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TravelGuide to visiting Tokyo Disney in 2024

Guide to visiting Tokyo Disney in 2024

If you like the U.S. Disney parks, the odds are high that you’ll love the two theme parks at the Tokyo Disney Resort.

Tokyo Disneyland opened in 1983 with a high standard, even by Disney’s notoriously high theme park standards. That commitment didn’t break, even as the construction budget ballooned past expectations. In 2001, Tokyo Disneyland was joined by the Tokyo DisneySea park, home to many ports and adventures set around the 189-foot Mount Prometheus volcano.


Along with the two Tokyo Disney theme parks are six Tokyo Disney Resort hotels and a monorail with access to many other nearby hotels. From can’t-miss rides and snacks to how to get tickets, where to stay and how to get around, here is what you need to know before visiting Tokyo Disney.

Tokyo Disney basics

Tokyo Disneyland is the original park in Tokyo Disney. It is a traditional Disney “castle park” with themed lands that may strike you as quite familiar, including Adventureland, Fantasyland, Tomorrowland, Toontown and more. The castle itself will likely look familiar as it is modeled after Cinderella Castle at Walt Disney World.

Don’t write it off as a replica of Disney World, though. It’s inspired by, but certainly not a copy of, the Florida park.

Two monorail stops away is the newer park, Tokyo DisneySea. This park is the most original of the two, and it’s unlike any Disney park you’ve seen before.


It’s also home to never-before-seen rides, such as Journey to the Center of the Earth and Sindbad’s Storybook Voyage, not to mention all the new rides in the new Fantasy Springs portion of the park.

There’s even an entire steam-powered ocean liner in the park. You can actually go inside to explore, eat, take selfies and make TikToks (which seem to be a very common pastime here).

How to get Tokyo Disney tickets

One of the best things about Tokyo Disney is that the tickets are much cheaper than Disney tickets in the U.S. Based on the current exchange rates, adult Tokyo Disney tickets start around $50 per day while teen and tween tickets are $42 and child tickets are just $30 per day.

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There are also evening tickets that start at $30 for adults. These tickets can be used from 5 p.m. onward during the week and 3 p.m. onward during the weekends and holidays.

Related: How to use miles to fly to Japan

You can purchase Tokyo Disney tickets online at the official Tokyo Disney Resort starting at 2 p.m., two months before your desired visit.

Note that tickets sometimes sell out. However, if you stay at a Tokyo Disney hotel, you are guaranteed access to tickets, which eliminates some stress. Additionally, don’t be surprised if the Tokyo Disney website (and many websites in Japan, frankly) is persnickety about accepting some U.S. credit cards.


The Chase Sapphire Reserve® and The Platinum Card® from American Express were pretty reliable in our experience, but you may have to try various cards to get the purchase to work as there’s not a fully consistent pattern of what will go through. If all else fails, the Klook app or website has Tokyo Disney tickets, among many other popular attractions in Japan; it is pretty reliable with U.S. credit cards. The downsides of booking with a third party are prices can be a bit higher, and dates can’t be changed once purchased.

Regardless of how you purchase your Tokyo Disney tickets, know that all tickets are single-day tickets; multi-day tickets aren’t currently available. Tickets are also limited to just a single park per day as well, with no park hopping offered.

How many days to spend at Tokyo Disney

Naturally, how much time someone wants to devote to visiting Tokyo Disney — especially when there is so much to see and do in Japan — will vary based on a long list of factors. However, if you really want to experience a good amount of what Tokyo Disney has to offer, you need at least one full day devoted to each park. Plan to stay from open to close.

But now that Fantasy Springs has opened in Tokyo DisneySea, you may very well need at least a half-day more than that to feel like you had enough time to do most of the unique rides and experiences there. So, we’d recommend at least two full days for Tokyo Disney and, ideally, three days if you want the luxury of time on your side.


That said, if you just want to take the train in and have one Tokyo Disney-themed day, you will still have fun. Instead of cramming everything in, just try to enjoy what you have time for on your trip. If you only have one day, we highly recommend arriving at least an hour before opening time to get in line and be ready to make the most of your time.

Just know that if all you get is a taste of Tokyo Disney, you may immediately start planning your next visit.

Getting to Tokyo Disney

If you are arriving at Tokyo Disney from Tokyo proper, taking the train is an inexpensive and efficient option. Two Japan Rail lines, JR Keiyo and JR Musashino, run from Tokyo Station at the city center to Maihama Station, right by Tokyo Disney.

The ride from Tokyo Station to Maihama Station takes 15 to 20 minutes. Guests traveling from other central areas of Tokyo will likely have a 10- to 30-minute train ride on other JR or subway lines to reach Tokyo Station first. Transiting the enormous Tokyo Station can be intimidating at first, as there are long walks, lots of escalators and moving sidewalks between connecting trains.


Trains also connect Tokyo Disney to Tokyo’s two major airports, Narita International Airport (NRT) and Haneda Airport (HND), but other transportation methods may be preferable with luggage and tired kiddos. The connections to Tokyo Disney from NRT, particularly, are far from ideal; it’ll be a long journey that requires backtracking.

Both of our families booked a private 45-60 minute van ride with Tokyo Airporter between our resort hotel and NRT — a pricey but convenient option with jet-lagged kids.

A more budget-friendly option at 1,300 Japanese yen (about $8) per person is the Airport Limousine bus. Service is more frequent from HND than NRT, but it drops off at many hotels near Tokyo Disney. Check schedules online (searching “Disney” in the destination filter will display most hotels near Tokyo Disney) to see if this option might work for you. Wait until you land in Tokyo to buy tickets for a specific departure.

Related: Beginner’s guide to visiting Tokyo

Where to stay at Tokyo Disney

If you are a big Disney fan (and you have the budget to stay at one of the Tokyo Disney hotels), we recommend one of the six official hotels. The 15-minute Happy Entry headstart it gets you each morning into the parks is a bigger deal than it sounds when it comes to knocking out one or two attractions before the crowds descend. Importantly, it also allows you to purchase Premier Access rides a bit earlier than most of the crowd, as you must be in the park to do that.

Of course, other options are nearby, too, if you’re not all-in on Disney or want to use traditional hotel points for this part of your trip.

If you want to stay at an official Tokyo Disney hotel, bookings open four months in advance for a hotel room and between five and six months in advance for a vacation package. Packages can make sense if you plan to use all of the inclusions — such as tickets, rides and popcorn — especially with the Fantasy Springs passport, which can help you enjoy that part of the park.

Tokyo Disneyland Hotel

The Tokyo Disneyland Hotel is classified in the deluxe tier of hotels (second only to the luxury tier, which is home to just a portion of the new Fantasy Springs Hotel). It’s so close to Tokyo Disneyland that you can almost smell the popcorn from within the park. This Victorian-style hotel gives off strong Walt Disney World Grand Floridian vibes. However, it offers some interesting themed rooms (Beauty and the Beast, Tinker Bell and Alice in Wonderland) that are very much worth it in our view.

Prices here start around around $400 per night.

Tokyo DisneySea Hotel MiraCosta

Also in the deluxe hotel tier, Tokyo DisneySea Hotel MiraCosta has its own entrance into the connected DisneySea park. Plus, its rooms offer a view of the park — you can sleep with one eye on the magic all night if you want. It’s a Roman-style hotel that carries mythical stories of the sea into the lobby and rooms.

Rooms with a view into the park are worth it if you can book one, but these sell out very quickly; don’t miss the booking window when it opens. Note: Aside from a very small selection of packaged items in the market, there are no real grab-and-go food options in the hotel.

Tokyo Disney Fantasy Springs Hotel

Tokyo Disney Fantasy Springs Hotel is Tokyo Disney’s newest hotel and the only one with some of its offerings in the highest luxury tier.

This hotel offers deluxe and luxury rooms, and the luxury rooms offer balconies with views over the new Fantasy Springs port. Hotel guests will enjoy the feeling of checking into Fantasy Springs upon arrival at the hotel; it offers beautiful theming and some rockwork views that are only accessible to hotel guests. Once the sun sets and the guests leave DisneySea, look over Fantasy Springs from your balcony or one of the hotel’s many public areas to enjoy the sparkle of the now-empty Fantasy Springs.

The bad news about Tokyo Disney Fantasy Springs Hotel is that, at least for now, this is the hottest ticket in town. Snagging a reservation here is harder than getting a face-value Taylor Swift ticket in the U.S.

Other Official Tokyo Disney hotels

In addition to those three official hotels, there is also the Disney Ambassador Hotel (deluxe tier), Tokyo Disney Resort Toy Story Hotel (moderate tier) and Tokyo Disney Celebration Hotel (value tier). These are generally less expensive than the three above, especially the Toy Story- and Celebration-themed properties. However, none are super close to the parks, so factor that into your decision-making.

You’ll likely take the Disney monorail to visit the parks for the first two hotels, and you’ll likely take a shuttle bus to the Tokyo Disney Celebration Hotel.

Other nearby hotels

If none of the official Disney hotels is the right choice for your trip, 19 other Good Neighbor and Partner hotels offer amenities such as shuttle buses to the parks or resort monorail. Such options include Hilton Tokyo Bay Hotel (which is right next to Tokyo Disney’s Toy Story-themed hotel) and the Sheraton Grande Tokyo Bay.

How to get around Tokyo Disney

Once you arrive at the Tokyo Disney property, it’s quite easy and efficient to get around.

Tokyo Disney has its own monorail, which makes a loop and has four stations, bringing you to the two theme parks and the resort hotels. This loop is roughly the same size and scale as the Magic Kingdom monorail loop at Disney World in Florida, but it has an additional theme park and more hotels on the same loop.


Unlike Disneyland and Disney World in the U.S., the monorail is not free. It is highly affordable at 300 yen (less than $2) per ride, but you’ll need to purchase tickets or daypasses at one of the stations to ride. You can’t use a credit card to purchase your tickets, so you’ll need an alternate way to pay, such as yen or a Suica card.

Daypasses are generally more economical if you plan to take the monorail more than twice in a single day. Transit cards like Suica and PASMO (valid on Japan’s other public transit services like trains and subways) also work to pay monorail fares.

While most guests will likely need to take the monorail some of the time, some resort destinations are within walking distance of each other. For example, it’s a relatively easy 10-minute walk between Maihama Station and both Tokyo Disneyland Park and the Tokyo Disneyland Hotel. Reaching DisneySea or many other hotels from any of these locations, however, requires a monorail ride.

Tokyo Disney crowds — and how to minimize your time in line

Tokyo Disney has developed a bit of a reputation for crushing crowds and extraordinarily long lines. Located in the world’s largest metropolitan area, the resort undoubtedly draws a jaw-dropping number of people on any given day.


Despite what some posted wait times might suggest, you don’t need to resign yourself to standing in two-hour queues. With some research and strategy preparation, our families never waited more than 30 minutes in like for any single attraction.

The key to avoiding long attraction queues is maximizing Tokyo Disney’s two cut-the-line options: Premier Access (available for a per-ride fee) and 40th Anniversary Priority Pass (free). Premier Access functions similarly to paid Lightning Lanes in the U.S. parks, and the 40th Anniversary Priority Pass works like a free version of Disney Genie+.

Free 40th Anniversary Priority Pass

The 40th Anniversary Priority Pass works much like Genie+, but this version is free. You can get one ride pass upon entering the park in the morning. Then, you can get subsequent ones 120 minutes after the last one or when the return time opens for the last one you’ve obtained. With these, you cannot choose the return time and simply get the next available slot for your chosen attraction.

It’s reasonable to assume that if you start right at the park opening, you’ll be able to probably get two of these in a day — three if you are lucky. Be sure to prioritize the one you want the most as they do “sell out.”

Eligible 40th Anniversary Priority Pass attractions include:

  • Tokyo Disneyland: Space Mountain
  • Tokyo Disneyland: Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters
  • Tokyo Disneyland: Star Tours: The Adventure Continues
  • Tokyo Disneyland: Haunted Mansion
  • Tokyo Disneyland: Pooh’s Honey Hunt
  • Tokyo Disneyland: Big Thunder Mountain
  • Tokyo Disneyland: Monsters, Inc. Ride Go & Seek
  • Tokyo DisneySea: Nemo & Friends SeaRider
  • Tokyo DisneySea: Aquatopia (from July 2 through Sept. 18, 2024, only)
  • Tokyo DisneySea: Raging Spirits
  • Tokyo DisneySea: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
  • Tokyo DisneySea: The Magic Lamp Theater
  • Tokyo DisneySea: Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Crystal Skull
  • Tokyo DisneySea: Turtle Talk

There are also character meet and greets available with the Priority Pass, so don’t forget to get one of those if you’re dreaming of that photo with Mickey, Minnie or friends.

Premier Access (paid)

Then there’s the paid Premier Access system, which works a lot like individual Lightning Lanes for the most popular rides in the U.S. If you are coming all the way to Japan and want to ride some top rides, you want to buy Premier Access.

You can purchase your first one as soon as you enter the park and then can continue buying more (to the same or different rides) either 60 minutes after your last purchase or after the start time of your last purchased Premier Access Pass, whichever is earlier. You can also have a Premier Access Pass at the same time as an attraction for a parade or show. You can have them at the same time as the free 40th-Anniversary Priority Passes.

Here are the eligible rides and shows for Premier Access:

  • Tokyo Disneyland: Enchanted Tale of Beauty and the Beast (2,000 yen, which is about $13)
  • Tokyo Disneyland: The Happy Ride with Baymax (1,500 yen, which is about $10)
  • Tokyo Disneyland: Splash Mountain (1,500 yen, which is about $10)
  • Tokyo DisneySea: Anna and Elsa’s Frozen Journey (2,000 yen, which is about $13)
  • Tokyo DisneySea: Rapunzel’s Lantern Festival (2,000 yen, which is about $13)
  • Tokyo DisneySea: Peter Pan’s Never Land Adventure (2,000 yen, which is about $13)
  • Tokyo DisneySea: Soaring: Fantastic Flight (2,000 yen, which is about $13)
  • Tokyo DisneySea: Toy Story Mania! (2,000 yen, which is about $13)
  • Tokyo DisneySea: Tower of Terror(1,500 yen, which is about $10)
  • Tokyo DisneySea: Journey to the Center of the Earth (1,500 yen, which is about $10)

In our experience, if you start purchasing Premier Access passes right at park opening and continue to do so once per hour (or sooner, if your start time is sooner), you’ll likely be able to purchase about three in one day before they sell out. This was true before the opening of Fantasy Springs, so it could change now that the number available at DisneySea has almost doubled. However, start for sure with the one or two rides you want to prioritize for that day.

Early Happy Entry

Another way to avoid some of the most notorious crowds is to stay at one of the deluxe Disney-branded hotels and use the Happy Entry perk.

Depending on the hotel you stay in and the date of your visit, you can get early access to one or both parks via “Happy Entry.” Check the fine print carefully as the opening of Fantasy Springs is changing what hotels offer this benefit for each park on different days.

We were at the front of the early entry access with Happy Entry and lining up early. SUMMER HULL/THE POINTS GUY

The head start is only 15 extra minutes, but it can make a world of difference. Happy Entry guests enter through separate checkpoints and can dash to one popular attraction to start the morning with a short standby wait. Additionally, Happy Entry guests can begin making ride reservations with Premier Access and 40th Anniversary Priority Pass upon entry, getting an important jump on other guests.

That means you can get a short wait for one ride while you get the first pick on two other rides with the paid and free passes — all in the first few minutes before the official opening time.

If you’re not eligible for the Happy Entry benefit, you should expect a massive crowd outside the parks before the gates open each day. If you want to be at the front of those crowds, it’s necessary to arrive up to several hours before park opening. Thankfully, Tokyo Disney Resort is highly efficient at processing what may appear to be an intimidating number of guests, even if you arrive closer to opening time.

Pre-opening crowd lineup. SUMMER HULL/THE POINTS GUY

Of course, there are times when the crowds can be unbearable. The Golden Week holidays in late April and early May have historically been the most crowded. The opening of Fantasy Springs in early June 2024 will also likely lead to an unprecedented surge in demand at Tokyo DisneySea through the summer and beyond. Regardless of which season you visit, we highly recommend avoiding weekend days.

Must-do Tokyo Disney rides and shows

Quite a few of the attractions in Tokyo Disneyland will look familiar to guests who know the U.S. parks well. There are classics like It’s a Small World, Peter Pan and Pirates of the Caribbean.

However, most guests visit to experience Tokyo Disney’s more interesting attractions, and the two parks boast an impressive list of rides and experiences available nowhere else. Not surprisingly, these attractions tend to have the longest lines. A smart strategy to get aboard most of them without long waits is essential.

One of Tokyo Disneyland’s newest and most popular attractions is Enchanted Tale of Beauty and the Beast. It’s within Beast’s Castle (a 2020 expansion to Fantasyland), and guests glide along in a trackless teacup ride vehicle through scenes from the movie populated with realistic Audio-Animatronic characters.

Also popular is Pooh’s Hunny Hunt, which was the first Disney attraction ever to use trackless technology. Guests will also want to make time for the Happy Ride with Baymax (similar to Alien Swirling Saucers or Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree) and Monsters, Inc. Hide and Go Seek (a substantial improvement on Disneyland’s Monster’s, Inc. dark ride). It’s not a particularly amazing ride, but it’s an amazing atmosphere, so go watch others ride if you don’t have time to do so yourself.

In Tokyo DisneySea, the top thrill ride is Journey to the Center of the Earth, a dark ride and coaster that winds through Mount Prometheus before its thrilling drop ends.

Milder but still cool DisneySea rides include 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Sindbad’s Storybook Voyage, Nemo & Friends: SeaRider and Aquatopia. Tokyo DisneySea also has its own Tower of Terror complete with a totally different theme and storyline that shouldn’t be missed.

Within Fantasy Springs, there are four new attractions — Peter Pan’s Never Land Adventure, Rapunzel’s Lantern Festival, Fairy Tinker Bell’s Busy Buggies, and Anna and Elsa’s Frozen Journey — that you’ll want to include in your itinerary.


While many guests to Disney parks prioritize rides, they shouldn’t overlook Tokyo Disney’s shows and entertainment. These offerings are far more substantial than those in the U.S. parks.

The most talked-about show is Big Band Beat in Tokyo DisneySea, which uses a lottery-style “Entry Request” system to distribute seats. Yes, that’s separate from the Premier Access and 40th Anniversary Priority Pass we’ve been talking about.

Some shows, such as the popular Duffy and Friends’ Wonderful Friendship, are only available to guests who book a dining reservation at the associated restaurant (more on dining below).

Tokyo Disneyland Park traditionally has a daytime and evening parade as well as evening fireworks. Tokyo DisneySea also features a nighttime spectacular on the water. You can purchase Premier Access reserved “seating” for either of those.


Thankfully, attending parades is a very organized process in Tokyo Disney. In the hour or two before the show, it is quite common to see families sitting along the parade route.


Best meals and snacks in Tokyo Disney

Tokyo Disney Resort offers a somewhat overwhelming array of dining options, and most non-local guests won’t have time to sample more than a couple of the many dozens of restaurants.

Like the U.S. parks, Tokyo Disney has quick- and table-service restaurants. The resort also offers a few entertainment dining restaurants that combine a meal with a stage show featuring character performers.

Getting dining reservations for the most popular table-service and show-dining restaurants is at least as competitive as for Disney World or Disneyland.

Show dining reservations open at 9 a.m. local time exactly one month in advance. All other table service restaurant reservations open one hour later at 10 a.m. The demand regularly crashes the Tokyo Disney website and app. Be prepared not to get your first (or maybe even your second or third) choice.

If this process doesn’t sound like your idea of fun vacation planning, know that it’s not necessary to make dining reservations at all. There are plenty of tasty, quick-service meals and snacks to enjoy. One of us battled the website and snagged some (but not all) of the more competitive table service restaurants like Magellan’s, Teddy Roosevelt Lounge, Blue Bayou and Mickey’s Rainbow Luau.

But one of us opted out of this rat race and ate only quick service and snacks in the park instead; this led to more flexibility, lower prices and still some pretty solid food.

For some of the quick-service options, you can use the mobile ordering option in the app, which works somewhat similarly to the U.S. Disney parks. This isn’t available at every quick-service restaurant; still, it’s available at enough of them to keep you happy and avoid wasting precious time in line. We used it to receive this quick order from Plasma Ray’s Diner in Tokyo Disneyland.


When it comes to snacks, Tokyo Disney has a fair number of reasonably priced and adorable snacks for dining on the go. The most visible and beloved snack is undoubtedly popcorn. Popcorn carts are in nearly every land in both parks, and queues often rival the lines for popular attractions.

Each cart offers a different flavor, from the sweet to the savory. Some of the flavors available in 2024 include curry, caramel, chocolate, black pepper, garlic shrimp and matcha white chocolate. You can afford to sample a few at 400 yen (about $3) per box.

Tokyo Disney also offers several other snacks that will be familiar to guests who have visited the U.S. Disney parks. These options include churros and turkey legs. (Insider tip we learned the hard way: Skip the potato churro and opt for the traditional cinnamon-sugar one instead. Along with many other snacks here, it comes in a Mickey shape.)

Unique to Tokyo Disney are the often-Instagrammed Toy Story Green Alien Mochi dumplings.


Is it worth it to visit Tokyo Disney?

Japan has more to offer than you could ever enjoy all in one visit, so it can be tough to decide whether it’s worth devoting some of your precious time there to a theme park visit. Nothing is right for everyone, but if you even remotely like the U.S. Disney parks, then Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea are worth the time.


Some things will feel very familiar if you are used to the U.S. Disney parks (which can be a nice break while in a part of the world that is so distinct from home). However, many other things are unique to Tokyo Disney, and both of our Disney-loving families found the visit very much worth the time and money.


Visitors can sit on the ground to watch the shows and parades, capitalize on the affordable prices, sample interesting snacks, enjoy high-quality and original rides, meet the adorable Duffy and friends characters, and stay in interesting hotels. So, even after devoting multiple days to Tokyo Disney, we all left wishing we could stay for more.

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