The first Disneyland Park built outside the USA, it is visited by over 17 million people a year. This is, Tokyo Disneyland.
Tokyo Disneyland opened in Japan on April 1st 1983, the first Disney theme park built outside the USA. To minimize the risk The Walt Disney Company sold the theme park rights and licenses to built and run to park to the Oriental Land Company. The Oriental Land Company owns Tokyo Disney Resort, although all design and building is exclusively done by Walt Disney Imagineering, keeping the standards and quality of the other Disney parks in the world.
Now that little history lesson is out of the way, lets get down to the park.
Tokyo Disneyland (TDL) is made up of 7 themed lands in the traditional Disneyland Wheel Spoke layout. (Look that up Jimmy) Below is an outline of each land and the main attractions in each one.
The entrance to all Disneyland style parks in the world is Main Street USA, except for TDL. As you enter into TDL you enter in to World Bazaar, similar to Main Street USA, but much more expanded. World Bazaar is designed to give the feel of early 20th century America. Unlike the Main Street USA's in other parks, World Bazaar has two streets, Main Street and half way up it intersects with Centre Street. The streets are lined with themed shops, cafe's and restaurants. World Bazaar leads up to the parks hub, with Cinderella Castle sitting visible at the end of Main Street. A unique part of World bazaar is the glass canopy covering the streets.
Adventureland has two areas to it with completely different themes yet they compliment each other: A New Orleans-themed area, and a "jungle"-themed area. In the original Disneyland there are the Adventureland and New Orlenes square areas next to each other, which TDL's Adventureland is influenced by.
- Pirates of the Carribean
- The Jungle Cruise
- The Enchanted Tiki Room: Stich Presents: Aloha E Komo Mai!
Westernland may seem familiar to those who have visited another Disneyland, It is the "Frontierland:" of TDL. The reason for it being called Westernland is because Frontierland doesn't adequately translate into Japanese. In this classic wild west land where cowboys chase Indians' you can board the Mark Twain Riverboat for a cruise down the rivers of America, passing run away mine trains and Indian camps.
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
- Country Bear Jamborree
- Mark Twain Riverboat
Critter country is the smallest land in the park, and dominated by one major attraction, Splash Mountain. The land was opened when Splash Mountain opened, and the themeing of it is all an extension of the ride. The land also is where you board the canoe attraction around the Rivers of America. In Critter country you will find a nice restaurant, with seating by the Splash Mountain stream, and some small shops.
- Splash Mountain
Fantasyland, it's a staple of all Disneyland style parks residing at the back, behind the Castle. Here your main entrance way to the land is the regal Cinderella Castle. Although Fantasyland doesn't have thrill rides, it has an impressive line up of attractions. From the classic Tea Cups and Flying Dumbos to the Iconic It's a Small World, Fantasyland has all your classic Disney attractions covered at TDL.
Perhaps one of the most impressive, and highly regarded attractions is Pooh's Hunny Hunt. This Winnie the Pooh dark ride, is like no other on earth. The technology used is a trackless ride, so your vehicle goes somewhere different each time. Be sure to get to this attraction first as the line grows fast.
- The Haunted Mansion
- It's a Small World
- Mickey's PhilarMagic
- Pooh's Hunny Hunt
- Peter Pan's Flight
Toontown is the newest land to be added to Tokyo Disneyland. Inspired heavily by the film "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" This cartoon world, has no striaght lines, as soon as you walt under the entrance canopy you are transported to an animated world. Here the land is split into two areas, Residential Toontown, and Toontown City.
In the residential side you can visit Mickey's house, take a tour of Minnie's House, Climb aboard Donald's Boat, and Give Goofy's crazy digs a paint job. On the other side, in the Town centre, you will find eateries shops and the main attraction Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin.
- Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin
- Mickey's House and Meet Mickey
We're now at the final land Tomorrowland. This futuristic land is filled with a vision of tomorrow. Here you will find some classic Disney attractions and a few unique to TDL. The Classic Space Mountain is here, with it's classic travelator entrance and just recently opened is one for every families Star Wars fan.
Star Tours: The Adventure Continues opened this month, Jump on a Star tours flight to one of eight destinations. You enter the attraction into the Star tours terminal much like an airport in the future, making your way past baggage handlers and some of your favorite characters fromt the films. Once you get to the boarding gate pick up your 3D glasses and get ready to go to a different destination each ride! Be sure to get to this ride first as it is extremely popular.
Lastly there is Monsters Inc. Ride and Go Seek. In this ride, which resides in an exact copy of the Monsters Inc factory in the film, you help Sully and Mike find Boo, through the streets of Monstropolis where the power has gone out, and your flashlights are there to help.
- Space Mountain
- Star Tours: The Adventure Continues
- Buzz Lightyear's Astroblasters
- Monster's Inc. Ride and go Seek
Now that we have covered all the lands and their major attractions, remember there are many more attractions and shows in all the lands, however We'd be here all night describing them all!
One thing to mention is the parades at Tokyo Disneyland.
Their are two year round parades that perform almost daily.
The day time parade 'The Happiness is here parade' was a new addition for the 30th Anniversary, it's a bright and playful parade featuring all your favorite characters with an intoxicating soundtrack, which will get stuck in your head for months after.
The nighttime parade 'Tokyo Disneyland Electrical Parade: Dreamlights!' is the best Disney parade in the world. Based on the original Main Street Electrical Parade, With a mammoth 25 Floats, it's perhaps the longest parade in the world, in a Disney Park at least.
It's a not to be missed Parade, and great way to end your night at Tokyo Disneyland.
Key times of year to see TDL are -
- New Year's Eve
If you're at the parks at any of these times, or the months surrounding them you will be in for extra parades, amazing seasonal foods, and decorations, and merchandise! So save your Yen's!
Maximise your time in the parks
Tokyo Disneyland can get busy, fast. Don't let this deter you from a magical day in the park. You just need to keep a few things in mind to get the most out of your day, and we are here to help!
Disney has a great ride reservation system in all their parks called Fastpass. The system is used on the most popular rides and is avalible to all guests, all you need is a valid ticket.
When you approach a rides Fastpass distribution area, you insert your ticket and you will receive a paper reservation telling you a one hour timeframe where you can return to the ride and have a little to no wait time. Think of it as a virtual line system.
Now remember they only give out a certain amount per 10 minute block, from park opening to closing. Many popular rides Fastpass' will run out within hours of the park opening, so get in early and work the system to your advantage.
Once you hold a Fastpass you cannot get another one until your reservation window is up or two hours have passed, whichever comes first.
The key to getting the most out of the Fastpass system is-
- Be at the park 30mins to 1 hour before opening.
- Once in the park, get a Fastpass immediately, go for the most popular rides for your first pass, they are-
- Monsters Inc. Ride and Go Seek
- Star Tours - The adventure continues
- Pooh's Hunny hunt.
- Get in line to one of the most popular ride that you didn't get your first Fastpass for.
- As soon as your Fastpass window comes up, get another one for another ride. Repeat this until there are no Fastpasses left for the day.
Go against the flow
Another busy aspect and time waster is eating. Now we're not saying don't eat! The best way to get the most out of your time is to eat a little earlier the norm.
So good timeframes to eat with little to no wait at in park restaurants are
Want it, Buy it
Another thing to keep in mind is merchandise. Tokyo Disneyland has all unique merchandise you will not find in any other Disney parks around the world. So if you want it , buy it. Do not wait until park closing. When the park closes in Tokyo at 10pm. All of it closes. Unlike many other Disney parks in the world, where you can shop along Main Street for an hour after closing, TDL closes all shop doors promptly at 10pm.
All those cast members have trains to catch home remember!
You don't speak Japanese?
Coming from overseas the majority of you probably don't speak any or little Japanese. Don't worry about the language barrier! All the signs and warnings and menus at TDL are in english too, and the majority of the rides have english in them too.
TIP: Drop by guest services just outside world Bazaar and ask for some english story cards. They will give you a great package, for free with beautifully designed story cards for all major attractions explaining the back stories.
Tokyo Disneyland is a must visit for all families visiting Japan and anyone who loves their local amusement/theme parks. If you are thinking, because you have visited Disneyland somewhere else in the world, you can give it a miss, think again. Tokyo Disneyland is one of a kind with many unique attractions and parades you will not experience anywhere else.
Be sure to say Konnichiwa to Mickey from us!