TIPS & HACKS - Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea
Tokyo Disney Resort (Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea) is probably in your bucket list when you are visiting Tokyo. There are many tricks and hacks that we want to share with you to maximize your time at the parks. These tips and hacks will save you lots of time from waiting in lines and watch more shows or ride more attractions so stick around until the end!
Get ticket in advance
Best time to go
Arrive before the park opens
Master the FastPass tricks
Download wait-time apps
Book restaurants in advance
Bring your own wifi & charger
Stay at Disney official hotels
1.GET TICKETS IN ADVANCE
This one should be obvious but let me mention it just in case you don’t know.
Getting tickets before arrival will save you time because there is a line to buy tickets at the park entrance. After buying tickets, you still need to wait to get inside so there are 2 long lines before even stepping inside of the park. Now you understood why skipping one line will save you times, right?
You can buy tickets online directly from the Tokyo Disney Resort website and you can even print it out, at convenience stores or even the Disney store or on Tokyo Disney Resort app(which is only available on Japanese app store).
Tickets you can get at convenience stores has a QR code now (it didn’t have it before 2015) so you do not need to exchange at the park entrance ticketing booth.
2. Best Times to go
Tokyo Disney Resort is known to be more crowded than any other Disney parks in the world and choosing the right date will make your day so much easier and enjoyable. The most accurate way to know which date to choose is to check the Disney Crowdedness Prediction Calendar. It’s in Japanese, but you can just use google translate. I will list up the ones I usually use.
Disney Crowdedness Prediction Calendar
So, you can probably guess that generally weekends, holidays, days next to those are crowded which simply leads you to Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. However, there are months (see below) where everyday is crowded due to seasonal events and school breaks.
February and March: It’s the worst time of the year because it’s Spring break and graduation season in Japan
August: It’s summer vacations so weekdays will also be quite crowded
The week of Christmas until the first week of January: Workers have day offs from the end of year until 1/3 and many people take extra days off around those days
Also, the first day of special Disney events, releases of new merchandise as well as official openings for new attractions will draw the masses so be careful.
Just don’t underestimate the Tokyo crowds. It gets so insane here that sometimes Disney closes down the gates when the park reaches full capacity. It happens more often than you think.
3. ARRIVE BEFORE the park OPENS
DisneySea opens at 8:00am while Disneyland opens at 8:30.
As I mentioned earlier, there are long lines to get in, and the lines get worse after the park opens. Arriving at the park will save you time waiting in line. It’s almost critical for you to arrive this early for you to take advantage of the next hack.
4. Master the FastPass Tricks
FastPass is a special fast lane ticket that allows you to skip to the front of the long standard standby lines. Most of the major attractions offer FastPass tickets. With FastPass you wait maybe 10-15 mins at the front of the line while with standby lines you could be waiting up to 1-2 hours.
All you need to do is go to FastPass ticketing booth at the front of the attraction, scan QR code on your tickets and boom! You get your fastPass. If you are with multiple people, you can actually gather their park tickets in advance and collect FastPass for all of them.
So written on the ticket is a specific time when you can return to the attraction and use it. Also written on the ticket is when you can collect the next FastPass ticket. It’s usually about 2 hours after you collected the current ticket.
Now you know the basic rules of FastPass, let me talk about 3 tricks to maximize the number of FastPass you get and minimize your wait times.
1. Get the first FastPass right when the park opens
Generally, you need to wait about 2 hours to get the next Fast Pass but if you get the first fast pass right when the park opens, the next available time you can pick up FastPass can be reduced down closer to 1 hour. This allows you to get more FastPass before FastPass ticketing booth closes.
Be aware that the wait time to get the next FastPass will be back to 2 hours pretty quick. So even though you got in at the same time as the park opens, if you wait in line to get the first FastPass (like 10-15minutes), most likely you will not get this advantage.
2. Collect the next fast pass at the earliest time it’s available
If the Next Fast is available for pick up at 10:20, then pick it up at 10:20 or as close to that time as possible. The more time you let go by, the less chance you can get other FastPass tickets. I also suggest paying attention to where the next FastPass ticket will be collected and enjoying attractions near that area.
3. Get FastPass first for the attractions that sell out or close early
I highly suggest you pick one of the more popular attractions as FastPass tickets are limited. The FastPass for popular attractions usually sells out early and even close before lunch. Once they are gone for that day, they will no longer be available.
For reference, the rides that close early at Disneyland are Monsters Inc, Pooh’s Honey Hunt, and Buzz AStroBlasters.
Buzz AstroBlaster is available in other countries so it may be skipped but Monsters Inc Ride & Go Seek is completely original in Tokyo Disneyland so is Pooh’s Honey Hunt. Well, other Disney parks have similar attractions as Pooh’s Honey Hunt but the one in Tokyo is pretty amazing.
For DisneySea, Toy Story Mania!, Center of the Earth and Tower of Terror are the most popular attractions are the most FastPass worthy.
Toy story Mania is the most popular attraction as the wait time is the longest in Tokyo DisneySea. Disney World in Florida has the same attraction so if you’re going there, might be worth it to skip it do something only available in Tokyo. Center of the Earth and Tower of Terror are also available in Florida but they are completely different inside so I think it’s worth riding it in Tokyo. It’s up to you which ride you choose, but the key is to get the FastPass early, and get the next one as soon as possible.
5. Download Wait-time app
To minimize wait times even further, I highly recommend getting an Attraction Line Wait-Time App as it will help you select which attraction to go to next.
If you can read Japanese or have a Japanese person coming with you, I recommend downloading the official Tokyo Disney Resort app as it is the most accurate. It’s only available on Japanese app store but it is the best app while you are in the Disney Resort as it lets you reserve restaurants, enter show lotteries and search for what you are looking for in the park.
Fortunately, there are other English Apps available for wait times as below. (I really wish they will make the English version of official app very soon.)
TDR Wait Time Check - https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=jp.plex.android.waittimetdr&hl=en
6. Show Lottery
If you’re looking to check out one of the shows, then giving a shot at show lotteries is an easy way to minimize your wait time.
For example, Big Band Beat at TDS, One Man’s Dream II at TDL and other seasonal shows, have specific showtimes throughout the day with limited seating, in which you’ll have to wait in lines which are sometimes 1-2 hours. But If you want the chance to skip the lines and win seats to the show, you can enter their daily lottery.
You can enter the lottery only one time per a group and you need everybody’s park ticket in your group to enter. You can do it up to 30 minutes before the show starts.
If you don’t have the official Tokyo Disney Resort App, you can draw for the lottery at Tomorrowland Hall for TDL and Biglietteria for TDS.
The earliest show does not have lottery seats so you are more likely to get in with standby.
7. Book Table-served restaurants in advance
Table-served restaurants at Tokyo Disney Resort is amazing but it is hard to get a table. If you know which restaurant you want to go to, you can make reservationin advance.
If you couldn’t reserve a table in advance, there are 2 other options. One is to try the same-day reservation (priority seating) or wait in standby line.
The same-day reservation starts at 9 am online or 10am at the restaurant. In my experience, same-day reservation is very competitive so what I recommend is to go to the restaurant before it opens for standby. People don’t usually eat early (like let’s say 4:00 pm), so you usually don’t need to wait that much.
My favorite restaurant is Magellan which serves french course. It’s not cheap so I don’t go there every time but it sure is worth the money. the interior is perfectly themed, service is amazing, and the food never disappoints.
8. Bring your own wifi
Surprisingly, Tokyo Disney Resort does not have free wifi. You will probably be checking your phone while waiting in line, so I strongly recommend bring picket wifi with you.
9. GET VACATION PACKAGE
Staying at the official hotels has an advantage not just because its easy access to the park but also it comes with super cool priority rights.
If you get Vacation package, which comes with hotel, time-free Fast Pass, show tickets, goods tokens, free drink tickets, and lots of other things. Also, official hotel stay will give you HAPPY 15 entry which allow you to go into the park 15 minutes before it opens.
Hotel Mira Costa is inside of DisneySea and you get to use special gate only for the hotel guests to enter the park without a wait.