New lands, rides, restaurants, entertainment, and more is coming to Tokyo Disneyland in 2023 and 2024. If you’re debating dates for a Japan trip, here’s what’s next during the TDL 40th Anniversary celebration and beyond–construction info, expansion, opening dates, and more.
Before we get started, it’s worth noting that this post only covers new and changing things at Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea. If you want something comprehensive, consult our Tokyo Disneyland Vacation Planning Guide. That’s 6,000 words offering a crash course in the basics of trip prep, including everything from getting around to food to touring strategy and cities to visit in Japan beyond TDR.
The point of this post is to showcase what’s on the horizon, and help answer the question of whether you should visit Tokyo Disney Resort soon or wait. Most of you reading this are likely Disney fans based in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, or Europe who are on the fence about when to take your first trip to Japan. This should help make the decision easier…
As a threshold matter, you might be wondering whether you even can visit Japan, as the border is still closed to regular visitors who aren’t part of a tour group. The good news is that will change very soon: Japan Will Reopen to Individual Tourists in October 2022!
This was just officially announced today, and there still some unknowns. What is certain is that you’ll be able to visit for Tokyo Disneyland’s Christmas 2022 festivities, this year’s autumn leaves, or sakura season in 2023! We will be returning to Japan this November, and will have many more on-the-ground updates to share from our trip.
Japan’s reopening should factor into when you visit Tokyo Disney Resort. That’s beyond the scope of this post, but is covered in the commentary here–and is something we’ll address in our next When to Visit Tokyo Disneyland update.
With that out of the way, let’s cover what’s new and what’s next at Tokyo Disney Resort!
Toy Story Hotel – We’ll start outside our tour of what’s new at Tokyo Disney Resort outside the parks. Across from Bayside Station, nestled between the Hilton Tokyo Bay and Sheraton Grande Tokyo Bay is the Toy Story Hotel. As the name suggests, this brings to life the world of toys and shrinks guests down to become “honorary toys” to take part in the fun that Andy has assembled. In essence, this means a lot of larger-than-life play figures around the hotel.
Toy Story Hotel is a moderate monorail loop resort with 595 guest rooms–575 standard rooms and 20 superior rooms. The guest rooms are inspired by Andy’s bedroom, and there are a range of other fun toy-themed amenities at Toy Story Hotel. With that said, it’s definitely positioned below Hotel MiraCosta and Tokyo Disneyland Hotel, both of which remain the gold standard at Tokyo Disney Resort, and worldwide.
Tokyo Disneyland Expansion – Next up is the Tokyo Disneyland large scale expansion project, which was the blockbuster addition planned ahead of the Tokyo Summer Olympics. Just as that event didn’t happen as planned, so too did this expansion not have a big grand opening. Instead, it quietly debuted without any fanfare.
The is essentially Tokyo’s New Fantasyland…but all Beauty and the Beast! This area stretches from Belle’s Village to the secluded forest home to Beast’s Castle. In the village is La Taverne de Gaston restaurant and Village Shoppes line the street.
Belle’s Village – This trio of shops consists of La Belle Librairie, Little Town Traders and Bonjour Gifts. These stores feature many details from the film, including the rolling ladder to reach books on the high shelves and Belle’s favorite book. They’ll carry hand-made toys, candlesticks, dish-ware, books, dresses, and other clothing.
La Taverne de Gaston – This is a counter service restaurant, similar to Gaston’s Tavern in Magic Kingdom. The menu is different, with a bunch of meat-stuffed pastries (best of both worlds!) and a soft drink version of Gaston’s favorite brew.
LeFou’s & Le Petit Popper – Next door to the taverne is LeFou’s, which is a small snack shop window that serves apple-caramel churros, a new flavor for Tokyo Disneyland. Le Petit Popper is also in this area, and is a wagon in village where Belle lives that serves up fresh popcorn.
Enchanted Tale of Beauty and the Beast – Leaving the village behind, guests enter the forest and approach Beast’s Castle. Inside is the Enchanted Tale of Beauty and the Beast, the expansion’s flagship attraction.
This trackless dark ride features magical cups that “dance” in rhythm to the animated film’s music as they take guests through scenes depicting the story of Belle and the Beast.
Fantasyland Forest Theatre – Nestled in its own secluded setting straight out of a fairytale, this is the first indoor theater at Tokyo Disneyland. (It’s the indirect replacement for Showbase, which is between Space Mountain and Star Tours: the Adventures Continue.)
Both the exterior and interior design of this theater were inspired by the forest, with half-timbers, tree forms, and pillars featuring in the design. The theater is decorated with beautiful tapestries, candle-inspired chandeliers, and murals celebrating the forest and the woodland critters from Disney animation.
Mickey’s Magical Music World – I’m not sure why I’ve made this a separate entry, but Mickey’s Magical Music World is the Tokyo Disneyland original musical production inside Fantasyland Forest Theatre. The stage show features Mickey Mouse and friends in a spectacular performance of music and dance that makes full use of the theater’s large-scale stage sets and effects.
The conceit here is that Mickey Mouse and friends discover a music box deep in the forest. They turn the music box’s large golden key and doors suddenly open. That begins (what sounds like) a montage musical featuring a slew of different characters and songs from various movies, as they search for a “lost song.”
The Happy Ride with Baymax – Opposite the Fantasyland additions in Tomorrowland is the Happy Ride with Baymax, which is the world’s first rotating ride attraction themed to Big Hero 6 (released in Japan as Baymax). Hiro Hamada and his robotic personal healthcare companion Baymax developed this wild, musical ride that is sure to make everyone happy–which is the first step to healthiness.
As Hiro’s favorite up-tempo music plays, guests aboard vehicles pulled by Baymax’s nursebot friends can enjoy being whirled around in unexpected ways. A device on the attraction’s ceiling “scans” the guests with lights to measure their happiness while on the ride. This is a straightforward flat ride, but hopefully it’s a surprisingly delightful one that overachieves (a la Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree).
The Big Pop – Next door to the Happy Ride with Baymax in Tomorrowland is The Big Pop, a cosmic-themed shop specializing in popcorn. Hanging from the starry ceiling is a huge popcorn chandelier representing the “big bang” that created the universe. Large windows allow guests both inside and outside the shop to view the kitchen where the popcorn is being made and enjoy the aroma.
The Big Pop offers a variety of popcorn buckets that can be filled with a choice of three flavors of popcorn: Cookie & Cream, Caramel & Cheese, and Strawberry Milk.
Minnie’s Style Studio – For the first time at Tokyo Disneyland, guests can meet Minnie Mouse in her very own greeting facility. Minnie’s Style Studio is the aspect of the expansion located in Toontown, and although it’s only a meet & greet, it’s a plussed version.
As a world-renowned fashion designer, Minnie Mouse will greet guests while wearing her latest design, which will change each season. Decked out with a big, polka-dot bow, Minnie’s Style Studio is where she designs, creates and photographs her new fashions.
Soaring: Fantastic Flight – This hang-glider simulator ride offers a grandiose flight over some amazing locations around the globe. Soaring Fantastic Flight’s ride component is similar to Soarin’ in Walt Disney World and DCA, if you’re familiar with those. The video is identical, save for the finale.
The big difference here is the build-up to that: Soaring Fantastic Flight has an incredibly lavish queue and impressive new pre-show with its own unique storyline that makes a world of difference and has impressive effects. The video also has one scene swapped out, and a new finale that ends over Tokyo Disney Resort. It’s worth seeing even if you’ve experienced Soarin’ elsewhere.
Believe! Sea of Dreams – Debuting days after the start of the Christmas 2022 season is the new nighttime spectacular at Tokyo DisneySea. Believe! Sea of Dreams will officially open on November 11, 2022 and be performed once nightly in Mediterranean Harbor. This 30 minute long show is the permanent replacement for Fantasmic, and is a ~$70 million addition.
As the name suggests, this nighttime spectacular transforms Mediterranean Harbor into the Sea of Dreams—a place filled with “wishing stars.” Believe! Sea of Dreams features large boats gliding dynamically over the water’s surface, bright lasers and searchlights illuminating the night sky and projections on the walls of Hotel MiraCosta. The nighttime spectacular will feature dancers, plus characters such as Peter Pan, Wendy, Aladdin, Rapunzel, Miguel, Ariel, Moana, Elsa, and others.
Tokyo Disneyland’s 40th Anniversary – Dubbed the “Dream-Go-Round” celebration, Tokyo Disneyland’s 40th Anniversary event will start on April 15, 2023 and continue through March 31, 2024.
“Dream-Go-Round” represents the happy moments that countless guests have experienced throughout the years at Tokyo Disney Resort, “Where Dreams Come True.” During this commemorative year at Tokyo Disney Resort, the dreams of guests, Cast Members and characters come together to celebrate Tokyo Disneyland’s 40th Anniversary in grand fashion.
Disney Harmony in Color – Tokyo Disneyland’s 40th Anniversary new daytime parade will introduce a harmonious world of vibrant colors. This will replace Dreaming Up, which debuted for the 35th Anniversary.
Harmony in Color kicks off with Tinker Bell, followed by many other characters from popular Walt Disney Animation Studios films such as Zootopia, Moana, Wreck-It Ralph, Coco, and more appearing on colorful floats full of fun. In the finale, Mickey Mouse and his friends appear, inviting guests to a world of colors and harmony.
Fantasy Springs – Over at Tokyo DisneySea, the biggest construction project at any Disney theme park in the world is currently underway. This blockbuster expansion will bring big budget Frozen, Tangled, and Peter Pan attractions to the new Fantasy Springs port-of-call. In addition to the four rides, it’ll also offer a range of new restaurants and retail. (See Everything You Need to Know About Fantasy Springs at Tokyo DisneySea for all of the specifics.)
Fantasy Springs is likely to open during the second half of 2023, but it could debut anytime between April 1, 2023 and March 31, 2024 and technically meet its “fiscal 2023” target. Based on recent construction footage, it appears that tremendous progress has been made on this as it prepares to open in the next fiscal year.
Our expectation is that Fantasy Springs will not open in April through June. Opening in Summer 2023 at the earliest or during the holiday (Halloween or Christmas) season makes sense. Debuting in September 2023 for Tokyo DisneySea’s anniversary seems even more likely. These are just guesses at this point, though.
Tokyo DisneySea Luxury Hotel – The newest in-park hotel at Tokyo Disney Resort will overlook Fantasy Springs and is being touted by OLC as the finest accommodations, even nicer than Hotel MiraCosta.
The hotel is located directly behind Bayside Station, meaning it’ll have convenient access (by monorail) to Tokyo Disneyland in addition to the immediate access to Fantasy Springs. This unnamed luxury hotel is boutique-sized, with under 500 rooms, two restaurants, and a lounge. All other details are presently unknown.
New Space Mountain – Once the current phase of projects wraps up, Tokyo Disneyland will undertake a New Tomorrowland project that revolves around rebuilding Space Mountain.
That $437 million project has a big enough budget that has led to some speculation it’ll use the same ride system as Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind. This won’t start until 2024 and won’t open until around 2027, so you could potentially time your visit to experience all of the above, plus old Space Mountain.
If you’re planning a once in a lifetime trip to Japan, you might be tempted to wait until Fantasy Springs is finished before visiting. However, we’d recommend aiming for April 2023 if at all possible. Ideally, you’d hit sakura season in Japan at the start of the month before venturing to TDR ahead of Tokyo Disneyland’s 40th Anniversary celebration.
Yes, you’d miss Fantasy Springs with this approach, which doesn’t seem ideal. However, we don’t know anyone who has visited Japan or Tokyo Disney Resort once and called it quits. We took our “once in a lifetime” trip in 2013 and have visited every year since (except the last two, for obvious reasons) spending multiple months in Japan on several occasions. After you visit and are immediately hooked, you’ll understand why.
There’s also the matter of exchange rates. The yen is hovering around its weakest levels since 1998, with the Japanese currency falling about 25% year-to-date. The strength of the dollar means greater purchasing power when traveling abroad, and to Japan in particular.
Even if that weren’t the case, Tokyo Disney Resort doesn’t nickel and dime. Regular tickets are much more affordable ($55 to $65 for 1-day tickets), all seasonal entertainment is included in the price of normal admission, snacks are inexpensive, as is most merchandise. The only (very big) exception to this is Duffy & Friends–now that stuff is expensive. (We joke that Duffy subsidizes the rest of Tokyo Disney Resort, which may not be that far off!)
All of this will be a breath of fresh air for Walt Disney World fans who have become disillusioned with price increases, entertainment eliminated, and all the nickel & diming. A few years ago, we wrote “Want to Recapture the Disney Magic? Visit Japan.” That’s even more apt today than it was then.
Since then, Walt Disney World has made even more cuts, whereas TDR keeps adding. At Tokyo Disney Resort, you’ll enjoy multiple parades per day (including Dreamlights, Disney’s best night parade by far), seasonal celebrations are included with admission, and prices are less expensive and more fair.
If you’re a Walt Disney World fan who has become disenchanted with the Florida parks, there is no better way to recapture that lost magic than by visiting Tokyo Disney Resort. Seriously. The only downside is that it’ll forever change the way you view every other theme park.
As might be obvious, we are TDR diehards. They’re our favorite parks in the world, and we cannot wait to return. In that regard, you might consider us a bit biased.
To that point, we’d love to hear from those who have previously been to Japan in the comments for the sake of a diversity of opinions. Please offer your honest assessment of whether Tokyo Disney Resort is worth revisiting or is a one and done, when you’re planning on going back–if at all–and anything else you might want to share!
Most importantly, early 2023 is likely to be a lower time for tourism to Japan. While pent-up demand has resulted in booming domestic travel for the United States, the dynamic in Japan is different. International tourism is huge there–especially tour groups from China–and that will take longer to recover. Once it does, it’s hard to say just how busy it’ll get.
This is the big reason why we’re not recommending planners wait until late October through mid-November 2023, which would otherwise be our favorite time of year for visiting. There’s simply too much uncertainty that far into the future, and the possibility of heavy crowds as pent-up demand plays out on a very different timeline in Japan.
Moreover, Fantasy Springs will be massively popular when it debuts exacerbating whatever crowds exist throughout the rest of Japan. In short, you don’t want to delay visiting for years in search of the “perfect” time. Trust us, the most likely response to your first Japan trip will be, “why didn’t we do this sooner?!” and most definitely not “we should’ve waited longer.” We hear for the former all the time, but never the latter.
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.
Which additions coming to Tokyo Disney Resort in the coming years are you most excited to experience? Are you delaying your first visit to maximize seeing ‘new stuff’ or moving it forward to avoid the crowds? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback–even when you disagree with us–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!