Best Tokyo DisneySea Attractions & Ride Guide
This guide to Tokyo DisneySea attractions contains short reviews and numerical scores for every ride and show in the park, plus FastPass recommendations. 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. Unlike Tokyo Disneyland, (see our Tokyo Disneyland Attraction Guide for more about that park), DisneySea is incredibly unique, and unlike any park you’ve ever experienced. (Last updated July 25, 2019.)
Tokyo DisneySea is Japan’s second gate to Tokyo Disneyland, with lands and attractions based on various ports of call, both real and imagined. When used in conjunction with our 1-Day Tokyo DisneySea Itinerary, you should have a strong plan of attack, which is very important at Tokyo DisneySea, as lines can be very long. These Tokyo DisneySea ride ratings include 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.
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 by adding attractions and characters based on Disney characters. Regardless of the recent change in direction, Tokyo DisneySea remains a decidedly adult park. 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, in order to experience a good amount of what the park has to offer, you should expect to spend two full days in Tokyo DisneySea. We have found that even two days still only gives you a taste of the park–we usually do 3 days, but we’re Disney obsessives. 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.
Top Tokyo DisneySea Attractions
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).
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 theater is beautiful and the show is fantastic, with incredible production value and talented performers. While most of Big Band Beat is traditional non-Disney jazz numbers, there are appearances by Disney characters.
Mickey Mouse also appears for an impressive finale. The show is our favorite stage show at any Disney theme park in the world. Its popularity bears this out, as Tokyo DisneySea employs a kiosk-based lottery system for reserved seating (the first show is first-come, first-served). Big Band Beat is entirely in English and is a headliner that should be experienced in mid-afternoon.
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 makeshift lab in a cavern 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 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. The climax is intense and spectacular.
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 (10/10) – 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. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is moderately 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 has 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.
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.
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. 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).
Soaring Fantastic Flight (9/10) — A popular hang-glider simulator ride that offers a grandiose flight over some amazing locations around the globe. The giant screen combined with the swinging gliders and an epic score creates a really believable experience, making Soaring Fantastic Flight an absolute must-do for anyone who meets the 40″ height requirement and isn’t terribly afraid of heights.
Soaring Fantastic Flight’s ride component is similar to Soarin’ in Walt Disney World, Disney California Adventure, and Shanghai Disneyland. The big difference here is the build-up to that: Soaring Fantastic Flight has an incredibly lavish queue and impressive new pre-show. 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.
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). The premise and track layout, along with many effects are very similar to the Disneyland version, 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.
Venetian Gondolas (9/10) – 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.
Fantasmic! (8.5/10) – 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 is 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.
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.
Toy Story Mania (8/10) – 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. 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.
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.
DisneySea Transit Steamer Line (8/10) – 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.
Hello, New York (8/10) – A somewhat kitschy stage show with Mickey Mouse and friends, plus human performers that celebrate what makes New York City a special place. This show leans into stereotypes about the city, but in a playful and loving way. The music isn’t performed live, but the songs are catchy and it’s a fun show to watch.
Turtle Talk (7.5/10) – 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.
King Triton’s Concert/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 new version of this show opened a couple of years ago, and is moderate improvement over the old version of the show, but feels like it took a tech-first approach in many segments, and feels disjointed as a result.
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 cool.
The Magic Lamp Theater (6.5/10) – 3D show (plus pre-show) featuring the Genie interacting with a Cast Member performer. It’s an enjoyable, albeit bizarre 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.
Song of Mirage (TBD/10) – The newest stage show at the Hangar Stage, this is show features Mickey Mouse and his Disney Friends going on an adventure to seek out the Rio Dorado (Spanish for “golden river”) and its legendary city of gold in a musical show that lasts 30 minutes. We’ve yet to see Song of Mirage, but the show promises beautiful visuals, projection screens, and live character performances. Expect the story to be entirely in Japanese.
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.
Nemo & Friends SeaRider (7/10) – The newest attraction at Tokyo DisneySea is already one of its most popular, with this simulator attraction in Port Discovery based upon Finding Nemo. It’s a cute attraction that follows Nemo and his friends around underwater, and there are some amusing effects, but it’s a pretty bland and predictable experience. Only a must-do for those with kids, or huge fans of Nemo.
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.
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. 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, seasonal entertainment, 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!
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.
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!
My take on Out of Shadowland: It’s like watching one of those anime shows about a girl with magical powers, without having any subtitles to understand what’s going on. If that’s not your cup of tea, skip it. Don’t wait more than a half hour to see in any case.
Also Fantasmic is very weather dependent so if they are showing it that night, be sure to see it!
Tom, once again, thanks for all the valuable insights and detail in your blog. We did the same thing as in Tokyo Disneyland and were standing at the gate without a strategy which was absolutely necessary there with the throngs of people there at opening time and I followed most of your recommendations for my game plan.
As per my other comment in your Best Tokyo Disneyland Attractions blog, my main message here is that if you have kids like me, to consider carefully what things they have liked in the past before following all your ride advice to the letter like I did. For example, once the gates opened, we rushed to Journey to the Center of the Earth (we rated it 8/10) and got a Fast Pass and immediately went to standby for the ride which was only 15 minutes wait at that time. Before doing the 2nd (FastPass) ride there, we went to Raging Spirits (10/10) got a Fast Pass for Indiana Jones (9/10) and then headed back to Mysterious Island and did Center of the Earth again and 20,000 Leagues (8/10). During this time, my kids began asking about Toy Story Mania and so checking with one of the resort staff at 10.30am, she said all the Fast Passes had already gone and wait times were already 110 minutes. My boys were so mad with me and asked why we had to do Center of the Earth twice and miss their favorite ride! We did the Toy Story ride in CA and we all absolutely loved it, the only complaint being it should have been longer. If I had taken the time to read further down your article and your comments about the Toy Story ride, I probably would have followed pone of your strategies and gone there first instead of to Center of the Earth which was busy but not as insane as American Waterfront.
Trying to make up for my mistake, I rushed off to Tower of Terror (at this point around 11am) and got four Fast Passes for the family. The time allotted was 5.20pm. Bear in mind, we went on a quiet day (a not so special Friday). Shortly after, all the Fast Passes had disappeared because the park shuts at 6.30pm. I redeemed myself slightly but still got it in the neck for 24 hours by my boys (age 9 and 14) for missing out on their favorite ride and we were not going to wait in line for 110 minutes in the freezing wind. On another note, because of the wind, one of the most anticipated events for my 14 year old boy was Fantasmic but it was cancelled due to the high winds.
Some of the other rides we did were Aquatopia (5/10), Jasmine’s Magic Carpet (4/10), Magic Lamp 3D (4/10), Caravan Carousel (2/10) and the Electric Railway (4/10). The standout ride was clearly Tower of Terror and Center of the Earth and 20,000 Leagues fun but not worth doing twice. At lunchtime, we felt like a break and went back to our hotel for a couple of hours as my kids preferred to use the swimming pool and table tennis table before checking out. We also had lunch there which I felt was a much more enjoyable bet than the standard over-priced, over-cooked bland fare you get at all Disney resorts.
On balance, we enjoyed DisneySea more than Disneyland, even my boys mentioning that Disneyland is for younger kids but I felt that we had only just scooped off the top of the cream cake when it came to spending a full day on rides and attractions at Disneyland whereas at DisneySea, we were getting a bit bored at the end of the day and felt that at 6pm, it was time to leave. Thanks again for the efforts in creating a useful blog. There’s not much out there so it is a good basis to work from.
Going to Disneysea in 2 weeks times, may I know will we get wet when playing the attractions in there? Need your reply asap. Thanks
Hi there! My family and i will be going to TokyoSea a week after next & thank God i found this blog so i can take notes. One embarrassing question though (this is only our 2nd Disney, w/ HK Disney as our 1st), how do i go about a Fast pass? How does this work and where can i get this? It seems everyone commenting here has availed of it and has made the trip easier. Also, what do i need to avail this and will we all (the whole family of 4 adults and 2 kids) be able to avail this all at once? Thank you!
What an amazing, in depth guide. My wife and i, along with 2 friends who happen to be travelling in Tokyo at the same time, all went to Disney Sea yesterday. I can truly say that the experience was an immensely positive one largely due to the content of this article.
We weren’t so concerned with making sure we extracted every minute of value out of the day, but with your advice we only lined up for about 45mins at TOT, with all other main rides using fast passes or single rider entry. Most amusing, was using single rider entry at the Indiana Jones ride, with all 3 of us ultimately being seated next to each other anyway… Very much felt like we were Disney VIPs.
The ‘your table is waiting show’ was great for what we saw of it. Unfortunately rain meant they had to cut it short, but seeing Mickey come out and shake his fist at the sky, then kick the ground and walk off pouting was an adorable alternative that I think made up for it.
Thanks again for an excellent article.
Thanks so much Tom for a fantastic blog.
Unfortunately we’d already planned our trip and purchased tickets for a Friday in August which turned out to be red on the calendar planning website . Needless to say the lines were crazy long with a 3 hour wait for journey to the centre of the earth by early morning.
We followed your advice about the tower of terror fast pass which we grabbed first, and then went to 20000 leagues under the sea which only had a 25 min wait.
Loved your tip about being a solo traveller for Indiana jones which worked really well, we went through almost as fast as those with fast passes. Teddy Roosevelt lounge was also a very pleasant surprise . We nearly gave up as we had to queue and wait even though there were vacant tables, but once inside the service, food and ambience were great. One of the best coffees I had in Japan!
I’d love to go again when the weather is cooler!
Thank you Tom Bricker for the awesome feedback of individual rides. It really helped me a lot to fix the priority for rides although I never miss anything and try everything. We entered in Disney sea exactly at 8AM and left after 10 Pm. This was my first Disney park visit. It was amazing as expected. It was tough to choose between Disney land and Disney sea but based on the reviews, we decided to go to Disney sea. It was completely worth it. Kind of new dream world. All the 7 lands; Mediterranean Harbor, American Waterfront, Port Discovery, Lost River Delta, Arabian Coast, Mermaid Lagoon, and Mysterious Island are unique. Big Band Beat , Indiana Jones and tower of terror are the things should be done more than once (if time permits). Venetian Gondolas are also perfect if you are going as a couple. The rating mentioned above are almost perfect. I will give to Magic Lamp Theater 4.5/10 as I couldn’t find anything interesting (may be because of Japanese language) and waited for an hour. I suggest if you take entry near 8 am, you can visit everything. This is the best way to make the beautiful memories for your life and make your day worth.
A good, productive alternative to the morning plan is lining up about an hour early and immediately grabbing a fast pass to Tower of Terror before going on Journey to the Center of the Earrh first. We were able to do all of that, go on 20,000 leagues under the sea, get a fast pass for Toy Story and use our first fast pass within the opening hour.
Do they have private tour guides at Tokyo Disney/Sea like they do in states to bypass long lines altogether for a crazy fee?
Our experience on May 25th, Tuesday was a pleasant surprise for us . We reached only 10mins before gates opening and had what felt like a few thousand people ahead of us.
We followed this blogs advice to skip Toy Story Mania and since we didn’t want to do Tower of Terror, I headed to Indian Jones for a fast pass while family joined Center of Earth Q. I got a 0855-0955 Fast Pass. With very small Q at Center of Earth, we finished it before 0830 and then went to 20K Leagues with 5 min wait just 5 min wait times. Then we used Fast pass for Indiana Jones so we had done the rides before 9am. Then we tried our luck with Toy story Fast Pass – for one for 1935-2035. So did this ride in the eve. Afternoon was spent taking my 6 year old for kiddie rides in Mermaid Lagoon and Arabian Coast. With Fast Pass cap opening up at 1530, took another one for Center of Earth. This had limit till 1720 and hence took another one for Indiana Jones. Thus we did Indiana Jones and Center of Earth the second time later in the eve and did Toy Story on the Fast Pass. All three were fun. 20K is a bit of a letdown.
Funnily enough, longest wait was 20mins for Bluefish Balloons. There was a 40min wait for Venetian Gondolas in the eve and hence went there as the last thing at 9pm. We also missed the lottery for Big Band Beat and had no seats when we reached 30mins ahead of 1pm show so queued 45mins ahead of 1430 show
Even fireworks were cancelled but there was some of it in the Fantasmic. Loved the Table is Waiting performance though it is a tad bit too long.
How exactly does the lottery work for seeing Big Band Beat? and when should this be done? After the morning rush of getting on rides ? or is that too late?
Basically, there are lottery stations (like the fast pass stations). First you select the show time that you want (there are a couple, maybe 3 or 4), then you scan your ticket (I believe the max number of tickets you can scan are 2 if you’re with someone), then you hope you get tickets. It’s hard to say when is the best time, it’s a random selection so I think it’s just about luck. Of course, keep in mind that they will run out of tickets. I would suggest going earlier rather than later. I just went to Disney Sea last December and the first show is “first-come-first-serve”, If you get there early and you’re willing to wait in line, I think you will for sure get to see the show! I hope you enjoy Disney Sea, it’s wonderful!!
I am very concerned about crowds, as we would like to go for vacation and to relax. Were originally planning for October till we saw the post about crowds. It is our first time ( to Tokyo Disney) and we are so ecstatic! Have always had Tokyo Disney as my number one option and it’s been a long time dream of mine:) we want to maximize our stay and are trying to plan as much as possible so we don’t get there and just stand and stare in a overwhelmed state.
What can we do regarding crowds? Is it ever near empty? How can I plan as much as possible? We do not need nor want weekend days. We also really can’t stand in line for hours because of my 6 year old sister. Please advise.
P.S. this site is amazing and has great information:) I only found it today, and it has given me so much info! It’s very overwhelming when planning your first trip, but thanks for helping with that as much as possible!!
I hope this helps. I go to Tokyo Disneyland and Disney Sea all the time (maybe I go too much lol). Here’s some information I’ve collected.
I’ve only ever been to Disney in Japan but I’ve heard from friends that Disney in the States is much more crowded than Tokyo Disney. So hopefully that eases your mind about the crowds here.
–Avoid going in August. It’s extremely hot, making the wait feel longer. A lot of people travel in August because school is out in August. So there will definitely be a lot more kids/teenagers/families.
–Avoid Sundays. People here work on Saturdays (usually) and Sunday is sometimes their only day off. Guaranteed, Disney will be more crowded on Sundays.
–Avoid Japanese holidays. Look up Japanese holidays. If it’s a day that people will be off, Disney will be as crowded as Sundays.
–Weekdays in general. BUT, Mondays are great!!! I rarely get the chance to go on a Monday that isn’t a holiday but it’s great!
BEFORE YOU GO:
–Buy your tickets in advance. You can buy tickets at convenience stores and at Disney stores. So, if you explore Tokyo a little bit, you should check out a Disney store (there’s a cool one in Shibuya) and get tickets in advance. You can also buy them online but you will need a printer.
–Look at the list of attractions and shows on the website (they have an English website, thankfully). Decide what “big” rides, rides that have “fast passes” you for sure want to ride. Just make a general plan of what you really really have to ride.
–Get there early. Double check the times, sometimes Disneyland opens at 8 and sometimes at 10. (I’ve made this mistake before :/)
–If you got there early, that’s great, when you walk in it’s going to be (gloriously) empty. But only for a little while. NOW, you want to hurry to your #1 ride and go get fast passes. Unfortunately you can only have fast passes for one ride at a time.
–Now that you’ve gotten fast passes for your must-ride ride. You can do one of two things. You can rush to your #2 must-ride and wait in a line that’s not so bad. Or you could hit up rides that you don’t want to wait in line for (the tea cups, the carousel). Those rides will have extremely short lines (if any at all) and they’re really short, making it really easy to cover those quickly.
–For the rest of the day get fast passes for the big rides (don’t wait in line for them). As you wait for your fast pass time, just walk around and explore, waiting times are posted so you can asses if the wait is worth it.
–Don’t worry about waiting time for the lower thrill rides. It’s really not so bad, especially compared to the big rides like Splash Mountain.
–Toward the end of the day it will clear out a bit, you’ll be able to go to any rides that you missed without waiting so long (especially if you don’t mind missing evening outdoor shows, a lot of people gather for those)
I’m so sorry this is so long. I really hope it helps and I hope you have a great time!!!
I believe the least crowded days are weekdays, Monday-Friday, with Friday busier than the first four. Also, do an Internet search for Japanese Holidays. If any of these fall on a weekday, Disney will be busy. Try and get your ticket before you arrive at the park. We were able to get our tickets at the hotel we were staying at, Sheraton Grande Tokyo Bay, so we were able to bypass the ticket lines in the morning. I believe you can also get tickets at the Disney Store in Tokyo. In Tokyo Disney Sea, the #1 ride with the longest lines is Toy Story. There’s even a line to get the Fast Passes. We didn’t ride it because it’s essentially a clone of the Disney’s California Adventure ride, which we’ve ridden many times. This freed up a lot of time to ride other rides. We were able to ride every ride we wanted to and with the use of Fast Passes and getting there fairly early, I think the longest we stood in line was half an hour. We didn’t ride any “kiddie” rides though. Hope that helps and have fun! It really is amazing!
Audrey – the biggest thing you will need to do is mentally prepare yourself for the crowds and general lack of personal space (compared to the U.S., “personal space” is just a cultural difference). The only times I have found comparable in the U.S. parks are holidays (think 4th of July or Thanksgiving/Christmas Day at Magic Kingdom). The “running of the bulls” to enter Tokyo DisneySea can be extremely challenging if you have never visited the resort because thousands of guests literally run (for approximately 45-60 minutes) after park opening to get fast passes and to get into line for Toy Story Mania or other popular attractions. It started my day off at DisneySea in a very bad way because, while I knew this was a possibility, I didn’t think for a minute that it would still be going on when I tried to enter the park 30 minutes after opening (which I did intentionally to try to avoid the rope drop crowd). I definitely agree with Tom about getting there early if you want to see all the attractions at DisneySea; however, if you do not like crowds, you are (in my opinion) much better off spending an extra day or two and forgoing the morning rush. I’m amazed the OLC allows it to happen because people must get hurt on a regular basis. Otherwise, I was totally fine with the crowds because everyone is so orderly and polite compared to the U.S. parks. And, the parks are incredibly designed and have some of the most immersive, amazing rides of any of the Disney Parks, so you will have a great time, but start preparing yourself for the rope drop crowds if you plan to start your day early!
Thanks for the great guide. We visited Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea the week before Thanksgiving last month. We purchased our tickets the night before at our hotel (Sheraton Grande Bay) so we wouldn’t have to wait in the ticket line. We got to DisneySea about an hour after opening (about a week into our Japan trip so were starting to wake up later each day) and went straight to Journey to grab fast passes. We got those, then over to 20,000 Leagues with no wait time. Long story short, we were able to get fast passes for every ride we wanted to go on and were done riding those rides plus other by 6pm or so. The only ride with a FP we didn’t get was Storm Rider but there was only a 10 minute wait or so. We didn’t see any shows but watched a bit of Fantasmic and it was quite the show, especially when compared to Disneyland’s version. We agree with all of your rating except for Raging Spirits. I didn’t ride it but my wife went on and she said it’s at least a 7 or 8. We had a great time, thanks for the very useful information!
I should have mentioned, we visited Tokyo DisneySea for one day, on a Thursday. We skipped Toy Story Mania and everything else regarding fast pass usage fell into place perfectly.
You have wonderful photos and great tips. I would like to ask if you use tripod and speedlite at night shoot or just boost your ISO at aperture priority mode?
Can Mickey & Minnie be found in Kimonos at DisneySea or is that just at Disneyland? Unfortunately we only have time for one park, so we have opted to visit DisneySea, and wanted to know if we would see Mickey and Minnie in Kimonos and if you could suggest where that would be inside the park. Thanks so much!
Thanks for the great post. I only saw it after my visit to the Tokyo DisneyLand and DisneySea. We (me and my sister’s family) only spent one day on each, and already I look forward to future visits there. I had never visited any other Disney theme park before.
In general I enjoyed the shows and ambience most. We visited Land on a Thursday (July 16, 2015) and Sea on a Friday (July 17). It was raining off and on both days, and very warm. The lines were not nearly as long as we expected. I don’t think we waited for longer than 20 minutes for anything. The rain was light most of the time, and it helped bring the temperature down a bit. At night it was quite comfortable.
It’s fun to see many Japanese (high school students in particular) there in groups wearing the same T-shirt or head decorations, which they bought from stores in the park first thing when they arrive . It’s probably a unique thing here. What do you think?
Yeah, a lot of Japanese guests dress in matching outfits. Some purchased outside of the parks, some purchased inside the parks on previous trips. It’s a lot like the phenomenon of “family vacation” homemade shirts in the US parks, except these outfits are not homemade or personalized.
I have some equilibrium problems. I can ride Test Track at WDW but most roller coasters are out (I feel big drops for hours after riding a coaster). Is Journey to the Center of the Earth something you think I can ride or is more like a coaster?
There’s a decent-sized drop in JTTCOE, but only one. Otherwise, it’s a tame dark ride. I don’t really know what to compare it to, but it’s far from intense.
We spent two days at Disney Sea earlier this week. I’m not a huge Disney person – that’s my husband – but I admit the place blew me away. School is still in session so crowds weren’t too bad, and the place is so visually stunning from every angle.
Journey was tremendous and really grew on me. After the first ride I agreed with you on Journey on the ending, but on subsequent rides the pacing for some reason felt perfect, and each time we rode it I appreciated something new about it. It was our kids favorite by far.
Everyone agreed we preferred the Tower of Terror here over the California version. The kids loved the storyline and made us do the ride several times.
We were staying at Miracosta so we went ahead and did Toy Story, and were able to do later with FastPass. We loved the design as you enter the ride. The Miracosta is awfully expensive for what you get but we did enjoy watching Fantasmic from our room.
Sinbad for us was more like a 6, though my son liked Chandu.
The food was tolerable to even good, it was so clean. Best theme park I’ve ever been to.
Thanks for the article. Yesterday we visited Disney See. I really liked the amusement of Indiana Jones, we ride on it for 3 times out of turn as a single visitor, I recommend to take advantage of this opportunity. The first time we even got into one car and sat together.
Just as a single visitor, you can visit Raging Spirits, I really liked this attraction.
Gondolas in the park work only with at certain times. We came to the amusement at 15:00, but amusement had already been filled, the employee said to come at 17:00, when we arrived at 17:30, amusement again does not work, there were no more seats. We were able to got on the gondola at 21:00, for it is better to take place at 20:30.
Since April 2015 show Mystic Rhythms closed. T__T
The last show Fantasmic exciting.10/10
The cheapest and a good restaurant for me is Zambini Brothers. Very tasty pizza, just 650 yen.
Just wow! You took amazing photos of this attraction! We were there last October but I will remember this place as to how your photos describes it.