Tokyo DisneySea is the newest park at Tokyo Disney Resort, and the most spectacular park to be designed by Walt Disney Imagineering, since the original Disneyland, USA.
Tokyo DisneySea opened on September 4, 2001 and attracts more than 12 million visitors a year. It was the ninth park of the current eleven worldwide Disney theme parks to open. Within a year of opening, it won the title of fastest theme park in the world to reach 10 million guests, achieving this distinction in only 307 days. Tokyo DisneySea is also the most expensive theme park ever built, costing over USD$4 billion.
Tokyo DisneySea compliments it's big sister, Tokyo Disneyland, with ports of call instead of "lands". The first port, Mediterranean Harbour is the gateway to the other six ports, American Waterfront, Port Discovery, Lost River Delta, Arabian Coast, Mermaid Lagoon and Mysterious Island.
The Park has a continuous body of water that goes through all lands, which offers transportation via the DisneySea Transit Steamer Line. The steamer line has stops in Mediterranean Harbour, American Waterfront, and Lost River Delta.
Take a cruise around the ports of call at Tokyo DisneySea.
The first port is the entrance to the park, Mediterranean Harbour, and is themed as a Italian waterfront city, much like Portofino or Venice, with gondola rides available. The port's backdrop is the immaculate Hotel MiraCosta, which looks a collection of dozens of Venetian building, tying the whole theme together. The harbour is host to the spectacular daytime extravaganza, The Legend of Mythica, and the legendary nightime show, Fantasmic! The streets are lined with plenty of shops, cafés and restaurants to keep you happy until closing time.
- Venetian Gondolas
- Fortress Explorations
This port of call represents the north-east United States, set in the early 20th century. American Waterfront has two themed areas, a quiet upstate seaside village by the name Cape Cod, and the bustling metropolis of New York harbour. The port is dominated by the large ocean liner, SS Columbia, which, amongst other attractions, contains several restaurants and a stylish 1920's-themed bar. American Waterfront also has a station for the DisneySea Electric Railway, which takes passengers to and from Port Discovery.
This port is the home for many of the park's live entertainment, among them are the shows staged at the Broadway Music Theater, where one of the big productions of the park, Big Band Beat is performed, which features swing jazz music, performed by a 12-piece band, as well as over 20 singers and dancers. The port's signature attraction is The Tower of Terror, with an original storyline, different to the other incarnations of the attraction around the world. Currently, the most popular ride in this port is the recently opened Toy Story Mania, which is tucked away in it's own section called Toy Trolly Park, which evokes the feel of an early 20th century seaside amusement park, much like Coney Island, USA.
- Tower of Terror
- Toy Story Mania
- Turtle Talk with Crush
- Broadway Music Theater
Port Discovery is themed as the marina of tomorrow. Seen by many as the parks version of Tomorrowland, the port is home to the Centre For Weather Control, which houses the major attraction Storm Rider, a large scale simulator ride. The land also contains Aquatopia, a trackless ride hovering on water, and dodging obstacles with the same technology as Pooh's Hunny Hunt in Tokyo Disneyland. The land also has themed entertainment that sporadically happens throughout the day, and a futuristic themed sit down restaurant, Horizon Bay, which hosts character dining.
Lost River Delta, the parks' South American themed port, is located at the rear of the park. The centrepiece is massive ruins of an Aztec pyramid, which house the attraction Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Crystal Skull. The port has a DisneySea Transit Steamer Line stop, as well as themed restaurants and eateries. Located here is Mystic Rhythms, a stage show hosted inside an airplane hanger, which seems a bit like Tokyo DisneySea's take on a Cirque du Soleil show. Not far from the Aztec ruins is another dig site, where you'll find the looping roller coaster, Raging Spirits, set on top of an ancient ceremonial site.
Another popular attraction for the young and young at heart are the Mickey and Friends greeting trails. Embark through these jungle trails to find your favorite Disney characters waiting to meet you. Keep your eyes peeled, as there are many hidden animals and artifacts in the jungle on your way.
- Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Crystal Skull
- Raging Spirits
- Mickey and Friends Greeting Trails
This port of call is themed after one of Disney's biggest animated features, Aladdin. They have recreated an exotic Arabian harbour, with several themed attractions, restaurants and shops contained throughout the alleyways. In the land, you can take a cruise with Sinbad as he embarks on his storybook voyage. This attraction houses almost 100 animatronics, as well as a beautiful score composed by Disney legend Alan Menken.
There is a double decker carousel, with comedic touches from the genie, as well as the Magic Lamp Theatre - a part live show, part 3D film attraction. The newest family attraction to open on the Arabian Coast is Jasmine's Flying Carpets, where you can enter Jasmine's palace gardens and take a spin on a magic carpet.
- Sinbad's Storybook Voyage
- Jasmine's Flying Carpets
- The Magic Lamp Theatre
Much like Arabian Coast, this port of call is themed around the animated feature The Little Mermaid. The entrance is designed to look like the palace of king Trition, and features beautiful architecture inspired by seashells. The port is mostly indoors and recreates the feeling of being underwater, well, without the getting wet part!
The port is geared towards the younger guests, although all rides and attractions are able to be enjoyed by all ages. There is a family coaster, Flounders Flying Fish Coaster; A few spinning attractions, a large playground and walkthrough attraction that recreates various locations from the film. The main attraction is the Mermaid Lagoon Theatre, showing the muscial production Under The Sea. This unique-to-Tokyo DisneySea-production is in a 360-degree setting, with all the actors and puppets and animatronics above the audience, to give the feel of it all being under the sea. Guests visiting this port can also have a special visit with Ariel.
- Mermaid Lagoon Theatre
- Flounder's Flying Fish Coaster
- Meet Ariel
Mysterious Island is a port that is contained within mount prometheus, a giant volcano that is the icon and centerpiece of the park. The port is heavily influenced by the storytelling of Jules Verne, and the mythology of the volcano fortress mentioned in his novel Vulcanica. The signature attraction within the volcano, Journey to the Centre of the Earth, is one of the most detailed and elaborate rides ever created. It is a high speed ride through the tunnels towards the centre of the earth, with surprises and turns you won't see coming. The other attraction of the port is 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, a dark submarine ride through the story of the famous Jules Verne novel. The port also has two restaurants, as well as one of the parks most popular snacks, a gyoza roll that often has an hour-long waiting time! Be sure to keep an eye on the volcano as it erupts throughout the day and night, as well as playing a special role in the park's night time entertainment.
- Journey to the Centre of the Earth
- 20,000 Legues Under the Sea
Now that we have covered all the ports, remember there are many more attractions and shows all over the park, however this article would go on forever if we described them all. One thing to mention is the day and night time spectaculars at Tokyo DisneySea.
Make sure the catch the daytime spectacular, Legend of Mythica, a large scale parade on water, that tells the story of mythical creatures like the Unicorn, Phoenix and more coming to life. With a cast of over 70 performers, 14 floats and water and fire effects, this is performed daily and not to be missed.
The night time spectacular, Fantasmic!, is a famous Disney park staple reimagined. It is the story of Mickey's imagination, and an epic battle of good vs evil, performed by a large cast, accompanied with spectacular fire and pyrotechnic effects.
The times and frequencies of these two shows can vary depending on other happenings in the park, so make sure you grab a daily program when entering. Tokyo DisneySea provide programs in many languages, including English.
Seasonal holidays are also celebrated at Tokyo DisneySea, with eleborate decorations, displays, and exclusive shows.
These holidays include:
- New Year's Eve
If you’re at the parks at any of these times, or the months surrounding them, be prepared to watch extra parades, enjoy some amazing seasonal foods, and grab some special merchandise! So make sure you save your Yen's!
Tokyo DisneySea 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 available to all guests; all you need is a valid park 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 daily Fastpass' tickets 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:
- Journey to the Center of the Earth
- Toy Story Mania
- Tower of Terror
- Get in line to one of the most popular rides 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 DisneySea has all unique merchandise that you will not find in any other Disney park around the world. So if you want it, buy it.
Do not wait until park closing. When the park closes at 10pm, all of it closes! This is unlike many other Disney parks in the world, where you can shop along Main Street for an hour after closing; Tokyo DisneySea closes all shop doors promptly at 10pm.
Remember, all those cast members have trains to catch home!
You don't speak Japanese?
Coming from overseas, the majority of you will probably only speak very little to no Japanese. Don't worry about the language barrier! All the signs, warnings and menus at Tokyo DisneySea are in english too, and the majority of the rides have english in them as well.
TIP: Drop by guest relations, which is just in the entrance plaza, and ask for some English story cards. They will give you a great package, of beautifully designed story cards for all major attractions explaining their back stories, for free!
Tokyo DisneySea is a must visit for all families visiting Japan and anyone who loves their local amusement/theme parks. If you are thinking that because you have visited another Disney park elsewhere in the world that you can give it a miss, think again. Tokyo DisneySea is one of a kind theme park, that you won’t find anywhere else in the world. The amount of detail and story that has been put into Tokyo Disney Resort’s newest park is unlike anything else.
If you only have time to visit one of the Disney parks while in Tokyo, we would recommend Tokyo DisneySea. Especially if you have visited a Disneyland park elsewhere in the world.