My last visit to Tokyo Disneyland was in 2000 when I was still a kid and so during my latest visit to Tokyo last year, I've decided to take the opportunity to once again visit the happiest place on earth (well in Tokyo, since there are multiple Disneyland theme parks around the world). Getting from the Hilton Tokyo (where I have spent five nights in) to the Tokyo Disneyland was not exceedingly complicated but it did take a while but the purpose of this article is really to talk about the tips and tricks that I wish I knew (and you will probably wish you knew) before I visited Tokyo Disneyland.
How to Get from Shinjuku Station to Tokyo Disneyland on Train
As I have mentioned earlier, I stayed at the Hilton Tokyo but in terms of directions, I have decided to write it with the starting point at Shinjuku instead so hopefully more readers can benefit from it.
Tokyo has one of the most complicated and intimidating-looking subway maps around - you can easily get lost if you do not plan ahead. There are multiple ways to get you from Shinjuku Station to Tokyo Disneyland and the fastest method on the train is possibly to travel solely on the JR Lines - I would recommend my method instead since it saves you a little bit of money and you will actually just take five minutes longer than the fastest method.
Assuming you are indeed at Shinjuku Station, the first thing you should look for is the JR Line (Chuo) which is orange in colour:
- Hop on Train from Shinjuku Station to Tokyo Station on JR Line (Chuo)
- Find Tokyo Station on JR Line (Keiyo)
- Hop on Train from Tokyo Station towards Soga on JR Line (Keiyo)
- Get off at Maihama Station
How to Get from Hilton Tokyo to Tokyo Disneyland on Train
If you are staying at the Hilton Tokyo, the closest station would be at M-07 (Nishi-Shinjuku Station) and you would want to hop on a train towards the direction of Ikebukuro - click HERE to find out about the different train types. After boarding the train at M-08 (Shinjuku), you should get off 10 stops after at M-17 Tokyo Station. Once you have done that, make your way to JR Line (Keiyo) and head towards Maihama Station - the whole journey should take you approximately 55 to 60 minutes.
When you finally get to Maihama Station, finding Tokyo Disneyland is extremely easy - you simply follow the crowd and the joyful music and not before long, you will find yourself in the happiest place on earth! I remember reading an article that Carrie Sim wrote on FASTPASS tickets and it has helped me tremendously for this visit. If you are completely new to Tokyo Disneyland, you are going to wish you knew this in advance.
Why Should I Bother with a FASTPASS?
If your goal in Disneyland is to take as many rides as possible, the FASTPASS is definitely something you should make use of. Tokyo Disney Resort has a comprehensive explanation of what FASTPASS is and how it works but here's a summarised version from me:
- FASTPASS assigns you a time window to ride or enter the attraction - you have basically 'reserved' your right to enter the attraction at a certain time.
- You can't choose what time you wish to enter the attraction - the later you go to a FASTPASS machine, the later your assigned timing will be. Once all time slots have been assigned, you the FASTPASS ticketing service will end.
- One Disneyland Admission Ticket = One FASTPASS Ticket - make sure you have the admission tickets of your companion(s) when you go to these FASTPASS ticketing machines unless you want to ride alone.
- Not every ride has a FASTPASS option - only the really popular ones!
- There is a cool-down period after getting your FASTPASS Ticket - you will not be able to run from the Big Thunder Mountain and then to the Haunted Mansion to get another ticket immediately. There is usually a long wait but this will be printed on your ticket so make sure you try to fill in the gaps with either a meal break or a less popular ride.
How much Money should I bring to Disneyland?
Honestly, it depends on a couple of things:
- Duration of Visit: Do you intend to come early in the morning and stay until the end?
- Level of Fanaticism: How much do you love the Disney characters and do you have to buy a popcorn bucket in every different fashion?
- Level of YOLO-ness: For those of you still unfamiliar with the term YOLO, it basically stands for You Only Live Once but in this context, it basically refers to how much you really care about money (I mean, you are in Disneyland and you are not here on a daily basis).
If you like me, you are only here for 5-6 hours and have a moderate level of YOLO-ness while still ranking pretty low on the Fanaticism-scale, I would say ¥3,000 to ¥4,000 per adult is sufficient (assuming you have already paid for your tickets because boy are they expensive). Conversely, if you intend to spend the entire day here (meaning you will have to eat Lunch and Dinner in the park), have obscenely high levels of fanaticism and equally high levels of YOLO-ness, I would highly recommend getting a JCB Card from UOB.
Eating in Tokyo Disneyland
Eating is one of my favourite past times and food in Tokyo Disneyland, like everything else, isn't cheap at all. With that being said, some of them are insanely adorable and most of the food served were absolutely delicious! Depending on what your budget is like, food in Tokyo Disneyland can cost around anywhere between ¥1,000 to ¥5,000 per person per meal. If you do decide to splurge on a dining experience, check out the Blue Bayou Restaurant in Adventureland!
One of the most popular things you can actually buy (food-wise) in Tokyo Disneyland is this delicious Turkey Leg (¥700) from the Chuck Wagon. Honestly, it was slightly dry but it is always a great idea to get one because it's not common for chewing on a massive piece of Turkey Leg to be socially acceptable (especially in Japan).
My personal favourites are probably the pizzas from the Captain Hook's Galley - each slice was priced at ¥460 but you can get it with a drink for ¥670 - there weren't many options but they were delicious! I also got a side of croquettes (I believe) for ¥330.
In between rides, I also decided to treat myself to what seems like a doughnut stick - priced at ¥360 each, these piping-hot treats are filled with delicious custard or chocolate.
The most adorable thing you can possibly get will probably be the Little Green Alien Mochi Dumpling which comes in three different flavours (I mean, you can't choose the flavours but they each have a different flavour): Chocolate, Strawberry and Custard Cream. Honestly, I don't quite remember how much these were but I think they were ¥880 - apparently you can buy them without the cute packaging but hey, where's the joy in that?!
Lottery System at Tokyo Disneyland - Win Tickets to Special Shows!
One thing that not many people know about is the Lottery System at Tokyo Disneyland - it is located in Tomorrowland because of how advance that entire area is but what it is essentially is a chance to win tickets to see special shows (e.g. musical performances). Unfortunately most of these shows are not open to all guests which means to say you actually have to hold a ticket in order to watch it and you can only try once per show so make sure you try your luck!
I managed to win tickets to see One Man's Dream II (which is a musical) but I actually decided to forgo it since I have been in a queue for over an hour to ride the Jungle Cruise which was completely in Japanese and I did not manage to understand any of the jokes at all - still a really adorable ride with relatively realistic animals though!
Tokyo Disneyland was as good as I remembered it to be - it feels magical and the Japanese people are extremely adorable (you'll see many of them carrying duffy-merchandise even though it is only sold in DisneySea). The experience will probably set you back approximately ¥10,000 per person (inclusive of admission tickets) if you do not go crazy but it is definitely one that you should experience for yourself (even if you are a grown man at 40!).