In 2016, Tokyo DisneySea celebrated its 15th Anniversary. DisneySea is located right next to Tokyo Disneyland and in 2013, it was the third most visited theme park in the world. The 176-acre park was originally aimed to entertain adults, but they have expanded and added several attractions for children as well.
We mainly went because our nephew and niece, who live in Japan, really wanted to go when we were visiting for Thanksgiving. We knew it was going to be packed (we went on a Saturday), so we had to prepare for the big day.
Our sister bought a guide book to DisneySea that had all the ins-and-outs of the park. We're so glad she did some research because it saved us so much time. The longest line we stood in was 45 minutes, but keep in mind we utilized FastPass and only rode the kiddie rides which were shorter lines than the adult rides. Rides such as Tower of Terror had wait times of at least 90 minutes.
The park is super clean and we were especially impressed with all the attention to detail. There are 7 themed areas or "port-of-call": Mediterranean Harbor, American Waterfront, Port Discovery, Lost River Delta, Arabian Coast, Mermaid Lagoon, and Mysterious Island. Each area also has its own popcorn stands with different flavors such as honey or soy sauce. We stopped by the first popcorn stand we saw and bought a souvenir popcorn bucket that cost about $25. It's expensive, but the design is smart with a strap and lid so that you can easily take it with you on rides. Plus, it made our niece and nephew happy to have one of those, so you have to get it, right?
The first thing we did when we entered the park was get a FastPass and then line up to meet Minnie Mouse so that we could take a picture with her. The wait time was 45 minutes, which wasn't too bad since the average waiting time could be up to 2 hours to take a picture with her. Afterwards, we rode Jasmine's Flying Carpets and Sinbad's Storybook Voyage (similar to the It's a Small World ride). We also watched an entertaining magic show with Aladdin at the Magic Lamp Theater.
At around 11AM, we had an early lunch at Zambini Brothers Restorante. They had a great variety of meals to choose from that satisfied our whole family. They had an interesting signature side dish called the Pasta Crisp that was really addicting. We were so glad we ate lunch early because right when we got our food (which took about 30 minutes), the restaurant closed the doors as they were at max capacity. We looked outside and there was an extremely long line to get in. We're sure lunch would have taken at least 2 hours at that point. This was a great tip from the guide book our sister had.
After lunch, we went on our FastPass ride, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. This was a pretty fun ride for all of us. The remainder of the day, we went on rides within the Mermaid Lagoon, which is inside a seashell palace that is made to look like the Palace of King Triton of The Little Mermaid. All the rides are indoors and geared towards children. Some of the rides are fun for adults too, but most of them last only a couple of minutes and it's not that exciting. The architecture of the indoor theme park is impressive giving you the feeling that you're underwater. It's an amazing space for sure.
One of the unique things about DisneySea is that it has it's own incredibly popular mascot named Duffy the Bear. You will see die-hard fans dressed up as Duffy or cuddling their large Duffy the Bear stuffed animals with them. We thought it was strange to see adults carrying around a stuffed animal with them all-day, but it seems to be pretty normal.
Duffy the Bear also has two friends named ShellieMay and Gelatoni, which are super popular characters as well. The story of how they all became friends is pretty amusing. Our niece was so eager to get her hands on a Gelatoni stuffed animal that she wouldn't let him go once she got him. You can only get these characters at one shop called Aunt Peg's Village Store in DisneySea, so I'm sure the exclusivity has a lot do with it's popularity. We waited in line for about 15 minutes to enter the store and searched around for some souvenirs and stuffed animals in the tiny, crowded store. The price tag for the Gelatoni doll was about $40. Duffy the Bear was $50. Yup, that's Disney for you!
Towards the end of the day, we took the train around half of the park and rode on Aquatopia, which was a water ride that twirled you around in several directions. There are so many more rides at DisneySea, but we simply didn't have the time or energy to check out everything. We will be back again for sure, but will try to visit on a weekday so it will be less crowded.
* TIPS *
1. Avoid going on a weekend. It's best to go on a weekday when most people are at work or school.
2. Purchase your ticket in advance online. You will enter the park much quicker.
3. Bring water and snacks. You'll save money and avoid long lines at concessions stands.
4. Avoid eating at the cafes and restaurants at peak lunch and dinner times.
5. Utilize FastPass for your favorite (and popular) rides to avoid the long lines.
6. Download the Wait Time Check app. This will tell you in real time how long the lines are at each attraction.
7. Ask for help. There are several staff members throughout the park dedicated to help you.
ADDRESS: 1-13 Maihama, Urayasu, Chiba Prefecture 279-0031, Japan
*Note that Tokyo Disneysea is not actually located in Tokyo. It is in Chiba Prefecture. We suggest looking for hotels in Urayasu ,and not Tokyo, if you are looking for nearby accommodation.