I have been going to Tokyo pretty much every year since 2014, yet I never made it to Tokyo Disneyland… until this year! I am kicking myself for not going earlier. Disneyland in California was fun, but Disneyland in Tokyo? 1000x better! They have super cute food and merchandise that you can only find exclusively in Tokyo Disneyland.
Obviously, since it’s such a magical place, it’s a popular choice for locals and tourists alike. You can’t avoid the crowd, but you can definitely optimize your trip by understanding how the park work and how to use FASTPASS efficiently.
First, let’s understand the basics of Tokyo Disneyland:
1. Pre-buy your Tokyo Disneyland Ticket online
You definitely don’t want to buy tickets on the spot. You’ll just waste time lining up! Pre-buy your tickets online using one of the following options:
- Buy through an authorized booking partner – If you are a tourist visiting Japan and flying into Narita or Haneda, you might find this option convenient. You can pick up the tickets at either airport before you head into the city. Keep in mind the ticket counter might not be open if you land at odd hours, but they were already open when I landed at 6 AM (despite stating they will be open at 7 AM)
- Buy through Official Disneyland Website – Works the same as option 1, but you’ll still have to print out the tickets yourself.
Do NOT lose your ticket once inside the park! You’ll still need the barcode to use Fast Pass later on.
2. Understand what FASTPASS (FP) is and how to use them
FASTPASS (FP) is a line-skipping system that comes by FREE with your Tokyo Disneyland ticket. FP allows you to book a 1-hour window to come back and go on an express lane at a later time. Some rides in Tokyo Disneyland are so popular that the wait time could reach to 90 minutes, so definitely make use of FASTPASS!
To use FP, first go to a ride that supports FP. You can see the FP issue time on the board in front of the ride. This means all the FP issued at the moment can only be used at the time window displayed. Keep in mind the FP time will only increase depending on how popular the FP demand is for that ride, so take this into account with your strategy. I will elaborate more on this later! Also, FPs DO run out towards the end of the day so make sure you’ve secured everything by approximately 4 PM, or you’ll have to wait in line.
Once you’ve decided it’s worth it to get FP for a ride, scan your ticket at the FP machine. It will issue only one FP per ticket, so you’ll have to scan for each of the tickets you hold.
3. How to check ride wait time, operating status and current FASTPASS (FP) Issue time
The official Tokyo Disneyland website claims to have all the ride wait time… but in my experience, it did not work when I was there! If you are an iOS user with access to the Japanese app store, you can download the Tokyo Disneyland iOS App, which could be a good way to check the timing.
Sadly none of the options above worked for me, thankfully I found this extremely helpful website by Disney Real that has the wait time and FP issue time. I used this website to check the timing and strategize our FP usage throughout the day. I’m happy to report they are pretty accurate. Bookmark this site! You’ll love them, trust me.
How to optimize your Tokyo Disneyland Trip
Okay! Now that you are well-versed in the FASTPASS system and how to check ride waiting times and FASTPASS issue time, let’s get on the tips on how to actually optimize your time in Tokyo Disneyland:
- Check the ride wait time and FASTPASS issue time – The first thing you should do when you get to the park is to get a map (or download it to your phone to save paper!) and check all the ride wait time – I’ve elaborated on how to do this above. Also, you should check operating status as some rides might be closed for maintenance, and check for the current FP Issue time. Then, begin strategizing!
- Best strategy for Tokyo Disneyland – Generally, you can keep repeating the following strategy: get FP for one of the popular rides with the latest FP issue time, and then queue for another popular ride with less than 60 minutes wait (or grab a meal if you’re hungry). Once you’re done with the ride (or meal), get another FP issued and queue for another ride with shortest wait time. Don’t worry if this sounds complicated – you’ll get the hang of it quickly.
- Popular rides in Tokyo Disneyland – The following rides are more popular than the rest, so you definitely should check for them first!
- Monsters, Inc. Ride & Go Seek
- Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters
- Space Mountain
- Splash Mountain
- Big Thunder Mountain
- Haunted Mansion
- Pooh’s Hunny Hunt
- Get Multiple FASTPASS – You can hold multiple FPs at a time in Tokyo Disneyland, but you can only hold one FP per ride. This means even if your FP for one ride is issued for 4:30-5:30 PM, you can issue another FP for a different ride before 4:30 PM! However, keep in mind there is a waiting time for when you can get your next FP.
- Waiting time between each FASTPASS issuance – Once you get your FP issued, look for the wait time until you can get the next FP for another attraction. Usually, the wait time is 60-90 minutes.
- When to utilize your FASTPASS – Just because your FP is issued at a certain window of time, doesn’t mean you have to go as soon as the window opens. For example, if your FP is issued for 11:35 – 12:35, then you have until 12:35 to use the FP privilege. You don’t have to go right at 11:35! This means you can potentially line up for another ride that finishes before the end of your FP time window.
- Check for special parades – I’m not sure if it’s because I went during Easter, but there were at least 3 parades on the day I went. And during these parades, the major streets in the park are closed, which makes it a bit hard to move around. So make sure to keep this in mind if you need to make an FP time!
What to eat in Tokyo Disneyland
Initially, I was worried about the food situation inside the park. What if all the food are expensive and not good? I was even thinking of packing some onigiri and snack because I didn’t want to go hungry. But once inside the park, I realized my fears were totally unfounded.
The food in Tokyo Disneyland kicks major ass in SO many ways – The reasonable price, the delicious taste, and the super creative concept! I really appreciate the folks at Tokyo Disneyland for making food such a delightful experience.
Here are my favorite eats in Tokyo Disneyland:
1. Three Green Alien Mochi (300 Yen)
This is seriously THE CUTEST! I squealed when I saw this in person. They are basically three mochis (rice cake) balls shaped like the little green men in Toy Story. The mochi each has different fillings – strawberry, chocolate, and custard. Such a genius concept! Fittingly, you can find this at the Pan Galactic Pizza food court in Tomorrowland.
2. Mickey Gloves Chicken Sandwich (600 yen a la carte / 900 yen with a set meal)
Yet another item I squealed when I saw it in person. On the menu, it’s a pretty average-sounding grilled chicken and scrambled eggs sandwich. The kicker? It’s served inside a Chinese bun that is perfectly shaped like Mickey Mouse’s gloves! You can buy this sandwich at Huey, Dewey and Louie’s Good Time Cafe in Toontown.
3. Mickey-shaped Churros (300 Yen)
The OG Disneyland in Los Angeles might have the most famous churros, but you can only find these Mickey-shaped ones in Tokyo Disneyland! I love the subtlety here. You can only see the mickey shape if you look at the churros from the top down. If I didn’t know about it, I might have missed it myself! You can find this all over the Tokyo Disneyland park. Just keep an eye out for the sweets stand – I got mine at Westernland.
4. Smoked Turkey Leg, a Disneyland Classic! (800 Yen)
This is a Disneyland classic, and definitely a must-have. I have been told the portion is not as massive as the ones in original Disneyland, but it was just right for me! You can find this at the Cowboy Cookhouse in Westernland.
The Cinderella Castle
Everyone must get a photo at the famous Cinderella Castle whenever they visit Disneyland, right? Having taken a million photos of it during my visit, I can definitely say the best time to take photos at the castle is right before sunset! Google the sunset time at the time of your visit, and make sure you are at the castle 30 minutes before the sunset time. This ensures a nice soft light which makes it all the more magical.
By the way, if the front of castle is under construction for whatever reason (like the day I visited), don’t worry! Try going around to the back – it’s just as beautiful too! The photo above was actually taken from the back of the castle.
Okay, that’s all I have on Tokyo Disneyland! If this guide helped you, please leave a comment below. I love reading your comments!