Almost a decade ago I went to Hong Kong DisneyLand. It was also winter then. And raining. So in keeping with the wet and cold tradition, it also rained (albeit only a little, thank God!) when we visited Tokyo DisneySea. Set along the Tokyo Bay, the winter chill in DisneySea was about ten times of what I felt when I was in the gardens of Tokyo. So if you plan to skimp out on gloves (me), earmuffs (me) or just about anything heat-inducing, think twice.
Did you know that although there are several DisneyLand theme parks in the world, there is only one DisneySea? And it’s in Tokyo, Japan!
Tokyo DisneySea is a 176-acre theme park, divided into seven themed lands: Mediterranean Harbor, American Waterfront, Port Discovery, Mysterious Island, Mermaid Lagoon, Lost River Delta and Arabian Coast. Due to its sheer enormity, the number of visitors and the time element, it is a must to prioritize which among the Tokyo DisneySea attractions merit your effort. I should say that our success rate was average as out of the twenty-eight attractions throughout DisneySea, we only got the chance to do eight of them. Of these eight, here are my top picks and tips:
Top Tokyo DisneySea Attractions
1. Journey to the Center of the Earth – Anyone making a list would make this the number 1 attraction in DisneySea. Located within Mount Prometheus of Mysterious Island, this ride would start as a slow decent inside the volcano, featuring gleaming crystals and some monsters. Then it would accelerate to a very nice surprise ending. This ride is very popular and waiting time could take hours. So, the best thing to do as soon as you enter DisneySea is to head over to the entrance of Journey to the Center of the Earth, get a Fast Pass* and head on to the next attraction.
2. Mermaid Lagoon Theater – It’s cold, there’s no coffee around and the hot chocolate is way over at the Yucatan Base Camp Grill. The best thing to do would be to head over to Triton’s Kingdom. This indoor haven has three kiddie rides, three shops, a restaurant and a theater that features a musical show. The Mermaid Lagoon Theater is another Fast Pass* attraction but since it’s indoors, we queued up. We got to see “King Triton’s Concert” and it was pretty amazing. Note however that everything’s in Japanese. Still, I sat there all choked up, with tears in my eyes. Little Mermaid swimming/doing acrobatics while on a harness was convincing enough and the audience was like corals, staring up at her in awe. Now I know how it feels to be a sea anemone.
3. Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Crystal Skull – Inside an “enchanted motion vehicle” that’s supposed to date back to the 1930s, the ride takes place inside the Aztec pyramid of the Lost River Delta. It’s a high-speed ride with lots of jolting stops. Make sure to keep your face presentable at all times as there’s a surprise photo op involved. In a hurry? Try doing it as a single rider** as the queue is shorter
4. StormRider – I love anything 4D and StormRider is like a 4D simulator ride sans the cumbersome 3D glasses. You’re supposed to be part of a mission to eliminate a powerful storm (wow, isn’t it?) but the pilot of your plane, the StormRider, loses control and the plane takes dips and dives and has several near misses. Doesn’t matter where you sit as everyone would get a bit wet.
5. Toy Story Mania – Okay, I confess, we were not able to do this ride because the queue was really a mile long and it’s outside in the cold. But, I did some research, watched some videos*** and found out that I would have enjoyed this ride tremendously. Hahaha! It was like the Lost Kingdom Adventure in Legoland with some 3D screens and target shooting involved. So, my tip for you is not to lose your ticket and get a Fast Pass*.
6. Souvenir Medallions – Yes, I consider this as an attraction. Ever since I failed to get one at HK DisneyLand I have been obsessed with collecting these pressed coins. They cost 100 JPY each and are made of copper. The perfect souvenir.
*Fast Pass – gives the specific period of time when you could go through the fast lane. You can only get another Fast Pass to another attraction after the allotted time for your first Fast Pass.
**There are only two attractions with the Single Rider option: Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Crystal Skull and Raging Spirits
***Watching videos of the attractions will definitely spoil the fun.
Must Remember: Selfie sticks, monopods and tripods are strictly prohibited inside DisneySea.
Despite the I-think-my-fingers-are-about-to-fall-off weather, I really loved Tokyo DisneySea. The Mediterranean Harbor is so picturesque that it’s so easy to pretend that I was in Europe. *insert emoji with hearts for eyes* The amount of detail put into the theme park was very impressive. And although everything was in Japanese, I still loved the experience. It actually made everything more realistic. Like in Sindbad’s Storybook Voyage, The Magic Lamp Theater, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and even StormRider, these attractions relied heavily on the Japanese language. But being handicapped of this skill, my other senses were heightened. The colors popped out, motions were more surprising and the changes in temperature were magnified. Yes, I could’ve used some subtitles but I still had great time without them.
How to get there:
From the Tokyo Station, take the Keiyo Line for Nishi-Funabashi and get off at the Maihama Station
Walk to the Tokyo Disney Resort Welcome Center, then take the Disney Train for 260 JPY. DisneySea is the second stop of the Mickey Train.
1 Day Passport:
6900 JPY – Adults 18 and above
6000 JPY – Teens 12- 17
4500 JPY – Kids 4-11
6200 JPY – Senior Passport (65 and up)
Read more: My winter adventures in Japan.
December 17, 2015
***photos were taken using iPhone 6 and GoPro Hero 4 Silver