Any real Disney aficionado will tell you that Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea are a cut above the franchise's other parks. They'll also tell you that you don't have to be a Disney fanatic to have an unforgettably fun day.
The parks offer attractions and experiences that are unique to Japan's Disney parks, and they're must-do attractions when you visit Tokyo.
Both Disney Resort parks are right around the bay from Tokyo, easily accessible from Tokyo Station and other major stations.
Tokyo Disneyland, DisneySea, and Ikspiari are located just a few minutes' walk from JR Maihama Station on the Keiyo Line. The Keiyo Line's starting point is Tokyo Station. The parks are also directly accessible by bus.
Tokyo Disneyland is the 2nd most visited theme park in the world and DisneySea the 4th
Tokyo Disneyland was the first Disney theme park opened outside the United States
Two-day passes are available that allow Disney Resort guests to visit both parks
Although called "Tokyo" Disney Resort, the parks are actually located in Urayasu, Chiba Prefecture, right around the bay from Tokyo. From the JR Keiyo Line train, which rounds the bay, you can see the majestic spires of the Magic Kingdom and DisneySea's towering volcano.
Tokyo Disneyland has seven areas, Adventureland, Westernland, Fantasyland, Tomorrowland, Critter Country, Mickey's Toontown, and finally World Bazaar, which is totally original to Tokyo Disneyland.
The park has familiar attractions like Space Mountain, Pirates of the Caribbean, Big Thunder Mountain, and Haunted Mansion, as well as its own unique rides like the Star Wars-themed Star Tours, Monsters Inc., and Pooh's Hunny Hunt.
At night, the Tokyo Disneyland Electric Parade Dreamlights parade lights up the evening with multicolored light design and music as floats, dancers, and familiar Disney characters parade through the park. The parade is held throughout the year and new characters like Elsa and the ice castle from Frozen are regularly added.
DisneySea is a unique park that's only found in Tokyo. It was opened in 2001 and has an even more magical, creative, and fantastical design than Disneyland. Geared more toward adults and couples but also fun for kids, it offers scenic and picturesque views from rides only found at DisneySea. There are also more options for dining and shows. It's also the only Disney park in the world where alcoholic beverages are sold.
Instead of lands, it has seven themed "ports of call" that are located around Mysterious Island at the park's center. The design and rides are nautically-themed with features like Venetian gondola canal rides.
Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea offer seasonal events at various times throughout the year and these are the best times to visit.
The biggest are at Halloween and Christmas. For Halloween, there's a music festival that features Mickey and other characters as ghosts and skeletons, with special shows like ‘Halloween Pop'n Live’. Halloween runs from mid-September. ‘Christmas Fantasy’ at Disneyland and ‘Christmas Wishes’ at DisneySea offer holiday stage shows, special holiday decorations, and a Christmas parade.
Ikspiari is a sprawling shopping mall with a Disneyland-like design at Maihama Station near Disneyland. It has 140 stores and restaurants and a 16-screen multiplex cinema. The walkways and plazas have the same fantastical design as Disneyland, so it's a fun spot just for walking around or killing time before or after visiting the park.
There is simply so much to see and do at both Disneyland and DisneySea, so it’s worth dedicating an entire day for each. If you want to visit both you can buy a discounted two-day pass with allows access to both attractions over a two-day period.