Everyone has that one extra memorable trip in their lives, and for me and Boon,
it is our Tokyo trip in December 2014!
Having been to Osaka and Kyoto and really enjoyed ourselves there, we knew Tokyo would not disappoint. True enough, Tokyo was what we expected and more, and one of the highlights of our trip was definitely our trip to Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo Disneysea, two of the most magical places on planet earth, two days in a row!
We bought the tickets at a Disney merchandise store in Shibuya one day before our visit.
Even the ticketing counter looked so magical!
The rates in December 2014. Just checked online and their tickets have increased by now (June 2016). For the latest ticket prices, visit Tokyo Disney Resort's website:
I've been meaning to blog about this for a long, long while! I've a thousand and one photos and things to share so I'll be splitting my posts into two- an informative post like this one you're reading now, and another post sharing mainly photos and little cutesy details!
One of the biggest push for me to blog about how to maximise your time in Disneyland and Disneysea is because I've so many friends going to Disneyland/Disneysea every year, and many of them came back telling me their trip was just okay-okay, the place was beautiful but they only managed to go for one or two attractions cos there were too many people. Each time I hear that my heart aches a little because having explored almost every inch of Disneyland and Disneysea (cos me and Boon kiasu Asian tourists, you see. hahaha), we know just how much our friends have missed out because the real deal about Disneyland and Disneysea are their rides and attractions! And you have not fully experienced Disneyland and Disneysea if you only walked around in Duffy costumes and stroll along the streets, and not sitting on the rides!
Here's a little bit of background story. Boon has been to Disneyland in Paris before so he knew what to expect, but for me, my idea of going to Disneyland was to wear cute Disney costumes, walk around with a cute popcorn bucket in hand, take photos with Disney characters and....that's it. I didn't even know there were such things like different attractions by different Disney stories!
When I found out about the different rides from Boon I was like, "Aiyo lame la those rides sure kiddy one!" Boon was like "No, I totally enjoyed myself in Paris and I'm sure you will too!" I was like, "Okay, we'll see" cos Boon's idea of fun and mine slightly different. He quite easily amused one so I didn't believe him 100% ahahahah!
Okay, enough of background stories. I'll share more as we go along but for now, here are 7 tips on how to maximise your time in Disneyland and Disneysea!
Get your bum there early!
So Boon was right after all! The Disneyland park opened at 9am, we arrived at 8.45am thinking we might be early (on a Wednesday morning! how crowded can it be!). Well, I was severely WRONG. When I told Boon "OMG why so many people I thought we were already early!", he said, "Nope...I knew we were already late". Lesson learned, trust the husband!
At 8.45am we were lining up wayyyy behind and took us 30-45 minutes to even see the Disneyland main entrance hahaha. There were just too many people but though it was shoulder-to-shoulder and back-to-back crowded, everyone was very civil and polite so it was still a pleasant experience.
Getting there early is important not only to maximise your time in the park, but to get your fast passes early! More on that later.
Well, we (erm, okay, I) learned it the hard way and redeemed ourselves the next day in Disneysea!
With so many people, so many attractions and so little time, the only way to get the most out of your day is to STRATEGISE.
We learned this the hard way too. Having done zero research on the fast passes and attractions, we simply just went along with the crowd and queued up where everyone else queued in Disneyland. Because of that we wasted a lot of time getting lost with the crowd. For the following day at Disneysea, we were more "experienced" (cheh hahaha) and were very determined to redeem ourselves ahahah. Here's what we did.
Before we arrived at Disneysea, we researched online to see what attractions were the most popular and worth our time. We identified them and told ourselves we must prioritise them first.
Boon also came up with this brilliant strategy to go counter-crowd, meaning we go for the attractions furthest from the main entrance and slowly work our way backwards. That's because most people would go shop for Disney merchandises first, take photos at the entrance first, and go for the nearest attractions first and slowly move along. So if we went counter-crowd, we would save ourselves lots of time and have the back part of the park to ourselves first!
We arrived at Disneysea much earlier compared to Disneyland, and the moment we got passed the ticketing counters, we RAN towards the popular attraction (20,000 Leagues Under the Sea) which is all the way at the end of the park and quickly got our hands on the fast pass tickets. I remember the weather was cold and winds were chilly, because of that I couldn't really run very fast cos my nose was getting achy after catching my breath so much so I yelled to Boon, "You run first I'll catch up with youuuu!", he was like, "Are you sure?" I said, "Yes! Now, go!!!"
So dramatic, it felt like a scene in a romantic war movie.
He quickly reached for the fast pass ticket counter while I slowly caught up hahahaha. It was damn kiasu of us and we couldn't stop laughing at how Asian we were. While running we kept laughing like dumbasses cos we were damn embarrassing la ahaha. But hey, it paid off!
We got our fast pass before anyone else, and while waiting for the ride we went around taking photos around the area and Mermaid Lagoon and practically had the WHOLE PLACE to ourselves because the crowd was still slowly strolling their way from the entrance of the park. It was awesome.
It felt truly magical to have the whole place to ourselves. Please do this when you visit Disneyland/Disneysea next time!
Grab them fast passes fast!
So you've heard me mentioning a lot about the fast passes by now, and boy are they important! Without a fast pass, you can end up queueing for 2 hours for popular rides. With a fast pass, maybe 5-15 minutes? Makes a world of difference!
A few of my followers told me about the fast passes and initially I thought I would have to pay extra for the fast passes but no, it's completely free! Fast pass ticketing machines are everywhere, usually situated nearby each attraction. And they all look different too!
So initially the naive me thought that it's about who grabs all the fast passes the quickest, and we can just keep grabbing fast passes and get priority to the rides. Seriously naive if that's the case the whole park will be in chaos and a fast pass wouldn't be a fast pass anymore hahah!
Here's everybody queueing up to grab fast pass tickets.
So here's how fast passes work.
For each fast pass collected, the time for you to start redeeming your rides will be stated on the ticket. It is also stated at the bottom of the ticket the next time that you can retrieve your next fast pass. So that we won't abuse the system and also to make it fair for everyone to get a chance at the fast passes.
So do take note of your fast pass timing and remember to redeem them, because when you wander around the park is easy to get distracted and forget you about your existing fast pass! Do also take note of the next time you can redeem your fast pass and quickly go get it once you can! Fast passes are the best for really popular rides so do plan accordingly!
Double check where the queue is heading towards.
Hahahaha this one I must share.
It's not really a tip per se, but a really useful word of advice, I must say.
With such a large crowd in Disneyland and Disneysea, queues for attractions could form really, really long even outside its queuing sections. Boon and I were queuing up for the Peter Pan ride and we thought wow, this must be a very popular ride seeing that the queue is all the way outside of the queuing area. So we queued and queued, and the line slowly moved and we were feeling more and more excited!
Then the queue just stopped in front of a popcorn stall, and then we realised...
THAT WE QUEUED FOR 20 MINUTES FOR A POPCORN STALL!!!
Boon mistaken the popcorn stall line for Peter Pan and we ended up wasting 20 minutes of our precious time queueing up for popcorn we didn't want. Hahahahah we laughed until there was no tomorrow. How silly! So yes, please do check where the queue leads to!
Bring your own food.
Before you start thinking why we're so kiam siap (thrifty), it's not actually about the money.
Every moment in Disneyland/Disneysea is precious. While the restaurants may be super adorable and the food served special, instead of waiting up for food to be served and slowly enjoying our cute Disney meals, we would prefer to spend the time queueing up for our next attraction. Since we need to spend a long time queuing anyway, we make the time worth by eating while in line! We takeaway onigiris, bottled coffee and milk tea from 7Eleven before departing, and ate whenever we were hungry!
This is a drinks vending machine! Boon bought a bottle of milk tea for me but it turned out to be a hot bottle! We later found out that blue teapot served cold drinks, and the pink one serves hot drinks :')
We also bought food and drinks from stalls and kiosks along the pathways to fill our tummies!
Chocolate churros- 310 yen
Caramel popcorns- 310 yen
Little green dumplings- 360 yen
Spicy smoked chicken leg- 430 yen
Don't miss the shows!
There are a few theatre production shows in Disneyland and Disneysea that are worth the entire ticket price! By catching the shows you'll already feel like it has made your expensive disney ticket worth.
Plan your time around the special attractions happening all day long such as the special theatre shows, outdoor day and night parades, castle visits, fireworks, and so on.
Speaking of castle visit, we didn't realise that there was it was open until 4pm only. When we arrived at 4.30pm and were denied entry, I was so devastated! I mean, who goes to Disneyland and not visit the Cinderella Castle!! Plus, Cinderella is my favourite princess/story! I was so, super emo that Boon wanted to get us another Disneyland pass for another day, but of course we didn't do that. I told him it's okay, next time we'll bring our kids here and visit the castle together :')
So please learn from our mistakes and don't miss all the important shows and opening hours for visits! You can plan ahead by checking out the schedule on Tokyo Disney Resort's website: --> http://www.tokyodisneyresort.jp/en/show/lists/park:tds
Stay until the end!
Disneyland and Disneysea become even more magical when the sun goes down.
Lots of people leave after the sun sets, especially families with small babies but if you can afford to stay, stay as long as you can! We say make full use of your passes and stay from first thing in the morning until the park guards chase you out!
Stay on after the night parade and fireworks! We had some of the best and most fun moments together when the park was almost closing. It was just us and the entire park. Sounds scary but it was the most fun and romantic thing ever. We could even go for the rides again and again without having to queue!
When they say that Disneyland is the happiest place on earth, they mean it. I found myself feeling like a kid again, and the magical feeling lingered on even after we left the park. It's worth every buck we paid!
But if you asked us if we enjoyed Disneyland or Disneysea more, we would say Disneysea because the rides were more exciting and the architectures were simply amazing. Disneysea is more suitable for grown ups so I guess that's why we enjoyed it better.
The next time we go back, we'll be going to Disneyland as a family, dressing Tyler up in cute Disney costumes and visiting overpriced Disney themed restaurants hahaha! That's what families with small kids do, I guess. Can't rush for attractions after attractions with a baby in tow, so might as well enjoy the other side of Disney.
But if you're going without babies, go make full use of your time in the park! Ahh blogging about this makes me miss Disneyland and Disneysea so much! If you're heading there soon, enjoy on our behalf!
Hope this post has helped somehow!