Tokyo Disney, just returned

wdwishes1990

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jul 8, 2006
what did I do wrong? I am disappointed in my experience at TDR. I expected phenomenal parks based on feedback, however that was not my experience. TDR merchandise was nearly non existent, Disneyland was good, but I did not find it anymore cutting edge than DW or DL in CA.
Disney Sea was a unique theme park, yet it lacked a Disney quality and energy.
I want to still visit other international Disney parks, but fear I will be disappointed. I so wanted to love this experience. Any suggestions?
 

MKTokyo

DIS Veteran
Joined
Aug 24, 2018
Sounds like TDR is just not for you, which is fine. Not everyone has to like everything.

However, if you thought DisneySea was lacking in quality, I would highly suggest that you do not visit any other international park. Your fear of being disappointed will surely be realized.
 

indoshakespeare

Reach out and find your Happily Ever After
Joined
Jun 7, 2011
I agree DisneySea is overrated. It's a good park but nowhere near the best Disney park in the world. In fact, I rate DCA higher in terms of second gates.
 
  • wdwishes1990

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 8, 2006
    Sounds like TDR is just not for you, which is fine. Not everyone has to like everything.

    However, if you thought DisneySea was lacking in quality, I would highly suggest that you do not visit any other international park. Your fear of being disappointed will surely be realized.
    I didn’t say it lacked quality per se it lacked Disney quality. Character
     

    sippican

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Feb 2, 2013
    Can you elaborate with some more specific examples?
    Did you make the trip specifically to go the TDR?
    Where did you stay?
     

    ChrisNY2

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 11, 2012
    I was just there for the first time a couple of weeks ago. The two things that really stood out for me at Tokyo Disney Resort were that the cast members all seemed truly happy to be there and excited to help (though part of that is just the general Japanese service culture) and that everything was in great repair - from paint to sound systems to animatronics. I think I've noticed declines in those two area over the past years at WDW so it felt like Tokyo still had all of that magic.
     

    Bubbenstein

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Apr 23, 2015
    We fell in love with DisneySea when we visited. My husband was apprehensive at first after entering the park because yes, it is quite different from DL&DW, as far as the theming and overall aesthetic but after seeing one of the stage performances, even he was blown away. The costumes, the performers and amount of characters blows anything we have here out of the water. We definitely didn't feel a lack of disney magic while there.....having an entire "undersea" little mermaid land was enough to make us want to go back.
     
  • wdwishes1990

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 8, 2006
    We fell in love with DisneySea when we visited. My husband was apprehensive at first after entering the park because yes, it is quite different from DL&DW, as far as the theming and overall aesthetic but after seeing one of the stage performances, even he was blown away. The costumes, the performers and amount of characters blows anything we have here out of the water. We definitely didn't feel a lack of disney magic while there.....having an entire "undersea" little mermaid land was enough to make us want to go back.
    I’m sad that we did not have that same experience.
     

    wdwishes1990

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 8, 2006
    I was just there for the first time a couple of weeks ago. The two things that really stood out for me at Tokyo Disney Resort were that the cast members all seemed truly happy to be there and excited to help (though part of that is just the general Japanese service culture) and that everything was in great repair - from paint to sound systems to animatronics. I think I've noticed declines in those two area over the past years at WDW so it felt like Tokyo still had all of that magic.
    I agree the cast members seemed genuinely happy to be there and things were impeccable, as far as cleanliness and maintenance.
     

    gelatoni fan

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Mar 18, 2018
    I know quite a few Americans who feel that way about TDR. The parks lose some of their magic when they don't understand the language and the crowds can be difficult to manage. The castle park doesn't feel unique enough because many things feel like copies from the US and they aren't interested in Duffy or the Society of Explorers and Adventurers. Most of these people have been to the US parks somewhere between 20 and 60 times.

    I find the types of people who appreciate DisneySea that most fall into two groups: Those that have been to the other castle parks a few times and find this new type of Disney Park refreshing and those that have been to a lot of Disney Parks many times and love everything Disney (likely triple to quadruple digit number of visits to Disney Parks).


    I think DisneySea as an alternate gate can be compared to Animal Kingdom. Both are well designed parks but they aren't for everyone.
     
  • Shock13

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 30, 2006
    I know quite a few Americans who feel that way about TDR. The parks lose some of their magic when they don't understand the language and the crowds can be difficult to manage. The castle park doesn't feel unique enough because many things feel like copies from the US and they aren't interested in Duffy or the Society of Explorers and Adventurers. Most of these people have been to the US parks somewhere between 20 and 60 times.

    I find the types of people who appreciate DisneySea that most fall into two groups: Those that have been to the other castle parks a few times and find this new type of Disney Park refreshing and those that have been to a lot of Disney Parks many times and love everything Disney (likely triple to quadruple digit number of visits to Disney Parks).


    I think DisneySea as an alternate gate can be compared to Animal Kingdom. Both are well designed parks but they aren't for everyone.
    I think this is very true and that is why AK is my favorite park at WDW. I've read many times from WDW vets that when they first go to DLR they are disappointed because they feel the parks are not in that 'Disney bubble'. They want Disney 24/7. I love that some parks are 'in-your-face' Disney but I also love seeing just overall theming like the World Showcase at Epcot or the animal trails at AK. I'm eager to see the theming at Disneysea that goes beyond just Disney characters.
     

    mflossem

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Feb 7, 2019
    We enjoyed Disneyland Paris when we were there in 2013. It had the feel of several of the WDW parks combined into 2 parks, and I found that the cinematic park had some better attractions than the Hollywood Studios did at that time. I loved a trip through movie history with Martin Short!
     

    aleh021

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Nov 24, 2014
    We visit WDW regularly and DLR every other year.
    Tokyo Disney Resort is not only my but my entire families favorite Disney resort.

    We found it to exceed our expectations and are going back this year!

    Everyone has their preference but TDR is mine :)
     

    Agent 86

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 31, 2013
    I'm sorry you didn't enjoy it, but for me it's easily the best Disney theme park in the world.

    If you were happy with the cast members, cleanliness, maintenance, etc - what aspects were disappointing?

    You mentioned the merchandise, but I've never been to a Disney theme park with better merchandise available than that at Tokyo Disneyland. What I particularly like about Tokyo Disneyland's merchandise is that a larger proportion of it seems to be a bit more ... tasteful or adult-oriented than the other parks where more kid-friendly and garish designs seem to be popular.

    You also mentioned Tokyo Disneyland not being "cutting-edge", but I don't think anyone represents it as leading the way in ride technology. Shanghai Disneyland would be the current leader with Tron, Buzz and Pirates. That will probably change when the two Star Wars lands open in LA and Florida.

    I'm not sure visiting Paris, Hong Kong or Shanghai would yield a better experience. They all have their pluses and minuses, but I can't really think of anything which would put any of them heads and shoulders above Tokyo. Hong Kong is normally less crowded, which is a plus. And Shanghai has the newest rides.

    I do admit to a certain degree of bias - Tokyo Disneyland was my first Disney theme park and it's the closest thing we Aussies have to a "local" Disney theme park since it's only 9 or so hours away by plane and cheap flights between Tokyo and Australia can be found somewhat easily.
     

    Haley R

    With all the strength of a raging fire
    Joined
    Sep 3, 2017
    I'm sorry you didn't enjoy it, but for me it's easily the best Disney theme park in the world.

    If you were happy with the cast members, cleanliness, maintenance, etc - what aspects were disappointing?

    You mentioned the merchandise, but I've never been to a Disney theme park with better merchandise available than that at Tokyo Disneyland. What I particularly like about Tokyo Disneyland's merchandise is that a larger proportion of it seems to be a bit more ... tasteful or adult-oriented than the other parks where more kid-friendly and garish designs seem to be popular.

    You also mentioned Tokyo Disneyland not being "cutting-edge", but I don't think anyone represents it as leading the way in ride technology. Shanghai Disneyland would be the current leader with Tron, Buzz and Pirates. That will probably change when the two Star Wars lands open in LA and Florida.

    I'm not sure visiting Paris, Hong Kong or Shanghai would yield a better experience. They all have their pluses and minuses, but I can't really think of anything which would put any of them heads and shoulders above Tokyo. Hong Kong is normally less crowded, which is a plus. And Shanghai has the newest rides.

    I do admit to a certain degree of bias - Tokyo Disneyland was my first Disney theme park and it's the closest thing we Aussies have to a "local" Disney theme park since it's only 9 or so hours away by plane and cheap flights between Tokyo and Australia can be found somewhat easily.
    This is off topic but I didn’t realize Australia was that far from Japan
     

    Haley R

    With all the strength of a raging fire
    Joined
    Sep 3, 2017
    Unfortunately yes! I wish it was closer, but I’m sure many Disney fans wished that they lived closer to a theme park.
    This is very true. We always fly to wdw and it takes around 3 hours
     

    mel2014

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Nov 26, 2014
    We visited the Tokyo parks in November and were very impressed. I'd go again in a heartbeat, though I'd try to find a less crowded time.

    California Adventure still has the edge over DisneySea on my top Disney Parks list, only because of MaxPass -- walking from Indiana Jones to Tower of Terror at DisneySea to get a FP was tiring (caveat, I haven't been to Animal Kingdom post-Pandora, so that might also be a top contender).

    If by "theming" you mean Disney character or intellectual property driven, I can see how DisneySea would disappoint, but that's actually a point in its favor in my book. You can visit the park and be blown away by the different areas without ever having seen a Disney movie. I don't feel like that's the case with the "castle" parks or most of the other parks (for instance, Carsland at DCA is impressive in large part because it replicates the movie so precisely). Animal Kingdom or Epcot would be the others in that category. My kids also loved all of the playgrounds and areas to explore at DisneySea without any waiting.

    My very favorite theme park in the world, Europa Park, has what I would call great theming with very limited reliance on its marginal mascots (the ridiculously derivative Euro-maus and his girlfriend Edda and their three friends -- sound familiar?) and the small area for Arthur and the Invisibles.

    We've been to Disneyland Paris as well and while it Parc Disneyland was beautiful, Phantom Manor and Big Thunder are awesome, and we all liked Crush's Coaster, I feel no particular compulsion to go back there, largely because of how the parks are run (and we even had the benefit of a VIP Fastpass because of our stay in a suite at Sequoia lodge). The restaurants are extremely inefficient and have strange hours and opening schedules, so getting food anywhere in and around the park was a frustrating exercise. We all felt the cast members were apathetic and inefficient as compared to the other parks.

    At Tokyo Disneyland our experience was that they were running on all cylinders (all restaurants, rides and shops open at full capacity) at all times and the cast members were friendlier than friendly.

    At Tokyo Disneyland, we felt that they had some of the best iterations of the rides that we've been on across the three continents, in part because of how well maintained they were. I would put the following in the "best" category:
    (1) Space Mountain
    (2) Tower of Terror (Guardians of the Galaxy is really the best in the drop ride category, but that's not really a fair comparison)
    (3) Splash Mountain
    (4) Peter Pan
    (5) It's a Small World
    (6) Roger Rabbit
    (7) Jungle Cruise (even though we couldn't understand the dialogue)
    (8) Snow White
    (9) Pinocchio

    (Interestingly, when I thought about the comparisons, I would put most of the WDW attractions at the bottom of the list for each attraction -- I couldn't think of a single attraction at WDW that I think is better than its peer at the other 3 parks)

    And we all loved Monsters, Inc. and Hunny Hunt.
     

    MKTokyo

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 24, 2018
    We visited the Tokyo parks in November and were very impressed. I'd go again in a heartbeat, though I'd try to find a less crowded time.

    California Adventure still has the edge over DisneySea on my top Disney Parks list, only because of MaxPass -- walking from Indiana Jones to Tower of Terror at DisneySea to get a FP was tiring (caveat, I haven't been to Animal Kingdom post-Pandora, so that might also be a top contender).

    If by "theming" you mean Disney character or intellectual property driven, I can see how DisneySea would disappoint, but that's actually a point in its favor in my book. You can visit the park and be blown away by the different areas without ever having seen a Disney movie. I don't feel like that's the case with the "castle" parks or most of the other parks (for instance, Carsland at DCA is impressive in large part because it replicates the movie so precisely). Animal Kingdom or Epcot would be the others in that category. My kids also loved all of the playgrounds and areas to explore at DisneySea without any waiting.

    My very favorite theme park in the world, Europa Park, has what I would call great theming with very limited reliance on its marginal mascots (the ridiculously derivative Euro-maus and his girlfriend Edda and their three friends -- sound familiar?) and the small area for Arthur and the Invisibles.

    We've been to Disneyland Paris as well and while it Parc Disneyland was beautiful, Phantom Manor and Big Thunder are awesome, and we all liked Crush's Coaster, I feel no particular compulsion to go back there, largely because of how the parks are run (and we even had the benefit of a VIP Fastpass because of our stay in a suite at Sequoia lodge). The restaurants are extremely inefficient and have strange hours and opening schedules, so getting food anywhere in and around the park was a frustrating exercise. We all felt the cast members were apathetic and inefficient as compared to the other parks.

    At Tokyo Disneyland our experience was that they were running on all cylinders (all restaurants, rides and shops open at full capacity) at all times and the cast members were friendlier than friendly.

    At Tokyo Disneyland, we felt that they had some of the best iterations of the rides that we've been on across the three continents, in part because of how well maintained they were. I would put the following in the "best" category:

    (1) Space Mountain
    (2) Tower of Terror (Guardians of the Galaxy is really the best in the drop ride category, but that's not really a fair comparison)
    (3) Splash Mountain
    (4) Peter Pan
    (5) It's a Small World
    (6) Roger Rabbit
    (7) Jungle Cruise (even though we couldn't understand the dialogue)
    (8) Snow White
    (9) Pinocchio

    (Interestingly, when I thought about the comparisons, I would put most of the WDW attractions at the bottom of the list for each attraction -- I couldn't think of a single attraction at WDW that I think is better than its peer at the other 3 parks)

    And we all loved Monsters, Inc. and Hunny Hunt.
    I was so excited to see your mention of Europa Park! I didn’t expect to like it there as much as I did. The theming was wonderful & we had a great time. I would absolutely return to Europa before I would return to Disneyland Paris, and it isn’t even that I had a bad time at DLP. I just enjoyed Europa so much more because I am such a sucker for good theming.

    (As for the DLP service, my Parisian friend indicated that we received the “authentic French experience.” This was true basically everywhere in Paris & I thought it was sort of refreshing that they did not feel the need to pretend to like you. We did find that they liked us a lot more when we attempted to speak French instead of asking if they spoke English, especially once we learned to say “bonjour” upon entering any venue. I feel like it was about the initial effort because most people bailed us out pretty quickly once the easy stuff was over & they saw the guide book or Google Translate come out. When I told my friend that the servers in WDW Epcot France are pretty nice & chatty from the get-go, she asked me if I am sure that they’re French. :laughing:)

    I haven’t visited Europa Park since 2014 & I haven’t visited DLP since 2016, so my opinions could be very outdated. Though, I would say that the old Jules Verne version of Space Mountain that DLP had when I was a little girl was my favorite version of Space Mountain ever. I realize that my memories are probably making it better for me than it actually was because I was 8 years old & enthralled with space in general, but I’m going with it.

    That said, I am still a Disney person & the next “new to me” theme park will be Tivoli Gardens next year. I’m so curious to see what it’s like.
     


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