A Beginner’s Guide to Disneyland

Disneyland – it’s one of those places I’ve always known about but never thought I would go to. So when we were planning our holiday in Tokyo, a day at Tokyo Disneyland was definitely on the agenda.  As a Disney first-timer I was very excited but the enormity of the place was a little overwhelming at first. A little planning ahead of time can make a big difference to the success of the day, so here are my recommendations for having a wonderful day at Disneyland.

Do some research. I searched on Google for “the best day to do to Tokyo Disneyland” and the results were very helpful. On the Disneyland website there is a table of predicted attendances, using past numbers and resort bookings. The days are graded on a scale from 1 to 100, with 100 being “we are so full we are closing the gates”. For the week we were going to be in Tokyo, Tuesday and Wednesday were going to be the best days with a rating of 52. So the decision was made…Tuesday would be Disney Day.

Buy your tickets before the day. Also on the Disney website I read that it is better to buy tickets before the day at a Disney store than wait to buy them at the gate, which means avoiding standing in a long queue. When planning Monday’s outing, we included a stop at the Disney Store at Takashimaya Shopping Centre. Tickets purchased with no waiting – great decision.

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Get a map at the entrance. Tokyo Disneyland covers a large area and it would be very easy to wander aimlessly and waste time just looking and marvelling. With a map each, we could see exactly where we were and where we wanted to go next.

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Plan your day. The first thing we did after entering the park was to sit down and work out our plan of attack. With no children to cater for, we eliminated the children’s rides and activities. We decided which attractions we definitely wanted to see and worked out a route which took us around the park. This meant we didn’t waste precious time retracing our footsteps.

Use the Fast Pass system. Having a Fast Pass means you don’t have to queue for rides. When you scan your ticket you get a pass with an allotted hour during which you can go on the ride. You can’t get another Fast Pass until that hour begins so check which rides have passes and decide which ones you most want to do. We found that the passes filled up quickly so make sure you fast pass your preferred ones first.

Take your lunch with you. We bought lunch at our local 7/11 store and carried water bottles which we refilled several times. It was far cheaper and saved us from wasting time waiting in the queue. Because we were at Disneyland all day we still needed to buy our dinner, but we waited until there wasn’t a line-up.

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See all the parades. There are three amazing parades and while they all feature the favourite Disney characters, they are all very different. With thousands of LED bulbs glowing in the darkness, the night time parade was simply spectacular. You don’t have to save a space too early. The parade goes right around the park and there are plenty of great vantage points.

Stay all day. We arrived at 9 am and left when the park closed at 10 pm. Even with a full day we couldn’t do everything but we were satisfied with all that we managed to fit in.

Have fun. I did!

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17 thoughts on “A Beginner’s Guide to Disneyland

  1. It looks like a fab day trip – and something you definitely have to do! That’s brilliant advice concering the ‘busy’ chart online. There’s something magical about Disney whatever age you are! I went to Florida when I was a youngster and I can still remember the fun.

    • I agree – age is no barrier to having a wonderful day here. It’s certainly worth checking the attendance chart. Even though there were lots of people it didn’t seem that busy in most places. But we did avoid the long queues.

  2. Some great advice here Carol, you should really go into tourism… I could have done with such good advice when I was on a business conference in the States and we all went in three buses to the Epcot Park in Orlando, which is a Disney themed park. I didn’t have a map, got lost, and didn’t make it back to the meeting point before all the buses had left to go back to the hotel! Without me! I ended up getting a ride on a staff bus (full of Mickey Mouses and Goofies) back to the entrance, and a friendly US cop said he was passing by my hotel so he gave me a lift in his cop car! Actually all of that made it a highly memorable trip!

    • It sounds as if you had quite an adventure anyway. Much more exciting than going back on the bus. We usually get a map for every place we go, in fact we get two so we have one each…saves arguments.

      I’m glad you enjoyed this post. If I had my time again tourism would definitely be on my agenda.

  3. So, were there people saying ‘have a nice day’ with an American accent, and were the signs in Japanese? It made me smile to think about it, but I loved my own Disney experiences (in Florida and in LA). The parades were superb 🙂

  4. It doesn’t matter how I am, I still have Disneyland on my travel bucket list, never been, but hope to in the next few years, Ill be sure to take your advice. Love not looking too much like a tourist. 🙂 Hope you are enjoying the first week of 2015. Take care & cheers! 🙂

  5. Pingback: Life in the Fast Lane – Weekly Photo Challenge – Motion | The Adventures of Justin Beaver

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