Day and 1/2 to spend at Tokyo Disney parks

December 10, 2015, 8:04 AM

My family and I will be visiting Japan next spring, and we have one full day and one half day (flight leaves around 5 pm from Narita on second day) to spend at the two Tokyo Disney parks.

I've read through Robert's reports from a couple of years ago, and done some other research online.

I'd appreciate any tips from people who have visited the parks, but my main question is: spend the full day at Tokyo Disney Seas and the half-day at Tokyo DL (my natural inclination), or the other way around?

FYI, I believe you are limited to one park per day unless you buy 3 or 4 day parkhoppers (can't remember details).

We are frequent visitors to Disneyland and DCA in Anaheim, and I visited WDW in Florida before I was married, around 1997, but it will be the first visit to another Disney park for my wife and kids, ages 10 and 12.

What made me reconsider our plans was reading online that Tokyo DL is more of a full-day, complete experience, while Disney Seas is smaller and has less to do. Of course, there is nothing like Tokyo Disney Seas anywhere else in the world, and there are more attractions there not in Anaheim than there are at Tokyo DL.

Again, any other advice or tips are appreciated (we are not visiting Japan during Golden Week, thankfully).

Replies (5)

December 10, 2015, 9:49 AM

Considering that you're a frequent visitor to Disneyland, your plan looks to be right on the money. TDS has too many unique rides and attractions that are going to take a least a day to visit. While half a day at TDL is certainly not going to be enough, you would probably have fewer regrets if you spend the time just like you have planned.

December 10, 2015, 11:53 AM

If you skip Toy Story mania you can get Disney Sea done in half a day. The key is to get there early and when the park opens go to Journey and get a Fast pass (for later use), then ride it. You should be off the ride with FP in hand by 8:20 or sooner. Then go ride Raging Spirits and Indiana Jones. These rides are in the very back and won't have lines at that time. Then go ride Sinbad. It should be about 9:20 and you can go get your 2nd ride on Journey.

Get a FP for Tower of Terror and enjoy the park. I've never seen 20,00 with a line longer than 10- 20 minutes.

You need a full day at Tokyo Disneyland.

I've been to both parks multiple times.

December 10, 2015, 10:58 PM

That's a tough one. For a frequent DL/WDW visitor, here's what I would consider "don't miss" at TDR:

At DisneySea:
Journey to the Center of the Earth
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
Fortress Explorations
King Triton's Concert
Sindbad's Storybook Voyage
Tower of Terror (for the preshow)
Lunch or dinner at S.S. Columbia and/or Magellan's

At Tokyo Disneyland:
Pooh's Hunny Hunt
Tom Sawyer Island (to see it in pristine condition, with everything working and open)
Country Bear Theater (if showing the Vacation Hoedown or Christmas shows)
Monsters Inc Ride and Go Seek

If you're really, really good, you can do all the TDS stuff above in half a day, but the park is so gorgeous, I would be inclined to spend the full day there, and the half day at the more familiar-looking TDL. However, in either case, arrive an hour before opening and be prepared to run to your first Fastpass distribution destination. Get the Fastpass, do the closest other ride on the list, then as soon as your Fastpass collection window reopens, try to get another FP. If you can get more than two FP at TDR in one day you are a TPI God, or you visited on a really slow day. ;^)

To that end, go on a weekday, if you can. Weekends are almost always packed.

Edited: December 11, 2015, 3:02 AM

Having visit Tokyo Disney this past Summer, I would spend the full day at Tokyo DisneySea and the half day at Tokyo Disneyland. Not because TDL has less to do than TDS (TDL has lot more attractions), but because TDS is so unique and you'll want to spend time just walking around it - plus you'll want to ride Journey to the Center more than once. Ride all the unique rides at TDL (Pooh's Hunny Hunt and Monsters Ride and Go Seek), use the single rider line for Splash Mtn, and skip the clones (unless you want the Space Mtn credit - do ride BTMR though as it's a bit different than the CA version). Walk through the World Bazaar (covered Main St.), through the castle, and around the park to see the different layouts of the lands (check out Tom Sawyer Island). Do all the major rides at TDS (Toy Story Mania is skippable as it has the longest wait there unless you use a Fastpass or get in line 15 min before park closing like I did). Use the single rider line on Indiana Jones (single rider line is hit or miss on Raging Spirits) and do Aquatopia at night. Ride the Disney Monorail around the resort before park opening. Enjoy Tokyo Disney and Japan. I can't wait to go back there.

December 12, 2015, 7:58 AM

Thank you everyone for your advice and suggestions! We definitely don't want to be rushing from headliner attraction to headliner attraction all day (and would rather walk around and enjoy the uniqueness of the parks), but we may follow Paul Scott's plan when we start our day (or half-day) at Disney Sea.

Not looking forward to running (like with the bulls in Spain) at park opening, but I guess it will just be for one time (assuming we can get up early with possible jet lag). We did the running at park opening thing at Knott's Berry Farm this summer when Voyage to the Iron Reef was brand new, and it's fun for about a minute but not if you're carrying a lot of stuff on your back.

Robert, those trip reports and land-by-land breakdowns from December 2011 are great stuff. They make me want to stay at the parks for three or four days, but there's too much other stuff to see in Japan in the spring for a first-time visit (for my wife and kids). We will be in Osaka for a couple of days, but I can't justify a day at Universal Studios there, Harry Potter and Space Fantasy notwithstanding.

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