Tokyo DisneySea is part of the larger Tokyo Disney Resort, which also includes its big brother, Tokyo Disneyland, and is fully owned by the Oriental Land Company, who themselves licence the Disney image and brand from the Walt Disney Company. Tokyo DisneySea is easily the best theme park in the world. Almost all theme park fans would agree with that statement.
On my first visit to Tokyo it was one of my ambitions to come to DisneySea and check out for myself what everybody else had been raving about for years. I purchased a ticket at the JR Highway Bus Terminal outside Shinjuku Station, and travelled about an hour on the bus directly to DisneySea for 800Yen each way. However, you could instead get the JR Keiyo Line from Tokyo Station and change at Maihama Station (this should take no more than 20 minutes), at which point you can access the Tokyo Disney Resort Line to the parks for no more than 400Yen. For further orientation, check out this page from JapanGuide.com.
As of July, 2016, adult one day tickets for DisneySea cost 7,400 Yen. Children can get in at a reduced rate of 6,400 Yen. If you are planning to visit Tokyo Disneyland as well, then the 2 day pass works out much cheaper. I bought my DisneySea park tickets on the day at the ticket counters at the front of the park, although I had a lengthy wait until these counters opened. Announcements about ticketing and park information are made in English after the Japanese versions. Once the gates have opened and you have had your tickets examined and stamped, you walk past the spectacular AquaSphere Plaza and into the park proper. This AquaSphere is a huge globe of Planet Earth that seems to be balancing on water fountains. It also spins gently, much like our planet itself, to the tune of catchy music.
As you may have guessed from the name of the park, the layout is based around seas and waterways, and these can be navigated by boat or you can just walk around – the choice is yours! DisneySea comprises 7 ‘Ports of Call’, which are themed to the following: Mediterranean Harbour, American Waterfront, Port Discovery, Lost River Delta, Arabian Coast, Mermaid Lagoon, and Mysterious Island, complete with its visually-striking Mount Prometheus volcano, which is undoubtedly the centrepiece of the park.
I am now going to take you around DisneySea in a clockwise direction, starting at the entrance point at the AquaSphere Plaza and then into the first of the 7 ‘Port of Calls’:
Mediterranean Harbour is themed to a fishing village and romantic Italian waterways complete with Venetian gondolas. There are no major attractions in this area of the park, although the nightly spectacular show Fantasmic is played on the lagoon here, and it is vital to arrive early for a good standing point.
American Waterfront is themed to the early 20th century around New England complete with idyllic Cape Cod area and the unmistakable SS Columbia, aboard which there is a restaurant and bar. The newly opened Toy Story Mania is located in this area of the park, but American Waterfront is perhaps best known for its incredible Tower of Terror attraction, which certainly lives up to its name!
Port Discovery is a futuristic area, not too dissimilar to Tomorrowland at Disneyland, and is also the smallest area of the park. It has two attractions: StormRider, and AquaTopia. Both are good attractions but not worth waiting too long for. In fact, as of mid-2016, Stormrider has now closed and will be refurbished and re-themed as a Finding Dory simulator attraction for 2017.
Lost River Delta is one of my favourite parts of DisneySea. It is themed around a long-lost Central American jungle (somewhere like Costa Rica) and contains the Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Crystal Skull attraction, as well as Raging Spirits, which is a highly-themed looping coaster.
Arabian Coast is also very impressive visually, resembling a desert oasis from a bygone era, and loosely themed to Disney’s Aladdin. There is a highly intricate dark ride here called Sinbad’s Seven Voyages and also a double-decked carousel for the kids. However, Arabian Coast may not be the most exciting area for adults. The food here, though, is very nice indeed!
Mermaid Lagoon is a section of DisneySea that is presented both indoors and outdoors and is themed to Disney’s own The Little Mermaid franchise. The outdoor section contains a family coaster, and the indoor section contains lots of off-the-shelf fairground rides that the kids will love.
Mysterious Island is undoubtedly the highlight of the park, with the main attraction, Journey to the Center of the Earth, being known as one of the best theme park attractions in the world. It is a dark ride/coaster hybrid with a highly themed interior section and a thrilling finale as you shoot out of the side of Mount Prometheus! Also here is 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (an “underwater” voyage) and my favourite restaurant Vulcania.
I sincerely hope that this guide helps you plan your next exciting trip to the best theme park in the world: Tokyo DisneySea! For more Disney information, check out my blogs on Hong Kong Disneyland and Shanghai Disneyland!