. The student version of the map also had lots of photos of souvenirs with text. I wasn’t able to find that version of the map unfortunately. I even looked around on the ground thinking someone may have dropped one but the parks were nearly spotless so no maps to be found. The only trash I ever noticed was a little bit of popcorn, and not even much of that.

      have a great day!