First and foremost, I’m not really a fan of theme parks. Aside from falling in line at the rides, I hate waiting while doing nothing. Such is the case when my friend asked me to give Tokyo DisneySea a try, and what can I say? I expected what I was expecting. The timing of our visit totally did not help, why? Oh, cause it’s freaking summer. Thank goodness we bought a liter of bottled water! Plus some snacks to pass the time.
Ranting aside, the rides in Tokyo DisneySea are A QUEUE WORTH WAITING FOR!! Even when the weather was unkind to us, it was still a beautiful experience from one of the happiest places on Earth. We did not have any plans at all on our first ever visit in Tokyo DisneySea and once I opened the map it was, OH-EM-GEE. We need to plan this out yo! Talk about HUUUUUGE. You need to plan your trip well here or you will really end up wasting a lot of time queueing and picking what attractions to go to next.
Here is your guide on the super popular theme park Tokyo DisneySea. My friend and I pulled of the planning while walking, it was a little stressful since we were TOTALLY CLUELESS. And we don’t want to waste our money by not enjoying the most of our rides. But we eventually did, and got the most of it! It’s all about stra-te-geez.
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DISNEYLAND AND DISNEYSEA?
Starting off what are their differences anyway?
DisneyLand tends to be more on the traditional Disney theme park classic experience, with the oh-so tall castles and princesses roaming around. If you’re traveling with kids going to DisneyLand is a much better pick. DisneySea’s attraction tends to be more adventurous, wild and dark, well some of them. Some attractions also have height requirements and it’ll be a waste not to try their thrilling rides.
DisneySea is hailed as the best Disney theme park in the world yet caters more to adults. It can only be found in… not really Tokyo, rather in Urayasu City in Chiba prefecture. There are no other DisneySea in the world. And aside that they offer alcoholic beverages on most spots, the attractions in DisneySea are more thrilling and romantic. They have roller coasters that will suddenly put you high up a mountain then blasts you down or a 360 loop de loop coasters. As for the hopeless romantics, you can ride a Venetian gondola at night and stare at the beauty of the Mediterranean Harbor. Think of it as an Italian experience.
Both theme parks have their own uniqueness, in terms of queueing, DisneySea is more crowded than DisneyLand. But I think it depends on the season and the day you will visit. It was summer when we visited and only the fittest or the clueless will brave the summer heat on a crowded theme park. Thankfully the lines at night tend to be less so we get to ride a lot around that time.
In addition, DisneySea is more unique as they have numerous themes inside the park. One section you’ll feel like you’re in Italy, the next you will be in the Amazons gazing at temples, statues and the like then next you’re in the Middle East. For an avid traveler, you get to experience the different sides of the world in one park! How cool is that?
MUST-EXPERIENCE DISNEYSEA ATTRACTIONS
These are the rides you must not miss when you visit DisneySea! Even though it is impossible to ride all these attractions in one day, it is still better to slash off most of them. Remember, your ¥7000 1-day entrance fee to DisneySea can get you to Hakone for 3 days. Imagine that.
DisneySea has 7 main areas with specific themed attractions. I’ll also list down the popular attractions per area. But first here is a summary:
DISNEYSEA MAIN AREAS:
- Mediterranean Harbor
- Mysterious Island
- Mermaid Lagoon
- Lost River Delta
- Arabian Coast
- American Waterfront
- Port Harbor
DISNEYSEA TOP ATTRACTIONS:
- Venetian Gondolas**
- Journey to the Center of the Earth**
- 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
- Mermaid Lagoon Theatre
- Indian Jones Adventure: Temple of the Crystal Skull **
- Raging Spirits**
- Sinbad’s Storybook Voyage**
- The Magic Lamp Theater
- Tower of Terror**
**Really a must-experience ride
1 | MEDITERRANEAN HARBOR
The first area near the entrance and has the ambience of a romantic European port town.
Top Attractions to visit:
- Venetian Gondolas: Save it for nighttime because the view around the canal are more lovely. The view of the Mediterranean Harbor from across the Palazzo canals to the lagoon will definitely transport you to Venice, Italy. Perfect for dates. The gondoliers will even sing or make a joke, their not understandable to those who cannot speak Japanese though.
- Transit Steamer Line: Not really a thrilling ride, but you can use this steamer lines to get from one area to another. Always ask the Cast Member for the routes. We rode this to get from Mediterranean Harbor to Lost River Delta and it saved lots of our time. Better look out for these rides to access areas easily.
2 | MYSTERIOUS ISLAND
Upon entering you’ll immediately get a view of a volcano called Mount Prometheus. It is just across the Mediterranean Harbor. In here you will discover the secrets deep within the Earth and under the sea.
Top Attractions to visit:
- Journey to the Center of the Earth: A really popular must-experience ride! With the awesome-st, longest queue we waited for, and it is worth it! Prepare for a surprise once you’re out the danger-filled caverns of Mt. Prometheus. There are also monsters along the way with such details on the special effects. I think this is the most thrilling one as it.. Oops, I don’t want to spoil the surprise.
- 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea: While researching on the internet, many have voted this is also a must-ride. We mistakenly took a FastPass for this when the waiting time is only 40 minutes. It didn’t have a long queue. Personally, it was just so-so. You get to explore the undersea and the alien-like creatures aboard a small submarine.
3 | MERMAID LAGOON
Mermaid Lagoon is located just beside Mount Prometheus. This spot is the little world of Ariel and her aquatic friends. Inside Ariel’s world is also her father, Triton’s Kingdom. We didn't get to see much of this place since we were rushing off to the Tower of Terror, and I specifically just want to avoid any water rides. Still, we're supposed to visit this at a later hour but we did not have enough time to come back.
Top Attractions to visit:
- Mermaid Lagoon Theatre: An “under the sea” musical show with Ariel and her friends
4 | LOST RIVER DELTA
Just across Mysterious island is the remote Central American jungles of the Amazon. This is my personal favorite, I love the temples, ruins and the feel of being in an ancient civilization.
Top Attractions to visit:
- Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Crystal Skull: Do not ever miss this high-speed jeepney ride! The effects of the rides are top-notch! Get ready to have a stolen shot of you from the ride! I really recommend that you also get a FastPass for this one as the regular line for this is just shocking! And it was already that late at night.
- Raging Spirits: Just beside the Crystal Skull attraction is the Raging Spirits. I didn’t even feel the 360° loop because my head was at a bow the whole time due to the speed of the coaster. This is one of the most thrilling ride we have experienced, but only next to the "Journey to the Center of the Earth".
5 | ARABIAN COAST
Need I say more, this is Agrabah! Another personal favorite in terms of its theme and architecture. But I think the attractions here are just so-so. Though I really, truly like the castles with the mushroom-like roofs. We did not get to ride any of the attractions here and the ones we want is closed.
Top Attractions to visit:
- Sinbad’s Storybook Voyage: Closed on the day of our visit. I heard it’s a dark themed ride. Will probably come back for this attraction next time.
- The Magic Lamp Theater: This one’s a magic show with the world’s greatest magician and the Genie.
6 | AMERICAN WATERFRONT
This has the feeling of a big city or a fishing village. This area is a vibrant port with the charms of New England aka America. Once you see a huge ship you’re already at the waterfront. This is also where the famous Tower of Terror resides.
Top Attractions to visit:
- TOWER OF TERROR!!! : Also called the Twilight Zone. Probably my most favorite. It’s both a thematic and thrilling DEFINITELY-MUST-EXPERIENCE ride with a story to tell! Just like Indiana Jones, this one also got top-notch visual effects. I was stunned and amazed how that statue of the god Shiriki Utundu suddenly disappeared, I’m positive there’s really a physical statue there! In Tower of Terror you get to ride an elevator and it will lift you up and suddenly lets you fall down. Get ready for the free-fall ride! I can’t forget that feeling of falling again and again. You also get to see the highest view of the theme park here which is a sight to behold. But the evil god wants you to disappear so it pulls you down yet again.
7 | PORT DISCOVERY
It was already night time when we arrived in Port Discovery so I didn’t get to see much of the place. My first impression is, the building looks like large submarines. A little bit like in the Mysterious Mountain.
Top Attractions to visit:
- Aquatopia: Didn’t get to ride this, we were already in line but decided not to continue. We were not sure if we will get wet and we do not have any protection for our gadgets. Therefore we just passed on this one. Can’t risk the gadgets. Aquatopia lets you board a watercraft for a whirling ride with unexpected turns.
THE FASTPASS IS YOUR SAVIOUR
IMMEDIATELY GET A FASTPASS
A what? Fastpass is a ticket reservation to access selected popular attractions without queueing. Think of it as a VIP pass on your selected attraction.
- Where to get a FastPass? There are FastPass machines near the entrance of particular rides. They are easily recognizable with signs pointing to the FastPass ticketing machines. You will know what attractions are available to use a FastPass when you see your map. Your DisneySea Map guide is a valuable asset to your theme park adventure so, DO NOT LOSE YOUR MAP. And for goodness’ sake DO NOT EVER LOSE YOUR FASTPASS TICKET.
- How to get a FastPass. Once you’re in the FastPass ticketing machine, scan the QR code of your DisneySea entrance ticket and voila! It will release your ticket. If you bought a ticket from Klook like we did, please do not fold your printout along the QR codes. The machines might not be able to read them.
- How does it work? Just remember. You can only get ONE FASTPASS AT A TIME. Once you get your first FastPass, there are details indicated on what time you can go inside the particular attraction you chose and when you can get your next FastPass. The waiting time on when you can get your next FastPass depends on how popular the attraction is. When we got our FastPass on Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Crystal Skull, our waiting time is an hour and a half. Wherein, when we got a FastPass on 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, we only got 40 minutes of waiting time before we can get again our next FastPass ticket.
- Be fast. The availability of FastPass tickets on some really popular attractions end early some time at around 2pm. It also depends on the availability of seats, we got there late and there ain’t any FastPass available. FastPass ticketing closes at around 4pm.
- Choose wisely. Reserve the use of your FastPass only on your must-ride bucket list. If you’re going for the popular ones, maximum FastPass tickets you can get and use are around 2 to 4. Arrive early at DisneySea like really, really early.
- Not all rides have a Fastpass. They are only for the super popular attractions. Other than those, you’ll have to fall in regular line.
STRATEGY IN USING YOUR DISNEYSEA FASTPASS:
This is not a fail-proof plan, but something I recommend so you can all enjoy and save time around the park. Think of it as an itinerary you can follow as a guide for your DisneySea adventure.
- Arrive early and decide which attraction you want to get for your first FastPass. We shall call this Attraction A. Remember to choose wisely. I recommend doing the activities per area in a clockwise direction. Since you will have to walk back and forth with this plan.
- Now that you got your FastPass for Attraction A, go to Attraction B and wait in the regular line. The average waiting time for both the FastPass ticket and a regular line are almost the same, but it will still depend on the rides. Once you are finished with Attraction B, get back to Attraction A where you won’t have to queue anymore.
- Now that you’ve used up your Fastpass. You can now get a new one for Attraction C. Like the first step, go to Attraction D of your choice and wait in the regular line.
- Repeat and plan in advance.
*Always make sure that you are available at the time for the attractions where you will use your FastPass.
HOW MUCH ARE THE DISNEYSEA TICKETS?
There are several types of park tickets available from 1-day to 4-day Magic Passport. And for seniors, there’s also a special discount.
If you prefer to visit Disney Sea at around noon you can get a Starlight passport. Or if you want a really late entrance to the park, you can avail the After 6 Passport, as the name states, you can enter at 6pm onwards. But who would want to buy an admission ticket for a late night adventure? Let me know your thoughts by commenting down below.
*The below price list is taken from Disneysea's official website. Visit this link for the updated prices.
WHERE TO BUY DISNEYSEA TICKETS?
There are several ways to purchase the admission tickets. But my advice is to not waste time and energy lining up at the entrance booths. But if you’re in DisneySea due to an impulsive plan, here are some ways to get your tickets:
- Booths at the Entrance: There are several entrance booths where you can buy tickets. Since this is a super popular theme park, expect great long queues.
- Buy them at Klook: Rather than buying at the booths in the park, buy your tickets online here (you can choose either to visit Disneysea or Disneyland with this ticket). I prefer this option as you get a discount on their website. We bought our tickets the morning we went to DisneySea and we had it printed out before we went to the park. You can directly get inside by just showing and having the gate attendant scan the QR code on your printout. Do not fold the paper along the QR codes, the FastPass ticketing machine might not be able to read your code.
- Book online thru Tokyo Disney’s official website: In addition to buying tickets at Klook, you can also buy them directly at Disneysea's website. They have an e-ticket service where you can print your tickets at home. Do remember you cannot have your tickets printed inside the park. Additionally, when you or someone you know lives in Japan, you can have your ticket delivered to their address. More info about these here.
*Don’t imitate us by buying the ticket on the same day of your trip. Sometimes, tickets are not available on days when the park is restricted due to high attendance.
SOME TIPS AND WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU VISIT DISNEYSEA
- Long, long, looooong lines. Ready your mind that you can’t ride all the attractions in a day. Choose wisely on the attractions you want to get yourself into. Strategize but be flexible when something went wrong with your plans. Now that we’re talking about planning, do plan your itinerary in advance!
- Arrive early. If you’re in for the rides, literally do this tip. Because if you don't.. refer to number 1 again.
- The average waiting time in line is 60-90 minutes. For less popular attractions or if you’re lucky it’s 40 minutes. While on really popular ones, get ready to entertain yourself for about 120 minutes.
- Even buying popcorns has a long queue. We just wanted a snack and we waited almost 30 minutes just to buy a bucket of popcorn.
- You will learn to entertain yourself. Yep, expect to be bored while you’re inside waiting in line. Bring any gadgets that will distract you from your boredom. Bring some snacks too! Because you will need it.
- Have your lunch early. Don’t wait for the clock to strike 12. Have your lunch early to avoid long queues at restaurants or cafeterias. As much as possible avoid lining up.
WHERE TO EAT IN DISNEYSEA?
There are several areas where you can eat inside the park. With different restaurant service styles too.
- Counter Style: The typical order and pay, then find a table to sit down. Fast food style. You can also buy some on-the-go snacks here.
- Table Style: You will be seated first before they get your order.
- Buffeteria: You can choose a variety of food, then pay before you are seated.
- Buffet: As the name mean. Eat all you can style! Yum!
The only buffet I can locate is at the American Waterfront’s Sailing Day Buffet. What you can definitely expect is the foods are expensive. They cost twice, even thrice of what you can order outside. A tip is to buy a set meal where you, your partner or friend can share to save cost.
We ate our lunch at Yucatan Base Camp Grill at Lost River Delta area where the dishes are mostly smoked pork and chicken. This healthy set meal with one drink of your choice cost us ¥1580. We were on a tight budget so we shared a set meal complete with a salad and a dessert. As I mentioned in my blog a number of times, I really do not eat meat much but this one is an exception! It was so tender and juicy and topped with a healthy tomato sauce too. A balanced food indeed.
MUST TRY SNACKS:
These are some snacks that we get the chance to eat while resting. Some I recommend are:
Lost River Cookhouse: They sell smoked chicken legs. Expect another long queue. Most people passing by were eating chicken from here. Located at Lost River Delta.
Refrescos: If there's chicken up north have a taste of a tender smoked Turkey leg down west. Located at the American Waterfront. Below is the picture of said turkey leg.
Cold Chocolate Drink: I think this one is sold almost everywhere. For chocolate lovers, this one is a tasty refreshment I recommend to drink inside the park.
My tiramisu ice cream sandwich is bought somewhere inside Mysterious Island. I just can't pinpoint where exactly they are on this map.
OUTSIDE FOOD IS NOT ALLOWED INSIDE BOTH THEME PARKS:
Snacks that can be eaten on-the-go are allowed, but meals that require you to use utensils are not allowed. If you prefer to have a picnic, there are designated areas outside the park near the entrance. Bringing a liter of bottled water inside is allowed. We did not want to waste money buying drinking water always, so we brought one.
HOW TO GET TO TOKYO DISNEYSEA
The nearest station to access Disney Sea is in Maihama Station. Once you get to Maihama Station, you will need to take the Disney Resort monorail. DisneySea is accessible on foot but it will take a 15-20 minute walk to get there. Hopping on board the monorail is your best bet for a fee of ¥260 for adults and ¥130 or children.
I must say, this should already be free…
Disney’s theme parks do not have a fixed opening time. Some time they open at 8am other times at 9am. You can check out their calendar on when they are exactly opened thru their official website here.
Both DisneySea and DisneyLand close at 10pm. Get your timing right and get the earliest opening so you can enjoy the most of both fantasy worlds.
LONG QUEUES BUT ENJOYABLE RIDES
DO you like theme parks?
- I expected long lines but definitely did not expect the enjoyable and thrilling rides that made the wait worth it.
- Is Disneysea on your bucket list too?
- In conclusion, this is one exciting and a very fun adventure!