This Tokyo Disney Resort trip planning guide covers all aspects of a visit to Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea, including Japan information and Disney specifics like where to stay, how long to visit, where to eat, which attractions to do. It also covers a visit to Japan more broadly, including tips on airports, transportation, and phone/internet. We found that there was really no good resource covering all of this when we planned our first visit to Tokyo Disney Resort, so apologies if this guide is overly long. Better to include too much than not enough, we hope. More will be added over time as certain parts are clarified or expanded based on questions we receive from readers.
While we have only taken two trips to Tokyo Disney Resort, we literally spent months preparing for the first trip to make sure everything went smoothly, and we learned a lot while combing through the various information scattered all over the internet. Some of what’s here is based on our first hand experiences, some is based on what we’ve learned elsewhere but never actually put into practice. We’ll let you know when information here is not based on our personal experiences. We know it’s annoying to read things online that are merely parroted from elsewhere, with the author posing as an expert over a topic with which they only are loosely familiar, but in this case, we think some parroted information is better than nothing in certain spots.
If you’re just a “regular” person planning a trip to Japan who happened to stumble upon this page, as you probably can guess, this is a Disney fan-site written for Disney fans by Disney fans. Although anyone can use the information presented here, it’s geared towards serious fans. If you’re not a Disney fan, but are just visiting Tokyo Disney Resort as a small part of a trip to Tokyo, use this information accordingly. Our advice is probably a bit over the top for you “ordinary” people.
Traveling to the two best Disney theme parks in the world (sorry, Walt Disney Studios Park and Disney’s Hollywood Studios!) can be intimidating, but it’s also an incredibly rewarding experience that you’ll definitely want to repeat. Since returning from our first trip to Tokyo Disney Resort, we’ve been accused (several times) of being biased towards the Japanese parks. That isn’t true at all. We’re biased towards excellence.
In any case, when planning a trip to Tokyo (or anywhere, for that matter), it’s good to consult a variety of sources as opinions vary and few single sources are fully comprehensive. There aren’t a lot of great (up to date) sites for planning trips to Tokyo Disney Resort, but we recommend reading Chris’s TDR Site, Dejiki, Konnichiwa Mickey, DeepDisney, and the MiceChat TDR forums prior to your trip. If you’ve found other useful planning sites, please share them in the comments. You also should have a planning guide in paper form. We didn’t have this luxury as no current books were available before our trips, but in late 2013, Travelers Series Guide to Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea was released. We don’t own this, but based on the “Look Inside” snippet from Amazon, this book is on the money. For general travel advice to Japan, we used several books, but ultimately used Lonely Planet Japan (previous edition), which had great general info, but only okay Tokyo specifics (we couldn’t find a single good “Tokyo” specific book). This guide is great for Kyoto, which we also highly recommend visiting. Whichever books you get, we can’t stress enough to buy them in paper form–we are tech-lovers, but paper books don’t run out of battery, potentially leaving you without critical advice in a foreign place. Also, print out important reservation info just in case you have an internet issue.
Let’s get started with the guide!
This is not directly a tip for visiting Tokyo Disney Resort, but it’s mentioned at the top because we think it’s the real reason holding people back from visiting. Without a doubt, traveling to Tokyo is outside comfort zones. From the long international flight to the prospect of navigating a foreign country without speaking its native language, it seems that many people cite costs (we’ll be back soon with another article showing how Tokyo Disney Resort can be affordable!) when the true reason they’re hesitant to visit is that it’s so far outside their comfort zone.
This is normal, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with being anxious about traveling somewhere because it’s outside of your comfort zone. The first time we traveled somewhere that English wasn’t commonly spoken, we were nervous, too. From our experience, that nervous feeling only lasts about as long as you’re in the airport, and after that you totally forget it as you’re enveloped in an amazing, foreign place.
The bad news is that Tokyo is a long flight to a place where English is a second language (at best). The good news is that the Japanese are some of the universally nicest and most helpful people in the world, and that once you understand the ‘system’ at one Disney theme park, you understand it at all of them, regardless of their dominant language. If you’re staying on property at Tokyo Disney Resort, the biggest obstacle you face is probably getting from the airport to your hotel–and even that isn’t too difficult.
In terms of the language barrier, Sarah and I don’t completely agree on this. I don’t think there is much of one at all. All signs are in Japanese and English and many attractions have dialogue in English (and even the ones that don’t mostly convey their message through visual means. (We both agree up until this point.)
Where we don’t agree is in terms of Cast Members. I think that most Cast Members either speak enough English to effectively communicate with English-speaking guests. Failing that, a bit of pantomime gets the job done. Failing that, their desire to help guests will lead to the Cast Member locating another Cast Member who is proficient in English. Most of the time, verbal communication and pantomime with the first Cast Member you encounter is all you’ll need. I can only think of a handful of times on our visits where the language barrier was any real kind of issue, and the most confusion was probably an attempt to order beer on draught versus in a bottle. Not exactly a huge problem.
Sarah’s take is that communication isn’t quite as smooth as I make it out to be. If you’re one to hold long conversations with different Cast Members, you’re going to be disappointed (although it is possible with some). If you’re only communicating to the extent that you want to order lunch (and you don’t mind pointing at a menu item), you’ll do just fine. In fairness, my social skills are poor and I can barely communicate with people in English, so maybe I’m not the best judge of this, and maybe it is more of an issue than I think. We both agree that the Cast Members in Tokyo are by far the nicest and most helpful in the world, and they will do everything they can to make your experience positive, so long as that does not involve breaking rules.
You might be thinking that you’re not the type to want to break rules, so that doesn’t really affect you. However, the Japanese concept of rules is different than the US concept of rules. Calling them “rules” might be a bit of a misnomer, because it some cases they’re mere statements or policies. For example, you might be used to making substitutions to your meals in the US parks because of a food allergy or preference. What’s on the menu is what’s on the menu in Japan, and attempts at substitutions or changes will typically be met with resistance or confusion. While Americans are more likely to question the “why?” of a rule or policy here in the US and look at whether it really makes sense given the circumstances (even if you don’t think you do this, chances are you probably do), in Japan, adherence to every rule/policy/procedure is universally expected, no matter how arbitrary it might seem.
Most of the time, this results in a more orderly, enjoyable experience in the parks (imagine places where there is no line jumping and every sits down for the parades!). Sometimes it does have unintended consequences. We know some vegetarians who have gone to the parks and didn’t have the best of times because there were extremely limited vegetarian options and they were unable to make substitutions (more on this below) because a substitution is going against established policy.
If your travels to Japan take you beyond Tokyo Disney Resort (and they should), you are going to be stepping further outside of your comfort zone. Again, the same rules about the Japanese being extremely courteous and helpful apply, and the few times we struggled a bit, we put on our ‘confused American’ faces, and invariably, strangers stopped to help us without solicitation.
Despite being a world city, Westerners aren’t as common in Tokyo as we expected. Even though many young Japanese people speak at least some English, Westerners are far less common in Tokyo than they are in Hong Kong or Paris. This is actually even more true in the parks, where the only Westerners you may see all day are those in the shows. (When you think about this, it makes sense: most Americans who visit Tokyo probably are the type of world travelers who are more concerned with culture than theme parks. We’d argue as a counter that what you see in Tokyo Disney Resort is a more accurate representation of current Japanese culture than what you’ll find at any preserved temples or shrines in Japan.)
Trick question: no number of days is enough…and that’s only a half-joke. Although there are only two theme parks at Tokyo Disney Resort, Tokyo DisneySea is the best Disney park in the world, and Tokyo Disneyland is also near the top (second best, if you ask me). Think of them as “fine moonshine.” You have to sip them slowly enough that you have a nice intoxication, because if you drink them in too quickly, you’re likely to go blind. Or something like that.
You can see the highlights of these parks by spending a day at each park, but that is incredibly difficult, and we’d never recommend that little time there. Instead, aim for 4 or 5 days, and plan to spend more of your time at Tokyo DisneySea. Three days at a single theme park might seem excessive in light of its attraction lineup, but we don’t think a trip to Tokyo is for the type of fan who views the parks as a collection of rides to “complete” as quickly as possible. These parks, DisneySea, especially, are meant to be slowed down and taken in. The best “attraction” at Tokyo DisneySea isn’t an actual attraction that you’ll find on any park map. It’s the sense of place that it has, and this is something that you’ll want to spend some time savoring.
When it comes to actual attractions, the lines are long at both parks. These lines actually starting before the parks open, and guests running for FastPasses immediately. On busier days, it’s difficult to get a FastPass for both Monsters, Inc. Ride & Go Seek and Pooh’s Hunny Hunt in the same day. You’ll run for one, but by the time your window for a second FastPass opens, it may be too late to get a FastPass for the other, and most people won’t want to wait 2 hours or more for either in the standby line. Tokyo Disney Resort’s main demographic is Annual Passholders, and they don’t mind waiting hours in line for a single attraction because they can always come back later to see others.
The third reason why you’ll need more time is the sheer number of shows. These aren’t shows like Disney’s Hollywood Studios has, most of which are skippable. These are all high quality shows, all of which are worth seeing. Shows alone require a significant time commitment, as does timing your day to make sure you’re able to see them all. You could pretty easily spend an entire day at Tokyo DisneySea just doing shows and maybe a few minor attractions in between.
Since we’ve only visited twice, this is mostly based on our research. The first time we followed this Japanese crowd calendar (make sure to view it in Chrome for an okay translation) and picked a week that was predicted to be lightly crowded. The calendar was correct, and crowds were mostly a non-issue. The second time, we didn’t have as much latitude in choosing days, and we went on days the crowd calendar predicted would be busy. It was correct, and two days of our trip the parks sold out of tickets!
We’re not (yet!) experts on the best time of year to visit Tokyo Disney Resort, but we have done a lot of research on this. That research suggests that the spring before or after Golden Week but before summer is the absolute best time, with the second best time being in late November through early December. This is both in terms of crowds and weather. Summer is humid and crowded, Halloween and Christmas have nice weather but are busy, and January/February aren’t too busy but are cold.
Based upon our first-hand experiences, just as important as the time of year you visit (actually more important) is the days of the week you visit. Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea are least busy Monday through Thursday. Friday is the busiest weekday, and weekends are incredibly busy. If at all possible, avoid weekends no matter what time of year you visit. This will save you considerable time in lines. And lines can get very long at Tokyo Disney Resort, so the importance of saving time cannot be understated.
As we visit more and do more research about specific times of year to go, watch for a dedicated article on when to visit Tokyo Disney Resort with more specifics on dates. Choosing the best time to visit is the most important aspect of planning a visit to Tokyo Disney Resort, and the crowds those parks see should not be underestimated.
For any Disney trip, the things on our Unique Disney Packing List will be helpful. There’s not really anything specific to Tokyo that you will need. No voltage converter is necessary. If you’re visiting during the summer, things like Frogg Togg Chilly Pads will also come in handy, as will moisture wicking clothing. It’s easy to get sweaty as Japan can get humid. Outside of the summer, guests in Tokyo Disney Resort typically dress very nicely, which is something to keep in mind when packing your own clothes. Novelty Disney hats are also common with these nice clothes (quite the contrast), but you’ll want to buy your novelty hat in the parks.
We would caution against overpacking. This is especially true if you’re doing more in Japan than just Tokyo Disney Resort. The rail system in Tokyo is incredibly complex, with a lot of transfers. You will do a lot of walking, riding the rail, etc., and you really don’t want to be encumbered by excess baggage, especially during rush hour on the trains. Perhaps the best advice we can give you is to pack light. Lay out everything you’re planning on taking before you pack it, and determine if you truly need it. Not if it “might come in handy, maybe,” but if you actually will use it. Don’t pack things you won’t use. If you are going to be staying in multiple hotels during your trip to Japan, we highly recommend packing cubes or compression bags (I prefer the cubes) for organization. You can read more of our “carry-on philosophy” and which types of bags we use here.
Besides language, flying to Tokyo is probably the biggest obstacle. This is both in terms of flight duration and cost. The bad news is that we can’t make flights to Tokyo any shorter. They range from 8-10 hours from the west coast to an upwards of 16 hours from the east coast, or more with layovers. That’s a lot of time in the air, but fortunately, the larger planes used for these flights are much more comfortable than your normal planes used for domestic flights.
If you know your travel dates and have no flexibility as to when you travel, we recommend checking out ITA Software. Basically, it’s like a more robust and cleaner version of Kayak and other airfare search engines. There are a myriad of parameters you can set, and in our experience, ITA is the best way to find the lowest prices on airfare for set dates of travel. You can use it to add stopovers (Hong Kong Disneyland, anyone?) to search around a flexible set of dates, or even to specify multiple airports out of which you might be able to fly (we highly recommend using this last feature). Either HND or NRT will work as arrival airports. HND is located closer to the city center, whereas NRT is (slightly) closer to Tokyo Disney Resort, but farther from downtown. NRT is the more common arrival airport for flights from the US, but we’ve flown into both airports.
If you’re in the preliminary stages of researching your flight, you should also use fare alerts on Airfarewatchdog.com. You can set some parameters for the alerts here (although not as many as I’d like) and receive email updates when they deem prices to be low. For flights to Tokyo, we specify a few different departing cities for alerts. The cities we’d recommend are your home city and the closest major international airport, plus Seattle and Los Angeles. For example, if you lived in Indianapolis, you’d get alerts for IND, ORD, SEA, and LAX.
The first reason for including SEA and LAX in this alert is because they are good proxies for airfare prices elsewhere. These two airports do a lot of flights to Asia, and if their prices are dropping, chances are prices are dropping elsewhere. Being alerted of this is helpful because it can give you reason to go to ITA and fiddle around with other searches that might yield you cheaper airfare.
The second reason you might do this is because it might actually behoove you to fly to book a separate ticket to a west coast city and then fly from there to Tokyo from a purely economic perspective. Booking engines should pick up on this and create a flight for you that does this automatically, but that doesn’t always happen. On our first trip to Tokyo, we saved a few hundred dollars by booking flights on a domestic budget carrier to Los Angeles, and then flying United from there to Tokyo. The bonus for us (and other Disney fans!) was that we were able to create a one-day layover in Los Angeles and visit Disneyland for the day. (If you are patching together a flight like this, we highly recommend the day layover–if your first flight is delayed or canceled causing you to miss the international flight, you’d have little recourse since it’s not booked as a package.)
Airfare prices are always changing and are highly dependent upon city of origin, time of year, etc., but with round-trip airfare out of Los Angeles to Tokyo regularly in the ~$800 range, your complete airfare package should definitely cost under $1,250/person if you put some effort into choosing the right times to travel. If you’re booking at the last minute or don’t do any work to find deals, the sky is the limit on the upper end of airfare pricing.
We have done one trip to Tokyo Disney Resort during which we stayed on-site in the Tokyo Hilton Bay, and another trip during which we stayed off-site and used public transportation to get to the parks. The latter was the cheaper option, and it’s not uncommon to find nice, nearby accommodations for $75/night that are 1-2 stops away on the JR Line or a short bus ride away. Let’s call this “Tier 3.”
At their cheapest, an on-site “official” hotel like the Tokyo Hilton Bay or Sheraton Grande Tokyo Bay will be around $130/night. This is “Tier 2.” On-site Disney hotels like Hotel MiraCosta or Tokyo Disneyland Hotel are significantly more expensive, with starting prices in the upper $300/night range. Both of these Disney hotels have theming and slight location advantages (as well as limited early entry perks). This is “Tier 1.”
All things considered, our overwhelming pick is Tier 2 if you can get one of these rooms for <$200/night. There’s nothing wrong with a lot of the off-site hotels, but they are a more unknown quantity with rooms that will typically skew towards small, Japanese accommodations. Plus, getting to and from the parks on public transportation can be a real hassle, especially if you’re relying on transportation also utilized by business people and/or students. It’s just not worth the headache and extra time for the savings it entails. After our stay in one of these nearby hotels during our Christmas trip, we’ve vowed never to do it again. Your mileage may vary on this (and we know a few people who like these off-site hotels), but don’t say we didn’t warn you.
By contrast, the official hotels in Tier 2 are on the monorail loop, typically offer large, Western accommodations, and are moderately priced given the circumstances. We have a full review of Tokyo Hilton Bay, but suffice to say, we would say it compares very favorably to a Walt Disney World Deluxe hotel. Large, nice rooms. Cinderella Castle or ocean views. Location on the monorail loop. All for $130-180/night, most of the time. (Prices do spike for these hotels certain times of year and at the last minute, so book early.)
While we have not stayed at any of the Tier 1 Disney hotels (Tokyo Disneyland Hotel, Hotel MiraCosta, Disney’s Ambassador Hotel), we view Tokyo Disneyland Hotel and Hotel MiraCosta as potentially worthwhile splurges if you have the resources. The rooms in these hotels are very nice, and overall, these two hotels are likely the #1 and #2 Disney hotels in the world (at worst, they’re both top 5). However, if you’re approaching them solely from a cost-benefit or value perspective, it’s difficult to justify any of the Disney hotels. Their big advantage is location, and that’s biggest in terms of the view from your room (which can be into the park at both Tokyo Disneyland Hotel and Hotel MiraCosta) and not from access, since the Tier 2 official hotels are also located on the monorail loop and also have theme park views in some cases. Is it worth potentially $200-300/night more than the Tier 2 hotels for that view into the park? Probably not, unless money is no issue or you’re viewing this as a once in a lifetime trip.
Out of all of the cities in the world we’ve visited, Tokyo has by far the most complicated transportation network. This should come as no surprise, as it’s the world’s largest city. If you’re only going to Tokyo Disney Resort, it’s rather easy. You just take the Airport Limousine Bus, which you catch outside the airport after purchasing your ticket near the exit at a desk or the ticketing machine. It costs ~$25 per adult each way, and is absolutely the best way to get from the airport to the various hotels around Tokyo Disney Resort. Note that while this bus runs regularly, its schedule generally stops around 5 p.m. Here’s the full schedule to TDR from Narita. So, if your flight arrives into Tokyo after 4 p.m., you should probably look at other options.
If you’re staying off-site, you will probably get dropped off at a station and then transfer to a city bus or take a taxi; we’ve done this in the past and it’s also fairly easy. We did this on our most recent trip and it was convenient, efficient, and inexpensive. This advice can also be applied to those staying at Tokyo Disney Resort hotels arriving after 4 p.m., as there are many stops on the Shin-Urayasu line that are close to Tokyo Disney Resort, and this line runs until about 8:30 p.m. Other schedules are on the Airport Limousine Bus website.
If you’re getting in really late, the easiest alternative is a taxi. These are waiting outside the airport and easy to find. The downside is price. Our understanding is that the cost of a taxi to a Tokyo Disney Resort area hotel from Narita is $200. For this reason, we’ve never taken a taxi.
The cheapest alternative is to use public transportation. This is what we did on our first trip. It was intimidating at first, as Japan’s public transportation system is very complex, but we ultimately had no issues and it’s a relatively straightforward route from the airports to Tokyo Disney Resort. Just make sure you’re familiar with the route before you go. Tokyo Disney Resort’s site has a chart explaining the steps, but it’s probably easier to just pull it up on Google Maps.
Getting around Tokyo Disney Resort, you’ll want to take the monorail. It costs money, but it’s efficient, reliable, and clean. (Sound familiar?) There are also Resort Cruisers, which are buses, that are free of charge. Just pay the minor fee for the monorail unless you have a large party. It’s fun and totally worth it.
If you’re going to be using public transportation in Japan beyond this, having a paper transportation map (they have nice ones they’ll give you at airport info desks) is great. We used Google Maps with great success and that map as a supplement.
While public transportation in Japan likely will be the most confusing and stress-inducing aspect of your trip, the plus side is that it’s convenient, efficient, and clean. Plus, it’s not too confusing if you have the proper tools!
There are two good options for this: renting a SIM card or renting a pocket WiFi/MiFi. We have iPhones through AT&T and we had no desire to rent/buy a second phone (we had no need to make calls in Japan), so that was out. Sorry, but we can’t help if this is what you want to do, although we do know that a popular, inexpensive option for this is B-Mobile.
Renting a SIM card is probably a great option for some people, but we really liked the MiFi rental. We’ve only used Global Advanced Communications, and found them to be excellent. We rented in advance online, and had the MiFi units delivered to the airport post office both times (package pickup for these is common–they know the drill at the airport post office). You can also have them delivered to your hotel, but if you do that, you don’t have internet if you need it to get to your hotel. We also rent one spare battery between the two of us. I can get through an entire day on one MiFi charge, but it’s better to be safe than sorry with the spare battery.
We recommend renting one MiFi per person in your group, so you can communicate if you separate. If you will–under no circumstances separate, just get one MiFi. A single MiFi can handle a few phones on it simultaneously. We found that Global Advanced Communications had the best price (you can get a quote for yourself here). Don’t rent from one of the shops at the airport or at a convenience store–prices are higher and data is typically limited.
For those unfamiliar with the device, it’s basically a pocket WiFi hotspot, providing you with unlimited LTE internet. The internet is fast and reliable throughout Tokyo, including Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea. There were some remote places in Kyoto where our internet was spotty, but otherwise it was flawless. We then used the Facebook Messenger App for communicating with one another and our group, and I was able to communicate with my office and remotely via email and Dropbox on both my phone and computer. Most importantly, having the MiFi gave us the ability to use Google Maps on our phones for public transportation, and this was a huge lifesaver.
There is no publicly-available WiFi internet at Tokyo Disney Resort. Free public WiFi is uncommon in Japan. (By contrast, it’s very common in Hong Kong, if you’re going to both.)
As of the date of this post, Tokyo Disney Resort (and most Japanese retailers) accepts standard US magnetic strip credit cards, or chipped credit cards. Chipped cards aren’t required. You can use an American credit card anywhere at the Resort, with the exception of small outdoor vending carts (to my knowledge, just the soda and ice cream ones–stands selling anything more accept credit cards). Just make sure your credit card charges no foreign transaction fees.
You do not need to carry cash at Tokyo Disney Resort, but if you anticipate needing cash, get it before you arrive at Tokyo Disney Resort. There are no ATMs at the resort that accept US cards. (If you read elsewhere that the 7-11 in Ikspiari does, that’s outdated information.) This seems like common sense…but Tokyo Disney Resort accepts Japanese Yen, not the US Dollar.
We’ve already written extensive attraction guides for both parks, so there’s no point in rehashing those here. Those guides contain strategy as well as reviews of the attractions. There will be very few attractions you’ll want to skip in Tokyo DisneySea, perhaps more in Tokyo Disneyland (where there are more clones). Here are those guides:
To the extent that you want more thorough plans or strategy than what’s in those guides, check out this site for wait times. There are several official and unofficial apps and pages devoted to wait times at Tokyo Disney Resort. Unfortunately, they’re almost exclusively in Japanese, and this is the best one with English that’s currently available. Before your trip, check whatever app store you use to confirm whether that’s still the case, as more and more apps seem to be coming onto the market…just not for English-speakers.
Even if you go at a less-busy time of year, you will want to arrive at either park at least 30 minutes before it opens. There will already be a long line (or lines) to get inside when you get there, so don’t be alarmed. Once you get inside, run for your first FastPass of the day. This is covered in the strategy guides above, but it’s good to reiterate. The Tokyo parks get busy and long lines are common, so you cannot take the ‘sleep in and go late’ approach, even if that’s what you normally do in the US.
Refurbishments are common at Tokyo Disney Resort, so make sure you consult the Temporary Closure Calendar before booking. It’s good for about 6 months out, so it may not be of much help.
Tokyo Disney Resort also does a lot of seasonal events. The two big ones are Halloween and Christmas, but spring/Easter is also fairly big, and there are a variety of other events throughout the year. Much like the US Disney Parks Blog, Tokyo has an official Parks Blog where info on seasonal happenings and other stuff is posted.
Dining at Tokyo Disney Resort is a huge topic unto itself, and this guide is already getting really long, so this will just cover the basics. First, for specific restaurants, make sure to check out our Disney Restaurant Reviews Index. (Tokyo is near the bottom.) Within the next couple of months, we should be posting reviews from every Tokyo Disney Resort restaurant at which we’ve eaten. We’ve eaten at a lot of them, so that should help.
Snacking should be a big part of your trip. The cost of this can quickly add up, but it’s an integral part of the Tokyo experience. We have a post on Awesome Tokyo Disneyland Snacks that you can check out to get some ideas. You’ve probably already heard about Tokyo Disney Resort’s crazy popcorn flavors, and while we feel these are over-hyped, they’re definitely worth trying so you can form your own opinion and say you’ve tried them. Popcorn at Tokyo Disney Resort is one of those “when in Rome…” type things. Other snacks are much better than the popcorn, we think, and you could potentially do all of your in-park dining just by grazing snack carts.
We also like stopping for full meals. In our experience, Tokyo Disneyland is the place to do counter service and Tokyo DisneySea is the place to do table service (its counter service options are also good, though). Both parks have some really amazing restaurants that are experiences in themselves.
The Tokyo parks have a reputation for small portion sizes and high prices, but we have not found this to be the case. Portions can be small, but they aren’t always. We think prices are comparable to the US parks for counter service meals (for similar portion sizes and quality), and table service is cheaper at Tokyo Disney Resort. There’s no tipping (and it’s a strict rule–they won’t let you tip) in Japan, which plays a part in the price differences.
If you do plan on doing table service, know that restaurants often are fully booked in advance. Unfortunately, the only way to make dining reservations is through the Tokyo Disney Resort website (in Japanese) or by emailing the hotel if you are staying at a Disney-owned hotel.
As mentioned above, substitutions are not a ‘thing’ in Tokyo, nor is accommodating those with special dietary needs or preferences. If you are a vegetarian, dining in the Tokyo parks will be a challenge, as there are limited vegetarian menus. If you have other restrictions or preferences, you may have an even more difficult time. Neither of us are vegetarians so we have no first hand experience in this regard, but we’ve heard stories from others. This is not something to brush off, thinking they’ll accommodate you just like they do at Walt Disney World. Fortunately, Tokyo Disney Resort has a list of restaurants that can accommodate guests with special dietary needs. Here it is for Tokyo Disneyland, and for Tokyo DisneySea.
There’s a lot more we could include in this guide, but this is already the longest posts on the blog to date, so let’s cut it off there. We will definitely add to this based on common questions, and I’m more than happy to offer assistance and advice in the comments if you have questions.
Want to see more photos or read about Tokyo Disney Resort in agonizing detail? Check out our Tokyo Disney Resort Trip Report!
I know this just begins to scratch the surface of planning for a trip to Tokyo Disney Resort. If you have additional questions, please leave them in the comments. If you’ve been to Tokyo Disney Resort and have tips of your own, please add them in the comments–I might just borrow them for the guide itself!