Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Japan Travelogue Day 3: Guide to Disneyland Tokyo, Japan!

As i was planning my Japan itinerary, i planned 3 full days out of my 15 days to visit Disneyland, DisneySEA and Universal Studio Japan. The first Disneyland i ever went to was in Hong Kong, and it was quite a good experience (i mean, how bad can Disneyland be!) and i was really excited about the one in Tokyo!!! I was so thrilled to be able to experience the happiest place on earth 2 days in a row including the exclusive one and only DisneySEA. Oh ya, did i mention that i visited Disneyland on my actual birthday! 

Before going to Disneyland, you actually have to do some homework so that you maximise your time there. There are certain must-go rides and if you do not plan your day well and head in aimlessly, you might miss one or two rides and not complete the entire park. Then again, it also depends on what kind of theme park go-er you are. If you just want to go in and explore, take photos, queue up for rides one by one, yolo your way through then by all means just go during the opening hours. 

But if you are like me, ambitious and want to cover the entire park. You are at the right place because this post will probably provide everything you need to know about going to Disneyland!
Disneyland/SEA is pretty accessible as there are trains that leads right to the theme park. The stop that you should be looking out for is, JR Maihama Station. The journey takes about 30 mins from Shinjuku. You can also take a bus (which might be cheaper at ¥1,000 one way) but it takes about an hour to reach.

You can get theme park tickets over the counter or simply get them online to avoid queuing. I got mine from KKday which allows you to get your tickets in advance! Simply purchase and use the e-ticket on your phone to gain entry to the theme park, totally fuss free. If you are thinking of visiting both Disneyland and DisneySEA, i would recommend you to get the 2-days Passport which saves you ¥1,600 (SGD19.50) compared to getting separate park tickets. The only thing you need to note is that the 2 day passport have to be used consecutively, meaning 2 days in a row. 

There are a lot of different kinds of park tickets so do check out their official website (http://www.tokyodisneyresort.jp/en/ticket/) to find out which is more suitable for your itinerary. To give you a rough idea of how much the park tickets would cost, it’s about SGD$90 for a day pass and SGD$160 for the 2 days passport.  
As you can see from the above photo, it was raining, again. When planning for your trip to Disneyland/ SEA, do checkout their official website (http://info.tokyodisneyresort.jp/en/calendar) to check the opening hours for that particular day you are visiting. Sometimes they open at 8, sometime 8.30 or even 9, so it’s very important to check before you go. It doesn’t harm to go there early as well because i read that people (both tourists and locals!) do queue up early in the morning even before park opens.  
Now that you are aware of the tickets, accessibility as well as opening hours, you are almost there planning your trip to Disneyland, the next thing you need to know are the rides and popularity. 

These are the must-go for Disneyland, Japan: 

Pooh’s Hunny Hunt
Monsters, Inc. Ride & Go Seek!
Big Thunder Mountain
Space Mountain
Splash Mountain
Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters 

Which leads me to my next topic - FastPass. This has got to be the most brilliant idea that anyone has came up with to manage crowd control in a theme park. I can’t help but rave at how genius this idea is AND this system doesn’t cost the park go-ers a single cent (unlike USJ…) FastPass machine at popular attractions dispense queue tickets and allows you to return to the ride at a specific timing and gain entry to the ride within minimal queuing. 

Scan your park ticket at one of the FastPass machine outside the attraction, and get one of these FastPass tickets. The next time you can get another FastPass ticket will be 2 hours later. With this system, you can manage your time in the park so much better and you don’t have to waste time queuing for every ride. 

The recommended strategy to use the FastPass system would be to grab tickets to Monsters Inc. the moment you enter the park. 2 hours later, go for Pooh’s Hunny Hunt, then Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters or according to the must-go list i have above. If you intend to spend the whole day in the park, say 9am to 10pm, you will definitely be able to get at least 4 to 5 fast passes to the popular attractions. Being super kiasu, i set an alarm for every 2 hours, LOL 

FastPass attractions are:

Big Thunder Mountain
Splash Mountain
Pooh’s Hunny Hunt
Haunted Mansion
Star Tours: The Adventures Continue
Space Mountain
Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters
Monsters, Inc. Ride & Go Seek!

While you are waiting for your next FastPass chance, spend the 2 hours in-between queueing for something else and explore the rest of the park. At this rate, you should be able to cover the entire park :)
Throughout the day, do also checkout the board that tells you the estimate queuing time of the attractions because you never know if some popular rides have shorter waiting time, which means you might not even need the FastPass. As i arrived pretty early that day, i got into Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters within 30 mins!
The ride was quite fun! Basically throughout the ride, you get to use the “Astro Blasters” to shoot the aliens and gain points. Pretty interactive and fun! I wasn’t being ambitious at the game and took some time to snap a couple of selfies with the blasters, HAHAHA  
Being a huge Stitch fan, i just had to queue to enter the Stitch Encounter. An interactive show with an on-screen stitch. It’s the same as the one in Hong Kong Disneyland just that this is in Japanese. Totally no idea what was the Stitch saying. LOL  
The other thing that is probably catch your attention throughout your adventure in Disneyland would be the popcorn carts! These carts are spread throughout the theme park and they offer Disney themed popcorn buckets. Each cost about ¥2,800 (SGD34) I think the price varies with the design. You will definitely be tempted to get one for yourself after seeing everyone carrying theirs around!  
With the popcorn bucket, you get to refill your bucket at a discounted price of ¥520 ($6) and trust me, you would refill it non stop because there are 7 different types of flavoured popcorn throughout the park! I cannot remember how many times i refilled mine because i wanted to try almost all the flavours, lol. (and you can also bring your bucket into DisneySEA the next day without being judged. Oh! You get the discounted popcorn rate at DisneySEA too!) Come to think of it, this popcorn cart idea is actually quite brilliant!  
Bought the Micky popcorn bucket in the end and i love it so much! #bigkid LOL  
My FastPass tickets for Pooh’s Hunny Hunt! One of the top attractions in DisneySEA. You sit in this “honey pot” and it brings you around the world of Winnie the pooh. The really cool thing about this ride is that it’s “trackless”, meaning there is no track on the ground for your cart to follow. I read online that this is one of the 3 rides in the world that is trackless. The ride itself is also very interactive with a lot of things to see and admire. No wonder it’s a must go for Disneyland Tokyo!  
It was raining throughout the day so when the rain got heavier, we had to seek shelter and at the same time, find some food to eat! There are several must have snacks in Disneyland/SEA. Turkey leg is one of them! If you haven’t notice, i’m wearing my Stitch tee which i bought from BKK many years back, finally an appropriate day to wear it!!!  
Despite the rain, the highly anticipated parade went on as planned! It’s like every child (and some adult’s) dream to be able to see their favourite Disney character right in front of them! No wonder Disneyland is dubbed the happiest place on earth. I totally agree.  
The Pirates of the Caribbean ride which is essentially a boat ride which leads you through a pretty realistic journey through a story of pirates during the period of piracy, somewhat in line with the movie. Not a must go but still worth it to go in-between 2 hours FastPass interval.  
Totally enjoying my birthday at Disneyland despite the rain and soaked feet. LOL  
One of my favourite photo taken at Disneyland! There is the huge majestic castle at the back (Cinderella’s?), my super apt Stitch tee and my Mickey mouse popcorn bucket! Not forgetting my ash grey hair which i specially bleached just for this trip (Thank you Black Hair Salon for the sponsor!)  
We literally spent the entire day in the park. Had had one of their themed dinner in one of the restaurant and wanted to watch the night show (with fireworks) but because of the weather, they announced that there will be no fireworks that night. So saddddddd. Went back to our AirBnB to rest as the next day is gonna be another adventure. 

Next post, DisneySEA!