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    Rules and Etiquette

Before visiting Japan, or any foreign country, it’s good to get informed on some of the rules, cultural differences, and types of etiquette to remember during your visit.

Tipping

Tipping after a meal, taxi ride, or any other service is not expected and should not be done. Tipping is simply not something that is practiced in Japan, including Tokyo Disney Resort. Any tips you try and give will usually be refused.

Greetings

In Japan you’ll frequently hear the following greetings: “ohayō gozaimasu” (pronounced oh-high-yoh, Go-zai-moss) which means “good morning,” and it used until around 11 AM. “konnichiwa” (pronounced ko-knee-chee-wa) which translates to “good afternoon.” When the evening rolls around, you’ll hear “konbanwa” (pronounced con-ban-wa), which means “good evening.” Japanese people probably won’t consider you rude if you don’t use the correct greeting, but it’s nice of you to put a little effort in to knowing these phrases.

Paying for Things

A common sight in shops and restaurants around Japan is a small dish located near the cash register. Instead of directly handing the employee your payment, the common practice with residents of Japan is to place the cash or credit/debit card in to the tray. The employee will then take the payment, and if necessary, hand any change back to you.

The “Language Barrier”

We’ll reiterate what we said on our Tokyo Disneyland Overview page: One of the questions we get the most from our readers is: "How English friendly is Tokyo Disneyland?" or "Is there an issue with the language barrier?" or "Will I enjoy the parks if I don't speak Japanese?" along with many other variations of the same question. In our many visits to Tokyo Disneyland for both pleasure and to research for this website, we have never experienced any issues with communicating with the resort staff. As to be expected in a country that is not your own, most Tokyo Disney cast members will not fluently speak your native language. But, most will know enough to help you with whatever you need. If a cast member can't understand what you are asking, they will do their best to find a colleague who can. If you find that you are having difficulty communicating with a cast member, be patient, don't raise your voice, show respect, and anything you are asking will be handled in a short amount of time. Also keep in mind most cast members at ticket booths, guest services, and the hotels will usually speak fluent English. Will you enjoy the rides and shows if you don't speak Japanese? Yes. Themed entertainment uses visual storytelling. While some rides and shows are in English, most are not, but they're still just as enjoyable visually. Is Pooh speaking a little Japanese on Pooh's Hunny Hunt going to ruin your enjoyment of the ride? No, it shouldn't.

Meal Substitutions

At Tokyo Disney Resort we’ve found that, as with most restaurants in Japan, what’s on the menu is what you get. Any substitutions you may request will be turned down, politely but firmly. This makes it especially difficult for vegetarians. However, some restaurants do have special menus available for those with various allergies.

Parade Viewing Etiquette

Tokyo Disneyland guests will often spend hours camping out for prime viewing spots for parades. You may often see mats placed on the ground used to claim spots. Some guests may leave these mats or even backpacks unattended. This is normal for Tokyo Disneyland visitors. During parades or shows, be sure to take off any hats or headbands (a Disney cast member will tell you to do this if you forget). Also, guests are required to sit while viewing Tokyo Disneyland parades. When taking pictures during a parade or show, try to keep the camera at eye level, as raising it above your head for extended periods of time will block the view of others.

Photography

Some rides and shows (such as Big Band Beat) have strict no photography rules. Cast members will promptly get in your face and ask that you put your camera or phone away. “No Flash Photography” may seem like a straightforward rule, but besides your camera’s flash function, they’re also saying that no camera or phone screens are allowed. Examples of attractions where this rule is in place are Pirates of the Caribbean and Country Bear Theater. If you would like to take pictures on a ride that has a no flash photography rule, remember to turn off the flash, and either turn off your screen, or use your hand to cover the light from the screen.

Camera Tripods and Selfie Sticks

Tripods and selfie sticks of any size are not allowed inside Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea.

Character Meet and Greet Rules

There are two types of character meet and greets at Tokyo Disney Resort: The first is free- roaming characters, meaning characters that walk around and do not meet inside of a structure or have a queue set up. Most free-roaming characters will be mobbed with people trying to get a picture or an autograph. Do not push others out of the way; be polite and patient, and eventually the character will greet you. The other type of character meet and greet is usually inside of a building themed to the land it is located in. These structured meet and greets will also have a queue and a posted wait time. Popular characters, such as Duffy, will often have waits that reach over an hour in length. A strictly enforced rule of the structured meet and greets is a limit of one picture per a party. That’s right, it means you can’t do multiple poses, and if you blink you’re screwed.

Chopsticks

Restaurants in Tokyo Disney Resort will be able to provide you with a spoon or fork if you’re not able to use chopsticks. But if you do use chopsticks, keep the following rules in mind. You should never pass food from one person’s chopsticks to another. In Japanese culture this is how bones are handled after cremation of a loved one. Also, do not stand chopsticks vertically in to food, or use chopsticks to point at another person.

Last updated by Guy Selga on November 16, 2018

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