Travel to Tokyo (with kids): Research on Tokyo Disneyland

I have a confession!

I’m an amusement park junkie and when it comes to going to theme parks, I simply would just take the guide upon entering the park and then mentally marked out which are the rides and attractions I want to visit (usually roller-coaster and simulation rides) and dive straight into. Back then there was no kid yet, so I could flit from attraction to attraction with ease. No problems on skipping meals and eating on-the-go just to queue for rides or get the adrenaline rush from those sky-dropping rides.

I didn’t quite think this day would come. Me actually doing research on how to maximise our time at theme parks. But with a 2+ year old toddler in tow, I guess this step is necessary in order to fully immerse and to allow the little one enjoy the experience without stressing the parents.

I guess we learned it the hard way earlier this year when we headed to Disneyland with the Little Bow Family. Starry-eyed, we thought we could conquer it all, as in take all those rides! The girls will have a smashing good time and we could stay the entire day taking ride after ride. We were proven wrong as we headed to Disneyland on a public holiday so virtually the entire world was there! We didn’t check out the rides nor the restaurants there so we ended up feeling a little lost in the park. It was still fun nonetheless and I don’t think the girls even knew the difference but lesson learned!

I guess I was inspired after Mama Janice shared her Japan itinerary with us and I was floored by the amount of prep-work that goes into it. So since I do have some time before we head up there. Turns out we are going to be there on another Public Holiday, so massive crowds will be expected! I hope this list will come in handy in narrowing down the rides that Bubba can take and the things that we can do given the limited time that we are there.

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list of attractions suitable for kids under 3
in tokyo disneyland

There are a total of 28 rides out of the 40 rides that children under 3 can take accompanied by either their parents or grandparents.  So I decided to list them down here so that it’s easy to narrow down the section that you want to visit when those gates at Tokyo Disneyland open! Marked in blue are the attractions that we are hoping to take so I hope to be able to review them in a blog-post some time in October.

Section Name of ride Attraction Type Duration Seating Capacity
Adventureland Western River Railroad Transportation, Loud sounds, Go through darkness, about 15 mins 140 persons per train
Jungle Cruise: Wildlife Expeditions Transportation, Go through darkness about 10 minutes 32 persons per train
The Enchanted Tiki Room: Stitch Presents “Aloha E Komo Mai!” Theater type, OK on rainy days, Loud sounds, Go through darkness about 10 minutes 318 persons
Westernland Country Bear Theater Theater type, OK on rainy days, about 15 – 17 minutes 306 persons
Mark Twain Riverboat Transportation, ideal to go in evening about 12 minutes 475 persons
Tom Sawyer Island Rafts Transportation about 1.5 – 3 minutes 55 persons per raft
Fantasyland Alice’s Tea Party Rotates/ Spins about 1.5 minutes 4 persons per cup
It’s a Small World Boat ride about 10 minutes 20 persons per boat
Castle Carousel Rotates/ Spins, must be able to sit without assistance about 2 minutes 72 persons
Dumbo The Flying Elephant Rotates/ Spins, must be able to sit without assistance about 1.5 minutes 2 persons per vehicle
Pinocchio’s Daring Journey Transportation, Go through darkness, about 2 minutes 4 persons per vehicle
Peter Pan’s Flight Transportation, Go through darkness, cannot ride with child on lap about 2.5 minutes 2 persons per galleon
Pooh’s Hunny Hunt (FP Attraction) Transportation, Loud sounds, Go through darkness, Cannot ride with child on lap about 4.5 minutes 5 persons per hunny pot
Mickey’s PhilharMagic Theater type, 3D film effects, OK on rainy days, Loud sounds, Go through darkness, about 15 min. (Show Duration: about 11 min.) 454 persons
Toontown  

 

Goofy’s Paint ‘n’ Play House

Experiential Attractions, OK on rainy days, about 1.5 min 8 persons per applicator
Chip ‘n Dale’s Treehouse Experiential Attraction
Toon Park Experiential Attraction
Donald’s Boat Experiential Attraction
Minnie’s House Experiential Attraction
Tommorowland Stitch Encounter Theater type, OK on rainy days, Loud sounds, Go through darkness about 12 mins 160 persons
Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters (FP Attraction) Loud sounds, Go through darkness about 4 mins 3 persons per vehicle
Monsters, Inc. Ride & Go Seek!  Transportation, Loud sounds, Go through darkness, Cannot ride with child on lap about 4 mins 3 persons per car

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parades and shows

Not to be missed this time would be the famed Daytime Parade “Happiness is Here”. Again, there’s something magical about parades and being upfront with all the characters. Oh which reminds me, I need to pack a ground sheet for the trip!! If memory does not fail me, the parade is about 3pm but do check their daily schedule. Crowds start lining the parade route as early as 1pm odd so if you want a good view, that’s probably what you need to do as well.

We missed the evening parade the last time which starts at 7pm as it was way too cold and the girls were already tired. This time round, I hope Bubba will have enough energy to last.

img_7121-2Popcorn
Flavours and Location

I’m planning to bring these popcorn buckets that we got from our last trip along for this trip and fill them instead. Purchase of a new bucket is about 1,600 yen and refills (if you bring your own bucket) is almost less than half the price. I can’t recall so I will update after our trip!

Popcorn Flavours Location in Disneyland Personal Rating
Caramel In front of Sweetheart Café
Next to The Gazebo
In front of the Polynesian Terrace Restaurant
Toon Pop
Pop-A-Lot Popcorn
Soy Sauce & Butter In front of Café Orleans 2/5
Acquired taste, can give it a miss for other flavours
In front of the dock for Mark Twain Restaurant
Next to Treausre Cornet
Curry Next to Trading Post
Salt Next to Chuck Wagon
Milk Chocolate Next to Castle Carousel
Honey In front of Pooh’s Hunny Hunt 5/5
Bubba loves this! Us too!

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Dining

There are a total of 46 restaurants located inside the park. Our last trip saw Bubba snacking on ice-cream, chips, popcorn and all things junk plus her staple of milk. I tried to feed her some child-friendly curry rice but that was rejected over a bag of corn chips. At the end of the day, I felt so bad for feeding her with all this junk food here’s a list of short-listed restaurants / cafes that we are planning to head to to fuel up.

Location in Disneyland Restaurant Description Price
World Bazaar Great American Waffle Company Disney character motif, Mickey-shaped, Sweets for takeout 1000 yen or less
Center Street Coffeehouse Breakfast menu, Meat Patty, Disney character motif From 1000 – 2000 yen
Westernland The Diamond Horseshoe Course meal / Set meal, Disney character motif, Mickey-shaped From 2000 – 5000 yen
Plaza Pavilion Restaurant Children’s menu available From 1000 – 2000 yen
Critter County Rackety’s Raccoon Saloon Mickey-shaped, Snack for takeout, Sweets for takeout, Hot Dog, Churro / Tipo Torta, Ice Cream 1000 yen or less
Fantasy Land Queen of Hearts Banquet Hal Children’s menu available From 1000 – 2000 yen
Tomorrow Land Tomorrowland Terrace Hamburger / Sandwich, Disney character motif, Mickey-shaped, Soup 1000 yen or less

Shopping

Disneyland in Tokyo is a shopper’s paradise. There are a total of 46 different stores scattered throughout the park catering to virtually your every need. Our last trip saw us stocking up on Mickey shaped chips, pasta chips and Winnie the Pooh shaped cookies and Mickey Mouse stuffed toy for the Bub. Mama Libby bagged some really cool stuff from the stores there so this trip, here are the specialty shops that I will definitely be keeping a lookout for!

It’s like only 3 shops so hopefully the Man won’t grumble. Hehe..

Location in Disneyland Store Description
World Bazaar The Home Store Interior products, Snacks, Umbrellas, Rain ponchos, Digital media, Battery charger for mobile phones, Batteries, Disposable diapers, Stockings, Pocket tissues, Ice packs
Fantasy Land Pooh Corner Interior products, Snacks, Stationery, Items for babies / small children, Umbrellas, Ice packs
Baby Mine Items for babies / small children, Umbrellas, Rain ponchos, Rain cover for strollers, Disposable diapers, Stockings, Pocket tissues, Ice packs

Okay, 1 down and 2 more theme parks (Tokyo Disney Sea and Universal Studios Osaka) left to research. I’m getting all pumped up about our Disney trip. Bubba’s got her costume this time round so I’m hoping she will be cooperative enough to put it on. Wish us luck!

More on this topic:

Note: Information taken from Tokyo Disney site.

Conquering Tokyo Disneyland

Our trip to Tokyo was planned rather last minute but it wasn’t all that bad given that we are pretty familiar with the city that we called our second home years back. This time round, I had wanted to bring Bubba to Disneyland for I think she’s about the right age to enjoy the cartoon characters and some of the rides. What luck had we that her fave name twin – Sophie Rose and the little Bow Family were all in Tokyo during the same time so we made an epic play-date out of that for the gals.

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The start of our Disneyland adventures were all smiles because we were prepared to brave the crowds and have F.U.N!! But I guess as much as we were mentally prepared, we were not ready for the reality of the craziness behind those iron gates where happiness lies. Haha.. cue dramatic music please

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So in order to avoid the long queues to get our tickets, I purchased our tickets online. Price was the same and it was such a breeze to get them. We decided on a slightly later start to the theme park so met about 10-1030am. We could have gone earlier at 8am when the park opens but that would mean waking the girls up earlier and risk setting a nuclear bomb on ourselves the entire day. Was not ready for that! Plus the girls can’t go on a lot of the fast rides so we took it slow. This also meant that if you were planning on scoring a fast past at that time, don’t as all of them were already gone by the time we arrived with the troop.

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We had planned to bring our own stroller but Mama Libby shared that we could rent it. So we decided to rent our stroller and leave the one we brought along back at the hotel. Why? Their rental strollers can be easily maneuvered around the park. I don’t have to worry about my stroller being stolen when I park it for rides though we do trust the Japanese a lot. Plus side on the rental of strollers? Comes in the adorable Mickey design! What’s not to like as a kid? Stroller comes with a rental fee of 1000 yen that’s not refundable.

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img_7120-1Mama Libby and I specially ordered these bunny capes for the girls and were super pleased when they arrived just in time for the trip! Darling Sophie Rose was dressed in a cute Alice in Wonderland costume! Such fun for little girls to be don in costume characters for Disneyland! I forgot about it so need to make a mental note to buy a costume for Bubba for our next Disney trip (if there’s another one).

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We didn’t realise our Disney outing coincided with a public holiday so the entire world was there. Oops forgot to check the calendar! So queues were doubly or triple the waiting time!! zzz… So word of advice if you are planning a trip to Disneyland, do remember to check if you are going on a public holiday to minimise long waits at rides.

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We tried to send off the men to queue while we walked around the park with the girls. Didn’t think they would last 60 minutes waiting in line. But turns out we can’t do that.. Everyone in the party needed to queue together! So we timed their nap time, strapped them in the Tulas and waited in line. 65 minutes on, we managed one ride over at Peter Pan’s adventure.

img_7121-2The one pic that Mama Libby and I had! With our prized Winnie the Pooh popcorn buckets that she waited in line for 30 minutes!! Honey popcorn was good tho! Give the butter and shoyu popcorn a miss though the Mickey popcorn bucket is super adorable – I couldn’t resist so I got that too (much to the Man’s displeasure).

img_7045The Mickey Mouse parade that comes on at 3.00pm was a highlight for the girls as well. Had intended to get seats by the road but thanks to a diaper incident by the Bub, I only managed to get back at 3pm. So we stood by the streets and the girls sat on their dads shoulders watching the parade. Well, can’t deny that it’s probably the best view ever! Just check out the joy on the Bub’s face when she saw Mickey Mouse from afar!

We had planned to stay on for the night parade but it was getting a tad bit too cold so we bundled them up and headed back to the city.

img_7058Well, how did we do on rides? Total ride count for the day? 4! We sat the Peter Pan ride, It’s a small world boat ride, an old school Western train and the magical carousel. The waiting time for the latter 3 rides were between 20-30 minutes so it wasn’t all that bad.

img_4830-2Had to convince the Bub that horse rides on the carousel was not all that scary! Took a while for her to warm up but helped that we were all there.

img_4825-1All in all, it was a wonderful day spent with our friends at the happiest place on earth!! Will need to plan another trip back again and this time round, we will be better prepared! I will load up the Bub with a proper meal in the morning first. I felt bad for it felt like she was just eating junk the entire day – fries, ice-cream, popcorn, corn chips! I dare say she thought she had scored a Fast Pass for a ‘Eat whatever junk I want if I whine and my Parentals will definitely give it to me kinda day!‘.

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For now, she is super pleased with her Mickey Mouse toy!! Never mind that we are left almost half-dead from the carrying and trying to keep the Bub happy when she was cranky from the crowds. All that really mattered was that the wide grin and that smile that she had on her face when she first laid her eyes on her Mickey Mouse toy and how she remembered who took her on those rides. Aww how precious are these memories that we have of her growing up. Why do they grow up so quickly? That said, we can’t wait for our next Disneyland adventure with her. The next time round, I’m sure she will be asking her Daddy to bring her on the older kids rides. Haha!