Tokyo’s Disney Resort is home to two amazing amusement parks – Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea. Whether it’s seeing your favourite characters come to life or getting an adrenaline rush from the thrilling rides, you can be sure that you’ll have a magical time re-discovering the awes and wonders from your childhood in these two attractions.
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Despite having a similar name, the neighbouring parks offer a diametrically different experience from each other. As a huge Disney fan, I just had to visit both of them – and it was certainly worth every cent! Given the opportunity, I highly recommend visiting both for the whole Disney package in Tokyo. However, if you could only visit one of the two, which would you choose?
Both Disney parks have a plethora of exciting rides, each with its own trademarks. Generally, both amusement parks have a good mix of rides for all sorts of theme park-goers – the kids, the thrill-seekers, and everyone in between.
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One of the highlights of Tokyo Disneyland has to be the gold rush-themed roller coaster, Big Thunder Mountain. Similar to the attraction in Orlando, the mine train speeds through a small Western town, into caves and weaves dangerously close to the rocky pits. With all its sharp turns and sudden drops, it was probably the most exhilarating yet terrifying Disney ride I’ve taken!
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As for DisneySea, my favourite was definitely Toy Story Mania! The ride is notoriously known for its three hour long queues starting as early as the park’s opening! At first, I was questioning all the hype about the carnival-styled game, but every doubt was thrown away when it was my turn to be shrunken down to a toy in Andy’s world. A cart brought me through different stations where I was tasked to shoot the colourful animated targets. The concept may sound simple, but I hadn’t had that much fun in a theme park in a long while!
Personally, I felt that the rides at DisneySea were more adventurous and invigorating, as compared to the ones at Disneyland that focused more on creating the same fantasy reverie of the Disney films. Of course, there were exceptions, but overall, I enjoyed the rides at DisneySea more.
The stage shows of the two parks cannot be individually compared – they’re just a completely different experience altogether! What I can offer though, are my top picks for each park:
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For Disneyland, the history buff in me enjoyed One Man’s Dream II – The Magic Lives On as it charted the journey of Walt Disney’s imagination, performing key moments from his oeuvre of work, right from the very beginnings of the black-and-white Steamboat Willie cartoon. Another show worth watching is Minnie Oh! Minnie, and outdoor Latin dance concert. I didn’t manage to catch it (was too busy queuing for my second Big Thunder Mountain Ride) but it’s a well-raved performance and exclusive to Tokyo Disneyland!
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Most of DisneySea’s shows have, naturally, a nautical theme. I didn’t think much of it at first, I mean, just add some water stunts and ornaments, right? I WAS WRONG. King Triton’s Concert was a musical extravaganza complete with stunning details and astounding acrobats filling the theatre. I would liken it to a Little Mermaid version of the Festival of the Lion King in other Disney parks; it was a condensed version of the film with the same enchanting musical numbers. Even after the show ended, I was still humming “Under the Sea” and “Kiss the Girl” to myself as I explored the rest of the Mermaid Lagoon!
Parades and night shows
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In terms of their daytime parades, Tokyo Disneyland has its classic Happiness is Here parade commanding through the World Bazaar. If this is your first time visiting a Disney park, I highly recommend watching the extraordinary spectacle at least once. However, if you’ve seen it before, head over to DisneySea instead and watch Pirates Summer Battle “Get Wet!” for a splashing good time! With its water stunts and explosions underwater, it’s an interesting twist to the usual floats and parade choreography that Disneyland-goers are familiar with. Unfortunately, the show runs only till 31 August next month, so catch it before it closes!
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Comparing the night shows, I personally preferred Disneyland’s Electrical Parade Dreamlights over DisneySea’s Fantasmic! show over the Mediterranean Harbour. The former jazzed up the daytime parade, decking the streets with luminous LED lights, while the latter was a multimedia light show packed with fire, lasers, and fireworks.
But despite the two stellar performances, the Once Upon a Time fireworks in Disneyland wins the top spot in my books! The spectacular show transforms the castle into a storybook canvas projecting the best of Disney’s fairy tales alongside its iconic tunes. This night show alone gives Tokyo Disneyland the point for this section!
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How to make your day in Disneyland better? Munch on some popcorn! Japan’s Disney parks have special flavours inspired by its local cuisine. There are about eight popcorn flavours across both parks, but some are only available to either. For example, you’ll only be able to find cappuccino and white chocolate popcorn in DisneySea, and honey-flavoured popcorn in Disneyland. Depending on your taste, look out for the old-fashioned carnival pushcarts around the park for a mouthwatering snack! In my opinion, the two flavours that are a must-try are definitely curry – which is sold in both parks – and the soy sauce & butter-flavoured popcorn which is sold only in Disneyland!
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Duffy and ShellieMay are characters exclusive to DisneySea. Thus, if you want to meet these huggable sailor bears and their friend Gelatoni, you know where to go! DisneySea even has a dedicated show for them at the Cape Cod Cook-Off. Be warned, locals go crazy over Duffy and snatch up his merchandise at the gift stores!
The final verdict
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Overall, the atmosphere in Tokyo Disneyland is easily more true to the original parks in Orlando. It ticks off your standard Disney park “must-do” checklist – from character meet-and-greets and the iconic Cinderella Castle to classic attractions like Pooh’s Hunny Hunt and “it’s a small world”. There’s a lot to cover in one day, but I didn’t feel bombarded simply because each ride and show was just an incredible experience that was worth every second. On the other hand, being the only one in the world, DisneySea was a unique way to spice up my regular Disney experience.
All in all, it really depends on your personal preference for amusement parks! Whether you choose Tokyo Disneyland or Tokyo DisneySea, you’re guaranteed a magical time at the Happiest Place on Earth!
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Stephanie is an English literature and film student who has succumbed to the occupational hazard of over-analysing her favourite TV shows. She enjoys theatre and music, and dabbles with both by writing bad plays and experimenting with her band. Her current dream is to island hop the filming locations of all the seasons of Survivor.
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Insights, advice, suggestions, feedback and comments from experts
Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea are two popular amusement parks located in Tokyo, Japan. While they share a similar name, they offer distinct experiences to visitors. In this article, the author compares the rides, shows, parades, and unique features of both parks to determine which one is superior. Let's explore each concept in more detail.
Both Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea offer a variety of exciting rides for different types of theme park-goers. Tokyo Disneyland features the gold rush-themed roller coaster called Big Thunder Mountain, which takes visitors on a thrilling journey through a small Western town, caves, and rocky pits []. On the other hand, DisneySea offers the Toy Story Mania! ride, which is known for its long queues and interactive carnival-styled games [].
The author personally felt that the rides at DisneySea were more adventurous and invigorating compared to those at Disneyland, which focused more on creating a fantasy reverie of Disney films [].
The stage shows at Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea offer unique experiences. At Disneyland, the author recommends "One Man's Dream II - The Magic Lives On," which showcases key moments from Walt Disney's work, starting from the black-and-white Steamboat Willie cartoon []. Another show worth watching is "Minnie Oh! Minnie," an outdoor Latin dance concert exclusive to Tokyo Disneyland [].
At DisneySea, the author highlights "King Triton's Concert," a musical extravaganza with stunning details, acrobats, and enchanting musical numbers from "The Little Mermaid" [].
Parades and Night Shows:
During the daytime, Tokyo Disneyland features the classic "Happiness is Here" parade, while DisneySea offers the "Pirates Summer Battle 'Get Wet!'" parade, which includes water stunts and underwater explosions [].
In terms of night shows, the author preferred Disneyland's "Electrical Parade Dreamlights," which illuminates the streets with LED lights, and the "Once Upon a Time" fireworks show that transforms the castle into a storybook canvas []. DisneySea's night show, "Fantasmic!," is a multimedia light show with fire, lasers, and fireworks [].
Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea have their own unique features. One notable feature is the popcorn flavors inspired by local cuisine. Both parks offer various popcorn flavors, but some are exclusive to each park. For example, cappuccino and white chocolate popcorn are available only in DisneySea, while honey-flavored popcorn is exclusive to Disneyland [].
DisneySea is also home to exclusive characters like Duffy, ShellieMay, and Gelatoni, the huggable sailor bears. Visitors can meet them and enjoy a dedicated show at the Cape Cod Cook-Off [].
In conclusion, the author states that the atmosphere in Tokyo Disneyland is more true to the original Disney parks in Orlando, offering classic attractions and a wide range of experiences []. On the other hand, DisneySea provides a unique and refreshing twist to the Disney experience, with more adventurous rides and nautical-themed shows [].
Ultimately, the choice between Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea depends on personal preferences for amusement parks. Both parks guarantee a magical time at the Happiest Place on Earth [].
Note: The information provided in this response is based on the article mentioned in the user's question.