Trip Reports

Tokyo Disneyland Trip Report – Part 4

If you missed part 1, 2, or 3 of this trip report, click on the corresponding number to catch up.  If you missed our Japan trip report, click here.  

After watching Dreaming Up on the morning of our 3rd full day at Tokyo Disney Resort, we walked over to Tomorrowland to redeem our FastPasses for Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters.  Like Toy Story Mania in DisneySea, Buzz was not much of a priority for us but the FastPass window was short and we had done every other attraction in the park.

Buzz Lightyear animatronic TDL

Buzz was basically the same as the Disneyland version (the blasters are handheld instead of attached to the car like in Disney World) except better maintained.  If you have read the other installments of this trip report then you know that’s the case with much of Tokyo Disneyland – a greatest hits of castle parks with some bizarre twists.

After taking down Zurg we went to lunch at Queen of Hearts Banquet Hall, which I reviewed earlier this week.  The restaurant is a must-do although it might not quite reach they hype that photos would lead you to believe.

Queen of Hearts entrance Small World TDL

All in all, Tokyo Disneyland has a very strong counter-service restaurant scene.  We enjoyed almost everything we ate at Tokyo Disney Resort, but I preferred the counter-service at Disneyland to DisneySea and the table-service at DisneySea to Disneyland.

After lunch we rode a few attractions that didn’t have much wait, starting with Philharmagic.  This was an exact replica of the version in Disney World, just in Japanese.  Philharmagic is a perfect afternoon attraction, out of the sun and a place to sit.

Splash Mountain was next via the single-rider line.  This took our wait time from over an hour to under 15 minutes for the ride.  Tokyo Disney Resort sits single riders with the same gender, guys with guys and girls with girls.  I don’t really have any commentary on that, just thought it was somewhat interesting.  In our case, Darin and I always got paired up quicker than the ladies did so we’d get to jump them in line.  This led to Darin being able to eat a ‘Tortilla Dog’ while we waited for them.  This was a hot dog wrapped inside of a tortilla.  Revolutionary stuff.

Cool bear outside Splash water TDL

The mini Splash Mountain land Tokyo Disneyland has is a treasure.  Guests can wander down to the water, around the train tracks and explore a restaurant in the area.  Tokyo Disney Resort felt far more accessible than our parks stateside.  Maybe it’s because they aren’t afraid of guests jumping into the water or doing something else stupid.  There were less fences and more areas that felt adventurous instead of walled off.  The Splash Mountain area was a great example of this.

We walked around a little that afternoon and realized how exhausted we were.  Since Tokyo Disneyland Hotel was a 2-minute walk from the Disneyland gates, we went back and took a nap that afternoon.  On the walk out we stumbled upon a pirate band playing some tunes outside of New Orleans Square.

Pirate band TDL

After resting for a while, we were back into the park for our FastPass at Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.  Westernland (which is Tokyo Disneyland’s version of Frontierland) has the biggest footprint of any land in that park.  It almost feels like the land is cut into 2 sections with the aforementioned mini Splash Mountain land and then the rest of the area.  Big Thunder Mountain rests right by Camp Woodchuck, which is a large counter-service restaurant offering great views of the river.

Riverboat going by TDL

Melissa got a churro and we hung out in the area for a while.  The larger Westernland gave it a more peaceful feeling than I’m used to.  It still absolutely invoked the old west, the land just felt less crowded with more secluded areas.

Captain Galley's seafood pizza TDL

I was also hungry and decided to go with the Seafood Pizza at Captain Galley’s.  It doesn’t look the best but this was easily my favorite ‘snack’ I had at Tokyo Disneyland.  The seafood is surprisingly fresh and the sauce was great.  If this hadn’t been our last evening at Tokyo Disneyland I would have eaten more of this, I crave it all the time.

The sun set was shaping up to be a colorful one so I left the group for a while to take photos.  It didn’t turn out quite as good as previous nights but I still got a few photos that I liked.  Here are a couple of them.

Castle rock bench flowers TDL

Tree castle sunset TDL

Monsters Inc from treehouse sunset TDL

We met back up in Adventureland, climbing through the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse and then doing The Enchanted Tiki Room: Stitch Presents Aloha e Komo Mai!  The treehouse was largely the same as Disney World’s but it did offer outstanding views of the park.

Treehouse light castle TDL

The Tiki Room was an odd experience, as this one features Stitch.  It starts off like a typical Enchanted Tiki Room but things keep going slightly wrong until the pesky alien pops out of the center doing some Elvis moves along the way.  I had no idea what to expect from this going in and ended up pleased with the results.  The show is no masterpiece and is probably worse than the original, but I did enjoy it.  Stitch was a nice little mix-up to an attraction that still paid respect to the classic version.  Granted, we watched it in Japanese (audio translations were available) and I may have liked it less if I knew the actual dialogue.

Stitch Tiki Room TDL

Seeing Dreamlights, the electrical parade, from the front row was a priority for us that night so we got our seats pretty early that evening.  I ended up liking where we saw it on the first night better even though we weren’t in the front row.  Still, Dreamlights was no less impressive.  This is easily the best Disney parade I’ve ever seen.

Smee Dreamlights TDL

Genie lamp behind Dreamlights TDL

Chipmunks blimp Dreamlights TDL

After the parade we headed to dinner at Hungry Bear Restaurant.  This quick-service location is in Westernland and serves Japanese curry.  I thoroughly enjoyed my meal and the restaurant as a whole.  The others weren’t quite as high on this place but it was one of my favorite places we ate at the resort.  I’ll have a review up on Hungry Bear soon.

Hungry Bear Restaurant entrance TDL

We took the short walk over to the Country Bears and caught the last show of the night there.  As I said in part 2 of the trip report, the full Country Bear show is glorious.  Since it was the last show of the night, the cast member was very kind and let us walk around and take photos of the attraction after the show.

Our goal for the night was to try to fit in everything we hadn’t done yet.  That started with the train which is different from the ones in the U.S. parks.  Japanese law is that any train that makes different stops has to charge guests money, so instead of circling the whole park the Tokyo Disneyland train (called Western River Railroad) takes off in Westernland, does a loop of the area, and then goes right back to where it starts.  That’s the short version of it.  Even with being a shorter ride than stateside, Western River Railroad offers beautiful views and even has a Primeval World Diorama (dinosaurs) like Disneyland.

Art on Cinderella Castle wall TDL

Next we walked through the castle.  This is usually a pretty popular attraction but since it was late the area had cleared out quite a bit.  I enjoyed the walk through but I wouldn’t call it one of the essential Tokyo Disneyland attractions.  There are some beautiful artwork and displays to see if you have the time.

We were starting to get fairly tired so we went on the teacups to wake up.  While going there we were very excited to find that It’s a Small World had opened.  The attraction was scheduled to be down for our entire trip but had soft opened that evening in advance of the 35th anniversary festivities the coming weekend.

IASW inside photo TDL

We weren’t allowed to take photos on the attraction but it was sparkling.  The maintenance was obvious and beautiful.  All of the colors really popped and there wasn’t a section of the attraction that disappointed.  They did add characters to this version, which isn’t my favorite thing but that argument is old and tired so I’m not going to get into it.  This was the most beautiful version of It’s a Small World I’ve ever seen.

The park was right at closing time so I went to take some photos while the others shopped.  Melissa got the Dreamlights soundtrack, as the shops offer quite a bit of park music.  She’s planning a post on merchandise that will hopefully be up in the next month.  Here are a few of my favorite shots from the night.

Splash Mountain night from rocks TDL

Frontierland by the railroad TDL

Castle flowers turret TDL

35th sign Castle Turret TDL

35th Icon and castle TDL

We were going to switch hotels the next day so Melissa and I wandered Tokyo Disneyland Hotel for a while that night, soaking in the grandest place we’ve ever stayed.  I’ll have a review shortly but this was perfect place to stay for our first time at the resort.

Back of Tokyo Disneyland Hotel TDR

Mickey Fantasia fountain Tokyo Disneyland Hotel TDR

The next morning we dropped off our bags for the hotel to store and then headed out to Tokyo DisneySea.  We had planned to get FastPasses for Toy Story Mania but the line to do that stretched all the way through the land so we decided against it.  It was a Friday and the park was noticeably busier than the previous days.  The crowds still weren’t too bad, the attractions just had slightly longer waits than other days.  DisneySea, and Disneyland for that matter, both have high capacities that hide crowds well.  DisneySea is large and pretty spread out so crowds don’t bunch up as easily.

Magic Lamp Theater entrance TDS

We got a FastPass for Tower of Terror and then headed over to the Arabian Coast to an attraction we hadn’t done yet – The Magic Lamp Theater.  This is part 3D show, part live show.  It’s also pretty strange.  There was some bad dude trying to swindle people and a kid who stopped him along with Genie.  I think?  The attraction was fine and kind of funny but I wouldn’t worry much about seeing it if you are on limited time.

Green giant wide lens Sinbad TDS

Having experienced the unmatched Sinbad’s Storybook Voyage our previous day at DisneySea, my goal was to see how many times I could ride it this day.  We started early without any wait and it got better every time.  This dark ride is phenomenal, with so many amazing animatronics and a beautiful song.

Water in front of American Waterfront TDS

We took a slow walk back to the American Waterfront with a stop at Journey to the Center of the Earth for a FastPass.  After riding the outstanding Tower of Terror, it was time for Tokyo Disney Resort’s most recognizable snack…

Green alien snacks TDS

The Green Alien Mochi lived up to the hype.  Each one had a different filling, all of them being either a pudding or yogurt instead of the ice cream that I’m typically used to getting in mochi.  They are also under $5 and one of the cutest things you’ll ever eat.  I know at least one of those things will appeal to you.

We spent the next while soaking in the details of the American Waterfront and, boy, are there a lot of them.  The are tells the story of a thriving city and each shop, attraction, restaurant and facade plays a role in it.  There are plenty of areas that aren’t out on the main streets to explore or sit in.  A whole post will soon be devoted to this incredible land but here are a few photos from it.

Steamer line in Cape Cod TDS

Gotham Tours American Waterfront TDS

Shanghai Sue's Saloon Wet Your Whistle sign TDS American Waterfront

Mcduck's Department Store and statue TDS

DisneySea is a park that’s constantly in motion be it water, boats, trains or cars.  How they maintain that constant while still holding true to a late 1800’s based land is an incredible accomplishment.

The resort was celebrating Easter at the time, mainly at DisneySea as the 35th anniversary took center stage at Disneyland.  Part of the American Waterfront had a few beautiful Easter areas for guests to take photos in.

Disney Easter TDS

Fancy Mickey TDS

Along with these decorations throughout the park, there was also an Easter show in DisneySea’s harbor.  This show didn’t seem to have much of a plot, but I only caught the last half of it.  While there wasn’t much story, it did look like over the top fun with some crazy floats, an incredible set of characters (Max is back!) and jet skis!

Easter show Duffy Chipmunks TDS

One of the hardest things to explain about Tokyo Disney Resort is how detailed it is while also being completely over the top and boisterous.  The resort seems to know exactly when to scale back and when to go over the top.  This makes the resort fun for anyone with an open mind.

I was watching the show from the side and was able to make it down by the dock to where no one else was watching, mainly because the floats didn’t go over there.  One of the jet skiers was waiting there though and he/she probably got sick of me taking photos.

Jet skier waving with mountain behind TDS

All in all, I don’t think that show was really my thing but I admired the gusto it showcased.  Frankly, anything with jet skis and Max has my respect.

Easter Harbor Show jet skis TDS

Disney Easter Harbor show Max TDS

We used our FastPasses to Journey to the Center of the Earth and then piddled around the area until our lunch reservation was near.  I took some photos before we had lunch at one of Disney’s best restaurants, Magellan’s.

Mickey undersea 35 Mysterious Island TDS

Tower of Terror and Mediterranean Harbor TDS

Magellan's sign outside TDS

We’ll talk about our amazing lunch and the rest of our trip on our 5th and final installment!

Thank you for reading and let us know if you have any questions or thoughts!  You can do that below in the comments.  If you enjoy what you’re reading please subscribe to the blog and like our social media pages, all of which you can find on the right side of this page.  Have a great day!

– Andrew

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