Tokyo Disney Sea is a part of the Japanese Disney Resorts located in Urayasu, Chiba. It is a separate park from Disneyland and has a nautical/maritime theme to it. Now, if you are trying to decide whether to go to Disneyland or Disney Sea when in Japan (doing both in one day is pretty much impossible, but you could squeeze both in a two-day pass’s time), we’d say, hands-down, go for Disney Sea. While Disneyland is fun and all, it is pretty much the same as everywhere else in the world. If you’ve been to the Florida, Paris, or Hong Kong Disneyland, the Tokyo one will greet you with a very familiar landscape and almost identical rides. On the other hand, Disney Sea is one of a kind in the whole world, and the rides and shows are more exciting/spectacular than those at Disneyland. With that out of the way, let’s see how you can enjoy your time at Tokyo Disney Sea as a first timer!
1. Get your tickets
Known as ‘passes’ in the Disney world, these are what grants you the access to the park and all the attractions inside it. You can buy them online, on websites like Klook, or come to Urayasu early, before the park opens, and line up to get them on the spot. There isn’t any difference in the price, which is ¥7400 for a 1-day pass and ¥13,200 for a two-day one in both cases. However, you’ll be saving yourself quite a bit of time if you decide to book in advance and print them out at home.
2. Come to the park as early as possible
Disney Sea is huge – it boasts over 72 ha of rides, restaurants, experiences, and entertainment. There are 7 different ‘ports’ in the park, namely Mediterranean Harbour, American Waterfront, Port Discovery, Lost River Delta, Arabian Coast, Mermaid Lagoon, and Mysterious Island, and an eighth one is said to be on the way. All that to say, you will need quite a bit of time to walk around the whole area alone – but keep in mind that you will want to experience some rides, eat, and perhaps catch a show too. The park opens at 8 am/8:30 am depending on the day of the week, but we’d say 9 am is a good time to show up if you want to enjoy your day to the fullest.
3. Getting to and around Disney Sea
The Tokyo Disney Resorts are actually located in the city of Urayasu in nearby Chiba Prefecture. The closest train station to both Disneyland and Disney Sea is Maihama, which is located on the Keiyo and Musashino lines. We’re not going to dive into details about how to reach Maihama from a certain spot in Tokyo, as it’s probably best to download one of those nifty train apps (e.g. Hyperdia) and work your way from your stay to Maihama using the cheapest or fastest route – whatever works best for you. You can also use the Disney Resorts Monorail line, which runs in a circle around the area, stopping at both Disney Sea and Disney Land. You can also walk from Maihama to Disney Sea in case you don’t feel like dropping ¥260 on a couple minutes’ ride – just turn left immediately after exiting the station and you should be there in about 15 to 20 minutes of walking.
4. Know your Disney Sea attractions
As we mentioned before, Disney Sea boasts some pretty impressive rides, attractions, and shows. Some are exclusive to Disney Sea, meaning you can’t experience them anywhere else – which is great if you’re a theme park enthusiast looking for unique experiences. Whether you’re a hardcore enthusiast or a casual Disney fan, might be a good idea to look over the map and the list of rides before arriving at the park. You might want to settle for 3 to 4 rides per day, as it’s highly unlikely that you’ll have time for more. The reason why you want to do this is that you’ll have to start your day at DisneySea by securing your place at your favorite attractions by lining up for Fast Passes.
5. Get Fast Passes as early in the day as possible
After you’ve decided on your top attractions, make sure they do Fast Pass ticketing before heading to it first thing in the morning. The only rides that accept Fast Passes in Tokyo Disney Sea are the following: Tower of Terror, Toy Story Mania!, Nemo & Friends SeaRider, Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Crystal Skull, Raging Spirits, Magical Lamp Theatre, Mermaid Lagoon Theatre, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, and Journey to the Center of the Earth. Toy Story Mania!, Tower of Terror, Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Crystal Skull, and Journey to the Center of the Earth are a good starter pack if you really don’t know what to expect of Disney Sea, but you love roller coasters and adrenaline-pumping rides.
There are plenty of step-by-step tutorials online on how to get fast passes, but all you need to do is line up at the fast pass queue next to the ride, and scan the QR code on your Disney pass to get your fast pass. The pass will have a designated time slot during which you can get on the ride without lining up with all the people – which can be really useful, especially since regular ride queue waiting times are 180 mins on average.
6. Have a snack in between rides
Much like any other theme park, Disney Sea has a bunch of dining options, both counter-service, and table-service ones. Aside from the regular sandwich-and-fries menus, you can find cuisines from all around the world at Disney Sea, including Indian at the Casbah food court in the Arabian Coast area, and Chinese at the Vulcania restaurant in the Mysterious Island area. Prices are roughly ¥1000 – ¥2000 per meal. Don’t forget to snack on the infamous popcorn and Little Green Alien mochi too!
7. Round up your day with a show
If there’s something Disney Sea is best known for, it’s the shows. Both their daytime parades and nighttime shows are worth seeing, but we’d recommend you save the show for the end of your day at the park, and opt for something like King Triton’s Concert or Fantasmic!. The former is in line with the whole marine theme of the park, while the latter is just an amazing experience for all five senses.
Much like any other theme park, Disney Sea has a couple of rules every first-timers should stick by. They include showing up as early as possible, getting fast passes for their favorite rides as early as possible, and bring enough pocket money to splurge on dining and souvenir shopping – as you will surely want to bring half of the park’s merch home with you before you know it.
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