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  1. #1

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    Talking TDR 6/29-7/3 transportation & park questions

    Hi,

    I've been lurking here for about a year and I have really learned a lot! Thank you for sharing your collective wealth of knowledge. It has been invaluable in planning our trip.

    A little background: in 2008 I had a chance to go to London in late November, but was hesitant because I didn't want to miss Thanksgiving and my oldest son's birthday. The solution my wife and I came up with was to bring him along. From the moment that decision was made the focus of the trip became giving our son an educational and very fun experience that would expand his horizons, let us do some dad/son bonding and basically create some lifelong memories. Let me tell you, it was one of the best decisions we ever made and the best money we ever spent. We added a few days in France to the end of the trip. My son knew we were going to Paris, but didn't know the whole story. On our last night in London my wife, via video-chat from back home, clued him in that he and I were going to Disneyland Paris. She got to see the look on his face as the news sank in. Needless to say, he was a happy camper. Meanwhile, back at home, our other two kids just assumed they too would get a one-on-one trip of a lifetime and started planning where they would go. We had created a monster (but don't regret it one bit).

    Fast forward to today and I'm working away on the trip my second-oldest son and I will take in a few short weeks. It's worth saying again how helpful your experience has been in pulling this all together. Here's the rundown on the TDR portion of the trip:

    Tuesday, July 29 8:00 PM, arrive in Narita from Cairns, Australia via Jetstar. We're going to immediately head to the Sheraton Grande Tokyo Bay so we can get an early start the next morning. We check-out on Saturday, July 3rd for a few days in Tokyo proper before heading back to the States. So, that gives us three full days at the parks, Wednesday, Thursday & Friday. We'll probably hit a park Saturday morning too before we check-out even though I've learned it can be crazily crowded. It promises to be a good time.


    So many questions...... I'd appreciate any help you can offer.

    Transportation:
    Since we're arriving so late we will have missed the TDR Limo Bus. The trip from the airport to the Sheraton has been the aspect of the trip I have been most concerned about. If I was by myself it would be no big deal, but with a ten year old in tow, at night, after an 8 hour flight, with luggage, not speaking the language, in a country I haven't been before.....well, it kinda ratchets up the potential stress factor. I'm sure it will turn out to be a positive adventure to my son rather than an ordeal, but I just want to be prepared as possible.

    I see 3 possibilities: taxi (big bucks), limo bus/taxi combination, train.

    If we take the train to TDR it seems that TDLFAN's route (Keisei Skyliner / Limited Express to Funabashi - JR yellow train to Nishi-Funabashi - Musashino Line to Maihama) might be best bet. But I haven't been able to figure out a couple things. I have been pouring over timetables, wikis, trip reports etc.but I still need some help.

    Is it true that the Keisei Evening liner doesn't stop at Funabashi Station? Also, I've seen timetables which show the Keisei Skyliner departing NRT as late as 2200 hrs. Wouldn't this make it an EveningLiner? I guess what I need to know is: at the late hour we will be traveling (2100 - 2200 hrs.) should I avoid the Keisei Skyliner and/or EveningLiner and take the Keisei Limited Express to ensure reaching Funabashi Station? Might the late hour also affect connections on JR or Musashino legs?

    If we end up going all the way into Tokyo Station I have a question about the Tunnel of Doom that's commented on so much. Just how long is it? Timewise, I've heard ranges from ten to twenty minutes to walk its length. Of course, people walk at different speeds, but how long would you estimate it might take healthy folks walking at a leisurely pace each with one piece of good rolling luggage? Could someone try to give a rough guess of its length?

    I've read there are limo buses to other hotels not too far from TDR that run late into the night. What do you think of taking one of those buses and then taking a taxi to Sheraton Grande Tokyo Bay? Do you recommend any particular hotel route?

    Is the monorail free for guests of the Sheraton Grande? If so, is it still free for awhile after we checkout - in order to get to Maihama station?

    Maybe I'm operating from a stereotype, but do longer work days translate to rush hour times different than the USA? I see rush hour as roughly 7-9 am and 4-6 pm. Would you say this is also the case in Japan? It might make a difference as to when we travel around town.


    Parks:
    I've seen conflicting info regarding fastpasses. Can they still be used after the return time printed on the fastpass as in WDW?
    Where can I find more info about the show lottery? Is it similar to WDW where you use your passport in a machine to get a fastpass for a show?
    We're looking at getting a 4 day passport. I understand that we must go to one park the first day and the other park the next day and parkhop on days 3 and 4. Do I have to specify which parks we intend to go to on which days when I purchase the passports?
    Generally speaking, would you say the parks are significantly less crowded in the evenings?

    So, there it is. I've gone from not knowing what to ask to having a million questions to having this bunch. That's progress isn't it?

  2. #2

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    Re: TDR 6/29-7/3 transportation & park questions

    Sorry, I can't help much with the transportation, but can hopefully answer some of your other questions.

    The fastpass does actually stick to the time- you can't really use it once your window return time expires- so it is not like WDW where you have the rest of the day.

    The lottery system is generally used now for One Mans Dream II in TDL and Big Band Beat in TDS- but that can change if there is some other show going on at the time of your visit. The main TDR site has some info on it, but basically to win a seat at the show- your entire group must scan your passes & then when you start the lottery- you will either be told I'm sorry, or it will print out passes to the show with seat locations on them. In TDL- the lottery is run near Space Mountain & in TDS- it's in Mediterranean Harbor on the left side when going towards American Waterfront in the Venice area near the ice cream shop. You can only enter the lottery once a day & there's no real system towards it- but I've heard that you should pay attention to others around you to see if they are winning/losing to see if you may the there at a lucky time.

    The 4 day pass is the best value- but yes, you must tell them which park you will be visiting on day 1 & day 2, then 3 & 4 are the hoppers- the 4 days must be used consecutively.

    The parks usually clear out quickly after the evening shows- like Dreamlights at TDL & Braviseamo in TDS- or if some other show or nighttime parade is going on while you're there- but you may have only about an hour- but you can get so much more done at that time than during the day.

    One thing to remember- See Monsters Inc either first thing in the morning or get a fastpass first thing in the morning for it- otherwise you can wait 2-3 hours during the day & it does close an hour or more before park closing for standby & may only take those who have fastpass for the final hour.

    I've never been there in the summer but have heard that crowds are the heaviest & the heat/humidity can be unbearable- so just be prepared for that.

    Hope you have a great time

  3. #3

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    Re: TDR 6/29-7/3 transportation & park questions

    As for the transfer to your hotel, that was my biggest concern too. In the end we went with a private car transfer (costing a small fortune), because we have a 1 year old and a 3 year old. If our kids were older, we would have caught the limo bus to the Oriental or similar hotel and then a taxi. We didn't do this because of the issue with baby seats in taxis.
    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

  4. #4

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    Re: TDR 6/29-7/3 transportation & park questions

    Jedimaster7313, thanks for your practical advice; it was just the sort of info I needed. I'm no big fan of heat & humidity (I know, that sounds funny coming from a firefighter, but that's a different kind of heat), 72 degrees F and partly sunny is my idea of perfect weather. My son's wired the same way. But it is what it is and we're no strangers to it here in Chicago anyway.



    Mellywil, I'm glad you found a solution. Traveling with little ones is no joke. Money well-spent I'd say.
    We'll be in Sydney, before we go to Japan and we can't wait to experience your city!! We have two flights with Jetstar while in Australia (SYD-CNS & CNS-NRT). What do you think of them? They sure do have a lot poor, no not just poor, actually just plain bad reviews. Yes, they are inexpensive, but I hope the savings don't end up costing us excessive aggravation, delays etc. I know you can find negative reviews of any airline if you look for them and maybe that's the case here. However, our flight times have been changed three times already, by as much as twelve hours! So, they might keep us on our toes.
    In any case, have a great trip!!!!!!

  5. #5

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    Re: TDR 6/29-7/3 transportation & park questions

    So far we have only ever flown on Jetstar for a return one hour flight and couldn't fault them. Tomorrow's 9 hour flight will be telling I think!
    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

  6. #6

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    Re: TDR 6/29-7/3 transportation & park questions

    Mellywil: So, it sounds like you're flying Jetstar tomorrow. I hope I didn't cause you any worries where there were none before. I'm sure it will be smooth sailing / flying. Enjoy your trip, and take lots of pictures and video because those little ones sure do get big in a hurry.

  7. #7

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    Re: TDR 6/29-7/3 transportation & park questions

    I just want to say that my trip last year to Tokyo Disney with my 14 year-old son was probably the best decision of my life. What an amazing experience it was.

    I wish I could be of help on your transportation question as I see that the last Airport Limousine Bus to the Sharaton is at 17h10. Even the buses for Urusaya leave no later than 20h40. Too bad it stops so early in the day.

    You could always take a Keisei Bus from the airport to a closer destination (like Kasai Station) for $16.50 pp and then take a taxi at only about $25/30. Leaves at about 21h30. That is 'probably' what I would do.

    Link:
    http://www.narita-airport.jp/en/access/bus/index.html
    Last edited by shelemm; 06-07-2010 at 08:23 AM.

  8. #8

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    Re: TDR 6/29-7/3 transportation & park questions

    Quote Originally Posted by macnoir View Post

    Transportation:
    If we end up going all the way into Tokyo Station I have a question about the Tunnel of Doom that's commented on so much. Just how long is it? Timewise, I've heard ranges from ten to twenty minutes to walk its length. Of course, people walk at different speeds, but how long would you estimate it might take healthy folks walking at a leisurely pace each with one piece of good rolling luggage? Could someone try to give a rough guess of its length?
    I'm going with 10-12 minutes on this one. It is long, and we do walk fairly briskly, but it's not 20 minutes long... If you only have one piece of luggage, you, and your son, I say just take the subway from Narita, walk the Tunnel of Doom, and grab the Keiyo Line. Then you don't have to fuss with all the timetables and changing just to avoid one set of stairs.

    Quote Originally Posted by macnoir View Post
    Is the monorail free for guests of the Sheraton Grande? If so, is it still free for awhile after we checkout - in order to get to Maihama station?
    It does not appear that the Sheraton gives out free monorail passes anymore: http://www.starwoodhotels.com/sherat...propertyID=361

    Quote Originally Posted by macnoir View Post
    Maybe I'm operating from a stereotype, but do longer work days translate to rush hour times different than the USA? I see rush hour as roughly 7-9 am and 4-6 pm. Would you say this is also the case in Japan? It might make a difference as to when we travel around town.
    Morning rush hours seemed about the same to me, but the subways were crowded later into the evening than I expected, and I was shocked to find gridlock on the freeway at midnight on a Saturday.

    Quote Originally Posted by macnoir View Post
    Parks:
    I've seen conflicting info regarding fastpasses. Can they still be used after the return time printed on the fastpass as in WDW?
    In March we had no problem using FASTPASSes well after the return time. We'd collect them all by midday and then use them up until closing time.

    Quote Originally Posted by macnoir View Post
    Where can I find more info about the show lottery? Is it similar to WDW where you use your passport in a machine to get a fastpass for a show?
    Dunno if this is because it was Top season or if we misunderstood or what, but when we walked up to Big Band Beat without any FASTPASSes we were told that they weren't even distributing them that day and everyone had to wait in standby. We waited about 15 minutes and got in with no problem. So it may be that you don't even need them.

  9. #9

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    Re: TDR 6/29-7/3 transportation & park questions

    I'd like to thank all or you for the great information. It will be very helpful. Shelemm, thanks for the reinforcement. Now, is the time I start asking myself what the heck am I doing splitting up the family and taking one kid to the other side of the planet. Lurkyloo, your trip report was fantastic as was your response to my questions. We're only a few days away from the first leg of this 3 week odyssey and all the little things are coming together. My son is very excited.

    I was going to get a small amount of Australian dollars and Yen from a bank at Michigan & Wacker yesterday morning. I had to postpone things a bit since that was the exact location of the Chicago Blackhawks Stanley Cup championship rally and there were an estimated 2 million people downtown to celebrate! I have never seen anything like it (at least since the Bears won the Superbowl in 1986). I can only imagine the scene when the Cubs win the World Series - next year.

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