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Just moved to Japan and trying to plan a trip the resort with the family.. Help?


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  • [Question] Just moved to Japan and trying to plan a trip the resort with the family.. Help?

    Hello everyone! My husband is in the Navy and he has been here in Japan since September but has stayed on base in Yokosuka the whole time waiting for us. (We were supposed to follow in October but it has been quite a mess getting the family out.. Yay Navy!) Anyhow, the kids and I have finally arrived last week Saturday and we are all -dying- to go to Tokyo Disneyland and Disney Sea and check it out. We saw the park as we drove home from the airport and my son squealed in excitement. So, moving on to the questions.. How viable would a one day per park trip be with a four year old and a one year old? I mean we can come back (almost) any time since we are living here for the next 3 years, but my husband does deploy.. So we want to try to see all we can with him. Is the year passes worth it? We are living near Yokosuka and my husband does deploy often.. I am unsure how often we would be able to use them since my son will be starting kindergarten this year. (Japanese school so he will follow the regular holidays and such.) We have no car.. Is the train difficult to take? Would you recommend a hotel for the second night and go home in the morning or train home that same night? Can anyone recommend any hotels? Most likely a non resort hotel for our first trip.. We spent a lot getting out here and getting a house (we live in town.. so expensive but worth it!). Any thing you would recommend -not- taking a four year old on? Both of my kids are super tall.. So I am not too worried on height restrictions.. But, I don't want to terrify him.. We took him on Splash Mountain at Disneyland in October and he was -not- a fan. Is it better to go on a week day? And does anyone happen to live nearby? I would love to meet up with some fellow Disney fans and start to make friends in this country! Thank you everyone!!

  • #2
    Re: Just moved to Japan and trying to plan a trip the resort with the family.. Help?

    I can't be of any help at all. But I, too, squealed in excitement.

    Having lived abroad in Paris, and having had Disneyland Paris for a while as a 'home park' made me feel like there was this little American colony where I could escape... not only back to America but back to Disney in America.

    What a dream, your spouse is working and earning a living, you can explore a new country with your children. And this country has a Disney resort where you can feel like you get to go "home" once in a while. Believe me, it adds to the enjoyment, particularly if you wait until you have had enough time in Japan to miss America. Although your husband is probably at that point about now!


    • #3
      Re: Just moved to Japan and trying to plan a trip the resort with the family.. Help?

      Konnichiwa! We lived at Yokota Air Base from 2007-2010 and are currently in Korea. We frequently went to TDR (Tokyo Disneyland Resort) while we were stationed in Japan and just went over for a visit around Christmas. My girls are 3 and 5 and were babies when we first started going, so I can answer lots of those kid related questions!

      Visit the Yokosuka Fleet and Family support center, I imagine they will have a map/instructions on how to reach the resort by train. You can also use the website, entering Yokosuka in the From box and Maihama (the Disney stop) in the To and it will also provide you with train schedules on how to get there and how much it will cost you. Just a tip about taking the train -- when you get to the Tokyo stop and have to transfer, this is a HUGE station. It could take 20 mins or so to get from the platform that you get off of to reach the platform you need for the Keiyo line out to Disney. There are areas that may not be exactly stroller friendly as an elevator or escalator may be out of sight or just out of the way. I have carried a stroller up and down stairs on more than one occasion there!

      The New Sanno is the Naval hotel down in Tokyo and you could stay there for less than $100 a night, however, I would recommend looking into the SunRoute Tokyo Hotel at the Disney resort Tokyo Disney Resort Official Hotel | Sunroute Plaza Tokyo,Japan This is one of the official Disney hotels located around the perimeter and really economical! They have free shuttles back and forth to the parks and it saves you navigating a train station and worrying about catching the train at the end of your park day!

      An annual pass for both parks right now runs close to $800. While we never purchased it while we were there, my husband has since said if we ever were to get stationed at Yokota again, we would probably do so. I know it sounds expensive, but I believe a 4 day park hopper is over $200, so if you think you might go more than 4 separate visits a year (and we would!!!) then it would be worth it.

      Hmm, what else? Oh, I'm just so excited for you! The Tokyo Disneyland Resort is truly a magical place. DisneySea is just beautiful and simply one-of-a-kind! Don't let the language barrier scare you -- you might run into a few hiccups, but most CMs either speak English or try really hard to help you! Stay for Fantasmic -- I've seen the Disneyland (Anaheim), Walt Disney World, and DisneySea versions and DisneySea is my favorite! I would have to recommend going during the week. The weekends can be busy, but if you go on say a Tuesday and Wednesday, crowds will be lower. It STILL can be crowded, especially now that the weather is warming up. Avoid Golden Week and the weekend after it (last week in April leading into May - very popular holiday in Japan). Right before we PCSed back to the states in 2010, we went in the middle of June and it was lovely. Now, you may have to experience some crowds as they are just about to start the 30th Year Anniversary celebration at Disneyland, but I say go anyway and do as much as you can. The Disneyland park is set up very similarly to Magic Kingdom with ToonTown still in tact with a few differences here and there. Try the flavored popcorn! They have different flavored popcorn all over the parks! Honey flavored popcorn is sold in front of the Winnie the Pooh ride and is a favorite. Popcorn buckets are extremely popular. Oh wow, I'm just starting to think about the food. I should save that for a separate entry.

      One other thing, though. Start socking some of that COLA away and save up so that you can stay at least one time at MiraCosta. It is amazing! We stayed there last December as part of a Christmas present to our family and, while expensive, we loved every minute of it!

      So, that's a start. I'm happy to answer any and all questions! We are thinking about trying to take a hop in May just to get back to go to Disney! As CaliforniaAdventurer was saying, there is some comfort in getting back to the familiar and Disney definitely does that!


      • #4
        Re: Just moved to Japan and trying to plan a trip the resort with the family.. Help?

        I don't have much too add, having not lived in Japan, but what a wonderful opportunity! I think if your budget allows and you think you can afford an annual pass, then go for it!
        Best wishes and please thank your husband for his service!


        • #5
          Re: Just moved to Japan and trying to plan a trip the resort with the family.. Help?

          I can't help with too much (Luckily LizCatMom appears to be very helpful ) but I would second the advice to go mid-week if possible, because crowds very much change the amount of attractions you can see in a day and the amount of energy you need to expend to do your must-dos.

          In terms of rides that may scare a four year old, it depends how much of a thrill seeker they are. [SMALL SPOILERS AHEAD] The mountains all have some form of drops/twists/turns, and I will warn that TDL Splash Mountain has a couple of extra little drops as well as the big one. Space Mountain tends to be less scary for some due to most movements occurring less sharply and in the dark (something about not seeing the next bit coming makes it feel less intense, unless of course you don't like the dark). Journey to the Centre of the Earth at DisneySea involves a rather convincing (but cool) monster and a short but slightly stomach churny drop toward the end (nothing nearly as bad as the Splash Mountain drop, but from memory done at a faster speed). I would also warn that the Snow White ride at TDL is the original scary version they had at the US parks before they toned it down, so the witch jumps out and surprises you a fair few times (she shocked me once or twice) and I have seen it creep out some young kids if they're not warned she will do that/it's meant to be a little scary.

          Overall it's really great fun and as long as you pace yourselves there's nothing stopping you all from having a fabulous time at TDR I myself will be doing just that in mid May (after Golden Week or course). Enjoy!


          • #6
            Re: Just moved to Japan and trying to plan a trip the resort with the family.. Help?

            Aw man.. My husband is getting leave during Golden Week!!! We were going to go to Tokyo and Tokyo Disneyland during his leave... Is it absolutely impossible? This is his only leave for quite some time..


            • #7
              Re: Just moved to Japan and trying to plan a trip the resort with the family.. Help?

              Originally posted by KittieKyo404 View Post
              Aw man.. My husband is getting leave during Golden Week!!! We were going to go to Tokyo and Tokyo Disneyland during his leave... Is it absolutely impossible? This is his only leave for quite some time..
              No, you should go. But, I will tell you to expect crowds. However, the crowds in Japan are generally very gracious and polite. There are a few differences such as picture taking with characters; back in the States, there is usually an orderly line, but in Japan when the characters just come out at random spots, it becomes more like a free-for-all, with people just jumping in to grab photos as soon as the person moves out of the shot. If you want photos with the characters, you have to be willing to jump in there. If you just stand back and keep waiting on "your turn" it may not happen. But, really go, come up with what are some of your "must dos" and consider that you may not get to do absolutely everything. You will probably have to wait longer in lines than what you may be accustomed to back in the States. Try to accept there will be differences, especially when it comes to the food. Yes, there are places to find the usual park fare such as hot dogs and hamburgers, but also be open to new flavors and just trying to stuff. Along the lines of food, here are some of our favorites:

              In DisneySea:
              Sailing Day Buffet in American Waterfront. We have done this on every single trip! A tip, though -- we often skip breakfast that day and then head to Sailing Day Buffet as soon as it opens. If you wait until closer to lunch time, the line will be just as long as if you were waiting for a ride.
              Casbah Foodcourt. This is in Arabian Coast. If you like curry and naan, this is quite tasty and the portions are a good size.
              Cape Cod Cookoff -- this is one of those "get your food and watch the show" type meals, featuring Mickey, Minnie, and Duffy
              Another good place to eat is between Indiana Jones and Raging Spirits -- Yucatan Base Camp Grill.
              One of the best snacks is simply the Gyoza Dog that you can get at one of those little food stands in Mysterious Island. Just look for the line of people and you have found Gyoza Dog.

              In Disneyland:
              Crystal Palace has a good buffet and depending on the time of year, may have little extras as part of the experience. When we went at Christmas, they had a "Decorate Your Own Cookie" as part of their desserts and my girls LOVED this!
              Blue Bayou is the restaurant that is attached to Pirates of the Caribbean and it is a nice break from the park.
              If your sweet tooth is calling out to you, they have the Great American Waffle company very near Pirates.
              If your kids are anything like mine and start to get a little picky, a good ol' hot dog can be found at the Refreshment Corner.
              We love the food and the atmosphere at Grandma Sarah's kitchen which seems like it is built right into the very side of Splash Mountain.
              I actually keep reading good things about the Queen of Heart's Banquet Hall in Fantasyland, but it seems like every time we make it over to that area, we've just eaten. Maybe next time.

              Don't even worry about buying tickets until you get there. We got there on a Sunday and took advantage of the Starlight (after 3) Passport for DisneySea and were amazed at how much we got done and if our dates work out for next time, we'll do that again! But, even if you can't do more than 2 days, you'll actually still get to do quite a bit. And you can tell yourself "we'll come back!"


              • #8
                Re: Just moved to Japan and trying to plan a trip the resort with the family.. Help?

                Let me add something else about the food. Kids KNOW what they like and you know what they like (or don't like). And, knowing that my 5 year old can be kinda picky when it came to different food, I just went ahead and packed her some things that I know she would eat instead of worrying about her not eating. Breakfast isn't hugely popular in the parks (at least not what we are used to as breakfast foods), so I packed her some Pop-Tarts and those little bagged muffins. I also threw in just a bunch of kid-friendly snacks -- Goldfish Crackers, those little cups of applesauce, raisins, those to-go cups of peanut butter -- yep, it all gets stashed in the backpack with an extra change of clothes and you are good to go!


                • #9
                  Re: Just moved to Japan and trying to plan a trip the resort with the family.. Help?

                  During Golden Week it can get to be "shoulder to shoulder" crowded. You might only get on 2-3 attractions the entire day. Expect incredibly long lines for everything including food.

                  If you don't buy your ticket ahead of time there is a good possibility the parks will reach capacity and you will not be able to get in. This can happen as early as 1-2 hours after park opening.

                  Since you are living in Japan and you have other chances to go to TDR, I would avoid Golden Week and plan for another time. I just don't think it will be enjoyable to you and your family because of the huge crowds that week.

                  You can read this website to get anther opinion about going to TDR during Golden Week.

                  Crowd Calendar : April to June 2013 | Tokyo Disney Resort Guide


                  • #10
                    Re: Just moved to Japan and trying to plan a trip the resort with the family.. Help?

                    If this is the only chance to go as a whole family, go. If it is busy and just get on a couple of rides. You can also enjoy the sights and people watch.
                    Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Visited/Future Visits:

                    Disneyland Resort: 1987/1989/1992/1994/2000/2011/2014/2016/2017

                    Walt Disney World Resort: ???

                    Tokyo Disney Resort: 2009

                    Disneyland Resort Paris: ???

                    Hong Kong Disneyland Resort: ???