first of all, thank you so much for everyone whose been reading my post regarding traveling, seems like the post about Japan gain a lot of attention. According to many travel sites, Japan is one of the most popular country to visit right now, maybe due to 2020 or many other promotions they are having.
I've visited Japan several times and this is our second visit to both Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea. In this post, I'll share some experience in traveling to both theme park with the kids, sick kid and how to handle in each situation plus when is the best time to visit the parks.
We stayed in Sheraton Grande Tokyo Bay Hotel during our first visit, it was May 2010. The weather is fine and perfect for traveling as it is not too hot. The hotel offers huge rooms and beds enough for 4 adults when it is just 1 adults and 1 child. They also have laundry area (coin machine) and very helpful for travelers as we stayed for almost a week.
The hotels in the area of Disneyland (Tokyo) are known as Disney's Partner Hotel. There are some hotels that connected with a free shuttle bus to the train that went only to 4 stations. Disneyland, Ikspiari, Disneysea and Tokyo Bay Station.
It was made for the area exclusively. As Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea are pretty huge, they are 2 separate theme park side by side. So you need to pay to go to each theme park. There are multiple tickets sold (2,3,4 days) where you can visit any park you want during those days. But when you've made up your mind to go on 1 theme park, that ticket is only valid for that specific theme park for the rest of the day. You may choose a different theme park or the same one on the next day and so on.
Is it possible to get on all the rides on one theme park within a day? No. Even on a quiet day where there's not much of a visitor like on high season, there are too many rides and the theme park itself is too big for a day. Even if you're a go getter.
My first tips is to check on crowd counter, just google crowd counter on the selected theme park and they'll help 'predicting' the crowd on that day. It only offers 3 months in advance and updated daily, but it pretty much helps us determining which day to visit.
Getting a 2 hours queue with a 2 years old is definitely not a fun thing to do, hence we takes things in a lot of measurement to make sure our holiday is fun.
My second tips is no need to hurry in purchasing the tickets as it was sold on the entrance as well. No need pre-ordering especially when traveling with kids since pre-ordering means the dates is set, and you can't changed it even when your kids are really sick.
This happens on my recent trip. My first one got high fever for days and there's no way we can enjoy the theme park in full day as we always did. We are theme park lovers. We are used to visiting theme park from the moment it was open until it was closed, we never skip, comes late, or go home before it closes, so this is our first time coming to a theme park at noon and leaves an hour before it closes, we are deeply saddened >.<
During this visit, we stayed in Hilton, they were having sale and promotion hence why we were there. We upgraded into a lovely family theme room where there's Sally the Witch on the mirror and locks to play with, it has chimes that thrills a 2 years old and leafs on the walls with lights that turn the whole room into pinkish tone.
The rest of us are happy with the huge window with a sunset view (image top above) where Mt. Fuji is visible. The hotel has high standard in service but we do have a few issues with the house keeping, seems like there's inconsistency in the cleaning department. Aside from that, Hilton offers several shops where there's even Disney Store (mini), perfect for those who are looking for Disney's stuff and didn't really have time to do so in the park or Ikspiari. There's also a mini market that sells food, daily necessities to baby's formula, this is perfect as we don't have enough on our 5th day.
ON our recent visit, we choose DisneySea on the first day. It was as crowded as a high season can be. Queuing on one ride could take as 120 minutes, that's 2 hours. There are some popular rides and show not too be missed, but, there's a catch, like any other Disneyland spread in the world, it comes in their own language. So all the show here are in Japanese, only a very few on a very limited slot is in English. There's also lottery tickets where you need to scan your tickets on whether you've won the chance to watch the show or not. There's some kind of fast pass (until 3 PM max) where you have a chance to cut queue, but that's also took some time, so in the end, coming into the park on high season doesn't really made the trip worth visiting and it doesn't come cheap too. A two days ticket for 1 person is around 13.000 Yen, that's around 1,5 million Rupiah, yikes!!
Now, back to fast pass, near almost each popular ride, there's a machine with Fast Pass where you can simply scan your ticket on to the scanner, and then a fast pass will be produced. There's a specific timing on when to use the fast pass and you can only use it on that certain timings. You can apply for another fast pass after those timings as well, so you can not go around the rides and collection fast pass, I think you can use fast pass around 3 times (in terms of time limit).
And for those who purchase the theme park tickets online, you need to print onto a paper and bring that paper to the entrance, you can use the paper inside the theme park and it replace the tickets. This is one of the thing that I thought to be the downside, it is better to purchase the tickers there on the entrance or at Disney Store since the tickets is cute, collectibles with Disney characters too, instead of just a piece of plain paper with codes.
Above is my first child, she is the one that sick that day with high fever, she is so happy in the First Aid Clinic. This is the one in DisneySea. The location is near the entrance, right next to the restaurant. I find the location to be much easier to go than in Tokyo Disneyland.
Same goes with the service, the nurses here are far more attentive, in a matter of seconds, cold packs, thermometer are given and she asks many questions as well so the pharmacist can decide which medicine to give.
In one visit, they can only give 1 kind of medicine, so her fever is the medicine they give. She also gets a place to rest, but for children, adult supervision is still needed, so 1 adult (me) has to stay with her. So we stay there until she feels better and then we can walk around the park again once her fever subside and she wants to go.
The pharmacy can only gives medicine until 7 PM, after that they can only recommend where to buy. A prescription is given with images too, we bought our medicine in Ikspiari, the medical store there closes at 9 PM. They are very helpful as well, and we can understand about the doses too, take note that Paracetamol is not available in Japan, they use acetaminophen, it is similar.
And, they also have many types of medicine for kids, some are very easy to be digested and consume, my girls hate medicine and there, with flavors and easy to consume tablets, she can easily take some without a fuss. I bought more than I needed since it is way better than the ones here (in Indonesia).
The views in DisneySea is so unique and iconic. I don't really feel like I'm in Disneyland (oh well, I'm not >.< I'm in DisneySea), it has more rides for grown ups and has more stairs than Disneyland haha, I carried a stroller hence I noticed all the stairs.
We can also rent a stroller there, but I feel much more comfortable carrying our own since it is convertible, I can simply close it when mine is asleep, as it was winter, the wind could be very cold. It help her to stays warm.
But rest assure, almost everywhere in here is wheelchair friendly. And I love bringing a stroller since I can put a lot of things too there, like additional blanket for the night.
One thing I would like to add is bring something to sit on the floor. As the floors are super cold too and you wont want your pants or clothes to be dirty while sitting on the floor. Why would you need to sit on the floor? For queuing, everyone here are queuing while sitting down and they also use it while watching the show. A good spot is hard to get, so everyone sits 1 hour before the parade, show or night fireworks. This is when the blanket comes in handy too, less body movements means less heat is produce, it became more chilly.
Aside from seating pad or overlay, extra blanket, do carry umbrella or rain coats as sometime it does rain, and getting wet in a park as big and cold as this wont be good. There are many shops thou' but do bring cash and a lot of money :D
The stores are super warm, like elsewhere in Japan, during winter, they do put the heater extra warm inside stores and public transportation, hence I can see why many people doesn't really use extra thick clothing. However in summer, they don't put as many air conditioner as Indonesian do in Jakarta.
As Japan always improving and adding new things, so does Disneyland and DisneySea, I see new areas and new rides. It was very inventive of them and they all look so attractive, in the Toyville, Disney Toy's fan would love it here, unique rides and places to see are shared. I love it here during night time as the lights are on. It was really festive.
One of my favorite restaurant in DisneySea is the Chinese food at the far most location in the park, it was like the opposite location to the entrance. The meals are so delicious, warm and comforting, I think being in Japan, the Asian restaurants are always better than the western which I think to be so-so.
And similar to Disneyland, each area has it own popcorn with collectibles container and flavor. We've tried cheese, caramel, white chocolate, strawberry and my favorite is the milk tea. And we bought all those cute containers and use it as my kids lunch box for school.
We stayed until around 7.30 PM since we need to buy medicine for my first born. So we didn't manage to watch the firework and it was really hard for us as it is the best part. Many even go back or go after 3 PM (discounted tickets) to catch the night show. So aside from normal tickets, there's tickets with much cheaper price if you go in after 3 PM, we should have get this one instead of full price if we didn't buy it online.
On the next day, we went to Disneyland and this time, we manage to get into a few rides since my girl is better.
But she doesn't stay healthy for too long, during lunch time, she need to have a rest again. There are seating area and every restaurant is equipped with a lot of place to sit and there's no need to worry even on high season, but the queue on the other hand is a must. Getting into a famous restaurant like the one with Alice in Wonderland during meal time means a half an hour queue.
Same goes with the snacks, there are famous snacks too like Mickey shaped bun, waffles, and so on.
I love them all, foodies would queue in every snack cart and purchase every one of them. And yes, some are seasonal too, expect a lot of ice creams and fruits in ice during summer and tons of warm food during winter, it is the best!!
Aside from the food, collectibles and a lot of items in the shop also seasonal. They have around 5 theme in the park, spring, summer, autumn, winter and new year special. There's also "limited edition" theme such as 15th Anniversary like the one we're having during our visit. They have cute collectibles that only available on that specific year.
And when you're there, pays attention to the locals and they all are using collectibles that probably has been around for years or very limited ones hence you wont find it anywhere in the park. It's kinda like treasure hunting but you know there's always something you could get. This year, they also have ufuffy, it's super cute!!!
My kids collect tsum tsum, and they have so many character plus some character could dressed up in different theme, like Pooh in bee, Sleepy Donald, Happy Piglet, funny Olaf, and so on. If you feel like you collect enough or you've collected every single one of them, come again, there's always more.
I really like they are also have a set, this year it's like a set of tic tac toe, or I've seen Pooh's family, or Frozen family, and so on, it's like they always give you excuse to buy, buy and buy. So many things to see, so many cute things to have, Disneyland Tokyo has so many to offer, I've been to several Disneyland from USA to France and Hong Kong, Tokyo Disneyland is simply the best.
The ambiance, the staffs every a few meters making sure no child is loss and no tourist left without a clue.
And of course, you could always meet your favorite character up, close, and personal. Taking images of them means queuing as well, like 30-60 minutes. Everyone loves taking their images with these character and they even kept a timetable of where they are about. It's like a frenzy world there, Japanese people, adult or kids are all sharing the same passion, I think the grown up are even worse.
During our visit to Disneyland today, we visited places we didn't manage to get from the previous ones. We did go up to Cinderella's castle. Inside the castle is like memoirs of Cinderella and in the end, you'll get to take picture of Disneyland from the castle above.
Here are some of the images from inside the castle.
Cinderella itself has so many versions. From the classic cartoon, in human, and the recent movie. Disney itself has made several 'Cinderella' movies.
Which one is your favorite?
Mine is, the one that the first cartoon by Disney. I love the songs, the character, the story line, everything.
There's also Minnie's Mouse House, Goofy House, and a few other houses where kids can have that 'feeling' of what it's like staying in their favorite character's house. The queue is always long, and sometime they are closed too, it was closed during our first visit and now, we're still unable to go inside since it is too crowded....and one of my kid is sick. I guess the bottom line is, during every traveling, or perhaps everything in life, we're never be too prepared, there's always surprises.
I remember going to United States for the first time and one of our luggage got stuck in another plane and went to another city. So we're in Hawaii and that particular luggage went to LA. It's rare I know, but on other occasion is our stroller went to another flight and got lost in the airport by the courier, and so on, so we've been through things that made us learn.
In this trip, we learned how to stay calm when the kids are sick during traveling and what to do. I googled a lot regarding clinics and doctors in Japan, apparently in Tokyo, there are many pharmacist that we can easily accessed in many medical stores, and if needed there are some hospitals and clinics made for tourist, which means, English is available.
Bringing your own medicine is never wrong, but there are times where the kids have finished all the medicine or when they got sickness they have never been before. There are tons of types of flu and here, she got what they said to be as 'winter flu'. It involves episodes of spiking high fever, sudden weakness on the legs and she sleeps like 12-15 hours a day yet still feel lethargic. Nothings' beats a good rest, in this case, some hotel does have babysitting with a cost (of course), this could be a good option too when the kids are not too young but just in need of some rest and someone to look after.
Most 4-5 stars hotel does provide in house doctor as well, they cost a bit higher than going to the clinic but still cheaper than having to go to the hospitals (with the transportation cost) and the time consumed. So there's always pros and cons in everything, in Japan where taxi are pricey and getting a sick kid to use public transportation is not easy, hence do open your mind a lot, stay calm, googled a lot and get lists of back up plans from saving your child's doctor private number in whatsapp or line or happens to know a few friends that live abroad.
Like Cinderella, our time is up in the Disneyland when my daughter's temperature hits 40 degree Celsius again. And it was almost the time for the night show, we're already get a seat, and it's time to go (so sad), and the clinic is rather secluded, unlike the First Aid in DisneySea where we can see from the 'main road', First Aid and Lost Children's place is a bit to the corner of far left (from main entrance). We have to stop 3 times and ask around before finally reaching the location.
We reached just a few minutes after 7 PM, hence no medicine could be given to our kid when we reached, but they help us by handling some cold water in a clothe to help cool her down. She also washes her face so her fever could be at ease, at least gives us a bit of time to reach the Ikspiari to get some more medicine and then to the Hotel. It's a good thing we stayed nearby, she can take a rest in a moment.
We had fun despite the short time we had in the park. We enjoyed many good food, delicious snacks and did have a wonderful family time together, during travel we did become closer, understanding each other better and having new experiences.
No matter how much we've planned or try to figure it out every possibility, there's always a room for
error negotiation of a new outcomes. One thing for sure, going to a first world country means everything always (most probably always) be punctual, accessible, good in quality (in terms of products and service), well informed and in better standard. As a tourist, we do need to get as much as information as possible as Japanese doesn't really like when people are asking stupid questions. Do a lot of reading and pays attention to the surrounding when you're there.
No matter how much we've planned or try to figure it out every possibility, there's always a room for
To summed up, here are some of my tips and tricks for Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea:
1. Whenever possible, come when they just opened, the queue is less (for sure).
2. Get the park's map, agenda board, decide which ride or shows you want to attend. If possible do check before coming to the park for a more precise measurement. At the crowd counter, which rides that opens and closes also stated.
3. Decide which restaurants to eat during lunch and dinner and the snacks too, there are reviews on which ones is favorites and some are even limited. There's a Mickey shape waffle that tasted so good with the creams inside, but it only sell in limited amount, I get the last one on that day and it's not even 5 PM.
4. Do eat at odd hours to prevent unnecessary queue. And while the others are queuing for the restaurant, you queue for the rides.
5. Rides in DisneySea are more for the adults while rides and things in Tokyo Disneyland are more to the kids, if possible, visit both, if not, choose accordingly. They opened and closed at the same time, and cost the same price too.
6. A lot of items (souvenirs), snacks and food in those theme parks are different one to another. Some you can only get at the exact park at the exact area.
7. They have different shows, different fireworks, I find it best at the Tokyo Disneyland since it involve Cinderella's castle but the one at DisneySea also unique, it has it's own volcano.
8. The parks are side by side but the main entrance of each park is way across each other and taking the special train is the best way.
9. The most iconic restaurant in Disneyland is the Queen of Hearts Banquet Hall, it has delicious menu with themes. I love their Happy Unbirthday Cake that fits for 4 people. The fresh cream and peach inside is just delicious, talking about it makes me crave for more. They also serve flank steak that so good and fresh salads.
10. The peak hour of the park is usually around mid day and night time. Some tourist in travel group usually leaves the park for dinner and get back just in time for the night show. The food in the theme park is a bit higher than the ones at Ikspiari or nearby restaurants.
11. The souvenirs at the parks are varied from ordinary shirts, towels, to cute things such as character masks, bee clip-ons that when you look from a far it appear like there's bees flying near you (rare items), hands cream, shoes, collectible snacks, to many other things. Again, it's seasonal too, during winter you'll find many things that warms up and moisturizes such as lip balms too. I love their blankets as it can be a cute plushy when rolled up. A few can be found still been sold over the years while some are rare. This year item is a wand that can connect to some rides in the parks, in can also lights up when pressed to celebrate 15th Anniversary of DisneySea.
12. There are annual membership which many locals have and come to visit the parks anytime they pleased, there's many benefits from a chance of getting fast pasts, VIP, privileges in shows, etc. It worth the price if you're going to the parks more than 4-5 times a year.
13. There are trains and buses that rounds about between parks, main subways and stations to the hotels and Ikspiari too.
14. Iskpiari is a big mall that sells a lot of daily necessities, medicines, groceries, restaurants, clothing, branded items to even Disney Store.
15. In famous areas for tourist such as these theme parks, most staff are equipped with language skills such as English. The machines for trains also comes in English options. A few also in Bahasa Indonesia.
16. During summer and spring, they sell battery operated fans that are so adorable and worth buying (we can use it here in Indonesia). I love the ones with Tinker Bell as the flower petals becomes the rotating fan. Some are able to lights up too during the night.
17. There are rooms for babies and kids, they also sold baby formula (Meiji brand only) for many different stages. Baby's food as well. There are many diaper changing stations and nursing area. We can clean our bottles too as liquid cleanser, sponge, brushes are available. Refilling the thermos also made possible here, no need carrying too many bottles as we can wash them here and re use the bottles.
18. Lockers are available at the main entrance of each parks. Japan is a huge fan of lockers, put everything you don't need at the lockers to enjoy a less fuss at the parks.
19. As extra blanket might come handy during winter, umbrella is essentials as well during raining season.
20. Some rides or attraction or show, might have to be forcefully closed without advance information due to the weather condition. Heavy rain fall and strong wind means no fireworks, and so on.
21. Trains and subways on the main area Tokyo usually closes around midnight, do pays attention when heading back when the park closes at night so you wont find it difficult getting back.
22. Always remember that to enjoy the journey, if you happen to missed a few rides, waiting in the queue for too long, try to look around and enjoy the view, you might find some things worth looking for.
Thank you for reading this post, hope you enjoyed it and the tips helps :D
See you again soon!!