Overlooking Tokyo DisneySea and technically inside the theme park, Hotel MiraCosta is miles from your ordinary Disney resort, and as such, this review calls for a different kind of introduction. So…close your eyes. Actually, wait, if you do that, you can’t read this. Read this, then close your eyes and imagine this. Okay, go…
Imagine retiring to your well-appointed, in-park stateroom after an exhilarating morning of attractions. Following a brief rest to rejuvenate your senses, you awake and move to a cozy table by your window. You gaze into the eternal sea out before you that is being criss-crossed by small steamers and encircled by ports on each side, as the gentle strings of a harp and faint laughter of children below your window envelop you (listen).
As your eyes survey the ports, you see a slumbering volcano in one direction, an ocean liner off in the distance, a towering cosmopolitan hotel near it, and the picturesque facades of Portofino right outside. Without knowing, a smile stretches across your face as you begin to write a post card to your friends back on the mainland, sharing your incredible adventures.
The soft afternoon light comes through the window, kissing your face and giving you a feel of gentle warmth. The love of your life takes a seat next to you, quietly marveling at the incredible sights outside. You clink fizzling flutes of champagne, toasting to la dolce vita before sauntering downstairs to explore the ports by moonlight.
This is Hotel MiraCosta: Your Captain’s Stateroom in the Sea of Disney.
Okay, all of that is extremely corny and not the tip of heavy-handed marketing speak you’d expect to find in a purportedly unbiased review. It’s also the best way I can articulate the feeling Hotel MiraCosta gives you. This is the type of thing you’d read on the “features” page of a high-end hotel that self-describes as a “boutique hotel that is the essence of luxury and an oasis of sophistication.”
These hotels aren’t selling their individual components, they are selling a lifestyle, an experience. While I think Hotel MiraCosta falls short in some regards of luxury hotel standards, I also think it’s one of two Disney hotels (the other being Aulani) that can successfully sell an experience.
For those unfamiliar with it, Hotel MiraCosta is a luxury hotel at Tokyo Disney Resort in Tokyo DisneySea’s Mediterranean Harbor port. That’s right: in. The hotel is located inside Tokyo DisneySea. Themed to the Italian ports of Venice and Portofino, most rooms at Hotel MiraCosta offer views into the park. Rooms in Hotel MiraCosta start at $300/night (thanks to the presently strong $), and go up depending upon the view, season, and number of people in the room (see this rate chart).
Suffice to say, Hotel MiraCosta is not cheap. I’ll cover the rooms and everything else in turn, but I’ve probably covered the two most important things that will impact your decision to stay here: the experience, and the price. It is an a ‘bucket list’ type of experience, and I would encourage anyone with the resources to do at least one night here, but it’s not something so essential to the Tokyo DisneySea experience that you should wait to go until you can save up for a night here. If you’re trying to do Tokyo Disney Resort on a budget, there are great monorail loop hotels for a fraction of the price of Hotel MiraCosta.
We didn’t stay at Hotel MiraCosta until our third trip to Japan, and even then we could only stomach a couple of nights there by splitting the cost of the room with Omnibus Legend, Guy Selga and his wife, Jenn (here’s his trip report from Tokyo Disney Resort).
In terms of amenities, let’s discuss the view in real-world terms. There are views into three parts of the park (map): Tuscany (viewing the Aquasphere and hotel entrance), Venice (viewing the Venetian Gondolas), and Porto Paradiso (viewing the harbor and Mount Prometheus).
The Porto Paradiso view rooms are most expensive, followed by Venice, and then Tuscany. Since Porto Paradiso offers views of the volcano and harbor shows, it’s what everyone wants, but I think Venice would be a stunning and intimate view, too.
During our visit, Guy and I stayed up late listening to the Mediterranean Harbor BGM, watching workers do maintenance in the park after close, and even saw rehearsals for the Christmas show late at night (during the Halloween season). We also watched Fantasmic from the room, which was a pretty cool experience.
Views inside the hotel are stunning, too. The lobby is stunning, and the common areas are brimming with details. Even if you don’t stay at Hotel MiraCosta, make sure to go inside to check the place out.
My favorite detail is the ceiling of the rotunda. If you look closely, you’ll notice breathtaking paintings for each of the ports of Tokyo DisneySea…save for one ‘generic’ spot. It’s rumored this was originally going to be painted as ‘Glacier Bay’ an expansion port once slated for Tokyo DisneySea.
If you’re used to visiting Walt Disney World, you may be used to high rack rates, but discounts that make prices reasonable. Discounts on Tokyo Disney Resort hotels are unheard of, save for when there’s construction that might impact the guest experience. The 3 Tokyo hotels operate at 95%+ occupancy, with MiraCosta being the most popular, at 99%+.
It’s actually pretty difficult to book a room at Hotel MiraCosta, so you will want to book online as soon as your booking window opens. The Tokyo Disney Resort Online Reservation Center will accept reservations starting at 9:00 a.m. (JST) 6 months before your arrival day. For those of you living in the US, this is going to be the night before that morning (do the math for your time zone). You may have to change your computer clock to get the reservation system to work (we didn’t, but I’ve heard of this happening).
I was responsible for booking our hotels via the online system, and I tried to book the moment the window opened, and saw the inventory quickly disappear as I was in the process–and I was unable to book. Panicking, I called Tokyo, and the Cast Member confirmed to me that there was no availability. About 20 minutes later (as I sat there refreshing) a room became available and I booked. Be aware that during popular times of year, rooms can go this quickly. If you aren’t able to book right away, check back regularly for cancellations.
The great thing about the Online Reservation Center is that it also gives you the ability to book dining reservations. Save for the view and location, this is the best “amenity” of Hotel MiraCosta, as many of these restaurants book quickly, and during the busier seasons, you won’t be able to get same day priority seating. (It’s not a problem during lighter times of the year.) Take advantage of this by booking popular dinner shows such as the Polynesian Terrace and Mickey & Company at the Diamond Horseshoe (we did the latter and it was well worth the money–review to come).
In terms of dining in Hotel MiraCosta, there are a few options: BelleVista Lounge (bar), Oceano (buffet), and Silk Road Garden (fine dining). We’ve done BelleVista and Oceano, and found that you primarily pay for the view at BelleVista Lounge (so don’t if you already have a room with a view) and that Oceano is an excellent buffet, but was our least favorite buffet at Tokyo Disney Resort. (All of the buffets there are varying degrees of awesome, so this isn’t much of a knock.)
In terms of other amenities, there are some important things to know. First, each day of your stay (including check-in and check-out), you can access either park 15 minutes early; this is called the “Happy 15.” This may not seem significant, but oh, it is. This is especially true in Tokyo DisneySea, where it means the difference between doing and not doing Toy Story Mania without an insane wait. You receive vouchers for this (or in our case, you don’t and show your room keys and look like confused Americans, and they let you through) and access the park via a special line. This is seriously an invaluable perk.
Other benefits include complimentary monorail passes, special park hopper tickets hotel guests can purchase (we don’t recommend this), baggage storage on check-in and check-out days, and baggage transfer to and from the JR Station. There is also complimentary baggage transfer between the 3 Disney hotels, making a split stay (which we highly recommend) very easy. One thing that isn’t complimentary is use of the pool. It costs ~$25 per adult per day for access to the gym, pool, and spa. We did not do this, but friends of ours who did said the pool was gorgeous.
Here’s another random tip for those of you coming from the United States who might want something that says “Tokyo Disneyland/Sea” to commemorate your trip: while you oddly won’t find much merchandise like this in the park, the hotels each have logo merchandise with some beautiful designs–so make sure to hit up these gift shops.
Note that since our last stay at Hotel MiraCosta, a top to bottom refurbishment has occurred of all rooms, save for a couple of the suites. You can see photos of the refreshed rooms on the official Hotel MiraCosta site. We’d like to get back soon and ‘field test’ these new rooms, as they look airy and more modern, while retaining the classicism of the resort.
It’s not that there’s anything wrong with the old rooms, they are actually quite nice as they have vaulted ceilings, great finishing, plush carpet, and are incredibly well-maintained. They just could use a refresh from the circa-2001 look. And that’s exactly what they’re currently getting…
Since we were a party of 4, our room had 4 beds. One bed per person is a pretty standard practice (in our experience) in Japan. Here are beds 1-3.
…And bed 4.
Also per Japanese custom, there are separate rooms for the toilet, sink, and shower (left, middle, right, respectively). The bathrooms in Hotel MiraCosta are quite nice, with plenty of included souvenirs. Err…toiletries.
Typical Japanese toilet with navigation panel on the right side. Japanese toilets will change the way you think about going to the bathroom!
I think we’ll end the review on a high note with that…
Overall, that wraps up a fairly unconventional review here, but it’s really hard to articulate the impact of the experience of staying in a room inside a theme park, and having a view out into that park. Everything beyond that experience and the cost really is incidental. If you have the resources or want to splurge, you really can’t go wrong with Hotel MiraCosta. If you balk at the cost, it’s still a great hotel to explore, and it’s not like the on-site “official” hotels like the Tokyo Hilton Bay are slouches. It and Tokyo Disneyland Hotel are 1A and 1B in terms of the best Disney hotels in the world (by a wide margin over #3), and a night at Hotel MiraCosta is definitely an unforgettable experience. The rooms presently leave a little to be desired by luxury hotel standards, but even so, we highly recommend Hotel MiraCosta for everything else it offers.
If you’re thinking of visiting Japan for the first time and are overwhelmed with planning, definitely check out our Tokyo Disney Resort Planning Guide. It covers much more than the parks, from getting there to WiFi to currency and much, much more. For more photos and an idea of what we did day-by-day during our first visit, read our Tokyo Disney Resort Trip Report.
Does Hotel MiraCosta appeal to you? Have you stayed here? Want to stay here? If you have any other comments or questions about Hotel MiraCosta, post them below and I’ll try to answer!