Tokyo Disneyland family

Is Tokyo Disneyland worth all the hype?

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*This not a paid or comped post. We paid 100% for our entire visit to Tokyo Disneyland.

We were in Tokyo visiting our kids and had a full week together. They live in different parts of the world while Shawn, Sebastian and I travel full-time. We had been in SE Asia for the past 5 months and planned on heading to Eastern Europe after our short family reunion.

For those of you new to our blog, we originally set out with our two older kids from Seattle on September 1, 2016, for a 16-month long nomadic family adventure. We sold everything we, and they, owned and traveled to 22 countries on 4 continents and also had a baby along the way – Sebastian. We are now a family of 5.


One of the things we wanted to do during our time together was to visit Tokyo Disneyland

Our kids are huge theme park lovers and our daughter is a Disney freak. Sebastian had only been to California Disneyland and Universal Studios as an infant – so he couldn’t really appreciate it like he can now.

We had to decide if DisneySea Tokyo or Tokyo Disneyland were the best choice for our family.

Shawn and I do not love spending more than one day in a Theme park so we had to all pick which day and which park we were going to visit as a multi-day visit was not going to happen.

After some research we all determined that Tokyo Disneyland would be better to visit for several reasons.

While DisneySea actually looked more interesting and exciting for 4 of us, we ultimately chose Disneyland because of all the characters and nostalgia for our toddler to recognize. Also, this is where Alex really wanted to go as she becomes a 5 year old full of wonder and excitement when she’s at a Disney park.

And, Sebastian would be excited for the characters he was familiar with like Mr Incredible, Buzz Lightyear, Mickey Mouse of course and also Monsters Inc. Characters.

And…it was cold, rainy and January so we felt like DisneySea would be better at a warmer time. Perhaps next fall when we come back to Tokyo.

I purchased the tickets in person on the 3rd floor of the Disney Store in Shibuya. It took 2 minutes as we went at a time of day during the week that was not just. It cost 7500 yen per person so 30,000 yen in total which was $276 USD. Way cheaper than tickets for Disneyland in California! If you buy tickets at this store make sure it’s not during a busy time of day as we saw a line that went outside earlier in the week.

We don’t like to plan too much because we like to see how our day develops and where it takes us. For us, it’s more fun going on the fly than planning out our entire schedule.

I had told Shawn and the kids to research though so we knew some basics or if certain rides were closed. But they didn’t do squat. They apparently can’t be expected to research all the fast pass stuff and what rides are in each section of the park…until we get in line.

We took a train from Nakameguro station, near where we were staying, and headed out at 6:30 am to get coffee, water and snacks to bring into the park.

It cost less than $10 USD per person to travel to and from Nakameguro to the Disneyland stop at the JR Maihama Station. Our toddler was free. Also, having a stroller rocks! I mean, you can put all your crap in it instead of wearing a back pack all day or having to put it in a locker.

Once we arrived, we headed toward the Disney Resort as that is where the entrance to Tokyo Disneyland is.

There were bathrooms along the way as well as a full Disneyland store outside the gates. Shawn and I made sure we went to the Toilets because…well, we are old and need lots of potty breaks.

Once we found the lines to get in we just had to wait an hour (yes, we got there a full hour early at 8am) because the lines we’re supposed to be crazy if you came at 9 am when the gates open.

The lines did fill up fast and I was thinking the park was going to be crazy crowded. Ugh. I am not a crowd person and I dislike waiting in lines but, I decided that this was a very rare day with all our kids together so let’s I’m just gonna smile and enjoy the time waiting together.

This is also where we all pulled up what rides were here and what areas they were in. Shawn and the kids each picked out one or two must-do rides and then laid out a loose plan that was location specific. That took about 5 minutes. I only really cared about making sure we all went on It’s a small world and Pirates of the Caribbean together as I knew Sebastian could go on both for sure with everyone.

We also looked up Popcorn. A friend had told me that there are different popcorn stalls at every location and to try each one as they are all unique and tasty. There is a large bucket for each area you could purchase which was themed for that area.

And that was the extent of our plan for the day.

Once the gates opened at 9am it was a pretty fast process. They checked bags but we got all our snacks and water in no problem!

Next up was purchasing our headgear.

Most people seem to have arrived with their matching pre-purchased ears and hats but we were, again, not the type to plan in advance.

We went into the first store we came across and all sought our our perfectly individualized hats. We are also not the kind of family who get all matchy matchy and like to show our individuality.

Our son got a white baseball hat with white pom poms. It was cute and ridiculous for an 18 year old guy and he LOVED it.

Our daughter got a mouse ear headband with a sequin bow atop. Totally her personality.

At 22 years old she is still all Disney!

Shawn picked out a Goofy knit cap with dangly ears. He looked ridiculous but also cute.

Sebastian was sleeping so I picked out earmuffs for him. He’s always wanting my black ones and calls them head phones. He LOVED his and wouldn’t take them off for days and still wears them.

He loves his earmuffs and still wears them on the outside of his hat!

I chose a black knit hat with two black pom poms on top. I wanted something I could wear again outside of Disney and I was so happy this hat didn’t have any logos.

It cost a total of 13,000 Yen which was about $125 USD for all 5 hats. Still better pricing than in the other Disney parks we’ve been to in the states. I was thrilled that it didn’t cost us more.

Now that we were properly attired, it was time for some rides.

First we headed to Tomorrowland. Our daughter had never been on Space mountain. She’s been on all the other rides at Disneyland and Walt Disney World…but not this one. I think the first time at Disneyland California she was afraid and then at Walt Disneyworld we didn’t go because of the lines.

First we got a fast pass for the Monsters, Inc. ride because we heard it was one that got packed early. We figured that Sebastian would love it because of Mike and Scully. Then we headed to the Space Mountain entrance.

I was born in California. I don’t even know how many times I’ve been to Disneyland but it’s about 10-12 – I think. I use to be an amusement park Junkie and loved all the crazy rides. And then as I got older I started getting nauseous on the spin-y rides and would tweak my neck on the loopy coasters. So, I’m not much into thrill rides any longer and I’ve also been on all of the rides at Disneyland more than 2 times each so…I was happy to let them all go have fun while I hung out with Sebastian.

He was still sleeping in his stroller when Shawn and the kids left to get in line.

About 5 minutes later, out of nowhere, Sebastian bolts upright while I’m sitting on a bench next to his stroller. He shouts…”MR INCREDIBLE” and starts twisting and yelling trying to frantically break out of the stroller.

I unbuckle him and he slides out and runs. I chase him over to where Mr Incredible was standing…with other kids waiting patiently in line.

Sebastian bolts past everyone and in front of the kids Mr Incredible is talking to and gives him a giant bear hug.

It was so cute (even though he totally cut in line!)

I got him to come back to me and we then waited a couple minutes for his actual turn.

What I didn’t realize was that Shawn and the kids were able to see the whole thing from their place in line. It was so cute!

I think they hugged about 5 times and chatted and then I pulled him away to go and meet Stitch and Angel. On a side note, we sell scented Stitch and Angel Scentsy buddies. Check them out here.

While we were waiting I got this cute shot of Sebastian patiently just starting at Stitch and Angel.

Taken with my Pixel 3 XL – no filters or editing!
He wouldn’t look at me…he was staring at Mr Incredible…

While he enjoyed hugging both Angel and Stitch, he couldn’t take his eyes off of Mr Incredible and…the Green Army Men…who were now by his side.

As soon as I was done forcing him to take a photo, I brought him back to Mr Incredible. They hugged and compared muscles.

Then he spent some time with the green army men giving hugs and high 5’s.

The kid couldn’t have been happier or more excited.

Shortly thereafter, Shawn and the kids met up with us and we headed over to get some popcorn. They bought a big plastic Rocketship popcorn holder for 2000 Yen ($19 USD) and the first flavor which I recall was just salted basic popcorn. Each refill with the bucket was 400 yen and without was 500 yen. You don’t actually have to buy a bucket if you don’t want to.

Later we learned that we should’ve waited to buy the bucket in a different area where there was a more practical bag we could’ve kept and traveled with. Live and learn. We ended up giving the Rocket to our older son to keep.

Next up was the Star Tours ride. Alex stayed back with me while Shawn and our son went. The plan was for She and I to go after while they watched Sebastian.

It seemed like they were gone about 45 minutes. They came back and said it was just okay and that we shouldn’t go. If I recall it was just an okay ride so we were happy to move on.

We still had about 15 minutes to kill before we could go on the Monsters Inc ride so we headed into some shops. Sebastian went crazy inside and wanted all the things. Especially the pretend cooking toys. We wrangled him out without a single purchase and took a photo op on a car.

What we’d noticed so far is that Tokyo Disneyland was crazy clean. Like the moment you dropped a piece of popcorn they already swept it up. Sebastian spilled a good amount and one of the cleaning characters let him help her sweep it back up. He loved helping and holding that broom. I had to pry it out of his hands.

No need to tell you our day minute by minute!

Basically, our day was great. We went on rides, ate some okayish Mouse head shaped pizza, had some delicious cocoa, got rained on a bit, but did everything we had wanted to.

While most Employees at Tokyo Disneyland didn’t speak English, they had little notebooks with English phrases, answers or instructions which ended up being more than enough to help us with questions. Also, pointing works well. Just be patient and smile. They don’t need to know English and try their best to understand and assist foreigners.

Sebastian had so much fun with his siblings, he cried a few times (as toddlers do), seeing all the Disney Characters, and just being able to run around. We had fun watching him and just all being together.

It was a fantastic day at Tokyo Disneyland. If you can’t have a good day at the happiest place on earth…then where the hell can you have a good day?


20 thoughts on “Is Tokyo Disneyland worth all the hype?”

  1. That is so neat! I live near Orlando and have only been to the parks there. I’m so curious what the international parks are like, so this was a great read. Thank you! 🙂

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