Upfront, I had a great time at Tokyo Disneyland, this paragraph might not start like that, but it was very cool. This week we had a family trip to our local Tōkyō Dizunīrando and as someone who has been to Disneyland or Disneyworld no less than a half-dozen times or so, I’d honestly love to go somewhere else sometimes. The first couple of visits were cool, but the ever-increasing ticket prices, paying top dollar for cafeteria food, and long lines, seemed to wear me down. Fortunately for me, my wife is like-minded in that if there’s a long line she’s not likely to stand in it either, there’s lot of other things you can do in that hour besides wear down your iPhone battery. Two years ago we did a three-day park hopper pass at Disneyland and it was about 2 days too much, she handled it better than me. This photo at the right shows me on day three and after 72 hours of all things Disney and Mickey the Rat, I was done. This is the only photo from that fun fulled excursion, the others on this post are from Tokyo Disneyland. I’d like to say that the heat, the crowds, and long lines weren’t so bad and that I wouldn’t mind doing it again, but that’s what I’d like to say… However, given all these complaints about theme parks, and Disney in general, I have to say Tokyo Disneyland was pretty darn cool! I don’t know if it was just because we caught a bus there, spent the day, and took the bus home or that it was just different enough to keep me engaged. I am an oddity when it comes to Disney parks, I actually prefer Disneyland over Disneyworld. Huh? Yup, because I love history; Disneyland was historic and the first of the mega theme parks. I really don’t care about Disney’s new tribute park to Star Wars and Luke SkyVader, it’s the old stuff that I love. America had nothing like this until Walt Disney came along, sure there was Coney Island and world fairs, but nothing on a scale like what Disney proposed. By the time Disneyland opened in 1955 the entire world was already in love with the famous Disney cartoon characters! I also love that Walt Disney actually lived over Disneyland’s firehouse and that they’ve preserved his apartment. While the park was being built, Disney would often stay above the firehouse with his wife, click [ HERE ] for a video and more info about the apartment. At Disneyland, I love sitting in the back of a boat on “It’s a Small World” with my young daughters. Yes, it’s corny but I love it.
Overall, Tokyo Disneyland feels very much like Disneyland in Anaheim, with a couple of exceptions. One of the most visible is that the main street is covered, which I actually liked because you can get out of the sun and if it rains, you’ve got somewhere to go. I’m sure it doesn’t hurt the Disney bank account when thousands of park visitors are trapped in their stores because of the weather. Also, Tokyo Disneyland is newer than its American counterparts, this means it lacks the tall trees like the older parks that provide much-needed shade. The place is somewhat deceiving in size, after driving by Tokyo Disneyland a few times it just didn’t look very big. My family also thought the same after seeing it from a distance, wondering if there was enough there to fill an entire day. However, Tokyo Disneyland is actually about 30 acres larger than Disneyland in Anaheim! Is it done with Disney magic? Not sure, but once we were on foot in the park we realized it was huge. Many of the rides are very similar to Disneyland as well, outside of the Japanese language, you’d never think you were sitting in Tokyo. Disney goes very far to make language a non issue, we had no problem getting around, having fun, or felt like we were missing out on the experience because we don’t speak Japanese. Some places, like the Tiki Room, even provided electronic devices that translated, something we didn’t expect. There were no major cultural or linguistic stumbling blocks whatsoever, at one point a Disney employee actually came up to us wanting to help after seeing us stare at our unfolded map. The classic Disney parades that happen in the American parks were no different, my kids enjoyed them just as much. The parade featured the same familiar Disney characters and music, almost exactly like Disneyland. The food was very cool too, a mix between American and Asian could be found all over the park. Again, Disney is trying to please everyone, nobody starved on this trip, although I wasn’t a fan of the butter and soy sauce flavored pop corn… We did eat dinner at a buffet that was actually pretty decent. Yes, I just called Disney food “very cool” and “pretty decent” after complaining about their cafeteria food.
Anaheim, California is home to Disneyland and another park across the street called California Adventure. Tokyo Disney also has another park nearby called DisneySea which was the fourth most visited theme park in THE WORLD in 2018! We haven’t gone there yet but it’s on the list. I have to say that Tokyo Disney was a pretty cool experience and I’d do it again as a day trip. One last piece of advice, leave your big camera at home and just use your cellphone, you’ll have more fun. I used to be that guy carrying my camera to Disneyland, getting on rides, lugging my crap around. Cellphones do a great job for capturing family fun, the below shot, called Castle Garden, was taken with an iPhone 7 Plus as were all the others taken and shown on this post. All in all, I’m not a three-day park hoppin’ Star Wars lovin’ theme park guy, but I’d go back to Tokyo Disneyland again and definitely planning on visiting DisneySea. Regardless of what I think of theme parks, it’s not about me, my kids have fun and that’s the most important part.