I never thought I’d say this – but Tokyo DisneySea made me forget I was in Japan, and it was brilliant. Don’t get me wrong, Japan is fantastic, and Tokyo is a fun place to explore, but stepping into Tokyo DisneySea really feels like stepping into another world. Even getting there was something I enjoyed. Everything was Disney-fied! Mickey-shaped windows! Mickey-shaped hand hold thingies on the trains! Mickey everything! People were already excited they were off to a Disney-themed park, but it was so cool to see the kids on the train getting so worked up over the smallest Disney detail. I’m extremely fond of Disney but I’m not it’s biggest fan, so I figured I could scheduled in a day to spend there and it would be enough, but really, in hindsight I could have easily spent two.
The park is divided into different themed ‘ports’ that draw inspiration from Disney stories. There’s about seven of them and the place is huge, so it’s really well worth the time to do a quick search on what each area has to offer, and which ones you think you’ll want to visit more. Take note of places to eat, and places to rest, because a day of fun really does require a lot of energy. Personally, I did have a list going in but it was quickly forgotten, because THEME PARK. Who in their right mind can go in a theme park and stick to a list! Really!? No, but seriously, knowing where you might want to go will really help.
Prior to my visit to Tokyo DisneySea, I was warned to spare plenty of time for Mysterious Island where you can find a giant volcano that is the park’s most iconic feature. It’s smaller than the other ports, but it does have two of Tokyo DisneySea’s most popular attractions, the Journey to the Centre of the Earth and the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. You need to spare time because unlike the other rides where you can grab tickets, popular rides require you to actually join a queue! The queues might be long, but boy were they worth it. Both have super cool Victorian and steampunk-y vibes, and while Journey takes you under the earth, 20,000 Leagues takes you under water. It was just asdfghjkl. Seriously, I had so much fun, and I would have jumped back in the queue if it didn’t take an hour to get on the rides, ha!
Another part that I enjoyed was the Mermaid Lagoon which is pretty by day, and stunning at night. The twists and turns of its towers and the play on colours and lights at night really transported me to a place where I can almost see Ariel about to come around a corner with a fork, demanding to know what humans use it for, with Flounder trailing behind her and Sebastian grumbling with disapproval. It’s also one of my favourite places because it’s just this side of trippy. There’s a lot of indoor activities located in Mermaid Lagoon, and its interior is supposed to represent Ariel’s life under the sea. The colours and lighting and shapes are just… look at it! I enjoyed myself far too much giggling over everything.
The American Waterfront also deserves a mention, because it’s where the Tower of Terror is at, and boy was it a terror. I think you can still hear echoes of my scream there, and maybe remnants of my burst heart. There’s a really cool backstory on the Tower of Terror too, but my memories of it must have been disturbed when my brain got scrambled (in the best possible way) on the ride.
I picked Tokyo DisneySea over Disneyland because I’d already visited the one in Hong Kong, and the price was cheaper as I remember it. Also, I did a search for reviews and many people commented that the rides on Disneyland was milder and more suitable for kids, while Tokyo DisneySea had more thrilling rides. I loved Tokyo DisneySea a lot – like a lot, and I don’t regret visiting it one bit, but having experienced all the rides and seen everything, I wonder if it wouldn’t have been better to have just spent the cash and gone for both? I guess there’s always next time, and I know Atri is a Disney geek, so she’ll definitely want to go to both!
One of my favourite things about Tokyo DisneySea was just how organized everything was. I didn’t have to queue for everything as some rides I just picked up tickets and the tickets would tell me when my turn would be – oh, this isn’t applicable for all the rides though! As mentioned before, the really popular rides will require you to queue. Honestly though, going to a place like this, I already expected that there would be a lot of queueing involved. Although it did get a bit chilly after a while since I did visit on the tail-end of winter.
One thing I have to say, when you’re at Tokyo DisneySea, you might as well stay for as long as you can and wait till you get kicked out before you leave the place. Of course there are parades and shows you can enjoy at the end of the day, and by the end of it, the thrill of being there might have faded a little and you might stop noticing details along the way. But close your eyes for a few seconds and take a deep breath, because Tokyo DisneySea really is a special place, and breathing in the sheer joy of the place will make you believe in magic.