Hungry for Travel part two – family holiday to Tokyo Disneyland, Japan

23 Oct

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We as a family are blessed. This time last year we visited Disneyland, California and it was the trip of a lifetime. This time two weeks ago we visited Tokyo Disney. I still can’t quite comprehend that we have visited two of the happiest places on Earth in the space of 12 months.

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The two parks are same, yet different, to borrow a phrase. The technology used in the Japanese park is light years ahead of Disneyland CA. For instance, getting into the park each day in Tokyo was less of a palaver than in CA but at the same time there was minimal flexibility using multi-day passes. In Tokyo you need to inform the Disney powers that be which days you intend to go to Disney vs DisneySea (their version of California Adventure Park) for the first 3 days of your pass.

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Trying to change the days around resulted in a difficult, frustrating conversation with the lady in the ticket window who couldn’t comprehend what we were trying to say. Thankfully a lovely man behind us in the queue came to our rescue and helped guide the conversation – the basic idea being we could pay to switch the days around. No thanks.

We weren’t sure if you could flit between the two parks as we did in CA as our Japanese and their English didn’t allow such a conversation to take place.

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The crowds. Oh.My.Lord – I have never seen anything like them. Coming from big, empty Australia it was a total shock. Even rides like the carousel had massive, never-ending lines. Fast passes were often sold out by 10am for the really popular rides. There were rides that, despite us being there for four long days, usually til closing time, that we just didn’t get a chance to go on – I’m looking at you, Jungle Cruise.

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The Japanese are extremely patient and adept at queuing so it wasn’t stressful, just time-consuming. Everyone is super polite and friendly and we managed to have a few conversations in broken Japlish which was fun. And the many beautiful babies to look at helped pass the time – I am a real sucker for babies and they were everywhere!

Where the parks really differ is the parades. We thought the CA parades were amazing, but they pale in comparison to the Tokyo parades. It seems that people spend the day at Disney in Japan just waiting for them – from the time the park opened each day people would stake out a good position, whip out a plastic mat, and just sit and wait. I have never seen anything like it!

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There is also a jaw-dropping projection on the castle twice a night called Once Upon A Time, which combines all the princessy highlights from various Disney films. There was even a glimpse of Miss6’s beloved Anna and Elsa from Frozen – you probably heard her shrieks of delight from across the planet. It was narrated in Japanese but it was easy to get the gist. It was so lovely, it made me cry. PS – I am a sap.

I had read on different Disney blogs that showtimes were the best times to hit rides, and it is true. For instance, we walked straight on to Star Tours (the family’s fav) during one show, came off, went straight back on the line, and waited 45 minutes. It was unbelievable.

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DisneySea is the newer park and despite having some incredible rides I personally preferred the Disney park propr. I felt the same about California Adventure – I love the old school themes and rides (hello spinning tea cups) and the magic feeling.

To give you an idea – we spent just one day out of four at DisneySea and we saw most things. It probably didn’t help that it was stinking hot the day we were at DisneySea and there was very little shade and so much concrete.

If you have young kids you’ll want to kill time at King Triton’s Playground. It is a massive subterreramn area with an eatery with good food, and plenty of rides for younger types. We spent hours in there.

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Food-wise Disney Tokyo wins hands down over Disneyland. The food is Japanese twist on fast foods – no sushi (boo) but plenty of seafood options (yay). Lots of places have cute plates or bags you could get I you paid extra – guess who lugged home many of these items?

I had my birthday in Kyoto but was sick so decided to have a do over at Disney. We lunched at Queen of Hearts, which is all about Alice in Wonderland and located next to the teacups. Again we queued for ages. And ages. It is a funny set-up – sort of like cafeteria style but then you are shown to your table.

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For my bday dinner we went to the Blue Bayou, the restaurant inside Pirates of the Caribbean. I wanted to go in CA but it was so expensive. We tried to book a table but were told just to show up. I think I waited at least 45 minutes. The prices in Tokyo Disney were much more reasonable and I even had my most favourite food – lobster. The children weren’t keen on the kid’s set menu so they just had soup and a salad each and it wasn’t a problem. I was worried there would be a minimum spend but it wasn’t the case. In fact they were plied with bread rolls by the (somewhat overly keen) staff. We had been sitting for about 2 minutes when we were asked if we were ready to order.

We didn’t meet any main charcaters as again, you had to queue and queue and queue. We spent countless hours meeting all the princesses and fairies and Mickey and Minnie in Disneyland last year so didn’t feel the need. We did met random, minor characters such as Jiminy Cricket, Wendy from Peter Pan, and Goofy’s Cousin (whaaaaa?).

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Do not miss rides include:

Pooh’s Honey Pot – an incredible ride that it is so much fun. I went on it three times and each time it was different. Get a fastpass and go on it – you’ll want to experience it more than once. Even with a fast pass I think I queued for about 20 minutes.

Journey to the Centre of the Earth – in DisneySea, one of the most exhilarating Disney rides I’ve ever been on. Miss6 hated it and was almost in tears. I did not know it was going to be a rollercoaster-type ride. #badMother

Aquatopia – again, DisneySea. You are in water on some type of vehicle that races around to different areas, often heading in the opposite direction that you were anticipating. We went on it a few times, including at dusk, where it was beautiful.

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Toy Story Mania – the Hungry Dad queued for a fast pass while we went on a ride. I say queue but it was more a sea of people. Despite it being first thing in the morning our pass wasn’t until very late in the afternoon.

Peter Pan – I just love it.

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Star Tours – we loved it in CA and we loved it in Japan. It was the first and last ride in Tokyo and I was even chosen to be the spy on my do over bday! Gals were so envious.

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33 Responses to “Hungry for Travel part two – family holiday to Tokyo Disneyland, Japan”

  1. cheergerm October 23, 2014 at 7:33 am #

    Is there room for another in the Hungry family? I promise not to take up much space…or eat too much….hang about, can’t promise that. Great review, Star Tours sounds ace, wasnt there when I was in Disneyland in California (eons ago). 😁

    • thehungrymum October 24, 2014 at 7:01 am #

      Sure – I’m always looking for a guinea pig to sample my baking and the Hungry Dad is trying to lose weight [boo] so jump onboard! Just don’t touch my soft cheese… Star Tours is omg AMAZING! I can’t tell you how many times we went on it in CA & Tokyo. We are Star Wards freaks so it was superb 🙂

  2. ChgoJohn October 23, 2014 at 11:35 am #

    2 Disney parks in 12 months! You’ve given your girls memories to last a life-time — and I bet Mom & Dad have a few of their own, too. 🙂

    • thehungrymum October 24, 2014 at 7:02 am #

      I really don’t know how we can top this – might have to quit while we’re ahead 🙂

  3. papict October 23, 2014 at 4:08 pm #

    It looks and reads like you had a superb time. We are surprising the kids with a trip to Disney in Florida over the winter break. The three older boys went to Disney in California back in 2008 but were so little that only the oldest can just about remember it. They are going to be exploding with excitement when we reveal it to them. It’s a long drive from Pennsylvania to Florida and back so I am hoping this Disney trip is going to be memorable for them.

    • thehungrymum October 24, 2014 at 6:56 am #

      How fantastic! They will be so thrilled – are you going to tell them before you set off or during the journey? Florida is SUCH a long way from Australia that I can’t see us getting there anytime soon… however, everything is a long way from Australia!

      • papict October 24, 2014 at 10:46 am #

        We are going to tell them at Thanksgiving. That way they have a month in which to get excited and contribute to the plans. I have actually always wanted to visit Australia. Maybe some day.

  4. Liz October 24, 2014 at 4:42 am #

    love the photos–happy place no matter what continent it’s on 🙂

    • thehungrymum October 24, 2014 at 6:52 am #

      if they could bottle the emotions you feel at Disney I’d be an addict 🙂

  5. Choc Chip Uru October 24, 2014 at 7:22 pm #

    Disneyland the place of happiness 😀
    I love your photos, I need to go travelling asap!

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

    • thehungrymum October 25, 2014 at 8:03 am #

      Thanks CCU! Travelling is like a drug – the more you do it, the more you NEED to do it.

  6. Carolyn Page October 25, 2014 at 12:39 am #

    That was an exciting trip! I loved every minute (including the waiting)!
    I’ve never been to any of the Disney lands. My daughter, and Grandkids, have been to CA’s, and said it was worth every bit of travel time. Great memories forever! 😉

    • thehungrymum October 25, 2014 at 8:02 am #

      Thanks! I am so blessed that we have been twice – we loved every minute and the kid’s excitement was priceless. Shame everything is so far away [and therefore so expensive} from Sydney.

      • Carolyn Page October 25, 2014 at 10:27 pm #

        Yes, agree. We live in a wonderful country, and that could be due to our isolation, to a degree. However, it is soooooo far to go ‘any where’.. Still wouldn’t change it for anything, though!
        Have a great Sunday. 🙂

  7. dianeskitchentable October 25, 2014 at 2:49 pm #

    Such wonderful adventures for the family to remember. I’ve never been to the California Disney but few times to Florida. They certainly are family oriented and a great place for kids to have fun.

    • thehungrymum October 25, 2014 at 11:33 pm #

      There really is nothing to compare to the wonder of Disney – all your worries just wash away when you’re through the gates!

  8. Liz October 26, 2014 at 5:35 am #

    You are so lucky. i wish you had carried me in your hand luggage. Wow what an experience worth remembering!

    • thehungrymum October 26, 2014 at 6:33 am #

      I know – I am so lucky. I’ve had my last two birthdays in Disneyland. I still can’t quite believe it 🙂

  9. dedy oktavianus pardede October 26, 2014 at 8:26 am #

    what a fund and wonderfull journey!!!
    lucky you my friend….

    • thehungrymum October 27, 2014 at 12:04 am #

      I know – I am very lucky. It was an incredible holiday.

  10. Hortense October 27, 2014 at 2:17 am #

    I too was in Tokyo Disneyland at the same time as you! I didn’t find the food as good as you suggested but this was solved with Bento boxes. Gee you are lucky to have been to two Disneylands in a year!

    I don’t think I’ll be going overseas for a long time to come. ..

    • thehungrymum October 27, 2014 at 5:05 am #

      Don’t you find travel addictive? The more you go the more you want you go. I agree that I am super lucky to have been to two Disneys in 12 months – and to celebrate two birthdays during my visits 🙂

  11. lisamummymadeit October 30, 2014 at 6:10 am #

    I love Disneyland. My husband and I went in HK before we had kids and it was amazing. I can only imagine how much more fn it would be with kids

    • thehungrymum October 30, 2014 at 10:48 am #

      I just wanna go back to Disney! There\s nothing in the real world to compare to it!

  12. Kirralee @ Escape With Kids November 11, 2014 at 3:32 am #

    How wonderful to get to the US and Japan already! Your little ones will have the travel bug young! Love these posts. So many great tips. Will have to hunt down your posts from the US last year. We’re off to Florida next year, but still would love to read about Disneyland. I just love a theme park!

    • thehungrymum November 12, 2014 at 8:55 am #

      Thanks! Can you believe, I didn’t blog abt our US trip?! Don’t ask me why… Florida Disney is next on my list! I’ll be reading your post with great interest after you return!

  13. Kirralee November 11, 2014 at 3:33 am #

    How wonderful to get to the US and Japan already! Your little ones will have the travel bug young! Love these posts. So many great tips. Will have to hunt down your posts from the US last year. We’re off to Florida next year, but still would love to read about Disneyland. I just love a theme park!

    • thehungrymum July 2, 2015 at 2:55 am #

      I know – we are very lucky. The trouble with Disney is, it is so addictive! My dream is to get to Disneyworld in Florida at some point.

  14. Leah | KidBucketList February 5, 2015 at 8:31 am #

    Oh my gosh! We’ve just returned from an epic trip to California and Japan is next on my list. Despite the lines, your trip looks amazing. I want to go now!

    Did you go to universal studios as well? I would love to hear a comparison between the Japanese and US versions!

    • thehungrymum February 6, 2015 at 4:13 am #

      I want to go back! It is same same but different (and with much better food than Calf Disney!). We didn’t do universal in Japan but have heard amazing things 🙂

  15. Daniel Truslove April 8, 2015 at 2:01 pm #

    I think you’re a little mad myself: DisneySea is soooo much nicer than Disneyland. Im going give you the benefit of the doubt that it might just have been the time of year you were there (but Tokyo summers are hot and humid so all the more reason to enjoy the water based park). All the old school rides are there just with different skins: Dumbo becomes a magic carpet, tea cups are conch shells in Triton’s Kingdom and the carousel gets a second layer.
    If you do ever go again be sure to dine at Magellan’s

    • thehungrymum April 9, 2015 at 4:05 am #

      we loved the flying carpet and went on it several times. Ditto the Triton’s Kingdom. Would love to go back – must win Lotto.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. 9 family-tested summer holiday destinations - Escape With Kids - February 2, 2015

    […]   Belinda was blown away by the scale of the parades and the crowds at Tokyo Disneyland, but still managed to get on heaps of great […]

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