The question I’m asked most frequently about Disney Parks is how much a trip costs. Frankly, there isn’t a quick answer I can give. There are many factors to a Disney vacation that are specific to the people going on them. Where you live, how long you are traveling for, what kind of lodging you prefer and eating habits are just a few items to consider. So instead of a quick answer here’s a couple thousand words on the subject! We’ve already covered Disneyland and Walt Disney World and today we move on to Tokyo Disney Resort, the most complicated of all cost analysis!
Honestly, I’m guessing many people stopped reading (or didn’t even start) this post after seeing the title. An international trip to Asia is seen as outside the realm of possibility for many, although the continent has become a more popular travel destination in the last few years. Frankly, the thought that a trip to Asia is outside the realm of possibility is dated and inaccurate at this point. Certainly there are portions of a trip to Japan, Tokyo Disney Resort specifically, that will cost more than your average trip to Disney World or Disneyland. But, other portions of the trip will be cheaper to make up for it.
Pointing out that the world is in the midst of a pandemic seems to be the norm these days but it’s especially prevalent when talking about Tokyo Disney Resort. Traveling to Japan from America right now isn’t an option and it’s hard to know how long that will last. I’m optimistic that 2021 will see travel open up but there’s no way of knowing right now. All of that said, this post goes off the assumption that traveling overseas is an option.
I’ll be going through different portions of a Tokyo Disney Resort (and Japan) vacation and estimating what their final cost will be. Most of my estimates will be for the cheaper options available, as I think that is a good starting point before choosing to enhance a potential vacation.
What a vacation will cost does depends on when you are traveling. Try to have a few options when pricing out your vacations and be flexible with your time. This isn’t viable for everyone but the more options you have then the more chances there will be to save. For Tokyo Disney Resort and an international trip, I would start looking at flights, hotels and general itineraries about 9 months in advance if it is a big or first trip. Obviously, there is some give and take in that time frame. If you are comfortable traveling internationally then shave a couple of months off of that. On the other hand, it never hurts to start monitoring prices well ahead of time.
Easily the most costly portion of a trip to Japan will be the airfare. Having said that, there are ways to save and the cost has consistently been going down over the last few years. Again, flexibility is a key here. There are multiple airports that you could fly into. Tokyo has two main airports, Narita and Haneda. Narita Airport is the most well-known while Haneda is the closest to Tokyo Disney Resort. When looking for a flight, look at both of those airports. There is also Kansai International Airport in Osaka. If you are starting your trip in that city or Kyoto then this is another easy option to put down when searching, although the Tokyo airports will likely be cheaper.
Where you live may be a bigger factor in the price than anything else. If living on the west coast of North America then flights to Japan can be found relatively cheap. I’ve seen flights under $600 regularly, regardless of the time of year. If you don’t live on the west coast then check on flights from your closest airport as well as hubs on the west coast (LAX, SFO, SEA, YVR) when looking at prices. While flying out of your home airport might be easiest, flying to one of those west coast airports and then catching a flight from there might be the cheapest option.
One last item to consider is whether a long layover is manageable for you. There are plenty of very cheap flights (the lowest I’ve seen is about $400) out of the west coast that will have longer layovers in China airports. If you don’t mind paying more, then a direct flight is an option but a long layover might be an easy way to see other parts of the world, or just hang out in an airport for a really long time if you are into that sort of thing. Depending on how long your trip is and your budget, a long layover might be an easy path to saving money. I wouldn’t recommend it if you are in Japan for less than 10 days though.
There are other aspects to consider in flights (stopovers, other destinations) but those won’t lead to a minimal cost on vacation. Keeping in mind where you fly out of, fly in to, and layovers will lead to the cheapest flights possible. Airline miles or credit card rewards is a great option to use here.
Along with airfare, there is transportation throughout Japan that you will need to pay for. If you’re just sticking around Tokyo and Tokyo Disney Resort (we don’t recommend this) then just paying out-of-pocket for trains and buses around the area is the way to go. For traveling around the country, buy the Japan Rail Pass as it will provide easy access to Kyoto from Tokyo and vice versa. On top of that, you get to ride the Shinkansen (Japan’s bullet train) that is an exceptional experience in its own right. The Rail Pass cost is roughly $290 for 7 days, $460 for 14 days, and $590 for 21 days.
Hotels – $140/night
Tokyo Disney Resort has several official hotels. We’re going to stay away from those simply because they are more expensive. They do have one value option with complimentary shuttles but the location is not ideal. Instead, at Tokyo Disney Resort, there are a host of resorts along the monorail line that are great hotels with excellent location at a cheap cost. The $140/night estimate I put above is maybe too low but I’ve factored in other areas that we’ll get to a few paragraphs down.
Think of these Tokyo Disney Resort hotels like Disneyland Good Neighbor Hotels except about 10 times nicer. They aren’t officially owned by Disney but could be likened to the quality and location of a Disney World monorail hotel. Keep in mind that in Japan, if you have more than 2 people in the room a hotel will typically cost more. That isn’t always true, especially if the extra people are kids, but it is something to keep in mind and worth searching around for. These hotels can be found for around $150/night, especially during the week. There is also a Hilton and Sheraton in these line of hotels, so if you have rewards at one of those places then that’s a good way to save.
Why I’ve estimated a lower cost/night than $150 is because I’m guessing you’ll do more in Japan than just Tokyo Disney Resort. While hotels are similarly priced in Japan as they are in America (maybe slightly cheaper), Airbnb’s in both Kyoto and Tokyo are regularly under $100 for whole apartments. While the idea of staying at a rental home in a foreign country may be a little out of someone’s comfort zone, the level of service we experienced at our rentals was exceptional. This is a great way to save while still staying in a decent location.
Park Tickets – $240 For 4-Day Ticket
While saving on the hotels is nice, park tickets provide the biggest savings. We recommend the longest ticket, 4 days, and that comes out to roughly $240 (depending on the exchange rate). With that ticket you’ll be able to park hop on the final 2 days of the ticket but not the first 2. This isn’t a big deal because both Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea deserve their own full day. I would just buy from the resort, I don’t recommend searching for discount tickets.
These park tickets are an absolute steal. A 4-day park hopper at a discounted rate for Disneyland is $395. Saving over $100 per ticket can nearly make up for the airfare, depending on where you live. Tokyo Disney Resort also offers evening tickets for under $40 if you want to get the fun started a night early.
Food – $30/day
While we don’t necessarily recommend this strategy, food at Tokyo Disney Resort and throughout Japan can be had for cheap. Frankly, you could eat at a convenience store for all 3 meals, have perfectly decent food and spend about $15/day. Inside of the actual parks, there are some great counter-service options to be had for under $10.
Likewise, throughout Japan there are many great meals to be had for around $10. Cheap sushi (that’s still better than anything I’ve tried stateside) and ramen are readily available, as well as other great meals. I still don’t recommend breakfast in the parks, just grab something from a convenience store on the way.
This will vary depending on how often you go and basically whatever you want to spend. We spent a good amount of money our first time to Japan but following trips will be significantly less. If it’s a first time trip and/or you’re taking kids then the souvenir budget will be larger. We always set some sort of budget for both souvenirs and food and then borrow from one or the other depending on what we end up wanting. $50 a person seems more than reasonable but you could go without spending anything here so I didn’t put it up top.
There are so many variables that will go into this portion. We cover them more thoroughly in our Tokyo Disney Resort Planning Guide but we’ll just go over a few quick costs here.
We’ll start with getting phones to work. We recommend a pocket MiFi, a wireless hotspot, that essentially turns your phone into a tablet where you can easily message people on different apps. Unless you’re staying for over 3 weeks (which sounds great to us!) the cost of one of these devices will be under $100. We got 2 for our group of 4 and that worked out pretty well. Having said that, if there were only 2 of us then I’d still probably get 2 just in case you need a way to message to meet up.
Moving on, you may have gathered that we absolutely recommend traveling throughout Japan and specifically Kyoto. That will include going to several temples and shrines. Most temples will cost a little bit of money but the cost is minimal. Set aside around $15/day for temples and shrines. Maybe allocate slightly more money for a couple of museums or shows along the way. Either way, this cost is minimal but it bears mentioning.
Last of all, we recommend staying in Japan for upwards of 2 weeks. I know this can’t be a reality for everyone but Kyoto became our favorite city in the world and Tokyo Disney Resort ended up with our two favorite theme parks in the world. Tokyo is incredible, as well, and there are other cities we haven’t made it to yet that we look forward to seeing. Obviously, a longer trip will up the price somewhat but not as much as a longer trip to Disney World or Southern California because the lodging and food costs are lower.
For a couple, this puts a 2 week vacation split between Kyoto, Tokyo and Tokyo Disney Resort around $3,400 before any transportation is factored in. Add in a 7-day Rail Pass and it’s closer $4,000. Obviously, this isn’t factoring traveling with kids although that price wouldn’t go up by much. Likewise, if you’re traveling solo then the cost is more or less cut in half. For a family of four, I think a 2 week vacation would be a little above $5,000 before airfare.
Naturally, airfare is an expensive portion of this plan. Save up airline miles or credit card rewards and then the cost is not nearly as daunting. Even without those, there are certain flights that aren’t much more than flying stateside. Melissa and I saved our credit card rewards up for a year and barely paid anything for our airfare.
Of course, your trip doesn’t need to be two weeks. Tokyo Disney Resort is worth visiting on its own and there’s a case to be made that spending a week there and supplementing it with time in Tokyo would be significantly cheaper and still a great vacation. The thought of going to Japan without visiting Kyoto is sad but it would keep the cost down some.
I hope all of these rambled words have helped convince someone that a trip to Japan and Tokyo Disney Resort is far more practical than they imagined. Living on the west coast, a trip to Japan is almost as cheap as going to Disney World. In fact, if the amount of days was equal we probably would pay less.
If you have any questions or thoughts about the cost of a Disneyland trip please leave them in the comments below! To hear more about our travels in Japan click here. If you enjoy what you’re reading please subscribe to the blog and like our social media pages which you can find on the right side of this page. Thank you for reading, we really appreciate it!
Categories: Vacation Tips