If you’re planning a trip to Tokyo, you really need to devote an entire day to Tokyo Disney Sea. A few people tend to disregard the park when planning their itinerary—“You’re in Japan; why would you want to visit Disneyland?” they mockingly ask—but between shopping in Don Quijote and queuing for ramen, a visit to the Japanese’ version of the Happiest Place on Earth is something you definitely won’t regret. Promise.
Here, seven reasons why you need to add Tokyo Disney Sea to your travel bucket list:
1. It’s unlike any other Disney park in the world.
Many of us have a preconceived notion about Disneyland, whether through visits we had as kids or based on what we’ve seen or heard about in the media. You can almost always expect to walk down Main Street once you get past the entrance gates, before coming face to face with an enchanting castle straight out of a fairy tale.
Surprise, surprise—that’s not the case in Tokyo Disney Sea. Instead, you’ll immediately be transported to the Italian coast, where gondolas are the main mode of transportation, and shops and restaurants masquerade as traditional villas. And at the center of it all is Mount Prometheus, a huge volcano that actually erupts every hour. It’s just as magical as the Disneyland we’re familiar with, except in a different way.
2. The attention to detail is amazing.
Tokyo Disney Sea is pretty ambitious in having seven themed lands dotted around the huge park. So it’s understandable if certain aspects fall short of guests’ expectations, or are neglected in favor of bigger, more important attractions. But that’s definitely not the case here! From the domed palace at Arabian Coast to the wild jungles of Lost River Delta, no detail is spared in bringing each set to life.
And it’s not just the big picture that’s impressive—Disney creators also focused on the smallest, most seemingly insignificant elements (like a subway entrance in American Waterfront or the bubbling water in Mysterious Island) to make the overall effect more believable.
3. There’s literally something for all age groups.
Amusement parks often feel like there’s so much energy and action going on, which is good, since that’s what most people come for anyway. And Tokyo Disney Sea has no shortage of attractions to get the adrenaline pumping, from the gravity-defying Tower of Terror to the high-speed Indiana Jones: Temple of the Crystal Skull.
But there are also tons of options for kids who are scared of the dark or can’t take 360 loops, or older guests who just want to sit down somewhere quiet.
Children will love the tamer rides at Mermaid Lagoon and Arabian Coast, while those of us who need a break from the chaos will be spoiled with the many dining options in the park. There’s even a fancy lounge inside a huge replica ship in American Waterfront!
4. They take their flavored popcorn seriously.
At any given time, guests can expect seven different flavors available throughout the park. There’s caramel and salt, of course, but you can also find white chocolate, milk chocolate, black pepper, cappuccino, and even curry. Safe to say you’ll constantly be munching on something during your visit!
Limited edition flavors also pop up at certain times of the year—milk tea-flavored popcorn, anyone?
5. Two words: Mysterious Island.
Jules Vernes’ works aren’t very familiar to us Filipinos, which somehow makes Mysterious Island even more alluring. Many online guides and bloggers suggest venturing to this land first, for good reason. Lurking beneath the shadows of Mount Prometheus, Mysterious Island seems so detached from the rest of the park.
Attractions are built close to the water’s edge, so you won’t have trouble feeling like you’re about to explore the earth’s core or the deepest depths of the sea. Mysterious Island is also home to two unique rides you won’t find anywhere else: Journey to the Center of the Earth and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. The first just might be my favorite attraction in all of Disney Sea—the long lines are testament to its awesomeness!
6. The Japanese are super enthusiastic about wearing costumes.
There are certain weeks during in the year when guests are allowed to wear costumes to Tokyo Disney Sea. And I don’t mean halfhearted attempts via mouse ears or some other form of headgear. When I visited on Halloween this year, I came across couples and entire groups of friends dressed so believably as characters from the Disney archives. They really put a lot of thought into devising their costumes, adding face paint, wigs, and various props into the mix!
7. It will fuel your wanderlust.
Discovery and exploration are at the heart of Tokyo Disney Sea, and all seven themed lands prescribe to that. And while Disney paints the entire park in a sparkly veneer that seems too good to be true (the real Venice, for example, smells more like sea water and fish than caramel popcorn), it’s no less effective in suspending disbelief and making guests feel like they’re actually in Italy one minute, downtown New York the next. Expect to leave the park with a fervent desire to see more of the world, CGs. *wink*
Time to plan that trip!
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