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The Ultimate Tokyo Disney Sea Guide + Bucket List

If one thing is for sure, Disney Sea it’s my favorite theme park on Earth! It’s different than all the other parks and the scenery will blow your mind, believe me. Discover the ultimate Tokyo Disney Sea guide! If you have more days in Tokyo, you can visit more parks as well. Check my Sanrio Puroland Guide.

In this post, I’m going to give you a complete first-timer guide around the park. Discover the best attractions (also for kids) to have the best day ever. Yes, and also all the instagrammable spots to take the perfect pictures. Moreover, all the instagrammable food that you must try. If you’re debating whether to visit Disneyland or Disney Sea keep reading!

Disneyland vs Disney Sea

When it comes to deciding which of these two theme parks visit, you must think with who you’re visiting it. Disneyland it’s more classic princess-themed with traditional rides perfect for children and families. Otherwise, Disney Sea offers unique scenery and innovative rides mostly for adults and teenagers. Please note that in Disney Sea you won’t be able to meet the main Disney characters or Disney princesses, only Ariel, Mickey and its friends. So, if you’re going with kids or you’re not a big fan of rides, I would suggest you visit Disneyland. If not, I recommend you visiting Disney Sea because the rides are stronger and perfect to have a good time with friends.

While most Disneyland parks around the world have the same aesthetic, Disney Sea is totally different and can captivate you if you have never been. So, if you’ve already been in Disneyland, give Disney Sea a shot. Won’t disappoint, I promise!

If you can’t decide, I’m glad to tell you that you can buy a ticket hopper for Tokyo Disney Sea and Disneyland and do both in one day or on different days, which I recommend because both parks have a lot to offer. Check entrance fees and visiting hours here.

Tips:

  • Buy the tickets in advance (they are sold in some convenience stores or JR windows, as well as online) to save time in line at the park or to avoid being sent home if the park is full.
  • Avoid national holidays or weekends as it gets too crowded and you waste a lot of time waiting in the attractions.
  • Buy a Fast Pass for those must-do attractions if the waiting time is high or try to do them as soon as they open the park.
  • Remember to get your hand stamped if you go out of the park and want to return later on the same day.
  • Try to go as soon as attractions close to the Mediterranean Harbor for the closing parade (avoid having dinner in some restaurant) because it gets crowded easily and all the good spots where you can sit will be taken. You can grab some snacks to take away and eat it while enjoying the show.
  • Japanese people are well picnic-prepared. It’s useful to have a picnic mat handy (folded in your bag) or something to sit on while you’re waiting/ watching the parades (especially if you have kids).
  • Always check the weather forecast and in summer don’t forget sunscreen and some hat to protect you from the burning sun while waiting on the attractions. Thank me later!
  • In most restaurants water it’s free. So make sure to stay hydrated!
  • Some meeting character points don’t have a fixed character, so make sure to get informed before doing the queue and being disappointed. Moreover, some characters may be visiting in more than one point in case you miss it.
  • Sometimes there are some attractions closed for maintenance or due to the weather, so make sure to check that your favorite is not closed!
  • Note that some more luxurious restaurants offer priority seating tables that must be booked in advance and not all restaurants have a children menu available.
  • Note that the MiraCosta Hotel (next to the park entrance) has also a shop and some fancy restaurants but at times of high park attendance, the entrance will be limited to hotel guests and priority seating customers.

How to arrive

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The main way to go to DisneySea is by train although there’s a shuttle bus to Disneyland available from some locations. You need to catch the subway (you may need to change a few times) and stop in the Tokyo stop from the Marunouchi line (red). Tokyo subway map here. Once there, you need to catch the JR Keiyo Line and stop in Maihama (15 minutes approx.) Then, get off and catch the Disney Resort Line (you’ll recognize the trains because are Mickey-themed). Trains pass from 6:03 to 23:30 and circle all the Disney Resort. Finally, you just need to get off on the Disney Sea park stop! For more information, check the official page.

Where to stay

When we came to the park, we were staying in Tokyo so we came by train but you can choose to stay in a hotel, especially if you intend to stay more days! Although the Disney Sea hotels are amazing, they can be pretty expensive so you can stay in more affordable hotels like the Hotel Mystays Maihama or the more fancy Hilton Tokyo Bay. If money it’s not your issue, then (lucky you!) you can stay in amazing resorts like the Tokyo Disneyland Hotel, the Hotel MiraCosta, the Disney Celebration Hotel or the Disney Ambassador Hotel. Check prices and more info here.

What to do

The park is organized in 7 different-themed islands (download map here): Mediterranean Harbor (Southern European vibes), Mysterious Island (from the Journey to the Center of the Earth/ Mysterious Island movies), American Waterfront (cute coastal American town), Port Discovery (futuristic town), Lost River Delta (Indiana Jones kinda), Arabian Coast (Aladdin kingdom) and last, my absolute favorite, the Mermaid Lagoon with the Little Mermaid Castle, so cute! Although, unlike Disneyland park, it doesn’t have the mythic castle but a giant volcano in the middle.

Mediterranean Harbor

This romantic Southern European village it’s the first place you encounter when you enter the park. It’s full of secret spots like the Venice Village, where you can get a ride with a “gondola” or a fort with a pirate boat inspired by Pirates of the Caribbean.

  • Best attractions: Give a ride to the Venetian Gondolas and try the new Soaring: Fantastic Flight ride.
  • Instagrammable spots: World ball fountain at the entrance of the park, Pirates of Caribbean village, the Venetian Village and the Fortress.
  • Where to eat: At the buffeteria Cafe Portofino for pasta and roasted chicken, at the counter Zambini Brothers’ Ristorante for pizza and pasta (vegetarian menu available), at Magellan’s luxurious restaurant for full-course meals and at Ristorante di Canaletto for wood-fired pizza, as well as pasta and menu (vegetarian available).
  • Character meetings: Disney characters at AquaSphere.

Mysterious Island

Hidden inside the volcano, this thematic area gives us all the Journey to the Center of the Earth vibes.

  • Best attractions: Give a ride to the Journey to the Center of the Earth rollercoaster and to the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.
  • Instagrammable spots: In front of the famous Nautilus from Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, and at Captain’s Nemo hidden base.
  • Where to eat: At Nautilus Galley for some amazing gyozas and at the Vulcania Restaurant buffet for Chinese dishes.
  • Character meeting: None

Arabian Coast

Decorated in Islamic style like Aladdin’s Kingdom is one of the prettiest areas in the park. You’ll feel like princess Jasmine at every spot!

  • Best attractions: Jasmine’s Flying Carpets and Caravan Carousel.
  • Instagrammable spots: Mermaid’s Lagoon to Arabian Coast bridge, at the Magic fountain inside Aladdin’s palace, at the dromedary in Aladdin’s village and with tiger Rajah in front of the magic carpets.
  • Where to eat: At Casbah Food Court counter for curry and vegetarian meals.
  • Character meeting: Disney characters in front of Sinbad’s Storybook Village.

American Waterfront

In this area, you’ll find both American city and small coastal town vibes. Also, a super cute Toy Story Village!

  • Best attractions: Give a ride to Toy Story Mania and the Tower of Terror.
  • Instagrammable spots: Charming vintage streets, Toy Story gate, Waterfront Park, in front of the Tower of Terror, at S.S Columbia (Titanic replica) bridge and at the pier of the coastal town.
  • Where to eat: This area has the biggest variety of places to eat. Have lunch at Cape Cod Cook-Off counter for hamburgers, at Dockside Dinner for sandwiches and fried chicken, at New York Deli for sandwiches and fries, at Hudson River Harvest counter for baked potatoes and at Liberty Landing Diner for pork-rice rolls. Otherwise, if you want a fancy meal you can go to the S.S Columbia restaurant for roasted-beef and menu, to the Teddy Roosevelt Lounge for draft beer and cocktails or to the Restaurant Sakura for Japanese dishes.
  • Character meeting: Shellie May (Disney Bear Friends) at Village Greeting Point and other Disney characters at Waterfront Park.
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Mermaid Lagoon

This Little Mermaid’s Kingdom it’s my favorite spot in the park. The castle made of pastel mosaic pieces it’s a dream come true and all the decoration will make you feel Under the sea vibes for sure.

  • Best attractions: Scuttle’s Scooters and the Triton’s Kingdom inside the castle.
  • Instagrammable spots: (All!) In front of the castle in 100 different angles, at the colorful fence across the bridge and in front of the Scuttle’s Scoters attraction.
  • Where to eat: At Sebastian’s Calypso Kitchen counter for pizzas and more.
  • Character meeting: Meet princess Ariel at Ariel’s Greeting Grotto.

Lost River Delta

This village has all the Central American vibes with tones of ancient ruins decorations that will bring out all your Indiana Jones’ spirit!

  • Best attractions: Ride the high-speed Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Crystal Skull and the Raging Spirits roller coaster.
  • Instagrammable spots: In front of the Ancient Maya fountain, at the Transit Steamer pier and at the wooden bridge.
  • Where to eat: At Lost River Cookhouse for smoked chicken legs, at Yucatan Base Camp Grill counter for oven-roasted pork and chicken or at Miguel’s El Dorado Cantina for Mexican and vegetarian dishes.
  • Character meeting: Meet Duffy (Disney Bear Friends) at ¡Saludos Amigos! Greeting Dock and meet other Disney friends such as Mickey, Minnie, and Donald at Mickey and Friends’ Greeting Trails.

Port Discovery

This nautical village gives us all the futuristic vibes!

  • Best attractions: Aquatopia and the Nemo & Friends SeaRider.
  • Instagrammable spots: In the futuristic pier and in front of the Nemo & Friends ride.
  • Where to eat: At Bayside Takeout for sushi rolls or at Horizon Bay Restaurant buffet for grilled beef and other dishes.
  • Character meeting: None

Save this bucket list for later!

Instagrammable food

Disneysea is full of cute food on every corner! Each zone has iconic snacks and here I leave you some of them:

  • Popcorn: Popcorn is something crazy at Disneysea! The lines are sometimes longer for popcorn than for the attractions. When I went you could order them in a lot of unique flavors like matcha white chocolate, strawberry, curry, milk chocolate or even garlic shrimp!
  • Mickey-shaped ice cream: it’s available at ice cream carts around the park. I tried the strawberry Minnie one but there’s also a tropical fruit one shaped like Mickey.
  • Sea salt Ice cream Monaka: this Japanese treat shaped like a shell is available at Mermaid Lagoon.
  • Ukiwah Shrimp Bun: this cute bun shaped like a float is available at Seaside Snack at Port Discovery.
  • Little Green Men dumplings: available at Toy Story Mania at the American Waterfront, is one of the cutest snacks!
  • Mickey churro: this delicious Mickey-shaped churro available at wagons all over the park, is offered in different flavors like cinnamon, strawberry or cafe au lait.
  • Deepsea Pineapple smoothie: this colorful smoothie with tapioca is available at Nemo and Friends Searider at Port Discovery.
  • Soft Serve Jelly dessert: this dessert has different layers of pink and blue jelly and tapioca on it. It’s available at Sultan’s Oasis on the Arabian Coast.

Pictures by Lyndsey Matthews via Delish

Best Attractions

Unlike Disneyland, Disney Sea is full of high-speed rides perfect for those of you that love a good adrenaline shot! Please note that the majority of these attractions are not suitable for people suffering from health problems, fear of heights or pregnant women. If you go with kids or you’re not a big fan of frenetic rides, read the Kids’ Guide below!

Also, note that some of these rides have a long waiting line, so consider getting a Fast Pass or prioritize the ones that are only in Disney Sea, like the Mysterious Island ones and may skip Toy Story Mania or the Tower of Terror that are already in Walt Disney World or in other Disneyland parks. So, my advice is to plan your time and prioritize what’s best for you! The best attractions that I recommend you are these:

  • Journey to the Center of the Earth: it’s a high-speed roller coaster that takes you on a journey to the center of the earth. My favorite one in the park!
  • Raging Spirits: it’s a roller coaster with a 360-degree loop found in Lost River Delta. We had so much fun in this one.
  • Indiana Jones: Temple of the Crystal Skull: this ride takes you on a simulated journey through the Temple of Crystal Skull. The attraction’s full of special effects that will make you tremble. I highly recommend this one!
  • 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea: you ride in a small submarine that takes you into a journey to explore the deep sea. It’s a little claustrophobic though!
  • Soaring: Fantastic Flight: found in the Mediterranean Harbor, it’s the newest attraction in the park added July 2019. It’s a flight motion-simulator where you fly over the famous landscapes of the world.
  • Tower of Terror: in this attraction, you take the elevator and then you rush. The emotion is very strong so I skipped it! (plummeting is not my thing at all)
  • Toy Story Mania: it’s an indoor 3D attraction with special effects where you play interactively with the Toy Story characters. I prioritized other better attractions so I didn’t have time to do this one.
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Kids’ Guide

I know, I know, if you have kids you need a way of entertaining them. Disney Sea has a lot more to offer than just attractions. So, you people that are scared of rides and prefer quieter activities, I’ve got you! These are the quietest or kid-friendly attractions:

  • Triton’s Kingdom: it’s a hidden world inside the Little Mermaid’s castle. It’s the perfect kids’ zone full of fun activities and rides.
  • Venice Gondolas: give a ride in a gondola around the Venice canals of the Mediterranean Harbor.
  • Caravan Carousel: a fun double-decker carousel at the Arabian Coast.
  • Sinbad’s Storybook Voyage: it’s an indoor ride through waterways and stages with Aladdin characters. It’s similar to “It’s a small world” ride in Disneyland.
  • Jasmine’s Flying Carpets: you ride a flying carpet and you can go up and down. I recommend this one!
  • Scuttle’s Scooters: you ride around in colorful crabs. It was so fun!
  • Flounder’s Flying Fish coaster: it’s a fish-themed roller coaster for children.
  • Aquatopia: you can board some watercraft and drive it around. It’s located at Port Discovery.
  • Nemo and Friends: It’s an attraction where they project a short film with special effects.
  • Fortress Explorations: it’s a fortress with interactive activities inside located at the Mediterranean Harbor next to a big pirate boat.

If you prefer, you can also watch amazing shows! I recommend the Big Band Beat at American Waterfront. It’s a Broadway-style show with music and dancers from the 20-40s. Note that to enter the show you need to enter a lottery first at the Biglietteria in the Mediterranean Harbor. Also, you can watch the amazing show King Triton’s Concert at the Mermaid Lagoon Theater. Check the Magic Lamp Theater at Arabian Coast too.

Moreover, you can meet some characters at the park-enabled points I mentioned earlier. Also, give a ride around the park by train or by boat. I recommend you taking the Transit Streamer Line at sunset and enjoy the beautiful views. If not, take the Electric Railway at American Waterfront.

Where to shop

Last but not least don’t forget to bring home the cutest souvenirs! I bought my rose gold Minnie ears at the entrance of the park and wore them all day. Although a lot of merchandise it’s from Duffy Bear Friends (which I’m not passionate about), you can still find a lot of Micky/Minnie and friends merch at Mediterranean Harbor’s souvenirs shops. I also recommend checking out the Arabian Coast and Mermaid Lagoon’s souvenir shops for unique themed gifts!

Pin It for later!

That’s it for this post. I hope you enjoyed it and if you have any questions please leave them down below.

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