> Travel > Japan Part 2

Japan, December 18, 2003 - December 30, 2003
Part 2, Days 6-7, Tokyo Disneyland, Tokyo DisneySea

Skip the reading, take me to the photos right now!

Allyn is a big fan of the Disney theme parks (and Teri to a lesser extent). So it was just a given that when visiting Japan, we would have to visit the Tokyo Disney Resort.

Disney has a ticket center in downtown Tokyo and we bought our tickets a couple of days in advance. Good thing, too. In Japan, you buy tickets for a specific date. Disneyland was already sold out for December 24. Luckily, our plan was for Disneyland on December 23 and DisneySea on December 24.

Tokyo Disneyland opened in 1983, and unlike the later Euro Disneyland, was an instant success with the Japanese. Very similar in most ways to the American parks, Tokyo Disneyland does have some differences. Main Street USA is called World Bazaar, Frontierland is called Westernland, etc.. Ride facades look either like Disneyland in Anaheim or the Magic Kingdom in Florida, somewhat like a "best of" where the more interesting design from each park was chosen to be replicated in Japan. There are a couple of unique attractions, like Cinderella Castle Mystery Tour, that we made sure to visit.

In 2001, a new theme park, Tokyo DisneySea, opened next to Tokyo Disneyland. Tokyo DisneySea is loosely based on a water theme and there is a large river running around the park. Most of the attractions are new and unique. Themed areas include Mediterranean Harbor, Mysterious Island, Port Discovery, Lost River Delta, Arabian Coast, Mermaid Lagoon, and American Waterfront.

Disneyland was very very crowded the day we were there. We found the crowds exhausting. The next day at DisneySea was relatively uncrowded and we weren't as tired afterwards.

It is surprising how little tourist information is available about the Tokyo Disney Resort. Most guidebooks (e.g., Frommer's, DK Eyewitness) have no more than a paragraph. Nothing at all like the several hundred page Unofficial Guides to Disney World in Florida. There were a couple of English language web sites and these proved to be very valuable.

Viewing these photos you might forget you are looking at parks in Japan. Curiously, virtually all of the signage is in English. Some are bilingual, for example, menus. Can you imagine how strange it would be if all of the attraction signs at Disneyland in Anaheim were in Japanese?

We read that we should expect bitterly cold weather because the Tokyo Disney Resort is right on Tokyo Bay. But we lucked out and had beautiful, warm weather both days of our visit.

In the end, Tokyo Disneyland isn't that different from the American parks. We're still glad we went. On the other hand, we really enjoyed Tokyo DisneySea since so much of it was new. We'd say that in general that DisneySea is geared a bit more toward adults.

There is also a shopping district at the Tokyo Disney Resort called Ikspiari but we didn't really get a chance to visit this area at all.

Warning: there are a lot of photos. You can view them two ways, either as pages of thumbnails or as a (manually-advanced) slide show of the larger images. Click a thumbnail to get to the slide show level. Then click the arrows at the left side of the screen to go forward, backward, or back up.

Helpful hint: If you're using Internet Explorer at 800x600 resolution you will have an easier time with less scrolling if you switch to full screen mode (press F11 key).

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Copyright © 2003 Teri & Allyn Fratkin, All Rights Reserved.