If we were going to spend a “perfect” day in Tokyo Disneyland, these are the attractions we would do, the restaurants at which we’d dine, the shows we’d see, and the details we’d try to enjoy. This post continues our series of 1-day park itineraries designed to answer the frequently asked question, “what would you do if you only had one day in ____ Disney park?” We call this series our “Daily Trip Blueprints,” or DTBs for short. Note that in our Tokyo Disney Resort Trip Planning Guide we recommend 2 days at Tokyo Disneyland if you have the time, and the park has a really impressive attraction slate (and often, long lines), so you necessarily will have to skip some things if you only have one day. If you’re visiting Tokyo DisneySea, check out our 1-Day Tokyo DisneySea itinerary.
These Daily Trip Blueprints aren’t touring plans or strategy guides for doing as much in a single day at Tokyo Disneyland as possible. If you follow this guide, you won’t do every single attraction in the park. While this guide is more focused on efficiency than many of our others (you’ll go crazy waiting in lines if you’re not at least somewhat efficient), it still allows time to slow down and experience the little details that set Tokyo Disneyland apart from the other Disneyland style parks found throughout the world. Even though it’s a “greatest hits” park to a degree, it’s really so much more than that.
I have described Tokyo Disneyland as a “Bizarro Magic Kingdom” and this applies to attractions, too. While Tokyo Disneyland generally has the best version of most attractions (or at least the best maintained), if you only have 1 day, the fact is that day is probably best spent doing original attractions that are unique to Tokyo Disneyland, or at least substantially different. For that reason, I recommend view the following as skippable if you are crunched for time: Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Haunted Mansion, Star Tours, Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters, Dumbo, Alice’s Tea Party, Pinocchio’s Daring Journey, Snow White’s Adventures, plus Pirates of the Caribbean and Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin (if you’ve been to Disneyland). Do as many of these as you can, but they should be the first thing to go if you’re in a time crunch. You can see the full attraction lineup in our Tokyo Disneyland Attraction Guide post.
This Tokyo Disneyland 1-Day Guide assumes a few things, both of which should be strongly noted: first, that you’re visiting during a weekday at a moderately-crowded time of year, and second, that no seasonal events are occurring during your visit. Unless you’ve been to Walt Disney World or Disneyland on New Year’s Eve or some other major holiday, you probably have never seen the kind of crowds the Tokyo parks get on weekends or during busy season. If you visit when it’s busier, you will wait in long lines for everything, including to get into the park.
The second assumption is that there is no seasonal entertainment during your visit (which is a poor assumption since most of the time there is seasonal entertainment, but it’s an assumption I’m making for the sake of making this easier to write). All of the seasonal entertainment we have seen at Tokyo Disneyland is well done, so plan to pencil this into your schedule as time permits if it’s going on while you visit.
Finally, we’re going to assume intelligent and efficient use of the FastPass system. This means getting a FastPass as soon as you’re eligible, and using them accordingly. Since windows for FastPasses will vary, most of the time we gloss over FastPass utilization, with a few exceptions.
If budget is no issue, you’re going to want to stay at Tokyo Disneyland Hotel for your 1-day in Tokyo Disneyland. It is located a short walk from Tokyo Disneyland, and some rooms have views into the park. Just as importantly, staying here (or any of the three Disney hotels) gives you the “Happy 15″ perk, which is 15 minutes of early entry into the park. You might scoff at only 15 minutes of early entry, but don’t underestimate its importance. If the Disney hotels don’t fit within your budget, we recommend the Hilton Tokyo Bay (read our hotel review), which is an official partner hotel, and located on the monorail loop. Make sure to book it early or check rates regularly, as prices fluctuate.
Once you wake up from wherever it is that you are sleeping, eat breakfast, and then get started on your day… (more…)