Our friend, Christina Winklemann (who’s the director of social media for ban.do!), just came back from Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea. She’s here now to share all her favorite attractions, snacks and merchandise she found throughout her trip.
A few weeks ago, I went on my dream vacation – 10 days in Tokyo with my husband Morgan doing allllll the things. While most of that time was spent eating ramen, being completely silent on the Tokyo Metro, and frequenting several animal cafes, we did spend three glorious days at the Tokyo Disney Resort.
Let me first start off by saying that I grew up in Southern California, and Disneyland has always been MY park. But, I had heard so many cool things about both parks in Tokyo, that I knew I we should dedicate at least three days experiencing them. Here’s what I learned, ate, bought, and a list of my tips and tricks if you’re planning to visit the Tokyo Disney Resort!
What I Learned
These Parks are big! I’m used to Disneyland and Disney California Adventure, and the Tokyo Parks seem to dwarf those by comparison. Be prepared to walk at least 6-7 miles each day, especially if you are taking the Metro in.
This is the best people watching you’ll ever do at a Disney Park. Everyone in Japan is really cool in general, so it was interesting to see how people dressed up to the next level at the Parks. People in Japan are all about the Disney accessories like Ears, sunnies, hats, backpacks, little Metro card bags. There’s not a lot of customized ears or DIY outfits like you’ll see at Disneyland or Walt Disney World. People like buying the Disney accessories and matching head to toe with friends. Girls and boys!
It wasn’t uncommon to see groups all wearing the same outfit (and Disney accessories), or wearing the same thing, but in different colors. It was really inspiring and cool to see. These groups would also congregate in certain areas of the Park and spend time taking selfies of themselves and their friends all matching! I could have sat in front of Cinderella Castle and just watched them all day! Also Duffy, ShellieMae, and Gelatoni are WAY big in Japan. I actually ended up buying Duffy Ears and a Duffy bag that I saw people turning into a backpack.
It can be busy at the Parks, so just relax! First off, the people in Japan are really good at queuing. And you will find lines for the snack carts around the Parks as well. It’s normal, so just go with the flow, but that’s why you need multiple days. The food at both Parks is also REALLY good, which is why I’m going to take you through what I ate.
What I Ate
I knew I wanted to spend a good amount of time eating my way around both Parks. For instance, I had been wanting to eat the Little Green Men Mochi for a VERY LONG TIME, and they did not disappoint! They’re little chocolate, strawberry and vanilla custards. They were so good, we got them three times!
Our other favorites were the steamed buns found around Tokyo DisneySea. We ate the shrimp steamed bun which is shaped like a life preserver with Donald jumping out of it. Those were found by Aquatopia. And the Chandu Tiger Tail found in Arabian Coast was another delicious find.
Oh, one of the best things I ate was at Sebastian’s Calypso Kitchen in Mermaid Lagoon. We got the seafood pizza and the creamy scallop croquette sandwich. The bread on the sandwich was shaped like a giant shell, and I still dream about it. IT WAS DELICIOUS, PEOPLE! We also got the Sea Salt Ice Cream Monaka, which was also shaped like a shell. Oh, and the packaging has Minnie as a mermaid on it and it’s pretty much the cutest thing ever. I actually saved it and put it in my travel journal.
Morgan’s favorites were the reuben and club sandwiches at Tokyo DisneySea’s New York Deli.
Also, popcorn and popcorn buckets are seriously important in both Parks — so important that Park maps mark which stands have which flavors in both Parks. Flavors include honey, soy sauce and butter, cappuccino, white chocolate, curry, black pepper, and yes, they’re all as good as they sound. Also, it seems like everyone has their own unique popcorn bucket from past trips. I opted for a SUPER cute Dumbo one and took it into the Park every day with me. My favorite popcorn flavor was honey and it was right across from Pooh’s Hunny Hunt.
What I Bought
This section should actually be called “what I didn’t buy.” It would be a lot shorter.
The Disney Store in Shibuya is shaped like a castle. Some people love that store, but I ended up buying more from the shops in the Parks. I bought these really cute face masks of different characters. Who wants to be Genie or Baymax for a night? I know I do. Also, I spent a lot of time in the stationery shops in Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea. They have a ton of cute pens that come in packs and really cute message notes. On the packaging, you’ll find a picture drawing of how to use the unique products, so that is really helpful.
Another cool thing about Japan is that I found a lot of licensed Disney products at other stores around Tokyo. There is a shop called DHC and they had a bunch of fun Disney Princess items in lip glosses, blushes, hand creams, mascaras, etc. I also found some really cute Disney stationery sets at Daiso, Can*Do and Tokyo Hands in Shibuya!
What you won’t find a lot of: we collect magnets and ornaments from all our trips, and I only found three different types of magnets and zero Christmas ornaments. C’est la vie.
My Tips & Tricks
- YES! GO TO BOTH PARKS! If you’re gonna fly all the way to Tokyo, just invest that second day! You will not regret it. Bonus points if you can stay longer than two days.
- Get an English park map right when you enter the Park! This is crucial, and you’ll have to request it. It’ll tell you which rides have single rider and more importantly the different popcorn flavors and locations.
- Buy a popcorn bucket. If you plan on trying all the popcorn, invest in a bucket and your refills (you get two servings!) end up being around $5. WORTH IT!
- Leave room in your suitcase for all the swag you’ll be buying! I saved for months for this trip, because I knew I didn’t want to hold back when buying souvenirs.
- Try eating meals at off times. If you eat an early lunch or early dinner, you’ll avoid the crowds in the Park and in the restaurants. Or, you can also just snack your way around the Park, which is what we did on several occasions!
- A little thing I do before I go on vacation is scroll through relevant hashtags on Instagram. For this trip, I checked out the #TokyoDisneySea and #TokyoDisneyland hashtags to see what kind of merchandise people were taking pictures of and the foods that they were Instagramming. It gave me a good sense of what I wanted to buy and eat before I even got there.
- Scar once said… BE PREPARED! Check the weather before you go. We went on a rainy day and were ill-prepared!
- My friend, Krysta, gave me this tip, and I think it’s a good one: Buy your souvenirs early in the day and store them in a locker. At the end of the day, the stores will be so crowded, it’ll be tough to navigate through the crowded shops.
My Favorite Attractions
- Monsters, Inc. Ride & Go Seek! I literally came off this ride with a smile so big my face hurt! It’s like Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters at Disneyland, but so much cuter. Make sure to get a Fastpass!
- Pooh’s Honey Hut – One word: trackless. I recommend getting a Fastpass for this one too.
- The Enchanted Tiki Room: Stitch Presents “Aloha e Komo Mai!” So kawaii!
- Country Bear Theater
- Once Upon a Time – This show, which is projected on Cinderella Castle was no joke. It made me tear up, because it was THAT good.
Tokyo Disney Sea
- 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
- All of Mermaid Lagoon
- Sinbad’s Storybook Voyage
- Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Crystal Skull – I recommend a Fastpass for this one.
Anyway, I feel like I could go on and on. These parks were incredible and I already want to go back. Next on my Disney bucket list? Shanghai and Hong Kong!