Tips from our 4 days at TDR

Discussion in 'Tokyo Disneyland' started by PaintsWithAllTheColors, Dec 12, 2018.

  1. PaintsWithAllTheColors

    PaintsWithAllTheColors DIS Veteran

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    Hi! I’m a regular reader, occasional poster mainly in the News/Rumors Boards. I’m sitting in Haneda Airport after an 11 day trip in Japan, with the past 4 days being at the Tokyo’s Disney Resort. I’m considering doing a full trip report, as suggested by someone on the News/Rumors thread, but in the meantime thought I’d post some tips/thoughts.

    Background - I went with my husband and we are DINK in our mid-twenties, living in Southern California. We spent the first week in Tokyo and Kyoto and had a really wonderful time. We’re “Disney-people” and made TDR our last stop before heading home. We based our Disney plans on advice from several sources (the DIS, DisneyTouristBlog, and the TDRexorer). Here are our thoughts/opinions:

    Accommodations: We stayed at the Sheraton Grande Bay and wouldn’t stay anywhere else if we had to come back. We loved it. Our room was quite nice (I believe it was recently remodeled), we had a view of both parks, and we had club level which was heavenly. Even without club level, it was so nice to be so close to the parks and monorail. We figured you’re 10 minutes from either park, either by walking or an easy monorail ride, depending on which park you’re going to/from. I highly recommend it!

    I walked through the MiraCosta and a bit in the Disneyland Hotel. They’re undoubtedly gorgeous and you can’t beat the location, but we would personally struggle to justify the cost - especially considering the club level amenities we received at the Sheraton.

    Attractions: Yes, ride Pooh’s Hunny Hunt and Monster’s. But Journey to the Center of the Earth, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, and Sinbad’s stole our hearts. Nemo’s SeaRiders was a surprising delight, and I found their Jungle Cruise to be particularly beautiful.

    Also, if you’re a fan of the S.E.A storyline, Leonardo’s Challenge is a MUST Do. I had barely read anything of it before arriving and it was seriously a highlight. It’s essentially a quest in which you explore the S.E.A headquarters and at the end become inducted as a member. Tower of Terror as a ride was less thrilling than either the Orlando version or GotG in Anaheim, but the queue and backstory make it absolutely worth it.

    Miscellaneous:
    - We had heard that several attractions had English-language “story cards” that explain the attractions and are also quite beautiful. We asked at several attractions and at Guest Relations but it appears they are no longer offered.
    - Magellan’s has a “secret” dining room in a wine cellar that is super awesome. You get in by pushing a button on a bookcase wall. So cool!!
    - If you’re going before the end of the 35th celebration, you *might* receive a “Happiest Surprise” from a cast member. On our first day we were stopped and each given a memory maker device and a multi-colored lanyard with a plastic medallion. We didn’t understand at the time but throughout the day we were repeatedly congratulated by cast members for our “surprise”. We finally found out from a CM who spoke a little English that it’s a special part of the 35th anniversary celebrations. Only 350,000 guests over the course of the year-long celebration will receive this surprise, chosen at random.

    I have other thoughts/tips on food, and any other miscellaneous I can think of, but will be boarding soon so I’ll have to share them in a separate post!
     
  2. hopemax

    hopemax Note to Self:

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    We also just got back from a TDR trip. The purpose was to take my 71 year old father during Christmas, while he was still in good health. We stayed at MiraCosta, and it was an enormous splurge but the whole trip was a dream, in big part to having such a beautiful room and just being able to walk into the hotel from Disney Sea.

    We were given an English pamphlet at Tower of Terror. We were going to ask on Sindbad, but I kept forgetting.

    We were selected twice for "surprises." The first time, I got a coupon for a free box of popcorn. The second we were all selected for an extra Fastpass.

    We wanted to do Leonardo's Challenge but the line when we were near there was super long, and the map said something about Japanese language only, so we didn't want to wait. Although, DH wanted the paper.

    I can't wait to go back, although next trip will be at one of the other hotels on the monorail, so it's nice to read about positive experiences.
     
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  4. PaintsWithAllTheColors

    PaintsWithAllTheColors DIS Veteran

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    Wow! Very jealous of the English pamphlet. I specifically asked two different CM’s at ToT and also every time we went on Sinbad’s, but got confused looks, even when using Google translate. The CM’s at Guest Relations also seemed confused. Glad you snagged one! I’ll have to try again next time.

    Yes, Leonardo’s Challenge is only in Japanese but we were able to use Google translate to figure it out. It really was a highlight, I highly recommend it for when you get back!
     
  5. Haley R

    Haley R With all the strength of a raging fire

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    You’re making me excited for our trip next June!
     
  6. gregf71

    gregf71 Mouseketeer

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    Please please please write a trip report! We are looking at a fall 2021 trip to Kyoto, Tokyo, and TDR! Anything specific that you can provide for any or all of those locations would be fantastic!
     
  7. shoppgirl

    shoppgirl DIS Veteran

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    I totally agree with previous poster and would absolutely love to read your trip report!!! We are going next July. We had a ressie at the Sheraton club level, but cancelled it when we got an awesome rate at the Hilton with club access too. I hope we don’t regret the change, but would love to read about your experiences at the Sheraton too! We will be in Japan for a total of 11 nights, with 3 for Disney. We are a Disney family too, so going to the parks will be an awesome end to our dream vacation!
     
  8. SgtTibbs

    SgtTibbs RunDisney'er

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    I'm thinking about the Sheraton, what did you like about the club level?
     
  9. PaintsWithAllTheColors

    PaintsWithAllTheColors DIS Veteran

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    We were able to start each day with a pretty substantial breakfast, for one. And at the end of our 3rd and 4th days we had cocktail hour at the club and it was definitely enough food for dinner! The serve-yourself-bar was nice too :)

    Aside from the food, it was a nice way to relax even after the parks closed.

    We didn’t use the other amenities (spa, gym, etc.) but it was nice that it wasn’t offered.

    Hope that helps!
     
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  10. shoppgirl

    shoppgirl DIS Veteran

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    Do you have any photos of the lounge you’re willing to share?
     
  11. PaintsWithAllTheColors

    PaintsWithAllTheColors DIS Veteran

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    Unfortunately I’m truly the worst at remembering to take pictures of relevant things. However, I scrolled through google images to find images that actually reflected what the lounge looks like and put them below. On top of what’s shown, there’s an entire other large spread of food, and a separate area for desserts. It really is impressively large, and you can sit down by the huge windows on the park side and the sea side, as seen in the last picture. The first two make it seem like there’s high-ish walls blocking the windows. Hope this helped some!
    upload_2018-12-14_19-39-45.jpeg
    upload_2018-12-14_19-42-38.jpeg

    upload_2018-12-14_19-46-52.jpeg
     
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  12. KashasMom

    KashasMom DIS Veteran

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    Thanks for sharing! I was so disappointed to find out that Pooh's Hunny Hunt will be closed when we're in TDL but you've made me feel better with reviews about the other rides.
     
  13. sippican

    sippican Mouseketeer

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    Thank you for your tips and observations! We are looking forward to our visit in April. We did book a super expensive package at MiraCosta, I'm just going to forget about the cost, and enjoy every minute, lol! I would love to see a complete trip report! Were there any particular park snacks/meals that you enjoyed?
     
  14. Princess Madeleine

    Princess Madeleine Earning My Ears

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    How was your experience at Magellan's? I assume you made your reservation that morning when they opened, could you tell me how that worked out?
     
  15. PaintsWithAllTheColors

    PaintsWithAllTheColors DIS Veteran

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    I'm glad! Don't feel too bad, there's still PLENTY to experience and you'll have a great time irregardless. Before we arrived I was pretty bummed that Raging Spirits was down for our trip, but I definitely don't feel like my trip was lacking and felt way better about it once we were there.

    I'm working on a trip report now! I've got the bones going but once I post my first day I'll add the link (fingers crossed for this weekend).

    Sure! First of all, our experience was... unique. I'll give the story to help you understand what I mean:
    My husband won't ride Tower of Terror so at 9:45 I went to use a FP to ride that while he waited at Magellen's. He was the 2nd in line but by 10am (when the restaurant opened and started taking reservations), there was a hefty line and not many people after him got reservations. It was somewhat difficult for him to make the reservation with the language barrier. When I met him after my ride, he explained that there was a 6:00 and 8:00 dinner reservation (18:00 and 20:00 - the Japanese use the 24 clock). He tried for the 6:00 dinner but said the hostess told him he would miss a show and should eat at 8:00pm instead. Looking at the times guide, I knew this didn't make sense but he insisted that the hostess knew what she was doing. Fast forward to the evening. We had a gap after watching Fantasmic! at 5:30 and decided to kill time with pre-dinner drinks at the Teddy Roosevelt lounge. Around 7:40 we made our way to Magellan's. Trying to check in caused mass confusion and it slowly became clear that they had us down for, you guessed it, 6:00pm. I looked frantically at my husband who reached into his wallet for the confirmation. (Until this moment I had no idea there was a confirmation paper, or the Type A person in me would have asked to see it earlier.) Sure enough, we were 2 hours late. The confusion lay in the fact that my husband glanced at the paper and saw 18:00 and without thinking, went with 8:00pm. We could see that the restaurant was practically empty and must have been starting to close down. Horribly embarrassed, I proceeded to get my phone out to try and use Google translate to explain that we were so sorry and would come back the next day and try again. This sent the poor girl into a frantic fit and she quickly radioed for a manager. It turns out she thought we were expecting them to hold our reservation for the next evening, which, of course, we would not ask of them - I simply planned to get in line the next morning and try again. After much apologizing and clarifying and bowing by all parties involved, we were waived into the restaurant and told they would serve us then. At this point it was 8:30 and we just went with it as it seemed way too complicated to protest any more and we were getting pretty hungry anyways. We were taken downstairs and shown a bookcase. We were then asked to push one of the books. To our surprise, the bookcase opened up into a "secret" wine-cellar themed room! There were maybe 10 tables in the whole room and we were seated and handed menus. The meal itself was okay. It was hard to tell what exactly we would be eating as we ordered the prix fixe meal. I asked our waitress for wine recommendations but she couldn't understand what I was asking for and when I gave her my phone with the translated phrase she left for about 10 minutes. When she returned, she recommended the house specialty - grapefruit soda. Terrified of waiting yet another 10 minutes, I said we'd take two and moved on. The bread was delicious and never-ending and even when the entree was served they still came around with the bread basked offering more. The grapefruit soda wasn't our favorite. The appetizer came with a lot of fish delicacies (which I don't eat), the steak was good, and the desert was fine. Overall, the cost of the meal ($170 USD for two) was extreme for what we ate and we had far better meals in Japan, including fine Teppanyaki in Kobe, for far less. Our "secret" room was never without at least 1, more often 2, uniformed servers watching over the 3 parties that were dining. It was slightly disconcerting to be watched so closely, though I know it was just to provide service should we need anything. We also felt slightly rushed, though we knew that was completely our fault and I wouldn't blame the staff at all. We were the absolute last party to leave and were ushered politely, but forcefully, out the door at 9:45. So! That was our experience. I'm not sure I would dine there again but, as you can see, there were a lot of odd circumstances. My tips would be:
    - Make sure to get there no later than 9:45 for the best reservation times
    - Make sure to show up on time
    - Take the time to thoroughly understand the menu, even looking it up before if possible
    - Ask for the "secret" room

    I know that was long but hopefully it helps!
     
  16. indoshakespeare

    indoshakespeare Reach out and find your Happily Ever After

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    I think the best restaurants in Tokyo Disney are in Ikspiari. I know people are not willing to leave the parks for meal but it's worth a try if you're sick of theme park food.
     
  17. PaintsWithAllTheColors

    PaintsWithAllTheColors DIS Veteran

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    I've started a trip report on the "Completed Trip Reports" Forum for those interested! So for I just have background info and the details of Day 1 up, but hope to be adding the rest soon.
     
  18. Shock13

    Shock13 DIS Veteran

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    Just a suggestion but you may want to move your report to the general Disney Trip Reports thread. I think the "completed" category is for trip reports that are done being written. You are still working on yours so you will probably get more views by moving it. I'm looking forward to reading it as I'll be heading to TDR in a few months.
     
  19. PaintsWithAllTheColors

    PaintsWithAllTheColors DIS Veteran

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    Thanks for this! That makes sense. This is my first trip report and I guess I thought “completed trip report” meant it was for trips that had already finished... oops! I’ll try and see if I can move it
     
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  20. Shock13

    Shock13 DIS Veteran

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    No worries. That's easily confusing. I wish more people would do trip reports on the Asian parks but maybe not many people go? With the recent ticket price increase, it seems like going to TDR would be more affordable than a few days at DLR!
     
  21. gelatoni fan

    gelatoni fan Mouseketeer

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    Just booked the Sheraton for an upcoming TDR trip and I was wondering a few things about the executive lounge.
    1. Do you happen to remember what times breakfast and afternoon snacks/cocktails were?
    2. Were there any dishes that you particularly liked or didn't like for either of these meals?
     

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