Disneyland. The place where dreams come true and magic is made. Tokyo Disneyland was the first Disney park to be build outside of the United States and was opened in 1983. As of 2013, it was the 2nd most visited theme park in the world.
With this much hype, Disneyland should be a must-visit place to go when you’re in Japan right?
For some people, Tokyo Disneyland is worth visiting, but other people might want to avoid it like the plague. What do I mean by this?
Is Tokyo Disneyland a Must-See Attraction in Japan?
First of all, let me start by saying that the park itself is stunning. Known for its wide-open spaces and tons of attractions, it is impressive when you see it for the first time. Most of the attractions are the same ones that can be found in the original Disneyland in California and the Magic Kingdom in Florida. However, the atmosphere of being in Japan gives these attractions a different feel to it.
The park has 7 different themed areas: World Bazaar, Adventureland, Westernland, Critter Country, Fantasyland, Tomorrowland, and Toontown. Besides having lots of rides, shows, and places to eat, there are also activities you can do like take a “Disney drawing class (separate fees apply – conducted in Japanese)” or eat in the “Show Restaurant,” where you can enjoy a Disney character show while you eat (reservations required).
However, there are 2 huge negatives about Tokyo Disneyland.
- It is very, very crowded no matter when you go.
- It is very, very crowded.
You may have noticed that I put the same reason for both #1 and #2. This is not a typo. This is just to emphasize how much people there are at Tokyo Disneyland.
It is not uncommon to wait 3+ hours for many of the rides. So that means if you go right when it opens (8am – 9 am, depending on the season) and leave when it closes at 10pm, you can only ride 4 rides. This is assuming that you don’t eat or do anything else.
When the park first opens, there is usually a long line just to buy tickets to get in. Sometimes you have to wait an hour or more.
If you do go to Tokyo Disneyland, here are some tips:
DO NOT go to Tokyo Disneyland on the weekend or on a Japanese national holiday. It will be WAY more crowded than a weekday (which is still crowded).
DO NOT go during the summer months (June-September). June is the rainy season and July, August, and September is crazy HOT and HUMID. Unless you come from a very hot and humid country, you will be absolutely miserable in this weather. The sun will also be strong, so you can easily get a sunburn. There are areas with shade, but many of these areas will be crowded with people. There are also many people who get heat-strokes or dehydrated during the summer. So be sure to keep cool and hydrated if you do go.
Tokyo Disneyland is a place you should visit at least once, just for the atmosphere and scenery…IF have the time. If you are coming to Japan only for a week or two, I can’t recommend going to Tokyo Disneyland.
However, if you have children with you, staying in Japan for an extended period of time, or are a hardcore Disney fan that doesn’t mind waiting in line, it might be worth going just to experience the ambiance there.
But for any travelers who come to Japan to experience the culture, nature, shopping, or food, there are much better activities and places to visit without waiting in line all day.
Tokyo Disneyland also has many kids and and people walking with baby strollers, so it can be hard to navigate through sometimes. Tokyo Disney Sea is usually less busy and has an older crowd, which makes it feel more elegant and relaxed.