Part 2 of my trip to Tokyo: Tokyo Disney Resort

I recently went to Japan with my wife and in the middle of the trip, went to Tokyo Disney. The plan was to go do shopping for art things on the monday and then, make our way to Tokyo Disney to check-in at our hotel. We took public transportation from the Intercontinental Tokyo Bay (very nice hotel) and made our way to Maihama station, which is at the entrance of the Tokyo Disney area. I did not remember how brutal the transfer was to the Keiyo line (the JR rail line Maihama is on) from the rest of Tokyo station and on the way back, we used a different route. The Keiyo line is a good 700-800 meters walk from the general Tokyo station area and count on 15 minutes to reach it, due to the escalators and crowds. Once at Maihama station, you are near the Ikspiari shopping center on the left and the pathway to Tokyo Disneyland is on the right. To access the Ambassador Hotel, we walked through Ikspiari and after a 5 minutes walk, reached the beautiful lobby of the hotel. I booked a Chip n Dale character room for two nights and it was worth it! The room is beautiful and I liked all the small touches, like the Clarice portrait and the cushions on the sofa. Interestingly, you have complimentary rain ponchos, postcards and a souvenir pouch that you can take each day. The souvenir pouch is room specific and its a nice souvenir.

Staying at the Ambassador now, you get early entry to post Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea on the days following check-in. Miracosta has the same perk, but when staying at the Toy Story Hotel, Tokyo Disneyland Hotel and the Celebration Hotels, you now only get early entry to Tokyo Disneyland. It is something to keep in mind. I managed to book the Chef Mickey restaurant in the hotel and it was amazing. Delicious food, fun social distanced photo with Mickey and just a great restaurant.

The next day, we arrived at the main gate of Tokyo DisneySea after a short bus ride and that's where early entry is worth its weight in gold. For a 8:15-8:20 "unofficial opening of the park", there were already thousands of people in line at the turnstiles. With Early Entry, we went through a dedicated security checkpoint and then, there were only 10 people in front of us at the turnstile. At 7:55, Chip and Dale, Donald and Daisy came out to waive at us from the other side of the entrance and then at 8:00, the gates opened for early entry guests. This allowed us to do Soaring Fantastic Flight with a short wait and by the time we came out of the ride at 8:30, the line for it was already 120 minutes long. While powerwalking to the ride, my wife helped me scan our entry tickets on the Tokyo Disney app and I booked a Tower of Terror Premier Access (1500 yens) for 10:00 . I also played the show lottery and got a 13:40 seat reservation for Big Band Beat, which I had never seen before. I booked Premier Access for Believe, their night time show (2500 yens per person) and when Journey to the Center of the Earth opened, booked Premier Access for that too (1500 yens per person) and also Toy Story Mania! (2000 yens per person).

Complimentary Fast Pass is no more at Tokyo Disney. Instead, some attractions and shows have paid Premier Access that you can book on the app. In turns, while the lines will be enormous in the number of people, they will usually be shorter than before. Take for example Indiana Jones Adventure, it was common for it to have 100/120 minutes stand-by waits in the fast pass days: on the crowded day I was there, with a queue stretching to Port Discovery, the line was only... 65 minutes. Single rider lines are offered at Indiana Jones Adventure and Raging Spirits.

Soaring Fantastic Flight is my favorite version of the ride, with a gorgeous queue through an italian museum and amazing preshow. The show itself replaces the Eiffel Tower scene with a much better one and it makes the ride. Toy Story Mania is the same as in the US and my wife enjoyed it. We did Indiana Jones Adventure 3x using single riders and I love it. Its in perfect condition and I love the central room with the raging tornado. One key difference with the one at Disneyland: no fire. It uses cool lighting and don't worry, the Crystal Skull is not the same one as the movie of the same name. The Crystal Skull here protects the Fountain of Youth.

Raging Spirits is the local version of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril in Paris. Short single loop coaster with an amazing theme here. The whole area looks like a crumbling mayan temple with roller coaster that conveniently spin around what was there for ages. Fire is used in a few places and they even have a boiler generating a ton of steam at the bottom of the loop. Much better than it has any rights to be.

Tower of Terror there doesn't carry the Twilight Zone story. Rather, a nefarious tomb looter from New York, Harrison Hightower III had recently acquired a mysterious idol from central America, called Shiriki Utundu. On the day he presented Shiriki Utundu to the press, he famously stubbed his cigar on the statue's head while boasting that the curse around it was foolish. He never made it out of the elevator to his penthouse and now, we visit his crumbling and formerly magnificient Hightower Hotel. The preshow is again incredible and the main ride sees us stalked by Shiriki Utundu. One big difference between the other versions and this one? Tokyo has 3 points seatbelts to restrain riders and comfortable cushions on the seat.

The park has two transport attractions: the DisneySea Electric Railway and the Transit Steamers. The transit steamers go from Mediterranean Harbor to Lost River Delta and from Lost River Delta back to Mediterranean Harbor. It is relaxing and you can see the various ports in a different way. The DisneySea Electric Railway goes from American Waterfront to Port Discovery. It is like an old fashioned trolley and amazingly, using only two stations with a single platform each, they can run 3 trains at once on the track. Adds a lot of charm and atmosphere to the park.

Journey to the Center of the Earth is my favorite attraction in the world. It uses the Slot Car dark ride system first seen on Test Track at Epcot and plusses it up. The queue starts inside the volcano caves and winds its way to the Terravators. The Terravators supposedly take us 1 mile underground and when we exit, we're inside a foggy dark cave. 3 mining cars are loaded at once and those are cars have a 2 per row, 3 row per car configuration. No seatbelts, but it uses a curved for each rider lap bar and its very comfortable. Rather than using small tires like Test Track, they use massive semi truck sized tires on Journey, which is necessary due to the ending.

The ride starts with the crystal caverns, going over a bridge near a waterfall. A clever borrowing worm effect is next and then we arrive in the Mushroom Forest. Picture Nav'i River Journey and I love it. It has a ton of animatronics and again, water is used. Its a Disney ride, so things has to go wrong and they do: an earthquake has collapsed the safe path and instead, we venture deeper underground, near omnious glowing eggs. Passing next to the underground sea, lightning loudly strike rocks.

Is it getting hot? The car rises up through a lava filled cave and on our left, fireballs erupt from a hole in the wall. Its a distraction as on our right, the massive Lava Monster lurches at us. At that moment, the car accelerates forward in a steam filled cave and spirals up. It goes up a straight up before we realize we're heading outside. The car then crests the top of the hill in a perfect 0G moment and drops down 70 feet above Mysterious Island. This concludes the ride and a long staircase down bring us back to the surface. I just love it and nothing can beat it for me.

Big Band Beat was dissapointing, as the live big band was replaced by a soundtrack and its quite short for a show.

I managed to book Restaurant Sakura and its a delicious Tempura and traditional japanese restaurant in American Waterfront. Decent price too, as for 3800 yens (29$ USD), you get a sitdown meal with a lot of small dishes. I also grabbed a great snack of sausages, beef jerky and potatoes for 650 yens (4.85$ USD) at the Yucatan Base Camp Grill.

The next day at Tokyo Disneyland, we arrived around 7:30 too, but were further back in the early entry line. We rushed to Enchanted Tales of Beauty and the Beast and made it on with a short 20 minutes line. It is an incredible experience with the best animatronics in the world and its the best attraction Disney has done for me since Pirates of the Caribbean in Shanghai. It retells the movie story in a few great scenes and the Beast Transformation.... wow.... can't understand how they did it.

We booked a Premier Access for Splash Mountain and unfortunately, did not win any show lottery seats. Splash Mountain is like the one in Florida, with more spacious scenes and a more comfortable ride since it doesn't bang around the channel as much. The height restriction is only 35 inches for kids here, since they replaced the single lap bar per row (like Florida had) by individual U shaped lap bars like Space Mountain at Disneyland has. The ride is in amazing shape and looks like it just had its grand opening.

Big Thunder Mountain there received new trains around 2015-2016 and they now have large seat dividers and concave wheels. It is much smoother than the ones in Paris and Florida and effects are again all working. Space Mountain was originally a clone of the one at Disneyland. In 2007, they changed the rockets to go with a matrix like ride experience and Intamin changed some of the track sections around 2010-2011. It runs amazing and it makes me sad: why is this one closing next year for replacement while the one at Disney World that's in rough shape will still remain open?

Pooh's Hunny Hunt is a fun trackless dark ride that was the first one of its kind at a Disney park. Love the massive scenes and cool effects. Haunted Mansion is great there, a very old school experience, same for Pinocchio's.

Lines at both parks were massive and stretched out of their queues, but it was manageable and we did everything we wanted to ride.

Last edited by Absimilliard,

eightdotthree's avatar

I didn't realize they got rid of FastPass. Sounds like it's for the better. I remember waiting in that (very orderly) queue outside the park for an hour in the August heat, fast walking to Soaring and it being completely sold out with a 2 hour standby.


Journey to the Center of the Earth is my favorite attraction in the world.

Man, it was closed for refurb when I visited. Sounds amazing.

Pooh's Hunny Hunt is a fun trackless dark ride that was the first one of its kind at a Disney park.

Almost didn't make it on this because we were exhausted and it was late but I am so glad we did. One of my favorite Disney attractions.


and the Beast Transformation.... wow.... can't understand how they did it.

Do you want to know?

"I've been born again my whole life." -SAVED
janfrederick's avatar

Great report! The last time we went to Disney Sea, we were the last people allowed in the single rider line, and waited an hour. The standby was 3 hours! So yes, as a tourist, plan on staying at that hotel near the train station for early entry, and buy the line skipping passes. Do NOT miss Journey either.

Oh, and do check out the Sinbad dark ride. It's pretty amazing and the line was short for us.

"I go out at 3 o' clock for a quart of milk and come home to my son treating his body like an amusement park!" - Estelle Costanza

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