Best Tokyo DisneySea Attractions & Ride Guide

Tokyo DisneySea is Japan’s second gate to Tokyo Disneyland, with lands and attractions based on various ports of call, both real and imagined. This guide to Tokyo DisneySea attractions contains short reviews and numerical scores for every ride and show in the park. If you’re planning a trip to Tokyo Disney Resort, this is a great place to start when determining what to do and when to do it. The guide will give you a rough idea of an itinerary, which is very important at Tokyo DisneySea, as lines can be very long. Preferences vary, but we’ve tried to keep this as objective as possible with enough description so you’ll know whether particular attractions will appeal to your group. This Tokyo DisneySea guide includes headliners, smaller attractions, and shows. Besides Mermaid Lagoon’s kiddie rides, we don’t recommend skipping any attractions if you have the time to experience them all as pretty much everything in Tokyo DisneySea is varying degrees of awesome.

Tokyo DisneySea is the best Disney theme park in the world. This is not just because of its stellar attraction lineup, but also because of its transportive sense of place, dining options, general ambiance, and the infectious attitudes of other guests and Cast Members. It’s difficult to fathom if you’ve never been, and this may seem like unattainable hype that the park could never live up to, but the whole of Tokyo DisneySea is so much more than the sum of its parts. This is really saying something, because those parts on their own are pretty impressive.

While originally envisioned as a more mature park to appeal to Japan’s aging population, Tokyo DisneySea has shifted its direction a bit since opening in 2001 to appeal more to the core audience of Tokyo Disneyland by adding attractions and characters based on Disney intellectual property. This audience is diverse, but a good chunk is twenty-something females, many of whom are infatuated with Disney characters and American culture. So, don’t be surprised by the lines for Duffy’s meet & greet (or limits on how much of his merchandise you can purchase!), meet & greet characters being swarmed, or fans dressed as their favorite characters.

Regardless of the recent change in direction, Tokyo DisneySea remains a decidedly adult park. It’s almost akin to EPCOT Center until the mid-1990s, and that’s meant as incredibly high praise. It’s really a theme park unlike anything else Disney has to offer. There is still plenty to do for kids, but they’re more likely to prefer Tokyo Disneyland, as much of the brilliance of Tokyo DisneySea will be lost on them.

Because so much of Tokyo DisneySea is predicated on its ambiance and entertainment (Japanese fans secure spots for shows far in advance, so expect to spend a lot of time waiting for these shows if you want decent views), in order to experience a good amount of what the park has to offer, you should expect to spend to spend at least two full days to spend in Tokyo DisneySea. We have found that even two days still only gives you a taste of the park and would recommend 3 days if time allows. Tokyo DisneySea is like a fine wine, and after the initial morning race to avoid the crowds, it’s a park that you really need to slow down to enjoy.

Since this guide is written in English on a site catering to US Disney theme park enthusiasts, it assumes that you’re a Disney fan. If not, these recommendations might be extreme for you–you may be able to see all you care to see in a single day.

Numerical scores are on a scale of 1 to 10, and only take into consideration overall quality relative to that specific type of attraction. Dark rides are judged against other dark rides, roller coasters are judged against other coasters, etc., to create a relatively level playing field. Attractions are rated based upon how much their target audience will enjoy them. In our ratings, we only consider how well done the attraction is, overall and within its category, when experienced by its target demographic.

Top Tokyo DisneySea Attractions

Legend of Mythica (10/10) – Legend of Mythica is a daytime water spectacular in Mediterranean Harbor. Legend of Mythica features the dynamic of the human and mythical worlds, and how we now live in harmony after years of conflict. It features Disney characters, who are essentially shoe-horned into the show, but in a very workable way, representing the spirit of various aspects of life. They help bridge the gap between mythical and human worlds. English-speakers will have difficulty understanding the nuances of the plot, but this is not important, as Legend of Mythica is about pageantry. Legend of Mythica is jaw-droppingly impressive, and that’s because of the lavish fanfare, insane amount of detail, beautiful costumes, and high production value. While the primary show takes place on the water, there are stages in Mediterranean Harbor with performers–it’s best to view from one of these locations. Legend of Mythica has an insane number of performers (more than any other Disney show anywhere). Arrive no less than 30 minutes in advance to secure a spot for Legend of Mythica (45+ minutes recommended). Legend of Mythica is mostly in Japanese and is a headliner. Its last performance is September 7, 2014.

A Table is Waiting (7.5/10) – Performed in a small seaside venue next to the SS Columbia, A Table is Waiting is a comical show focusing on various types of cuisine from around the world. The music and costumes are great, and although there is some Japanese dialogue, most of what’s happening is conveyed in a visual manner that’s very easy to follow. The highlight is a bizarre scene (that might be the Japanese poking fun at the United States) in which various components of a hamburger assemble themselves into a hamburger by jumping on a bottle of ketchup. It’s a funny show even without understanding the dialogue. A Table is Waiting features Japanese dialogue and songs, and English songs.

Mystic Rhythms (10/10) – A live expressionist show featuring drummers, tribal music, acrobats, and other almost-surreal performance pieces. Think of it as Cirque du Soleil meets the jungle. The stage features pools and a waterfall, fire, and other effects in a lush jungle. Beautifully costumed performers portray spirits of the jungle and animals. The acrobats are impressive, especially as they fly out of the pools and splash water across the set. It is impossible to articulate the essence of this show via text, but there is no linear storyline. It’s entirely abstract and intended to embody the mystique of the jungle through beautiful performances. It succeeds in every regard, and is one of the most captivating shows we’ve ever seen in a Disney theme park. Kids may not fully appreciate the show, but they’re likely to be impressed by the animal performers and acrobats. Mystic Rhythms has some singing in it, but we don’t think it’s in English or Japanese. Language is wholly immaterial to this show.

Big Band Beat (10/10) – This 30-minute Broadway jazz revue featuring tap dancing, an orchestra, and other performers is housed in the Broadway Music Theatre, which harks back to classic theaters in New York City. The seating area is lavish, with nicely upholstered seats and a pretty stage. The show itself is fantastic, with incredible production value and incredibly talented performers. While most of Big Band Beat is traditional non-Disney jazz numbers, there are appearances by Disney characters. “Jazz Babies” is one highlight, performed by Minnie and Marie from the Aristocats, with Marie and Minnie dancing on a light-up staircase. Mickey Mouse also appears for an impressive finale. The show is our favorite stage show at any Disney theme park in the world. It’s popularity bears this out, as Tokyo DisneySea employs a kiosk-based lottery system for reserved seating (the first show is first-come, first-served). Try your luck at this lotto each day, as the success rate can be below 50% on especially busy days. Big Band Beat is entirely in English and is a headliner that should be experienced in mid-afternoon.

Fantasmic! (9.5/10) - Fantasmic! is a musical battle between the forces of good and evil set in Mickey’s dreams with stunning effects, including pyrotechnics, water, lasers, fire, and a huge dragon. It’s performed nightly in the Mediterranean Harbor lagoon. While each version of Fantasmic has commonalities with the others, this has less in common with the Walt Disney World and Disneyland shows than those do with one another. This seems largely due to the 360-degree nature of the show at Tokyo DisneySea. While very impressive technically, it seems like the storytelling component isn’t as powerful here as the Disneyland version. Do not skip this “clone,” even if you’ve seen both US versions. Here are our other tips for the best places to view Fantasmic, and tips for photographing it. Fantasmic’s dialogue is entirely in Japanese, with songs in English. The second show of Fantasmic is much less crowded, so do that if it’s an option.

Journey to the Center of the Earth (10/10) – A hybrid dark ride and thrill ride, Journey to the Center of the Earth is Tokyo DisneySea’s flagship attraction. Starting with the approach that goes inside Mount Prometheus, Journey to the Center of the Earth is incredible. Its queue is meticulously detailed, taking guests through a cavern strewn with office desks and lab materials where Nemo and his crew have been studying their excavations, before taking them on a terravator deep down beneath the surface of the earth. The attraction takes guests on excavators through several different areas deeper and deeper below the earth, from a forest of mushrooms with cute little creatures, to a sea with a special effect that will make you jump from your seat, and more. The climax is intense and spectacular. This is often cited as the best Disney attraction in the world. It is awesome, no doubt, but I don’t feel it’s the best–it’s just a tad too abrupt of an ending for me. Still, the queue is awesome, the special effects are great, the scenery is great, and the finale is very impressive, so what’s there not to love? We recommend going straight to Journey to the Center of the Earth when the park opens, getting a FastPass for it, and then immediately getting in line for it via the standby line (this obviously assumes you’ll want to do it twice). Journey to the Center of the Earth has minor dialogue in Japanese, but language is immaterial to understanding what’s going on.

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (9/10) – A sea rover based dark ride into the depths of the sea. Unlike the old Walt Disney World version, you never enter any water in this version–it’s all an illusion. Guests board a ride vehicle called Neptune with room for about 6 people and go through a suspended dark ride. This is a great attraction that is brilliantly executed and suspends disbelief. In typical Tokyo DisneySea fashion, the scenes and effects are pretty spectacular and detailed. You won’t be able to see it all on one–or even four–rides through. Guests can use lanterns to illuminate objects out the portholes make the experience engaging, and the various monsters and friendly creatures encountered along the way are cool. It’s a nice change of pace from the E-Ticket thrill rides. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is very popular, but it tends to be one of the last attractions to run out of FastPass. Either do it early in the morning after Journey to the Center of the Earth and Indiana Jones Adventure (skip if the posted wait is above 30 minutes) or wait until only it and StormRider have FastPass availability remaining and get a FastPass for it. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is in Japanese, but the important storytelling is all visual.

Venetian Gondolas (8.5/10) – Venetian gondolas captained by two charismatic gondoliers from the Palazzo Canals to the lagoon in Mediterranean Harbor and back. The scenery and the romanticism of gondolas is the big draw, but the gondoliers can be a highlight, too. They sing, and some will even interact with the boat in English if you make an effort to engage them. This attraction is most fun at or shortly after sunset, but lines are shortest first thing in the morning. Due to its low capacity and popularity, its lines can get long as the day goes on.

Fortress Explorations (10/10) – A Tom Sawyer Island-like play area featuring 10 very memorable exhibits. It is EPCOT Center caliber “edutainment,” that not only showcased some still-impressive technologies from centuries ago, but also the revolutionary thinkers who devised the devices. Kids (and even many adults!) will have fun exploring it and learning a thing or two. There is even a game you can play that includes a map, but that may require speaking Japanese (we have not tried to play it). Do Fortress Explorations whenever convenient, probably in mid-afternoon when lines are long for everything else. Signs are all in English.

Tower of Terror (10/10) -A free-fall thrill ride with an elaborate lead-in and excellent story. While Journey to the Center of the Earth is widely viewed as Tokyo DisneySea’s best attraction, we’d give Tower of Terror the nod over it. Unlike the US versions, this has no Twilight Zone tie-in. Instead, the New York City Preservation Society gives tours to the hotel previously owned by dubious explorer and collector of exotic artifacts, Harrison Hightower. The story centers on Hightower’s disappearance, which was supposedly caused by idol Shiriki Utundu. As great of a storytelling job as the Disney’s Hollywood Studios version does, we think the Tokyo DisneySea version does even better. The sheer number of artifacts, different pre-show rooms, and newspaper clippings means that you’ll need to experience this several times before seeing it all. This is one attraction where, we feel, it would have been nice to know Japanese, as that’s what the NYC Preservation Society guides speak in the pre-show. Newspaper clippings are in English and it’s still easy to understand what’s going on without speaking Japanese, but I’d love to know every little detail about this attraction…and there are so many details. Like the other versions, the thrilling fall is the least important part of Tower of Terror. Grab a FastPass for this after your Journey to the Center of the Earth FastPass (they run out quickly). 

DisneySea Electric Railway (8.5/10) – Relaxing and scenic elevated railway ride through the American Waterfront and a little bit of Port Discovery. The DisneySea Electric Railway is awesome in the same way that the TTA is awesome. This is the type of relaxing “ambiance” attraction I could envision myself riding over and over to do some sightseeing in the American Waterfront if I were a local with unlimited time. The views along the way are great, and you see parts of American Waterfront buildings you wouldn’t see otherwise. Do this whenever, the line should always be fairly short.

Sindbad’s Storybook Voyage (10/10) – Slow moving boat ride featuring vignettes of Sindbad the Sailor’s adventures, featuring a cast of over 100 Audio Animatronics. I’ve gushed a lot over Sindbad’s Storybook Voyage already, so I’ll keep this succinct. Sindbad’s is a nice, long ride with a catchy song, lovable characters, and rarely any waits. We both consider it our favorite attraction at Tokyo DisneySea, with Chandu the tiger being one of our all-time favorite theme park characters. Do this whenever. Sindbad’s is entirely in Japanese, but there are English “maps” of the ride available upon request (request one–they’re worth saving).

StormRider (8/10) – StormRider is a motion simulator ride. Its premise is that you’re being sent into the eye of a storm with a missile to blow the storm up. Sounds like a foolproof plan, right? The pre-show consists of a presentation by a Cast Member and a video. It is funny in a bizarre sort of way (it reminded me a bit of Dinosaur) and has English subtitles. Trying to read the subtitles and follow along with the Cast Member can be difficult, but all you really need to know is that you’re using a big weapon to somehow destroy a storm. We think it’s fairly implicit even from the beginning that the ride itself will feature the standard “…and something goes terribly wrong” plot device. The attraction itself is a simulator, much like the original Star Tours, but with a crazy amount of in-cabin effects. So many effects, in fact, that it’s hard to pay attention to where your vehicle is flying and what’s going on inside the cabin. This is not necessarily a bad thing, and the attraction is actually a ton of fun. StormRider is (unintentionally?) funny, and each time we’ve done it, we’ve gotten off laughing. I absolutely love it for the bizarre cheese-factor. Grab a FastPass for this in the late afternoon once everything else is out of FastPass.

Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Crystal Skull (10/10) – Hybrid thrill ride and dark ride aboard a transport vehicle through the Temple of the Crystal Skull (same ride system as Indiana Jones Adventure at Disneyland and Dinosaur at Animal Kingdom). People shrug off this attraction as being substantially the same as the Disneyland one, but we disagree. The premise and track layout, along with many effects are very similar, but there are differences throughout. There are also two effects that totally make the experience. Indiana Jones Adventure is one of two attractions at Tokyo DisneySea with a Single Rider line. We highly recommend using it (if your party can handle being in a foreign country in Asia, you’ll be fine splitting apart for like 5 minutes) as it will cut wait times significantly. During one of our visits, we waited 5 minutes in the Single Rider line when the normal queue had a 150 minute posted wait. If you are unwilling to use Single Rider, do this immediately after Journey to the Center of the Earth, first thing in the morning.

Mermaid Lagoon Theater (7/10) – Abstract puppet-based show based on the Little Mermaid. The puppets and presentation of the show are beautiful, but the pacing is poor, and the show literally just abruptly stops. The last day for the current version of this show is April 7, 2014.

Caravan Carousel (7/10) – Double decker carousel. Proving that just about anything is better in Tokyo DisneySea, this takes the classic Disney carousel and kicks it up a notch, with an ornate look, and a second level. One of my fondest Tokyo DisneySea memories is being on the second level of this during sunset on the last night of our first trip to Tokyo. For what it is, it’s pretty great. Do it at night and on the second level for the most enjoyable experience.

The Magic Lamp Theater (7.5/10) - 3D show (plus pre-show) featuring the Genie interacting with a Cast Member performer. It’s an enjoyable 3D film with good effects and nice, organic interactions with the Cast Member. This show is entirely in Japanese, but an English close captioned device is available for it. You’ll definitely want that. Do this whenever.

Toy Story Mania (7.5/10) - A 3D screen-based shooter game with Toy Story characters. This is the best version of Toy Story Mania, with a really cool queue and load area. It’s also the most popular version, with insane lines for FastPass first thing in the morning that make the old Disney’s Hollywood Studios race look tame. The attraction itself is a direct clone. If your time is limited, we highly recommend skipping Toy Story Mania. FastPasses are gone within an hour of park opening, and wait times regularly exceed 200 minutes. Focus your limited time on doing (and doing again) the unique Tokyo Disney Resort attractions. If you absolutely must do it, the only good options are: 1) get in line for the turnstiles at least 30 minutes (preferably an hour) before the park opens, run (RUN!) to it when the park opens, grab a FastPass, and then get in line for Tower of Terror; or 2) get in line about 45 minutes before the park closes, which will be right around the time they cut the line. Either way, make sure you check out this area at night.

Turtle Talk (9.5/10) - Kids interact with Crush from Finding Nemo in a screen-based attraction that mimics portholes out of the SS Columbia. Gains points for a much better presentation than the Epcot version (brilliantly integrated into the lower level of the SS Columbia), but loses points for being entirely in Japanese, meaning most English-speaking guests won’t get as much out of the experience.

The Rest

Aquatopia (6/10) – A self-guided water “car” ride that weaves around a path. Aquatopia uses the trackless ride system from Pooh’s Hunny Hunt and combines that with water, but there’s not really any substance to it. It’s mildly fun and pretty at night, but still nothing special.  You will probably be left with a “that’s it?” feeling from Aquatopia, but it’s still an enjoyable ride that’s often a walk-on at night. It’s fun, so do it. It’s just disappointing given the ride system utilized.

Blowfish Balloon Race (3.5/10) – Mermaid Lagoon is full of kiddie rides, none of which are anything special and should only be done by those with small children. This one is a mildly-exciting spinner in King Triton’s Castle with hanging baskets. Skip it.

Happiness on High (4/10) – Tokyo Disney Resort has a nightly fireworks show (for now) that goes off between the two parks and is visible in both of them. It’s short, and is canceled in even light winds. It’s also super short.

DisneySea Transit Steamer Line (7/10) – Relaxing, scenic boat ride with a couple of route options from Mediterranean Harbor to Lost River Delta or Cape Cod (round-trip). We recommend the latter. It’s a great way to slow down and see the park.

Jasmine’s Flying Carpets (6.5/10) – Spinner ride a la Dumbo. Offers great views of the Arabian Coast and has a great lighting package. Definitely something to consider doing at night if time allows and the line is short.

Jumpin’ Jellyfish (3/10)  - Slow-moving up and down jellyfish ‘towers’ in King Triton’s Castle. Waste of time.

Flounder’s Flying Fish Coaster (4/10) – Very short, unthemed kiddie coaster located outside in Mermaid Lagoon. Only do this if you have kids who can’t go on other Tokyo DisneySea attractions.

Scuttle’s Scooters (3/10) – Whirly kiddie ride that goes around on a circular track. Skip it.

The Whirlpool (3/10) – Same idea as the Mad Tea Party at Disneyland, without iconic status or any great views, located inside King Triton’s Castle. Don’t bother.

Raging Spirits (4/10) – This is the “intense” thrill ride at Tokyo DisneySea, which has a 360-degree loop. It draws long waits, is incredibly short, and locks you in so tight that the experience really has no sensation. Almost identical in layout to the Indiana Jones coaster in Disneyland Paris, and only slightly better. Theming is good, and the exterior looks really cool at night. Single Rider is available and recommended, but even it moves slowly. Unfortunately, the much better way to experience this attraction at night is by grabbing a beer and watching the mesmerizing for about 10 minutes. We’re not even kidding.

This leaves out roaming atmospheric performers like Kitchen Beat, seasonal entertainment like Mickey & Duffy’s Spring Voyage and Christmas Wishes, and character meet & greets, but it’s all of the significant, year-round attractions. If you have the time, try to do every attraction that isn’t one of the Mermaid Lagoon kiddie rides, as even the lesser attractions aren’t bad. If you have small children, you’ll probably even want to do the Mermaid Lagoon stuff!

To read our comprehensive thoughts on Tokyo Disney Resort (plus 500+ photos) including much more on Cape Cod/American Waterfront, check out our Tokyo Disney Resort Trip Report.

Your Thoughts…

This post is a work in progress as part of our Tokyo Disney Resort trip planning series, so what other questions do you have about Tokyo DisneySea? If you’ve been, which attractions are your favorites? Which ones do you skip? Do you agree or disagree with our ratings? If you haven’t visited Tokyo DisneySea yet, which attractions are you most excited about? Hearing from you is half the fun, so please share your questions and thoughts in the comments!

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24 Responses to “Best Tokyo DisneySea Attractions & Ride Guide”

  1. Jeff C says:

    Thanks for the reviews. Planning on heading out there to celebrate my 40th in a few years, and can’t wait! The more I see, the more I know it is definitely going to happen…

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Awesome! If you have any particular questions, let me know. I may not go into full detail in the comments, but we’re writing our trip planning guides based upon common questions people have asked us.

  2. Don Livingston says:

    Ok this place looks amazing. My wife and I are planning a trip late in the year. I’ll keep an eye on your trip posts to help with our planning. I’ve heard Tokyo Disney is insanely crowded all the time. What were the crowds like when you were there?

    • Tom Bricker says:

      We took our first trip during one of the slowest times of the year, and wait times were long, but crowds were manageable.

      We didn’t have as much scheduling latitude for our recent Christmas trip, and we went on two of the busiest days of the year (per our contacts there). Both parks were sold out on the weekend, and lines/crowds were insane. We still had a great time, as those parks manage crowds incredibly well, but I wouldn’t recommend what we did (the second time) to anyone going for their first time, or taking kids.

      I’ll have a “Tips for Avoiding Crowds” article in the next few weeks.

  3. Adrian Askland says:

    Thank you for these reviews. I am going there in 3 weeks and this helps alot. I was planning on doing everything, even the kiddie rides so I am glad you posted this today, thanks!

  4. Candice Cole says:

    We just got back from a 10 day stay at Tokyo Disneyland with the family. We spent 8 nights at the Tokyo Disneyland Hotel and 2 nights at the Mira Costa! Probably spent 3.5 days at Disney Sea. It was totally awesome and I completely agree with most of your scores. Sinbad was my favourite, 20,000 Leagues was my 7 year old son’s favourite, Journey to the Center of the Earth my 9 year old son’s favourite and Tower of Terror my husband’s favourite. Journey was absolutely incredible and we all had shaky legs afterwards! Big Band Beat I’d change to a 9, StormRider a 6.5 and Aquatopia an 8 (my kids loved it!). Legends of Mythica was the most amazing parade/show we’ve ever seen, we watched it three separate times, the floats were just so intricately decorated and the performance so spectacular!

    • Tom Bricker says:

      A bit of an aside–we’re starting to plan our next Tokyo Disney Resort trip–but which hotel did you prefer, Tokyo Disneyland Hotel or Hotel MiraCosta? We’ve seen rooms in the MiraCosta and have been in both hotels, and I’m leaning towards booking the MiraCosta for the duration of the trip, but am also considering a split stay. Any thoughts?

      Your scores seem fairly on the money, but I’m curious as to why your kids loved Aquatopia so much. Perhaps I’m missing something about it, and maybe it appeals to kids more than adults for some reason I’m not considering. I don’t want to be unfairly hard on it. Thanks!

      • Candice says:

        I’d definitely go for a split stay. We loved experiencing the different feel and ambience of both. Really added to the enjoyment and our affection for the different hotel themes and parks. It sort of made it like two awesome holidays in one. Even the little things, the different toiletries, the different bedding & lamps, etc. We did TDH then MC (paid for partial Harbour view, was great), then back to TDH (we were upgraded to full park view for free). The split stay just worked that way for us because of availability in MC & our travel dates. The hotels made it really easy, moved our bags so they were in our room waiting when we got back from the parks. They were running a competition for guests who chose split stays to win a free night.

        Not sure if you/your readers know, guests can only enter Disney Sea 20minutes early if you stay at Mira Costa (however you can enter Disneyland 15 minutes early if you stay at either hotel). Hotel guests queue really early for the hotel early entry lines, we saw people arriving three hours prior in low season. We queued about 60-80 minutes early and were happy with our position for the hilarious morning sprint. We also loved relaxing in the indoor pool at Mira Costa (it was January & freezing outside), such a special way to end the day.

        Our young boys, 7 & 9, loved Aquatopia because it seemed crazy & random to them. Each time we seemed to go on a slightly different route which excited them. They squealed with delight and laughed the entire ride. They seemed to think we were going to crash into the waterfalls. It appealed most to our 7 year old. We went on three times in a row because it had no queue, where as the day before (public holiday) it had been absolutely packed!

        A few extra points, (sorry if you already know this), we bought park hopper tickets (only available to hotel guests & we used them, but you probably don’t need them). We booked two character dining “shows” (available to book online in English one month prior if you book via Disney hotel website). These were way beyond any character dining we’ve ever experienced at Disneyland or DisneyWorld. We booked “Lilo’s Luau” and The “Diamond Horseshoe Round Up” (at Disneyland). The Diamond Horseshoe Round Up with Woody, Jessie and Bullseye and other great talent was an absolute must see! We couldn’t believe how good it was. Sort of like the ‘Legends of Mythica’ of character dining, if that makes sense.

      • Adam says:

        I just got back a week ago after staying at MiraCosta (Harbor view), and would happily stay there again.

        My original reservation was for the Disneyland Hotel, but when MC opened up I quickly switched.

        The early park entry wasn’t a big consideration since Toy Story Mania wasn’t high on my list. Instead it was being able to wake up and see the park, and most especially open the window and *hear* the Mediterranean Harbor soundtrack, that made me pick MC.

        FWIW I agree with your rating for Fortress Explorations. I easily spent a couple hours there roaming around. The Chamber of Planets was a stunning space, and hearing Leonardo at the beginning of the Leonardo Challenge announce, “Buon guorno, watashi wa Leonardo da Vinci!” was fun. This is an attraction that can captivate with beautiful theming and engages you for a while, different from a ride over in a few minutes.

        I spent 2 days at each park, and in the end wish I’d had one more day for DisneySea.

      • Tom Bricker says:

        Thanks for the thoughts on MiraCosta v. TDLH. Toy Story Mania doesn’t matter at all to us, so I’m thinking we’ll probably do the entire stay at MiraCosta. It’s such a tough decision, though!

  5. James says:

    Having been to Tokyo DisneySea several times before I think your ratings for the most part are spot on…

    The 9.5 seems a little high for Fantasmic based on this blog catering to US Disney theme park enthusiasts who would have seen the US versions of the same show. The technology is more advanced but it struggles because of the 360-degree nature of the show and viewing is restricted depending on where in the Park you happen to be standing or sitting. It also lacks the live performance scenes which the other two versions are loved for like Peter Pan and Captain Hook sword fight aboard the Sailing Ship Columbia.

    10/10 for Fortress Explorations is a high score for what is essentially a walk through Attraction. And I’m not really sure how it would be viewed by American visitors to the Park. Also I feel Raging Spirits deserved higher then a 4/10. I agree it’s not worth the long waits but it has some nice theming and the Japanese Guests seem to enjoy the Coaster. I would have gone with a 6/10 personally. But with these few exceptions you have marked it exactly how I would have done. Good work.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      I think you might be right on Fantasmic. I still think it’s better than the DHS version, but I do find myself missing some of the scenes in the Disneyland version. I don’t want to overuse the term, but I think Fantasmic is another TDS show that’s more about the pageantry than anything else. The vivid colors, the floats, etc., all make it seem like a surreal dream. Still, you’re right that it doesn’t feel as compelling as the Disneyland version. I’ll give some thought to bumping that score down to 9/10.

      As for Fortress Explorations, this is where the ‘scores relative to the experience and target audience’ bit comes in. As far as play areas go (which is ultimately what this is), I can’t think of how Fortress Explorations might be improved. For me, personally, it’s not a 10/10 (it’s still pretty high), but if I were a kid, I’d absolutely love this place. I’ve caught some flak because of low scores I’ve given to attractions for kids (I’m sure my scores for the junk in Mermaid Lagoon won’t help), but this is definitely one instance of a play area for kids done so well that I think it qualifies as a great attraction.

      I could see Raging Spirits being higher, but I’m going to leave it at 4/10.

      Thanks for the feedback on this–since so little is written about Tokyo DisneySea, it’s good for readers to have opinions from others who have been there to help balance out how Sarah and I feel about the place! :)

  6. Wendy says:

    I’d love to see an outline of your touring plan (I’m piecing one together based on these reviews) but knowing how you spend your days when you’re there would be useful. Did you do a lot of cutting across the parks? Did you try to bang out the large attractions early then go back and soak up the atmosphere later in the day once you had gotten that out of the way? Eating at off times? How many days do you recommend DisneySea (is 2.5 ok? with 1.5 for Tokyo Disneyland?)

  7. Kevin says:

    Nice list and nice photography! It is interesting to scan this list after seeing some of the other parks – it seems like a pretty full ride list.

    I look forward to reading the trip planning article. It’s not on the agenda in the near future, but someday we’ll get over to Japan.

  8. Will says:

    I think this list is pretty spot-on. I would like to re-emphasize to anyone going soon to make “Legend of Mythica” a priority- It’s by far the best theme park show I’ve ever seen, and I am having a hard time picturing how they could possibly top it.

    One recommendation I would make about the lotto shows is to double-check to make sure that the Lottery is being held that day. I didn’t think I’d be able to see the show, but for some reason they weren’t holding the lotto the day I was there, so I got to just walk in!

    Little Mermaid was technically impressive but hilarious! For those who haven’t seen it, it’s like this, only slightly exaggerated:
    “Wish I could be, Part of Your World…”
    “No, Ariel!”
    “You’re right, Sebastian!”

    • Tom Bricker says:

      I was really tired when we saw this, and for a second I thought I fell asleep without realizing it and missed part of the show. When it goes down for a redo, hopefully the pacing is substantially improved.

      Or, they could just drop the pretense of a plot and have it be abstract. It could work well that way, too.

    • Leandro says:

      I’ve never been to Disney World or US Disneyland before, and Tokyo Disneyland and Disneysea were the first Disney parks I’ve ever been. So I completely loved Mermaid Lagoon Theater. I thought it was very well done, and I actually prefer the “I shouldn’t have to change myself to be happy” idea than the “I have to change for the man I love”. Maybe people who are more used to watching Disney shows have a different view about it.

      I’m sad to see that there’s a Fantasmic show in Disneysea. I went to Tokyo Disney parks knowing nothing about them (or about any other Disney park), so I didn’t stay there until the evening. Now Fantasmic is one of the shows I’m most excited to see in Disney World when I go there, and I could already have seen it in Disneysea if I did a little research before going there.

  9. Duy Phan says:

    Your review is exactly the same with my experience haha. Really love it

    For the new fireworks, Happiness on High, it is good. Japanese uses larger and more quality shells than the States… The soundtrack is cute… but it seems like OLC wants to save money for the parks. It is cancelled all the time even there is no wind …thats the reason that makes this fireworks show is unique to me… Ive heen to the park hundred times… and I could catch the fireworks less than 10 times… so each time I could see it… i was like… tomorrow should be my lucky day….

    • Tom Bricker says:

      I’ve seen the launch site for the fireworks and, trust me, it’s not about saving money. If there is even a slight wind or any negative weather forecast, they cannot run the fireworks. We got luck and saw them three times in November, but before that we had not seen them at all.

      As for the fireworks being higher quality than the US fireworks, the bursts themselves might be, but the show is much shorter and not nearly as much of an “attraction.” I’m betting that’s why they’re moving to a Disney Dreams-style show. Tokyo Disney guests should love that!

      Thanks for the feedback! :)

  10. Ashley says:

    This was a wonderful post and I really enjoyed reading it. I love your recent attraction guides for all of the parks. Thank you so much for providing them! I will be traveling overseas this coming fall and I plan to visit Tokyo, Hong Kong, and Paris. I’ll be there for work so I’ll need to plan well in advance to maximize my time in the parks. Your posts will be crucial in helping me navigate the parks on a short timeframe, until I can visit again for a longer duration. I can’t wait to continue reading!

  11. Tin says:

    Just came back from Tokyo and used your post as our guide – thanks for this, it was very helpful to narrow down the must-trys. Only had 1 day for each park so we prioritized those you rated high. As always, 1 day is not enough. We weren’t able to go to Toy Story in USA so it was a pleasant surprise to go on it, all of us including kids enjoyed tremendously! Didn’t enjoy that much A Table Is Waiting or 20,000 Leagues, but had fun on Journey & watching Legend of Mythica. Our favorites were Fantasmic & Indiana Jones as well as Toy Story.

  12. BeeRose says:

    Great blog! You say the second showing of fantasmic at TDS is less crowded – what times is the first and second show?


  13. Jill says:

    Taking my family to Tokyo. I’d never really thought about Tokyo Disneyland and now I’m intrigued. I grew up going to Disneyland, been only one week at Disneyworld parks. I’ve been on one week Disney cruise and 4 days at Aulani. Here we go TOKYO!!! December 2014

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