Cinderella’s Castle is the centrepiece of Tokyo Disneyland Credit: Colton Jones on Unsplash
Tokyo Disney Resort in Uruyasu, Chiba prefecture (yes, not exactly in Tokyo but an hour away from it!) is what many know as Tokyo Disneyland. The truth is, Disneyland is part of the greater Disney Resort along with its sibling park Tokyo DisneySea.
While Tokyo Disneyland has the name recall and the same classic touch its fellow Disney parks worldwide have, DisneySea is known for being one of its kind. Both are beloved by theme park goers all over the world.
If you’re reading this, you’re probably wondering what’s the difference between the two. We’re here to answer just that!
Here’s everything you need to know about Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea:
Why is Tokyo DisneySea famous?
Feel like you’re under the sea (get it?) with Ariel and friends at Mermaid Lagoon! Credit: @hisland.xokoyrx on Instagram
Tokyo DisneySea is a 176-acre theme park that opened in 2001. It makes up the Tokyo Disney Resort together with Disneyland. It incorporates a more nautical theme with seven theme zones or “Ports of Call” reminiscent of real harbors. It also overlooks Tokyo Bay —very on brand!
Parkgoers adore DisneySea for being the only one of its kind on the planet. You can get tickets to both Tokyo Disney Resort parks on Klook.
What is so special about Tokyo Disneyland?
Going to Disneyland’s Toontown feels like stepping into a cartoon! Credit: @nachos_lovegraph on Instagram
Tokyo Disneyland opened in April 1983 and was the first Disney park to go international and leave the borders of the United States. It’s also the first Disney park in Asia.
It spans a whopping 110 acres, featuring familiar themed zones such as Tomorrowland and Adventureland. If you’ve been to other Disney parks around the world, you’ll know the moment you step into Tokyo Disneyland that it also proudly exemplifies the Happiest Place on Earth vibe. It also features staple rides and attractions similar to or even replicas of their counterparts worldwide.
Hop on a carousel at Disneyland and don the signature Minnie ears with a red bow!
Tokyo Disneyland has seven themed zones, some of which are based on its global counterparts but with slight adjustments to suit the Japanese audience better.
You’ll encounter World Bazaar first, with it being the main entry corridor. This zone is reminiscent of 20th-century America, similar to Disney World Orlando’s Main Street theme. It’s also the park’s main shopping centre, so get your wallets ready for those Mickey and Minnie ears—and don’t forget the souvenirs!
Another themed zone is Fantasyland, which is the sibling to Disney World’s Magic Kingdom theme park. In fact, it has a near exact replica of Cinderella’s Castle in Florida! In Fantasyland, fairytales like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Peter Pan, and more come to life through dark rides and other attractions!
Adventureland is filled with thrills, having attractions set in the Jungles of Africa, Asia, South America, and other parts of the world. It also has a complementary New Orleans-themed area, with restaurants featuring the city’s cuisine.
Hop on the Western River Railroad and tour Adventureland!
Westernland is Tokyo Disneyland’s take on Frontierland, with “old West” themes. Its standout feature is Big Thunder Mountain, a mine train roller coaster, and Rivers of America, complete with Mark Twain riverboats. Like its counterparts worldwide, Tomorrowland is the futuristic part of Tokyo Disneyland. It’s home to rides like Space Mountain and the Star Wars-themed Star Tours, which adhere to its theme.
Toontown is Tokyo’s take on Mickey’s Toontown of other Disney parks, a small-scale recreation of Mickey Mouse’s universe. Last but not the least is the smallest of the bunch: Critter Country, home to the ride Splash Mountain.
While Disneyland has a castle as the centrepiece, DiseySea has an active volcano! Credit: @ichiivillaruz on Instagram
Tokyo DisneySea also has seven theme zones called “Ports of Call” and you’ve guessed, they’re all very nautical! Certain Ports of Call are reimagined famous harbors of the world (Italian port towns and American 20th-century harbors), while the others are based on works of fiction (such as Mermaid Lagoon and the Verne-based Mysterious Island).
Mysterious Island is a Jules Verne-inspired section that’s home to the iconic active volcano Mount Prometheus. This port is home to two of the most popular attractions in the park, both based on Verne’s novels. Mermaid Lagoon is the turf of Ariel and her friends. This port has rides and attractions catered more towards kids, such as Ariel’s Playground, which recreates The Little Mermaid’s sets.
The little ones will love playtime at Mermaid Lagoon! Credit: @yuki_hiilife on Instagram
Another fiction-based Post is Arabian Coast, which pulls themes from the Arabian Nights (think Aladdin and Sinbad!). While the characters there are fictional, much of the architecture is based on Arabian designs. Lost River Delta, on the other hand, is based on archaeological sites in Central America and features an Aztec Ruins where you’ll find the thrilling Indiana Jones ride.
Port Discovery is DisneySea’s Tomorrowland, as it’s a futuristic section with sci-fi-based attractions. Here you’ll find a fictional marine life institute and the boat ride Aquatopia.
Mediterranean Harbor is a romantic recreation of an Italian port city, complete with Venitian canals and gondolas. The Port is home to DisneySea Hotel MiraCosta, which makes it seem like an actual city within a theme park. Finally, American Waterfront is reminiscent of the harbors of 20th-century New York. Here you can hop on the steam liner SS Columbia for a tour of the park.
Itching for more unique experiences in Tokyo post-DisneySea? Check out our top picks of activities:
Rides and Attractions
Like Dumbo, you too can fly!
Much like its global counterparts, Disneylandrides make the magic of Disney films come to life. This includes Dumbo the Flying Elephant, a carousel-type ride perfect for the little ones. Another great ride for the kids is Monsters, Inc. Ride & Go Seek, an interactive dark ride that’s only available in Tokyo. You’re in on the action on this interactive game, as you can use your flashlight to find the funny monsters.
Get wet and wild and go on a ride on Splash Mountain!
Disneyland also offers thrill rides for older audiences, such as the global classic Space Mountain, an indoor coaster that will zip you through twists and turns at unbelievable speeds. Another adrenaline pumping signature Disney ride is Splash Mountain, a log flume ride with a 45-degree drop. Get ready to scream, as you’ll be going at 64km/h!
In this neck of the woods, the rides are mostly suited toward teens and adults. Most attractions also creatively explore the waters, from the gondola to submarine rides. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is a submarine ride based on Jules Verne’s work that explores the depths of the waters in search of lost city of Atlantis.
Explore the depths of Mount Prometheus on the ride Journey to the Center of the Earth!
Journey to the Center of the Earthis a thrilling ride on a subterranean vehicle that takes you within Mount Prometheus. For a more laidback time, theVenetian Gondolasare fun to ride with the whole family!
Tokyo DisneySea still offers rides for little ones, such asthe popular interactive indoor ride Toy Story Mania! It’s an entertaining mix of spinning vehicle rides and carnival/arcade games. Whirlpool in Mermaid Lagoonis a teacup ride reminiscent of the Beauty and the Beast Rides in other Disney Parks.
Spin around in teacups under the sea at Whirlpool!
What’s a Disney park without a spectacular character parade? Credit: @disneyumi_ on Instagram
If you want a taste of the classic Main Street character parade with Disney characters, then Disneyland is the park for you. Dreaming Up! is Tokyo’s take on the Festival of Fantasy, where Mickey and friends show up in magical floats.
Want to watch a spectacular Disney boat parade with Mickey and pals on floats that float on the water? Then DisneySea is for you! Catch the Time to Shine Greeting Parade and watch your favourite characters sail by.
The Verdict - Is Tokyo Disneyland or DisneySea better?
Whether you go to Disneyland or DisneySea, you’re guaranteed to have a magical time! Credit: @hinakko__75
So should I visit Tokyo Disneyland or DisneySea?
If you can, both Disney parks are definitely worth visiting, despite having different rides and attractions. But if you really had to pick one, go for your preference. For the classic Disney theme park experience, Disneyland is for you. DisneySea is the place to be for something different and geared more towards adults. Either way, you’ll have a spellbinding time!
You can get tickets to both Tokyo Disney Resort parks on Klook:
Written by: Rohana Monzon
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Insights, advice, suggestions, feedback and comments from experts
Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea are two popular theme parks located in Uruyasu, Chiba prefecture, Japan. Tokyo Disneyland opened in April 1983 and was the first Disney park to go international and leave the borders of the United States. It spans 110 acres and features familiar themed zones such as Tomorrowland and Adventureland. Tokyo DisneySea, on the other hand, opened in 2001 and is a 176-acre theme park that is part of the Tokyo Disney Resort along with Disneyland. It incorporates a more nautical theme with seven theme zones or "Ports of Call" reminiscent of real harbors. Tokyo DisneySea is known for being the only one of its kind on the planet, making it a unique and popular destination for theme park goers [].
Tokyo Disneyland has seven themed zones, some of which are based on its global counterparts but with slight adjustments to suit the Japanese audience better. The themed zones include:
- World Bazaar: This zone is reminiscent of 20th-century America and serves as the main entry corridor. It is also the park's main shopping center.
- Fantasyland: This zone features fairytales like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Peter Pan, and more, brought to life through dark rides and other attractions. It has a near-exact replica of Cinderella's Castle found in Florida's Magic Kingdom.
- Adventureland: Filled with thrills, Adventureland has attractions set in the Jungles of Africa, Asia, South America, and other parts of the world. It also features a New Orleans-themed area with restaurants offering the city's cuisine.
- Westernland: Tokyo Disneyland's take on Frontierland, Westernland features "old West" themes. Its standout feature is Big Thunder Mountain, a mine train roller coaster, and Rivers of America, complete with Mark Twain riverboats.
- Tomorrowland: The futuristic part of Tokyo Disneyland, Tomorrowland is home to rides like Space Mountain and the Star Wars-themed Star Tours.
- Toontown: Tokyo's version of Mickey's Toontown found in other Disney parks, it is a small-scale recreation of Mickey Mouse's universe.
- Critter Country: The smallest of the themed zones, Critter Country is home to the ride Splash Mountain [].
Tokyo DisneySea also has seven theme zones called "Ports of Call," each with its own unique theme. The themed zones include:
- Mysterious Island: Inspired by Jules Verne's works, this section is home to the iconic active volcano Mount Prometheus. It features two popular attractions based on Verne's novels.
- Mermaid Lagoon: This port is the turf of Ariel and her friends. It has rides and attractions catered more towards kids, such as Ariel's Playground, which recreates The Little Mermaid's sets.
- Arabian Coast: Pulling themes from the Arabian Nights, Arabian Coast features fictional characters like Aladdin and Sinbad. The architecture in this zone is based on Arabian designs.
- Lost River Delta: Based on archaeological sites in Central America, Lost River Delta features an Aztec Ruins area and the thrilling Indiana Jones ride.
- Port Discovery: Port Discovery is a futuristic section with sci-fi-based attractions. It includes a fictional marine life institute and the boat ride Aquatopia.
- Mediterranean Harbor: A romantic recreation of an Italian port city, Mediterranean Harbor features Venetian canals and gondolas. It is also home to DisneySea Hotel MiraCosta, which makes it seem like an actual city within a theme park.
- American Waterfront: Reminiscent of 20th-century New York harbors, American Waterfront allows visitors to hop on the steam liner SS Columbia for a tour of the park [].
Both Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea offer a variety of rides and attractions for visitors of all ages. Tokyo Disneyland features classic Disney rides and attractions, such as Dumbo the Flying Elephant and Space Mountain, while Tokyo DisneySea offers unique experiences like the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea submarine ride and Journey to the Center of the Earth. Each park also has its own parades featuring Disney characters, with Disneyland showcasing the classic Main Street character parade and DisneySea offering a boat parade called the Time to Shine Greeting Parade [].
In conclusion, whether you choose to visit Tokyo Disneyland or Tokyo DisneySea, you are guaranteed to have a magical time. Both parks offer a unique and enchanting experience, with Tokyo Disneyland providing the classic Disney theme park experience and DisneySea offering something different and geared more towards adults. If possible, visiting both parks would be ideal to fully enjoy the magic of the Tokyo Disney Resort [].