Buy Tickets in Advance
There are a lot of ways to get tickets to Tokyo DisneySea, and they’re all relatively easy. If you’re planning on visiting during a busy time (warm days, weekends, holidays, most days), you should go online and print out your tickets ahead of time. This is key. If for some reason the online experience isn’t working for you, while in Tokyo you can buy tickets at Disney stores and Lawson or Family Mart convenience stores. Definitely do this a week ahead of your visit, as the stores will sell out.
Nemo & Friends SeaRider.jpg = Nemo & Friends SeaRider ©Disney / Pixar
Get There Early
The doors open at 8 am, but they start selling tickets a half hour earlier. Get there by 8 am at the latest because on busy days (every day) they will stop selling tickets around 10-11 am to accommodate capacity–which is a little laughable when you see the crowds.
There are a lot of great rides inside the park, but make sure you figure out what you really want to experience before you go. Then, the moment you enter the park, go to that (those) ride(s) before the throngs start gathering (Toy Story Mania, Indiana Jones Adventure, Journey to the Center of the Earth, and Tower of Terror are some of the most popular). Lines are insanely long (up to 300 minutes), so the more you get done in the morning, the happier you’ll be–and really, isn’t that why you’re here?
Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Crystal Skull ©Disney
Use the Buddy System
Disney has a Fast Pass system. This allows you to get a designated time to ride a particular attraction so you can skip the bigger lines at those specific times. Of course, the Fast Pass Lines are also incredibly long. While you wait on that line, have a friend go get you both food, which will also have a guaranteed long line.
Go When it's Cold, Raining, and Miserable
Tokyo is a city with 19 million people, and Tokyo Disney is where you can fully understand what that feels like. But, if you go on a freezing Tuesday in February, you might have a chance of thinning out the crowd. Might.
Nemo & Friends SeaRider ©Disney / Pixar
When in Doubt, Resort to Booze
Because of the claustrophobic masses, you might need alcohol to dull your senses. Unfortunately, there will be more lines (remember the buddy system!). There are actually quite a few bars at DisneySea. For Disney oenophiles, you might want to check out the wine selection at Magellan’s in Mediterranean Harbor. For old-school cocktail connoisseurs, there’s Teddy Roosevelt Lounge in American Waterfront. And for beer lovers, there are ice-cold Coronas at Miguel’s El Dorado Cantina inside the Lost River Delta. When you have two hours to kill while waiting on your dedicated Fast Pass time, the booze helps. A lot.
Get Food Faster
If you’re tired of the buddy system and can’t stand waiting behind 200 people for everything in the park, then reserve seats at restaurants ahead of time. There are two ways to do this: First, you can reserve seats online at 9 am (heads up: this system is only in Japanese). Go to guest relations at the front of the park for help. Second, if seats are still available, go directly to the restaurant at 10 am to reserve a spot. You’ll thank yourself later after standing in a line for 300 minutes to watch Nemo swim.
Mickey’s Rainbow Luau ©Disney
But What’s the Deal With the Popcorn?
There are seven different types of popcorn at DisneySea: Caramel, Milk Chocolate, Curry, Salt, Black Pepper, Garlic Shrimp, and Strawberry. If you can’t live without trying these Disneyfied concoctions, then line up early because every line (especially garlic shrimp) will snake around the park as if Walt Disney himself was serving out the stuff. Buy a souvenir bucket and save $$ with each refill.
There are only two attractions at DisneySea that have Single Riders lines–but they’re two of the best: Indiana Jones Adventure and Raging Spirits. The entirety of your enjoyment for the day will depend on the least amount of line-waiting time, so this is a good way to expedite things. Plus, you might make some new friends.
Raging Spirits ©Disney
Save Some Money
If you don’t want to pay full price, you can get into the park after 3 pm for around $20 less than a normal ticket. But unless you’re there on that freezing Tuesday in February, wait times for rides will easily be in the 200-300 minute range and Fast Passes will be closed. Bottom line, choose your visiting day wisely.