Trip to Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea in 2015 spring, Part 2. Visiting Tokyo Disneyland with small child.

Cinderella's castle is the icon of Disneyland.
Cinderella’s castle is the icon of Disneyland.

This post is continued from the previous post, Trip to Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea in 2015 spring, Part 1. Preparation and access from Narita.

I would like to share my experience of visiting Disneyland. But also I would like to tell you about planning. I think this is very important to visit Tokyo Disneyland. First of all, I would like to tell you what I did before visiting. And then I will tell you about visiting there.

Ticket

At the gate, when we arrived, there were a big line up.
At the gate, when we arrived, there were a big line up.

You can purchase “Passport” (admission ticket) on the spot. The ticket is on sale one hour before gate open usually. But I strongly recommend you to purchase a ticket online in advance. There are two reasons. First, there is always a big line up at the entrance. If you buy a ticket at the entrance, you will waste your time. Second, Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea sometimes have admission limit and stop selling a ticket due to huge number of visitors. So if you visit Tokyo Disney Resort without ticket, you might not be able to enter the park!

You can purchase a ticket two month prior to the day of visit. Once you fix your schedule, you should purchase it online. But you have to choose which park, Disneyland or DisneySea, you will go if you purchase one or two days passport. If you purchase more than 3 days passport, you can visit tow parks in one day after day 3. You cannot visit two parks in one day on day 1 and 2. It is not feasible to visit both park in one day anyway. The park is quite huge. It is so hard to see whole part of one park in one day. By the way, Tokyo Disney Resort official online site does not accept Master Card that is issued outside Japan. Visa and Amex can be used.

Online ticket must be printed out and you have to bring it. The official site says it must be printed out on A4 size paper. But in north America, we cannot get A4 size. We use letter size. This size is a bit shorter and a bit wider than A4 size. I printed out a ticket on letter size and used this to enter. It was no problem to use it. As long as you don’t change the ratio, QR code is printed clearly and print a ticket on letter size as A4 format, it is acceptable. But please try to do it on your own risk.

Planning – What I did before visiting

You have to make the detailed plan before you go if you really want to ride the attraction. In even weekdays, you have to spend many minutes to wait on long line up. If you visit Tokyo Disneyland or DisneySea with kids, you have to make sure which attraction kids want to ride. And you also have to check the schedule for parade and show too. Make a plan or you cannot survive. We need to do as much as we can to minimize wasting time.

The following steps are that I have done before I visited.

Check the schedule of parade and show

When we visited, special event Anna and Elsa Frozen Fantasy was held.
When we visited, special event Anna and Elsa Frozen Fantasy was held.

If you visit there with kids, you cannot ignore parade and show. Check the schedule of these and put the rides between parade and show. You can find the schedule at official site.

Tokyo Disneyland – Parade and Show

It was the first time to visit there in last 20 year for me. I need to learn about Disneyland anyway. I checked official site and the following site.

When I visited there, special event, “Anna and Elsa Frozen Fantasy” was held. There are another two more parades beside regular parades. It was very tough to squeeze many parades and attracions in one day for me.

Make the list of attractions ride

I showed Tokyo Disney Resort official site to my daughter and I found which attraction that she wants. You can find the detailed information at English site.

Tokyo Disneyland Attraction page

Here was my list.

Jungle Cruise: Wildlife Expeditions
Swiss Family Treehouse
Tom Sawyer Island Rafts
Alice’s Tea Party
It’s A Small World
Castle Carrousel
Fairy Tale Hall
Dumbo The Flying Elephant
Peter Pan’s Flight
Pooh’s Hunny Hunt
Mickey’s PhilharMagic
Goofy’s Paint ‘n’ Play House
Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters
Monsters, Inc. Ride & Go Seek!

Find out FASTPASS attraction

FASTPASS is a sort of numbered ticket to ride attraction. This tikcet is issued for some of attractions. In my wish list above, Pooh’s Hunny Hunt, Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters and Monsters, Inc. Ride & Go Seek! are FASTPASS attractions. But once you get a FASTPASS, you have to wait for usually a couple hours. So you have to decide which attractions you are going to get FASTPASS for. Please learn about FASTPASS at the link below:

Disney’s FASTPASS

Check the forecast

Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea are always busy. But you may want to know how busy it is. Some Japanese sites can show you the forecast. I used “Disney Colors“. This site is in Japanese but I show you how to read it.

Disney Colors (Japanese site)

Tokyo Disneyland at left and Tokyo DisneySea at right.
Tokyo Disneyland at left and Tokyo DisneySea at right.

You may click month.
Jan — 1月
Feb — 2月
Mar — 3月
Apr — 4月
May — 5月
Jun — 6月
Jul — 7月
Aug — 8月
Sep — 9月
Oct — 10月
Nov — 11月
Dec — 12月

Calendar page will be shown.
Calendar page will be shown.

You will see the calendar and it rates S to F.

S — Busiest. Admission limit inevitable. 3-4 hours waiting time for popular attractions.
A — Super busy. Admission limit expected. 2.5-3 hours waiting time for popular attractions.
B — Busy. Admission limit probable. 2.5-3 hours waiting time for popular attractions.
C — Average. Common weekend. 1.5-2.5 hours waiting time for popular attractions.
D — Slow. Weekdays in busy period. 1.5-2 hours waiting time for popular attractions.
E — Slow. Common weekdays. 1-1.5 hours waiting time for popular attractions.
F — Very slow. Less than 1 hour waiting time for popular attractions.

But this is just forecast. It depends on the weather. If you visit in rainy day, it is slower than forecast.

Anyway if you intend to visit in day S, A or B, you must be well prepared.

My plan

08:30 Gate open
Send my wife and daughter to “Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters”.
I will get FASTPASS for “Monsters, Inc. Ride & Go Seek!”.
Attraction rides as stand by.

10:30 “Anna and Elsa Frozen Fantasy” Parade
Shopping and lunch
Try to get another FASTPASS for Pooh’s Hunny Hunt
Attraction rides if time is allowed.

14:00 Daytime Parade “Happiness Is Here”
Attractions ride, Jungle Cruise: Wildlife Expeditions or Tom Sawyer Island Rafts

16:15 “Anna and Elsa Frozen Fantasy” Parade (same parade as 10:30)
If we skip this, ride Jungle Cruise: Wildlife Expeditions or Tom Sawyer Island Rafts
Attractions ride in Fantasy Land

18:30 Nighttime Parade “Tokyo Disneyland Electrical Parade Dreamlights”

19:30 “Once Upon a Time” projection mapping movie on Cinderella’s Castle

21:00 Dinner at Disneyland Hotel

I tried to prepare as much as I could.

Breakfast

Now I want to talk about my visiting in Tokyo Disneyland.

In my hotel, breakfast started at 7:00 am. But we did not have a time to eat there. Because we had to get the gate of Tokyo Disneyland before open. I and my family left hotel around 7:20 am and we got the gate at 7:45. The gate was opened at 8:30. There was a big line up when we were there already.

*If you stay in Disneyland Hotel, you can enter the park 15 minutes earlier.

I purchased small pastries and rice ball day before. There are several cafe in Maihama station. You can get a light meal and soft drinks, coffee, tea there.

What I did and what I didn’t. My stay in Tokyo Disneyland

I could not trace whole part of my plan. But we could ride almost half of out wish list. Here is our actual stay.

Gate was supposed to be opened at 8:30 but it was opened at 8:00. I think that was because of special event “Anna and Elsa Frozen Fantasy”. It was very attractive. The number of visitors were many more than average.

07:20 Departure from hotel
07:40 Arrived at the gate
We had some pastries when we are on the line.

08:00 Gate opened
My wife and my daughter dashed to “Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters” and waited for this. It was 20 minutes waiting time. It was a good start.
I did not go with them. I went to “Monsters,Inc. Ride & Go Seek!” to get FASTPASS. This FASTPASS allowed us to enter this attraction between 11:10 and 12:10.

After we left Buzz Lightyear’s, we went to the shop, “Gag Factory / Toontown Five & Dime” in Toontown. Because my daughter had Birthday Passport. This admission pass includes special birthday items. We needed to pick it up at this shop.

It's A Small World is popular for preschooler and Kindergarten age kids.
It’s A Small World is popular for preschooler and Kindergarten age kids.

We still had a time until the parade. We entered the following attractions.
“It’s A Small World” 40 minutes waiting time.
“Castle Carrousel” 30 minutes waiting time
“Dumbo The Flying Elephant” 45 minutes waiting time

Dumbo attraction cannot take many riders at once. It takes a long time to wait even though line up is not much long.
Dumbo attraction cannot take many riders at once. It takes a long time to wait even though line up is not much long.

10:50 “Anna and Elsa Frozen Fantasy” Parade
Parade had begun when we still on Dumbo attraction. We could not get a spot to see this parade. My daughter was crazy about these princesses. She decided to chase this parade. We spent almost one hour to chase this parade. LOL

After this parade finished, we entered “Monsters,Inc. Ride & Go Seek!” .

12:00 Lunch and shopping

Before next parade started, we watched the show, “Super-Duper Jumpin’ Time”.

I like daytime parade much more than night parade.
I like daytime parade much more than night parade.

14:00 Daytime Parade “Happiness Is Here”
After we watched this parade, we entered “Jungle Cruise: Wildlife Expeditions”. 1 hour waiting time.

16:15 “Anna and Elsa Frozen Fantasy” Parade (same parade as 10:30)
We could not get a spot to watch this parade in the morning. My daughter secured the spot to see this parade. We knew where the float stopped. We got the perfect location to see this parade.

We entered “Mickey’s PhilharMagic”. 20 minutes waiting time.
We entered “It’s A Small World” again. 30 minutes waiting time.

18:30 Nighttime Parade “Tokyo Disneyland Electrical Parade Dreamlights”
We secured spot to see this parade 30 minutes before performance time.

We entered “Alice’s Tea Party”. 30 minutes waiting time.
We entered “It’s A Small World” again. This was third time to enter this attraction. You know how much my daughter loved this attraction. 10 minutes waiting time.

19:50 “Once Upon a Time” projection mapping movie on Cinderella’s Castle

20:30 Left Park and moved to Tokyo Disneyland Hotel.

21:00 Dinner at Disneyland Hotel, Sherwood Garden Restaurant

According the forecast, the day when we visited was rated “C”. It was average. But as you see the above, we spent heavy minutes to just wait. If you ride most popular attraction, such as Big Thunder Mountain, you have to wait for at least one hour. We spent one hour for Jungle Cruise.

My daughter and wife waited for only 20 minutes to ride “Buzz Lightyear’s” attraction. But if they did not rush into that, they might wait for at least 40 minutes. Only 10 minutes difference at the gate will be huge difference for the first ride. You must show up the gate earlier if you want to ride the attraction smoothly.

We have to wait for 10 to 20 minutes to buy just popcorn in the park. This is very very normal in Tokyo Disneyland. You have to do everything earlier.

Which attraction my daughter loved and which one she hated

She had just became 6 years old when she was there. I understand every single kids have different taste. But her taste may be similar to kindergarten girls.

Great!!!
It’s A Small World
Mickey’s PhilharMagic

Good
Alice’s Tea Party
Castle Carrousel
Dumbo The Flying Elephant

Not good
Jungle Cruise: Wildlife Expeditions

Very bad
Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters
Monsters, Inc. Ride & Go Seek!

Actually “Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters” and “Monsters,Inc.Ride & Go Seek!” are very popular attractions in Tokyo Disneyland. That’s why I picked these two. But she said she never want to ride these. She said it’s too fast, too noisy and too dark. I did not Buzz Lightyear’s but I really enjoyed Monsters, Inc. ride. My daughter does not like loud sound and dark place. I showed the movie of these attractions on official site. But it does not tell us real sound there. Anyway if your kid does not like heavy noise and fast action, these are not recommended. I think boys love these.

Jungle Cruise is one of classic attractions in Tokyo Disneyland.
Jungle Cruise is one of classic attractions in Tokyo Disneyland.

She loved most part of Jangle Cruise. But when the boat had reached tunnel at the last stretch, she held my hand very strongly and closed her eyes. I think that was cause of darkness.

On the other hand, she crazy about “It’s A Small World”. Dolls just sing and dance “Its a small world” in many languages. But as you saw above, we entered this three times. “Mickey’s PhilharMagic” is 3D movie. She really loved this movie because one of her favorite princesses, Ariel was in the movie.

Carousel ride is always popular for small girls.
Carousel ride is always popular for small girls.

Other attractions in Fantasy Land area are good for her. When we go there next time, we will spend most of time in this area.

How I used FASTPASS

In my list, there are three FASTPASS attractions, Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters, Monsters, Inc. Ride & Go Seek! and Pooh’s Hunny Hunt. I got first FASTPASS for Monsters, Inc. Once we got FASTPASS, we have to wait for usually a couple of hours to get next one. So I could not get another pass for Pooh’s Hunny Hunt. I supposed to get another pass for this attraction. But my daughter wanted to chase the parade and I could not go and get. When I got there, all FASTPASS had already gone. If we took this attraction as stand by, the waiting time was 1 hour 20 minutes. We gave up. I should have taken the first FASTPASS for Pooh’s Hunny Hunt instead of Monster’s Inc.

Parade and show

You can see most of Disney characters in Electrical Parade.
You can see most of Disney characters in Electrical Parade.

Kids love the parade. We cannot miss it. We watched the parades four times, “Anna and Elsa Frozen Fantasy” parade twice, Day time parade “Happiness is Here” and evening parade “Electrical Parade Dreamlights”. My daughter was very very satisfied with these parades. When you build your plan, check the time of parades and put the attractions ride between these parades.

Most of kids seemed to be under 4 years. But my daughter still liked to see it.
Most of kids seemed to be under 4 years. But my daughter still liked to see it.

In regards to show, we watched Super-Duper Jumpin’ Time and “Once Upon a Time”. I thought Super-Duper Jumping Time is for pre-schooler and my daughter was too old for this show. But she loved it. You may put this show in your plan.

“Once Upon a Time” is a climax of the day in Tokyo Disneyland. This projection mapping movie is very very popular now. If you want to get a seat, you have to purchase expensive package or win the draw. Otherwise you have to stand up and watch this movie.

It was not difficult to get a spot to see the parades. So I thought it was not hard to get a spot to watch this movie too. But I was wrong. I went the place just in front of Cinderella’s Castle 15 minutes before show. Huge number of audience were packed there. There was no space to squeeze. It was like peak hour train. And also my daughter was so tired and she could not stand up by herself. I had to hold her and watch this movie. I am tall, 184 cm height. So I could watch the movie. But my wife could see upper half part of the screen. If you want to watch this movie completely, I recommend you to go there at least 30 minutes before performance.

I did not have a time to go draw. Even though the chance is tiny, you should go to draw. You can find more information at the official site.

Once Upon a Time

Food, dining reservation and shopping

Churros is one of very popular snacks in Tokyo Disneyland. It was in Anna and Elsa special wrapping paper.
Churros is one of very popular snacks in Tokyo Disneyland. It was in Anna and Elsa special wrapping paper.

I did not intend to eat in the restaurant. I expected we would be busy to go around the park and I was going to grab some light meal to eat. But in last minutes, my wife’s friend asked to join and I had to find somewhere to have a dinner. I checked all restaurants in Tokyo Disneyland two weeks before the day of visit, but all restaurants in the park were completely booked out. I finally found the restaurant but it was Tokyo Disneyland Hotel. It is outside the park. And also my booking time was 21:00. I had no choice because there was a night parade at 18:30 and “Once Upon a Time” at 19:50. I could not squeeze the dinning time between parade and show.

Anyway it is not easy to book the restaurant in the park. If you want to sit down and eat in the restaurant, I recommend you to book as soon as possible. You can start to book one month before the visiting date at the official site.

In daytime, we had hotdogs and french fries at Refreshment Corner in World Bazaar near the entrance. Fortunately even though we went there around noon, I could buy food and drink quickly and found the seat easily. But 10 minutes after, there was no empty seat and line up was longer. If you can go early, like 11:15, it is much easier to get a food.

Everybody wants to go shopping at last. But it is not a good idea. It is super busy in the shops at the end of the day. You should finish it before/after lunch. Otherwise you will spend lots of minutes to wait for the cashier in the shop.

Phone and Wi-Fi

In Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea, there is no free public Wi-Fi. I rented one mobile Wi-Fi router for both myself and wife. But we should have had two routers. Because when I sent my wife and daughter to wait for attraction, I went to get FASTPASS by myself. After I got the pass, I could not fine them. Once we separated, it is so hard to find each other. If you and your family member stick together always, it is okay. But if you want to do my way, you need to think about communication with your family member. Mobile router or rental SIM card is mandatory to visit Disneyland.

Continue to next post, Trip to Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea in 2015 spring, Part 3. Visiting Tokyo DisneySea with small child..

18 thoughts on “Trip to Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea in 2015 spring, Part 2. Visiting Tokyo Disneyland with small child.”

  1. Hello Takeshi
    I am so pleased I found your website. I will be in Japan in 3 days time and have my last 4 nights in Tokyo. At the last minute, I changed my plans and decided on visiting Disneyland.

    Your website is very helpful, I bought a 2 day pass and will be going on Friday and Saturday. Are the rides at Disneysea scary? Fast roller coasters and rides spinning upside down are not for me.

    Regards,
    Sandra

  2. Hi Takeshi,

    I purchased my tickets online for DisneySea and printed them out. Will DisneySea give us a nicer ticket instead of the paper that I printed out? Usually in the US Disney parks, they give you a ticket that looks like a card. Thank you for your detailed guide.

    1. Hi Joy,

      I’m not sure and have never tried it but some says they could change it at information center, not a ticket booth at the entrance. Because their ticket was broken and dirty. They also said TDL usually don’t change it.
      But you may try it.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  3. Hi Takeshi,

    I am so glad I found your post. I am visiting Disneyland in two weeks time with a 6 years old daughter too and I can relate to so many likes and dislikes! Your tips will be of great help. Thanks!

    I followed the Disney link for parade and show but can’t find actual show time for the date other than general time from 8am-9pm. Are the actual shows time only available on the day? On leaflet handed out?

  4. hi takeshi
    which are better? Disney land or Disney Sea? i never go to disneyland everywhere before so i dont know. i just want to visit one of them, what do u think for my first time visitting?

    1. Hi Pipi,

      Disneyland is a bit more kids friendly than DisneySea. When DisneySea was built, it was said Disneyland for adult. Beer and wine can be purchased in DisneySea only.
      Kids can enjoy both parks. My daughter said Disneyland is better. For me, it’snot much differnt.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. HI Takeshi,

        Thanks for your fast revert. Do you have any idea how come its less crowded on some weekend example 31 Jan? Aren’t weekend suppose to be crowded? Do you tink public holiday such as the upcoming National Foundation Day will have a lot of crowd?

        Thanks.

          1. HI Takeshi,

            Thanks so much. Yeah I thought weekday should be better too. Sorry one last question. Do you have the crowd predictor for USJ.

    1. Hi Ira,

      It’ available online only. It doesn’t show this passport in the site. But you will continue to purchase procedure and find it at the last.
      You don’t need to show any ID. So you may use it unless your birthday is not at that time.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

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