If you’re a newbie to Tokyo Disney Resort, there are a few things you may not realize are so different from the American parks – and even other international parks. From my personal experience, there were several things I’m glad I knew before entering – but there were also things I wish I had been more aware of. Hopefully, this list will give an idea of what to expect and what to bring when visiting TDR for the first time.
Bring Portable Batteries
Some may think this is an obvious Do, but what I am suggesting you do is to bring multiple. If you are just going to bring your phone, then I suggest two. However, I brought my phone and my GoPro and took several pictures and videos with both – so I brought three portable battery chargers as well as an extra battery for my GoPro. There’s nothing worse than your battery dying while filming the fireworks or electrical parade. (I know from personal experience.)
Bring a Leisure Sheet
It’s okay if you don’t know what this is. I didn’t know what it was until I found myself without one while waiting for a parade. A leisure sheet is basically a small rectangular tarp that you use to sit on the ground. It keeps your bum from getting dirty (or wet), but it is also customarily used to save your spot – whether that be in line for a show or while waiting for a parade. The Japanese people are very respectful about others’ leisure sheets and will go out of their way to make sure they don’t step on them. In fact, they even remove their own shoes before getting on their own, so they don’t get anything on them. You can find these at any Daiso in the area for 100Yen – which is equivalent to $1USD.
Use Your Debit/Credit Card
While it can still be difficult to find places to use your cards in Tokyo, Disney is an exception. Your card can be used anywhere at Tokyo Disney Resort, even at the small vendor carts. Using a card is a whole lot easier than using cash, not to mention you won’t have to worry about it in your pockets. If you lose cash, it cannot be replaced. (Make sure you find out if your card has foreign transaction fees – and TELL THEM YOU’RE TRAVELING!)
Grab Both English & Japanese Guides
While it may difficult to read a map in a language you don’t understand, the original Japanese maps and guides have information that is not in the English versions. With today’s technology, you can download a translator app on your smartphones and find some interesting TDR tidbits. (My favorite translator app is Papago.)
While there are varying opinions on FastPasses, I believe the Walt Disney Company did something good when creating these. For those of you unaware, FPs give you a specific time to experience an attraction without having to wait in line. Take the initiative to find out which attractions are the most popular, and get FPs for these (if they’re available). You won’t regret it.
Make sure you come during that specific time, too – because Cast Members will not let you in early or late.
Stand in Designated Seating Areas
As mentioned before, there are designated seating areas for all parades and shows – during the day and at night. It is important to remember to only sit in those areas. I have seen people get yelled at by Cast Members for just standing to try to leave (in the way Cast Members “yell”). You can even get dirty looks for being on your knees, if you’re not in the very back.
Cut in Line
Some TDR locals will wait in line for hours for entertainment of all kinds. I’ve even seen some wait up to an hour for a restaurant to open. The easiest way to get said locals against you is to cut in front of them in one of those lines. I must warn you though: if you do that, you must be prepared to incur their wrath. I have seen Japanese grandmas unleash their fury on those who weren’t even trying to cut. It got pretty bad. So unless you want to be on a Japanese woman’s bad side, don’t cut in line.
Arrive On Time (Or Late)
If you’re not arriving at least an hour early (an hour and a half during holidays), then you are going to waste so much time just to get into the parks. I mentioned earlier that some people will wait hours (all day in some cases) for things. Entrance to the park is no exception. I arrived Disneyland an hour early, and there were already 200 people in line ahead of me. This was a Sunday. I visited DisneySea on a Monday, arrived an hour early, and there were probably 50 people ahead of me. Always arrive early!
Hopefully, these tips will help you when planning your first visit to Tokyo Disney Resort. Have you already been? What tip would you give? Want to know more about Tokyo outside of Disney? Look no further!
Looking for tips on other Disney locations? For more Disney in Asia, check out these Shanghai Disney Tips & Tricks, and find out What You Need to Know at Hong Kong Disneyland! Look at these awesome Tips for First-Timers at DisneyWorld in Orlando!
Looking to book your first Tokyo Disney experience? Visit my travel website to get started today!