Sebastian’s Calypso Kitchen is a Disney restaurant themed to The Little Mermaid, and is set under the sea with fish, seashells, and even a sleepy whale. It’s located inside King Triton’s Castle in the Mermaid Lagoon port at Tokyo DisneySea. This review features photos of the restaurant, a review of the food, and thoughts on the experience of eating Sebastian’s cooking.
Let’s start this by backing up and discussing Mermaid Lagoon as a whole, because I’m guessing a lot of people are unfamiliar with it. This is an interesting port at Tokyo DisneySea. Whenever I post a photo of it online, people rave about how cool King Triton’s Castle looks. While King Triton’s Castle does look awesome, Mermaid Lagoon might be the substantively weakest port in the park.
Yet, at the same time, Mermaid Lagoon is sort of brilliant. The area consists almost entirely of simple, family-friendly “flat” rides (think ‘a bug’s land’ at Disney California Adventure). In a perfect world, these wouldn’t exist in a Disney theme park. In reality, budgets are finite (and clearly no expense was spared with Tokyo DisneySea), and I’d rather impressive E-Tickets not have their budgets cut to plus lesser attractions. So, areas like this are necessary evils of sorts that round out the attraction slate and provide ample options for families with small children.
If such areas are going to be built–and they are going to be built–I think the best compromise is something like Mermaid Lagoon, which compartmentalizes these attractions into a single area rather than scattering them around the park. In addition to consolidating these attractions, King Triton’s Castle further conceals most of Mermaid Lagoon’s attractions indoors, in a faux under the sea environment that hides the flat rides from the rest of the park.
The exterior looks stunning and hides what’s inside, while the interior is effective as being set under the sea, and allows families a large play center that is hidden from the rest of the park. It’s a cool place to walk through even if you have no children, and it just sort of “works.” Not in a blow-you-away with ornate details sense like the rest of the park, but in a charming, whimsical sense like parts of Fantasyland.
With the table set, let’s turn to Sebastian’s Calypso Kitchen. This is one of the larger counter service restaurants in Tokyo DisneySea, and I would not be surprised if it’s one of the more popular dining spots. The theme here is an extension of the rest of King Triton’s Castle, and truthfully, it’s not nearly as elaborate as most of the restaurants at Tokyo DisneySea.
The underwater style and visual motifs work and establish a nice mood, but if I were to describe the restaurant in a word, it would be “cute.” That’s typically not the word I use to describe the pinnacle of Imagineering’s themed design. There’s certainly nothing wrong with Sebastian’s Calypso Kitchen in this regard, and I could see kids loving it, but beyond the cute and whimsical design flourishes, there’s no depth to the design. It’s fun and charming, and works for what it is.
On any given day, Tokyo DisneySea has fewer children than you will see at any Disney park anywhere, but you will see a lot of families here around lunchtime. The restaurant has never felt like a cacophonous hellscape a la Pinocchio Village Haus around high noon, but it does mean longer lines and potentially limited seating if you choose to dine here midday. In terms of the dining experience, much like eating in Toontown, Sebastian’s Calypso Kitchen is a restaurant of convenience for many guests whose kids get hungry while playing in King Triton’s Castle.
Fortunately, there’s actually some good food here! My absolute favorite menu option–and one of my favorite things in Tokyo DisneySea, period–is the seafood pizza. I know what you might be thinking…Sebastian cooking a seafood pizza? That’s a bit morbid. Well, my sources at “Google.com” have informed me that crabs eat “smaller crabs…worms, clams, mussels, snails and sea urchins.” So if you want to blame anyone for being savage, it’s those homicidal real-life crabs who eat their own. Disney is just being authentic! 😉
The seafood pizza is excellent, with much better quality than you’d expect of counter service seafood. As a general rule, Tokyo Disney Resort restaurants do seafood better than you’d expect, which extends beyond the parks to inexpensive restaurants in Japan, generally. The seafood is tender, flavorful, and lacks the ‘rubberiness’ that can plague dishes topped with seafood. It’s also one of the best value-for-money options at Tokyo DisneySea. It’s hearty enough to offer a filling meal for one person, and at ~$7 the price is right. This is the reason why Sebastian’s is a stop for us on every trip. (There’s also a sausage pizza for the same price.)
In reality, serving a seafood pizza is far from the most questionable decision Sebastian made with his kitchen’s menu. There’s also these little gems: dessert mousse cups that look like they were devised by Hannibal Lecter. It’s bad enough that Sebastian did this to sweet-hearted little Flounder, but to himself?! How does–okay, I’d better stop over-analyzing the restaurant before this review goes totally off the rails.
Aside from pizza, the other standby is the Scallop Cream Croquette Sandwich. This is more of a mixed bag. On the one hand, the breaded scallop patty is surprisingly good. On the other hand, it’s also quite small relative to the amount of breading, and there is usually an over-abundance of cream. At ~$5 for the sandwich by itself, it’s passable as a snack, but I wouldn’t consider this a filling meal. Even as a snack, if you like seafood, the pizza is a much better option.
Finally, there’s the downright ugly. As I mentioned in our Tokyo DisneySea 15th Anniversary post, I also tried the Pork and Egg Salad Sandwich, which is the current special set. I’m going to hope this is a Japanese “thing” that I just don’t get, or maybe an acquired taste? I’ve found most ostensibly bizarre foods at Tokyo Disney Resort end up being really pleasant surprises, so I guess this was a rare misfire. In any case, it’ll be gone soon enough.
Overall, unless you have kids or are a serious Little Mermaid fan, there’s a good chance Sebastian’s Calypso Kitchen isn’t going to be a must-do. We stop here once per trip solely to grab that seafood pizza as a snack, usually after our once per trip viewing of King Triton’s Concert. From that perspective, it’s a nice place to grab a quick bite, but I wouldn’t recommend going out of your way to dine here–or devoting one of your actual meals to Sebastian’s. If you do dine here, the other menu options are a bit of a mixed bag, but you can’t go wrong with that pizza.
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.
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Do you agree or disagree with our thoughts on Mermaid Lagoon? What do you think of the theme of this Little Mermaid restaurant? Have you tired the food here? Share any questions, tips, or additional thoughts you have in the comments!