When we hear the phrase “The happiest place on earth,” we most likely will think of the Disneyland Park in California. What about the other Disney Parks around the world? Can there be more than one “happiest place on earth” in the Disney Kingdom?
This past summer I took a trip to Tokyo Disneyland. It was an innovative and exciting experience for me because I had not been to the Tokyo Disney nor had I been to Japan. Having been to Disneyland Park in California and Disney World in Florida, going to Tokyo Disney completed my tour of the Disney empire outside of Europe.
If you love Disney and are familiar with the other Disney parks around the world, you will absolutely find it easy to love the Tokyo Disney Resort. Comprising Tokyo Disneyland, which spans 126 acres, and Disney Sea which covers another 122 acres, the resort contains a vast number of attractions to visit and enjoy.
While the park is crowded, seeming like the whole nation of Japan is in it, the way the Japanese park goers embrace Disney makes the “Disney feels” incredibly infectious. Upon entering the park, I saw not only children but many adults fully decked out in Disney merchandise—character hats, t-shirts, shorts, shoes, socks, glasses, hairpieces, backpacks, jewelry, fans, popcorn containers, and even plush toys. I have never seen people that into Disney life at any other park.
Most of the rides are in Japanese except for a few in English. Most of the workers in the park speak some English, but it would be best to learn a few simple phrases in Japanese to get around without having to play a game of charades.
[one_third]I have never seen people that into Disney life at any other park.[/one_third]
The rides are generally the same as other Disney parks with slight differences in twists and turns. Tokyo Disneyland gets my vote for the safest of all the Disney Parks I’ve visited; the seat belts and bars seem more reinforced and built into all of the rides. In California, the Splash Mountain ride has no bar or seat belt. In Tokyo you have a bar to keep you from falling into the water. As for The Tower of Terror? There is a regular car seatbelt for that in Tokyo.
The variety of unique food and drinks is notable, and I loved all of them after my first try. The popcorn stands surprised me most of all with a variety of flavors such as milk tea, curry, soy sauce, honey, and sea salt. They are not as odd as they seem to be.
As for Disney’s famous turkey legs? You can find them in Tokyo too, except with one major difference: Tokyo’s turkey legs are about the size of chicken legs. Similarly, all food portion sizes in the park are a lot smaller than American portions. A large drink is about the size of an American regular drink. And of course, the majority of the snacks in the park are Mickey Mouse or Disney-character shaped.
[one_third]The popcorn stands surprised me most of all with a variety of flavors such as milk tea, curry, soy sauce, honey, and sea salt.[/one_third]
One of the things that makes this Disneyland Park unique from the original is the Tokyo Disney Electrical Parade. The parade features Disney movie floats and characters riding down the streets singing and dancing. The original Disneyland stopped its Electrical Parade show years ago. It is almost as if every light bulb casts a purposeful glow as the audience watches in awe. This is definitely a must-see if you’re at the park.
I suggest going to Tokyo Disney during the cool season. Spring is a perfect time, especially since it is also cherry blossom season. A summer trip will leave you sweating under the heat and humidity.
My four days at the resort was not enough for me to experience the full magic of both Tokyo Disneyland and Disney Sea. I recommend an eight-day trip which will allow you to get around to all the attractions, food locations, shops, interactive game zones, and character meet and greets. After all, this is one of the largest parks in the Disney Kingdom and it’s best to make the most out of it.
Photographs by Kylie Takai (’15)