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View Full Version : Tokyo Dis-Oct 2010 Solo-worth it??


ellen82
08-18-2010, 07:55 PM
I have a 4-5 day stopover in Tokyo for work first week of Oct. Besides seeing the rest of Tokyo and being a huge Disney fan (havent been to WDW since I was 7) I thought maybe I should attempt to fit Tokyo Disney in.

However, I will be solo and I am kinda nervous. I dont speak Japanese and I am worried about the crowds...

Do you think its still worth it? Also shy (being the foreigner!) and worried that I may have to share ride with people if its busy (again, havent been to any Disney park since I was 7 so not sure what is usually the policy..)

Think its still worth to go???

GrtWtNorth
08-19-2010, 01:46 PM
I don't think they have a share ride policy. We were often in odd-numbered groups, or solo riders (because of baby swap). We were not forced to ride with someone we didn't know.

Don't be intimidated by Japan. Especially the cities. They are much more open to English and foreigners than you imagine. English is spoken there more than Spanish is spoken at WDW.

How are you planning to stay in Tokyo? The Disney resort is ~20 minute train ride from Tokyo station --- if you have a good deal on a hotel in the city, you can commute to the parks relatively easily. Or, if money is no object, you could stay at either the Hotel Miracosta (just inside TDS) or the Disneyland Hotel (just outside TDL).

FYI, for travelling around the subway or train system, you need to buy a ticket, and then scan it at the exit. If the rate-boards are confusing, just buy the minimum value ticket, and when you go to exit, go through the non-automated lane, show your ticket and the staff will tell you what you owe, if anything. (If they don't speak English, they will type a number into a calculator to show you. Very simple.) The subway systems are also cleverly organized for tourists. Each subway stop is not only named in both Japanese and English, but it is also numbered. Eg. G10 is Kyobashi station, the 10th station on the Ginza subway line. G9/M15 is Ginza station, the 9th station on the Ginza line, and the 15th station on the Marunouchu line. If you mix up Japanese station names, you can easily navigate by the numbers alone.

There are guidebooks for Tokyo Disney Resort, but in my opinion, the park brochures and maps are just as useful for your visit. While the English maps and brochures are sufficient, I suggest collecting the Japanese maps too -- they're great free souvenirs.

ellen82
08-19-2010, 04:03 PM
I will be staying in a hostel. But maybe with a friend but waiting to see.

I have travelled solo by myself but nowhere as large as Tokyo. I have been to NYC but since I am Canadian, its more familiar to me because of Toronto etc.

Thanks for all the great tips :)

ellen82
08-19-2010, 04:04 PM
ALso, is there any rail passes I should get? Or just buy day by day??

GrtWtNorth
08-20-2010, 04:01 PM
ALso, is there any rail passes I should get? Or just buy day by day??
Subways and JR trains around Tokyo are relatively inexpensive ($1.50 to $5 one way, depending on how far you go - maybe $10 for Tokyo Disneyland).

However, if you plan to go out of town, the cost of a 7-day Japan Rail Pass is nearly equivalent to the cost of a round-trip Shinkansen (bullet train) ticket between Tokyo and Kyoto. If you want to do this, you will need to buy your JR Pass voucher in advance. Not all travel agencies will have it, so you have to plan ahead. (I bought mine from a JR affiliated travel agency in Vancouver.) For Shinkansen (bullet trains) the JR Pass is valid for the “HIKARI” (milk run) or “KODAMA” (limited-express), not "NOZOMI" (express). But even the Hikari Shinkansen makes Via rail look archaic. Note the trains listed below marked JR Rail -- these are free with a Japan Rail Pass.

Getting around Tokyo:

Tokyo Metro Line (subway) and Toei Line (subway) cover much of the city. Note that these two subway systems are independent and you cannot transfer without paying full fare for each system.
Yamomote Line (JR Rail) is a circle route covering many major destinations around Tokyo. It is much faster than the subway because it has fewer stops.
Chuo Line (JR Rail) is an east-west connecting route, shaving 10-15 minutes off cross-city trips compared to the Yamomote Line.
Keiyo Line (JR Rail) is a commuter rail that connects to Maihama station (connect to Disney Monorail here).
Disney Monorail loops around the resort, connecting parks, hotels and shopping. Yes, you need to pay for it.

GrtWtNorth
08-20-2010, 04:29 PM
I have travelled solo by myself but nowhere as large as Tokyo. I have been to NYC but since I am Canadian, its more familiar to me because of Toronto etc.
Tokyo is not that different than NYC or Toronto -- every big city is just a cluster of interesting neighbourhoods, with a big mix of cultures. There's a lot of American influence in Japan -- English is definitely the dominant second language. While not everyone will speak English, virtually every restaurant will have an English menu, and all the transportation systems will have English signs and instructions. The biggest difference you will notice is that you need to use your subway / train ticket to exit the turnstiles. (If you couldn't be bothered to figure out the exact fare, you can enter with a minimum fare ticket, and exit at manned booth, where staff will tell you how much you owe.)

As for food, the street-meat is a little different, but most restaurants will be very familiar to those of us who live in large diverse communities. And there's plenty of American fast food chains all over Japan. There is also lots of Chinese food, as well as Indian and other south-east-asian food. Because we had a little one, we tended to eat a lot of noodles (both chinese and japanese styles) and yogurt -- both are available in any corner store. If you want to eat cheap in Japan, just buy noodles (100 to 300 yen) and use the hot pots (available in all hotels and hostels) to add boiling water. Department store basements are filled with food. Bento boxes are inexpensive and filling, but fresh fruit is very expensive ($5 peaches and $30 cantaloupes).

It's also comforting to buy good beer from stores and vending machines all over the Japan. Supercans (0.5 l) cost about 250-300 yen / $4-5 CDN.

ChrisFL
08-20-2010, 09:55 PM
I spent 4 days solo in Tokyo, besides meeting a friend for dinner one night and a few other Disney geeks at DisneySea for a few hours one evening.

But I had a LOT of fun and definitely recommend seeing at least DisneySea when you go.

jsilvers
08-21-2010, 06:52 AM
I don't think they have a share ride policy. We were often in odd-numbered groups, or solo riders (because of baby swap). We were not forced to ride with someone we didn't know.

That's not right. You're likely to end up riding with someone you don't know if it's an attraction with a single-rider line (i.e., Raging Spirits) or if it's a popular attraction with a wide ride vehicle (i.e., Tower of Terror, Indiana Jones). Just like in the U.S.

FYI, for travelling around the subway or train system, you need to buy a ticket, and then scan it at the exit. If the rate-boards are confusing, just buy the minimum value ticket, and when you go to exit, go through the non-automated lane, show your ticket and the staff will tell you what you owe, if anything. (If they don't speak English, they will type a number into a calculator to show you. Very simple.)

This is out-of-date advice. Virtually all Tokyo rail and subway lines (including the Disney monorail) now accept the Suica/Pasmo smart card system. Instead of fumbling with individual tickets, it's much simpler to buy a card and have the faregates automatically deduct the correct amount at the end of each ride; the ticket machines for the cards have an "English" button, so it's easy to purchase and recharge.

steve_rob
08-22-2010, 04:23 PM
Virtually all Tokyo rail and subway lines (including the Disney monorail) now accept the Suica/Pasmo smart card system. Instead of fumbling with individual tickets, it's much simpler to buy a card and have the faregates automatically deduct the correct amount at the end of each ride; the ticket machines for the cards have an "English" button, so it's easy to purchase and recharge.

I'll back this up. I bought a 5000 Yen PASMO card on my first day in Tokyo from a vending machine in the Subway station and it made my life so much easier, not having to worry about what fares I needed etc. At the end of my seven days in the city (during which I did a lot of travelling on the train network as well as the subway), I found I still had some credit left on it and just used that up on one of the station vending machines to get a couple of cold drinks, then kept the empty card as a souvenir!

GrtWtNorth
08-23-2010, 02:13 PM
That's not right. You're likely to end up riding with someone you don't know if it's an attraction with a single-rider line (i.e., Raging Spirits) or if it's a popular attraction with a wide ride vehicle (i.e., Tower of Terror, Indiana Jones). Just like in the U.S.
When I rode those attractions in July 2009 (weekday, regular season), I was not paired up. It's likely up to the cast members and crowd levels.

This is out-of-date advice. Virtually all Tokyo rail and subway lines (including the Disney monorail) now accept the Suica/Pasmo smart card system. Instead of fumbling with individual tickets, it's much simpler to buy a card and have the faregates automatically deduct the correct amount at the end of each ride; the ticket machines for the cards have an "English" button, so it's easy to purchase and recharge.
The Suica/Pasmo systems were in place in Tokyo (I can't remember if the Disney Monorail had them) when I visited. But I didn't bother figuring it all out, in part because I didn't know how much we would use the cards -- we had Japan Rail Passes for a couple days and used the Yamomote Line instead of subways whenever possible. We used the tried-and-true minimum-ticket / pay-difference-at-exit system. It took an extra minute or two at the exit, but we were never in a rush.

For clarification, can you get any refunds or cash for unused balances on Suica/Psmo cards?

steve_rob
08-23-2010, 03:34 PM
For clarification, can you get any refunds or cash for unused balances on Suica/Psmo cards?

You can certainly get a refund on PASMO as my wife did this with her card. However you have to find the right type of ticket office as they can't process the refund at all of them - I couldn't be bothered, that's why I used it up on snacks!

Basically they get you to sign some forms and hand over your card, then they give you the remaining balance back in cash minus an admin fee of about 200 Yen (although you do get back the card deposit which is more than this).

jsilvers
08-23-2010, 06:26 PM
You can certainly get a refund on PASMO as my wife did this with her card. However you have to find the right type of ticket office as they can't process the refund at all of them

Much the same for Suica. See http://www.jreast.co.jp/e/pass/suica.html.

jsilvers
08-23-2010, 06:29 PM
When I rode those attractions in July 2009 (weekday, regular season), I was not paired up. It's likely up to the cast members and crowd levels.

Maybe - but I've been to TDR at all times of year, at all different crowd levels. I would never expect to get my own row in popular attractions with more than two seats in a row (i.e., Tower of Terror, Indiana Jones) and never recall it happening. But again, that's no different than in the U.S.

shelemm
08-24-2010, 12:28 PM
Anyone who is a "huge Disney fan" must go to the world's most awe-inspiring theme park, DisneySea.

Tokyo Disney Resort is composed of Disneyland and DisneySea. Disneyland is similar to that in the USA (with the most important exception being THE greatest theme park ride in the world, Pooh's Hunny Hunt.)

DisneySea is unique and breathtaking. The corporation which owns it spent an insane amount of money on it. It is imagineered by Disney, but is Japanese owned. There is little language barrier. Even the live Donald Boat-Builders Show, which is in Japanese, is no more complicated than a cartoon, so you can understand it in any language.

If you are already in Tokyo and a Disney fan, this is a no-brainer. Go, go, go!

loveclarice
08-29-2010, 09:03 AM
I went there by myself at 18. DisneySea is ABSOLUTELY the most beautiful Disney park ever built--the Oriental Land Company spared no expense. You MUST go there!!! Plus there aren't copies of rides from other Disney parks, although I hope some of them get built at Disney World!

It's probably easier to spend time there than to explore Tokyo alone. I stayed with a friend who lives in Shin-Urayasu (the suburb where DL and DS are located), so I had an interpreter, but from what I remember there are very few street signs, much less signs in English. So you're probably better off at Disney than wandering around Tokyo alone. :)

shelemm
08-29-2010, 11:48 AM
Getting around Tokyo via the subway is very easy. Just have a pocket map of the subway system with you. All stops are color coded and numbered. Pocket gudebooks are easy to bring with you and will show you the highlights and tell you about each neighborhood.

cutiesugarbaby
09-04-2010, 07:14 AM
I am from Tokyo, but I haven't gone to TDL / TDS by myself yet. A lot of Japanese people I know are really nice to foreigners. Their English might not be good, but I know a lot of them are able to communicate in English, so you don't need to worry about so much.

To get to TDL/TDS, I would recommend to take JR bus from Shinjuku Station. Especially it's really great if you want to go to TDS, you don't need to transfer train from Maihama St. (where TDL is located) to Disney Resort Line. DRL is cool and sure it's cute, but it takes probably 10 mins from TDL. For JR bus, You don't need to worry about transferring, standing in the train and it's almost the same price - around 8 bucks, but remember- there is no bus from Shinjuku St. after 9:50 am.

Pros - easy, no transfer. there are always seats available.

cons- takes longer than the train.

I hope this helps :)

Corbisblue
09-04-2010, 12:35 PM
To add to GrtWtNorth tip about paying for the train. If you get the minimum priced ticket (if you aren't sure what to pay). You can also head to a machine that will say "Ticket Adjustments", you put the ticket in and it'll tell you how much you have to pay. It's great if you are *really* shy, which I was the first time I was in Japan.

Have you decided on what Hostel you might stay at? If you haven't I recommend Aizuya Inn. I stayed there with a friend and it was a great experience. It's about 45mins from TDL and you have to transfer three times on the train. It's a bit tricky but the staff will be more than happy to draw you a map or show you!

As for train passes I usually buy a day pass if I'm using the Yamanote Line (it doesn't go to TDL), which run you about 700 yen.