Tokyo Disney Sea (Part 1)

While preparing our Tokyo travel itinerary, I wasn’t sure if I should include Tokyo Disney Sea. Mike, Eric, Paula, and I went to Hong Kong Disneyland just 8 months before going to Japan. Two Disneyland trips in just one year might be a bit redundant. Besides, Disneyland might just be a lot like Disney Sea, right?

Was I wrong!

Tokyo Disney Sea stands out from all other Disneyland parks because of its “nautical exploration” theme. It is comprised of of seven themed ports of call – Mediterranean Harbor, American Waterfront, Port Discovery, Lost River Delta, Arabian Coast, Mermaid Lagoon, and Mysterious Island. As you would probably have guessed from the name “Disney Sea,” many of the rides take place on water or are inspired by the legends of the sea.

There is only one Tokyo Disney Sea in Japan and in the world!  That alone makes it unique, and that should convince you to not miss it when you go to Japan.

We set off for the park and decided to take the train from Shinjuku, following these instructions from the Tokyo Disney Sea official website:

Photo Credit: http://www.tokyodisneyresort.jp/en/access/
Photo Credit: http://www.tokyodisneyresort.jp/en/access/

To summarize, this was the route we were going to take:

1. Take JR Yamanote line bound for Shinjuku / Shibuya, and get off at Shinjuku station (1st stop)
2. Take JR Chuo line bound for Tokyo, and get off at Tokyo station (4th stop)
3. Transfer to JR Keiyo / Musashino line bound for Soga and get off at Maihama station
4. Walk to the Tokyo Disney Land gate

Somehow, we got lost… or at least we thought we were lost. I’m not sure, actually. Anyway, a kind businessman who was on the same train we were in started chatting Paula up and told us that we can get off at Ochano-Mizu station and then get off at Tokyo station. I don’ know if his way was better and faster, but we got to our destination, and that’s what matters!

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Upon arriving at Maihama station, we first grabbed a quick bite at Beckers Burgers, a burger joint operated by Japan Railways (JR), Japan’s largest train operator. We knew that a meal in Tokyo Disney Sea would cost an arm and leg, so we got something cheap to eat first.

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Nothing special but it was still pretty good and tasty, and it did make me feel full! I ordered the set meal with bacon cheeseburger, fries, two pieces of chicken nuggets, and a side dish of macaroni and cheese for JPY 660.
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I wasn’t sure if we could bring food from outside in the park but I couldn’t finish my burger and I didn’t want to just throw it away so I stuffed it in my coat. Now I have burger boobs!

From the Maihama station, we walked to the Tokyo Disneyland gate and made our way to the Resort Gateway Station, where we took the monorail to the park via the Disney Resort Line. When we visited in November, the station was already adorned with Christmas decors.

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Christmas is coming!
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Just like everywhere else in Japan, the Disney Resort Line station is spotless!
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Here comes our ride!
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Our monorail looks like a bee!
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Just like the monorail in other Disneyland parks, the windows are shaped like Mickey Mouse’s head…
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…and has Mickey Mouse hand rails too!

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A view of Tokyo Disney Hotel from the monorail

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Hotel Okura
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A cute Disney van entering Hotel Okura
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Puffed up with Paula

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Me being clingy

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Mickey madness with Mike

We finally arrived at Tokyo Disney Sea — and we were mesmerized! Suddenly, it was like we were no longer in Tokyo (although we were mesmerized by Tokyo too!). It was as if we were transported to the Mediterranean, overlooking Spanish- or Tuscan-inspired terra cotta stucco homes with red tiled roofs.

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Wow!!!
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The Tokyo Disney Sea Aquasphere
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Mike pointing at his hometown, Australia

Park guests can choose from a variety of park tickets, depending on how many days you want to spend in Tokyo Disney Sea. We were laughing about the idea of getting a 2-Day, 3-Day, or 4-Day passport, saying “Wow, 4 whole days at Disney! Can’t get enough!” But after we visited, we were no longer laughing. The park is so big and rich in attractions that a 1-Day passport is not even enough to cover everything especially if you arrive late. We arrived after lunch (coz our pals Eric and Paula were having such a good sleep!), which I wouldn’t recommend. If you are planning to spend only one day at the park, make sure you get there as soon as it opens to really make the most of your stay. I must warn you: the lines for the rides are bloody long, no matter what day you go! (We went on a Tuesday). This is also the reason why we only got to go on a few rides, because a bulk of our time was spent standing in line, sometimes, for an hour! It might be a good idea to get a FastPass so you can skip the long queues.

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We’re here!

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It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas at Tokyo Disney Sea

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I feel like I’m in the Amalfi Coast

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As you enter the park, you will pass by the Mediterranean Harbor, which resembles an Italian port city, where you will see guests enjoying a relaxing ride on Venetian gondolas on a large lagoon.

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A stroll along the Mediterranean harbor

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A date in Venezia, sort of

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On the left is the DisneySea Transit Steamer Line, which takes passengers on a tranquil 7-minute ride from the dock to the farthest port of Lost River Delta.
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Travel to Venice, Italy as the friendly gondoliers of Tokyo Disney Sea take you around the canals via a lovely gondola ride. Here are some happy passengers enjoying their gondola ride as they breathe and savor the cool and fresh air and listen to the soft lapping sounds of the water.
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I was once a gondolier and my job was pretty easy because I just rowed in an indoor canal. These guys have a harder job because they’re rowing in a huge lagoon and they have to row against the wind!
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A crowd gathers as they wait for a show to start

The American Waterfront, which is like Tokyo Disney Sea’s version of Disneyland’s “Main Street,” represents the northeastern coast or waterfront of the USA in the early 20th century. This site is famous for its street performers and live entertainment.

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The American Waterfront
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McDuck’s Department Store
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You can find these snazzy 20th Century Big City Vehicles on the American Waterfront and go for a 10-minute drive through the streets of NYC.
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New York, New York!

At the Toyville Trolley Park located at the American Waterfront, Toy Story fans will go crazy for the Toy Story Mania ride. According to the official Tokyo Disney Sea website, at the Toy Story Mania ride, “guests are asked to wear 3-D glasses during their ride of the spinning vehicles that travel through virtual environments based on classic carnival games set up. There are shooters on the vehicles to let guests to shoot targets in those 3-D games like ‘egg toss’ and ‘balloon pop.'” Unfortunately, we didn’t get to ride because of the long waiting time.

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My, what a big mouth you have! When you stand in front of Woody’s giant head and mouth, you will feel like you are but a tiny toy!

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A couple of lolitas strolling around the American Waterfront

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One of the most famous attractions at the American Waterfront is the Tower of Terror, a 2-minute free fall ride from the top floor of the elevator of an old hotel named “Tower of Terror” because of the strange and unexplained disappearance of its owner. Passengers are strapped on to their seats as they are taken on a quick tour of the hotel. Tension builds up as they slowly ascend to the highest point of the hotel, and you will hear the passengers’ screams as they rapidly drop to the ground. I wish this thrilling ride was longer!

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The Tower of Terror
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Lining up inside the Tower of Terror was really like stepping inside an old hotel. It was pretty entertaining because there was a lot to look at.
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I know that guy! No, not my fiance! The guy in the painting! That’s Lord Henry Mystic from the Mystic Manor ride at Hong Kong Disneyland! But where is his monkey friend, Albert? He’s still in this attraction, but this time, the cheeky monkey from the Mystic Manor turned into an evil maniac murderer monkey! And he is REALLY creepy!
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The Bell Captain’s counter
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Not really sure, but it could be Isis from mythology
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It’s a shame we can’t sit here while falling in line! It looks comfy.
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“The world is mine oyster which I with sword will open.” – William Shakespeare
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Someone looks cranky
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Ramses II from Egypt
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Dawg!
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These two have forgotten that this is a place for children!

The next port of call that we visited was the Port Discovery, which is Tokyo Disney Sea’s answer to Disneyland’s “Tomorrowland” because of its futuristic rides, such as the Aquatopia, a 3-person ride where passengers spin around on a wide lagoon in all directions. This was a cool ride!

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This ride was really a lot of fun because we didn’t know where we were going exactly, and we didn’t know if we were going to hit the waterfalls and get soaked!
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After riding the Aquatopia, we bumped into this “Incredible” guy — Mr. Incredible!

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We also tried the StormRider. The name of the ride pretty much says it all — you board a vessel called a “StormRider” and ride into a tempestuous storm. Like Disneyland’s “Space Mountain,” this ride has plenty of tossing, turning, and delving into the darkness. You could get a little dizzy and it’s not really the most suitable ride for people with heart, neck, or back problems, but if you are looking for a little speed, this ride is the one for you.

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Entering the Center for Weather Control. They are responsible for the “Storm Diffusion Device” which, literally diffuses storms when it goes off in the midst of a storm.

Next, we made our way to the Lost River Delta. Within this port of call lies its most outstanding landmark, a doomed Aztec pyramid which happens to be the home of the ride Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Crystal Skull.

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Inside the Aztec Temple is a Fountain of Youth, guarded by a very wrathful Crystal Skull. A man named Paco has started conducting tours inside the temple without Dr. Indiana Jones’ knowledge or approval, and this gets the Crystal Skull hot under the colllar.

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We zigzagged around inside the pyramid and passed through numerous skulls figures, elaborate murals, intricate carvings, and corridors and ceilings draped with trellises. Every minute detail inside the pyramid is so painstakingly thought out, that braving the long lines becomes more bearable (even pleasurable!) because the ornate interiors give visitors a good look at the well-defined architecture of this attraction.

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So much skulls! It’s called “Temple of the Crystal Skull,” after all
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Can you imagine swinging on those trellises? Now that’s an Indiana Jones adventure!
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Look at those intricate carvings!
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A closer look to help you appreciate the details
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I didn’t notice the hand holding the dragon by the neck before until I saw this photo
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These guys weren’t too lucky
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The dragon watches the visitors falling in line from above, and he is not happy to see them!
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The writings on the chalkboard of what looks like an old, abandoned work space give visitors a hint that someone was trying to figure out the meaning of the details and symbols found in the temple. Notes such as “Is this glyph related to feathered serpent on relief from Yaxchilan?,” “Top symbol is key to location referred to in phrase,” and “What is this? Another version of plasma coming out of skull” are scrawled on the board.

 

After walking around, we hopped on a wagon which took us on a bumpy and speedy ride as we passed through walls etched with carvings and adorned with vines. We went through darkness and held on to the rails as we jerked up and down, as well as left and right from the rough ride. Then we came face to face with an angry-looking skull glaring at us with a blazing blue ray of light from each of its eyes. We were greeted by skulls and creepy crawlies, we were startled by flashes of light and lightning bolts, we went past a big gust of smoke and fire, and we got to meet Mr. Indiana Jones himself!

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The Aztec pyramid is remarkable during the day but even more magnificent at night

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I’m going to end this blog post with the prettiest Tokyo Disney Sea Port of Call: none other than… The Mermaid Lagoon! Ariel is my favorite Disney Princess and just seeing her gorgeous underwater palace from afar made me want to cry tears of joy! I know, I know, I’m a child.

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Ariel’s home! It’s so gorgeous!

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Flounder’s Flying Fish Coaster
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I can almost hear Ariel sing “Wish I could be… part of that world!”
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Everything in this attraction is so pretty… even the fountains!
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“Look at this stuff! Isn’t it neat?” It sure is!
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It’s King Triton!
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And this is his kingdom!

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I was blown away by the outside of the Mermaid Lagoon but when I stepped inside, I felt like I was in a dream! I thought, “So this is what it’s like to be in the kingdom under the sea!” Everything was so incredibly beautiful and I was enchanted by the dazzling colors, festive lights, and charming attractions. I’ve seen The Little Mermaid so many times when I was a kid and to see it come to life through this stunning attraction was just so amazing even though most, if not all of the rides are for babies or children.

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Blowfish Balloon Race
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Fat blowfish!

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The Whirlpool

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Inside Ariel’s Playground
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Inside the Mermaid Lagoon is the Mermaid Lagoon Theater where the characters from The Little Mermaid will serenade you with popular songs from the movie

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Jumpin’ Jellyfish ride
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I want to pinch the cheeks of this snail!
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Hungry and looking for something to eat under the sea? Try Sebastan’ Calypso Kitchen which serves snacks like burgers, sandwiches, and pizza
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Inside Sebastian’s Calypso Kitchen
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Mermaid Lagoon Souvenir Shop
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Ariel dolls!
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A caricaturist draws portraits of visitors just outside the Mermaid Lagoon souvenir shop
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I’m a little distracted by his super shiny head
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Found this little submarine under the sea

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Mike and Prince Eric, who is looking very much like Emily Rose in this photo
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We also found this cute sea-themed popcorn stand. We were looking for the Ariel ice cream which my friend recommended but couldn’t find it!
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So long, Mermaid Lagoon! You were just lovely!

You might have noticed that most (though not all) of the rides in Tokyo Disney Sea are quite exciting and are more suitable for older children and adults. In fact, I read somewhere that they even sell alcoholic drinks in the park! I didn’t really get to go on all the rides but the ones that I did get to try are indeed more targeted to an older crowd. Nevertheless, it’s a great theme park to visit no matter how old you are because even if you don’t get to try the rides, you will still be able to appreciate the beauty of the park just by looking at the aesthetic architecture and precise designs of the different attractions, as well as every little detail that makes it sublime. The park itself is a work of art and if only for that, it is really worth visiting.

More of Tokyo Disney Sea soon on Part 2 of this blog post!

Tokyo Disney Sea
Address: 1-13 Maihama, Urayasu, Chiba Prefecture 279-0031, Japan
Phone: +81 570-008-632
Website: http://www.tokyodisneyresort.jp/en/tds/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Tokyo-Disney-Sea/24121763784
Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday, 8:30 AM – 10:00 PM
How To Get There: http://www.tokyodisneyresort.jp/en/access/

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Comments

  1. Nice photos, i wanna visit tokyo too. hehe anyway, is he your bf?

    1. Nadine Madarang says:

      Thanks! He is my fiance.

  2. Rem Lucio says:

    Sounds like a fun trip and this is a good guide if ever I get to go there in the future!

    1. Nadine Madarang says:

      Thanks, Rem! You should go soon 🙂

  3. Roxy Nicolas says:

    My family plans to visit Japan. Thank you for this blog because now I will be more eager to convince my family to visit Japan. BTW I love the Aztec Pyramid and I love Little Mermaid too

    1. Nadine Madarang says:

      You’re welcome! Please stay tuned for Part 2! 🙂

  4. Honey says:

    I have been to HongKong Disney but never in Tokyo. Parang mas maganda sa Tokyo ah… I wanna go Tokyo Disney Sea… Thanks for giving such an informative post on Tokyo Disney. Bookmarked! Will be helpful for our nezt trip there

    1. Nadine Madarang says:

      I have only been to HK Disneyland too and I think Tokyo Disney Sea is 10 times more beautiful! But that’s just me. 🙂 My fiance and my guy friend who was with us think so too!

  5. ivy says:

    Disneyland is one of my life goals, I would love to visit Japan so much!! Pag punta namin dyan HK Disneyland and Tokyo Disney Sea na ang pupuntahan namin. Salamat sa post mo we will be hitting birds with one stone. God bless!

    1. Nadine Madarang says:

      No problem! Might be better to just do one Disney park though coz there’s so much to see in Tokyo alone!

  6. Kiko says:

    looks better than HK disneyland. Hope to visit this happy place soon

    1. Nadine Madarang says:

      I love HK Disneyland but Tokyo Disney Sea is twice as nice! (Or even more than twice)

  7. Tokyo Disneyland is one of those in my bucket list. I wish I could bring my kids there.

    1. Nadine Madarang says:

      You HAVE TO! 🙂 It’s really something else!

  8. Marie Modesto-Ang says:

    Wow! Now I feel the excitement for my daughter. We saw Anaheim and HK Disneyland but Disney Sea is different. I went there when I was still single. Going there by December. Thanks for the informative blog 👍

    1. Nadine Madarang says:

      I’ve never been to the Anaheim one. I really want to go there too! I’m sure it’s pretty amazing. But yes, Tokyo Disney Sea is just… wow! You’ll love it.

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