This is a picture of me whenever I think about our trip to Disney Sea.
When we first got to Japan, most of our fellow teammates told us that a must-stop was Tokyo Disney Sea. I had been to Disney World a handful of times (and Caleb grew up right in Orlando), so going to a Disney park in Japan hadn’t really crossed my mind. However, once we decided to visit Tokyo for our summer break, we added it to the itinerary. And I’m so glad we did.
Disney Sea was unlike any other theme park I’ve been to. It was beautiful, perfectly manicured, and so clean. There were a few rides similar to Disney World in Orlando, but most were unique to Japan.
We left the apartment at around 4:45 a.m., and got on the very first train to go to the park. The park itself didn’t open until 8 a.m., but we wanted to get there a few hours early so that we could be one of the first people in the park. Little did we know that about 1000 other people had the same idea, and we were suddenly surrounded by what I like to call “Professional Waiters.”
Professional Waiter | pruh–fesh–uh-nl wey-ter| noun : an individual who has been trained by the deities to sit on a hard surface and wait an infinite number of hours for something that may or may not be worth the wait.
Professional Waiters are ruthless, and come prepared with food, drinks, tarps, and even little stools to sit on. I’ve already come to terms with the fact that I am too impatient to ever reach their level.
Once we got access to the inside of the park, it was a mad rush to the fast pass machines. Because we heard it was one of the best rides, our first task was to run with the crowd to get our fast passes for the Journey to the Center of the Earth. As we ran, we looked across the other side of the park and saw a mob that had to have had at least 10,000 people in it. Thankfully, we made it to the machine in time and after claiming our fast passes, stopped for a minute to breathe.
From there we went on 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and the Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Crystal Skull.
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea was a great ride to start the day with – there was no line, the ride was nice and relaxing, and the graphics were pretty spectacular. Unfortunately, the dialogue on the ride was in Japanese, but it still didn’t take away from the magic of the ride. Indiana Jones was also fantastic, and a bit hilarious to hear Indy speak in Japanese while also snapping his whip in the air.
We were lucky to have gotten fast passes for Journey to the Center of the Earth because when we showed up for our time block, the wait was up to 100 minutes. However, even without the fast pass, it would have been worth the wait. It was a classic Disney ride where you go through different worlds with aliens and cool rock features. At the end of the ride, you have to escape from the final monster and it turned into a roller coaster with a sharp drop.
Not only were the rides fun, but walking through the different sections of the park was amazing. There were seven main “worlds”:
- Port Discovery
- American Waterfront
- Mediterranean Harbor
- Mysterious Island
- Mermaid Lagoon
- Arabian Coast
- Lost River Delta
Each world had its own theme and rides & restaurants that fit into that theme.
Throughout the day, we went to 2 different shows. The first was The Magic Lamp Theater in the Arabian Coast, and while we read that English subtitles were available, we were told after waiting in a long line that they were not….so we watched Aladdin and the Genie do magic in Japanese. The second show we saw was called The Big Band Beat in the American Waterfront Broadway Theater. It was a really fun show (in English!), and Mickey and Friends danced out on the stage and sang jazzy show tunes. There were lottery machines where you scan your Disney ticket to try and get seats to a few other shows, but we didn’t win. 😦 On the waterfront, there were other shows that went on during the day, and those Professional Waiters started staking their claim hours in advance.
For lunch we went to the New York Deli, and ate reuben sandwiches + fries.
Instead of traditional dill pickles, they included pickled peppers on the side. It wasn’t exactly New York Style, but still pretty good for Japan. There were so many other restaurants that we wanted to try, but we went with the New York Deli because it had a pretty short line.
After lunch we had a Minnie shaped popsicle (white peach + raspberry flavored), and went on more rides. There were also a few parades, and we discovered a new Disney character – Gelatoni- a cat that wears a beret, and is friends with Duffy the Bear. I’m not even sure who Duffy is, but that’s what we were told.
The Tower of Terror was fun and it was interesting to see how Disney Sea adapted the story for the park. We were also able to get a fast pass for the ride, so we only had to wait about 20 minutes.
Sinbad’s Storybook Voyage was one of our favorite rides (we rode it twice). The wait was only a few minutes long, and we rode on a boat through different parts of Sinbad’s voyage. It was very similar to the Pirate’s of the Caribbean ride in Orlando, and was so whimsical and fun. At one point, Sinbad travels through a big storm, and the ride squirted us with nice cool water.
There is also beautiful music, and you can listen to it here:
Our last ride of the day was the Toy Story Mania ride.
Because the fast pass machines ran out of tickets by about 9 a.m., the wait for Toy Story Mania was around 300 – 400 minutes for most of the day. We kept going back to check on the wait, and right before we left the park, we decided that it was something we wanted to do. Thankfully our wait was only about 140 minutes, and let me tell you, it was worth every minute. If we ever go back to Disney Sea, the first fast pass that we’ll get will be for Toy Story Mania so that we can ride it more than once. For this ride, you wear 3D glasses and you play arcade games against your seat partner. The graphics made the games feel so real, and I was winning up until the very last round. Overall, this was my absolute favorite ride.
Some other things that I loved about Disney Sea:
- The Popcorn: the park is known for their specialty popcorn flavors and on the park map there is a popcorn key that shows you where to find each flavor. We tried the cappuccino, curry, and white chocolate popcorn flavors, and in the end, both agreed that the curry popcorn was the best. The park also sells really awesome popcorn holders shaped like different Disney characters….but they were pretty pricey. If I could go back in time, I would probably only get the curry flavor.
- The Train & the Transit Steamer Line: there is a train line that goes through the park as well as a boat that takes you across the park. We rode on the train, and it was a nice break after walking for hours under the hot sun.
We left the park at around 8 p.m., and felt so happy afterwards. Even with the giant crowds and the waiting, it turned out to be one of the best Disney experiences that I’ve had in a long time. Maybe it’s because it wasn’t all necessarily geared towards young children, or maybe it was just because it was a park in a different country, but I genuinely enjoyed each part of Disney Sea. The park has a lot to offer, and is something I would recommend to any Disney loving traveler.
**All photos are iPhone photos**