From the video's I've seen, most of the attractions are in Japanese. There are some English attractions like Big Band Beat in TDS, as well as some Japanese/English combination attractions like Mythica.
But the park tends to lean towards the native language of the area.
That being said, you can get a pretty good understanding of what is going on even if you don't know what they are saying. They do a really good job of evoking feelings, particularly with their version of Tower of Terror.
I have very sukoshi (little) Japanese, and I had a ball. Language is nt a problem, and the only time things would be confusing is during the rides you're unfamiliar with. (I take it you've been to WDW or DL)
There is minimal dialogue in Sinbad's voyages, so you should be able to folow the story there, but you won't understand much of the Aladdin Magic Lamp theatre - DO go and see it though, the effects are fun and it is a good show regardless.
Journey to the centre of the earth works without dialogue as well. Big Scary Lava Monster = Get Out Quick !!!!
I haven't been on Hightower Hotel - the TOT- but videos I've seen indicate the the pre-show set-up is in Japanese. THe website has no english bits, but you might want to have a look http://www.tot1899.com/index.html as it fills you in on a lot of the backstory as well using pictures & video clips. I spent hours looking and exploring. Make sure you click through ALL the dialogue and click on EVERYTHING - it's just like an adventure game !!
TDL park is fine - you might not understand the tiki-birds, but you'll know what they're saying anyway.
all the rest is a piece of cake. All the cast go out of their way to help you and most understand fundimental english. If not, gestures and sign language get the message across !
Have a ball - you'll love it !
DLR California - 1991, 1999, 2002, 2007, 2009 DLR Florida - 2002, 2007 DLR Tokyo - 2005 DLR Paris - 2011 DLR Hong Kong -2011 DLR Beijing -TBA
I will be visiting TDL in March and I am wondering if the shows and rides are in English or Japanese?
When I visited TDS sept 05, every ride was in japanese (20k Leagues, Journey to the center of the earth, Stormrider, Indy Jones, Alladin) So I just kinda sat back and enjoyed the rides. I didnt go to TDL, so I am not sure, but I am going to say that yes they are all going to be in japanese....
Language has never been a problem for me at TDR. The quality of the shows and rides carries you thru. You may have a bit harder time dealing with some CMs who are simply unknowledgeable about English. However... try to understand... this is Japan. They do not have to be obligated to assist us in english, yet, there is no other more foreign culture that tries to be as accomodating to english speakers, so I love them for that. I feel the japanese guests who come to WDW get treated much much poorly in regards to their language needs than I have been at TDR in my 17 yrs of visiting that park.
Generally language is not an issue at all. Those skills you picked up in grade school about understanding what's going on through context rather than specific words will help you greatly.
Yes, some attractions are entirely in Japanese (like the Country Bears and the Tiki Room and The Mickey Mouse Review), while others are mixed, and others are mostly in English (like the Haunted Mansion and Pirates). If you are a Disney fan and frequent park-goer in the US (and if you weren't, why would you be going all the way to Japan to visit a Disney Resort!) then you'll have no trouble because as already mentioned you'll be familiar with the shows.
And I would disagree that the dialogue to the following attractions is important--20,000 Leagues under the Sea is understandable after only one or two ride-throughs. You expend all of your craft's energy in killing the squid and sink farther down in the ocean. Sea Creatures then give you a push back to the surface. That's all you need to know at the basic level.
For Journey to the Center of the Earth, you don't need to know anything at all--it's a visual spectacle.
For Storm Rider, there is a board that displays simultaneous translation of the pre-show, which gives all the background. The dialogue during the ride is meaningless jibber-jabber--like what Captain Rex says in Star Tours.
You can always ask as cast member and, if he or she cannot speak enough English to assist you, they will get someone who can.
When it comes to TDR English really is not a issue.All the park annoucements are made in both Japanese and English for the shows and parades.The Big Band Beat over at TDS which is a fantastic show is performed in full English.All the signs are either in Japanese and English or just English so you do get a good chance to pick up a lot of the back stories of the parks.The food menu's are all in English and if you do require help during your stay I recomend visiting Guest Relations where there is always an English speaking Castmember on hand to assist.Also while not many Castmembers have confidence in speaking English most do understand English which will help you in buying tickets and food etc.
(I'm so sorry. I resisted at least 3 times before I decided to be a bad person.)
On a serious note, I had no problems communicating in Japan. I know about 5 Japanese words but using my hand to talk helped quite a bit. I had an entire conversation about kitties with a shopkeeper using lots of hand gestures and very few common words.
I agree that language is not a problem, and I found it easy enough to communicate outside of the Disney parks too. Learn a couple of polite words like hello, thankyou, please etc and you'll go a long way.
I wouldn't hesitate to go back to Japan armed with only the five Japanese words I know!
Next trip September 2013
Past trips: May 2010 TDL and DisneySea
September 2006 TDL and DisneySea Dec 2005 DL June 2003 DL Dec 2002 WDW April 2002 DLP Dec 2001 DL Nov 2000 WDW Oct 2000 DL Oct 1997 WDW April 1994 DL