Our Tokyo DisneySea 1-Day Itinerary is an efficient touring plan for what attractions, shows, and dining we’d do in our ideal day at the park. This itinerary is how we’d recommend experiencing all of the, what we consider, DisneySea essentials. While other touring plans focus on fitting in every attraction in one day, we’ll be more focused on how to have the best day possible. Instead of constantly running from attraction to attraction, this plan will also have you enjoying some of the little things that make DisneySea special. Yes, we’ll get to the majority of the attractions but some are left behind in favor of, what we consider, better options. If you are more ride focused then check out our Tokyo DisneySea attractions rankings. We’ve made it through our Disneyland, California Adventure, Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom and Tokyo Disneyland itineraries. This will be our last itinerary for a while, though we may jump to multiple day itineraries for some parks.
How do you fit in the world’s best theme park in one day? You don’t, instead opting for the multiple day park ticket. Unfortunately, that’s not an option for some and doesn’t fit the idea for this blog post. The point remains, experiencing all that DisneySea has to offer in one day is an uphill battle. Running around from attraction to attraction will keep you from truly being immersed in the incredible atmosphere. The other side of the coin is slowly walking around the park will keep you from experiencing some of the best theme park attractions around. Our itinerary will try to give a balance of both.
That’s why they pay me the big bucks I’ve got to stop using that ridiculously false joke.
Taking the question of how to fit DisneySea into one day a little more practically… The most important step is to go on a weekday and during low-crowd season. Japan’s tourism is booming but Tokyo Disney Resort still remains a locals park more than anything. Crowds ebb and flow drastically from weekdays to weekends. This crowd calendar is well respected and one I’ve personally used. While the Google Translate option is a little spotty here, the calendar isn’t extremely hard to figure out and a good option on seeing when you should visit.
Depending on if you are able to follow the above advice will greatly influence whether you can follow this itinerary. If it ends up being a busy day at DisneySea then accomplishing everything on this list probably won’t happen. Frankly, completing 75% of this on a busy day at the park would be an achievement. Adjust where you need to.
Like other itineraries, FastPass plays a big role. We have our Tokyo DisneySea FastPass Guide that we will be (more or less) following in this post. If you get ahead or behind in this itinerary, refer to that to see what attraction you should FastPass next.
There are many different factors that go into a theme park day, so we do have to keep this plan somewhat general. I don’t know how busy the park will be when you visit, where you are staying, etc. What I do assume in this itinerary is that you are spending the full day inside of the park, getting there before the gates open and leaving after the park closes. Getting to the park at least half an hour before opening would be a wise choice if you only have one day there. For guests staying at one of the official Tokyo Disney Resort hotels then you get access to the park 15 minutes before anyone else. While it doesn’t seem like much, take advantage of this as it will get you a leg up on FastPasses. Hotel MiraCosta, Tokyo Disneyland Hotel and Disney Ambassador Hotel are the closest hotels to the park and each one is incredible. Unfortunately, they are also the most expensive hotels at the resort. There are plenty of other quality options for places to stay at Tokyo Disney Resort that are close to DisneySea. Just get to the park before opening one way or another.
One last piece of advice before we get to the actual itinerary is to make a reservation for Magellan’s ahead of time, if you can. This plan has you going there for lunch around noon so shoot for that time. If you aren’t able to make a reservation ahead of time then getting a reservation the day of is possible, just go check at the restaurant that morning. On to the plan!
Arrive Early and Start Your FastPasses
As I mentioned above, getting to DisneySea’s gates at least half an hour early is essential to fitting everything in. Once inside, the race is on but not before you make your first decision of the day. Toy Story Mania is the most popular attraction at the park and if you want a FastPass for it then that task needs to be done immediately. I don’t recommend that, especially if you have experienced Toy Story Mania elsewhere. This is the same exact attraction and is not worth waiting in a standby line or waiting for half an hour to get a FastPass.
For that reason, we recommend starting the day by getting a Tower of Terror FastPass. While Tower of Terror exists at Hollywood Studios, DisneySea’s version has a very different story and is superior. If you really want to do Toy Story Mania then get a FastPass here instead but, again, we don’t recommend that.
Mysterious Island Attractions
After grabbing a FastPass, head over to Mysterious Island. The first ride of the day will be on the park’s flagship attraction, Journey to the Center of the Earth. While this attraction gets busy, riding it first thing and skipping the Toy Story Mania mania will have you on the ride quickly. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea comes next and is a short walk away from Journey to the Center of the Earth. While this isn’t as big of a ride as others you’ll experience throughout the morning it is unique and interesting. This attraction resembles the extinct versions at Magic Kingdom and Disneyland but in a different ride vehicle than a submarine. Both attractions in Mysterious Island are fantastic and doing them first thing in the morning will help you avoid any lines. On the way out of the land, grab a FastPass for Journey to the Center of the Earth if the window to get another is open.
Lost River Delta’s Attractions
We continue this whirlwind of a morning by going to the back of the park. Lost River Delta is home to Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Crystal Skull, the next attraction on the list. While very similar to the Disneyland version of the attraction, this ride is still worth doing. This should also be early enough in the morning to where the attraction shouldn’t have very long lines. By skipping Toy Story Mania, this should keep you ahead of the crowds instead of stuck with them.
After Indiana Jones Adventure, check the wait times at Raging Spirits. We don’t like this attraction very much, although it does look nice, but if the wait time is under 20 minutes then it’s worth doing. If the wait time is over 20 minutes then skip it, there shouldn’t be big lines right before closing if you do want to ride Raging Spirits.
A Quick Walk Through and Snack
Depending on the FastPass window you have for Tower of Terror, there may be a little extra time to soak in the park. From Lost River Delta, take the path around the park through Port Discovery and into American Waterfront. Spending time soaking in the details comes a little later but this is a beautiful walk that you should take slowly if there’s time. Along the way, pick up one of Tokyo DisneySea’s great snacks. There are plenty of snacks throughout American Waterfront that are delicious including Blueberry Popcorn, Pork Rice Rolls, and Teriyaki Chicken Legs.
All of this will center around when the Tower of Terror FastPass window ends. If you can fit it in beforehand then great. Once done with that FastPass (assuming you weren’t able to get one in Mysterious Island) then check on Toy Story Mania’s FastPass situation. There may still be some available, although unlikely, and at that point they are worth getting as the crowds in the area should be easier to navigate.
Play the Lottery and Enjoy the American Waterfront
After Tower of Terror, it’s time to slow down a little bit. First, go to the lottery for Big Band Beat and play for a mid-afternoon time. This is located just outside of American Waterfront by the Venetian Gondolas. Big Band Beat is one of the best theme park shows I’ve ever seen and a must-do! Winning the seating lottery gives you a reserved seat for the show. If you aren’t able to win then lining up for the first show of the day, which is all standby admission, is the way to go.
After playing the lottery, explore American Waterfront. This land is full of incredible detail and tells the story of industrial age New York. Enjoy another snack and explore all the land has to offer, moving from the bustling streets of New York to the beauty of Cape Cod.
While exploring American Waterfront keep making your way through the FastPass game. If you have made it through most of this list and have a FastPass available then Nemo & Friends SeaRider is the way to go here. Mainly just keeping working through this list from first to worst, checking off the attractions you either want to re-ride or haven’t done.
Lunch at Magellan’s
For lunch, we chose one of the best theme park restaurants in the world. Magellan’s has an incredible theme and food to match the environment. Lunch is cheaper than dinner, hence the pick for lunch. If you aren’t able to get a reservation then the lounge is also a good option. Either way, don’t miss out on this incredible restaurant.
Time to work off that lunch by doing DisneySea’s walk-through attraction, Fortress Explorations. This is right outside the door of Magellan’s and embodies the same exploring spirit. Spending about an hour here, seeing all of the exhibits that Fortress Explorations has to offer is worth your time. This area is Tom Sawyer Island’s younger, cooler cousin. Most walk-through attractions are overlooked for a reason, they aren’t typically as much fun as a thrilling or story-driven attraction. But this isn’t most walk-through attractions, it is the best one.
Transportation and Shows
While keeping the FastPass game going strong, most of the afternoon will be spent riding some of the relaxing and easy going attractions and seeing the shows. Hopefully that includes the lottery for Big Band Beat or you have already seen the first showing. There may be a Harbor Show going on depending on what season you are there for. While not the most cohesive shows, the main harbor is home to some of the most delirious fun I’ve ever seen. Out of Shadowland (at least for now), King Triton’s Concert, and Magic Lamp Theater are all decent shows that could be worth your time. I wouldn’t recommend all of them but if you are on schedule then seeing at least one is a fun way to spend the afternoon. Along with that, include a ride on Electric Railway. This runs from American Waterfront to Port Discovery and is a great way to see the park from a different view. The DisneySea Transit Steamer Line is nice boat transportation from land to land and is fun to ride, as well.
Also included in this step should be a walk through of the beautiful Mediterranean Harbor. While the land is gorgeous anytime of day, it is stunning in the afternoon with the vibrant buildings pushed up against the (hopefully) blue sky. Walking through the alleys is charming and the main walkways feature stunning views of the water.
Teddy Roosevelt Lounge
We don’t often dedicate much time to a mid-afternoon snack or drink in these itineraries but Teddy Roosevelt Lounge changes that. This lounge is incredibly themed and a nice way to relax and regain some energy. With over-sized booths and chairs, the lounge is comfortable and a perfect place to grab a drink. Teddy Roosevelt Lounge is so expertly themed that it is an attraction in its own right. The snack choices are somewhat limited but we enjoyed everything we tried, as well as a nice drink selection. Being on the S.S. Columbia makes the lounge even cooler.
The sun should be close to setting at this point, although this step may need to move around slightly depending on the time of year. Venetian Gondolas is the perfect sunset attraction, both romantic and beautiful. Riding this at sunset will likely see you waiting in the longest line of the day but I think it’s worth it. Having said that, everything has a cost and if the line is over an hour then skip it.
As the light diminishes, Port Discovery comes to life with rich and vibrant lighting. This is an ideal time to ride Aquatopia. While nowhere near as romantic as the gondolas, Aquatopia offers an entertaining ride in an equally interesting land. If you haven’t gotten to SeaRider yet then check the wait time on it as you should either ride it now or right before close.
Counter-Service Dinner at…
A choose-your-own-adventure dinner! DisneySea isn’t lacking for quality dining options. If you want a table-service meal (although time is limited at this point) then Ristorante di Canaletto is a quality option. Instead we recommend Vulcania, a counter-service restaurant in Mysterious Island that serves Chinese food. Vulcania sits inside of the park’s volcano and is unmatched in terms of theme for counter-service restaurants. Other interesting options include Zambini Brothers Ristorante and New York Deli.
Arabian Coast at Dusk
Arabian Coast is a beautiful land full of architecture that we don’t often see in theme parks. At night, the land is even more impressive. Not to mention, there are some unassuming but extremely enjoyable attractions in Arabian Coast. Start in the main courtyard of Arabian Coast and ride the double-deck carousel. I shouldn’t need to say this but ride on the upper deck.
After exploring the courtyard, enjoy the narrow market streets that lead you back to Sinbad’s Storybook Voyage. The market streets are beautiful with the cracked pavement and light features. Market sounds abound and the streets feel alive no matter how crowded the area is. End your stay at Arabian Coast with a ride on Disney’s best modern dark ride, Sinbad’s Storybook Voyage. While the slow boat ride may seem a little silly at first glance, it’s an incredible attraction that shouldn’t be missed. Before moving on to the next step, grab a Chandu Tail as one last snack.
While our time in all of these lands is too short, head back to the main harbor to enjoy DisneySea’s nighttime spectacular, Fantasmic! While the show is very similar to the Magic Kingdom and Disneyland version, I think DisneySea’s version is worth seeing because of how unique the harbor is and a few differences in the show. Seeing Fantasmic! near the entrance of the park in what would be considered the theater’s front of house is what we recommend.
Choose Your-Own-Adventure at Night (But Don’t Miss Seeing Mysterious Island Again)
After Fantasmic! there will be a little over an hour left in your day. While we’ve covered much of the park, I’m guessing that there was a step or two that had to be skipped. If not, congratulations! Even so this last hour is to fit in any attractions that you missed or want to do again. Alternatively, every single land in this park is brilliant at night. Don’t miss seeing the foreboding Tower of Terror and playful Toy Story Mania at night. Mysterious Island may be the best theme park land there is at night, with spectacular color and an attraction (Journey to the Center of Earth) enhanced by riding at night.
If you want to do the kid attractions in Mermaid Lagoon, this is an ideal time because there will be no waits at all. The area is well worth seeing although riding all of the attractions may be a slight waste of time.
There really isn’t a bad option of what to do here. My personal preference is walking around, taking photos of all the lands and soaking in the atmosphere. Once the park closes, take your time wandering out of the park and enjoying one last view of your favorite sights. Then buy a ticket to go back the next day.
If it’s not clear already, I love Tokyo DisneySea. There’s not another park like it in the world. Part of the park’s appeal is in simply walking around enjoying all of the details and views. While we tried to include that in this itinerary, make sure to include that in your own day. I say that for every park but it is especially true at DisneySea. Enjoy the environment and soak it in.
As always, if you have questions or thoughts about Tokyo DisneySea then let us know down below in the comments. You can read more about our travels in Japan by clicking here. If you enjoy what you are reading here on Wandering in Disney please share this post with your friends, as well as like our social media pages. You can also subscribe to the blog via WordPress or email. Links to all of those are on the right side of this page. Thank you for reading, we really appreciate it!
Categories: Park Itineraries