Back in April we announced that TouringPlans will be spending a weekend in every Disney-operated destination on the planet. The powers that be (Ed. – your naiveté is adorable, please let Len keep thinking he’s in charge around here) have assigned me to a destination I have always dreamed about visiting. I can finally say “I’m going to Tokyo Disneyland!”
Tokyo Disneyland has always been a bit of a mythological and mysterious place to me. In the late 80s and early 90s (before I had the internet in my home) I would always see glimpses of it in the old Disney News Magazines. The pictures I saw of the park made it look similar, but different enough that it always held my curiosity. Tokyo Disneyland continued to stay on my mind in 2001 when Tokyo Disney Resort’s second gate opened, DisneySea. Every picture I’ve seen of DisneySea make the park look absolutely spectacular. Anyway, back to the Tokyo resort being mysterious to me. I think one of the most daunting tasks most people have when they think about visiting Tokyo Disneyland is that they don’t even know where to start with their planning. I know I was the same way. Hopefully this and future blog posts I write on this subject will help you plan a trip to Japan. That’s my goal.
I’m a native to Los Angeles, California, and have been visiting the original Disneyland since 1986. This will not only be my first time visiting Tokyo Disneyland, but also my first time traveling out of the country. My wife will be making the trip with me, and because it also her first time in Japan, we will take advantage of doing some non-Disney sightseeing in Tokyo and Osaka.
Before we started to book hotel rooms and airfare we needed to nail down the length of our stay and the exact travel dates. My wife and I both have fairly flexible work schedules and no kids to worry about. The only thing determining our length of stay is money. After making estimations on how much money we’ll need for the rest of the year (for things like mortgage, food, entertainment, etc.) at home, we got a rough idea of how much money we could actually afford to spend on this trip. We also made a short list of things we wanted to see, even though we knew we would have to cut most of them due to lack of time. In the end we determined we could stay eight nights in Japan. In the future I’m planning on writing a blog post going in depth on how to we budgeted our trip.
After much debating we decided on spending four full days in Tokyo Disney Resort, two days in Tokyo Disneyland and two days in DisneySea. Other plans include one day sightseeing in Tokyo and one day wondering around Osaka (including Osaka Castle). We are also spending a day visiting Universal Studios Japan (which is also in Osaka). I’m a huge fan of Back to the Future and unlike the American Universal parks, they still have Back to the Future: The Ride. As you can see our schedule will be jam packed.
At some point in our planning I found out that my good friends Tom and Sarah Bricker were also planning a Japan trip around the same time. I talked to Tom and we decided to meet up about halfway through our trip and make the rest of the journey together. We also realized that separately we wouldn’t be able to afford more than a single night in any of the official Tokyo Disney Resort hotels (Disneyland Hotel, MiraCosta, and Ambassador Hotel). We came to a decision to split the costs of a few nights in the Disney-branded hotels to be able to stay longer. Which brings me to my next point, lodging.
If you’ve ever been to or even thought about making the trip to Tokyo, you know that the Disney-branded hotels on property can be extremely expensive. A single night in either the Tokyo Disneyland Hotel or MiraCosta were well over $500 during my travel dates. Thankfully the non-Disney hotels on property are surprisingly affordable. For the first three nights of our trip we will be staying at Hilton Tokyo Bay, which is located inside the Tokyo Disney Resort. A huge benefit of this and other on-site, non-Disney hotels is that they all share a monorail station that takes you to the theme parks. They also have beautiful views of either the Pacific Ocean or the theme parks. All this came at a price averaging at $171 a night. We still wanted to at least experience the Tokyo Disney Resort hotels, so we will three stay nights the Disney-branded hotels.
What Else Am I Going to Write About
Like I said before, my goal is to help others plan trips to Japan. At some point I will be writing a post outlining how my wife and I budgeted our trip. But until then feel free to ask any questions below or email me: Guy at TouringPlans.com.
Other than budgeting I’ll be writing posts about my expectations of Tokyo Disneyland and touring Japan in general. Visiting Japan has always seemed to out of reach to me, so to finally be able to do it is still a bit unbelievable. I’ve heard stories and seen pictures from friends that have visited Tokyo Disneyland about how spectacular DisneySea is. I can’t wait to see it after all the planning and years of waiting.
I’ll also be writing a post or two when I’m there and then few follow-up posts comparing the Japanese parks to the American parks. Other than that I’d love to hear your experiences about traveling to Tokyo. Is there anything I must see in or out of the parks? Food is a major part of Tokyo Disney Resort and its locals, what do you recommend I eat when I’m out there. Leave comments in the section below along with any other requests or questions you may have.