Tokyo Disney Resort - Part 1: Getting There and Getting Settled
Disney Parks Around the Globeby Bernie Edwards, PassPorter Guest Contributor
Last modified 03-07-2013
I recently got a chance to travel to Tokyo, Japan and while there I had some free time to explore the Tokyo Disney Resort.
In this article, I'm going to discuss the resort in general starting with how to get there.
Tokyo is supported by two international airports: Tokyo International Airport, also known as Haneda Airport, and Nartia International Airport. Most flights from the United States fly into Narita Airport, which is located about 60 Km (35.3 miles) northeast of the Tokyo Disney Resort. Assuming you are staying at the Tokyo Disney Resort, your first step, after going through immigration and customs, will be getting there. Tokyo is famous for having one of the most extensive, efficient, and safest train and subway systems in the world. You can easily get anywhere in the city by rail, but the easiest way to get to the resort for a newcomer to Japan is to take a "limousine bus" directly from the airport to the resort. However, that only works if you arrive before 3:30 pm; if you arrive after that you will most likely miss the last bus, which leaves just after 5 pm. In that case, I would recommend taking the Narita Express train from the airport to Tokyo Station, a major rail and subway station in downtown Tokyo. In fact, for those visitors who have a hotel elsewhere in Tokyo and want to visit the Tokyo Disney Resort for the day, the first step is to take a train or subway to Tokyo Station. From Tokyo Station, you can take another train on the JR Keiyo (easiest) or JR Musashino lines to the Maihama Station. Maihama Station is is the gateway to the Tokyo Disneyland Resort and is a short 15-minute ride from Tokyo Station on an express or commuter rapid train on the JR Keiyo line. In my opinion, the least appealing option is a taxi from Narita Airport, as it will easily cost over $250 and take between 60 and 90 minutes to get to Tokyo Disney Resort.
Maihama Station is located right outside Ikspiari, which is a variation on the Downtown Disney shopping, dining, and entertainment district that we are familiar with at Disneyland and Walt Disney World. Ikspiari feels more like a local outdoor shopping center or mall with open-air walkways rather than something that is "Disney," but it does have a large Disney specialty shop called Bon Voyage! However, Bon Voyage! is nothing like the World of Disney at Disneyland and Walt Disney World. I think all of the merchandise sold in Bon Voyage! could easily fit in one small area of the World of Disney store at Downtown Disney in Florida. In fact, I had trouble finding typical souvenirs such as t-shirts, shirts, sweatshirts, and hats throughout the Tokyo Disney Resort. I had requests from several friends but the only item I was able to find on the list was Vinylmation, and they only offered two different ones! You can easily find snack items, however, such as rice crackers, rice cakes, cookies, and chips, especially seafood-flavored chips.
The Tokyo Disney Resort is owned and operated by the Oriental Land Company with a license from The Walt Disney Company, and consists of three official Disney resort hotels, six independent official hotels, the Ikspiari shopping area, and two theme parks: Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea. All areas of the resort are linked by the Disney Resort Line Monorail. There are four monorail stations: Disneyland Station, Resort Gateway Station at Ikspiari, Bayside Station, and DisneySea Station. Legally, the monorail is built as a "railway" and thus tickets have to be purchased to travel on it. You can buy a ticket for each ride or buy multi-use or multi-day tickets. The three Disney hotels are the Disney Ambassador Hotel, the Disney MiraCosta Hotel, and the Tokyo Disneyland Hotel. Disney's MiraCosta Hotel acts as the entrance to Tokyo DisneySea and is an especially stunning hotel in my opinion, with some guest rooms overlooking the park itself; if your budget allows, I would definitely recommend staying there. My second choice would be the Tokyo Disneyland Hotel, which is Victorian-themed and located right outside the monorail station for Tokyo Disneyland and the park turnstiles. The six independent official hotels are the Hilton Tokyo Bay, the Hotel Okura Tokyo Bay, the Tokyo Bay Maihama Hotel, the Tokyo Bay Maihama Hotel Club Resort, the Sheraton Grande Tokyo Bay Hotel, and the Sunroute Plaza Tokyo. The Hilton and Sheraton are similar to their typical counterparts in the United States and are located within walking distance of the Bayside Station on the Disney Resort Line Monorail.
After checking-in at your hotel, your next step will be to purchase park tickets, if you haven't already purchased them online. Park ticket options are different than they are at Disneyland and Walt Disney World. You can purchase a single-day ticket to either Tokyo Disneyland or Tokyo DisneySea, but you can't purchase a single-day park hopper. You can purchase a multi-day ticket, but you have to visit the parks on consecutive days; you can't take a "day off" to relax at your hotel. Furthermore on the first day you have to visit one park and on the second day the other park; on days three and four you are allowed to park hop between the two. With a park ticket in hand, you are finally ready to explore Tokyo Disneyland or Tokyo DisneySea.
Note that most ATM machines in Japan do not accept cards from the United States, so be sure to bring some cash with you to exchange, or purchase Japanese Yen in the United States. However, you typically get a better rate by exchanging money in Japan. If you need an ATM machine that will accept a US bankcard, look for a 7-Eleven convenience store or ATM machine; their logo in Japan is the same as it is in the United States. 7-Eleven ATM machines will accept most US bankcards and are on the typical bank networks used in the United States.
Tokyo is a leading global city, and an amazing city to visit. There are plenty of activities for the entire family to enjoy. Of course, the Tokyo Disney Resort is a big draw for any Disney fan. Tokyo DisneySea is a unique and amazing park that doesn't exist elsewhere. If you ever get a chance to visit, even if just for a few hours, go! You won't regret it! In an upcoming article, I will describe my experiences in both theme parks.
Updated 03-07-2013 - Article #915
by PassPorter Travel Press, an imprint of MediaMarx, Inc.
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