JAPAN: Tokyo Disneysea and Tokyo Disneyland

JAPAN: Tokyo Disneysea and Tokyo Disneyland
Tokyo Japan Tokyo Disneyland
Tokyo Disneyland
We love theme parks, especially Disney and Universal. When we plan our travels, most of the time they center on theme parks. Three days out of our 8-day vacation in Tokyo was spent park hopping on the two Disney theme parks of Tokyo, Disneyland and Disneysea.

We stayed at Hilton Tokyo Bay which an official hotel partner of Disney. All non-Disney brand partner hotels of Tokyo Disney offer free shuttle but only to the Disney Monorail Bayside station. The other three stations on this monorail system are Disneyland station, Disneysea station, and Resort Gateway station which is the station that connects to JR's Maihama Station. Monorail fare is 250jpy. We took a cab one day from Hilton to Disneysea because we want to get there before the park opens and it came up to about 1000jpy.

Tokyo Japan Tokyo Disneysea
Tokyo Disneysea's Man-made active volcano:
Mount Prometheus

We booked the hotel 3 months in advance and we paid 150usd/night. It's cheap compared to the Disney-brand hotels whose rate was 300usd/night. If you are planning to spend more than a day in the Tokyo Disney theme parks, it is worth it to stay in one of the Disney partner hotels, especially if you're like us who want to be in the theme park before the gate opens and stay there until closing.

We spent our first day in Disneysea. This is not the first Disney park we've been in and Disneysea has more unique rides than Disneyland so it was a no-brainer for us. If this is the first Disney park you will be visiting, I'd say go to Disneyland first since it has more rides versus Disneysea.


As most Disney-geeks know, each Disney theme parks has it's "center icon". In Disneysea's case, it is Mount Prometheus.

Tokyo Disneysea Journey to the Center of the Earth
The two most notable Disney rides unique to Disneysea are Journey to the Center of the Earth and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Journey to the Center of the Earth is a roller coaster ride built inside Mount Prometheus. The star of this ride is a massive "Lava Monster" which is one of the most impressive animatronics designed by those engineers in Disney. We were in awe the first time we saw this engineering wonder. The details are incredible and it's unimaginable how realistic it looked you have to see it yourself. We rode it for a second time just to be able to look at it again. Obviously since it was a roller coaster ride, we were unable to take a picture of this monster but I'm sure somebody out there probably had so you can search it on the internet. We were able to take a picture at the entrance to the ride.

Tokyo Disneysea 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is an "underwater" ride where you ride inside a spherical submarine. You can either ride looking up front, on the left side, or right side of the submarine. Since it was raining when we visited, there's not that many people so we were lucky enough to ride thrice and try all three views =) We tried taking video and picture while in the ride but it was just too dark so we were unable to get a quality video or picture. Again, all we were able to do is to take a picture at the entrance of the ride queue.

Probably the most unique Disney area inside a theme park is the Mermaid Lagoon in Tokyo Disneysea. The whole area is pretty much inside a huge "coral cave" which is a very amazing architecture. It's mostly just kiddie rides and this area and a show featuring the Little Mermaid but it's still worth to check out the cave structure both from the inside and out.

Tokyo Disneysea Mermaid Lagoon
Mermaid Lagoon

Other notable rides in the park are the following:

Storm Rider - another ride unique to Tokyo Disneysea. It's a jet ride simulator in a format kinda like Universal's classic "Back to the Future" ride

Sindbad's Storybook Voyage - a boat ride similar to the setting of "It's a Small World" which features Sindbad and the mythical creatures in his voyages

Tower of Terror - falling elevator ride pretty much identical to the one in Disney's California Adventure and Disney's Hollywood Studios in Orlando

Tokyo Disneysea Tower of Terror

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Crystal Skull - "Jeep" ride in a cave with a number or animatronics. Almost identical to the "Indiana Jones and the Mayan Temple" ride in Disneyland California

Venetian Gondolas - the name of the ride says it all. It goes around the Mediterranean Harbor area of the park


Tokyo Disneyland CastleWell, it's Disneyland so obviously this park's icon is a castle pretty much like the three other Disneyland (California, Paris and Hong Kong). We would say though that amongst the other Disneylands and Disney's Magic Kingdom in Orlando, the castle in this Disneyland is the least colorful which what makes it unique and makes it the most realistic looking castle amongst other Disney park castles.
Tokyo Disneyland Castle

It has all the classic Disney rides which you probably have ridden if you have been to other Disneylands but for the sake of those going to a Disneyland for the first time, here's what we consider must-rides in Tokyo Disneyland for Disney Theme Park first timers:

Pirates of the Caribbean - boat ride where you go through a town full of animatronic pirates and a ton of special effects

Tokyo Disneyland Haunted Mansion
Haunted Mansion - if you're into holographic special effects, this could end up becoming your favorite ride

Space Mountain - outerspace-themed roller coaster ride

Jungle Cruise - boat ride through a jungle filled with human and animal animatronics

Star Tours - spaceship simulation ride with a Star Wars theme

Splash Mountain - flume ride filled with animatronics

Buzz Lightyear's Astro Blasters - interactive ride where you get to shoot at alien targets

Tokyo Disneyland Dream LightsFor most Japanese theme-park goers, the parades and the shows are the highlight of their visit. We watch shows and parades too but mainly to get a brief rest. We would want to be sure first that we have time to at least ride all the main ride of a theme park before we watch shows and parades. When we were in Tokyo Disneyland, some people left during closing time a bit disappointed because the fireworks was canceled due to weather. To try to cheer themselves up, they talk at how beautiful the electrical parade was. As said earlier, we're not that much into parades but we did watch this one while eating dinner. We were glad that the place we ate at offer a pretty good view of the parade. We can't remember the name of the restaurant we ate at and too lazy to look it up but it is the burger joint in Tomorrowland.

Tokyo Disneyland Electrical Parade