We are huge Disney fans so we never miss a visit to Tokyo DisneySea when we’re in Japan. It’s our favourite Disney park in the world.
DisneySea rides are more adult-orientated than at its sister park Tokyo Disneyland, and there are many other attractions that are great to do without kids like have a cocktail in a 1920s lounge on a fancy cruise liner (yes, really!).
DisneySea is nautical themed with seven impressively themed ports inspired by both real places and ocean legends including American Waterfront, Mediterranean Harbor (which looks just like Italy!), and the unique Mysterious Island complete with erupting volcano.
This detailed Tokyo DisneySea review includes our favourite DisneySea rides, recommended one-day itinerary, and other tips to help you make the most of your stay and avoid the crowds.
This post was first published in November 2017 and last updated after our latest visit in 2019.
Top Tokyo DisneySea Rides and Attractions
- 1) Soaring: Fantastic Flight (FP)
- 2) Tower of Terror (FP)
- 3) Journey to the Centre of the Earth (FP)
- 4) Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Crystal Skull (FP)
- 5) Raging Spirits (FP)
- 6) 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (FP)
- 7) Big Band Beat Show
- 8) Popcorn
- 9) Fortress Explorations
- 10) Sinbad’s Storybook Voyage
- 11) Lunch in Venice
- 12) The Teddy Roosevelt Lounge
- 13) Toy Story Mania! (FP)
- 14) Fantasmic!
- Other Tokyo DisneySea Attractions
- DisneySea 1 Day Itinerary for Adults
- Tokyo DisneySea Hotels
- DisneySea Tickets
- The Best Time to Visit DisneySea
- Tokyo DisneySea Fastpass Tips
- Vegetarian Food at DisneySea
- Should You Visit Tokyo Disneyland or DisneySea?
- How to Get to DisneySea
Top Tokyo DisneySea Rides and Attractions
I have noted with (FP) the rides that have DisneySea Fastpasses available (more on how to use these to skip queues below).
1) Soaring: Fantastic Flight (FP)
New in July 2019, Soaring is a flight motion-simulator where you fly over the famous landscapes of the world.
We haven’t ridden Soaring at DisneySea yet, but the video is similar to the one at Epcot, which is one of our favourite rides. It’s so relaxing to soar over the world, legs dangling, feeling the breeze and smelling the scents of the various environments.
What makes the DisneySea version of Soaring unique is the immersive queue and impressive pre-show which takes you on a tour of the Museum of Fantastic Flight dedicated to humankind’s dream of flying. There are also additional scenes in the video featuring Tokyo.
As it’s a new DisneySea attraction, Soaring currently has very long queue times. I checked wait times at midday on a moderately busy weekday in November and Soaring was at 190 minutes (and Fastpasses had run out), while the next longest queues were for Toy Story Mania and Raging Spirits, both at 110 minutes.
If you want to ride Soaring, I highly recommend rushing here as soon as the park opens and picking up a Fastpass (but you won’t be alone!).
Note that although it’s a motion-simulator, the ride is very gentle and has never made me feel sick.
2) Tower of Terror (FP)
DisneySea’s Tower of Terror is as wonderfully terrifying as the others around the world.
The theming is different—Japan’s Tower of Terror is an abandoned New York hotel in 1912—and the pre-ride story is in Japanese, but you can’t beat the anticipation as you ride the elevator to the upper floors of the hotel and wait for the sudden plummet. It’s definitely one of the best DisneySea rides.
3) Journey to the Centre of the Earth (FP)
Within a volcano at the heart of the park, Mysterious Island is the most fantastical of the ports. The main attraction is Journey to the Centre of the Earth, a dark thrill ride that takes you deep underground.
It’s very atmospheric, even in the queue there’s plenty to see, and the ride ends with a dramatic climax.
It’s one of the best rides at DisneySea and can’t be found at any other Disney parks.
4) Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Crystal Skull (FP)
This dark thrill ride is a simulated off-road journey through the Temple of the Crystal Skull. A fun ride with great theming and a Japanese Dr Jones.
This is a good ride to use the single-rider queue to save time if queues are long (which they usually are).
5) Raging Spirits (FP)
Raging Spirits is an outdoor rollercoaster that’s one of the few Disney rides to go upside down with a 360º inversion.
The theming isn’t as great as on other attractions (although the fire and water feature is impressive), but it’s fast and we love a loop.
Queues are often long for this so either get a Fastpass, wait until the evening when it quiets down, or use the single-rider queue.
6) 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (FP)
A dark ride on one of Captain Nemo’s submarines deep below the sea in search of Atlantis. A beautiful and immersive ride.
It’s usually quieter than the other major rides, so you should be able to get on later in the day without the queues being too long or needing a Fastpass.
7) Big Band Beat Show
We love Big Band Beat! This 30-minute Broadway-style show features dancers and a live band playing swing and jazz tunes from the 1920s to 1940s.
The performers are professional, the dialogue is in English (we’re in America after all), and the Broadway Music Theatre is a beautiful space with comfy seating. It’s perfect for taking a break during a busy park day (you’ll see a few exhausted parents nodding off!).
To get tickets for Big Band Beat you need to enter a lottery (one chance only) using your park ticket at the Biglietteria in Mediterranean Harbor.
On one visit we entered at around 9.30 am for the 3.20 pm show and won. On our latest visit we didn’t win the lottery, but we did manage to get unreserved seats on the balcony.
Unreserved seats are limited so you’ll need to turn up early. On a fairly quiet day in the park we started queuing at 2.50 pm for the 3.15 pm show and they let people in at 2.55 pm. By 3 pm the seats were full.
Popcorn at Disney Japan is a big deal! The Japanese love to buy DisneySea Tokyo popcorn buckets in fun designs that they wear around their necks and refill throughout the day.
There are stands all over the park with different seasonal flavours including curry (our favourite), Chinese chili (also delicious), black pepper, milk chocolate, caramel, tomato and herb, blueberry, and salt.
Buy some popcorn as soon as you feel a bit hungry as the queues become longer later in the day.
9) Fortress Explorations
Fortress Explorations is a hidden gem at DisneySea and a great escape from the crowds in the afternoon.
It’s an interactive play area with ten exhibits within the fortress where you can study the planets and earth’s rotation, operate cannons and nautical instruments, sail miniature galleons (100 yen fee), and more.
Don’t miss the views of Mediterranean Harbor from the top.
10) Sinbad’s Storybook Voyage
Sinbad’s Storybook Voyage is a cross between Pirates of the Caribbean and It’s a Small World.
It’s a long, gentle dark ride on water as you sail pass Arabian scenes with Sinbad the sailor and tiger cub Chandu. It’s a relaxing, low-pressure ride with short queues so do it later in the day.
11) Lunch in Venice
Ristorante di Canaletto is a surprisingly good Italian restaurant overlooking the Venice canals. It’s one of the only restaurants in DisneySea with vegetarian options. We love the pizza here and it makes a nice break in a busy day.
Lunch is much cheaper than dinner, so head to the restaurant to make a reservation as soon as they open at 10 am. Even then availability was limited and we had to have lunch at 10.50 am on one visit and 1.40 pm on another. It’s now possible to book online on the Tokyo Disney website up to a month before.
12) The Teddy Roosevelt Lounge
The Teddy Roosevelt Lounge is one of the best DisneySea attractions and is unlike anywhere else we’ve come across in a Disney park.
It’s a 1920s themed bar aboard the S.S. Columbia cruise ship with amazing attention to detail that takes you back in time.
Relaxing on a couch here with a cocktail is the perfect retreat from the crowded park.
There is usually a queue so it’s best to go outside lunch and dinner times (although on a quiet day we did get in at 1 pm). Food is available but it’s not vegetarian-friendly.
Afterwards, head up to to the upper deck for fantastic views of the park.
13) Toy Story Mania! (FP)
This is an indoor interactive game with Toy Story characters where you rack up points by shooting in carnival games. It uses 3D projection and special effects and is a lot of fun.
It’s also insanely busy and was the most popular ride in the park until Soaring opened. The queues are still extremely long and I just don’t think it’s worth waiting two hours for, so we usually skip it.
Fastpasses sell out quickly, so if you really want to ride it you’ll have to choose between this and Soaring to grab a Fastpass first thing. Your best chance is to stay in a Disney hotel to get into the park 15 minutes early.
The perfect way to end your day at DisneySea is with the spectacular Fantasmic! show on the water at Mediterranean Harbor.
Classic Disney characters sing your favourite songs with special effects using gigantic water screens, lasers, lights, and fire.
On our last visit we were too exhausted to stand on Main Street to watch the show, but we found some empty benches up the steps to the left of Zambini Brothers.
It wasn’t the best view but we got to sit down and see some action and it was better than skipping it entirely. You can also see some of the show from the outside terrace at Zambini (and eat pizza at the same time).
Other Tokyo DisneySea Attractions
If you have the time, these DisneySea attractions are worth adding to your itinerary:
- DisneySea Transit Steamer Line – A relaxing way to get around the park or just ride it and enjoy the view.
- DisneySea Electric Railway – Same as the Steamer Line but by train instead of boat.
- Venetian Gondolas – If the queue isn’t too long, why not ride a gondola in the Venice canals?
- Caravan Carousel – Take a gentle ride on the second level of the carousel and enjoy views of Arabian Coast lit up at night.
- Aquatopia – A trackless water ride that’s not terribly exciting, but if the queues are short it’s worth popping on at night when the scenery is pretty.
- Mermaid Lagoon – This indoor world is full of kid’s rides, but it looks impressive and feels different from the rest of park. It’s worth a quick stroll through.
Most importantly, make sure you take the time to wander and explore both during the day and at night (when it feels more mysterious).
There are many quiet hidden corners of the park and the theming is amazing throughout with so many details to appreciate.
DisneySea 1 Day Itinerary for Adults
Disney Tokyo is usually very busy so it’s vital to have a plan of action if you don’t want to waste your day in queues.
This was our itinerary when we visited on a medium busy day (a Tuesday after a National Holiday in October) when ride queues were over 90 minutes for most of the day. Despite this we never queued for more than 20 minutes and did everything on our list by utilising Fastpasses (see below).
This strategy did mean quite a bit of rushing back and forth across the park in the morning, but the afternoon was more relaxed.
Make sure to buy your tickets online in advance, arrive before the park opens, do the major rides (or pick up a Fastpass) first thing, then leave the afternoon and evening for low-key attractions without the crowds.
You might also be able to get on some of the popular rides at the end of the day when things quieten down.
Note that Soaring wasn’t open when we visited, so I recommend grabbing a Fastpass for that first thing and then riding Tower of Terror.
This is what we did on a day when the park was open from 8 am to 10 pm.
8.05 am – Entered park and picked up Fastpass for Tower of Terror (9.50 am return time).
8.25 am – Queued for and rode Journey to the Centre of the Earth (20-minute wait).
9 am – Indiana Jones and Raging Spirits queues were already too long (ride one if not), so we had a curry popcorn break and headed to the Biglietteria to enter the Big Band Beat lottery and won!
9.50 am – Got Fastpass for Raging Spirits (10.30 am return time).
10 am – Made a lunch reservation at Ristorante di Canaletto.
10.10 am – Used Fastpass to ride Tower of Terror.
10.50 am – Lunch at Ristorante di Canaletto and missed our Raging Spirits Fastpass time as we could only get an early lunch reservation.
12 pm – Got another Fastpass for Raging Spirits (1.40 pm return time) and wandered around Arabian Coast.
1 pm – Out of Shadowlands show (now replaced by Song of Mirage).
1.40 pm – Got Fastpass for Indiana Jones (6.30 pm return time!).
1.45 pm – Used Fastpass to ride Raging Spirits (15-minute wait).
2.10 pm – Queued for and rode Sinbad’s Storybook Voyage (5-minute wait).
2.30 pm – Fortress Exploration.
3 pm – Big Band Beat show.
4 pm – Wandered around S.S. Columbia ship. The queue for the Teddy Roosevelt lounge was too long, so Simon had a (gross) frozen beer on the waterfront.
5 pm – Rode the Transit Steamer Line from American Waterfront to Lost River Delta as the sun set.
5.15 pm – Ate tortilla chips and dips at Miguel’s El Dorado Cantina.
5.30 pm – Rode the Electric Railway back to American Waterfront and saw the park lit up just after sunset. (This doesn’t really make sense as we then had to return to Lost River Delta).
6.30 pm – Used Fastpass to ride Indiana Jones.
6.45 pm – Rode Caravan Carousel (5-minute wait).
7 pm – Had a cocktail in Teddy Roosevelt Lounge (10-minute wait).
7.30 pm – Ate pizza at Zambini Brothers’ Ristorante.
7.50 pm – Waited at Fantasmic show area. People who had arrived earlier were sitting on the floor so we just stood behind them and could see well enough.
8 pm – Fantasmic! show.
8.30 pm – Fireworks were cancelled and ride queues were still long, so we headed for the train.
It was a long but amazing day!
Note: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea was closed on this visit. I recommend riding it in late morning if queues aren’t bad or get it as your last Fastpass (they are usually the last ones to run out).
On our latest visit we followed a similar schedule but as we were staying nearby at Hotel Mystays Maihama we took a break from 4-6pm. I highly recommend staying nearby if you can as it was a much more relaxing day.
Tokyo DisneySea Hotels
While it is possible to visit DisneySea from central Tokyo (we’ve done it twice), on our last trip we stayed near the parks and much preferred it.
We were able to avoid the busy morning rush hour (the trains get very crowded), arrive more rested, and take a break during the afternoon when the park is busiest.
Especially if you are planning to spend two days at Tokyo Disney (and visit both parks), I highly recommend staying nearby. You can then move on to central Tokyo to explore the city (we think Shinjuku is the best area to stay in Tokyo).
Budget Hotel in Walking Distance
We stayed at Hotel Mystays Maihama which is the nearest budget hotel to the parks. It’s a 10-minute walk from DisneySea, so it was easy to arrive at the park early and take an afternoon break. It’s actually closer to DisneySea than most of the official Disney hotels.
It’s excellent value compared to the pricey Disney hotels (we paid about 15,000 yen/$137).
Our room was nothing fancy but was bright, comfortable, clean, and spacious for Tokyo. It was equipped with a fridge, kettle, and desk. Breakfast was not included in our rate so we bought snacks.
It’s a 15-minute walk to the Ikispari shopping centre, where there are plenty of shops and restaurants, and Maihama Station. It’s a 20-minute walk to Tokyo Disneyland or there’s a free shuttle at certain times.
5-Star Hotels Near Tokyo Disney
If you are looking for a more luxurious hotel near DisneySea, there are a few overlooking Tokyo Bay, but you’ll need to take the monorail to the parks rather than walk.
Official Disney Hotels
The main advantage of staying in an official Disney hotel is getting into the park 15 minutes early. This will make it easier to get on popular rides like Soaring and Toy Story Mania.
If you can afford it, stay in Hotel Miracosta which is actually inside DisneySea! You can’t beat the convenience and can even watch the Harbor shows from some rooms.
The more affordable Disney Ambassador would be my second choice (although it’s still much more expensive than a non-Disney hotel). It’s in the Ikispari mall close to the station and is only a 5-minute walk to Tokyo Disneyland and about 15 minutes to DisneySea (or a shuttle is available).
Tokyo Disneyland Hotel is the closest hotel to Disneyland but is less convenient for DisneySea.
One-day Tokyo DisneySea tickets cost 7500 yen ($69). If you’d like to visit both DisneySea and Tokyo Disneyland, two-day tickets cost 13,400 yen ($123).
I don’t recommend trying to visit both parks in one day as there is too much to do in each and there are no park hopper tickets.
If you arrive at Tokyo Disney the day before you plan to visit, you can easily buy tickets from the office at Maihama Station.
If you are arriving in the morning, it’s well worth buying tickets online in advance to save time queuing on the day.
You can buy an e-ticket from the Disney website, but you’ll need to print it at home—you can then head straight to the gate.
You can also buy tickets from Voyagin to collect from Maihama Station, which will be much quicker than buying tickets at the gate.
The Best Time to Visit DisneySea
Avoid visiting DisneySea on weekends or national holidays as it will be insanely busy. Check this Tokyo Disney crowd calendar to find the quietest day to visit. Look for days that have a D rating or under (the quietest days are A but these are rare).
Mid-January is the quietest time to visit but it will be cold and more rides than usual may be closed. Late-March and late-April/early-May (Golden Week) are the busiest times of year.
Tokyo DisneySea Fastpass Tips
Fastpasses are free tickets that allow you to skip the queue on popular rides (although you may still need to wait 10–15 minutes at busy times). Using the Tokyo DisneySea Fastpass system is essential if you want to avoid queues of up to two hours or more. See the list above for the rides that offer Fastpasses.
Fastpasses are available from machines next to the ride entrance—just scan your park ticket to get one. You’ll be given a one hour slot when you can return for the ride.
You can only have one Fastpass at a time, but as soon as your slot starts you can get another one. The best strategy is to pick up another Fastpass at the beginning of your slot before you go on the ride.
Fastpasses do run out so pick them up as early as you can, especially for Soaring, Toy Story Mania, Tower of Terror, and Journey to the Centre of the Earth.
It’s best to arrive at DisneySea 30–60 minutes before gates open, although we arrived a few minutes after gates opened and we managed fine.
Download the TDR Wait app to see ride wait times and plan your Fastpass strategy on the day. The bright colours make it difficult to read, but unfortunately, there’s no official Disney wait time app in English. You can also check current wait times on the Disney Real website.
If you don’t manage to get a Fastpass for Indiana Jones or Raging Spirits, you could join the single-rider queue which goes much quicker than the regular line.
Vegetarian Food at DisneySea
Vegetarian food is limited at DisneySea but there are a few enjoyable options:
- Ristorante di Canaletto – The best option for a sit-down meal. Vegetarian options are marked on the menu and mains include tasty pizza and a vegetable/tomato pasta. There are currently no veggie starters but the menu does change. Reservations are usually needed.
- Zambini Brothers’ Ristorante – A cheaper counter service Italian with a tomato and mozzarella pizza. It is pretty tasty although not as good as at Canaletto. Try getting an outside seat upstairs for good views.
- Casbah Food Court – The best budget option. They have a Japanese-style vegetable curry with rice and naan that’s quite good.
- Miguel’s El Dorado Cantina – Tortilla chips with salsa and guacamole is the only option.
- New York Deli – Ratatouille salad and french fries. We haven’t tried these.
- Mamma Biscotti’s Bakery – Pastries and cakes.
You can also try popcorn, churros, fruit, and ice-cream from the stands around the park. You might want to bring your own food, especially if you want something more than pizza or fries.
TDR Explorer has a comprehensive list of all the vegan and vegetarian food in DisneySea.
You can see all the Disney restaurant menus online. They are in Japanese so you’ll need to use Google Translate.
You can make reservations for table service restaurants on the day from 10am at the restaurant, but your choice of times will likely be limited. You can also book online on the Tokyo Disney website up to one month before, which I recommend if you want to eat at Ristorante di Canaletto.
Another good option outside the parks is Guzman y Gomez, a Mexican chain restaurant in the Ikispari shopping centre between Disneyland and Maihama Station. You can get vegetarian versions of all their dishes (burritos, nachos, tacos, etc.).
Although vegetarian Japanese dishes in DisneySea are limited, there is plenty of delicious vegetarian food in Tokyo that you can try during the rest of your stay.
Should You Visit Tokyo Disneyland or DisneySea?
If you only have one spare day in Tokyo we recommend DisneySea over Disneyland. It’s unlike any of the other parks in the world with incredible theming, whereas Tokyo Disneyland is a more traditional Disney like Disneyland California, Disneyland Paris and Magic Kingdom Orlando.
Attractions at DisneySea are more adult-orientated and you can even buy alcoholic drinks. We also find Disneyland to be even busier than DisneySea.
If you want to see all the classic Disney characters and Cinderella’s Castle, then Disneyland is for you. See our guide to the best Tokyo Disneyland rides for tips on planning your day.
Best of all, if you have two days to spare in your Japan itinerary we recommend visiting both!
And, if you are a theme park fan, we also love Universal in Osaka which has the brilliant Wizarding World of Harry Potter and the scariest rollercoaster we’ve ever been on (the rides are more intense than at Disney). Check out our favourite Universal Studios Japan rides.
How to Get to DisneySea
The nearest train station to Tokyo Disney is Maihama. From Maihama station to DisneySea you can take the Disney Resort Monorail to DisneySea Station (260 yen) which takes 10 minutes or you can walk (as we did) in about 15 minutes.
Allow about an hour to get from Shinjuku or Shibuya stations to DisneySea including transfer times and walking to the resort. You can use the Hyperdia website or app to check train times. Trains will be very busy in the morning rush hour.
If you are spending a few days in Tokyo, I recommend getting a Suica or Pasmo card, which you can top up and use as a ticket for all trains in Tokyo.
Tokyo Station to DisneySea
Take the JR Keiyo or JR Musashino line to Maihama. It takes about 15 minutes.
Shinjuku to DisneySea
Take the JR Chuo rapid line from Shinjuku to Tokyo then change to the JR Keiyo or JR Musashino line to Maihama. It takes about 30 minutes.
Shibuya to DisneySea
There are two options:
1) Take the JR Saikyo-Rinkai line to Shinkiba then change to the JR Keiyo line to Maihama. The Saikyo line technically ends at Osaki but some trains continue on the private Rinkai line to Shinkiba. This takes about 35 minutes.
We took this route to DisneySea as it’s fastest, but it has two downsides—trains don’t run that frequently so when we missed a train we had to wait 30 minutes for the next one, and it’s more expensive than JR lines (720 yen vs 410 yen for the whole journey).
2) Take the JR Yamanote line to Tokyo Station then change to the JR Keiyo or JR Musashino line to Maihama. It takes about 45 minutes.
We took the second route on our way back as it was late and the trains on route 1 are infrequent.
DisneySea is one of our favourite things to do in Tokyo and we highly recommend it, especially if you are a Disney fan. With excellent rides, impressive theming, and an incredible attention to detail it’s a day of pure magical fun.
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