Asia, Review, Theme Parks

 

Tokyo Disneysea is the second park at the Tokyo Disney Resort and, spoiler alert, ReviewTyme’s favourite theme park in the world. This park has everything you could want in a theme park. From absolutely stunning vistas to modern marvels of attractions, the park ticks the boxes in all areas. It’s the culmination of everything Disney has learned from their theme park portfolio and truly shows what Imagineering can achieve if budgets aren’t the most important part of their projects!

Family Rides 9 / 10

Tokyo DisneySea is a Disney park at heart, meaning that you can expect it to have a lot for the family to do. The park features a wide selection of family attractions within its many different ports. Interestingly, most of these are either non-Disney related or are associated with characters that don’t often get much love so expect to get some different experiences.

The selection ranges from slow boat rides retelling the story of Sinbad, an undersea voyage with Nemo and Friends, an expedition 20,000 leagues below the sea or a relaxing Gondola ride through the canals of Venice. As is the usual Disney tradition, most rides are accessible to children with even the most thrilling attraction, Journey to the Centre of the Earth only has a 46” limit (the average size of an eight-year-old) so if your child is brave, expect to have some high octane memories together.

Thrill Rides 9 / 10

Thrill rides at Disney are usually rather non-traditional and have unique quirks, with Tokyo DisneySea being no exception. You’re not going find any extreme roller coasters or flat rides that simply aim to thrill because Disney is all about telling a story and having a purpose. The park focuses on making sure that each experience and thrill is carefully orchestrated to make them original.

The park does recycle some technologies, ride systems and ideas from around the world, but manages to turn the familiar into something unique. For example, The Tower of Terror is seen in many Disney resorts around the world, but DisneySea turns away the recognised story about a haunted Hollywood hotel reimagines it with a tour of a wealthy explorer’s quarters and his battle with a stolen cursed idol.

The thrilling highlight of the park is Journey to the Centre of the Earth which takes you deep into the park’s volcano to explore the world we live above. The ride system that Journey uses is similar to Test Track in Orlando or Radiator Springs Racer in Anaheim so expect to be flying around Mount Prometheus at high speeds with a gorgeous view of the park in the resorts fastest thrill ride.

The park has a different and refreshing feel from these changes adding to an overall sense of wonder and keeping you inside the immersive experience.

Experiences 9 / 10

The Tokyo Disney resort has gone to great lengths to make sure that you’re always experiencing ‘something’. Whether that be a ride, show or street performance, there is very rarely a dull moment to be had.

Depending on the time of year you attend you will likely find experiences tied to the event the park is currently undertaking. If you attend for Pirates Summer like us you will experience some amazing photo-opportunities, some added pirate street performers and more. Also, you never know what’s going to be around the next corner as you walk through the park with it being filled with un-advertised street performers including our personal favourite, the seemingly “regular” cast members who can hold a crowd’s attention with a few sound effects and some great performance abilities.

Something to note is that the Japanese are willing to wait an incredibly long time to meet their favourite characters and there can often be waits of over an hour just meet classics like Mickey, Donald and Goofy. This means that people who are wanting to get the most out of their time may have to pass on the classic experience of meeting their favourite character.

Entertainment 10 / 10

I’ve never experienced a park as dedicated to the art of entertainment as Tokyo Disneysea. I’ve been to parks where the shows feel flat or forced, but Disneysea has a natural ensemble of productions that make it hard to get out and about, because you don’t want to miss the next show! You’ll also be grateful to know that many of the shows are either presented in English, or entertaining enough that it being in Japanese isn’t a problem!

Big Band Beat is a marvel in theme park entertainment and is often recognised as the best Disney theme park theatre show in the World. The show is a broadway-style revue exploring classic eras of big band broadway. With a live band, singers and dancers; the high energy production will leave you clapping along with the ever appreciative Japanese audience. The show even incorporates many Disney characters to add some extra magic, and features Mickey Mouse doing an incredible drum solo that isn’t to be missed.

Fantasmic! Is another show which I highly recommend guests don’t miss. It’s a reimagining of the classic shows from Anaheim and Orlando and takes place entirely on the sea in front of Mount Prometheus. Utilising boats, lazers, fountains and fireworks; this show is a specular unlike any other. Seating for the show does usually start about an hour and a half before the show, but if you’re willing to stand behind the sitting area or stand off to either side, you usually don’t have to wait quite as long.

The only questionable show in the Disneysea line-up is an original production called ‘Out of Shadowland’ in the lost river delta section of the park. Whilst the set is nice and uses some great projection mapping, the show was overall forgettable and is definitely not catered to a western audience.

Tokyo DisneySea will also most likely have some form of limited-time entertainment event when you go as well to further round out the line-up. Special shows are around for all of the major events in the year including Easter, Christmas, Halloween and the show I saw on my last visit “Pirates Summer Battle: Get Wet” a show that definitely lives up to its name, completely soaking it’s audience giving them a nice way to cool down in the hot summer heat. Also if you have the time make sure you try to catch the brand-new show for the 35th Anniversary “Hello New York” one of the best Disney character shows I’ve seen anywhere in the world.

Staff 9 / 10

All of the staff at the Tokyo Disney resort are next level and those at Tokyo Disneysea are no exception. They’re dedicated, committed and obviously hardworking. They have a passion for the park which is irradiated by their presence and there was never a moment where I looked at the cast member and felt like they weren’t enjoying what they were doing. They also manage to keep the park and it’s amenities immaculate. The embodiment of the amazing Cast Members at Tokyo DisneySea can be seen in the random Dance parties that pop up throughout the park with Cast Members from all areas coming together to high-5 and dance with guests whilst the 35th Anniversary Theme Song plays.

However, the performers are the highlight when it comes to Tokyo Disneysea. From the actors on stage, to those operating the canal boats; they’re incredibly professional, spectacular and talented.

Keep in mind that some may find it jarring to visit a Disney park where the cast members speak very little English and it can sometimes be a little bit hard to get a straight answer or assistance because of this, if you ever really get stuck with a question guest relations will always have cast members available who speak fluent English.

Theming 10 / 10

Tokyo Disneysea is a master class in careful thematic planning and design. It’s the culmination of everything that Disney has learnt over the years and honestly feels like Imagineers were given an unlimited budget to fulfil their creative designs. The transition between lands are perfectly executed and the park has a flow and coherency that is unrivaled in any Disney resort around the world. Everything feels like it belongs in its respective area and attraction are faithful to the land they are in unlike a certain collectors warehouse in hollywood… Cough DCA Cough. And for a park that is quickly approaching it’s 20th Birthday in 2021, everything still looks near brand new and fresh.

Words can’t quite do the park justice, and I hope the images and footage that we supply help portray just how immersive and incredible this park really is. Whilst ReviewTyme still has a lot of theme parks to visit around the world; out of those that we already have, which includes all Disney parks, we believe this to be the overall best themed theme park in the World.

Merchandise 8 / 10

Tokyo Disneysea has a vast selection of merchandise though keep in mind that it’s rather specialised for the Japanese market and westerners may find some of the items, especially the t-shirts too ‘loud’ or ‘over the top’.

Luckily the two distinct lines of Merchandise they have brought out for the 35th Anniversary manage to hit it out of the park, truly offering something for everyone to enjoy. Most of the Merchandise I brought home on my recent visit was from the line that looked back at the 35 year history of the park and included a really nice camera-bag and pillow.

Also unfortunately pin trading isn’t a thing at the Tokyo Disney resort. You can still buy from a very selective range of pins, but don’t expect to see cast members with lanyards or pouches to trade.

Affordability 9 / 10

Although the logistics of getting tickets for the park can be a little confusing, thankfully Tokyo Disneysea is rather inexpensive. A single day ticket to the park is 7400 or 67 USD compared to Disneyland in Anaheim which will set you back at minimum 97 USD on an off-peak day. 

Food is also well priced in the parks, with a three-course meal at Magellan’s, the parks fanciest restaurant only costing around $25USD. Also, there is a ton of delicious park exclusive snacks that are all only around $5USD.  For Australians, the Tokyo Disney resort is probably the most affordable resort to visit at this present time and gives the best value for money.

Atmosphere 10 / 10

When walking around Tokyo Disneysea it is almost impossible to miss the detail and care that is put into the park on all levels. The Japanese have a deep appreciation and love for all things Disney, and that is reflected in their presence with both staff and guests. Guests are courteous and respectful in all regards which makes all processes involving crowds efficient and uplifting; a welcome change to that at the western parks.

The parks explorative nature means that simply walking around can be an enriching experience. It makes getting from one location to the other far less mundane and the usual ‘sigh’ when needing to traverse the park for an attraction is replaced with an opportunity to see more of the amazing sights around every corner.

Services 8 / 10

As a westerner, Tokyo Disneysea provides some great services such as english speaking cast members when available, english maps, and sporadic translations that provide some context to the park and it’s attractions.

The only issue is that there are few attractions, shows and experiences that aren’t catered to english speakers at all. This isn’t a problem, as I understand we aren’t the parks catered demographic, though consider this carefully when deciding to visit the park as without research things can get very confusing. We found that simple requests such as ordering food was never an issue, but more complicated tasks such as trying to reserve dining became confusing to the point that I gave up.

Final Thoughts

I don’t think we could give TokyDisneySeaea enough praise for how great the park is. It is the enthusiasts theme park and has everything that makes somebody like us giddy like a school girl. I will never get tired of visiting and exploring this amazing wonder of a park.

Tokyo DisneySea gets a final score of 91/100

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