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Old 04-19-2013, 02:45 PM   #1
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Tokyo Disney Resort Trip Planning Questions

We're heading to Tokyo Disney Resort in a few weeks (during a moderately busy time, per a Japanese crowd calendar I found). We have 5 days in the park, which we expect will be enough time to experience everything, take things slow, and enjoy the restaurants and ambiance of the park.

We've done a decent amount of planning via books and other (read: older) static resources, so I have a good idea of where we want to eat.

That said, I have a few questions.

1) Could anyone share a sample "Plan of Attack" for experiencing attractions in the most efficient order? I know the basics (e.g. Hunny Hunt or Monsters first, etc.), and I don't need an all-day plan. I'm hoping for the first 6 or so attractions mapped out each day, and want an idea of which 6 to do each morning and in what order to do them.

2) Anything special we should take note of for the 30th Anniversary/Happiness Year? I know there's a special menu at Crystal Palace and the parade, but is there anything else we should make a point of seeing/buying/experiencing as part of the 30th?

3) I'm big into cds/books/dvds. I see that many of these things are available from Amazon.jp with shipping to the US. Any reason to wait and buy these in the parks, or should I just order them now?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 04-19-2013, 06:46 PM   #2
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Just wanted to say hello.

You're both heading to Tokyo? WOW!! Can't wait to see your pictures from there.

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Old 04-20-2013, 05:54 AM   #3
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I've been to Tokyo Disneyland twice, but was suffering bad morning sickness both times so my memories are a big foggy. The second time, three years ago, was with my 3yo and 16 month old so our plan of attack was mainly centered around fantasyland and we dashed here and there getting FP for the DH and I in between Fantasyland rides and eating churros.

We didn't really care for Monsters all that much, but loved Pooh. The Japanese know how to use FP, so make sure you know what you're doing to get your first and maybe your second too. If you are familiar with the other Disney parks, most rides are similar so it comes down to what you and your family prefer. We found we could generally knock of a trio of e tickets in a day, but we had the babies which made commando, or even a relatively quick pace impossible.

DisneySea has two 'run to' FP rides, which I'm sure you are given your research; JTTCotE or TOT. Journey is awesome, and it's unique, I'd hit that first on your first Sea day. Then you'll be up near 20 000 Leagues and it's not too far to head over to Indy, the coaster (whose name I've forgotten!) and that whole back area of the park. The second day at Sea you can concentrate on the front of the park starting with ToT and Toy Story - but make sure you catch some of the shoes too

Sorry, I don't think I was much help, but you'll love it. I can't wait to go back there. - working on DH for a 40th birthday trip!
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Old 04-20-2013, 05:59 AM   #4
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Oh and the special events at TDL are great! We were there for a Halloween celebration and the start of the Spring/Easter celebration. Both were fantastic - they went all out with special parades, shows and decorations. The info was all provided in the English language park maps, which doesn't help you plan in advance much, but I know how hard it is to find good English language info on Tokyo.

I didn't buy any CDs or anything, so can't help you there, but they have some awesome merchandise!
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Old 04-20-2013, 11:05 AM   #5
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MUST MUST DO The Winnie the Pooh ride it's the best of the Pooh rides of all the parks.

One of the things that amazed me that at the parades all the Guest sit down hours before the parade. There is no standing. CM well ask you to sit.

Try all the different pop corns.

The Three day passes works like this First day choose one of the Park to go to the Next day you well go to the other park Day 3 you can park hop.

CM know English but at time hard to understand.

A lot of Western food in the parks. Found the best pizza at Disneyland it over by Space Mt.

People watch. The Japanese teen girl love to dress up to go to the Parks.

I found there are no rude people in Japan. Every thing is very orderly. No line cutting. People just line up for the Character Meets and wait there turn.

Just relax and take it all in.
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Old 04-20-2013, 08:37 PM   #6
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We found the 'roaming' characters to be a free for all. The poor characters were getting manhandled. Now....the organized interactions were much saner..... :-)
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Old 04-22-2013, 08:38 AM   #7
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Thanks all for the feedback so far. Has anyone been during The Happiness Year/30th celebration yet? Wondering if anyone has specific recommendations for that as far as the special menus, souvenirs, etc. go.
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Old 04-22-2013, 09:06 AM   #8
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We were there last week.
There were lots of souvenirs with the happiness year logo - I did notice in the Bon voyage shop they had a limit of three items with this logo or the duffy logo. I didn't notice that limit anywhere else, and there was certainly no shortage of merchandise.

Everything has the happiness year logo on it, from the castle, to the monorail, the paper cups at the food stalls.
The parade is beautiful, but I hadn't seen the old one.

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Old 04-22-2013, 12:53 PM   #9
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Here is my Tokyo Disney Sea trip report. We found that, just as on a previous trip, you can do almost everything in the park with no waiting on lines by using FastPass. I will give you the rundown on what we did. Our particular strategy was not important, but here is what we did so you can follow along. I hope this is useful to someone out there.

Cast of Characters from Washington, DC: Me (male, 54) DS 17, DD 13. First time for DD, but DS and I visited TDS 3 years ago, August 6, 2009. We made up our minds beforehand not to do Toy Story Mania. Have done it many times in Florida and twice in California. Had no plans on doing Turtle Talk in Japanese.

Monday, August 20, 2012
Arrived at 7:20am
Park opens at 8:30am
Journey (we did not run, most people running to Toy Story Mania)
DS Got FPs for TOT while we waited for Storm Rider (9:30am FP for 2:20pm entry)
Storm Rider
Indiana Jones (Single Rider Line)*
Got FPs for 20,000 (11:30am for 1:35pm entry)
Lunch Vulcania
Mermaid Show in Triton's Kingdom
Got FP for Magic Lamp (1:30pm for 1:55pm entry)
20,000 Leagues with FP
Magic Lamp Theatre with FP
Won Lottery for BBB (applied at 3pm)**
Tower of Terror with FP
Big Band Beat (3:30pm show)
Duffy Show at Cape Cod Cookout
Got FP for Raging Spirit (4:50pm for 9pm entry)
Mystic Rythyms (5:20pm show)***
Made Reservation at Magellan (6pm)
Fortress Exploration
Dinner at Magellan (6:30pm)***
Fantasmic (8:10pm)
Raging Spirit with FP
Leave Park 9:30pm (Park closes at 10pm)

Notes: The TDR Crowd Calendar anticipated a '40' day. The same as 3 years ago for us, but the park seemed much more crowded. 3 years ago we arrived 45 minutes before park opening, and there were fewer people waiting than today, a full 70 minutes before park opening. The summer sun can be brutal. Bringing and using a parasol can save you a lot of misery. Why is it so important to get their early? In my mind, it means you get to wait in the shade. 45 minutes before the park opens, and you have to wait in the sun.

They were not doing single rider for Raging Spirit today.

*SIngle Rider for Indiana Jones is one of the best tips you can use. They will start you in the FP line, but just before the platform they will peel you off to wait in a special place. This could be a shorter wait than FP, PLUS THEY MAY SEAT YOU TOGETHER ANYWAY. If they see you are grouped together (in our case it was obvious) they probably will. We all rode togehter, so this was walk-on for us despite a 60+ minute standby line.

**Big Band Beat had empty seats. Everybody got in. The lottery was probably not essential, but my guess is you have a better chance by simply waiting to apply 30 minutes before the show. No one else was applying for the lottery at this time. None of the shows we saw were 100% full despite the parks being very crowded. In TDL, the line for the lottery was huge (to see the nighttime summer splash show in the Castle Courtyard). No way were we going to wait in the summer sun just to sign up for a lottery. Again, we waited until 30 minutes befroe showtime, no line whatsoever, and we won the lottery. Maybe we got lucky, but I think waiting in the lottery line is a waste of time and a lot of energy.

***Special props go out to Mystic Rhythyms which is a thoroughly unique, spectacular, and very Japanese (in tone) show. This could and would not exist in the US, as where Big Band Beat is more commonplace though highly entertaining. We got to Mystic Rythyms at 4:55pm, and we were among the first on line. This enabled us to get nice seats in the waiting area.

****So how good is Magellan? Not considering price but only food, this is not a restaurant that could survive in the real world. Where I come from (Washington, DC) it would be considered mediocre. Choice is very limited and service is super slow. It took us 35 minuted to receive our bread, and the entire meal would have taken us much longer if we didn't mention that we needed to see Fantasmic. We enjoyed the experience of sitting down for a long, air-conditioned meal in elegant surroundings after a tiring day of summer sun. But we barely got out of there in time to get a good view for Fantasmic. This is not nearly as good a restaurant as you would find at WDW.

We enjoyed all the attractions, all of them very well worth doing except, as 3 years before, Raging Spirits is missable. The best thing about it is the spectacular architecture which you see from the walkway. Even the queue is disappointing.

Ask for front row for JTTCOTE. There are three rows to each car, and front is best. Also not a bad idea to try to ride this a second time at night. Even though it is a dark ride, there is a moment when you come out, and the darkness makes it more mysterious.

Make sure you ask for a map of Fortress Exploration in English. Makes a great souvenir, and is essential so you don't miss anything. There are about 7 rooms to visit, and they are easy to miss without a map. Do not miss this!

So there you have it. A great day in the park despite large crowds and sweltering heat. No waiting on line, just having a lot of fun and enjoying the magic of Disney.

Last edited by shelemm; 04-22-2013 at 01:03 PM.
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Old 04-22-2013, 01:11 PM   #10
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TDL is similar to Florida and California, so not much extra strategy needed. Except that, like another DISboard member wrote upthread, Monsters Inc. is deeply disappointing. The wait times and the enjoyment factor do not compute!

My first thing would be to ride PHH, and then get an FP for later. This ride deserves to be done twice. Totally unique unto the world, and I predict it will never be duplicated.

The Queen of Hearts Banquet Hall is the only inefficient part of TDL. Even a few people easily overwhelms the system. Go VERY early at lunch to avoid a long wait.

Make sure to take a peek inside the Pizza Factory in Tomorrowland.

Do you know about the Lottery system for certain high demand shows?
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Old 04-23-2013, 02:48 AM   #11
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Sorry I don't remember any specific advice for which order to do attractions.

However if you see a flavour popcorn or a certain bucket you want - buy now. You will have trouble looking for them later...

Take a small sheet of plastic like a baby highchair mat for marking your seat on the ground for parades. The people MUST sit even at the back so don't attempt to just reserve space with a bag - sit down!

Wait until 30 mins before closing to join the Monsters Inc queue. No need to spend hours waiting or wait your fastpass.

Share the "Unbirthday Cake" at the Queen of Hearts banquet hall - it's delicious! Should feed 6px but but we have even 100% with just 2ad and one child.

Make sure you get Photopass photographers to take photos with your own camera. (Some character greets you are allowed only one photo even if you have a large group). Photopass CD/prints can only be mailed to a JP address so unless you are staying on a lengthy visit or know someone in Japan, you need to buy photos that day before you leave the park. Don't forget!

Focus on the attractions that are native to TDR or different from the US versions. Then if you have time go around and do the others. PHH is an absolute must and I think Monsters Inc is worth a visit too.

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Old 04-23-2013, 09:29 AM   #12
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Wife and I are just back... Tokyo Disney Resort blows away anything we have domestically... Every gag and prop is working properly, attractions are pristine and seem brand new... The food choices are tremendous...

We cannot wait to return... Simply incredible... Even better than what I had set up in my mind...

The 30th Anniversary Parades and entertainment at both Disneyland and DisneySea were amazing... Love the sitting down for parades and shows... Everyone is so orderly, except when the characters are out...

Last week, lines were not too bad and FP was not really needed. We went on Pooh 4 straight times at night, as it had a 5 minute wait... Note that this was during the week so the park really cleared out after the Dreamlights parade.

You will have a blast Tom... I took about 4500 pictures between TDL, TDS, Miracosta and Disneyland Hotel and Ambassador and our touring in Tokyo proper...
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Old 04-24-2013, 03:41 PM   #13
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So jealous you get to go to TDR this year ! Can't wait to see your Trip Report on here. It'll be interesting to see what all is new, or has changed.
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Old 04-25-2013, 09:34 AM   #14
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I think the revamped Star Tours ride will be open by the time you come. I imagine the rush for the fast passes there will be insane and they will likely be out of them quickly. You could either make the mad dash to get a fast pass for it or use it as an opportunity to get a FP for Pooh's Honey Hunt since its kind of the opposite direction. As far as books go, they have a great music/book shop in the world bazaar area. I haven't looked at adult books. I primarily look at the kids books since I can read hiragana/katakana, but not kanji. I would wait to see what they have at the shop and then order the rest online. I've never looked on amazon.jp for the books/dvds to see what they have, but I'm probably going to TDL this weekend if you want me to look for something for you.
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Old 04-25-2013, 10:45 AM   #15
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I read a report of the Star Tours revamp in preview. apparently the queue is changed, but the ride is the same - so not really different than in the USA.
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