The Tokyo Disney Resort is one of the most popular Disney theme park resorts, and it’s also typically the most crowded. For first time visitors to Japan, there may be some cultural differences that require getting used to as well. If you’re planning a trip to Tokyo Disneyland, here are some helpful tips to keep in mind.
Like the US parks, Tokyo Disney is typically always crowded on the weekend. However, there are some important dates to keep in mind when it comes to planning your visit. Christmas and New Years are extremely busy times, along with Golden Week, which falls at the beginning of May. March is also one of the busiest times of the year, depending on when cherry blossom season falls. School holidays fall several times a year, and those are popular times for people to come from other parts of Japan. Tokyo Disney also hosts a variety of seasonal events, and the start of these events can also see increased crowds.
Unlike the US parks, Tokyo Disney doesn’t offer standard park hopper tickets. If you buy a one or two-day pass, you are limited to choosing either Tokyo Disneyland or Tokyo DisneySea each day. When you purchase a three- or four-day ticket, you get park hopper access on the last two days. Three or four days are highly recommended to see the most of the two theme parks.
If you are comparing hotel prices, you likely already know how expensive Japan is to begin with. Official Disney Resort hotels are some of the most expensive of any of the resorts, but there are other more economical options, including a Sheraton and Hilton across the street. These are partner resort hotels and offer some of the same benefits, like guaranteed park access when you purchase tickets at the hotel. They are also convenient to get to the resort by riding the Monorail (which is not free like Disneyland or Walt Disney World).
Remember that the Japanese culture tends to be more modest and conservative compared to what you may be used to in the US. This means overly revealing clothing and the display of tattoos is frowned upon. For some, tattoos are still heavily associated with Japanese gangs, so rather than bring unwanted attention to yourself, plan to dress appropriately.
Japan is a very cash-centric culture and credit cards are not accepted everywhere, even some places at Disney. At the partner hotels, you may be required to pay cash for your park tickets. Some ATMs in Japan do not take foreign cards, including the ones inside the resort. Taking money out at the airport on arrival or in the Ikspiari shopping area are probably the closest options. The most important note about cards is that some cashiers may not take your debit card. Even though it’s a functional credit card, they may not accept it. Always have a backup credit card just in case. Foreign chip cards have been known to present issues periodically as well.
Because Japanese people almost all have data on their phones, finding Wi-Fi, even in some hotels, can be a challenge. (Wired is usually always available, with Wi-Fi in public areas for example). It’s easy to get a data only (no phone calls) SIM card at the airport now, or you can rent a mobile Wi-Fi device as well.
Shows and rides are typically all in Japanese only, but there is plenty of English around the park. Even if you don’t know Japanese, the shows are worth watching and the rides are easy enough to figure out what’s happening. Some Disney Cast Members do speak passable English, but don’t expect everyone to. They try, but it’s also helpful to learn some basic Japanese phrases that will go a long way.
Tokyo Disney is not immune from natural disasters. These include frequent earthquakes and the Pacific Typhoon Season. This pretty much coincides with the Atlantic Hurricane season, so if you plan to visit during monsoon season in the summer, it’s highly recommended you purchase a travel insurance policy.
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Erin is a travel and food writer who currently splits her time between the Netherlands and Belize. She's traveled to 60+ countries on 5 continents with a passion for culinary travel, luxury hotels, and all things Disney. Her writing has appeared in numerous online outlets including Gadling, BootsnAll, CNN, Art of Backpacking, TravBuddy, CBS, and more. She was the major author of Belize's official visitor magazine, Destination Belize 2013; wrote the official AFAR Guide to Belize; and is also AFAR Magazine's local Belize expert.. In addition to writing for other publications, Erin maintains several blogs, Our Tasty Travels, No Checked Bags, Pooh's Travels, and the brand new Caye To Belize. Follow Erin on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google Plus.
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