Tokyo Disney Resort (TDR) is home to two world class theme parks and rests just a few miles outside of one of the grandest cities in the world. Traveling there from the U.S. can be intimidating and we’re often asked about the differences between the parks here and there. With that in mind, we’ve started a new mini-series about that very topic. The series began with a look at the differences in cultures before moving on to the actual park differences. In this post, we’ll take a look at the more obvious differences between TDR and the American resorts – the language and food.
From a broader standpoint and including other destinations in Japan, I didn’t find the cuisine or language barrier to be that big of an issue. Admittedly, some of that is just based on my personality and planning ahead of time. Getting from place to place was hardly ever an issue throughout Japan and especially at Tokyo Disney Resort.
We used Google Maps extensively during our trip planning and had most destinations already plugged in to our accounts so it was simply opening the app and following instructions. I’m also a low stress person who doesn’t often panic and I knew going in that getting lost every once in a while seemed somewhat inevitable. The language barrier in terms of where to go just at Tokyo Disney Resort is almost nonexistent. It does exist in shows and attractions and I’ll dive into that difference further down the post.
How the different food will affect you will, again, depend on your personality and what food you’re used to. I’ll cover TDR specifically further down the post. As for throughout the country, there is something for everyone. If you want to only eat authentic Japanese cuisine then that’s obviously the easiest thing to find. If you only want to eat McDonald’s then that will likely be an option too if you’re in the bigger cities. We don’t recommend that option.
As a whole, Japanese food is fairly mild and not a scary proposition. I know sushi isn’t everyone’s thing but there are plenty of other options throughout the country. That said, the sushi we tried in Japan was fantastic and far better than what we’ve had stateside. I’m an adventurous eater and I know not everyone is. Personally, I think a trip to Japan is augmented by trying new foods and you’ll be rewarded for branching out. But if that’s not your thing then there are plenty of familiar options especially in Tokyo.
Let’s move on to Tokyo Disney Resort specifically.
As I’ve already mentioned, the language barrier will have little to no effect on getting around Tokyo Disney Resort once you’re there. The signage is clear on where to go and the cast members are very helpful if you have questions. Where the language will play a part is in the attractions and stage shows.
The majority of Tokyo Disney’s attractions have dialogue in Japanese. Some will include translation devices if you want them, although we don’t recommend going that route. Thankfully, theme park attraction plots are generally more of a visual medium. While there is dialogue in almost every attraction important plot points are seen more than heard. I can’t think of a single ride plot that didn’t make sense even if they were in Japanese.
Shows are a little tougher to follow, although not to the point of hindering a vacation. Our favorite show at the resort, Big Band Beat, is in English save for a few lines. Similarly, parades and a few shows like Country Bear Jamboree include both Japanese and English. Our biggest source of confusion in a show at the resort is DisneySea’s Magic Lamp Theater. Unsurprisingly, the show uses a bunch of dialogue and isn’t as visually appealing. There are a few moments of confusion throughout in other shows but most everything is easy to follow.
As far as questions you might have or signage throughout the resort, I wouldn’t worry. Many Cast Members speak some English or will direct you to someone who does. Every single sign that I’ve seen also has English on it, making finding things, reading menus and getting around very easy.
Food at TDR
I don’t want to be dismissive but there really isn’t much to worry about when it comes to food at Tokyo Disney Resort, even if foreign food does intimidate you. The resort has an eclectic mix of food, offering nearly everything you could want.
Sure, the emphasis on food isn’t American options like you might see at Disney World. Instead fish is a staple of what is offered at many counter-service and table-service restaurants. Finding cheeseburgers or fried food isn’t as apparent throughout the resort, although it does exist.
We have had Chinese, Japanese, Italian, American and a few options like salmon that are standards across different cultures. Like I mentioned before, the more adventurous we were the more we’ve been rewarded. That said, I have little doubt that you’ll be able to find food to enjoy throughout TDR no matter what kind of food you prefer.
In short, the food and language barrier will play a role in a trip to Japan but maybe not as much as you think it would. That is especially true once inside of Tokyo Disney Resort, where there’s plenty of different types of cuisine offered and English signage nearly everywhere you look at. It is something that foreigners will notice and have to deal with but it is definitely not a reason to stay away from Japan.
Do you have any questions or thoughts about the language or food at Tokyo Disney Resort? Let us know in the comments! Curious about planning a trip to Tokyo Disney Resort? Check out our planning guide to get you started! Thank you for reading Wandering in Disney. If you enjoy what you’re reading please subscribe to the blog via WordPress or email and like our social media pages. You can do both of those things on the right side of this page. Have a great day!
Categories: Vacation Tips