1-Day Tokyo Disneyland Itinerary
Our 1-day Tokyo Disneyland touring plan covers our ideal day in the park with attractions ordered to minimize time in line and maximize efficiency. To that end, 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. (Updated March 5, 2023.)
In our Tokyo Disney Resort Trip Planning Guide we recommend 2 days at Tokyo Disneyland (TDL) if you have the time, as the park has a really impressive attraction slate (and often, long lines). Accordingly, you’ll have to skip some things if you only have one day at TDL. If you’re visiting Tokyo DisneySea, check out our 1-Day Tokyo DisneySea itinerary.
This Tokyo Disneyland touring plan has been updated following the reopening of Japan’s border to international tourists. Although the parks reopened a while ago and pent-up demand is through the roof, operations are still scaled back for some inexplicable reason. As such, this itinerary is very much tentative and subject to change. We hope to have another update this summer or whenever things get back to normal. With that major caveat out of the way, here’s our 2023 Tokyo Disneyland itinerary…
Tokyo Disneyland is basically “Bizarro Magic Kingdom” and this applies to attractions, too. If you only have a single day at TDL, your time is best spent doing original attractions that are unique to Tokyo Disneyland. Aside from Splash Mountain, any rides you’ve experienced at other Disney theme parks around the world are skippable. You can see the full attraction lineup in our Tokyo Disneyland Attraction Guide post.
This Tokyo Disneyland 1-Day Guide assumes you’re visiting during a weekday at a moderately-crowded time of year. 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. Read When to Visit Tokyo Disneyland in 2023 to prevent yourself from having these issues.
One final note before getting started is that you should consider staying at one of the Disney-branded hotels if your budget allows. See our Hotel Reviews & Rankings at Tokyo Disney Resort for comparisons and recommendations. Staying at the Disney hotels gives you the “Happy 15” perk, which is 15 minutes of early entry into the park.
Once you wake up from wherever it is that you are sleeping, eat breakfast, and then get started on your day…
Arrive Early – If you’re staying at the Tokyo Disneyland Hotel, plan to arrive at the Happy 15 entrance no less than 45 minutes before official park opening. If you’re staying at a non-Disney hotel, you will want to arrive even earlier than that because the regular turnstile lines will be even longer than the Happy 15 line.
On busy days, we try to arrive an hour before park opening (even if you get there that early, you’ll still find other people in front of you in line. If you’re eligible for Happy 15, your first destination is easy: Enchanted Tale of Beauty and the Beast. This is the blockbuster new trackless dark ride inside Beast’s Castle in Fantasyland that seats guests in gigantic tea cups that dance in rhythm to the music from Beauty and the Beast, while showcasing scenes depicting the story of the classic Disney animated film.
Enchanted Tale of Beauty and the Beast also sells Disney Premier Access, which is essentially a paid replacement for FastPass. If this Beauty and the Beast ride is incredibly important to you, consider buying that. (It’s also included via standby in this itinerary.)
Monsters & Pooh/Pan Dash – If you’re not eligible for Happy 15, you should save Enchanted Tale of Beauty and the Beast until later in the day. The vast majority of the early-arriving crowd heads there first, and you’ll be behind all of them. You’ll be wasting valuable time stuck in line behind thousands of other people while wait times are low elsewhere.
Consequently, our strategy for first thing in the morning is running to Monsters, Inc. Ride & Go Seek (use the shortcut through World Bazaar into Tomorrowland on the right) and doing that first. Alternatively, you can proceed directly to Pooh’s Hunny Hunt in Fantasyland and do that first. With that in mind, there are basically two options for starting the day:
Option 1 (Maximize Efficiency):
- Pooh’s Hunny Hunt
- Peter Pan’s Flight
- Splash Mountain
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
- Haunted Mansion
- Jungle Cruise
Option 2 (Minimize Backtracking):
- Monsters Inc. Ride & Go Seek
- Space Mountain
- Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters
- Cross through Cinderella Castle’s Central Plaza to Adventureland
- Pirates of the Caribbean
- Jungle Cruise
If you choose the first option, which is what we’d strongly recommend, you will keep bouncing around throughout the day. Tokyo Disneyland is not that large of a park, and if you can handle walking around Japan, you’re probably fine criss-crossing a theme park a few times in a day.
If you choose the second option, you’ll proceed with the lands in clockwise fashion, doing Westernland and Critter Country after finishing up Adventureland, ending the day in Fantasyland. This second approach is actually a surprisingly organic and efficient way to do Tokyo Disneyland (save for Big Thunder and Splash Mountain, which might have long lines when you arrive at those attractions).
Here are some additional notes, plus how to fill out the middle of your day, regardless of the first option you choose…
Splash Mountain Single Rider – Although Splash Mountain is similar to its US cousins, we still highly recommend doing it in Tokyo Disneyland. Critter Country at Tokyo Disneyland was built specifically for Splash Mountain, and the level of detail in this entire area–including in the queue and on the ride itself–is unparalleled.
The other reason we recommend doing it is because there’s a Single Rider line that is relatively unpopular, meaning you can wait about 5-10 minutes for this attraction, even when the posted wait time exceeds 2 hours.
Lunch at Grandma Sara’s – Did you know that Grandma Sara (who is actually an opossum that looks a little too young to be a grandma) has a kitchen in Tokyo Disneyland? Well, she does, and her kitchen is spectacular. This restaurant is inside Splash Mountain and is actually amazing.
The design is the main draw, with the food being pretty good, too. Go here for an early lunch, as this place gets busy at lunchtime. (“Rope dropping” Queen of Hearts Banquet Hall, mentioned below, might be a good alternative.)
Mickey’s Magical Music World Lottery – The popular new stage show in Fantasyland Forest Theatre, Mickey’s Magical Music World utilizes a free lottery system for seating. This is now accomplished via the Tokyo Disney Resort app rather than at a physical in-park location. We recommend picking an afternoon showtime for Mickey’s Magical Music World.
If you win, great. If you don’t, oh well. Mickey’s Magical Music World is good and worth seeing, but it’s not altogether dissimilar from any montage musical at other Disney parks or aboard Disney Cruise Line. It’s not in the same league as Big Band Beat at Tokyo DisneySea, which is an absolute must-see.
Afternoon Shows – When crowds are at their peak in the middle of the afternoon, consider watching one of the park’s less popular shows: Country Bear Jamboree and/or The Enchanted Tiki Room: Stitch Presents “Aloha E Komo Mai!”
The latter is a bit divisive (I like it), while the former is undeniably awesome. If you’re visiting between summer and Christmas, note that you’ll get a seasonal version of Country Bear Jamboree, which is basically like winning the lottery.
Daytime Parade – We really don’t have a ton of attraction recommendations, which may cause you to wonder why Tokyo Disneyland will take so much time: it’s the entertainment. There are (at least) 2 must-see parades, plus other shows and entertainment, all of which eats big chunks of the day.
Disney Harmony in Color! Parade is the new parade for Tokyo Disneyland’s 40th Anniversary. This will start on April 15, 2023 and likely run until April 14, 2028. As with its predecessor, Harmony in Color will likely be incredibly popular, so you’ll want to grab a spot ~45 minutes before parade time. Consult our Tokyo Disneyland Daytime Parade Viewing Tips for recommended locations. (That covers the current parade, but the advice will be the same.)
Dinner with the Queen – So I’m putting the next two items right next to one another, even though they probably won’t work out to be that way unless you’re a pig like we are. You either want to do an early dinner at Queen of Hearts Banquet Hall and snacking throughout the rest of the night, or snacking all afternoon and a late dinner.
Queen of Hearts Banquet Hall–based on Alice in Wonderland–is the most popular restaurant in Tokyo Disneyland, and its lines can be pretty long right around meal time. We’ve had the best luck going here right when it opens or 2-3 pm.
Strategic Snacking – There are some mega E-Ticket attractions at Tokyo Disneyland that you won’t find on any map, and these are the snacks. From the highly-touted popcorn to Tipo Torta (think churros, except actually awesome) to Toy Story Alien Mochi to Squeezers mango drinks to the seafood pizza at Captain Hook’s Galley to the pizza (and bizarrely-awesome show) at Pan Galactic Pizza Port, Tokyo Disneyland has some amazing snack options.
Read our Awesome Tokyo Disneyland Snacks post to get an idea of what other snacks you might want to try throughout the day. A possible alternative to all this snacking is eating at Crystal Palace, a buffet that includes some of the snacks found in the park. This is cost effective, but as Crystal Palace also exists at Walt Disney World, it’s sort of a boring pick.
Ambiance on the Rivers of America – Right around sunset, consider doing the Rivers of America Trifecta: Beaver Brothers Explorer Canoes, Western River Railroad, and Mark Twain Riverboat. The canoes are great with the late afternoon light in your face, Wester River Railroad is stunning at dusk, and by the time you get to the Mark Twain Riverboat, it should be dark.
Every truly patriotic person enjoys a good nighttime cruise aboard the Mark Twain. In fact, I believe Mark Twain said this about nighttime cruises on his namesake ship: “Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.” Sage words, Mr. Twain.
Night Parades & Shows – You’ll want to get good spots for both the seasonally-changing Cinderella Castle nighttime spectacular (currently nothing) and Dreamlights. Other guests will stake out spots early, but the good news here is that guests in the front “rows” are required to sit and there are no kids on shoulders (it’s prohibited–and enforced), so you’ll be able to see over other guests.
Because of this, you shouldn’t have an issue getting spots 30 minutes before showtime with good visibility. You could theoretically get one spot for both, but with the way they are usually spaced apart during the course of the night, I don’t recommend this.
Sometimes the Cinderella Castle show is being shown twice nightly. While the second show is far less crowded, it also interferes with the best time to do attractions with minimal waits. As such, we recommend seeing the first showing of whatever that might be, and doing attractions immediately after Dreamlights.
Fantasyland Favorites – As soon as Dreamlights passes, you will want to high tail it to the headliner rides you haven’t yet done. On a normal night at Tokyo Disneyland, you’ll have a little less than 2 hours left in the operating day after Dreamlights. Here are potential plans of attack:
- Monsters Inc. Ride & Go Seek
- Space Mountain
- Watch the Happy Ride with Baymax
- Enchanted Tale of Beauty and the Beast
- Ride the Happy Ride with Baymax (if time allows)
- Enchanted Tale of Beauty and the Beast or Pooh’s Hunny Hunt (if time allows)
- Enchanted Tale of Beauty and the Beast
- Pooh’s Hunny Hunt
- Watch or ride the Happy Ride with Baymax
- Enchanted Tale of Beauty and the Beast (if time allows)
Okay, let’s explain the pros/cons & problems of these approaches. First, it’s a race against the clock after Dreamlights ends to your next destination. If you’re not fast and you pick Enchanted Tale of Beauty and the Beast, you’re behind a ton of people with the exact same idea. Either of the Tomorrowland headliners are lower stakes and easier to ride with short lines.
Second, we’ve recently run into problems with Tokyo Disneyland cutting the line for Enchanted Tale of Beauty and the Beast before park closing. It used to be the case that you could get in line until the minute the parks closed. That’s still the case for most attractions, most of the time. But not always. So if Enchanted Tale of Beauty and the Beast is really important, you need to line up for it at least 60 minutes before park closing.
Third, we see little reason to actually ride the Happy Ride with Baymax. The fun of this is the energy of the audience, and that exists whether you’re riding or standing outside the attraction doing the little dance and wave routine. That part is a ton of fun, but the attraction itself is so-so at best, and a long wait for what it is. Don’t miss being part of the fun at the Happy Ride with Baymax…but that fun does not require riding it.
Finally, actually results will vary. Post-reopening, we have had success doing Enchanted Tale of Beauty and the Beast back-to-back-to-back, getting in line the final time less than 5 minutes after park closing, and never waiting more than 15 minutes for it (the final ride was a literal walk-on, with empty tea cups). The very next night, the line was cut ~30 minutes before park closing and the posted wait time was still 45 minutes.
Without question, Enchanted Tale of Beauty and the Beast is the most popular and inconsistent ride in the park, and this holds true even at the end of the night. You may get lucky riding it three consecutive times like we did, but based on subsequent nights at Tokyo Disneyland, it appears that was an outlier.
We have had far more predictable and consistent rules riding Pooh’s Hunny Hunt and other Fantasyland or Tomorrowland attractions at the end of the evening. Regardless of what you do last, take the long route out through Fantasyland Forest and towards Tomorrowland, where the dances lights on Space Mountain and the future is a desolate place.
Slow Stroll Through World Bazaar – World Bazaar closes roughly 30 minutes after park closing, but I would not plan on shopping during that hour. The stores are chaotic, with guests rushing to buy trinkets or cutely-boxed foods for friends and family who didn’t accompany them on the trip. Instead, slowly make your way out, noting the differences between World Bazaar and Main Street. Look at the windows, which honor Imagineers, Disney executives, and Oriental Land Company executives.
Some of these things are going to have to be cut depending upon how much time other things take, but if you’re able to do even half of the things on this 1-Day Tokyo Disneyland Plan, you have knocked out a good chunk of the park’s highlights. Regardless, you’ll have a great time if you follow this itinerary.
Planning a trip to Tokyo Disney Resort? For comprehensive advice, the best place to start is our Tokyo Disneyland & DisneySea Trip Planning Guide! For more specifics, our TDR Hotel Rankings & Reviews page covers accommodations. Our Restaurant Reviews detail where to dine & snack. To save money on tickets or determine which type to buy, read our Tips for Saving Money post. Our What to Pack for Disney post takes a unique look at clever items to take. Venturing elsewhere in Japan? Consult our Ultimate Guide to Kyoto, Japan and City Guide to Tokyo, Japan.
Have you done Enchanted Tale of Beauty and the Beast at Tokyo Disneyland? How long did you wait? What was your strategy for knocking out this and other headliner rides? What would you include in your ideal visit to Tokyo Disneyland? Does your day or strategy differ at all from what we’ve shared in this touring plan? If you haven’t visited Tokyo Disneyland yet, what do you plan on doing? Any questions? Share your questions and thoughts in the comments!
I have 1 free day in Tokyo. An I do half day in Disneyland?
Hi, thank you for sharing this. This is very helpful for my next trip to TDR.
I have plan to stay in Tokyo Disneyland hotel. Since it will be for 1 night, Would you recommend to stay before or after the park visit?
Note: I’m travelling with 5-year old kid.
Thanks a lot!
Angelia, I have some experience there that might be useful.
Whatever you do it needs to allow you to be in the line at least 30min before the park opens. An hour b4 would be ideal, although that makes a long day of it. So you don’t want to be travelling to the park (from another location a train-ride away) on your first day.
There are other hotels near the DL hotel. (Check a Google map for names) The hotels are happy to transfer your luggage between hotels (luggage transfers are one of Japan’s treasures!!)
What we did is stay in a nearby hotel the day before. Checked out early, had them transfer our luggage to DL Hotel, and got in line early. Then, after a massive DL day, we checked into the DL Hotel and relaxed. In fact, I think we had a break mid afternoon and went back in to the park late afternoon.
The next best option is to stay at DL the day before, and get ready to hit the queue early.
Hope that helps.
Thanks for including different alternatives and providing the reasoning for each!
(So far my aging has made me like my father. He can criss-cross back and forth across the parks, but standing perfectly still in lines could be problematic for his back.)
I also appreciate the international content, Tom! I get the US resorts are what the largest number of people are interested in but I love reading about the international parks and dream of being able to visit them all one day (or at least the ones outside of China, I’m a bit conflicted about going there currently). Thanks to this blog and Travel Caffeine we had an AMAZING trip to France last fall – my first ever. Japan and the Tokyo parks are next on the bucket list!
We’d love to do a Japan trip with the kids – a little overwhelming for us in terms of travel planning, especially since we’d like to make Disney part of a larger trip with the Studio Ghibli park, Kyoto, etc. Are there are any good travel planning services you’d recommend for Japan that focus primarily on Disney? Disney would be the main focus, so I’d like to use someone who has that as their main knowledge base!
Sorry, I don’t know of any travel agencies or agents that specialize in Tokyo Disney Resort. We’ve always booked everything ourselves.
There are definitely good agencies for Japan as a whole, but I’d hazard a guess that their Disney knowledge will be limited.
One tip for Mike– Disney Tokyo is on the main rail line and bus lines from Tokyo to Narita Airport, so you can hit Tokyo Disney on either way in or way out of country. I had a great time stopping at Tokyo Disney for 1.5 days on my way from Downtown Tokyo to Narita without a hassle in terms of transport. Since the hotels around Tokyo Disney are all great family hotels and guest service is top notch, I’d recommend if possible going to Tokyo Disney on the way OUT. It’d be like a vacation ending treat for your family after doing “other” Japan tourist stuff.
Thank you guys, that’s helpful. I think doing Disney at the end is a great plan – at that point, a little experience by that point navigating the language and cultural differences should make things easier. Navigating the parks themselves should be doable with Tom’s help – we’ve already had amazing trips to Disneyland and Disneyworld using this blog, so can’t imagine it’ll be any different for Tokyo! We can use a planner for the rest of the trip.
Definitely agree with doing TDR on the way in or out of Japan. We almost always do it at the beginning or end of our trips (sometimes both!).
There are pros & cons to both approaches. My pitch for doing TDR upon arrival: it’s a good way to ease into Japan if you’re overwhelmed by the culture/language barrier and jet lag works in your favor for rope drop (and assuming you stay on-site, you can take an easier midday break if needed).
We usually take the train from Narita to TDR, but I’d also recommend using the Airport Limo (it’s a bus) for your first time. It’s too easy to take the wrong/slow train and have a 2-hour commute.
OK, you might have convinced me with the jet lag rope drop, that’s a Disney power move! A lot of good info here, thank you guys.
Thank you, Tom. Really appreciate you updating this!
You’re welcome–hope the branching options make sense. Have a great trip!
Same – many thanks, Tom! We head to Tokyo around Easter and can’t wait to see the parks for the first time. We will sadly miss the April 15 switchover but hope being there a few days prior means fewer crowds. Fingers crossed!
I’d like to put a plug in here for MORE international park content. You personally inspired me to visit the Tokyo and Paris parks, and I’m still hoping one day to make it to Shanghai and Hong Kong. I appreciate everything you do.
Always appreciate hearing that, and the ‘vote’ or feedback for more international content. So long as it’s moderately popular, I’ll put more of an emphasis on it later this spring or summer. Hopefully with the borders reopening, more readers will be interested in international posts. We are also incredibly eager to get back to HKDL!
How well will this itinerary work early January, We will be spending 3 days at the parks Jan 4-7 , 2021? We are Disneyland APs but really enjoy doing the duplicate rides as well as (and especially) the unique ones.
A little confused on the shows – if we don’t win the lottery are they not viewable? I was assuming it acted like a show fastpass that gave you access to a preferred viewing location but after reading above, it sounds like you can’t see the show at all if you don’t win. Can you please clarify?
Appreciate the insights!
Can you please explain a little more about the “lottery” passes. I read you said to go to the Lottery Drawing location in Tomorrowland, but then what happens? Do you find out right then if you win? Can you put in for all the shows that are on the lottery system or just some? If only some, which to you recommend?
We will be traveling to Disneysea on June 8 and Disneyworld Tokyo on June 9, 2020.
Thanks so much, great post 🙂
I used this as a starting point and guide throughout my 1 day at Tokyo Disneyland and couldn’t be happier. I focused more on rides instead of shows but short wait times for classic rides, along with Disney characters speaking Japanese (I’m an anime fan so the language drew me in) and Christmas theme’s throughout was my inspiration to do so.
The mochi are now Star Wars themed only and Pooh’s Honey Hunt averaged a 60 minute wait time all day. It was well worth jumping on as my first ride and ending my day with it as well.
I highly recommend this guide as a starting point and altering as necessary along your day. Oh and snacking throughout the day definitely helps maximize your time on rides or at shows.
Thanks for sharing your experience, it definitely helped ensure I had a great time during my holiday.
Hello! I LOVE this blog! We are planning our first trip to Tokyo Disney! My husband is military and we are stationed in Okinawa, Japan, so we decided to make a trip to Mainland for Disney! However, we will be bringing our 6 month old son, and from what I understand they do not allow infants in laps like they do at Disney World in Florida. We are hoping to take advantage of rider switch options if our friends can make it with us, but if not do you know which rides at both Disneyland and Disney Sea have single rider line? If our friends can’t make it, that may be our only option to get on any rides
Greetings from Singapore! Just wanna tell you guys that this 1-day guide is simply ON-POINT for Tokyo Disneyland. I even made a vlog out of the entire experience, based on the tips I picked up from this site!
No Part 2 Mervin?
Thank you – I enjoyed both videos! Very helpful to see what the park looks like in action!