We were invited to a wedding in Japan, so we're going on a trip of a lifetime. We're staying at the Hotel MiraCosta for a few days before the wedding (a big step up from our typical WDW value resort vacations). I've found some good trip reports and descriptions of attractions, but no advice specific to taking an infant to these parks.
My daughter will be 13 months old when we arrive in Japan. We took her to WDW when she was 6 months old and we had a great time -- she loved dark rides, fireworks, characters, crowds, loud music, all the things that "experts" warn parents about.
Are the Tokyo Disney parks stroller friendly?
Any dining advice? (My wife isn't fond of sushi or sashimi but enjoys other Japanese cuisine like tempura or teppanyaki.)
Any advice about child handling etiquette in Japan (diaper changes, discipline, etc.)? I did learn that it is considered rude to eat or drink while walking or waiting in line.
What attractions should be on our family "must see" list?
Wow, lucky you! I have been to Tokyo Disney Resort twice, and dream of taking my whole family back someday.
You will have a fantastic time. I think it's wise to stay at Mira Costa, especially since you will have an infant. It will make getting around so much easier!
Yes the parks are stroller friendly. Extremely so. In fact, on many rides you can keep the stroller with you all the way through most of the queue. Also, they do kidswap on many rides, which is very helpful.
Assuming your daughter can handle the stimulation, there will be a LOT of things she can experience. Obviously there are the shows (Note, though, that the shows, especially on the Disneyland side, are VERY popular and people wait in line for HOURS to see them. Likewise with prime parade viewing spots.) Make double sure to check out the Little Mermaid show inside Mermaid Lagoon. I had very limited time at TDS and almost skipped it, but I'm so glad I didn't. It blew my MIND.
Obviously you will want to take your daughter on Pooh's Hunny Hunt. Another mind blower. Since you're familiar with WDW I won't go into what rides you can do there. The lineup is very similar.
At TDS you will want to plan for a lot of time in Mermaid Lagoon. It's amazing. Tons of kiddie rides. Sadly she'll be too small for Flounder's coaster there. Sinbad is a boat ride like Small World, but very well done. Close to that is a double decker carousel. She can probably go on Aquatopia, which is a blast. And she'll probably be allowed on 20,000 leagues under the sea, though she won't really understand any of what's happening.
One thing to note is that at TDL there's usually a HUGE crowd of (often obscure) Disney characters at the gate every morning before the park opens. Make sure to get there for that. Lots of Photo ops.
As for restaurants, you will be fine. They're expensive, but the choices are very vast. You will find many of the restaurants have 'set plan' meals where you pay a set fee for a set 3-5 course meal. Don't dream of asking for a substitution if you don't like something on the plate though!
Make sure to eat at Blue Bayou and Queen of Hearts banquet hall at TDL.
Oh, and the thing about not eating while walking is totally untrue. Make sure to try as many flavors of kettle corn as you can stomach/afford. Honey flavored, next to the Pooh ride, often has an hour or more line to buy it. Skip that. Definitely do coconut at TDS. When I was there it was just across the river from Indiana Jones. I hear black pepper is good too, though I can't imagine how.
The gyoza sausage buns at Mysterious Island are famous, but I wouldn't wait longer than 15 minutes for one. And the line can move slow.
Last I checked they did the equivalent of Extra Magic hours for resort guests... you'll want to take advantage of that. You will want to get to the parks before opening every day with a fastpass plan in mind. Be prepared for people to RUN when the gates open. You'll want to be a defensive driver with the stroller in a crowd like that. And since you're at the Mira Costa you'll probably be able to power ride Journey to the Center of the Earth each night after your daughter goes to bed. Will you have any family or trusted friends with you to watch your daughter in the evenings? Both parks are fantastically romantic at night, especially TDS.
Have a great time and do a TR when you get back!
Oh! One more thing... be sure to take the Western River Railroad with your daughter. At TDL the Railroad is a standalone attraction in Frontierland.. it doesn't circle the park. There's some fun stuff to see on it!
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