tips for visiting Tokyo Disneyland

one of my best friends is currently exploring Walt Disney World in Florida, and it's making me jealous reminisce about our visit to Tokyo Disneyland last May. lucky for me [and you!] I realized that there was still a handful of photos and a TON of tips and tricks that I had neglected to share in my previous Disney posts. so, here you go:

getting there + getting around

if you are arriving in Tokyo by plane, you can get to Disneyland from Narita or Haneda airports by either bus or train. [we opted for the bus since it's a direct shot, about 1 hour drive from Narita.] once you arrive at the resort area, the best way to get around is by the monorail [which is called the Disney Resort line here.] we opted to stay in one of the partner hotels, the Hilton Tokyo Bay, which had a free shuttle bus that ran to the monorail station... though it was close enough to walk to the station. we bought a multi-day pass and really got our money's worth. one ride is 260 yen [about $2.60 USD] and if you plan to ride more than once between the park + hotel [we came back for lunch each day] it is worth getting the daily pass. I would also recommend staying out by the parks so that you can leave the park for more variety and less expensive meal options. the Ikspiari shopping complex contains restaurants of varying price levels, along with a grocery store. our hotel also had a small take-out deli and a decently stocked convenience store.

be prepared

when I checked the weather forecast for our trip to Tokyo Disneyland, it was supposed to be 80F and sunny. our second day was definitely bright and we were glad to have packed sunscreen. but our first day we had 70F and rain. this worked in our favor to keeps the crowds down, but it did mean investing in some snazzy $20 souvenir umbrellas. many of the shops sell umbrellas [ranging in price from $12 to $40 USD, and we spotted some $5 ponchos at the Pooh store. especially in the spring, you should come prepared with rain gear [or be prepared to purchase in the park.]

popcorn wagons

one thing that you MUST eat while at the park is the popcorn. Tokyo Disney is unique in that it offers a variety of popcorn flavors that can be found at different locations in the park. when we visited, the flavors were: caramel, salt, soy sauce + butter, curry, honey, strawberry, and soda. initially we had planned to try them all, but we fell in love with the curry popcorn [seriously, it was amazing] and ended up eating mostly that. each wagon offers a different souvenir bucket which costs $18.50 initially, and $5.20 per refill. we went with a classic Mickey bucket [at the soy sauce + butter wagon] and went through 3 or 4 curry refills. you can also buy a smaller carton at any stand for $3.10, but having the bucket was perfect for snacking while walking around or waiting in line. plus... it's adorable.

buying souvenirs

the selection of souvenirs was definitely not what I expected. the most popular characters seemed to be Mike and Sully from Monster's Inc, Chip and Dale, Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland, Winnie the Pooh, Toy Story, Marie from Aristocats, and obviously Mickey and Minnie. many of the stores in the park carry similar merchandise, but a few unique items are only found in stores near that character/theme ride. the princess options seemed to be limited to Cinderella, Snow White, Ariel, Sleeping Beauty, and a little Rapunzel. we did most of our shopping on our second day, after we had scoped out all the options for what to buy and where. we also found that the "Bon Voyage" shop and the Disney Store in Ikspiari carried additional items that couldn't be found in the park.

using fastpass

I've never used fastpass at a Disney park before, but if you visit Tokyo it will be your new best friend. the way they operate fastpass at these parks is a little different from anywhere else [or so I hear] and it makes it even faster for you if you hold a pass. the downside? standby wait times can get long and you will be frustrated watching everyone zoom by while you stand still for 20 minutes. depending on the time slot and how many passes each ride has, the fastpass to standby admittance ratio can go up to 10 to 1. [no really, we counted. 8 standby went in for every 75-80 fastpass at Pooh's Hunny Hunt] the two rides you absolutely want fast pass for are Hunny Hunt and Monster's Inc, though they come in handy for any of the coaster rides [Space Mountain, Big Thunder Railroad] or Splash Mountain.

for more posts about our trip, click below:
Tokyo Disney by iPhone
Fantasyland Favorites
Adventureland and Beyond

have you ever been to Tokyo Disneyland - or another Disney park? do you have any tips to add to this list?

linking up with BonnieCamilaJessi, and Amy for Travel Tuesday.

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